Thursday, December 30, 2010
How many times have you had a great idea in the middle of the night or while sitting relaxing at the pool, beach, or back porch and told yourself, “I’ll write it down later”. How many times has “later” never come? I wish I had a nickel (or a dollar, to account for inflation) for every time I said that but forgotten the idea 15 minutes later.
Ideas, and thoughts on how to develop them, begin streaming when we’re relaxed - when we don’t have the stresses of phone calls, meetings, and people popping into our offices. And, because we’re not prepared, we lose many ideas. We have to be equipped for these instant concepts at all times.
That takes me back to my Navy days. I ALWAYS carried around one of those little green, government-issue memorandum books in my back pocket - constantly at the ready to record my thoughts or work schedule of the day. It was a great asset (and great application for CYA).
These days, that little green book has been replaced by a smart-phone. It can record thoughts just as easily and they can be converted directly to memos or emails.
Make sure you have the available means to record your instant thoughts and the next time you can’t sleep, at least be productive and pull out that “little green book”.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
One of my favorite leadership books is "The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus-How to Get Big Things Done In YOUR "Workshop"...All Year Long". It's very easy to relate to.
Santa says that one of his biggest benefits of being him is the fact that he's on "the point". All of the elves and reindeer work their "ears and antlers off" all year so the mission and vision can be fulfilled, yet Santa's usually the one that gets all of the credit. He's the one that gets to travel all over the world, attend meet and greets, and have his picture plastered all over greeting cards. The elves and reindeer don't get to experience all the fun so "their feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment must come in different ways".
Just like you as a leader, Santa must help his elves and reindeer see the "positive differences" that they're making. He practices MBWA (management by wandering around) just like you should be doing. He shares thank you letters and posts them on a bulletin board labeled "SEE WHAT YOU MADE HAPPEN" - just like you should be doing. He uses crayons to draw diagrams showing the link between the elves and reindeer and the smiling children that get the presents - that's communication that you should be providing (maybe not with crayons though).
Nothing motivates an employee - whether elf or not - more than actually seeing that they're contributing and making a difference for the organization and their customers. So look for ways to make it happen for your staff.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
So, last week we happened to be doing some Christmas shopping at the strip mall where this buffet is and I noticed a sign on the door that said $6.99 all day on Tuesday's during December. BINGO. So guess where we ate last night? A Mexican restaurant . . . just kidding. We went to the Chinese buffet.
Well holy cow. They had, at least, doubled the size of the buffet and added a made-to-order sushi counter. It was fantastic . . . and now worth the $10.99.
But on the way out we spotted another price sign that says beginning January 1st, the everyday price would increase to $11.99! Ahhhhh, the hook.
This restaurant implemented a few great marketing strategies. They:
- lowered their price for December to bring in more customers that have less expendable cash due to buying Christmas presents,
- lowered their price to bring in more customers to learn about their great strides in improvements, and
- informed their customers of the price increase following their great meal - in which they devoured more food than they normally would in two days - making $11.99 seem more justifiable.
This seemed to me like a well thought out marketing plan. Many times these types of establishments (buffet's, etc) just throw things at you - $6.99 one day, $11.99 the next - with no warning or justification. My hats off to New China.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
- "I think it's about the journey. It's about learning things about ourselves. . . . It's about lookin' over your shoulder and learnin' from your mistakes. . . . It's really about that journey, you know, and the people we meet, the opportunities that we need to go after. It's about our relationships with our family and our friends. It's so much more. I'm not through with my journey yet."
- "Learning is the beginning of wealth. Learning is the beginning of health. Learning is the beginning of spirituality. Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins."
Thursday, November 11, 2010
I did all the prerequisite research on Google of course so was heading out with my wife to check them out in person. The first place we went to was the office store. We headed right for the laptop area and looked and looked. We couldn't find the one we were looking for - which happened to be on the front page of their ad that week. To make a long story short - they didn't have the laptop on display. They were ALL in the stockroom - in their boxes. Now do you think that they'd at least take ONE out of the box for customers to see? NO. Instead they tried to talk me out of seeing it because if we decided not to buy it they'd have to sell it as an open package.
Hence comes the big question - Unless you've done some massive researching, or are just that much more knowledgeable than the average joe, who's going to buy a computer sight unseen?
Needless to say, Best Buy got our business (and we received EXCELLENT customer service - thank you Matt) and the office store will have to settle for our "staples", paper, and pen purchases.
I worked retail for a number of years and know that there's just too much competition out there to do things like this. Customer service has got to be the name of the game at all times. Businesses, such as office stores, are so similar that the quality of your customer service and satisfaction are the main - or only - things that differentiates them from one another. You HAVE to make yourself stand out . . . in a positive way.
