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Showing posts from August, 2013

Leaders: Avoid These Common Mistakes

In Leading Change, Step-By-Step , author Jody Spiro describes three common mistakes leaders should avoid . Those are: Thinking That a Mission is Developed by a Single Leader -- Spiro explains that in order to have buy-in from across the organization, the creation of a mission requires negotiation and genuine input from across the organization.  And that means a leader needs to be a good, active listener. Addressing Too Much in a Single Strategy; Inability to Say "No" -- According to Spiro, leaders should avoid the temptation to "pack" a given strategy with several other strategies.  Instead, you should be selective and narrow the strategy to a single thought that furthers your mission and is a niche where you can have a competitive advantage or offer a unique program or service. Confusing Strategies with Actions -- Both strategies and actions specify something that will be done. But, as Spiro explains, actions are more specific and concrete.  The strateg

The Definition of Class In A Manager

AMACOM's (of the American Management Association) sixth edition of the best-selling book, The First-Time Manager -- originally published in 1981 is a must-read for new managers and leaders in business. The book covers eight core responsibilities of a new manager , including: Hiring Communicating Planning Organizing Training Monitoring Evaluating Firing Expert advice is additionally provided regarding: Using Your New Authority Managing Your Mood Building Trust One of my favorite sections of the book is the one about class in a manager : Class is treating people with dignity. Class does not have to be the center of attention. Class does not lose its cool. Class does not rationalize mistakes. Class is good manners. Class means loyalty to one's staff. Class recognizes the best way to build oneself is to first build others. Class leads by example. Class does not taken action when angry. Class is authentic and works hard at making actions consisten

Why The CEO Should Be The First Person To Interview A Candidate

"Don't Hire Jerks, No Matter How Talented," said Michael Lebowitz in an interview for The New York Times awhile back. Lebowitz is the CEO of Big Spaceship , a marketing and communications agency. He claims, and I agree, that no matter how talented the person may be, if he/she can't fit into the company culture and work effectively with co-workers, it doesn't matter how talented he/she is. The other advice Lebowitz gives is: If you are the CEO, be the FIRST person to interview a candidate . Don't be last, as is typically the case. "I completely step back from trying to assess their skills. I leave that to the people they're going to be working with really closely," said Lebowitz. "And, so I spend as much time as an hour, sometimes 90 minutes, just trying to figure out who they are and if they're going to be a good fit for the culture." In his interviews, Lebowitz asks these open-ended questions : So, what do you do?

5 Tips For Writing A Company Policy

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 .

5 Books To Read This Fall

Stumped for what business books to add to your fall reading list?  Here are five must-read books for leaders well worth adding to your list: Lead With A Story -- A Guide To Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire .  Author Paul Smith explains why storytelling has emerged as a vital skill for every leader and manager.  In the book, you'll find over 100 ready-made stories you can use as templates to tell your stories.  Stories are so powerful because they are simple, timeless, demographic-proof, contagious, easy to remember and inspiring.  Most important, they put the listener in a mental learning mode. What's The Future Of Business? (WTF?) -- Changing The Way Businesses Create Experiences .  This book, by Brain Solis, details the incredible transformation happening in business today, driven by new social and mobile technologies.  And, he explains how experience design helps your business and how you can harness its power for business growth. 

How To Build An Effective Corporate Culture

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 th

The Seven Attributes of Meaningful Work

There are so many good things to learn in the book, Helping People Win At Work , by Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge. Among those is the section about how to define meaningful work . Their definition consists of these seven attributes.  Work is meaningful when it : It is conducted in a manner that is "good and proper" in all respects. It positively affects our company and our communities, giving our work an impact that extends beyond ourselves. It provides learning and growth, offers challenges, requires creativity, pushes us to surpass limits, and creates exciting results. It provides recognition and rewards for our achievements. It allows us to succeed as a team while excelling as individuals. It allows us to enjoy the ride, bringing humor and fun into our work. It fuels passion!

How To Avoid Being That Annoying Boss

A former co-worker shared a great blog post with me about the most common complaints about the annoying things bosses do without even realizing it.  Here are the highlights: 1. Making social events unofficially required. 2. Pressuring employees to donate to charity. 3. Calling employees who are on vacation. 4. Holding endless meetings. 5. Not making hard decisions. 6. Delegating without truly delegating. 7. Hinting, rather than speaking straightforwardly. Read on for the details behind each of the above statements.

