The Power of Change for Generating Profound Impacts on People and Organizations

This week we welcome Denise Gabel to the Digitally Irresistible podcast.  

Denise is an international bestselling author, professional speaker, and mentor on the power of change. She is now recognized as the world’s first can-do-ologist who has made it her life’s work to inspire others to embrace a can-do mindset.  

On this episode, we discuss how Denise’s can-do mindset helps teams, coaches, and business leaders create a profound impact on their organization by impacting its people. Read on for strategies on mastering stressful situations by “channeling your cheetah” for unparalleled performance enablement in the workplace and beyond. 

Leadership Experience Inspired by a Passion to Help Others Embrace Joy and Possibilities 

Denise’s instinctive talent developing roadmaps to success surfaced in high school. At the time, she and her family lived in a small town. She introduced the idea of moving to a bigger city with more opportunity to her mom, who agreed that this would open new doors for the family.  

For Denise, this experience was a revelation about the power of change to unlock new possibilities. 

Denise has a wealth of experience in business leadership. During her tenure as chief innovation officer of the Filene Research Institute, she led the prestigious i3 Program throughout the United States and Canada. She also served as chief operating officer at the Northwest Credit Union Association.  

Her internationally bestselling book, “The Can-Do Mindset: How to Make Things Happen … With Enthusiasm,” reflects her unshakeable passion for helping others achieve personal and professional growth.  

According to Denise, the key is a can-do mindset, which she defines as a choice to focus on joy and possibilities in life. Optimize the customer experience through human-centric interaction with agents. According to academic research from Stanford, a growth mindset positively impacts people’s lives and health in powerful ways. The can-do mindset is central to Denise’s strategy for helping people and businesses free themselves from a fixed mindset and drive irresistible progress along their journey.

The Can-Do Mindset Supercharges Employee Engagement to Achieve the Impossible

Denise put her can-do mindset to work for a U.S.-based credit union with incredible results. The company set out to revise a complex lending system that serves members in the community. They established ambitious—maybe even impossible—goals while leveraging Denise’s can-do mindset strategy in their operations. 

Before the can-do mindset model was adopted, the project would have taken 18 months to complete. What was the impact on the duration after building a can-do foundation across the entire organization? Eighteen days from project beginning to project completion.  

That’s right: the can-do mindset reduced the project timeline by an astonishing 97%. 

The time reduction resulting from maximized employee performance cascaded into significant cost savings for the business. The company also generated $4 million in loans in the first month, proving that the can-do mindset can make the seemingly impossible possible.

Frontline leadership sets the expectation for can-do teamwork by modeling the can-do mindset for their employees.

The can-do mindset inspired employee engagement at unprecedented levels, generating success for the business and moving the bar for performance standards. They were able to achieve this because the company’s supervisors effectively coached team members to adopt a can-do attitude in their work. 

Denise explains that when it comes to the can-do mindset: 

  • 85% is acquired through social learning
  • 15% is acquired through structured training. 

In other words: the “monkey see, monkey do” model of behavior is a powerful tool. When frontline supervisors and coaches show employees what the can-do mindset looks like, it establishes clear expectations for team members to emulate that behavior.  

While corporate training is important for optimizing employee performance, leadership teams who model the can-do mindset for the workers they supervise are the principal actors in shaping an irresistible can-do culture in the workplace.

While corporate training is important for optimizing employee performance, leadership teams who model the can-do mindset for the workers they supervise are the principal actors in shaping an irresistible can-do culture in the workplace.

Channel Your Cheetah: A Four-Step Strategy for Thriving Through Difficulty

Difficult experiences are universal. This is why Denise advises developing effective coping mechanisms for stressful situations, especially workplace stress. She says everyone has the can-do mindset within them, even if it’s buried. Her four-step process helps bring it to the surface to empower people for success in both personal and professional contexts.  

The cheetah far outpaces any other land animal, accelerating from zero to 60 mph in just three seconds. This impressive cat’s speed and reflexes inspire Denise’s approach to helping others learn to adjust to difficulty.  

