How To Snub A Customer

Customers-complaining

Have you been snubbed as a customer? I bet you have. You’re smiling as those experiences come to mind right now.

I recently took a simple drive through the take out service of a well known chain restaurant. I paid my money at window number one as instructed, and I proceeded to window number two. What happened next was beyond my comprehension.

When I arrived at the window, a young lady had her back to the window, and that’s where she remained for the duration of this event. She was engrossed in conversation with another worker in the window. To make matters worse, I saw my bag with one small food item sitting on the counter just inches from this lady’s hand.

Several seconds later, the other lady grabbed the bag, looked in and said to the “Snub Lady”, “Is this this customer’s order?”

Her reply? “Yes.”

“So why didn’t you give it to him?”

“You can give it to him.”

And without a word, this mysterious hand came out of the window with my bag attached and just as quickly and silently as it came out, it went back in. I drove off shaking my head and declaring this to be the ultimate customer snub!

So, How Do You Snub a Customer?

You turn your back and care about the conversations that matter most to YOU.

You care not about your customers and their needs. You leave that up to someone else.

You choose not to put yourself in your customers’ shoes.

Some of you reading this blog are saying, “This doesn’t apply to me, I’m the boss. I don’t work directly with the customers. My employees are the ones who need to read this.”

Not so fast, Mr. Boss. From my days with Southwest Airlines it was made abundantly clear to me that every boss, every manager, every leader had customers of their own…the employees they were responsible to lead.

Your Employees Are Your Customers

Translation? The way you lead your team, the way you interact with your employees, the example you set by the work you do will be the way your employees indelibly interact with the people you say mean so much to you…your customers.

Want great customer service? Give it first to the customers you’ve been called to lead, your employees!

Just this week I learned about a job posting in a department where three employees work very part time hours. When questioned about the decision to hire, the employees were told the department had 24 extra hours to give, so a new team member was needed.

Enter customer snub number two. The part time employees hearing this news have been begging for more hours so that they can better support their families, but management has consistently said, “Sales are down, and we don’t have the hours to give.” Funny how they now have 24 hours to give, but not to their “customers,” the current part time employees. It was as if their backs were turned, the needs of their customers ignored, and the shoes of their “customers” were never worn.

Want to build morale, win customers for life and watch your sphere of influence grow? Do not snub a customer!

Turn your face to your customers, identify their real needs, address those needs with intentionality, and in the process, make sure you walk in the shoes of your customers. And do it with an honest desire to understand their needs as if they were your own.

Before you make the final decision that affects your customers and their families, before you recommend a product or service for your client to buy,  care enough to find out what life looks like, feels like, and is in the life of your customer. A well cared for customer will become a customer for life.

“As goes the leader, so goes the organization!” ~John Maxwell

Who are your customers? How will this message impact the way you relate with your customers this week?

If this article made a difference for you, please leave your comments in the box below. I want to know what actions you’re going to take to make a difference this week. I’ll be cheering for your success!

How To Motivate

Motivation3

It was a very positive run. I had just completed the research, given a public talk, and asked for people to commit to a new project I took on, when I found myself exhausted while surrounded with success.

In those moments  I wondered how I would motivate myself and the team of people I was called to lead.

Some of the lessons I learned through the process serve me well to this day:

REVIEW

At the completion of a project, it’s helpful to review what went well, be brutally honest about what needs to be changed, and celebrate the players who made any contribution to the success. In a world nearly deprived of praise, make your praise specific and make it personal. And when you can, praise people publicly and tie the praise to your mission, vision, and values.  What others see rewarded will inspire them to do more of the same.

In the teams I lead,we’ve built a culture where we express our appreciation in our meetings, through our collaboration tools, and in writing. We’ve built systems that allow our members to praise one another quickly and easily, 24/7. This increases our motivation while allowing us to build our mission-driven culture as a team. While it takes leadership, it also takes the team!

PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS

When we’re involved in doing work that matters to us, we feel a sense of pride and ownership. Playing to your strengths gives you a strong sense of accomplishment. And whether you are working alone or with a team, it’s important to realize that you’re contributing in a unique way that can make a difference in people’s lives.

If you’re part of a team, seek team member’s ideas, listen to the problems they identify, and give them space to suggest ways to fix those problems. This is one of many ways to ensure your team members are playing to their strengths and satisfied with their team contribution.