What You Need To Ask Before You Start A Business

Are you a leader contemplating starting a new business? Or, has a budding entrepreneur turned to you because of your leadership skills to ask for your help? Here are 11 questions you or that entrepreneur should ask before starting a business. Is there a true need for my product/service? What is the competitive environment and how will my product/service be unique, different or better? Will my location (or accessibility online) be convenient and easy to get to for my customers? Do I have adequate funding to support my business, particularly during the ramp-up period that could be a year or more? Do I have the stamina to start a new business and work hard even if it means months of extended work hours and perhaps even seven days a week? Will my family and social life withstand my commitment to my new business? Will the name of my business be easy to spell, suitable for print on online, and memorable? Am I a risk taker ? Am I humble enough to ask for help , especi

What To Ask At The End Of A Project

Just a little more advice from the authors of, Helping People Win At Work .  Those authors, Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge, recommend you ask the following six essential questions whenever you do a project review : What did we set out to do? What actually happened? Why did this happen? What will we do next time? What should we continue to do? What should we do differently? Seems simple enough, but how often do we really take the time to step back and ask ALL six of these questions?  And, these questions are important to ask even if there was no mistakes made during the project. Continually planning and executing without the value of a review can blindside you. Get more great advice from their book .

How To Get The Most From Your Coaching Experience

If you are a leader already engaging with an executive coach, or contemplating engaging one, here are four ways to make your coaching experience a success, as reported in a relatively recent issue of Fortune magazine: Find the right match . Find someone to push and challenge you. To encourage you and to hold you accountable. Be sure the person you engage with is a person you can trust and can talk to easily. Be aware of your company's expectations . If your boss hired the coach to work with you, make sure your boss, and your boss's boss, share their expectations and hoped-for outcomes with you. Then, make sure your coach knows that those things belong at the top of your goals list. Get your money's worth . Work with your coach on issues or questions that have a direct correlation to success in your job. Be sure your coach sees you in action . Allow your coach to observe you interacting with your peers or direct reports. This also gives your colleagues a

Portrait Of A Leader

You'll definitely want to read the September 2013 issue of Inc. magazine, which features its annual list of the 500 fastest growing, private companies in America . The entire issue is a interesting and revealing read.  For example, the top metro area with the most companies on the list is San Antonio, TX.  And, California is the state with the most companies on the list. What I enjoyed most in the issue was the Portrait of a Leader infographic.  The magazine asked the founders and CEOs of the Inc. 500 companies a series of questions.  And, here's what they discovered: Of the 21 traits associated with outstanding leaders, the CEOs ranked trustworthiness first; sincerity second; and capacity to inspire third. The biggest challenge facing leaders today:  finding and keeping skilled workers.  And, in second place, staying focused. 93% believe leading and managing are two different things. 87% said the "the right question" is more important than "the r

What It Takes To Be A Great Company

Inc. magazine’s June 2012 issue features a compelling article about author and leadership expert Jim Collins , who has studied leadership for 25 years and penned four best-selling books. Two of the most powerful takeaways from the article for me are Collin’s definition of a great company : “To be great, a company has to make a distinctive impact. I define that by a test:  If your company disappeared, would it leave a gaping hole that could not easily be filled by another enterprise on the planet? Now, that doesn’t mean the company has to be big…just that if it went away, people would feel a gaping hole, and no one could easily come in and fill it.” The second takeaway is the list of 12 questions that Collins says leaders much grapple with if they truly want to excel .  Three of those 12 are these, the first two I tend to think don’t get asked often enough: How can we increase our return on luck ?  What could kill us, and how can we protect our flanks ?  Do we have the rig

The Supermanager Author Interview: Greg Blencoe

Grab a cup of coffee.  Set aside one hour.  Read Greg Blencoe new book, The Supermanager .  It's a valuable, quick, easy-to-read book for a new manager or leader, and a solid read for existing leaders and managers who just need a reminder of Blencoe's Supermanager's Seven Principles . Blencoe was kind enough to share with me insights into his book.  Question:  Why did you write the book? Blencoe :  I wrote the book because I felt there was a need for a book about management techniques that was short and interesting to read but also had depth.   I think the management techniques that are discussed in the book are extremely important for several reasons. They affect employees, managers, business owners, and customers. Good management techniques will typically make employees much happier and poor management techniques can make them miserable at work.  Managers will usually be a lot less stressed out when employees are motivated, productive, and happy.     A

What It Takes To Be A Level 5 Leader

Author and leadership expert Jim Collins defines Level 5 leaders as those who: Pursue goals with the ferocity of lions while displaying the humility of lambs . According to Collins, who has studied leadership for 25 years, this level of leader is a rare breed. This is a leader who:  bestows credit generously  shoulders blame responsibility  puts organization before self

