Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Won, I Won

A lot of supervisors think that what motivates them also motivates everyone else. That's simply not true. Everyone is different. You didn't hire clones. If you're going to hold a public presentation of an award for one of your staff, you may just be DE-motivating them. If they don't like public attention, they may just fall back and punt, not wanting it to happen again.

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

We're Never Finished

The park means a lot to me. It’s something that will never be finished, something I can keep developing, keep ‘plussing,’ and adding to. It’s alive. It will be a live, breathing thing that will need changes . . . not only can I add things to it, but even the trees will keep growing. The thing will get more beautiful year after year. And it will get better as I find out what the public likes.” Don’t you think that’s the way every business should be run? Well, you should.

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

I AM the Manager

This week I’m going to share a tale with you. A tale of bad customer service by a manager – not a leader – a manager.

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

Meet Me Before Work

A good leader is going to provide a supportive environment for his staff. You have to encourage them to think (and act) like they belong to a team. In order to do this, you’ve got to give them the “time of day”. Provide staff adequate time for short pre-work meetings to start each day. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. “But we don’t have time,” you say. A mere ten minutes a day will add up to more than 40 hours of free education a year! Imagine what that much training would cost if you sent staff to seminars for that long.

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."