The Worlds Simplest Formula For A Happy Customer and Employee

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Do you know what the world’s simplest formula for a happy customer is?  It is surprisingly simple.

Here it is: Do what you say you’re going to do.

Doing so results in happy customers as well as happy employees.  When you articulate what you stand for as a business and or as a leader and act accordingly you’re seen as credible. You build trust and respect with the people who matter most to you because you do what you say you will do.

The moment you fulfill your promise a customer and or employee feels good because their interaction and transaction with you was completed in a way that’s in alignment with what they expected. In essence, you’re making a persons life easier because you are confirming they made the right choice in choosing to do business with you. When you don’t act in ways consistent with what you said you’d do your credibility goes down, trust goes down, and customer loyalty goes down also.

I’m experiencing that firsthand where I have reached out to a particular organization where I shop and asked for an update on a particular product. Not once, but twice. I haven’t heard back from them. The first time I asked, they said, “yes, we’ll get right back to you.” One week went by. One week! And I didn’t hear anything. Then I tried to be somewhat light and said, “hey, whoever has the information about where the particular product is, can you go hit them over the head, can you shake their shoulders and tell them, the customer wants to know? And we can’t tell them one or two more weeks. He wants to know specifically.” That was on Monday of this week. Five days later…no call. Nothing.

So now I’m in a difficult situation. I like the people and I like the product, but they don’t do what they say they’re going to do. Now I’ll have a conversation with the store, but some of your customers are not like me and won’t have a conversation with you. They’ll just leave.

Ladies and gentlemen, this week; where are you fulfilling the promise you’ve made to your customers or your employees? Where are you doing this well? Identify it and celebrate it.

And then ask, “where am I not living up to my promises? Where am I not doing what I said I was going to do?” If it is with a customer, TODAY, not tomorrow, implement one strategy to alleviate this because it is the death knell to your business.

Do not let today go by without identifying one place where you’re fulfilling your promises and one area where you’re not. If you do so you’re going to have a fabulous week!

Does Your Project Matter?

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Hand draw business sketches over grey background. Business idea concept

Photo courtesy of iStock Photo

Unfortunately, projects have earned a bad rap lately. Some projects are cumbersome and lumbering. They involve people who view the project as a time suck and in turn lack the creativity and enthusiasm for doing meaningful work. Or, projects can be a vehicle for doing meaningful, fun and transformational work.

To be the latter, a project needs to answer yes to five “does the project matter?” questions.

1. Does my project provide meaningful and significant value to my customer? Will it leave them in a considerably better position?

2. Does my project fulfill a compelling need for my team and/or organization? Or, is the project a milk toast project where it would be nice to have it completed, but there’s no real compelling reason to do it.

3. Does my project matter to me? Can I get behind this project with gusto, commitment and passion? Or, am I meek and lukewarm about this project?

4. Does my project require me to learn something new, grow and or become a more successful leader or team member? Is it stretching me in ways that are rewarding while also uncomfortable?

5. Does my project have smart, talented and enthusiastic people on the project team? Or, is it populated with people who were available, but disinterested and disengaged?

Make no bones about it, transformational projects answer yes to all five questions.

When you think of your biggest current project, can you answer yes to all five questions? If not, what’s one thing you can do today to convert your no to a yes?

The 3 Strategies For Delighting Your Customers

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I attended a meeting this week at the Castle Hill Inn in Newport, Rhode Island. The Castle Hill Inn is a prestigious high end hotel my mentor, Alan Weiss, has raved about. When Alan raves about a product or service I look forward to experiencing it as he has superb taste.

When I arrived the first morning of my meeting I poured myself a cup of coffee at the coffee station serving my conference room. Since it was early in the morning I was excited about a good cup of coffee, but was disappointed as the coffee was lukewarm. I brought this to the attention of a staff member who apologized profusely and promised to correct the situation which they did.

The following morning I was delighted when I was approached by a staff member who said, “Good morning Mr. Blane. I know the coffee yesterday morning was not hot. I have a cup of hot coffee for you if you’d like it.” I said, absolutely. I was then presented with a hot and freshly brewed Cappuccino.

