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Showing posts from April, 2011

5 Tips For Writing Effective Company Policies

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Keep these five tips in mind when you craft your next company policy:
Keep the policy short and simple.Get rid of two old policies for every new policy you implement.Make sure that your organization's policy and procedures are written to serve your employees and customers--not just your organization.Don't write a policy in reaction to a single incident.  The problem may never arise again.Don't write a policy longer than one-page, no matter how large your organization may be. Thanks to author Bob Nelson for these great tips from his book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees.

How To Talk To An Employee About His Poor Performance

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As a leader, the time will come when you will have to speak with an employee about his or her poor performance. Here are six steps that will guide you through that process:
Tell him what performance is in need of change and be specific.Tell him how his actions negatively affect the team.Let the discussion sink in.Set expectations of performance improvement and timeframe, and get his agreement on the desired outcome.Remind him that he is a valuable part of the team and that you have confidence his performance will improve.Don't rehash the discussion later. You made your point. Give him time to make his improvement.

Best Practices E-mail Guidelines For Effective Communication

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Are you leading an organization where e-mail communication is ineffective?

Here are some wise guidelines that Verizon Wireless has used to promote effective, efficient and responsible e-mail use within its company.  You can find these guidelines in the new book, Managers, Can You Hear Me Now?, written by Denny F. Strigl, former CEO and President of Verizon Wireless.
E-mail should bring closure to work, not create more work.Before you write an e-mail, ask yourself if calling or visiting the recipient will bring better communication.Keep e-mails short.  Make your point in just the subject line or the space in the preview pane.Don't assume other people are staring at their screens, waiting for your e-mail.If just one person needs information or clarification, don't send your e-mail to a group.Never send e-mail when you're angry.Assume anything you put in writing will be leaked to the press or to your competitors.Stay accountable.  Sending an e-mail doesn't transfer respon…

Find The Truth In The Middle

If you're a parent of two children you already know that when the two are fighting and child #1 tells you what happened, you then ask child #2 what happened, and most often the truth is somewhere in the middle of what the two children have told you.

Surprisingly, many managers, even when they are parents, don't use this parenting "discovery" skill in the workplace. Instead, they often listen to only one side of a situation. Whether it is because of lack of interest or lack of time, they don't proactively seek out the other side of the story.

The unfortunate result is those managers form incorrect perceptions that can often lead to poor decisions and/or directives.

So, the next time two employees are at odds, or when one department complains about another department within your organization, take the time to listen to all sides of the situation to discover the truth that's in the middle.

Are You Ready For Your Next Leader Interview?

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Many Human Resource (HR) managers have moved away from questions like "What's your weakness?" and prefer behavior-based questions, which ask you to:
describe how you handled specific situations at your former jobs If you about to interview for your next leadership position, be prepared for questions like these (from a recent article in Reader's Digest):
Tell me about a time when your integrity was challenged. What was the situation, and what did you do?Tell me about a time you had to work with someone you did not personally like.If you could come to work with only three tools to get your job done, what would they be?What personal and professional development have you been engaged in outside the workplace over the past year?Describe your Outlook calendar on a typical day

How To Give Constructive Feedback

Eric Harvey and Al Lucia wrote a booklet called, 144 Ways To Walk The Talk. In that, they provide the following great advice for how to give your employees constructive feedback: Make it timely -- give your feedback as soon as possible to the performance.Make it individualized -- tailor your feedback to the feedback receiver.Make it productive -- focus your feedback on the performance and not the performer.Make is specific -- pinpoint for the receiver observable actions and behaviors.

7 Tough Questions To Ask Your Team

High-functioning teams can disagree and still produce excellent products and results. Team members can also disagree and still care about each other. And, they can challenge each other to think differently.

Best-selling leadership book authors Scott J. Allen and Mitchell Kusy recommend that leaders ask seven tough questions of their teams to help maximize their results. Here are those questions to ask each team member:
What are some obstacles affecting this team?What are opportunities we could take advantage of that we have been largely ignoring?Where can you take greater ownership on this team?Where have you let this team down?Compared to other teams with which you are familiar, how are we doing?When was the last time you complimented the team or one of its members?How open are you to giving direct feedback to team members?

50 Ways To Lead And Bring Out The Leader In Everyone

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The authors of a new leadership book that publishes next month suggest that readers don't read their book cover to cover.  But, if you're like me, you'll read the book that way.  That's because I found, The Little Book of Leadership Development, by Scott J. Allen and Mitchell Kusy, a compelling read, packed with practical tips and techniques for both leading and helping others to learn how to lead effectively.

What you'll find is basically 50 one- to two-page chapters, each highlighting a leadership tip.  Some tips seem easy and no-brainers.  Others are more difficult to implement.  But, even the "easy" ones are surprisingly absent from many organizations, so they are well worth a reminder of what to do and how to do it correctly.

Here are some of my favorite parts of the book that highlight the keen observations by the authors:
As a leader, if you are active, involved, and perceived by members of your team as an individual who care about their developmen…

12 Tips For Retaining Customers And Finding New Ones

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Are you a leader in need of ideas for how to retain your customers and how to find new ones? 

Here are 12 ideas for you:
Offer payment plans.Conduct customer satisfaction surveys.Develop a system to track your customers.Ask all customers how they heard of your business.Identify a market you may have overlooked.Return all telephone calls.Ask your customers to come back again.Offer incentives.Learn customer names.Keep track of customer comments.Make follow-up calls to customers.Provide regular customers with discounts. Thanks Bank of America and SCORE Association for these ideas from your Small Business Basics handbook.

Chick-fil-A Serves Up 11 Leaders On May 6

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On May 6, the quick-service chicken restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A will serve up more than chicken.  Because, that's the day when the chain's President and COO Dan Cathy brings together 10 influential leaders during a one-day leadership "Leadercast" available at hundreds of locations around the U.S. and overseas.

"We desire to influence leaders at every level within an organziation. Whether you are leading a team of 2,000 or just yourself, the Chick-fil-A Leadercast is designed to help you use your voice to create positive change," explains the organization.

I am a big fan of Chick-fil-A because of its customer service.  It is also known as a company that has built its success on core values and its focus on developing leaders.  I also like that employees respond with "my pleasure" instead of "no problem" when customers say "thank you."

Chick-fil-A says leaders can express themselves with five voices (described below in Chick-fi…

How To Increase Customer Loyalty: Act Quickly

A customer who complains and receives a fast response will actually be more loyal to your company in terms of future sales and referrals than a customer who never complained at all.  That is what author Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy proclaim, and I agree with them.

They also say in their book, Now...Build A Great Business!, that:
a slow response to a customer complaint triggers fear and anger. And, when that happens, the customer is afraid that he/she is going to be stuck with a product/service that doesn't work and feels angry that he/she went ahead with the purchase in the first place.

So, lead your team to:
Respond quickly to customer complaintsRefuse to defend or make excusesOffer to make the customer happy immediatelyBe open and honestTell the truth and tell it as soon as you know it Bottom-line...assume that anything you do or say will become public knowledge quickly. So, resolve to build and maintain trust in everything you do.