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Showing posts from May, 2012

Knowing When To Say "Thank You" To Your Customers

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In your leadership role, it's vital that your team members know how to deliver excellent customer service. "Knock Your Socks Off" type service as book editor Ann Thomas and Jill Applegate would say.

Part of delivering excellent customer service is saying "Thank You" to your customers and knowing when to say "Thank You".

Thomas and Applegate recommend telling your customers "Thank You" during at least these nine situations:
When they do business with you...every time.When they compliment you (or your company)When they offer you comments or suggestionsWhen they try one of your new products or servicesWhen they recommend you to a friendWhen they are patient...and even when they are not so patientWhen they help you to serve them betterWhen they complain to youWhen they make you smile
You and your team members can say "Thank You":
VerballyIn writing (and don't underestimate the power of personal notes via snail mail)With a small, tas…

Make A Pledge To Hire A Veteran By Year's End

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As we wind up this year's Memorial Day, consider making a pledge, as Siemens Corp. has done, to hire a veteran.  For Siemens, by the end of this year, they will have hired almost 1,000 vets across many of its U.S. businesses.

According to Siemens Corp. President and CEO Eric Spiegel, as featured in this week's Bloomberg's Business Week magazine, "Veterans make excellent employees and leaders."  He adds that it can also be a tremendous boost to corporate morale.

When hiring veterans, G.I. Jobs recommends that you hire because of the veteran's attributes and qualities instilled by his/her military service.  Spiegel agrees.  He says, "The veterans we hire score well for leadership, discipline, work ethic and team skills.  These are people who are focused on getting the job done and getting it done right, regardless of the challenge."

Don't get hung up on trying to match the technical skills developed in the military to specific civilian job require…

The Four Components That Create Customer Satisfaction

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Great customer service tips from author Micah Solomon's new book, High-tech, High-touch Customer Service:

You provide value when you deliver the four components that reliably create customer satisfaction:
A perfect product or serviceDelivered in a caring, friendly mannerOn time (as defined by the customer)With the backing of an effective problem-resolution process
Micah has been named by the Financial Post as “a new guru of customer service excellence.” He is a keynote speaker and consultant on customer service issues, the customer experience, and company culture.  He previously coauthored the bestselling Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit.

Recommendations For Your Business Books Summer Reading List

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This Memorial Day, as you select the books you plan to read for pleasure this summer, how about adding to the list at least one business book. Perhaps a book that will help you improve your leadership skills.

Awhile back, members of five groups on the professional social media web site LinkedIn voluntarily recommended their favorite books about leadership. They responded to a group discussion question, "Best Leadership Books -- What's Your Favorite?"

When contemplating their favorites, they likely thought about which books were in their minds the best, most favored, most inspiring, most instructional, most relevant, and which ones they might reference frequently.

The recommendations came from these member groups:
ExecuNet Executive SuiteLeadership Think TankLinked 2 LeadershipKeller Graduate School Of ManagementThe Talent Buzz As the recommendations rolled in, it became clear that leaders learn from, and are inspired by, a wide variety of books -- biographies, autobiogr…

eBook Teaches How To Manage Email In The Workplace

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Internal communication expert and consultant David Grossman of The Grossman Group recently told NBC Nightly News that workplace email is out of control.

"And, it's time to tame the email monster," explains Grossman.

"You'd love to spend your day doing your job so that maybe, just maybe you could get home and enjoy uninterrupted time with your family or get out with friends," says Grossman. "Instead, you spend so much time every day managing your inbox that everything else in your life--real work, family, play--is practically an afterthought."

Grossman has written a new free ebook where he tackles the email beast--showing what some companies are doing to: rein in the email monstermake better use of working hourscut back on the stress on employees caused by a 24/7 cycle of endless emails The ebook also includes tools and strategies for managing email in your workplace, and explains when it makes sense to use email--and when we should take advantage …

Leaders: You've Got To Do More Than...

