Tuesday, May 25, 2010

. . . Till Her Daddy Takes The T-Bird Away

I’m of course talking about Fun, Fun, Fun. Work CAN be fun. Yes it can. Yes it can. Trust me. More and more businesses are turning to fun as a part of their business model. And they’re very successful businesses. A couple of good examples: Google, Zappo’s, eBay. I know you’ve heard of them.

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

It's Your Call

Decisions. In Lee Iacocca’s autobiography, he says, “If I had to sum up in one word what makes a good manager, I’d say decisiveness. You can use the fanciest computers to gather numbers, but in the end you have to set a timetable and act. And I don’t mean rashly. I’m sometimes described as a flamboyant leader and hipshooter, a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants operator. But if that were true, I could never have been successful in business.”

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

Apologize And Learn Your Lesson

Have you ever made a mistake and not known what to do to make things right? You say you don’t make mistakes? Let me tell ya – you make more mistakes than you think you do. Mistakes HAPPEN, whether you want to admit it or not. A mistake can be the result of misinformation, confusion or just a simple accident. Once discovered though, a mistake can shake trust and cause people to question your abilities. Making amends following a mistake is one of the most important things you can do. It helps you move beyond the confrontation and prevent the same mistake from happening again.

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.
EXTRA NOTE: I'm currently reading an advance copy of Tony Hsieh's (CEO of Zappos.com), book, "Delivering Happiness" (it's reeaaly good so far). If you'd like a chance to win an advance copy, tell me what was 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/.