Keep in mind that, either consciously or even unconsciously, you're compared to other companies with every contact.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
- You enthuse,
- you excite,
- you encourage,
so they believe they can do it. Motivating and inspiring are about them, not you. It’s about instilling the confidence and energy that helps them to achieve the desired results. It’s what causes them to get excited enough to take ownership of their work.
In 1940, Walt Disney stopped production of Pinocchio because he thought Pinocchio was looking TOO wooden. He called the young animator Ward Kimball into his office.
Kimball, who was already upset because his long hours of work on Snow White had ended up on the cutting-room floor, was planning to use the occasion to resign when Walt called him in. But the young animator never had a chance. He got so excited listening to Walt talk about his dreams for the film and his ideas about Jiminy Cricket that Kimball entirely forgot about his own intentions of resigning.
Ward Kimball went on to become one of the greatest animators of all time. How many leaders can say that they enthuse, excite, and encourage that way? Had it been you in Walt’s situation, would Ward Kimball have stayed around?
Monday, October 25, 2010
Ethics are the inner-guiding moral principles, values, and beliefs that we use to analyze or interpret situations in order to decide what’s the “right” or “appropriate” way to behave or react. Laws tell us we either CAN or CAN’T do something. If there’s no law – or a law that’s not well enough defined – we're left to use our own ethics (or lack of) to decide how to act. Problem is, TOO many people these days are unethical.
According to the annual USA Today/Gallup Poll, less than one American in four rates highly the ethical standards of business executives, attorneys, members of Congress, or stockbrokers. Bankers had it especially rough in the latest poll: their approval rating fell from 35% to 23%. Only 22% of Americans held state governors in high esteem. With two unethical candidates, I would guess that Florida is even less than that.
It’s not just business and politics. A report by the Josephson Institute showed that 64% of high school students cheat and 30% steal. WOW! Nothin like starting early.
Neither laws nor ethics are fixed principles. Both are always changing. Unfortunately, people will always try to get away with things by going around and misinterpreting laws, so continuous change will always be necessary.
People will always argue that, “it's not illegal”. Maybe not. But keep this in mind the next time you have a thought like that – not being illegal does NOT make it ethical.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
As you “wander”, in order to be effective, you should be doing at least these three things:
• listening to what staff are saying,
• using the opportunity to continuously discuss the organization’s values face-to-face, and
• be prepared AND able to give people on-the-spot assistance.
At first, staff may suspect that MBWA is just an excuse for you to spy and interfere. That'll subside when they see the walk-arounds happening regularly, and they see that it actually benefits THEM. It works best when staff see that you are genuinely interested in them and their work and also see that you are there to listen and help. If things you see or hear require some type of follow-up, then make sure you take care of it.
Here are a few tips to assist in making MBWA a success:
• Publicize the fact that you are out wandering 50% of the time.
• Appear relaxed as you make your rounds. Staff will reflect your feelings and actions.
• Remain open and responsive to their questions and concerns.
• Observe and listen.
• Make sure your visits are spontaneous.
• Talk with staff about what they like – family, hobbies, vacations, or sports.
• Ask for suggestions to improve operations, service, etc.
• Try to spend equal time in all areas.
• Have meetings in others’ spaces rather than your own office all the time.
• Catch staff members doing something right and recognize them publicly.
• Convey the image of a coach – NOT an inspector.
• Encourage your staff members to show you how the “real work” of the company gets done.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Over the past number of years, leaders have been getting more into the “employees are important to me” frame of mind. That’s a good thing. But at the same time, if you tell your staff, “if you are ill, stay home”, you can’t take things away from them or give them bad appraisal marks if the do (unless it’s obviously being taken advantage of).
If you keep telling your staff that they’re doing a good job when they’re not – that’s your fault. You can’t take things away from them or give them bad appraisal marks.
If you give your staff a survey to find out what’s on their minds or what problems or issues they have, then never do anything with the information, youuu might be a redneck. Oops, sorry - actually they’ll lose confidence in you and your abilities to effect change.
If you reap praise on your staff, as you should, but then take all the credit when it comes to your bosses – they’ll lose confidence and acceptance in you.
Are you seeing some kind of trend here?
Leadership Rule #1 – You’re the Leader – You’re being watched – You must be the example – You must set the bar – You must do as you say.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines arrogance as: “An attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.”
Let me see. Does that definition fit anybody we know? Just a hunch, but I’ll bet you could apply that definition to a lot of people occupying leadership positions.
Some have been given their leadership roles too quickly and therefore pick up a degree or two (or three) of arrogance along the way. Unfortunately, the people around them end up suffering for it.
Arrogance causes natural confidence to disintegrate while the person primarily serves themselves. The real sad part is that the arrogant assumes his views and opinions are the truth. He sees no weakness in himself and may even secretly rejoice in finding flaws in others. Team cohesiveness quickly goes down the drain.
