A Regular Winston Churchill: Leading with the Strength of Communication

Winston Churchill

We hear time and time again the key to success of any kind is good communication. If we want to have healthy personal relationships, effective teams, or become a great leader, we have to learn how to communicate effectually.

Yet, for some reason, most of us struggle with this so called “communication” stuff.

Communication Strength

Not only do we need to find the right words to say, we have to be conscious of our body language, tone, and posture because those make up a large part of our communication.

Why is it so difficult for a large portion of us to get the message from our brains out of our mouths, while some of us seem born to orate?

Well, perhaps some of us are! That infamous co-worker, the one you always send into the boss for important pitches and conversations, is probably operating under their Communication strength.

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Metaphors, Similes, They Love All Of These!

Not only are people with this strength good at public speaking, they are very capable storytellers and writers. Instead of recounting their trip to the grocery store as a list of events, they find the language and phrases that have the ability to capture your attention and have you hanging on every word.

They have the ability to take a dry idea and add life to it by creating images and using metaphors.

In an age of information overload, it’s important for them to get their information across and for it to stick. They seek to inspire people to act. They draw people to them with their vivid word choices and clever turn of phrase.

A Leader Like Winston

Winston Churchill is arguably one of the most famous orators in recent history. From his epic World War II speeches all the way to his cheeky sarcastic remarks, there is no doubt Winston had the strength of Communication.

His ability to capture an audience and make his words memorable undoubtedly played a key role in his success as a leader.

Being a leader with Communication is a priceless asset. As a leader, you are able to:

  • advocate for yourself and your team clearly
  • your words are well-chosen, and therefore effective
  • capture an audience and present your ideas in a well understood manner
  • create safe places through rapid and effective conflict resolution
  • express concern and enter crucial conversations well prepared in an easily receivable manner

Communication Importance

While that may come as second nature to you, it is extremely difficult for many people. Make sure you are available for coaching, especially for those without Communication as a strength.

It is never advisable to have someone spend a lot of their time working on a weakness, but the importance of communication at work, or life in general, necessitates some focus on strengthening Communication.

Being a leader, or even a peer, with this strength will make you valuable to your team!

Talks Too Much In Class

Now, the dark side of Communication would suggest that there is a limit to how much, when, and where all that communicating is appropriate.

A common barrier label for Communication is “blabbermouth.”

This loving term isn’t just reserved for verbal communication either; be careful when you’re writing e-mails that you aren’t going on and on, people will definitely stop reading. Having a way with words does not necessarily mean you need to speak at every given opportunity!

If you use this strength in a sophisticated manner, you won’t have to wait long before people will come to you asking you to speak. There is no need to run to them, for you risk appearing as though you simply enjoy the sound of your own voice. Listening is just as crucial to conversation as talking.

Remember, the pendulum swings both ways. As Winston himself once said, “Courage is what it takes to stand and speak up; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”.

If you have this strength, how would you advise someone who is struggling to communicate at work? As a leader, how has this aided you and your team? How has Communication stood in your way, if at all? Have you found that you have to adapt your Communication style to the person or situation?

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Alexsys "Lexy" Thompson HCS, SWP
Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
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On Leadership, Sherlock Holmes and The Analytical Leader

Sherlock Holmes

Being Holmes

Known particularly for his shrewd logical reasoning, Detective Sherlock Holmes most certainly possesses a strength both envied and despised. Despite the efforts of those he seeks to thwart, Holmes’s uncanny ability to weed through the details of a case, find the facts, and solve the puzzle has proven he is the best at what he does.

Some might call his methods perceptive, systematic, logical, or even rigorous.

In the Strengths world, however, it is known as Analytical.

Being Watson

One must wonder, what’s it like to work for someone who is Analytical? No one knows the answer to this better than John H. Watson, Holmes’s very own assistant.

As an Analytical leader, Holmes constantly challenges others, following the motto “Prove it”.