Why Positive Feedback Is Better Than Praise

There is an important difference between giving your employees positive feedback and giving them praise . Positive feedback focuses on the specifics of job performance. Praise, often one-or two-sentence statements, such as “Keep up the good work,” without positive feedback leaves employees with empty feelings. Worse yet, without positive feedback, employees feel no sense that they are appreciated as individual talents with specific desires to learn and grow on the job and in their careers, reports Nicholas Nigro, author of, The Everything Coaching and Mentoring Book . So, skip the praise and give positive feedback that is more uplifting to your employees because it goes to the heart of their job performance and what they actually do. An example of positive feedback is : “Bob, your communications skills have dramatically improved over the past couple of months. The report that you just prepared for me was thorough and concise. I appreciate all the work you

Book Highlights: High-tech, High-touch Customer Service

Micah Solomon’s book, High-tech, High-touch Customer Service , is all about how to inspire timeless loyalty in the demanding new world of social commerce -- one where businesses today face the increasingly challenging world of customer interactions, both online and off. The book is a must-read for any business leader. And, fortunately, the content is grounded in decades of experience and proven methodology. Some key lessons I learned from the book include : If you can anticipate, you can differentiate.  If your customers feel at home. They’re unlikely to roam.  If things go wrong for a customer initially, do a grand job of getting to the other side of that challenge and you may create a positive memory that literally supplants the initial unpleasantness. Also, Solomon states that the four components to solid value that creates customer satisfaction are :  A perfect product or service  Delivery in a caring, friendly manner  Timeliness  The backing of an effective prob

6 Quick Tips For Becoming A More Successful Leader

Drive your leadership success by: Funding what makes your business unique and valuable Not rushing to cut prices Hiring talented castoffs from competitors Being seen and being seen often by your team Making decisions in a timely manner Using a story to put situations in context

Compelling Quotes From The New Book, Out Think

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the new book, Out Think , by G. Shawn Hunter: When the rate of change inside an organization is slower than the rate of change outside an organization, the end is in sight -- Jack Welch The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers.  The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong question -- Peter Drucker If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will each have one apple.  But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas -- George Bernard Shaw

Book Review: Kiss That Frog! By Brian Tracy

Missed a promotion at work?  Leading a team of employees that is frustrating you?  Out of work and searching for a new job?  Mind full of negative thoughts? Then, take a couple hours to read the Brian Tracy's  book, Kiss That Frog! In the book, Tracy and co-author, Christina Tracy Stein , present a step-by-step plan that addresses the root causes of negatively to help you: uncover blocks that have become mental obstacles transform those obstacles into stepping-stones to achieve your fullest potential at work and in your personal life "Perhaps the greatest discovery in psychology and individual fulfillment is that the biggest obstacles that stand between you and an extraordinary life are usually negative mental attitudes toward yourself and others," explains Tracy. The authors also explain that: One of the most helpful habits you can develop is choosing to seek the valuable lesson in everything that happens to you, especially negative experiences. It's

10 Ways To Be A Healthier Leader

If you're like many leaders, you're "too busy" to exercise on a regular basis. And, you don't give yourself time to renew and refresh. Truth is, there are ways to fit exercise and healthful habits into your busy day that will pay off in dividends. From Experience Life magazine, here are 10 tips for how to fit even just moments into your day (at work, on the road and at home) to help you become more healthful: Make a plan to exercise . Include exercise times, even if they are just in 10-minute increments, on your calendar. Find time to exercise and build on that time . Start off by walking for five minutes at lunch and add to that every few days until you've worked up to 30 minutes every few lunch hours. Limit screen time . Set a timer for how long you'll watch TV or surf the Net. Then, use the time you aren't in front of a screen to exercise. When you are watching TV, do squats, push ups, lunges, yoga poses and crunches . Think posit

How To Say "I'm Sorry"

One of the most difficult words for anyone, leaders included, to say is, " sorry ." Yet, the time will likely come when that's the word you need to say.  Research shows that apologizing in a heartfelt way can help you reduce stress and alleviate guilt. In the position of needing to apologize?  Do this: Apologize immediately.  Say you are sorry. Take responsibility for the situation. Acknowledge the offense. Ask forgiveness with a promise that it won't happen again. Offer restitution whenever possible. And, should your apology go unaccepted, most experts say forgive yourself and move on. Note:  Thanks to St. Joseph Medical Center in Kansas City, MO for this sound advice.

