Archives for category: Leadership

A mission in the businesses that I work with is to help create “Drama-Free work environments.” Perhaps the most critical element that impacts the potential achievement of this dream is the level of positive engagement between leaders and followers.

2017 engagement data reveals the following statistics:

  • 51% of the U.S. workforce is not engaged (Gallup)
  • Disengaged workers cause massive losses in productivity – between $450 and $500 billion a year (Mental Health America)
  • Only 16% of employees said they felt “connected and engaged” by employers (EmployeeChannel)
  • It can cost 33% of an employee’s salary to replace him/her (HR Dive)

Originally titled The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, Patrick Lencioni’s The Truth About Employee Engagement gives us three simple causes that impact the level of job misery, or phrased differently, disengagement.

  • Anonymity…people have a need to be known, appreciated and understood;
  • Irrelevance…fulfillment occurs when the work a person does matters, and makes a difference;
  • Immeasurement…if my performance isn’t measured, how can I know if I’m winning?

Leadership Challenge: as a leader, ask yourself (and for that matter, your employees!) whether any of these three causes exist in your work environment? If so, then there is a strong chance that both disengagement and drama are active participants in your current culture.

This becomes an urgent call-to-action to make improvements before you become a contributor to this alarming statistic…

  • 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable (HR Dive)
Advertisements

Image result for zig ziglar quotes you can have everything

In November 2017, I was allowed to participate in a wonderful and unique networking experience called “Women Making Waves.” This occurred on a cruise ship departing from Galveston, TX that brought together some brilliant female speakers and entrepreneurs who theoretically needed some body-guard types to protect them during this adventure (at least that was the story that I was telling myself as I attempted to justify why I was a participant in this adventure).

I was blessed in meeting many new acquaintances, including Angel Tuccy, who introduced me to a powerful phrase that she used…”givers gain.”  It resonated with me, and took me back to one of my mentors, fellow Dallasite Zig Ziglar, who professed that “if you will just help other people get what they want,”  you may ultimately benefit as they will tend to help you with achieving the things that you want.

This aligns with Stephen Covey’s “emotional bank account deposits” theory from his seminal book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey professed that if you helped people out when they were in need, either reactively or proactively, then eventually, if you ever needed something in return from them, the likelihood of them reciprocating would be greatly enhanced.

Most importantly, neither one of these brilliant role-models meant for these theories to be used or manipulated in a self aggrandizing manner. Rather, they approached these philosophies from the unselfish perspective that …”givers gain.”

 

Image result for enthusiasm images

Early in my business career, a mentor introduced me to the notion of “infectious enthusiasm.” My interpretation of that powerful concept is that any person who comes in contact with me could become inspired as a result of the positive attitude, energy and demeanor that I displayed.

Not only did I love the sound of that phrase, but more importantly, I realized   that acting in that manner would enhance the lives of those around me.

Living life with an enthusiastic attitude and subsequently being an inspiration to those who you come in contact with…well, that’s the way that I strive to exist.

A good barometer for a self-check here: do others chase after you knowing that you create joy, or are they running away from you as fast as they can?

Image result for attitude of gratitude images tony robbins

Attitude by definition is a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically reflected in a person’s behavior.

Over the years, I have intentionally experimented with attempting to behave in an “optimal” fashion, primarily driven by my interpretation, and consequent attitude, toward any given situation.

My personal endeavor toward consistently demonstrating a constructive, energetic attitude dates back to initial engagements with Tony Robbins, via his Personal Power program. Robbins challenges us to improve our lives by asking daily quality questions, such as “What am I grateful for?” or “What could I be grateful for?” That process moved me toward the pursuit of living my life with an attitude of gratitude.”

Genuinely appreciating the good things we do have certainly beats spending time wallowing in pity about “What’s not great yet!”  There will always be someone else who is wealthier or healthier.  An honorable mission is to live in the moment, cherishing what we have been blessed with, and pursuing life with enthusiasm and energy.

The ultimate lesson that was reinforced throughout my experiment was that I, and only I, have the ability to choose and control the way I think, feel, act…and ultimately impact others. Doing so with that “attitude of gratitude” has certainly made the journey much more enjoyable…for myself and those around me!

 

 

 

Image result for trusted advisor

Several of the businesses that I am privileged to work with complete feedback forms following our coaching days, very similar to the Net Promoter Score (NPS) methodology.

Recently, a colleague asked for my “magic formula” for getting such consistently high ratings on these feedback forms.

I didn’t have any formula or magic to reveal, yet, upon reflection, the following three “process” components most likely led to the constructive feedback received from my promoters:

  1. Prepare: in advance of every session with a client, a significant amount of review time is devoted in preparation for the discussion.  This includes studying notes from prior meetings and discussions, recent emails, Smartsheet and/or financial updates before our time together. Further, a written agenda prepared in advance of that session, ensures that the critical topics and action items are always addressed.
  2. Care: the level of preparation described above is a natural by-product of caring for the customer enough to achieve the status of “Trusted Advisor.” In order to optimize successful, meaningful, and valuable long-term relationships with others (personal and professional) elements of trust, likability and genuine care must be in place.
  3. Dare: this final component entails challenging clients to “Do what they say they are going to do.”  One of the primary roles of a coach or consultant is that of accountability mentor. Obtaining results requires planning and execution. Diligent, specific, and often, uncomfortable follow-up will help ensure that the critical activities that have to occur don’t get lost in the “busyness of business.

