The Coach's Corner

Archive for September, 2013

Happy associates equal delighted customers/clients

September 30th, 2013 // Tom Doescher //

We were going to write a blog that would connect the dots between happy, motivated associates who love their jobs and delighted customers/clients, and then we read the Patrick Lencioni book, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job (it’s an easy read, and we would recommend it to anyone leading a team). In his inimitable way, Lencioni makes a significant point by telling a fable.

He identifies three factors that create job misery: Anonymity, Irrelevance and Immeasurement. To combat the first of these, anonymity, great leaders need to show a genuine interest in their team members by asking themselves: “What is on my team member’s mind? How can I contribute to them becoming a better person?” When we read the comments made by Lencioni, it reminded us of the 12 questions/discoveries highlighted in Marcus Buckingham’s book, First, Break All the Rules, which we have recommended reading in previous blogs. In Buckingham’s book, Question No. 5 asks: Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person? We have been on plant tours with owners who ask very specific questions of machine operators about their spouse or their children by name, and we have noticed that these places always seem to be some of the most profitable businesses. On a similar note, Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs and former U.S. Treasury secretary, tells a story in his book, On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System, about how a senior partner paid special attention to him early in in his career; it is something Paulson credits for the fact that he spent his entire career at Goldman.

What do you know about your immediate team members? What are their special interests? What are their special needs? When is the last time you offered a tip to help make them a more effective and successful associate?

Integrity? Who are you kidding?

September 16th, 2013 // Tom Doescher //

Back in 2002, we attended David Cole’s annual Automotive Management Briefing in Traverse City. The prior year, several nonautomotive companies (like Enron, WorldCom, and Tyco) had been embroiled in scandals that led to their collapse. During the briefing, one automotive executive presenter after another gloated about the high level of integrity found in the automotive industry. We did everything we could to keep from getting visibly sick. These were the leaders of our clients’ customers, and their dealings with our clients could be labeled anything but scrupulous or inspired by integrity. By way of example, check out one of the OEM purchasing chief’s marching orders to his buyers. In our thinking, the word that comes to mind is “hypocrisy.” The reason we’re discussing this subject now is that we just read Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, Integrity — The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality, which we would highly recommend. Dr. Cloud sets the bar pretty high, but has lots of practical advice. Do you walk your talk?

Please, no more surveys

September 2nd, 2013 // Tom Doescher //

We don’t know about you, but we find the plethora of feedback surveys extremely annoying. Part of the reason is that we don’t get a warm and fuzzy feeling that assures us that anyone has really read our answers. A few years ago, we stayed at an exclusive hotel and reported more than 10 significant complaints. No one ever followed up with us — so why should we take the time to fill out another customer feedback form?

Here is what we would recommend. If you are compelled to send out a survey, ask just two questions: 1.) What did you really like about us? (And encourage them to fill in a little more detail.) 2.) How could we make your experience with us even better? After your clients/customers have responded, acknowledge the thoughtful feedback they provided with a personalized note. That way, even if they have a complaint or a suggestion for improvement, you are almost guaranteed to win them over.

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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