When developing a theory of his own, Watson can count on Holmes to ensure his thinking is sound and essentially bullet proof. In Holmes’s more unsophisticated moments, Watson is also aware his ideas may be destroyed. In fact, if Holmes allows his Analytical to run amuck, he may all but completely deter Watson from speaking his mind ever again.

If you’re like Holmes…

Chances are, if you’re Analytical, your work rarely (if ever) has a mistake. You base your conclusions on proven data and facts, rather than “what ifs” and possibilities. You are able to create patterns and make connections to provide solid, agenda-free solutions, making you extremely valuable to your team and organization.

To others, you are unbiased, meticulous, and logically sound; for these reasons, you are the go to person to diffuse “fanciful thinking” and implement concrete ideas.

As a leader, you are able to provide your team with:

  • Substantial support for the bottom line
  • Relatively error free production
  • Trust worthy decision making
  • Stability in data based solutions

As with any Strength, you also need to be aware of the dark side of being Analytical.

Effectively Leading Watson

Below-the-line perceptions can be extremely powerful when leading your team. Not everyone on your team will have Analytical anywhere hear their top five, much less their top ten, so it’s critical that you understand how your feedback and/or direction are received.

Possible below-the-line perceptions are:

  • Paralysis by Analysis- too many reasons why a plan WON’T work
  • Seem argumentative
  • Ask too many questions
  • Struggle with Abstract thinking
  • Dream killer

Though your intention is to help Watson develop a sound theory, you may actually be creating an unproductive work environment for him. If Watson is high in the themes of Activator or Futuristic, your tendency to get “stuck in the weeds” will be very frustrating.

Remaining Engaged

In order to guarantee Watson remains engaged, and also develops a well-thought out plan, it’s important for you to see the forest for the trees. Remember the bottom line and present him two to three questions that can help him head in a solid direction.

There may be times when it is necessary to deconstruct Watson’s theories and redirect him to a more tangible path; be aware of how you deliver the information.

If you are too harsh, your feedback has the opportunity to be taken personally.

When you begin your line of questioning, be fastidious about which questions are essential to the bottom line. Remember, the big picture is the ultimate result of the details!

If you’re a leader strong in Analytical, how have you been able to balance your need for detail with the essentials of a particular project? Are you able to leverage the talents of other team members to get projects started? Have you found a way to deliver feedback to an employee in a way that is productive and leaves them feeling valued?

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Alexsys "Lexy" Thompson HCS, SWP
Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
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Hey Leaders: People Are People

Empathy and Compassion

It’s important to see that people are people. Sounds like an easy concept, doesn’t it?

But it’s not!

On Leadership And Empathy

Viewing people as people means that we understand that others have feelings, we care for them, and we understand that they have needs. When you feel great about your relationships, you intuitively know these things, don’t you?

Your wife has feelings, you love her with all your heart, and you do what you can to meet her needs. You take out the trash like you’re supposed to, you buy flowers for her birthday… you pour yourself into her. It’s pretty obvious that you truly do see her as a special person.

So the other day on your way to work, how did you look at the guy who cut you off in traffic? Chances are pretty good that he may have been on the receiving end of your horn, a selective finger or two, and a few choice four-letter words.

Did you see him as a person? I doubt it.

I bet that you saw him:

  • As an obstacle to what you had to do for the day
  • As a jerk
  • As an idiot
  • As as a danger
  • As anything but a person who has feelings, issues, troubles, and needs, didn’t you?

It’s ok to admit it… it happens to me too.

The reality is that we see the people closest to us as the special people that they are.  But the people that we don’t necessarily have a tie to can become just a “thing” in our minds. Other people tend to become a tool that we measure whether they are helping us achieving our goals, preventing us from achieving our goals, or just noise in the background.

However, these “things” are special people with their own set of issues, feelings, and agendas.

What Are Their Intentions?