MEET ONE-ON-ONE

Meet one-on-one with your team members or with the key people contributing to your project. And when you meet, make the meeting about the other person. Appreciate the contributions they’ve made, then become a student of the person by asking great questions and listening perceptively.

“How can I best help you? What can I do to contribute to your success? Is there anything you need that will make your work more effective and meaningful?” And deliver on those needs.

Learning how to motivate is really about valuing the people you serve, the people on your team, or the people that you lead. The key to getting this one right is leadership:  leadership of yourself, the people you serve, and the members of your team.

How will you motivate yourself or your team today? The opportunity is yours to take…make it count!

Earn Trust

earntrust

On every team, in every networking event, and in every encounter we have with people, trust is paramount. When a person questions whether or not they trust you, the relationship quickly breaks down.

Whether you’re the boss, a member of the team, the owner of a business or a team leader, trust must be carefully earned.

How do we earn trust?

Relate with humility and a genuine interest to learn.

Individuals and leaders who always have a story better than the one they just heard, who are quick to give an answer with little or no conversation, or who are too busy to listen, read, or learn will not stand a chance of earning my trust. While the person who takes the time to ask great questions, to look me in the eye, and with sincerity of heart takes a genuine interest in the things that are important to me, they earn trust. And with trust, comes a level of respect.

Engage in life-transforming conversations 

People who relate with humility are likely to be readers, learners and students of life. These folks realize they don’t have all the answers, and with that realistic view of life, they take an interest in others, they understand the importance of bringing great value to people and relationships, and they recognize the opportunity that every conversation brings.

When motivated by a heart committed to making a difference through the value we bring, our conversations focus on how we can help rather than how we will take. Go-giver’s initiate life-transforming conversations, and they do so with humility and a genuine interest to learn.

Act with integrity

People who care about earning the trust of others take action, and their actions are marked by integrity. The integrity to respect people and their time, the integrity to be honest while being loving, and the integrity that motivates them to bring value to people and situations. 

Leading great teams, engaging new clients, networking for results, and building great relationships calls for trust. Break trust and your ability to influence and move people is over. Earn trust and you’ll build a tribe of people willing to work hard, committed to bringing results, and eager to create value with others.

What will your tribe of people look like this week? As you earn trust, your influence will determine that outcome.

As Goes The Leader

leadership

As I visit and work with businesses, one thing is becoming more and more clear.

“As goes the leader, so goes the organization.” -John Maxwell

I remember the day I walked into the CEO’s office and heard these telling words, “I no longer read, I’m just too busy.”

I remember the day a disheartened employee had once again been told what he wasn’t doing right. When he asked his manager why the negative was so often highlighted without commenting on all the things that had been done well, she responded by saying, “I get the same negative criticism from my boss (the store manager). I only hear the negative, no one tells me when I’m doing things right either.”

And I remember the day I sat in the waiting area of a business and found myself surrounded by energetic, upbeat, and courteous employees greeting customers by name and with what appeared to be genuine concern. And in this busy office I noticed one lady in particular.  She was upbeat, she was going out of her way to help guests, and she was jumping into to help other employees with a positive attitude and a willingness that’s rarely seen.  Because she had my attention, I wanted to know what her role was in the organization.  And just as I expected, she was the top manager, and it showed!

The team members working for the CEO with no time to read find themselves in an environment where collaboration and new ideas rarely exist. The team is drained by a leader who doesn’t seek input and sees no need to say thank you for a job well done. The leader needs no new ideas, so he isolates himself from the input of his team.

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” -John F. Kennedy

The team members lead by a manager who quickly points out the negative while overlooking the good find themselves beaten down and without a lot of hope that their culture will change anytime soon. They’re lead by negative reinforcement.

Henry Ford found the remedy for this leadership style.

“Don’t find fault, find a remedy.”

And Sam Walton said,

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

And the team serving with the positively focused leader willing to get involved to find solutions for her team and for their clients, they not only appeared to enjoy their work environment, one team member actually said she loved working for this lady. She is a leader who gets involved with her team, she understands the importance of modelling the attitude that she wants her team to bring to clients, and she understands the importance of personally creating the culture that gets reproduced through her team.

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.” —John Quincy Adams

Find the leader and you’ll quickly learn why the business culture has taken on the energy and personality that it has.

“As goes the leader…so goes the organization!” What kind of influence are you having in the places where you lead and work? Are there changes you need to make? Take action and make those changes today.

