Featured Leading Voice: Chip Bell

This month we are featuring Leading Voice Chip Bell, author, renowned keynote speaker on innovative customer service, and consultant/speaker to such organizations as Microsoft, Nationwide, Marriott, Lockheed-Martin, Cadillac, Ritz-Carlton, Caterpillar, Verizon, USAA, Harley-Davidson, and Victoria’s Secret.

Chip studied at the University of Georgia, Vanderbilt University, and the George Washington University. He also did some post-doctoral work at Harvard. He says, however, "The most important education for me has come from lessons learned in life, not academia!"

Following graduate school and the military (including a tour of duty as an infantry unit commander in Viet Nam) Chip was director of management and organizational development for NCNB (now Bank of America). He started a consulting firm in 1980 and says he has been having a blast ever since!

A leadership lesson Chip gained from his first job was: inclusion will get you more commitment than control. 

When asked about one of the best moments he has had professionally, Chip shared, "Watching my books hit the national best seller list. Being on CNBC, Fox Business, CNN and ABC pitching a new book. Helping the CEO of Southwest Airlines launch a best-selling book. Getting a book endorsement from Seth Godin."

He thinks these are the most important qualities in leaders:

  • humility
  • passion
  • trustworthiness
  • curiosity

When questioned about the strangest thing he's ever been asked in a job interview, Chip tells us he was asked, "If you could live your life as an animal, what animal would you choose and why?"

The books Chip has found most helpful for his professional life include Watership Down by Richard Adams, Marketing for Business Growth by Ted Levitt, and The Purple Cow by Seth Godin.

When asked the most creative solution he's ever seen to a problem in life or work, Chip replied, "Having my seven-year-old granddaughter describe the work of a client (a very large cement company) as the maker of dance floors for cars. Her metaphor led to the company working on creating cement highways with embedded florescence for dark country roads."

The best advice he's ever been given was, "Your job as a consultant is not to help clients feel better about being weak; your job is helping clients get strong." As for advice he would give, he believes schools should teach ethics.

If he had to hashtag his life, Chip's would be: #CreativeFun (symbolizing having fun and making a difference).

One of Chip's favorite quotes is "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing" from Helen Keller.

He must consider his current assortment of speaking and consulting tasks a daring adventure, because when asked "if money were no object, what would you do all day?" he responded, "Work as a keynote speaker, write business books, and work as a customer loyalty consultant--exactly what I am doing"!

Thanks for sharing a moment in your daring adventure with us, Chip!

Editor's Note - You may ask, “How does one get chosen to be a featured Instigator?” The answer is simple. If you are already an Instigator, fill out this form and continue to engage with the Lead Change Group on a regular basis. If you are not yet an Instigator, sign up. There are many benefits to being an Instigator – email us if you want more information.

Previous Featured Instigators:

3/2016: Eunice Parisi-Carew

2/2016: Chris Edmonds

1/2016: Marcella Bremer

12/2015: John Stoker

11/2015: Sean Glaze

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