You DON'T have to put up with arrogance. Give the arrogant the benefit of the doubt - consider confronting him after he's displayed inappropriate behavior. Explain how you interpreted the behavior and let him know you're trying to help him and the team.
Many people quickly realize they were perceived negatively and work to deal with their arrogance. Even if they're not completely successful in altering themselves, they're now at least aware of it and should be able to limit the behavior to some degree.
Sure, there'll be others that won’t get it . . . at all. You did the right thing though, by making them aware of how they're perceived and you may want to bring it up to him again at a later point. But give him some specifics on what he's doing and how it's impacting the team.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Does any of this make any sense at all to you? It really should. Whatever business YOU'RE in . . . it's show business. Any time your employee's interact with or can be seen by customers, they're onstage.
Exceeding your customers' expectations means maintaining professionalism, cleanliness and friendliness beyond what's already expected, and giving “that something extra". You have to show that you'll go the extra mile to make customers (guests) happy, even if that means you open the doors 10 minutes early or close 20 minutes late. If you can satisfy your customers (guests) with their experience, they'll come back. And if that means it costs a few extra dollars, that great service will overcome all else.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
You never get a second chance to create a positive first impression. It’s said that it takes only 4 seconds for someone to form an opinion of you at the first meeting. That's not long. So you can actually handle situations much better just by dressing right. The better your self-image the more confident and positive you'll be about your work.
Perceptions are formed by three modes of communication:
- what we say,
- how we say it,
- what we do and how we dress.
What we do/how we dress (body language) can account for OVER ½ of our message.
If you’re in a position where you’re likely to interact with angry customers, you have a chance to use your image as one of your more effective tools. You can use your image to signal your,
- knowledge, and
If you’re dressed inappropriately (wrinkled and dirty) or too casually (jeans/t-shirts) for your position and business, customers are more likely to push to get their way, and call for a higher authority if they don't like your response.
In other words, if you’re the supervisor, dressed inappropriately, and your new guy is standing next to you, spic and span – who do you think the customer is going to approach? Well it’s sure not you!
Any career building learning will tell you that you should always dress for your NEXT position. ALWAYS look your best – it improves service. ALWAYS look your best – it gets you noticed. ALWAYS look your best – it improves your own self-image.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Understanding how your subordinates feel, why the feel that way, and how to manage their feelings is important in developing strong interpersonal bonds with them. Moreover, it has the potential to contribute to effective leadership in multiple ways and can help leaders make lasting contributions to society.
Recent research suggests that EI may be especially important in opening and enhancing employee creativity. Avon CEO, Andrea Jung says that, "Emotional intelligence is in our DNA here at Avon because relationships are critical at every stage of our business."
It's about time you get your emotions under wraps. Since EI has the potential to increase our understanding of how individuals behave and adapt to their work and social environment, I'd say it could very well be an important topic for you to start taking a look at.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Make employees a part of your weekly "to do" list. Add the names of the people who report to you to your list of goals to accomplish. Then cross off names as you give them praise.
Use voice mail. Rather than using it only to assign tasks, leave employees voice mail messages praising them for a job well done. Do it from your cell phone on the way home if you need to.
Write notes at the end of the day. Keep a stack of note cards on your desk, where you can't ignore them. At the end of the day, take a couple of minutes to write thank-you notes to any of your employee's who made a difference that day.
At the beginning of the day, put 5 coins in your pocket. Throughout the day, each time you praise an employee, move a coin to your other pocket. Pretty soon it will become habit and you won't need the coins.
It doesn't always take a lot to make that leap from good to grrrreat. A bit of appreciation goes a long way.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
As far as awards and motivation goes, take a queue from The Walt Disney Company. They do something that more organizations should think about doing (one of many). When a new castmember (employee) is hired they're given a survey which asks them how they like, and don't like, to be rewarded and what motivates them. By doing this, their supervisor can tailor, to that particular castmember, the way they're rewarded. You need to know this information because some people just don't like to get up in front of a crowd to receive awards - but then again, some people thrive on it. Again - too much public recognition can be DEEEEE-motivating.
It's commonly believed that money is the biggest motivator for employee's. Nope. A number of research papers over the last few years have proven this wrong. Sure people like money, but they also like recognition, education, career development, and influence.
Two of the most important types of recognition programs you can have are peer and customer. It's very easy and cheap to start a peer recognition program where co-workers can nominate others for going above and beyond. A certificate and maybe a gift card is all you'd need. It goes a long way.
Customer recognition is another biggie. If you have ANY means of receiving customer feedback in which employee's or teams are named, SHARE IT with them. They can then see that what they do really matters to someone other than the boss.