What if you knew that man who cut you off was rushing to see his wife in the hospital because she was in a serious accident? Would that change your mind about him cutting you off? Maybe you would have even let him go? You see, we all have our own agendas near and dear to our hearts, but we tend to forget that other people do too.

We will often view people based on how they fit our agenda – if they fit, then we care for them; if they don’t, they’re just getting in our way.

We are all guilty of judging people by their actions and not by their intentions. Those actions can hurt us or let us down. However, we tend to judge ourselves based on our intentions. How many times have you said, “I didn’t mean to do that. What I was trying to do was…”?

If we truly want to be judged by our intentions, we have to start judging others by theirs.

 No One is “Below” You

We are also guilty of fitting people into some sort of an importance hierarchy. Depending on where we see ourselves, our hierarchy may look something like this:

Level 7: The President
Level 6: Me
Level 5: Executives
Level 4: Clerks and assistants
Level 3: Those pesky teenagers in the neighborhood
Level 2: Labor workers
Level 1: The homeless

It seems somewhat absurd when it’s written out that way, doesn’t it? But I know that I’m not the only one that has looked at people with this in my heart. This is exactly what happens when we look at people as “things” in our lives or pieces that fit our agendas.

No one is below you! And, for that matter, no one is above you!

Every single person on that list is a person. There is not a single one on that list that deserves to be placed in the box that we’ve put them in.

It’s About What’s in Your Heart

What is in your heart is what determines how you will see the people around you. If you truly love people, you will naturally see them on a level playing field with yourself, no matter where they may fall in someone else’s pecking order.

  • Their job doesn’t matter
  • Their income doesn’t matter
  • Their looks don’t matter

But what does matter is that they are people. They are just as special as you are, with their own talents and treasures to offer the world. Having the compassion to see people as they really are can make the difference between being a leader of people and just being productive with your own to-do list.

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Rich Bishop
Rich Bishop is President of Bishop Coaching & Consulting Group
He takes a hands-on approach to your Development through Coaching & Training
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Leading Customer Service

Leading Customer Service

Good customer service doesn’t begin nor end with the customer.  

It begins with the leader and, well, I don’t believe it ever ends.

Defining Customer Service

You may have heard the saying that, “customer service is not a department,” right.  You may have a department called Customer Service, but by doing so, you make it feel as though that’s where it’s all taken care of.

  • But what about you, the leader?
  • Aren’t you supposed to be involved?
  • Don’t you have some say in the matter?

Absolutely, you do!  

If you want to dig even deeper, you should see that it’s everyone’s responsibility, not just yours, not just the Customer Service Department’s, but everyone who works within the organization. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep the organism healthy and functioning well.

Leadership is Influence

But leaders influence.  Some positively, some negatively.  Either one of those effects others’ customer service abilities.  You need to treat every employee you come in contact with, with the utmost sincerity and respect.

If you don’t do it, your employees won’t do it.  Unless you’re dedicated to taking the reigns to develop superior service in your employees, it’s not going to happen.

Taking a customer service class here and there or reading quotes on a poster once a month, is not going to furnish that sustained motivation that your employees need to provide that WOW service.

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L2L Reader Quote: “Invaluable advice and encouragement!”

Doing Your Whole Job

“I don’t have time to take on anything extra.”  How many times have you heard that or thought it?  Well first, customer service is not “something extra.”

Customers are where your revenue and profit comes from.  In any organization, there’s typically somewhere else they could go, or at least just stop coming. So when you’re that dependent on something like customers, how can you call service, “something extra?”

In Lee Cockerell’s (former VP of Operations, Walt Disney World Resort) new book, The Customer Rules, he points out that:

 “Great leaders speak loudly and often about what they want their organizations to focus on and what employees are expected to do.”

Hello . . .  How many of you, or other leaders you know in your organization, speak loudly about customer service?  But you always hear about sales, production, etc.