1. Feel it.

The first step is to name what you’re feeling and give yourself permission to feel it. Whether it’s embarrassment, guilt, frustration, or another uncomfortable feeling or combination of feelings, acknowledge it.  

2. Shift to neutral.

Even cheetahs can’t be in motion all the time. Neutral is a place where you feel safe. Begin taking time to collect your thoughts, regain your composure, and center yourself.  

This can be as simple as taking a few deep breaths at your desk and pausing notifications for five minutes. In other cases, you may need to take a walk, talk to someone you trust, meditate, or otherwise gain more distance from the situation.

3. Ask yourself, “What can I do?”

Depending on the situation, a cheetah on the savannah might roll over and relax, remain alert and watchful of its surroundings, or take off sprinting after an opportunity.  

At this stage, you decide what your best course of action is. No one has an unlimited budget of time, energy, or other resources. Look at the possibilities, and make a realistic estimate of your capacity before deciding your next move.

4. Go again.

Put your decision into action. This is the moment you take off like a cheetah and show the world how fast and how far you can go when all your energy is channeled into progress.

Channeling your cheetah is an actionable process for driving your personal and professional growth with a can-do attitude despite challenging circumstances. You can return to this simple but effective strategy whenever difficulty arises.

Attract and Retain High-Demand Talent With a Can-Do Company Culture

Employees with a can-do attitude present a high value proposition for businesses. High performers with irresistible talent have the potential to make great contributions, express ideas, and provide a fresh set of eyes.  

Team members and leaders should strive for a culture of collaboration and open communication that builds upon the company’s mission. According to Denise, employees should embrace the can-do message to confidently speak up as valuable members of the company to share ideas with leadership which could help improve something in the business. 

The can-do mindset creates a ripple effect of growth from the organization as a whole to the teams to the individuals. Businesses that position the can-do mindset as a core value of the organization succeed in attracting talented people who are enthusiastic about pushing the envelope of their performance potential. 

Talent recruitment is just the first step of the journey. A can-do core value can also boost retention by empowering employees to thrive with the company through personalized coaching and proactive intervention strategies.  

To achieve this, businesses can leverage a range of digital solutions such as machine learning, predictive analytics, and artificial intelligence (AI) to complement the skilled human teams who cultivate exceptional employee experiences.

Discover how iQor leverages a can-do mindset with AI solutions that empower agents. 

At iQor, our can-do strategy utilizes Symphony [AI]TM to optimize the employee lifecycle from recruitment through onboarding, training, nesting, and deployment to the production floor. Our IT experts train this generative AI ecosystem on our proprietary large language models (LLMs) and accumulated process knowledge from years of experience in the BPO industry.  

Symphony [AI] boosts performance, builds confidence, and supports workplace wellness, reinforcing a can-do mindset for agents and supervisors by providing access to the tools they need to succeed. Our supervisors and coaches supplement our digital solutions by modeling the can-do mindset for their teams, creating smiles for all stakeholders from agent to end customer to client. Optimize the customer experience through human-centric interaction with agents.  

A can-do culture that values progress, support, and positive outcomes for the more than 40,000 employees we employ globally is in iQor’s DNA as stated in our core values.

A can-do culture that values progress, support, and positive outcomes for the more than 40,000 employees we employ globally is in iQor’s DNA as stated in our core values.

Denise says that it all comes down to culture. With a can-do mindset guiding a culture of innovation, change, and growth, businesses can unlock unparalleled levels of success for the organization and its invaluable can-doer employees.

The Fun Question

Denise loves expressing her creativity through shopping and decorating. She is a naturally curious person who thrives when interacting with people and experiencing new possibilities.  

Her two rescue cats, Gizmo and Henry, are a constant source of joy and help inspire her can-do mindset in all areas of her life.  

 To learn more about Denise, visit her on LinkedIn and her website at 










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