After 15 years of working in communications for several
Fortune 500 companies and witnessing numerous instances of corporate
downsizing, Kibibi Springs became fascinated by how her colleagues
responded in such situations.
"Not everyone had a 'I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine'
mentality," she says. "I saw that people responded best to others who
seemed to care about them or what they did that contributed to the
organization. When you approach someone with a me-centered attitude, you
won't get much accomplished."
Armed with a growing curiosity about the impact of workplace
relationships, Springs enrolled in The Chicago School's
Industrial/Organizational Psychology online-blended master's degree
program, which combined her dual interest in human psychology and the
After graduating in 2010, Springs now helps other corporate professionals build better relationships with colleagues and clients. As the online community manager for myGreenlight.com -- a company founded by professional relationship expert Keith Ferrazi, the best-selling author of Who's Got Your Back
and Never Eat Alone
-- she manages an online training community that shows professionals how enhancing relationships can lead to increased productivity, higher sales, better job performance, and ultimately, improved bottom lines for companies.
"I am teaching people how to develop relationships for mutual achievement, " says Springs, who lives in Los Angeles. "A lot of businesses require teams to wrok together and your success will be dependent on that ability to work with others. I coach myGreenlight members how to approach that process so people understand each other's objectives in a way that they both achieve their goals."
She adds, "You can teach people how to be good with other people, but you have to shift their mindset. It's not about networking and schmoozing, it's about meeting the holistic goals of the company."
Clients of the program typically include medium and large-sized businesses with a sales force, a customer service division, or interdepartmental teams that have to work together across a digital divide instead of face-to-face In trainings, for example, she'll explain how to use the Internet and social media to build and maintain relationships. "You don't want to email a client to ask if they want to buy something, but to say., 'I appreciate your business, '" she says. "We advocate using Google Alerts so if a client name comes up, you can say congratulations. Often people don't share their good news with their network, when you seek out good news and acknowledge it, it makes you stand out from the crowd."
In her work, she applies the theories and principles that she learned in her classes at The Chicago School, which she took in the online-blended format for greater flexibility and a desire to learn from her classmates -- other corporate professionals who understood some of the major challenges that existed in the business world. Following an interest in how behavior affects well-being and Assistant Professor of Business Psychology Michael Barr's contention that, "Corporate cares not about any of those things unless you show how it affects the bottom line, " she also conducted research that showed greater employee stress increased health care costs for businesses. "It's not always that someone has to go to the hospital for an injury, but for depression or mental anguish that results in taking time off from work, for instance," she says.
Although her job aims to help professionals cultivate relationships to do better at their jobs, for many, there is still far to go. "We're all works in progress, she says. "Some of us are a lot better than others at looking in the mirror and saying, "I could do a better job of communicating with people."
Kibibi Springs invites Chicago School alumni to connect with her on Twitter @kibibisprings.