Whatever you end up doing, make sure that your motivation techniques and rewards always revolve around organizational goals. Employee's often attribute their success to how they're able to contribute to the organization.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
This is a quote by Walt Disney, back when Disneyland was first developed. It’s a very simple concept. Being able to continuously make changes allows the Park to grow and makes it possible to entertain more guests (visitors). They keep technology up-to-date (actually it’s on the cutting edge) allowing the rides and attractions to improve and stay exciting. It’s what people want. It’s why so many people keep returning to the Parks.
A successful business will find out what their customers want or need and develop their products and services accordingly. You don’t “build it” for yourself, you build it for your consumers. Think about it – you’re not the one buying the products or services.
Always be looking at what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and what you could be doing differently. In Rich Hamilton’s book, Disney Magic: Business Strategy You Can Use at Work and at Home, he says to ask the following questions:
- What can you change about your business to get the work done faster, or better, or for lower cost?
- What can you do within your business to serve your customers better, to make them want more of your products or services, or to purchase from you more often?
- What can you do to make your business new for your customers, so that each time they come back they can enjoy the experience in a new way, even if it is a subtle difference?
You don’t need to make major changes to make a difference. Some customers will see the changes right away, while others will see them at a later time. No matter when they notice – or if they even consciously notice – they’ll have a much better experience with your business.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Recently a colleague and I went to Vero Beach to hold a couple of classes for our counterparts. We stayed over night so we brought our spouses along (separate rooms of course). The hotel we had reservations at was a nice one, not upscale but a very comfortable business and travel site. When we checked in we were given wonderful service by the woman at the desk (Betty). She was friendly, accommodating, and would do anything she could to make our stay memorable. I was thoroughly impressed.
Since my partner and I were going to be heading to class at about 6:45a.m. (ugh), we asked that we be allowed a late check-out. Betty said that we could have until 1:00p.m. – that’s all that she could authorize. Well that was much better than 11:00 so we said that would be great, and thanked her. Then one small omittance brought about our customer service snafu. Betty recorded my late check-out in the turnover book, but forgot to record my teaching partners. Oh-oh.
The next day my wife had no problem, however the other party did. He was called at 12:00 and told he had to get out (in not so many words). When he went to the front desk to sort the issue out, he was greeted with rudeness. He asked to talk to a supervisor and was told by the gentleman he was speaking to that, “I AM the manager”. Long story short, nothing changed – no apology, no concession - just get out.
Because of that ONE person - and the manager at that - none of us will ever stay at that particular hotel again.
In any service organization all staff should be constantly asking themselves, “How can I make these customers’ experiences better than from other places or better than they were the last time?”
Remember that “Everything Speaks”. Everything the customer sees, hears, smells, tastes, or touches will impact their experience with you. It’s a darn shame when the only “bad taste” comes from a correctable predicament made worse by management – the very person(s) that you’d expect to make things better.
As they teach at the Disney Institute, (even though this time the guest WAS right) “Guests may not always be right, but they are always our guests.”
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Pre-work meetings provide opportunities to:
- have two-way communication daily,
- tell staff what’s important,
- thank them for their great performance,
- answer any questions,
- provide product and service knowledge,
- find out what they need to perform properly, and
- inspire them.
And on top of everything else, demonstrate faith in their ability to succeed.
A common mistake leaders make is trying to cover too many issues in a pre-work meeting. With too many points to concentrate on the group learns "everything and nothing." The key to holding successful pre-work meetings is to stay focused on one or two short objectives. If it helps, think of your pre-work meeting as a pre-work “moment”. In a world of “too many meetings”, that’ll help you stay clear of the meeting “stigma” and you’ll be able to get everyone to focus in a more relaxed manner.
You want to be able to keep your teams attention so make the meetings interactive. Have questions ready so you can bounce them off your folks so they have to respond. Don’t ask “test questions” where everyone’s going to dread getting together before their shift. It should be an enjoyable interactive communication experience.
Remember that pre-work “moments” are opportunities to teach, inspire and pump up energy levels of your teams before they "go on stage." Your enthusiasm for both teaching and having FUN learning together will drive the day. Toni Kottom, Director of Training at Perkins (yum) puts in it perspective when he says that, "Attention goes where energy flows."
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Voicemail was invented in the late ‘70s by Gordon Matthews. I’m sure he thought he was contributing something really spectacular to the business world. But I don’t think he could have imagined the abuse his little office miracle would be getting 30-some years later.
There’s a good chance that you, and everyone you know, has been in a voicemail nightmare. It’s not a place that you want to get to know. Leaving messages should be a very simple and SHORT process. They’re not meant to get everything off your chest. Be PREPARED, prior to making your call, to leave a coherent and concise message if the person doesn’t answer.