The Castle Hill Inn delighted me by doing three important things. They are:

1. They personalize the customer experience. The Castle Hill Inn asked for the names of the fifteen people attending my meeting. They then printed out the names and photographs of each person attending and whenever a staff member saw each attendee they called them by name.

2. They responded in unexpected ways. When the Inn catering staff learned I was disappointed by lukewarm coffee they had a piping hot cup Cappuccino the following morning. This small gesture required coordinating when I left the restaurant and arrived in the conference room. This was unexpected as well as highly thoughtful.

3. They made delighting the customer a team effort. When I received a phone call while in the lobby and needed a quiet room for my call, the front desk staff ushered me to an unoccupied room, turned on the lights and made sure I was comfortable for my call.

At every point of my stay the Castle Inn staff has been delightful. But reading this post isn’t about my delightful stay. It’s about deciding hhich of the above three strategies if fully implemented in your team or organization would delight your customers?

Are You Working With Professionals or Amateurs

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Video Notes

This week I want to talk about professionals versus amateurs.

Some people say it’s really expensive to hire a professional. I’ve actually heard that it’s expensive to work with me…I know that. I want to say to the people who say this, if you think it’s expensive working with a professional like me, wait until you hire an amateur.

There are some things you want to “invest” in. Areas such as yourself, your team and your organizations professional development. You’ll do so because when you have flourishing employees you’ll have flourishing relationships with your customers. If you don’t have flourishing relationships with your customers, I’m going to venture the reason why is because you don’t have flourishing relationships with your employees. They don’t have a role model, they don’t have an avatar, they don’t have someone raising the flag and saying, “this is how we do things.”

If you want to have flourishing relationships with your employees and your customers, why would you ever entrust that to an amateur? Hire the best people you can find to help you flourish. If you do that, your employees will flourish. When your employees flourish, your customers will flourish. If your customers flourish in a relationship with you, your business will flourish. Don’t relegate that to amateurs. Hire the best professional you can find, and you will be amazed at the results you achieve.

That’s it ladies and gentlemen, I hope you have a fabulous week, I will see you here again next week. Take care.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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There are four primary barriers that inhibit you from doing your best work and need to be overcome. They are:

1. Inertia. Inertia is seductive. It’s easy to get lulled in to doing your work in ways you’ve always done it even if it doesn’t work anymore. There is a tendency to become enamored with the simplicity of replicating the past and remaining content to do uninspired and pedestrian work. Work that is not creative, safe and predictable.

2. Ignorance. You can be smart and ignorant simultaneously. For example, a leader can be ignorant about an employees or customers hopes, dreams and aspirations. When leaders lack the knowledge of how to win the hearts and minds of those they work with, those leaders need new information and insight as to how to build personal engagement and commitment.

3. Incompetence. Incompetence in a leadership context is not having the talents and skills to do transformational work while also navigating adversity and change. People who are incompetent are fully capable of doing meaningful work, but need training and mentoring in how to to become an exemplary leader. Incompetence is not a pejorative word unless the fourth barriers also is an issue.

4. Indifference. Nine times out of ten indifference comes from not having a clear and compelling leadership and or organizational purpose. For some leaders achieving financial results is their purpose. This purpose however does little to win the hearts and minds of employees or customers. Yes, achieving financial results is essential to remain relevant. But financial metrics as a purpose counterintuitively ensures lower performance. What transformational leaders recognize is that making a meaningful difference in a persons life jettisons indifference and brings forth greater creativity, energy and a willingness to change and grow.

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Challenge

1. Which of the four barriers inhibits you the most?

2. What is the personal and professional reward for eliminating or significantly reducing it?

3. What one thing can you do today to address your barrier?

Hugh’s Words of Wisdom Wednesday

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There are four primary barriers that inhibit you from doing your best work and need to be overcome.