Keeping Ahead of the Pack

Don’t wait for customer service to get bad before you do anything about it.  By then it’s too late.  The damage has been done.  Now you’re into damage-control mode – which takes a lot more effort.

Monkey see, monkey do, here’s an easy activity to do (didn’t mean for that to rhyme, but I’ll take it).  Go to a few local retail stores or restaurants.  Spend just a few minutes in each one, just observing the employees.  You’ll be able to tell what the management is like within just a couple of minutes because the employees walk the leader’s talk.

No matter how good the stores’ customer service “program” is, it won’t be successful unless the leaders walk the talk.

You can’t just focus on the everyday business stuff – products, marketing, sales.  In his book, Lee goes on to say that, “Managers have to recognize that sustained profits depend on their ability to generate consistent, ongoing, excellent service”.  You have to keep good service in the forefront of everyone’s mind if you want it to be consistent.

A Whole New World

We don’t live in a world anymore where we can focus on one product and be the only place to get it.  You may come up with a one of kind product, but you, very soon, will have competition.  You must lead the customer service attitude.

“But seriously, I have very little time.”  In Beverly Kay & Julie Winkle Giulioni’s newest book, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go, they say it so perfectly – “let’s get real.  You’re having conversations already . . . What if you could redirect some of that time and some of those conversations to focus on careers?”

In this case, bettering customer service is bettering a career.  A few words here, and a few words there.  Just be sure you’re backing up those words with what you do.

Leadership By Example

Most people aren’t going to personally try to get their teams to improve customer service.  It has to come from you.  If you bring the horse to the watering hole, the horse will have a drink.  But if you offer a trough, the horse will always be able to get a drink.

You’re always looking for new and better ways to increase sales, improve products, or streamline production.  If you can’t increase customers or keep the ones you have . . . none of that will matter.

Do you walk the talk when it comes to customer service?  How much time do you spend talking to employees?  How much time could you spend talking to employees? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Andy Uskavitch
Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development at Florida Blood Services
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
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Executive Effectiveness: 4 Insights on Becoming Inspiring

Inspiration

One of the most important competencies a leader must master is the ability to inspire people.

On Inspiration and Motivation

There is a difference between inspiration and motivation.

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in·spi·ra·tion  [ ìnspə ráysh'n ] n.

1. Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity.

By definition, “to inspire” means “to exert a stimulating or beneficial effect upon, or to arouse with a particular emotion”

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mo·ti·va·tion  [ mo tə váysh'n ]  n.

1. Something that motivates; an inducement or incentive.

By definition, “to motivate” means “to provide with an incentive, or move to action.”.

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The important implication to this distinction is that we inspire people by who we are and what we do (or did), and people are motivated by who they are or what they want.

Therefore, for you to be able to inspire people, they need to see who you are as a person and they need to become aware of what you’re doing or what you’ve done in the past.

Inspirational Leadership

What does being an inspiring leader accomplish?

Inspirational leadership achieves a number of very important things.

Elicit Emotions

An inspiring leader elicits an emotional response from people. This ability is essential to effective leadership. People are moved more often and more strongly by emotion than they are by logic.

When we inspire people, it creates the desire to accomplish more and helps people to overcome their challenges and fears. Becoming an inspirational leader is one of the keys to creating a high performing team.

Spark Imagination

An inspiring leader can spark the imagination of an entire organization. When a leader masters the ability to deliver an inspiring message, their message can become the catalyst for a new, innovative future. Inspiration causes people to align themselves with your vision, your passion, and your cause.

Belief, Enthusiasm and Hope

An inspirational leader creates belief, enthusiasm, and hope in people. When people are inspired by someone, they admire them, respect them, and often strive to emulate them. In turn, they will strive to gain your respect and admiration as well.

Who & How

Now that I’ve sparked your interest in becoming a more inspirational leader we need to turn our attentions to the things we can do to become more inspiring. A good place to start is by thinking of people who you find inspiring and by reflecting on why they inspire you.