When leaving messages, have mercy on your listeners and do the following:
1. Speak slooowwwly and clearrrly and leave your phone number at the beginning AND the end of your message. Please save us from having to listen to the whole message twice in order to get your number.
2. Limit your comments to one or two quick subjects.
3. If you find yourself rambling, for the sake of my sanity (and your reputation), stop yourself and re-record the message.
4. If you need some type of action, simply state what you need. Voicemails that simply say, “call me” are just plain irritating . . . and may possibly be ignored. Give a short sentence or two about WHY you want me to call you.
And while we’re on the subject (soapbox) of phones, you know that little speaker button on your phone? FORGET you have one. If I wanted to call you AND everyone in your cube farm, I would have made a conference call.
When used properly, voicemail can improve communications dramatically. It can be a great asset. Just think about what it would be like if YOU were getting your message.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
You – the leader – have to take control of the situation BEFORE it gets out of hand. While conflict in any environment is inevitable, when it goes unchecked and effects the workplace environment, it’s getting to be too late to deal with it quickly. It’s always easier to resolve the disputes before they become problems.
Here are a couple of things that you can do to help the situation turn around:
1st, Bring the two employees together so you can:
• show them how their behavior is affecting their colleagues and workplace,
• advise them that anything that’s interfering with a nice pleasant workplace (that you’ve tried so hard to develop) must be resolved,
• remind them that they’re both valuable employees and that you’re confident that they can resolve their differences and be able to work together (give them the benefit of the doubt),
• get their COMMITMENT to work out their differences so they can work together, and
• ensure that they understand the seriousness of the problem and that – here’s the KEY - while they don’t have to like each other, you do expect them to learn to work together.
And don’t forget to DOCUMENT everything – just in case.
2nd, Review the options with your problem children employees:
• They can work it out on their own.
• You can meet with them to address the issues.
• You can bring in a mediator to work with them to resolve the issues.
• They can refuse to work on the issues, in which case, you will be accepting their resignations in the morning (tough love).
It’s never easy, or desirable, to have to deal with these types of issues. But a good leader is going to be ready for it. This is something that you can plan on happening at some point in time. Stash this little checklist away and be ready to pull it out at the earliest onset of a problem – don’t let it get to the full on problem stage and you’ll have a much easier time dealing with it, all the way around.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Often leaders shy away from simple lists of suggestions and guidelines. They’ve seen it all, heard it all, and know it all. Yet by following a few basic suggestions we can become better leaders and enhance our communication skill tremendously.
Most managers try to get “buy-in” from their staff. Try this for a change – rather than getting buy-in from people, get them engaged by allowing “input”. Instead of spending your time trying to influence them, help them to feel more a part of the organization or process by making them feel like their opinion matters.
I recently read the following countdown to the most important words you can use as a leader but unfortunately the author is unknown.
- The six most important words: "I admit I made a mistake."
- The five most important words: "You did a good job."
- The four most important words: "What is your opinion?"
- The three most important words: "If you please."
- The two most important words: "Thank you,"
- The one most important word: "We"
- The least important word: "I"
Effective leaders recognize the importance of good – and honest – communication (like admitting fault). Communication problems can cause bottlenecks in the organization. The next time you’re tempted to blame staff for bottlenecks, stop and examine a bottle. Take a little note of where the neck is. HINT: It’s not at the bottom.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Many books on business jump right into the business at hand without a lot of early background. Tony takes us on a journey from his early childhood entrepreneur beginnings to the billion dollar success of Zappos.com. He tells us about his money making ideas as a child, including making buttons (which he advertised in Boys Life) and selling greeting cards. He manages to take us “mid-agers” right down Memory Lane.
We get an inside look at how Zappos grew, following Tony’s sale of LinkExchange (to Microsoft) in 1989 for $275 million dollars. Eventually all of the money would be gone as a bunch of friends tried (and succeeded) to keep afloat a company they dearly believed in. During that time, Tony would grow a relationship with a friend that may be seen accompanying him, to this day, to “breakfast, lunch, and dinner”. That friend being a little drink called Red Bull.
The ups and downs that the Zappos team went through prior to becoming a real success story would have been enough to cause most mere mortals to give up. Not so here. Zappos has a close, family-like, relationship that embraces every employee. They work together, play together, drink together, and basically have fun together.
Zappos’ main focus has always been on customers. The customer experience is literally number one on their list. I challenge you to find another company that allows returns, with free shipping - for an entire year. Do any of the internet companies you work with automatically upgrade to next day shipping? Free of charge?
Sure Tony and friends have made mistakes along the way. But they learned valuable lessons with each one of them. Most notably was that you “never outsource your core competencies”. If you want the best warehouse – run it yourself. If you want the best customer service – take the calls yourself.
