Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Customers are Sacred

Customers are the most important part of any firm. Looking after the customer is a given - or at least should be! It is a relationship that needs work and attention. Remember that any asset - in this case the relationship - deteriorates if left neglected. Assets need attention and care.

So this makes complete sense for external customers but it just as true for internal customers. Customers to your work are just as sacred and should be dealt with, with the same care and attention. Ask them what they want, educate them about what you can do, deal with queries promptly, treat with respect....you wouldn't shout at an external customer so why an internal?

People who build strong internal networks will always be valuable. People who see the internal customer as sacred will be valued. People will want to nurture that relationship not look for other alternatives e.g. outsourcing. Remember the best way to protect your job is to do it brilliantly! If you do the job in isolation and not create added value then why would people not see this as a commodity that could be bought "cheaper". Add value...to add success...to add security.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Loyalty vs Contribution

When you are reviewing your team - remember one thing. Loyalty is fantastic and should be treasured but and it is a big but - contribution is key.
Don't let loyalty mask your view of the contribution that the person is making. Your role is to ensure that the loyalty is turned into performance - for me that is engagement.
Check out The Engaging Brand podcast and their blog for help if you feel you need ideas of how to achieve Engagement - well worth checking out.

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Question You Should Ask

Whether it be your partner, spouse, direct report, colleague...try asking this question.

"What is the best praise that you ever received and what made it so good?"

From that you can understand much more about the individual. You can then adapt to the style they link - informal vs formal, verbal vs written, public vs private etc. Every one of us is different, learn how to make each individual special. It is not how you like praise, it is how THEY want praise.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Books that Inspire me

I often get asked about my suggested reading. Here is a list that I believe are some of the best books around.

I read a lot, I find that it inspires me, it opens my mind to different ideas. It also helps you to understand the problems that you have, are fairly universal. You may think that your's are different but they are not!
Reading helps to expand my thinking away from everyday life and one thing that I love, is reading articles, magazines, books not in my chosen area. There is always something you can learn and adapt into your life - at home or at work. Audiobooks now make it even easier.....

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Be a Talent Magnet to Succeed

John Wooden the coach of UCLA Bruins said

"Not every coach can consistently win with talent, but no coach can win without it"

So true! You need to be passionate about talent, love it, thrive on it - too many people are scared about it. Don't let that be you.

Talent has a wonderful effect on you if you embrace it

  1. It keeps you on your toes....you need to keep learning to stay ahead. Talent is there for you to learn from...
  2. Talent makes you look like a star, people see you as a talented leader as you attract the stars of the future.
  3. Remember to keep talent. When things go wrong you take responsibility in public, when you have success let the person take the credit. This is one of the most attractive features of a good leader.
  4. Allow talent to cross train, join projects that are not under your control, go on temporary assignments. Their development is your main concern - and they will respect you for it.
  5. Talent protects you - it does not endanger you. The more talent you attract the higher the performance of your team. The higher performance the more you will be recognised for achievement.
  6. Success is a great motivator......helps create a great culture. A great culture attracts more talent.....talent brings great performance. It is a wonderful circle.
  7. Great PR about you. Talent will speak highly about you across the business. Wonderful, free PR!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Engaging the Individual

Three words that you need to know if you are going to engage people - at work, at home.

Why - do they live, why do they do the job they do?

How - they think, how they work, how they make decisions?

Who - are their friends, their trusted advisors, their network?

Once you know this, then you can play to these strengths and engage at the right level with the right tone for THEM. Try it, keep little postcards on each member and refer regularly.....it makes that human connection.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


People say "Treat people like you like to be treated"


"Treat people how they want to be treated"

Every one of us is different, some like public praise others in private etc.....You need to understand the motivations and demotivators of each person around you, and respond to that. I used to be captain of a sports team. Some needed to be shouted at, others an arm around the shoulder when things were not going well. Leading is about understanding which technique works with which person.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Great Idea From Marcus Buckingham

Marcus Buckingham has a great suggestion. Get a piece of paper...have 2 columns
Most productive Members in my Team Members I spend the most Time with

Then in each column rank your team under both headings. Afterwards, draw lines between where people sit on each column. If you are spending too much time with the people not performing....change! Your stars should not be neglected....Too often our time is spent in the underperformers, the ones who constantly break the rules...that is wrong, look after your stars before they feel neglected.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Avoiding Meeting Hell

I have just read a great article in Wired magazine which I thought I would share with you. It is entitled "Stay Awake in Dull Meetings" and offers 4 pieces of advice

  1. Open a window. Warm rooms promote brain fog, fresh air and a little noise will help you stay alert.
  2. Apply Acupressure. Tap your fingers on your forehead, massage the muscles between your thumb and your index finger, rub the base of your skull, or knead the spot below your knee.
  3. Peel an orange. Or pop an Altoid. Citrus and mint aromas not only help you stay focused, but they also reduce anxiety and frustration.
  4. If you are the boss have mercy. Don't schedule meetings between 1pm and 4pm. People get drowsy after lunch.

Mind you if these kind of meetings are happening often I would also thnk about giving feedback to the boss, or look for a transfer to someone who can inspire you a little better!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Set directions not instructions

To engage people you must set them a vision and an objective (first step towards the vision) and then let them get on with it. The fact that they may do it differently to you - don't worry. As long as they are within you boundaries of values give them the freedom to find out their own path to success. That freedom shows trust and respect - it may also help you to learn something new!

Too may managers give step by step guides of not just what to do but also how to do it...leaving the employee thinking why bother the manager might as well do it themselves.

So remember give the destination not the path - even if they get lost, coach them how to refind the path.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Nothing to Fear but Fear itself

What frightens you? Or what frightens someone else in your team? No doubt presenting is up there somewhere! Fear is good, it pumps the adrenaline that you require to reach peak performance. But there are 3 things that you need to do to conquer fear:

1) Recognise the fear and realise presenting isn't the issue - fear is the problem.

2) Decide to welcome the fear and just like any muscle in your body you need to train your mind to cope with the weight of expectation. Do this as any other exercise..build up gradually. Present to your mates, present to a small circle, then a team meeting, then slightly bigger. But don't rush this process, practice builds your confidence...build it gradually.

3) As you move through recognise your progress - give your mind a well done. Each time you speak is another step on the way to conquering the fear.....

Friday, August 04, 2006

Don't wait for Company Surveys

There are two key basic needs of any employee, which if addressed will help their motivation.
  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the right tools to do my job effectively?

These 2 questions are basic needs, for all the lovely extra's you give.....it will not make up for any deficiencies in answering the above. Don't wait for a survey...ask, walk around, listen, watch and make sure that every person has these 2 areas covered.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Promises, Delivery, Respect

One piece of advice that I read from Marcus Buckingham that has stayed with me is this

Make only a few promises, but keep them all.

Great words as you gain respect with family, friends, colleagues from delivering what you promise. Over promising is the scourge of work.....promise and deliver on the few key items that will make a difference.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Working Too Longer Hours?

Quote for you to think upon from Sam Ewing

"Its not the hours you put into your work, its the work you put into the hours"

In a world that is struggling for life/work balance...note I always put this the opposite round as it is Life that is the most important! ..... you do have enough time - honest. You write down at the start of the day 3 key achievements for the day, and whatever distractions ensure that these 3 points are completed.