Add A Bit More Grace

grace

This week the news reported 74 school shootings in the last year and a half, people rebelling against government authority, and anger racing out of control. What would happen if rather than accept this as our new norm, we form tribes of people who find tangible ways to add a bit more grace?

Grace: To bring value or love to a person who appears undeserving or unable to give anything in return. It’s motivated by a heartfelt desire to make a difference. Grace isn’t earned, it isn’t bought, and it isn’t deserved. It’s freely given with no strings attached. It’s a go-giver’s way of life!

What would happen if we decided to add a bit more grace? Can you imagine the impact we could have?

Add a bit more grace, surround it with integrity, stir in a measure of excellence, and top it all with a cherry of compassion and see for yourself, the life-changing differences you make.

This Father’s Day week, improve the quality of your life and make a difference in the landscape of our world by joining a tribe of people determined to add a bit more grace. Together, we will reshape the landscape of our world one person at a time. My tribe has room for another results driven person. Wanna join me?

 

A Review of The Peter Principle

peterprinciple

Have you ever worked in a place where it seemed like those in leadership had a pattern of making excuses, using negative reinforcement, or giving superficial answers for ongoing and complex challenges?  If so, you’ve probably had at least one day where you left the workplace shaking your head at the incompetence of those in authority over you. There’s good news, and there’s bad news to the story that’s about to unfold.

The good news is, you’re not crazy, incompetence is alive and well in the workplace and in many well-meaning organizations today. The bad news, unless you’re in a position of authority with the responsibility of leading change, you’ll likely have little influence over it.

In 1969, Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull coauthored the book, “The Peter Principle:  Why Things Always Go Wrong”.  In this book they state,  

“Rather than seeking to promote a talented ‘super-competent’ junior employee, Peter suggested that an incompetent manager may set them up to fail or dismiss them because they will likely ‘violate the first commandment of hierarchical life with incompetent leadership: [namely that] the hierarchy must be preserved’.”

Why does this happen?  Because “in a hierarchically structured administration, people tend to be promoted up to their level of incompetence.”

Someone may make a great salesperson, but when promoted to senior level leadership may find he or she has lacks competence when it comes to leading  people and teams. Someone who made a great manager may not be right for an advancement if the new role takes him or her to a role beyond his competence. It’s important to recognize that with each new role comes new responsibilities and tasks that we’re not always competent to do well.

This begs the question, “What do you do if you’ve been promoted to a level that you now realize exceeds your competence?”

You have a few choices:

1. Remain in your level of incompetence because that’s the proven hierarchical structure that’s often the norm, but do so at your own risk. You’re likely to become very frustrated working and leading outside of your strengths.

2. Reach out to mentors, coaches, books, and training opportunities that can help you grow into your new role. Warning here:  Most companies that routinely promote to the highest levels of incompetence will likely deny you the opportunity for this kind of training. They’d hate to see you become competent in your new role. That would break the hierarchical system of promote from within, increase workload, maintain inadequate pay scale, and demand more from employees for the sake of the company.

3. Have the guts to step down and work at your level of competence.  Simply put, find a place that rewards you for working in your strengths! This is where you’re gonna hate me. Stepping down will likely result in a lesser salary, and it may cause you or others to perceive you as a failure. For most of you, this option is far too much to handle, so here’s my advice. Take what’s perceived as the easy road, and stay where you are. Then watch how quickly your health begins to suffer from the frustration that mounts.

And what if you work for a boss who has risen to his or her level of incompetence?

1. Suck it up and endure it…good luck with this one!

2. Write your letter of resignation and TURN IT IN!

Unless you’re the captain of the ship, you stand no chance of righting the wrong that you see in the leadership of the organization.

Some of you reading this blog are feeling stuck today, and you’ve been stuck for some time. You need a tribe of trusted people who can breathe positive life into you, who can encourage and support you through the changes you need to make. Change doesn’t come easy, but when going it alone, it’s even more difficult.

Have the guts to reach out to the best people who can help you navigate through the change you most need today. This will be a definite step toward Choosing Yourself, and why not? No one else will!

Contact me when I can be of help. I look forward to serving you well!

Listening Deficit

picture_active_listening

It’s happening repeatedly, and it’s happening in more places than you can imagine.

I walk into the restaurant, and with carefully spoken words I place my order, and it happens.

“I’d like an iced tea to go.” To which the server replies without thinking,”Will that be for here or to go?”

I attend a business networking event and engage a sales person in conversation, and then it happens.  He asks me a question I just finished answering.