1. Inertia. Inertia is seductive. It’s easy to get lulled in to doing your work in ways you’ve always done it even if it doesn’t work anymore. In far too many organizations leaders have become enamored with the simplicity of replicating the past and are content to do uninspired and pedestrian work. It takes conscious thought and effort to break free from inertia and to do work that is creative and valuable.

2. Ignorance. You can be smart and ignorant simultaneously. For example, a leader can be ignorant about an employees or customers hopes, dreams and aspirations. When leaders lack the knowledge of how to win the hearts and minds of those they work with, those leaders need new information and insight as to how to build personal engagement and commitment.

3. Incompetence. Incompetence in a leadership context is not having the talents and skills to do transformational work while also navigating adversity and change. People who are incompetent are fully capable of doing meaningful work, but need training and mentoring in how to to become an exemplary leader. Incompetence is not a pejorative word unless the fourth barrier is an issue also.

4. Indifference. Nine times out of ten indifference comes from not having a clear and compelling leadership and or organizational purpose. For some leaders achieving financial results is their purpose. This purpose however does little to win the hearts and minds of employees. Yes, achieving financial results is essential to remain healthy and relevant. But financial metrics as a purpose counterintuitively ensures lower performance. What transformational leaders recognize is that making a meaningful difference in a persons life jettisons indifference and brings forth greater creativity, energy and a willingness to change and grow.

Which of these four barriers gets in the way of you doing your best work?

Saying No When You Have a High Need to Say Yes

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Video Notes:

Last week I had a conversation with Cynthia Whitaker. Cindy is a Nurse Executive with Swedish Hospital, and we were discussing how nurses specifically, but other healing, helping and supportive professionals also, feel a high need to say yes to people when they need to say no. For many nurses, they believe that saying no means they are being disloyal and unsupportive.

This becomes especially problematic for managers when they are invited to ten, twelve or fifteen meetings per week, and by attending these meetings they may be unable to get their work done during the rest of their week. Cindy asked me, “how do you say no to meeting requests when you have a high need to say yes?”

Cindy, there are three key points to remember when saying no to meeting requests.

1. Meetings can be inefficient. Without a rigorous focus and discipline, meetings can become a waste of time and human resources. Consider all of the meetings you were in last week. How many of these meetings did you leave thinking that the time spent in the meeting was a valuable, productive and an effective use of the participants time? If you answer in the range of 50/50, your meetings are potentially eroding a minimum of ten to fifteen hours of your week. If that’s the case you’ll want to manage this resource more carefully. Success in any endeavor requires utilizing all available resources to the best of your ability, and that includes meetings.

See this post for how to structure Effective Meetings

2. Value Your Time. If you don’t view your time as a precious resource to be guarded like a mother bear guarding her cubs, no one else will either. I’m not suggesting you become a time obsessed zealot tearing through your department removing all vestiges of inefficiency and wasted time. I am suggesting that the time you have available to provide high value to your organization is not infinite. You have a finite amount of time each week and how you allocate your time is as much a mindset as it is a resource allocation technique. Valuing your time changes your perspective as to how best to use it.

3. Less is more. When declining a meeting request that you believe is not the best use of your time and doesn’t contribute value to your team and or department, say less. The most powerful and graceful way to decline a meeting is simply to say, “I’m sorry, I’m not able to attend your meeting. Is there any information I can provide remotely or electronically that will be helpful? If not, can you send me your meeting notes or action items after the meeting and I’ll make sure to address any issues that need my attention.”

Too often, people who have a high need to say yes provide unnecessary explanations that are cumbersome and awkward.  They feel guilty for not attending and in turn explain why they can’t attend and why they feel badly for not attending. The best way to say no is to say no in as few words as possible and in as polite a manner as possible.

As a reminder, I have a teleconference scheduled for December 17th at 9:00AM PST. It will outline the 13 principles transformational leaders use to create extraordinary results. You can learn more and register with this link.

That’s it ladies and gentlemen. I hope you have a great week and I’ll see you here next week.

Transformational Leadership Project

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REGISTER HERE

Video Notes:

Ladies and gentlemen, over the last four to six weeks I’ve been asked six questions that I think are really telling.

