Thursday, November 25, 2010

Manage Stressful Times

In stressful times people tend to change in one way or another. They take shortcuts in procedures - they hurry through steps - they skip steps in reviews. Procedures are made for a reason . . . to document correct ways of doing things so that there is consistency throughout the organization.

Supervisors need to step up during tense times to ensure that procedures are being completed correctly. Depending on the type of company you work at, skipping steps may not be a real big deal. In others, like the medical field for instance, it could literally mean the difference between life and death.

Do things right the first time, all the time! If people are allowed to slack off, at ANY time, there's a good chance that it's going to happen more often than what you want. They soon begin to reason for themselves in order to substantiate non-conformance. That will then trickle down to other staff and soon into the training of new employee's. Then you've got new employee's thinking that it's the common practice and now you have new issues to work with - in particular, additional time for retraining.

Walk the talk. It's up to the supervisor to be a role model for employee's. If they see you slacking off and taking shortcuts it becomes an excuse for them to do the same. Put yourself in the customer's shoes. No matter what kind of business you're in, would you as a customer, tolerate anything but perfection? Of course not! Act as if you're part of the team, not always the head of it.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Your Endless Journey

You should NEVER end your journey of learning.

In the December issue of SUCCESS magazine, Paula Deen is asked for her "ingredients for a life well spent". Here's, in part, how she answered (buy the magazine to get the rest):
  • "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."
Paula is right on. You can't improve and continue to succeed by ending your journey. I know for some people it's a chore just to get the journey started, but you soon find out that you're much better off.

Learning doesn't end with a high school or college diploma - they're just the anchors. Don't think of it as the end - they're the beginning. Your formal education gets you on the right track and provides the basic footing to a long and prosperous journey. Add your relationships with family, friends, and business associates and you have a winning combination. Jim Rohn said:
  • "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."
Each of us is defined, and enriched, by our relationships to others. You've heard the ole saying, "you are what you eat"? Well . . . you are who you meet. Our relationships are a fundamental source of learning.

So what are you waiting for? Get going. Go read a book - develop a relationship - read a book about developing relationships. Just don't stop.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


This week I was looking around at new laptops and had narrowed it down to two. One was at a major office supply store (not Depot or Max) and the other at Best Buy. The two were very similar but with spending that much money, I wanted to see them both in action to determine which would suite my needs the best.

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

Well Jiminy Cricket

In sports, when a time-out is called just before the tie-breaking point is played, the coach reminds team members what's at stake . . . the rewards that await the players who make the winning effort. As a leader, you challenge team members with the memory of their past victories, with examples of what they accomplished.
- 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?