Archive for the ‘Culture Transformation’ Category

Be On Time For Real

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Some people play a game with punctuality. They think they can arrive late at a meeting as long as they have a good story, or text ahead to say they’re running late, or just come in looking flustered and apologizing.

You probably have someone in mind right now—someone who can be counted on to be late. In other words, you can count on NOT counting on them.

And that’s not just about meeting times, of course. That’s the last person you would trust with an important project, or to meet with an important client, or to do anything…important.

Starting now, make up your mind to be the opposite of that person. Be the one who can be counted on to arrive two minutes early. Just TWO MINUTES. It takes a small dose of discipline, and the payoff is huge. Others will begin to see you as focused, reliable, and respectful of the time of others.

And they’ll be right!

The ultimate question

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

Business strategist Fred Reichheld wrote a landmark book on what he calls The Ultimate Question—“How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?”

By asking this question to customers and employees, companies can quickly learn who is a promoter, who is neutral, and who is detrimental to the well being of a company.

Those who answer the question with a nine or ten are considered “promoters,” people who help ensure the profits, growth, and overall health of a company. Sevens and eights are neutral. But if someone answers the question with a one through six, that person is a detractor, someone who will do harm to a business.

Everyone’s job in any company is to make sure that every customer is a nine or ten, and if not, to put a massive corrective action plan in place to make sure that customer moves into that zone of full support.

It also goes without saying that every staff member needs to also be in the nine to ten range. If you aren’t a promoter of the company you’re a part of, be a positive force to improve things, to make it a place you can be proud of. If that just isn’t possible, it might be time to consider moving on to a company you CAN fully support.

Accentuate the positive!

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Psychologist John Gottman can observe a married couple for fifteen minutes and predict with 95 percent accuracy whether they will divorce within five years.

How does he do it? Body language? Eye contact? Whether or not they hold hands? Nope. He listens to what they say to each other, and then counts the ratio of positive to negative comments. That’s it. Couples with fewer than five positives for every negative are headed for disaster.

For a truly good marriage, the ratio needs to be 20 positive comments for every negative one.

Businesses are like marriages in this way. Focus on maintaining a good 5-to-1 ratio with customers and colleagues, or disaster looms. And if you want truly great relationships in your business—and who doesn’t?—aim even higher, for 20-to-1.

This might be hard to do at first if you work in a particularly negative workplace. But that’s also where the opportunity is, because a positive comment stands out in the muck, shining like a beacon of hope. Start simple. A colleague has a new haircut, and you say, “Hey Peg, I like your hair!” Then develop the practice of finding and commenting on positive performance. When someone turns in a report that’s always on time, say, “Hey Bob, thanks for always getting these to me on time. That really helps.” Maybe this is the only thing Bob ever does right. I don’t care. That positive comment can be the beginning of a tide that lifts all boats for Bob.

That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t offer constructive criticisms. Standards plummet when you do that. But make an effort to leaven it with praise.

One of the best results of this injection of sunshine is that it’s entirely contagious. Make a note of the day the positive wave you started comes back to you.


Monday, January 27th, 2014

Most of us live “reasonable” lives, looking at what we CAN do and using that as a guide to what we WILL do. Shoot for mediocrity and you’re guaranteed a bull’s-eye, every time. But aiming low and being “reasonable” doesn’t bring out the best of who you are. If you want to enliven your teammates, your kids, your friends, here’s a surefire way to do it: Make unreasonable requests of them.

When a person meets an unreasonable request, sometimes they shut down and refuse. But sometimes they react with fire in their belly. They pick up the Kryptonite, the one thing they’ve been told to fear, and eat it for breakfast—and their life is altered forever. Sometimes they take the power and know that life can be all about facing a series of impossibilities that they will work to make possible. They develop a “bring it” attitude to almost everything. And once they leap over tall buildings with a single bound, they know they can do it again. And again.

There is nothing like the confidence of a person who achieves more than they thought possible. And once one person in a department or company does it, it spreads like wildfire. Soon EVERYONE is doing the impossible.

The best part of an unreasonable request is that people can’t give you reasons why they can’t do it. They already know that your request is unreasonable because you told them so!

Decide to make the unreasonable possible, and amazing things WILL happen!


Monday, January 20th, 2014

In his landmark book Primal Leadership, Daniel Goleman reports on a powerful finding: a one percent improvement in culture results in an average two percent improvement in revenue. And the most direct way to build that culture is through a focus on appreciation.

Now when I say “appreciation,” you might be picturing a manager saying “good job” to an employee. That’s a good thing, of course. But the research shows that regular appreciation among teammates and peers actually has more impact on building confidence than appreciation received from a manager.

If you feel that your company lacks an atmosphere of appreciation, the answer is NOT to complain about it. The answer is to help create that culture. Express appreciation to 20 people around you, not just for what they do, but for who they are. Watch the faces of people whose days are made by your simple act of kindness. In no time at all, you will find yourself on the receiving end. When you help to create a culture of appreciation, everybody wins.

Appreciation has to be felt and reinforced on a regular basis or confidence erodes over time. Creating celebrations and high-fives around accomplishments of critical drivers builds confidence AND keeps team members focused on the right things.