Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

We’ve moved this blog

May 23, 2006

We’ve moved to a new URL. Please bookmark it so you can get updated postings.

We’re now at .

Thanks for your interest.


Stellar performers start in the interview

May 18, 2006

When I encounter excellent employees I wonder if they were that way when hired or if the company trained them to be that way. I’ve decided that it is a lot of the former, with refinements coming through the latter.

These last few weeks I’ve encountered excellent employees where I didn’t expect them. I’ll admit my bias — when I visited four rockeries to choose stone for my new patio, I didn’t expect to be treated to excellent service. My project is small compared to the many big projects the rockery employees deal with every day. Yet to a person, from the counter help to the yard men, each person was friendly, attentive, helpful, and treated my basic questions with respect.

Do rockeries have some outstanding employee recognition program? Superb management? Stellar customer service training programs? I seriously doubt they have any of the above. However, they are certainly doing something right, at least from this customer’s perspective.

I’d guess it has something to do with management hiring people who will fit and weeding out those who don’t. Also, since the inside staff work closely together, if someone is rude or out of line, I’d guess peers and management would say something quickly.

Could they be even better with a little help? Of course, we can all improve. But if you haven’t hired people with a helpful, team- and customer-oriented attitude, no amount of training in the world will make them better because they aren’t open to change.

If you’d like to read more on creating a positive environment for customer excellence, read the excerpt from Calming Upset CustomersManagers’ Guidelines for Creating Customer Satisfaction.”

Are your staff continually improving?

May 17, 2006

Clients tell me it is hard to get their people to think about improving because they are so inundated with getting work out. They wish there were more efficient ways to accomplish their tasks, but they don't have time to research what they are.

I've developed a simple chart of 10 cost-effective ways to help your team more effective. Some involve very minor cost and time commitments. Many of these ideas will also encourage your staff to share ideas on best practices.

View this chart.

“The Power of Our Words”

May 10, 2006

Today I delivered the keynote address "The Power of Our Words" at the Stockton Women's Network, a warm, wonderful group of entrepreneurial women in this city south of Sacramento, CA. (I usually tithe a speech a quarter to non-profit organizations like this.) They were a great audience — attentive and participatory — my favorite!

We talked about how our words impact others, and often we say things without thinking that have long-reaching affects. I find this program is popular at managers' meetings, as managers often say things off the cuff, having no idea how devastating their remarks can be to their staff.

After the presentation, some of the SWN members shared that they were glad to be reminded that the should mind their words more carefully with their staff, peers and family.

If you'd like to read more on this program, click on the title above. The text from this program is included in the eBook Life's Lessons: Insights and Information for a Richer Life.

What’s your approach to developing your people?

May 9, 2006

At lunch today, a fellow organizational development consultant and I were sharing some projects we loved working on. We both agreed we loved working with clients who partner with us for success, and who know that lasting change in people and organizations takes more than a one-, two- or three-day leadership, management, or communications class.

I'd outlined the three types of training solutions I'd found over my 26 years in the people-development business. In the article "Decision Tree for Training Solutions" you can see the three approaches I've distinguished and which one you and your organization use most.

Yes, my bias is clear in the article. I guess I'm biased toward what I've seen repeatedly create the desired results and biased away from "solutions" which are really a waste of everyone's time and money.

See what you think. Then leave me a comment here, or email me and we can chat about it.

Ignore your counselors at your own risk!

May 5, 2006

A colleague called this morning to see if I conducted seminars on Myers-Briggs, the personality assessment. I told him I've found few people who've attended Myers-Briggs who could remember anything beyond their own four-letter style. I prefer a different system, which I've found people can remember — and use — years after the session.

He agreed that Myers-Briggs was challenging and confusing, but the client was insistent. This is another case of a client "wanting what they wanted" regardless of whether the training created the results they wanted. The only reason the colleague's client wanted this system was because so many of his staff had gone through it. He wasn't asking the critical question, "How many of those who attended can remember anything about it, let alone use the information regularly?" If he asked that, the answer would, no doubt, be "very few, if any."

If you are looking for deep-impact training, explore what outcome you want and is what you're self-prescribing going to accomplish that? Or even better, engage counselors who your respect, then take their advice! You'll get a much higher ROI if you ask yourself tough questions, then are willing to be open to a different solution.

Coaching — one of the hardest jobs for managers

May 4, 2006

A client called yesterday to ask me to work with her front-line supervisors. She described their weak areas that needed shoring up. As she described the litany of inadequacies, it occurred to me that no matter how much I coached them, I wasn't there to see them every day. Someone needs to be on-site to witness the unacceptable behaviors and coach them immediately, or catch them making improvements and give them positive feedback. A consultant 40 miles away was not the solution.

I had tired to convince the manager that I could work with her to coach them, or to work with her and the supervisors together, but she needed to be the one who would comment on their behaviors real time. She didn't see this as a solution. The unspoken truth was she didn't want to get involved — she wanted someone else to fix the problem.
This is natural — we all want someone else to make our problems go away. But to grow your people, you have to have be hands on. So if it is you who needs some coaching on how to coach, get it. You can work in tandem with a consultant, but you need to be involved. If you aren't, the problem won't go away. Or it will, but so will your key talent.

Call me at 408/998-7977 if you want to talk about how to get coached to coach your people.