culture

Challenges Create Opportunity, People Create Change - 4/20/21


There are so many great things that have been said over the years about overcoming challenges, pushing aside the roadblocks of life, dealing with difficulties.  And these are important points of discussion because challenges are all around us.  There are challenges with our personal health or in our personal Read more

The Passive Predicament - 4/13/21


The employee is speaking to you.  Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions?  Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour Read more

Regain Lost Motivation - 4/6/21


For many of us over the last 12 months, our home has also become our workplace.  Our work interaction has been 2-dimensional through the computer screen as opposed to the 3-dimensional experiences we’re used to with co-workers and customers. We are all motivated in our own unique ways.  Some are Read more

The Answer is Right, but the Service is Wrong - 3/30/21


Maggie was irate.  The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday.  It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company.  The employee said “Oh!  Read more

Question Everything, but What’s the Question? - 3/23/21


The new leader joins the organization, and she decides she wants to question everything.  She wants employees to question everything.  Why have we always done it this way? Why do we continue to do it that way? Is this the best way to work? Sometimes it’s a great management Read more

The Resourceful Rep - 3/16/21


One of our clients is seeking to develop Customer Service Standards.  We’re working with them to identify those key expectations of staff that will enable the organization to deliver a consistent high-level customer experience.  One of the key attributes that this organization is seeking from its team members is Read more

Be Proactive like a Pro - 3/9/21


We constantly work with clients, encouraging them to become more proactive with customers.  Don’t just be reactive, waiting for the customer to ask questions or to complain.  Instead, go to the customer, anticipate their needs, suggest something to them. But many of us, frankly, don’t know how to be proactive.  Read more

Find One Unique Thing - 3/2/21


Many of us are not in a position to develop long-term relationships with our customers.  Our encounters are often one-time only with a customer - very brief and likely to be our only time chatting with this individual. And even though there may not be a long-term professional relationship developed, Read more

Should I Stay or Should I Go? - 2/23/21


Should I stay or should I go?  That’s not just a classic song by The Clash.  It’s also the question customers ask more and more, especially during difficult economic times. A recent study in the Charlotte Business Journal noted that 50% of North Carolina businesses are concerned with how to Read more

Optimism – A Force for Good in Customer Service - 2/16/21


Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?  I have absolutely no idea.  Maybe it would be nice to see into the future and know for certain, but I can’t and I don’t.  But as I wade further and further into this year, I can hope that the water Read more

Motivating Yourself when Working Remotely – 5/26/20

Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week Please leave a comment

For any of us who are working remotely, we are finding ourselves more and more having to be self-motivated. And while many people are naturally self-motivated, others need to have that manager who gives us the encouragement. Many of us need to have that ongoing informal dialogue with co-workers and customers. Many of us need the energy we get from being in a busy place with lots of movement and activity all around us.

In the April 28, 2020 Tip of the Week, we alluded to the importance of motivating ourselves. But let’s dig a little bit deeper today.  Here are several things to consider if you need a little bit extra energy or motivation for your day…

Find Out What Motivates You

Before you can motivate yourself, you need to understand what is motivating to you. We’ve done activities with clients where we had each individual employee develop a Personal Mission Statement; basically this was describing their purpose in their job. It wasn’t just the tasks or activities that they do, but it was the greater good that comes from those tasks or activities for their community, their customers, their co-workers, or their company. You could go through an exercise of developing your own Personal Mission Statement, or you could simply write a list of your motivators. It could be future success – where a great day today means a great week, a great month, great year, a great career. Your motivator could be your family, it could be free time, and whatever it is, write it down and put it in front of you every day.

Give Yourself a Challenge

I have a friend who I volunteer with, and she is well into her 70s; yet, she is easily the most energetic person I know. She takes multiple leadership roles and works as hard or harder than any of the individuals within this organization. I asked her where she gets all her energy.  Her response?  She said that she gets up every day and simply challenges herself to get as much done as possible that day. She basically has a contest with herself to see how much she can accomplish.

Celebrate Even Small Wins

Remember that small wins are still wins. So celebrate! This might sound goofy, but it’s something I strongly believe. I was conducting a workshop for a client several years back, and we talked about the importance to an organization’s culture for employees to have a clear purpose in their role and to celebrate.  At the time, Aaron Rodgers, a quarterback for the Green Bay Packers football team, would celebrate when he or his teammates made a big play by pretending to put a championship belt around his waist. So, I asked people to celebrate an accomplishment during this workshop, and the way I asked them to do it was to put on the figurative belt.