These people may be historic figures, present day figures, or family members.

Here is a sample list of people I think most of us would consider to be inspiring:

Feelings About People

  • So the question is, what is it (or was it) about them that makes them inspiring?
  • What causes us to feel that way about them?

If you list all the things about them that cause you to feel that way, you’ll see that it boils down to how you feel about them as a person or what they did that was admirable.

When someone has a vision, a passion, a purpose, or a philosophy and communicates it well, they draw people to them like a magnet.

They inspire them to dream bigger and achieve more. Even more inspiring is when they act on that vision, passion, or purpose.

Onward to Greater Things

Additionally, we’re often inspired by someone who was willing to stand up for someone or something. We tend to admire people like that. People who overcame adversity and succeeded in spite of it also inspire us onward to greater things.

We all have challenges. Sometimes we overcome them, and sometimes they overwhelm us.

An inspiring leader can make all the difference in someone’s life.

Alignment & Integrity

And finally, we are inspired by someone with integrity. Someone who not only does what he or she says they will do, but speaks and acts in alignment with the values they say matter to them. There are few things more powerful than a person who lives by their principles.

Let me offer some insights into what you can do right now to be more inspiring to the people around you. Most of us haven’t had to overcome extraordinary challenges and most of us haven’t made an impact on a global scale. But nevertheless, each of us can be an inspiring leader to our team, our company and our family.

Your Future Challenge

If you want to enhance your leadership effectiveness and achieve greater success, it is essential to become inspiring to others. We each tend to consider our past achievements and accomplishments as unremarkable.

Unremarkable because either they came easily to us, or because we feel that anyone (and everyone) could accomplish what we did, or because we focus on (and are possibly embarrassed by) the challenges we faced rather than focusing on the fact that we overcame. Nothing could be further from the truth.

INSIGHT #1: 

Become clear about, effectively communicate, and act upon your vision, passion, purpose, or philosophy.

People are attracted to and inspired by someone who believes in something and is passionate. In truth, most people aren’t passionate about anything in their life. Having and expressing a vision can be impactful, but actually taking action on what we say matters to us is very powerful. After all, actions speak louder than words.

If you need a jump start towards gaining clarity about this for yourself, reflect on what advice you would give someone just starting out in business or in life. Never miss an opportunity to share what matters to you. Use stories to make your point and paint a picture with your words.

INSIGHT #2: 

Let others know about an adversity you overcame.

When people hear a story of how someone overcame adversity and succeeded in spite of it, they become inspired to overcome their own obstacles and challenges. It doesn’t have to be a “crushing” issue. It can be an attitude, circumstance or belief that we overcame which allowed us to achieve what we did and become who we are today.

Share past challenges that you worked to overcome. Remember, it doesn’t have to be a major life-altering challenge to have an impact on someone. Once again, use stories to make your point and paint a picture.

INSIGHT #3: 

Be willing to stand up for what you believe.

People admire someone who stands up for what they believe – even if they don’t agree with them! They admire someone who is true to themselves and defends others.

Don’t compromise on the principles you believe in. Stand up for someone’s rights, even if you don’t agree with them.

INSIGHT #4: 

Act with integrity.

When someone does what they say they’re going to do, it creates an impression. When they go out of their way to do what they said they’d do, it creates an impression. Acting with integrity causes people to take notice of us. When we speak and act in alignment with the values we say matter us, we make an impression on people.

Make a practice of doing what you say you are going to do, become clear on what values matter to you, and work to ensure your words and actions align with who you say you are as a person.

The best way to start becoming more inspiring is to take time to reflect back on your life and take stock of how you’ve changed, who you’ve become, what you’ve achieved, and what you believe in (your passions, philosophies and/or purpose). And then begin sharing it. Share it with your team, your company, and your family. Once you do, you’ll start making a greater difference in people’s lives.

By the way, if you’d like help becoming more inspiring as a leader, please give me a call or contact me through the website.