Probably the best example of all of how important and transparent the customer experience is, is the Zappos Culture Book (I have one). They put together a hardbound culture book that includes comments from employees, customers, partners and even vendors. Included are the good AND bad comments. Again – how many companies do you know that would do that? Needless to say, most comments ARE good. The book is described as a short-term expense for a long term investment. Get one for free at www.zapposinsights.com/main/culture-book.
Now I could go into so many more examples and stories, like the 10 Core Values, or the leadership training available to everyone, but I don’t want to take anything away from your reading experience. If you’re interested in employee motivation, leadership development, corporate culture, or just Zappos in general, do yourself a favor and head out to your local bookstore (or go to www.amazon.com/deliveringhappiness) and pick up a copy. Then grab a Red Bull, sit back, and enjoy.
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I know, I know. You’ve heard all the tips and common mistakes for feedback. Well, you must be an expert then. Wrong. I’m continually finding new and interesting twists. And here’s one now. In an article by Brian Ward called "How To Provide Feedback", he gives these five easy tips:
1 - Never just 'deliver feedback'. Feedback should be part of a larger process which includes coaching for superior performance. Feedback is ONE step in that process.
2 - Provide feedback to the whole person. Treat each person as a whole person, not just the part that you observe that needs attention. The person receiving feedback isn’t broken, and they don't need to be fixed. Provide praise and reinforcement when you catch them doing something right, as well as feedback when they are off track.
3 - Make feedback a conversation, not a lecture. Keep it conversational. If a conversation does not happen naturally, then back off and ask yourself and the other person a simple question "what are you feeling (or thinking) right now?"
4 - Think about their goals as well as yours. Discuss the feedback in the context of what will make the person more successful. Don't just concentrate on your goals or the company's goals. That makes the conversation too one-sided. If the person has no goals, then . . . that's what you need to address first.
5 - Finish on a positive note. Okay, so some feedback sessions may not finish that way. But you have to ask yourself why that's so . . . is it because you've let the issues compound, and perhaps it’s gone too far? Either way, offer support to the person as a way to stay in the picture. Never let them struggle alone . . . stay close to them and coach, coach, coach!
If you’re not doing these things then who is? Probably no one, I’d imagine. You OWE it to your staff, yourself, and your organization to make good feedback part of your continuous development regime.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Now Google, Zappo’s, and eBay are very large organizations. Money? Oh yes, they also have a lot of money. But you don’t need to have a lot of cash though, to have fun. The real problem comes from being taken out of the comfort zone. People just aren’t used to having fun at work. Taking on a fun initiative is just plain difficult – it’s CHANGE. But by taking action and making fun a priority, businesses have been able to excel in areas where challenges and problems had been the everyday norm (does that sound at all familiar?). Having fun may not be “the one” tactic that turns your business around, but it’s one that may make the biggest difference.
Employees value fun as a means of becoming more successful at work. According to a survey conducted by Interim Services, nearly 75% of employees believed that promoting fun would make their jobs more attractive and reduce turnover. Use fun to improve customer service, sales, marketing, and human resources. And don’t forget leadership.
Keep in mind that everyone’s idea of fun may be different. You can’t just make up one activity and expect everyone to love it. It’s not fun unless they can be included in it – to have the opportunity to be included. People need a reason to stay these days. According to a USA Today study, people change jobs an average of nine times before they’re 32 years old. NINE times. Having fun is a pretty good reason to stay.
As a leader, you’re at the front line of your “Magic Kingdom”. All you really need to do to get started is lighten up and learn to laugh at yourself and with others. Notice that key word – WITH – not AT. As in any other situation, LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Create a sincere atmosphere of fun around YOU and your employee’s will soon follow.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
This quote from Lee Iacocca illustrates how you’ll never get anything accomplished unless you’re prepared to make decisions. When you reach the top, the workers below you will only be as effective as YOUR decisions.
A decision can go one way or another – either POSITIVELY or NEGATIVELY. INdecision, though, can only be negative. Now that you have that nice office with the window, it doesn’t mean that you sit around reading the sports section all day just letting things happen. Get off your duff. The more decisions you make, the better your judgment and decisions will become. Not sure how to make the best decisions? Here a few tips:
- Never make decisions based on emotion or to prove a point. That will bring you more problems then you had in the first place, and ones that tend to escalate.
- Make sure you have a good grasp of the subject. Write it down and list the pros and cons. Don’t take too long to make decisions. Writing things down will help move it along.
- Get input from people whose opinions you trust. Use your network – if you don’t have one, build one – now.
- Once you make your decision, make sure it’s executed swiftly and fully.
You’ve been making decisions your whole life. Now’s the time to put together everything you’ve learned. Be confident, carry it, and show it. You owe it to your team and yourself.