Employee by employee stood up, said something that they accomplished over the last week or two – as little or as big as they could think of – and then they would give themselves “the belt.”  It was funny, it was interesting, and it addressed the importance of really recognizing what you do – not just doing it, but RECOGNIZING YOURSELF FOR YOUR OWN ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

In this world of working remotely, so much more of the motivation has to come from within. Figure out what motivates you, and find ways to become more self-motivated.

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Defining Organizational Agility in a Time of Uncertainty

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

You may have heard references in management theory over the many decades about the importance of a business being an “Agile” organization, but oftentimes that is a word thrown out in generalities to illustrate vague points about how organizations should be managed and make decisions.  In this time of COVID, however, the definition of an Agile business and how that comes into play in a real world, real-time situation has rarely been so clear.

 

Agile businesses will be far more successful through this economic and healthcare uncertainty, so let’s start by defining the Agile business. The synonyms of Agility are: Nimble, Spry, Light-Footed, Flexible, Deft, Coordinated.

 

Here are some core questions about your organization to consider:  How nimble is your company?  How flexible are you in dealing with the vicissitudes of internal and external change?  How coordinated are the different divisions, leaders, and business lines with each other?

 

“Agile businesses will be far more successful through this economic and healthcare uncertainty.”

 

These are core questions that you need to answer if you want to be able to change quickly and effectively how you operate as you are impacted by change that’s outside of your immediate control.

 

The Opposite of Agile

If these questions are too abstract, consider the brutal honesty of antonyms of Agile: Uncoordinated, Inflexible, Rigid, Stiff, Bungling, Inept, Lumbering.

 

Could any of these terms be applied to your business? Are different divisions ever lacking coordination and communication with each other?  Are processes or people too inflexible at times, not willing to change the way they’ve always done things? Is the quality or efficiency or effectiveness only good enough to get you by as opposed to being representative of a high-performing organization?  Does the organization feel too big and too slow to pivot into a different direction if necessary?

 

In the future, we’ll address how to become more Agile.  For now, ask yourself some key questions about your business so you can determine whether you’re Agile enough to succeed in an environment of uncertainty.


Change Management – Facts about Past Decisions Reduce Fear about Future Decisions

Posted on in Business Advice Please leave a comment

Change can result in fear.  Particularly where change is thrust upon someone very suddenly, it can create shock or disbelief.  Sometimes that change is not something an organization can plan for; it therefore cannot adequately prepare its employees for what’s ahead…at least initially.

In this COVID world, Change Management is about dealing with the unknowns, but still developing a plan for the future.  It’s about managing organizational strategy for the long-term, while still developing an agile mindset and approach in the near-term.  It’s about dealing with employee emotions and continually trying to motivate them, while at the same time having the disadvantage of not having them in a room with you to gauge their feelings, gauge their expressions, and gauge many of their behaviors.

“Providing facts about how past decisions were made…enable employees to understand how decisions will be made in the future.”

 

So, organizations need to create their own Change Management model that coincides with the Change Management model for its employees.

 

Talking with Employees about the Change that was Made

For this conversation, let’s focus on the early stages of organizational change.  After having made the immediate and necessary adjustments in staffing, expenditures, and operations to offset lost revenue and inflows, the organization needs to begin explaining in some clear and objective detail why that needed to happen.  Particularly for those that are still with your organization, employees need to understand the facts behind the action, because facts are something concrete that enable employees to more logically accept decisions that were made in the past and understand how decisions will be made in the future.

Let me repeat.  The reason to explain to current employees in some detail and factually why recent decisions were made is so they feel like they understand that future decisions will be based on facts and objectivity, and they know the criteria for those decisions.

More Facts about the Past, Less Fear about the Future

In other words, you’re not only creating a dialogue with staff by explaining details on the “why” of the changes, but you’re also addressing their fear of the unknown by at least helping them to understand a process and a list of criteria that you might go through in the future to make similar decisions.

When you’re thinking about the importance of Change Management for an organization and how that relates to employee communications, don’t underestimate the importance of being open, dialogue-oriented, and factual about the reasons for the past change.

Help employees to more objectively understand how decisions could be made moving forward.


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