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Michael Beck
Michael J. Beck is President of Michael Beck International, Inc
He helps leaders improve their personal effectiveness and productivity
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Leading Change: Meet Me Where I Am

Where Am I?

When an organization under goes a big change, there is often times a lot of visual evidence that something is new or different. People, places, or things are no longer how they were and the way things are done have been altered.

These things can be for the better. And they can also be for the worse.

Imagining Change

Because big change efforts need a lot of attention to the obvious, the unspoken and less-obvious things can be neglected or forgotten. And what often goes under the radar is how people feel about the new changes.

The challenge for a leader implementing change is remembering what it feels like to experience change.

When a leader, or a team of leaders, disconnects from the emotional aspects of a change effort, they may be totally unaware of the personal tsunamis that their people may be experiencing.

This can often be so disturbing that the change effort is eventually deemed a failure.

Avoiding Tragedy

To avoid the emotional pitfalls and landmines that can plague any big change effort, leaders must be able to empathize with their people. They need to get past the rush to just get everyone on board and take the time to make sure that everyone on board is really on board.

In order to help create a successful initiative, leaders need to be emotionally plugged into the heads, hearts, and souls of their people and understand that they may be dealing with hidden issues like:

  • Fears
  • Uncomfortableness
  • Disorientation
  • Distraction
  • Alienation
  • Abandonment
  • Insecurity
  • Shock

A Case in Point

Big New Change

While leading the beginning stages of a change initiative recently, the church that I attend opened a new sanctuary. During construction, we talked about our community’s vision and the purpose of the new facilities.  We lingered over models and took a tour of the unfinished building.

The future looked promising.

But when we held the first service there, I was strangely uncomfortable.

  • My “normal seat” was gone.
  • The new sanctuary had no middle aisle like the former one did.
  • I didn’t recognize any of the people who used to sit in the same section.
  • And when the music started, the volume overwhelmed me.

Tsunami Recovery

To get more settled, I moved to the back to see if it helped.  It was cold back there. The blasts of cold air made me shiver.  I was not settled. In fact, I was regretting the whole “new” thing.

All of a sudden, I thought:

“Maybe it’s time to look for a different church.”

But in an instant I retracted this thinking:

What?! What kind of reaction was that for a long-time member?

I was unsettled, confused, alarmed, cold, and looking for peace.

Speaking the Obvious

The pastor began with this, “Sometimes when a good thing happens, it can feel weird.”  He explained how moving into the new building was a milestone, but like any move, the new place didn’t feel like home yet.

He reminded us of our vision and purpose, And he acknowledged feeling at home would take a while.

I relaxed when he said, “There are so many bells and whistles that we don’t how to work.  It’s too cold in here.  It’s too loud.  We’ll figure that out.  But you have all the time you need to get used to this place.  It’s okay to feel weird until you don’t feel weird here anymore.”

The Meeting Place

He met us right where we were.  Disoriented, confused, uncomfortable—he met us right there. He didn’t try to hide the negative stuff.  My trust in him increased as he acknowledged reality.

A leader of change must think about the people affected by the change and address their concerns in the transition. they need to properly and effectively deal with what’s ending, what’s up for grabs, and what will be in the future.

How a servant leader engages in that “letting go” phase is critical to how people move through the phases.

The authenticity, integrity, and empathy of my pastor brought us into a journey together, embracing a new place, while letting go of the old.

Being Others Focused

Robert Quinn describes a necessary shift in the leader. Normally, we are more “self-focused, externally directed, internally closed, and comfort-centered.”

This means that we are:

  • More intent on our own success than others
  • More concerned about how I appear to others
  • Not open to new opinions
  • Unwilling to get out of your comfort zone

To really carry out your purpose and help people navigate change, leaders must become more “others-focused, internally directed, externally open, and purpose-centered.”