My boss asks me how many sales calls I’ve made since Monday. I answer his question with a simple number, and two days later I receive an email that says, “Before our meeting tomorrow, can you please make sure I have your sales calls numbers. I haven’t received yours.”

What is going on in our world?  Why isn’t anyone listening anymore?

John Jantsch, in his book “Duct Tape Selling; Think Like A Marketer, Sell Like A Superstar” suggests our listening deficit has been caused by our failure to listen perceptively.  Perceptive listening is, “hearing and interpreting the words as they’re said, but also considering what the person isn’t saying, what she might really be thinking and how she is acting as she speaks.” -Jantsch

Our battle against a listening deficit calls for a…

  • Desire to really hear what’s being said
  • Willingness to intentionally focus on what is and what isn’t being said
  • Heart and mind that care enough to fully engage a person in conversation

If conversations are all about you and about what you want to say, you’ll quickly find yourself in a very broke and lonely place. Choose instead the listening life that creates joy, fulfillment, and true satisfaction.  This is the life for which you’ve been created!

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and strategic in the ways you engage people in conversations and see for yourself how quickly you…

  • Discover real needs you’re uniquely positioned to meet
  • Bring real value to people through the situations you improve
  • Earn respect, gain trust and make a difference like no one else can

Each day ask yourself, “What is my goal today?  To be heard or to hear?” Your answer will determine the quality of the life you live.

Want to explore specific ways to bring greater value to the people around you? Contact me and we’ll explore ways to get the results that improve the quality of your work and personal life.

Value First

Businesspeople introducing outside of office

I recently watched a well-intentioned man walk into a conversation at a business networking meeting and commit one of the cardinal sins of networking and relationships.

With two people engaged in an energetic and private conversation, he walked in, read the ladies name tag so that he could call her by name (he didn’t know her), and then he launched into a very long spill about none other than himself!

What happened next was blatantly obvious to everyone except him. The lady began looking around the room and past the talking man as if to suggest, “With so many well-meaning people standing alone in this room, why did you choose me?” And the man continued on, and on, and on.

This scenario too often plays out in any group of people, and it’s a big turn off to us all. The solution?

Seek first to bring great value before you tell your story!

Bring value first by asking well-intentioned questions to identify real needs that you can meet, then meet them.

Bring value first by finding out who people want to meet, then introduce them.

Bring value first by finding out what people most need in order to improve their business, their life, or their personal circumstances, then help them.

Bring value first by determining the information people need, then find it.

Opportunists, beware.  Fearless Heretics, arise!  Value first will always fall short if it comes from anything less than a sincere heart. When you put others first, do so with sincerity, intending to actually help the people you approach. Approaching people with anything less than a heart-felt and honest desire to make their life or circumstances better and your efforts will miss the mark.

Seek first to bring the very best of yourself to every person, situation, and conversation you have this week.  Ask yourself, “Who can I help today?” When you do, you’ll find yourself making a very real difference in people’s lives.

Again, I leave you to decide what action you will take. You’ve arrived at your next intersection. Action is the difference maker.

Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear from you!

The Path To Positive Results

motivational-photo-13

You’ve thought about it, you felt the prompting in your heart, you wanted to, “BUT…”

One small word changed the course of life for you or for the recipient of your idea.

You want to make a difference in people’s lives, you want to live a life with less regret, you want to live a life full of meaning and joy, “BUT…”  

This power-filled word carries a force that has deprived our world of the greatness we so desperately need. “BUT” plants seeds of doubt, stirs feelings of fear, and causes us to second guess great ideas and great intentions meant to bring goodness into our world.

I recently watched a young adult guy with long straggly hair, appearing less than neatly kept, walk into a crowded auditorium and eventually to the front half of the room next to his grandfather. What happened next really caught my attention.

When the grandfather realized who was squeezing in next to him, his face lit up with excitement, he hugged the straggly haired grandson, and in front of everyone, without hesitation and without fear of what others would think, he kissed his grandson on the forehead, then kept his arm firmly and proudly around him for all to see. That decisive act must have had a positive impact on the morale of the young man, it certainly had an impact on me.

As I watched this scene unfold, the idea came to me, “Find the name of this grandfather and send him a note. Tell him how his actions positively moved you. Let him know how his actions made you feel.” Sitting at the intersection of idea and action, I was faced with my moment of truth.

Without warning, the power-filled word “BUT” fought for my attention and went like this: 

“But you don’t know this man’s name?”

“But it’s going to take time, effort and work to find this man’s contact information. Where will you begin?”