EXTRA NOTE: I'm currently reading an advance copy of Tony Hsieh's (CEO of Zappos.com), book, "Delivering Happiness". It's a great book detailing his early childhood entrepreneurism up to current time. It will inspire your own success, better customer service and focusing on your company culture. If you'd like a chance to win an advance copy, comment back to me the name of the company that Tony sold to Microsoft. If you'd like to find out more about Tony's upcoming book release (June 7) go to http://www.deliveringhappinessbook.com/.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The first thing you need to do is ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY. Admitting that you made a mistake and letting others know you're to blame makes people more receptive of your apology. APOLOGIZE to the people you offended. Be genuine and forthright. Without going into great detail, explain the reason you made the mistake and reassure the person(s) it won't happen again.
Try your darndest to MAKE THINGS RIGHT if you can. Take any opportunity to reverse the effects of your mistake. Unless you own a DeLorean with a “flux capacitor”, you cannot erase the mistake you made, but striving to improve the situation is crucial to making amends.
You may actually have to BACK OFF a bit because some people feel wounded when they’re the victim of someone’s mistake. Trying to push for acceptance of your apology may leave them feeling resentful. Give them time to recover and re-establish trust with you.
After proving through your actions that you have LEARNED YOUR LESSON, try to regain a sense of normalcy in your relationships (hopefully "normalcy" is good). The other person's demeanor and body language will indicate when you've made satisfactorily amends. MOVE FORWARD and put the incident behind you.
Remember to let the other person(s) set the tone for your interactions until things get better. In trying to put it all behind you quickly, you may become overbearing. That’s the last thing you’ll want. TIME heals all.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
If you come across an exciting new idea that you read about in a book, you’ve got to read and learn more about it first. You can’t read one book and be ready to go. Read a number of books or articles by different authors. You need to have a good grasp of what it’s all about BEFORE you start. One author may make it sound great – different authors may not.
Remember that management “fads” or "trends" are TOOLS. They’re going to work in some situations, but not others. Taylor it to your own needs and beliefs. Be sure you know WHY you’ve picked these tools and HOW you’re going to use them. If you don’t know how you’re going to measure your success, then don't do it.
For gosh sakes, when you do implement your new style, be sure that you stay with it. Don’t get into the "flavor of the month" mode. With each new technique will come a new failure, and increased disparagement from your team. If you keep ringing the bell, sooner or later the dog won’t come (Pavlov).
Part of being a successful leader is being consistent. Get new ideas . . . discover new tools . . . but don’t try to be something you’re not. If the tools WORK for you, then great. Go for it. Don’t try to force it just because you like the ideas of this new style. Keep in mind that authors write books to make money. They make these things sound as good as possible. Go with the things that sound like they’ll be the best fit - for YOU.
Special Note: I'm privileged to be reviewing an advance copy of Zappos.com CEO, Tony Hsieh's new book, "Delivering Happiness". Stay tuned for my take. The book will actually hit the stores June 7.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Famed business guru Peter Drucker wrote 39 books. Wow. Took a long time to do that, right? By the time Drucker turned 65 he had only written about one-third of his books. For you non-math majors out there, that means he wrote about 26 books after turning 65. Now you can say WOW.
Zelda Rubinstein was 48 before she had her first acting role, a minor part in “Under the Rainbow”. She’s most known for her "debut" in the “Poltergeist” film series starting the following year (“Now clear your minds. It knows what scares you. It has from the very beginning. Don't give it any help, it knows too much already”).
Colonel Harland Sanders didn’t begin his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise until he was 65. He used $105 from his first Social Security check to fund visits to potential franchisees.
Baseball pitcher Randy Johnson was celebrated for having one of the most dominant fastballs in the game. He made his Major League debut at 25, but didn't reach superstar status until he was 30. In sports years (kinda like dog years) that’s a pretty advanced age.
Ever heard of seven-time Grammy Award winner Al Jarreau? He released his critically acclaimed debut album, We Got By, at age 35.
So what are you going to do? Give up? Take a back seat? I don’t think so. Hold on to your dreams and aspirations. Keep moving forward and keep LEARNING. The best is yet to come!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Discipline: They look for the ability for you to keep to the task at hand and complete projects without becoming distracted or bored. Being well organized helps you to work without major distractions. Organizations want employees who have high aspiration levels and work hard to achieve their goals.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
What a concept. But you know? Many staff and leaders do look at certain positions as not being “necessary”, or sub-human even. This is why organizational charts and job descriptions are needed. Each specific position needs to be planned out. But chances are, if you're a new supervisor, you have no control over it. Unless you’re in on the ground floor of creating an organization or a new department, it’s all set up already when you come in.