This means that we are:

  • More concerned about the common good
  • Leading out of integrity
  • Seeing questions and concerns as necessary pieces of information
  • Fully committing to the end result, regardless of personal comfort

On Vision and Hope

In a change process, the journey of the individual is related to the  journey of the leader.  As a leader is clear about the vision and direction, and is committed to getting there, people gain hope.

As a leader is honest about realities and what needs to change, people gain trust.

As their questions and concerns are met with empathy and authenticity, people become part of the change community.  As people are engaged in creating solutions, people gain energy and motivation.

The change begins when you’re willing to meet people where they are.

What tips do you have for staying authentic and empathetic in the midst of leading change?

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Andrea Buczynski is VP for Global Leadership Development-HR at Cru
She helps develop effective leaders, growing people, and healthy teams
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On Leadership, Being Right or Just Making it Right

Make it Right

It took me a couple of years of being a leader to get to the point of maturity where I could readily admit this humble truth about “being right”:

It just doesn’t matter who is right (my company or the customer).

On Being Right

To get to this point, I had to ask myself:

  • Was it really worth it to me (and my company) to be right?
  • Was it worth it to lose a customer over a seemingly insignificant amount of money, just so I could be right?

The answer was a resounding, “NO!”

Now, one of the coolest questions that I get to ask our unhappy customers is this:

What can we do to make this right in your mind?

Most People

Once I started asking this question I realized a few different things:

  1. Most people don’t want as much as you are willing to give to fix the problem.
  2. Most people really admire you, as a company, for owning the problem, and fixing it.
  3. Most people are appreciative, and end up sticking with you for the foreseeable future.

I say MOST people, because you will inevitably get the customer that makes up the 1%, and decides to abuse you. You will encounter the customer that goes against all things human, and has unreasonable expectations in regards to a potential solution.

At this point in the relationship you, as a leader, get to decide if you are going to tolerate this customer abuse, or if you are going to fire the customer. I have done both.

However, any time you have the chance to excel in the eyes of the customer, it creates a win-win-win (customer-company-employee), and you get to reap the benefits!

You also create a raving fan.

On Making It Right

What is a “Raving Fan” you might ask? Ken Blanchard is an author of several books that speak about different business, leadership, customer service, and team concepts. In his book, Raving Fans he talks about creating a customer that is just satisfied vs. a customer that will bring that satisfaction to the next level by talking about your company to anyone that will listen.

Almost every sales trainer out there will talk about this concept. Gerry Layo & Jeffrey Gitomer talk about how satisfied customers are the scariest customers, because:

  • They never complain
  • They never call in for problems with their billings
  • They never call to discuss their concerns
  • They just leave
  • They go to the competition, because they perceive that you don’t care

Even if you haven’t done anything to offend them, directly. You haven’t done enough, in their mind, to give them a reason to stick around.

Opportunity to Lead Your Customers

Layo and Gitomer also discuss how dissatisfied customers provide the biggest opportunity for your company to grow. If you care for them in an exceptional way, you have the chance to gain a customer for life.

You have the chance to impress a customer so much so that they tell everyone they know about your efforts. These are the most enjoyable customers, because they look forward to hearing from you, for any reason! I’ve had some of these customers actually thank me for sending them a bill!

There are other variations of this concept, but you get the point.

So, how are you creating this type of customer for your company?

Have you gotten over yourself (and your ego) enough to ask an open-ended question like the one above?

You open yourself up to a lot of scenarios by asking a question like this. Are you ready for it?

What are you doing with the list of these customers? Are you keeping them a secret, or are you broadcasting them to your entire company, so they can see the type of company that they work for? You, in essence, are becoming a “Raving Fan” yourself.

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——————–
Lucas McAlpin is Director of Residential HVAC at Thermal Services
He enjoys contributing to leadership conversations via blog, FB, and LinkedIn
Email | LinkedIn |  Facebook | Web | Blog

Image Sources: fwdemails.com

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