Monday, January 31, 2011

BELIEVE in Yourself - As Others Do

Every time I think of the word, BELIEVE, I can't help but think of Josh Groban's song from the movie, The Polar Express. By the end of the movie the boy believes in Santa, Christmas, good unto others . . . and himself. Wouldn't it be great if everyone just believed in themselves.

I've had the privilege of reviewing Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris's new book,"From Bud to Boss" (due out Feb 15) and before I even got into the meat and potatoes of the book, something struck me right off the bat. When you're chosen to become your organizations next supervisor a couple things have happened:
  • someone in your organization has thought you're able to succeed, and
  • people who care about you thought you can succeed.
Those are things new supervisors don't always think about. They just take the promotion and kind of move on.

Those are two very important aspects to promotion but the thing that Kevin and Guy go on to discuss is the need for YOU to BELIEVE in YOURSELF and your ABILITY to SUCCEED. Without your own belief, success is going to be much more difficult - if it happens at all.

I've known a few people who have fit right into this category. Everyone knew that they could be great leaders, but they lacked just ONE thing . . . their belief in themselves. Most of them returned to their previous position, while one actually ended up quitting.

Do yourself a favor. Get on Amazon, Borders, B&N, whatever - and purchase "From Bud to Boss". BELIEVE in yourself, LEARN from others, and become the successful leader you're cut out to be.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Every now and then when I receive exceptional customer service, I like to pass the story on.

My wife (Judy) and I stopped at a local KFC last night to get a 12-piece Family Meal - we had a $3 off coupon. We ordered from the drive-up and got our food very promptly. Sounds good so far, right?

Well, we got home and started sorting things out and found that we'd been given the 10-piece Family Meal instead. We should have thought something was up when we got the order so quickly (it was on special).

Anyway. Judy got on the phone and called the manager at the KFC. He was very cordial, apologized and told her he'd give us what we were missing if we'd want to come back - plus something extra for having to return.

After diner we did return and picked up the extra pieces of chicken and biscuit's (we were shorted 2 of each). PLUS he gave us 6 of the most delicious chocolate chip cookies (yes, we shared with the kids). Chocolate chip cookies may not sound like much to some, but it's not something he HAD to do.

What may have turned out to be a very negative experience and the last time we went to that KFC store - and probably would have been - turned out to be a positive experience and kept us as customers.

It doesn't always take an extravagant form of service to make people happy. All you have to do is show you actually do care about your customers.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Take A Culture

When staff speak and understand the language of their organization’s culture, they know how to behave in the organization and what’s expected of them. How’s YOUR culture?

Founders of organizations can have a profound – and long lasting - effect on the organizations culture. But so can you, the leader. You, along with your counterparts, have an ability to hold onto that culture or to mold a brand new one.

A founder’s own values guide the building of the company. He/she has substantial influence on the values, norms, and standards of behavior that develop over time. That’s typically a good thing. But what happens once the founder is gone?

Creator and President of Wendy’s, Dave Thomas, resigned from his day-to-day operations in 1982. However, by 1985, several company business decisions and loss of brand awareness and organizational culture urged the new president to bring Thomas back into an active role with Wendy's. He began to visit franchises and promote his hardworking, “mop-bucket attitude” - something that hadn’t been seen since he left. New management just didn’t keep up with the successful culture of the organization.

Marty Sklar, former Vice Chairman and Principal Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, said, "From the beginning, starting with Walt Disney, we have had five things that make me proud to be part of this Company: high-quality products, optimism for the future, great storytelling, an emphasis on family entertainment and great talent, passion and dedication from our Cast Members." This has been the Disney culture from Walt, through the Michael Eisner years, and now with Bob Iger.

In the case of Wendy’s, new leadership allowed the culture to change - for the worse. With Disney, they recognized a good thing and stuck with it. A saying they have at Disney Traditions sums it up the best – “We don’t put people in Disney, we put Disney in people.” Do the same with your organization.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Soccer-Mom Communication

Next time you’re on any of the social networks or your email, take a look at the differences in writing styles (linguistics). Who writes “softer” and who writes “harder”? Without sounding sexist . . . I bet you’ll find there’s a difference between women and men.

Gender differences are evident in the ways that women and men use email and other types of electronic forms of communication – such as social networks. For example, Susan Herring, a researcher at Indiana University, has found that in public electronic forums such as message boards, Facebook, Twitter, etc., men tend to make stronger assertions, be more sarcastic, and be more likely to use insults and profanity than women, while women are more likely to be supportive, agreeable, and polite.

David Silver, a researcher at the University of Washington, has found that women are more expressive communicators in the social media arena and encourage others to express their thoughts and feelings, while men are more brief and to the point.

Of course these are just general tendencies, evident in MANY women and men, not in ALL women and men. But before you go assigning someone as your organization’s social media writer/poster, take a good hard look at their writing and communication styles. The best choice may not be the CEO’s long-time male speech-writer. It just may be the soccer-mom admin assistant you just hired.