So where do you start? A-ha – getting to know the org charts and the job descriptions – along with your new staff. These things should have been looked at enough already for you to know that you do indeed need all the staff you just inherited. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you don’t need someone or that they’re not important just because you don’t know what they do.
I’ll give you a good example. Anyone that’s been in the military knows that Mess Cooks, or whatever your branch calls them, get a bad rap. “They don’t do anything.” “All they do is cook.” “Heck, I can cook and I didn’t need any training.” All things I’ve heard before. Okay you know-it-all’s, let’s see what happens when they don’t show up for work. Are you going to jump in and cook up your famous scrambled eggs for 1 - for 5000 people? Ahhhhh, now it’s a different story.
Never underestimate others or their positions within the company without first LEARNING what they’re all about. As Socrates said, “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.”
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
A couple of important pieces of information to look closely at are your LinkedIn Summary and Biography.
Many magazine and website articles don't get read without a good headline. This is where a good Summary comes in. You need to be very concise and engaging in your Summary. If the Summary doesn't draw people in, all the great accomplishments you've had over the years may be looked right over. Then you’re just wasting your time.
The Summary is where you want to express your personal brand. Show us who you are, what you do, and why you’re unique.
A problem a lot of people have is not being quite so honest on their resume - tsk, tsk, tsk. I mean, who do you know that’s going to see it, right? LinkedIn encourages honesty in your resume since your profile may be viewed by any of your colleagues and customers – and bosses. So keep your experiences on the up and up.
While you want to include your past accomplishments, emphasize your strengths and highlights while providing background on your job responsibilities. You’ll need to shorten it up in order to be suitable for a few different areas of your industry. This isn’t the place for full on resume. Keep that for the recruiters.
In addition to a good Summary and Bio, here a couple of other quick tips to help you stand out.
- Most LinkedIn profiles URLs (web address, for you non-techs) will have a slash and then your name (/andyuskavitch). Some names (other than mine) can be common. You can change your URL to whatever you want – just make sure it’s professional and recognizable – no /studmuffin.
- Remember that you don't matter on the Web if Google can’t see you. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is public and includes keywords that people might search for.
Don’t just set up a profile and let it go. Use LinkedIn. Search to see who else you know. Post something AT LEAST a few times a week and get involved with some groups. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn and who you can meet.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
When these folks are around, they typically give criticism and direction, often with no real understanding of what the job actually requires. Then, before you can object or try to clarify what they’re really looking for, they have an “important meeting” to get to – swoop, there they go. “Wow. Yuk. What just hit me?”
This type of management is by no means a positive one. When they’re around, these people talk continuously and actively discourage anyone else from saying anything. That includes avoiding eye contact and incessantly talking over people. Staff may typically feel under-valued and quite generally abused.
The Seagull Manager likes to think of themselves as important but they know they don’t know that much and fear being exposed by staff asking questions. So they immediately grab the reigns and don’t stop until they can duck out.
Seagull Management is something you need to AVOID . It may seem like an easy way to do things – swoop and leave - but it’ll alienate and demotivate your staff very quickly. The people above you will eventually find out what’s going on and your advancement will come to quick and painful death. So keep up good, meaningful relationships with your staff. Give them the time they deserve, respect, and communicate regularly AND with INTEGRITY.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The smart supervisor delegates some of thier work, and training could be part of this. In many different environments, the supervisor may not have the technical know how of line staff, and the training assignment may very well be delegated to other staff or technical groups, like engineers, instead. For supervisors that have risen from the ranks, they might choose to do as much of the training as possible. Training should include basic things such as work ethics and work responsibility . . . don’t just rely on the dreeded Orientation Week (or two) training. Ideally, training should never stop, and though less intensive, providing a continuing work/learning environment will be most valuable.
Supervising also includes MOTIVATION. Yes you! Some supervisor duties could include offering incentives or assigning special projects. Motivation should be reflected in the way staff get treated by their supervisors. They look up to you. Typically motivation is highest when staff feel valued and appreciated and when they see that you work as hard as they do - this is key – money doesn’t always talk. Walk the Talk.
One of the supervisor duties that you also may have is scheduling. Many supervisors will have the responsibility of determining when and how much each staff will work each week. This could be flexible, or it might stay relatively fixed.
In working with management, duties can be much more extensive. You could also be responsible for disciplining employees that break the rules, implementing new rules, or in stricter organizations (yuk) occasionally acting as a liaison if an employee wants to approach management (don’t work there). Some supervisors will also handle HR functions to hire and fire employees, or handle payroll.
Those that are interested in a career in supervision will find MANY possible paths. A lot of people get hired from line staff positions. Others are hired directly into supervisory roles. Having strong people skills, being precise in your work, and demonstrating responsibility are all valuable attributes to have.
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