Archive for the ‘Training and Development’ Category

How Much Change is Too Much?

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Too Much Change?

Change can be a good thing—but it matters how you do it. And when.

Tropicana recently made news when it changed its logo from the old straw-in-an-orange to a big glass of juice—and loyal customers nearly beat them to a pulp.

So they pulled a New Coke and switched back. It had apparently been too much too fast.

They might have learned something from Betty Crocker. She gets a new face every six years or so, reflecting the changing perception of the American homemaker—over a dozen so far in the company’s 88-year history. But she always keeps her red and white outfit and basic brown bob.

If she suddenly sported a tankini and shades, the company might pick up a man or two but alienate their core constituency. She just wouldn’t be Betty Crocker anymore. (more…)

Getting the Relationship Right

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

There was a time when the auto-personalized form letter made customers feel special.  Just seeing their name in the salutation—even when misspelled, off-kilter and in a different font—just blew people away.

But once personal computing introduced us all to the mail merge, people began to see it as exactly the opposite—a low-energy parlor trick designed to give the appearance of care when there is none.  It didn’t really make clients feel important to the company, which means it didn’t really establish a relationship.

And if you’re not in a relationship, the client just might start seeing other people.

Those customer service pioneers began finding ways to make clients feel less like acquaintances and more like Very Important Persons—with special emphasis on the word “Important.”  And why shouldn’t they?  Without the client, the company ceases to exist.  It was recognition of a very real mutual need.

So how can you make your clients feel their importance?  A few tips: (more…)

TGIM e-Zine: July 6, 2009

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Welcome to the TGIM e-Zine!
Transform your team from “snooze-button hitters” to “rock-star performers” and create a buzz-worthy environment your clients will love.

Issue 33 Topics Include: READ NOW

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Staying On Course in Turbulent Times

Friday, June 19th, 2009
Credit:©Tjurunga |

Credit:©Tjurunga |

I was in my customary aisle seat on a recent flight when the woman in the middle seat asked for coffee. As the attendant extended her arm, at the precise moment the coffee was passing above my laptop, we hit a pocket of turbulence.

That’s when the miracle happened. The flight attendant did a dance of such skill and grace, bending and flexing with the movements of the plane, that not a single drop left the cup.

Several of us burst into spontaneous applause. How could you not?

It happens in business as well, of course—that sudden, unexpected pitching and rolling of a crisis that seems determined to spill the contents of your sanity all over the project of the moment.

Here are some tips for managing a project in the midst of a crisis:

1. Reduce everything to its simplest components. The human mind complicates things far beyond necessity. Take everything down to its simplest components: What is the purpose of the product, what is the end result that needs to happen, and what’s the fastest way to get there? Only then can people get their brains wrapped around things in a way that will make it happen.

2. Keep heads cool with advancing language. When people discover a crisis in a project, it’s easy for them to lose their heads, saying, “I’m overwhelmed—we will never get this done.” Language is the precursor to results, so create a work environment that encourages the use of powerful and advancing language. “I don’t know yet how we’ll pull this off, but we are powerful, and we’ll figure it out, because we always do! So what’s Step One?”

3. Create a board report approach. Regardless of positions, everyone in a project should create a board report every week, copying all relevant players. A board report says, “Here’s what I said I would do and here’s what I did; here’s where I’m off, and here’s my corrective action to get back on track; and here’s what I am committing to do next.” The key is specifics, not fluffy language. Fluffy language gets fluffy results. Concrete language leads to great results.

So the next time turbulence threatens to bring down a project, remember three things: keep it simple, use advancing language, and report out specifics on where you are and where you’re headed. By the time the seat belt sign is turned off, you’ll already be on to the next successful project!

The Delusional “Top Ten Percenters”

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Top 10A Business Week survey asked individuals, “Are you one of the top 10 percent of performers in your company?”

Eighty-four percent of middle managers said yes, as did 93 percent of employees age 55 or older. Eighty-nine percent of women and 91 percent of men think they’re in the top 10 percent, as do fully 97 percent of all executives.

Welcome to Lake Wobegon, where all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average! Seems like a delusional view of our contribution is the norm.

This begs the question: How do you help people understand what quantifiable measurements they SHOULD be scoring themselves on so they can assess their contributions intelligently? (more…)