  1. How can I recruit and retain the very best talent
  2. How do I increase my performance in down markets
  3. How can I execute more effectively on our strategic priorities
  4. How can I increase the level of customer satisfaction
  5. How can I reduce the too high levels of employee dissatisfaction
  6. How do I grow and innovate in a very competitive marketplace

These questions are the ones I’m going to answer on a teleconference I’m calling, “The Transformational Leadership Project.”

I’m inviting you to join me on Wednesday, December 17th at 9:00 AM Pacific time. In that teleconference I’m going to answer all these questions – I’ll answer them and share with you thirteen principles all transformational leaders engages in. Thirteen principles that when they are adopted, when they are internalized, will make sure that not only do these questions get answered, but you also create an organization that is truly thriving. It’s going to be a great way to position you and your organization for 2015.

So again, it is Wednesday, December 17th at 9:00 AM Pacific time, “The Transformational Leadership Project.” Right below this video you’ll see a link that will take you to the webpage and allow you to register. I hope to see you there. Have a great week everyone. Take care.

REGISTER HERE

The Five Reasons Why Purpose is Essential

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Video Notes:

I’m going to share with you the five reasons why purpose is absolutely essential in increasing organizational performance. There are five reasons why having a clear and compelling purpose are important.

#1. Clear and compelling purposes infuse hope, optimism and enthusiasm into an organization. Without it, it is almost nearly impossible to cultivate hope, optimism, and enthusiasm.

#2 You will eliminate false starts with a clear and compelling purpose. You eliminate the false starts because you’ve gotten clear and you’ve eliminated the mental barriers that get in the way between you and your purpose. You remove all distractions and you become laser focused.

#3 You’ll recruit the best talent. You’ll retain the best talent. Let’s be really clear about this; there are highly talented people who were looking for new opportunities. They are high performers. What they’re going to screen for are opportunities to do something that is meaningful and transformational. They want to go someplace where their work is going to make a difference. Is that your organization?

#4 You’ll be market differentiated. You will say to the marketplace, “This is what we stand for, this is what we hope for, this is what we aspire to do.” When it is compelling to your customers they gravitate towards you as opposed to your competitors. They do so because you are doing something that is really compelling for them.

#5 Here’s the one point that people glom onto. If you have a clear purpose that’s compelling, your performance and profits will be three hundred percent greater than your competitors. Let me say that again. If you have a clear and compelling purpose your profits and your performance will be three hundred percent greater than your competitors. I’m not making that number up. That’s a number that comes from a ten year study with fifty thousand brands.

Ladies and gentlemen, this week it is essential for you to start getting clear about your purpose. Purpose is not a throwaway word – purpose is the catalyst for extraordinary performance. That’s why if you work on clarifying your purpose this week you’re going to have an exceptional week, and you’re going to have the profits and the performance you have always dreamed of.

That ladies and gentlemen is the Monday Morning Minute. I hope you have a fabulous week, and I will see you here again next week. Take care.

The quality of your questions determines the quality of your results

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Video Notes:

This week I’m going to talk to you about the quality of your questions. Here’s my bold premise for this week. If you increase the quality of the questions you ask yourself, either at home or at work, then your performance will go up appreciably.

Let me give you an example of a low quality question: how do I lose ten pounds?

That’s a bad question and is a low quality question. Here’s an example of a high quality question. What do I need to do to live the most vibrant life physically? That question can take you into areas such as sleep, nutrition, exercise, the quality of the people you spend time with when you’re away from work to the quality of the people you spend time with at work.

There’s a whole different world that comes about by asking the second question as opposed to the first one. The vast majority of people in the world of work spend more time thinking about how to put out fires as opposed to becoming fire retardant. How to become fire retardant is a high quality question. How do we put out fires? That’s a low quality question.

This week if you want to have a significantly better week, if you want to transform yourself and your organization, ask high quality questions. If you do that you will be really amazed at the quality of your week.

That’s it ladies and gentlemen. Have a fabulous week and I will see you here again next week. Take care.