Today's Leadership Quotes

The leader of the past was a person who knew how to tell. The leader of the future will be a person who knows how to ask -- Peter Drucker It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit -- Harry S. Truman No man becomes rich unless he enriches others -- Andrew Carnegie Perception, visibility, and influence will help you stand out from the gifted group of stars that surrounds you --  Joel A. Garfinkle

You Are An Open Leader If You Answer "Yes" To These 7 Questions

Open Leadership author Charlene Li reminds leaders to periodically ask themselves these " open leadership skills assessment " questions: Do I seek out and listen to different points of view? Do I make myself available to people at all levels of the organization? Do I actively manage how I am authentic? Do I encourage people to share information? Do I publicly admit when I am wrong? Do I update people regularly? Do I take the time to explain how decisions are being made? Thanks for these great questions, Charlene!

Why You Need To Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Inspirational leadership wisdom came awhile back from Bahram Akradi, the CEO of Life Time Fitness. From that health club's monthly fitness magazine, Experience Life , Akradi says: Once we get comfortable in our habitual patterns, we may fail to notice when they have outworn their useful purpose, or when new alternatives might serve us better. Once you've encountered a second way of seeing things, you're more likely to entertain the possibility of a third and fourth way, too. Do something that makes you just a little bit uncomfortable--and that renders you a little more awake. Thanks Akradi for encouraging us to break out from predictability.

10 Most Common Sales Manager Mistakes

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 fortunatel

Teach Something New To An Employee Today

Take the opportunity today to teach an employee something new. Nearly everyone likes to learn and is capable of tackling a new challenge. Teach your employee something that expands his (or her) current job description. Teach something that will help him to get promoted within your organization at a later date. Teach him a skill that uses new technology. Or, teach him something that will allow him to be a more skilled leader and manager in the future. You can even teach something that you no longer need to be doing in your position, but that will be a rewarding challenge/task for your employee. The benefit to your employee is obvious. The benefit to you is you'll have a more skilled team member who is capable of handling more work that can help you to grow your business and/or make it run more efficiently. Be a leader who teaches.

How Your Customers Can Help You Write Your Strategic Plan

Mike Brown, the founder of the Kansas City, MO company called, The Brainzooming Group , encourages business leaders to solicit feedback from their customers when creating a strategic plan. Brown once wrote in Smart Companies Thinking Bigger magazine, that you should “ ask a group of current, former and potential customers the following questions :" If you’re a current or former customer, why did you start using us? What have we done in the past to make your biggest challenges more difficult? If you still use us, why do you continue to do so? If you don’t use us currently, what are some of the reasons why you don’t? “These questions are designed to allow your customers to share their perspectives and opinions openly , not rate performance on a numerical scale,” explained Brown. He explained that the answers to the questions will provide you valuable insight into : Your current strengths and weaknesses Opportunities to more successfully help your customers Potential

16 Tips For Building Trust

You can't lead if your employees, team or followers don't trust you. Building trust takes energy, effort and constant attention to how you act. To help build trust, follow these 16 tips , recommended by author Susan H. Shearouse: Be honest Keep commitments and keep your word Avoid surprises Be consistent with your mood Be your best Demonstrate respect Listen Communicate Speak with a positive intent Admit mistakes Be willing to hear feedback Maintain confidences Get to know others Practice empathy Seek input from others Say "thank you"

Tips For Writing An Effective Nonprofit Annual Report

Here are some tips for leaders responsible for writing an effective annual report for their nonprofit organization. Consider making these objectives for your report: To demonstrate accomplishments ( not activities ) ( results and how you did it). To recognize important people (volunteers, donors, major funders, partners). To provide an account of your organization's work for the past year. To share your mission with a wide audience. To generate new donations, retain donors and grow partnerships. Consider these audience sectors when writing your report: Donors Volunteers Community leaders Future board members Supporters (in-kind) Elected officials  Potential partners, grant funding entities Allow three to four months to prepare your report : Create and outline Gather an organize content Engage your management team Design Review/Proof Print Distribute Consider packaging your report with a theme , such as one of these: Transformation Day i

How To Make The Best Of Your Executive Coaching Experience

If you are a leader already engaging with an executive coach, or contemplating engaging one, here are four ways to make your coaching experience a success, as reported in a relatively recent issue of Fortune magazine: Find the right match .  Find someone to push and challenge you.  To encourage you and to hold you accountable.  Be sure the person you engage with is a person you can trust and can talk to easily. Be aware of your company's expectations .  If your boss hired the coach to work with you, make sure your boss, and your boss's boss, share their expectations and hoped-for outcomes with you.  Then, make sure your coach knows that those things belong at the top of your goals list. Get your money's worth .  Work with your coach on issues or questions that have a direct correlation to success in your job.  Be sure your coach sees you in action .  Allow your coach to observe you interacting with your peers or direct reports.  This also gives your colleagues a

Be Prepared To Answers These 5 Questions At Your Next Interview

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 an 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 Discuss Poor Performance: Six Steps

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 time frame, 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 to make his improvement.