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Here are some of my favorite leadership and life tips and advice from William Arthur Ward, one of America's most quoted writers of inspirational maxims:
Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work.

How To Define Your Organization's Purpose

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John Baldoni offers these tips in his book, Lead With Purpose, for how to define an organization's purpose. He suggests that you must ask three questions:

What is our vision -- that is, what do we want to become?What is our mission -- that is, what do we do now?What are our values -- that is what are the behaviors we expect of ourselves?

Career Observations On Effective Corporate Cultures

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Fortunately, most of my career I’ve worked in effective corporate cultures. If I put together the best of each, here is what made those environments effective:

Leaders led by example on a consistent basis and were willing to roll up their sleeves, particularly during tight deadlines or challenging times.

Employees clearly understood how what they did made a difference and how their contributions made the organization either more profitable or more effective.

The workforce included a blend of long-term employees with a rich company, product/service and customer history, employees who had been at the company for five to seven years, and then new hires with a fresh perspective and keen sense of new technologies and techniques. That blend worked best when the mix included virtually all A-players.

Top managers had a clear, realistic and strategic vision for how the company would grow and compete in the marketplace.

Employees were challenged and rewarded through growth oppor…

Explain Each Person's Relevance

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Your employees appreciate clearly knowing how what they do each day specifically contributes to your company's or organization's success.

So, it's important that you explain the relevance of each person's job. Help each employee or team member to understand how what they do makes a difference.

Answer their questions about the significance of their work. Demonstrate how if their job isn't done well, or isn't fully completed, how that negatively impacts the rest of the process or your business' overall product or service.

Sometimes in organizations too much time is spent explaining the relevance of sales positions or management positions. But, everyone on the team needs to understand their relevance and the importance of what they do.

10 Things A Sales Manager Should Avoid

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You'll find the following list of the ten most common mistakes made by sales managers toward the very end of Kevin Davis' book, Slow Down, Sell Faster!, about how to sync your sales approach with your customer's buying process:
Failing to shift from "super salesperson" mode to managerial mindset.Fighting fires continually.Leaving your staff to sink or swim on their own.Ignoring the importance of performance standards/getting blind-sided by poor performance.Failing to leverage the strengths and resources of your team's top producers.Spending too much time working with the bottom 20 percent.Allowing senior salespeople to get stuck in an unmotivated rut.Being inconsistent in your recruiting and hiring process.Assuming your sales reps will figure things out the same way you did.Hanging on to low-producing salespeople for far too long. The chapter on coaching for sales success is well worth the price of the book by itself, but fortunately, the rest of the 250-page…

5 Questions Your Employees Would Love To Hear During Their Performance Reviews

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Here are five important questions you, as a manager and leader, should ask during employee performance reviews:
What have I done to help - or hinder - your job performance?What can I do in the next review period to help you achieve/improve?What conditions here enable you - or make it hard - to do your best work?What do you want most from your job?How can I help you reach your career goals?I speculate that most employees have never heard most of these questions from their supervisors on a consistent basis during performance reviews.

Thanks to Sharon Armstrong and Barbara Mitchell for these questions -- just some of their great advice from their book, The Essential HR Handbook.

Geoffrey James On What Makes An Extraordinary Boss

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A friend shared with me a spot-on article by Geoffrey James the other day. In it, James explains the difference between averages bosses and extraordinary bosses. He demonstrates why the best managers have a fundamentally different understanding of workplace, company, and team dynamics.

His insights are based on his interviews of some of the most successful CEOs.  Read his article in its entirety.  The eight points he explains are:

1. Business is an ecosystem, not a battlefield.
2. A company is a community, not a machine.
3. Management is service, not control.
4. My employees are my peers, not my children.
5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.
6. Change equals growth, not pain.
7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.
8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.
James writes the "Sales Source" column on Inc.com, the world's most-visited sales-oriented blog, which features the best ideas from dozens of sales experts and executives, along with James' unique take on t…