Although I’ve approached this from the perspective of a coach or consultant, I believe that this three-step process is applicable for use in multiple scenarios, both personal and professional. Whatever situation you may be currently “managing,” perhaps “prepare, care and dare” can help get you from here to there.

 

As we head into what will prove to be an exciting 2018, I wanted to reblog this annual practice reminder in hopes that it will prove to be helpful to readers…

As each year ends, my wife and I go through an exercise wherein we review our journals from the prior year, reflect on what we have, and in some cases have not, accomplished.

The end goal is to establish what our “top-ten highlight reel” might look like for the year gone by…we are typically amazed by all that has been achieved.

A post-exercise routine of comparing our respective “top-tens” is not only fun, but also provides a barometer for how well our values and beliefs are aligned, i.e. what’s truly important to each of us. It further reinforces the many blessings we have in our lives and the people and events that are shaping our destiny.

Further, this practice helps to create positive feelings and an inner-state that tends to energize a constructive planning effort for what we would like to realize during the upcoming year.

If nothing else, take time to reflect on your core values and guiding principles; and reignite your internal flame by establishing some meaningful, challenging and achievable goals to shoot for entering this new year.

bankrupt

I firmly believe that one key differentiator between successful versus struggling businesses is the ability to effectively execute their plans.

Sounds logical enough, right?  Nonetheless, I am dumbfounded by how a business team can typically plan and prioritize the most critical action items necessary for success, and yet when it comes to implementing & executing the required important activities, there often seems to be some excuse as to why they weren’t able to effectively follow-through and complete those actions!

As noted in a previous blog on Execution Excellence, the ability to do what you say you are going to do tends to separate great visionary leaders from the “wannabes”.

Winston Churchill stated that He who fails to plan is planning to fail”.

Margaret Thatcher advised us to “Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan”. 

My philosophy is a bit more assertive…“Not executing your business plan may lead to an unplanned “execution” of your business”.

head-heart

In my personal and professional life, I have observed a pattern with regard to how decisions are made…anatomically.

Starting with the Southern part of our body and heading North…

  • Especially in the heat of the moment, the knee jerk reactionis very common. This technique employs minimal insight and information when responding to a given situation.
  • From there, we may opt to the more sophisticated seat of the pantsapproach, where we use our limited personal experience and judgment to come to a conclusion without considering procedures, planning, or other available technology or input.
  • Then, we may advance North to “gut feeling.” At this stage, we utilize intuition, both our own and that of others, coupled with additional data in order to come to a conclusion on how we believe things will turn out.
  • Improving upon this practice, we might continue upward to “listen to our heart,” wherein we now allow our deepest emotional inclinations to have a stake in determining next steps.
  • Finally, we can move to the final stop in this anatomical journey…where we “make decisions with our head.

Incorporating the aforementioned components of personal experiences, available information and technology, valued input from many prudent sources, and then mixing in the proper amount of emotion and logic, we arrive at the “best decision:” one derived from your brain’s coordination of all available data points.

This fact-based decision making may take a little more time and discipline, however, our entire anatomy will thank us later.

As each year ends, my wife and I go through an exercise wherein we review our journals from the prior year, reflect on what we have, and in some cases have not, accomplished.

The end goal is to establish what our “top-ten highlight reel” might look like for the year gone by…we are typically amazed by all that has been achieved.

A post-exercise routine of comparing our respective “top-tens” is not only fun, but also provides a barometer for how well our values and beliefs are aligned, i.e. what’s truly important to each of us. It further reinforces the many blessings we have in our lives and the people and events that are shaping our destiny.

Further, this practice helps to create positive feelings and an inner-state that tends to energize a constructive planning effort for what we would like to realize during the upcoming year.

If nothing else, take time to reflect on your core values and guiding principles; and reignite your internal flame by establishing some meaningful, challenging and achievable goals to shoot for entering this new year.

New Year

customer-service

In the sales world, ensuring that proper service, support & satisfaction levels exist requires consistent & frequent engagement with your customers, including any combination of the following tactics:

* the business’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is closely monitored by Sales Management to make certain that all the necessary activities are occurring, being updated and remain current

* the Sales Team is being challenged during weekly sales meetings for updates on key clients (a prudent method for monitoring any salesperson’s awareness with regard to the status of their customers)

* periodic customer surveys (either electronic or via phone, depending on the type of client base) should be administered to gauge current levels of satisfaction with regard to: responsiveness, delivery times, product quality and assortment, etc.; while further ascertaining details about any concerns

* random follow-up calls to customers conducted by Sales Managers in order to get instantaneous feedback with regard to their customer’s current needs & levels of satisfaction, as well as their Sales Team’s performance

* the aforementioned weekly sales meetings provide an obvious forum for the sales team to share examples of actual sales success stories and best-practices with regard to what is working with customers, and/or changes in the marketplace that should be addressed

Further, Sales Managers must provide periodic updates to their team providing  commentary on any recent “wins” or key findings. This additional information sharing can be utilized by your salesforce as part of their selling “toolbox.”

Importantly, sales success stories should be ideally spread throughout the entire organization, directed at creating a collaborative culture and spirit of camaraderie across the company.

Finally, from a brand enhancement perspective, customers should be solicited for testimonials about the company which can be utilized by the marketing team for promotion of the business (which also can be utilized to celebrate the sales team successes).

Why not conduct a self-assessment of your organization’s sales operation to validate that these activities are consistently occurring?  It couldn’t hurt!