50 Most Innovative Companies to Watch 2021
Conversations are crucial in the exchange of thoughts and ideas and understanding each other. While technical skills are a must for business success, communication skills are equally important. But most curriculums focus on just technical aspects and take no notice of the communication aspect.
Fierce, Inc. is a global leadership development and training company that drives results for business and education by developing conversation as a skill. Fierce creates authentic, energizing, and rewarding connections with colleagues and customers through skillful conversations that lead to successful outcomes and measurable ROI. We interviewed Edward Beltran, the CEO of Fierce Conversations, to know more about the company and its services. Here are a few excerpts of the interview:
Q. Creating an image of an ideal company is exigent. How are you successful in getting at it?
It comes down to people and conversations. These are the building blocks of a culture that aligns with strategy. For example, many companies tout “innovation,” however, they lack the mechanisms and reinforcement to support innovation. At Fierce, I want us to “fail” or test and learn our way to success. If this isn’t happening, we aren’t trying. At the core of this journey, you’ve got to get conversations right. Conversations starting with your customers and then backing into how to provide great products and services.
Q. How well have you managed to get through the challenges coming your way?
We’ve done well, but, of course, there are always challenges along the way. The key is to keep your mind wrapped around the destination. You have to have a firm grasp on envisioning where you are now, seeing past the moment, and focus on building long-term relationships with those around you. What I’ve learned during those challenging times is that the key is to surround myself with positive energy and others who are passionate about where we are going.
Q. What positive impact have you created on companies or people looking up to you?
I started my career in professional services. The folks who have been with me on this journey appreciate the focus on results and allowing them to bring their unique selves to work each day. This approach has brought out some real superstars who previously had not had the runway to open their wings and soar. My mentors made sure I understood the importance of customer-centricity.
Q. How is Fierce working for the greater good?
We believe that conversations are the bridge to the divisions we see across many issues. Conversation techniques help ensure you understand what is going on for the other person and enrich the relationship regardless of direction or differences. Life isn’t always binary. We can grow and participate in understanding and educating those we interact with.
Q. How is Kaplan Mobray helping overcome microaggressions in the workplace?
When we began talking with Kaplan, we were impressed with his extensive experience and work as a thought leader in diversity, equity, and inclusion. We realized we had some common ground: We passionately believed in the need to focus on microaggressions. We also learned that mundane interactions often translate into microaggressions that could have short- and long-term impacts on individuals. We have created a number of 3D/VR simulations for people to practice how to engage microaggressions as the receive and giver within a safe environment. We believe the training can help both sides learn from a common error or provide the proper feedback to a micro aggressor and enrich the relationship.
Q. Detail us about your learning options.
Fierce offers a wide variety of solutions, including:
VR simulations: It puts the learner in real situations in a gaming environment where they can choose the direction of the conversation, experience the outcome, hit redo, and learn from an immersive environment in 15 minutes or less. Fierce has helped retail employees learn how to manage conversations with customers on both ends of the spectrum on COVID-19; frontline nurses learning how to delegate and provide feedback to doctors and helping team members better understand how to identify and address microaggressions.
Fierce Connect is an app that helps you build up your conversation and have it in real-time. Fierce uses AI to predict what conversations our learners need to have and provide them with the resources to have successful conversations that will positively impact their professional and personal lives.
Fierce for Life Membership: A comprehensive approach to training offering companies access to a full suite of tools, including virtual instructor-led training, instructor-led training, redesigned on-demand courses, microlearning with 3D simulations, and a mobile app for learning on the go.
Executive Coaching Sessions: Fierce’s executive team coaching session teaches senior leaders how to create alignment with one another over strategic priorities by engaging in conversations that yield results.
On-Demand Learning: Clients can choose from eight different Fierce learning tracks depending on your team’s needs — Foundations, Team, Coach, Delegate, Confront, Feedback, Accountability, and Negotiations. These are self-paced, self-directed interactive micro-learning modules that allow employees to learn at their own pace.
Q. How does Fierce aid in conquering conversation chaos?
Based on the book Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, it became clear that “teaching communications” was not enough. People were not looking for theory. They were looking for the “how.” Fierce Conversations is the how. For example, instead of saying, “You need to give feedback,” Fierce provides scripts to create a feedback conversation and then step by step on how to successfully have that conversation.
Q. What are your upcoming projects?
Our mission to improve the world through one conversation at a time opens up many opportunities as we think about scale and providing the tools that people need at their fingertips to have the necessary conversations to positively engage situations in their professional and personal lives. This includes supporting experts in other fields with our practical tools and digital platforms and continuing to lean into the business-to-consumer marketplace.
Q. What are your aspirations for the next five or ten years?
Fierce has an international footprint, but it is now working with partners on models to leverage the tools and solutions. The roadmap circles back to Fierce’s mission, which is to better the world one conversation at a time. Based on Fierce’s mission, we are a company helping individuals to help them have more meaningful conversations – all the time. As the world becomes vaccinated, Fierce is looking to continue our in-person training. Still, with our virtual reality simulations, Fierce can reach any company in any place in the world. We are excited about the potential growth Fierce has to offer to different kinds of companies who all are experiencing some challenges in the way their team members communicate with each other.
Meet the CEO
With over 20 years of experience, Edward Beltran is passionate about making a difference through innovation and smart ways of economically empowering the masses. His passion for technology made him the perfect choice to succeed Susan Scott as the CEO of Fierce Conversations. Coming up with the Finance/Operations disciplines provided a strong analytical foundation for Ed to merge with technology, strategy, and marketing/sales to position him well as a progressive CEO archetype.
His education encompasses computer technology, finance, business, and entrepreneurship. Throughout his career, he has continuously honed his skills, developing his passion for technology and innovation. He earned his MBA from the University of Michigan. He has maintained an active CPA license since 2004 and received certificates from both Wharton and Harvard in Entrepreneurship.