“But you don’t really have time.”

“But what difference does it make, it’s just a note.”

At this all important intersection, I defiantly silenced “BUT” with the more power-filled word “AND”.

“I am prompted to send this man a note, “AND” I will make the time to find everything I need today…“AND” I will have the note in the mail tomorrow.

“AND” I did!

What I didn’t understand was the impact being set in motion at my intersection of idea and action.

One week later the wife of this grandfather sought me out to hug me and to say, “Thank you so much for taking the time to send that note to my husband. You made his week. He’s been struggling for a long time with the way our grandson has been living his life, he doesn’t understand him, and it’s been hard for him to accept. Your note came at the perfect time and was just what he needed, thank you.”

Then the grandfather appeared, and with tears in his eyes, he hugged me and said, “Thank you for the note. That was one of the most encouraging notes anyone has ever given me.” 

At the intersection of idea and decision to act, I made life better for another person “AND” that made it all worth my time.

I wonder what good we could accomplish in our world, “BUT”? Are there people hoping for someone like you to speak a word that will lift them beyond their current situation “BUT”? Have you thought about making an investment in yourself “BUT”?

The path to positive results begins at the intersection of idea and decision to act. At that intersection, your choice of words will determine the course your ideas take. One small word stands between your idea and the positive results that are meant to improve your life and the life of others.

People are waiting for your positive ideas to take flight. Our world is longing for you to make a difference! When you stand at the intersection of idea and action, please choose “AND,” then go for it! This is your path to positive results.

Will you share with me the actions you’re going to take so that together, we can encourage each other towards success? Will you post your thoughts to this article so others will be encouraged as they learn from you?

I leave you at your intersection of idea and action.

Clarity Builds Confidence

Thermometer - Confidence Level

Shriveling in desperation, trapped by indecision, feeling helpless to act, I was frustrated and had no idea what my next steps would be. Then the voice of reason broke through.

Several years ago I made the decision to shift words in my vocabulary, and today, I’m glad I did. When it came to learning, training, and developing myself or my skills, I replaced the word expense with the word investment. I would no longer see myself as an expense, rather I would be an investment and one worth making!

Over the years that one decision has produced results and benefits beyond my expectations.

Five years ago I made an investment in myself by connecting with an experienced mentor and sales coach. Though our relationship has taken many turns over the years, I’ve come to know him, like him, and trust him. So when the voice of reason broke into my chaotic uncertainty, it was no surprise that it was the voice of my mentor and sales coach, Don Dalrymple.

Over the years I’ve learned that…

The quality of my life is dependent upon

the quality of people I welcome into my life!

Great people have the ability to think clearly and see things objectively when I cannot. They have an innate ability to care for me when I feel unable to care for myself.  They breathe life into me when I feel stuck, trapped or too stressed to move. And in my time of struggle, these simple words of reason came as words aptly spoken…

“Clarity brings confidence” -Don Dalyrmple

That one statement began an avalanche of positive activity that moved me into the action I most needed.

  • I intentionally created space to think, dream and wonder about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to accomplish next.
  • I formed the habit of writing 10 ideas each day so that I could develop my creative thinking process. Some of those ideas became my next steps for action, and they continue to drive my activities today.
  • I created deadlines with dates on the ideas that will most likely move me toward my desired outcomes.
  • I evaluated my time and my activities based on things that were noise and needed to be removed from my life and things that would most likely move me toward my desired outcomes.
  • I focused on the things I’m most grateful for in life.  Big and small, I’ve learned that I have much to be grateful for. That practice alone is shaping my attitude!

This experience taught me the power of clarity and its ability to make me confident enough to dream, to plan, to act, and to create the results that make me productive, effective, and fulfilled. Looking back, I wonder where I would be today if I had viewed my investment in me as an expense not worth making. Thankfully, I look back with no regret. Instead, I look back with gratitude at the difference my investment made in me.

Clarity is building my confidence, and confidence is empowering me to move boldly toward my dreams! My solution to a stressed-out directionless life? A voice of reason from people I honestly know, like and trust. These folks have the ability to move me to a place of extreme clarity and clarity builds my confidence to act. For these people, I’m forever grateful, thank you!

Have you welcomed great people into your life?  People capable of moving you toward clarity when you’re unsure about your next best steps? Express your gratitude to them today. They’re a gift worth celebrating!

I would love to hear your thoughts.  Feel free to leave me a note in the comment box below.