Leadership Quotes From Brian Solis' New Book

In addition to learning a lot about the ways businesses are creating experiences for their customers in Brian Solis' new book, What's The Future of Business , you'll be treated to dozens of compelling leadership, life and business quotes, such as these: "People never learn anything by being told, they have to find out for themselves." -- Paulo Coelho "We live in a time where brands are people and people are brands." -- Brian Solis "In real life, the most practical advice for leaders is not to treat pawns like pawns, nor princes like princes, but all persons like persons." -- James MacGregor Burns "The only source of knowledge is experience." -- Albert Einstein "Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely." -- Auguste Rodin "Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending." -- Maria Robinson

Sample Guiding Business Principles

I really like these 10 guiding business principles that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company  USAA  lives by: Exceed customer expectations Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect) Be a leader Participate and contribute Pursue excellence Work as a team Share knowledge Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together) Listen and communicate Have fun You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees .

The Manager's Guide To HR Book Gets Timely Update

  Overland Park, KS-based author   Max Muller , releases the second edition of his popular book,   The Manager's Guide to HR , on August 15.   The original edition (published in 2009) of  The Manager’s Guide to HR  provided readers with a plain-English introduction to the regulations, rights, and responsibilities related to hiring and firing, benefits, compensation, documentation, performance evaluations, training, and more.   But much has changed since then.  That's why Muller extensively revised the book to cover all the key areas and bring readers up to speed on current developments in employment law, including: How social media is changing the recruitment landscape Shifting labor standards regarding compensation and benefits The National Labor Relations Board’s stance on work-related employee speech on social media The Employee Retirement Income Security Act New record-keeping requirements Amendments to the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans

Four Competencies Required To Create Sustainable Inclusion In The Workplace

After 20 years of working with corporations to build a more diverse and inclusive culture, authors Mark Kaplan and Mason Donovan wrote, The Inclusion Dividend.   Published only two months ago, the book has become a must-read for business leaders who want to learn how investing in diversity and inclusion will pay dividends in: greater innovation higher productivity stronger client relationships a more engaged workforce Today, Donovan explains in his guest post below that there are four areas of competency that must be mastered in order to create sustainable inclusion . These competencies are broad, touching all levels of the organization, from intrapersonal interactions to the organization’s interface with the marketplace. By: Mason Donovan Competency I: Individual Awareness and Self-Management ·          Challenge Your Own Conventional Wisdom – Your perspective as a leader is molded by your own insider and outsider group identities and the group ide

25 Of My Favorite Leadership Quotes

All year, I've been collecting my favorite quotes about leadership from Twitter.  When the year ends, I'll publish the list. In the meantime, among the thousands of tweets and retweets on Twitter about leadership during 2012 these 25 were my favorites. A mix of advice from some unknown individuals along with many from leadership book authors and famous leadership experts, and a few from past U.S. presidents and current-day athletes. Great leaders know the power of asking questions. Lead with your heart, not just your head. Learn to let go of fear and embrace the unknown. People are much more impressed by your potential than by your track record. Smart leaders use the power of stories whenever they have important messages to convey. To be effective, leaders have to close the conversational gap with their employees. One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency -- Arnold Glasow Managers assert drive and

Stop Asking Your Customers These Five Questions

As you start to gear up for the fall and winter holiday shopping season, consider this advice from author Paul R. Timm .  He recommends a different twist on asking your customers questions : stop asking your customers the "typical" questions and instead ask them open-ended questions. Here's specifically what Timm recommends: Don't Ask : How was everything? Can I get you something else? Did you find everything you need? Will that be all? Was everything satisfactory? Instead Ask : What else can I do for you? What else can I get for you? What else can I help you with? What else could we do to better serve you? How else can we be of help? These open-ended questions will let your customers really express their ideas, opinions and needs . Timm is the author of, 50 Powerful Ideas You Can Use To Keep Your Customers