So it’s been a while since I spouted off about customer service but I just had an experience that peeved me so now is a good time to tee off on the topic again. I was driving home and suddenly had a sweet tooth so I stopped at one of America’s iconic fast food joints and spun through the drive through. It went something like this: “Welcome to Make You Die of Congestive Heart Failure’s! Can I take your order?” “Yeah. I’d like an artery clogger super sweet sugar booger special but give me the small… I’m trying to watch my diet.” “That will be $1.29. Please pull around.” I spun around to the window and handed the young lady a wrinkled up dollar, a shiny quarter and a nickel with some pocket lint attached to it. And then it happened… Her words reverberated throughout the cosmos, shattered stars, and spawned black holes. “Thank you sir. Have a good night.” Have a good night? Look, I wasn’t great in 2nd grade math but I was pretty sure she owed me a penny. A penny. I know – get over it. But it’s the principle of the whole thing. It came across as “I’m too busy to make change for you and, well, it’s only a penny so I know you don’t care so move along so I can clog someone else’s arteries.” Knowing the food she served me would merely kill me slowly, I believe she had the sinister intent of doing it more rapidly by causing an embolism. Folks, this is customer service math 101. Sure it was a penny. But it’s one penny on the path toward creating a customer-hostile culture.
https://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-09-01 07:54:002018-06-21 13:48:42Customer Service Math 101: It Ain't Just a Penny
And then there are those times you overhear a conversation that stops you dead in your tracks. You actually have to hit rewind in your brain and ask “did they actually just say that?” Ever have one of those moments? Clearly I did recently. I was heading to a client site the other morning. As I headed out of my hotel room, I was rumblin’ bumblin’ stumblin’ down the hall (can I get a Chris Berman “holla holla!”?). My sole mission in life at that point was to get a second cup of coffee from the lobby (and anyone who knows me knows The Rule – don’t speak to me until after my second cup o’ Joe). Clearly my mind was foggier than Yoda’s swamp on Dagobah. As I passed two housekeepers who were conversing in the hallway, I heard it – the statement that shocked me more than hearing “I’m your father Luke.” One housekeeper said “Just look busy when she goes by. That’ll keep her off your ass for the rest of the morning.” Note: this was VERBATIM! Despite the caffeine-deficiency-induced lack of a solid connection between my brain and my eardrum at that point, I was still able to process the enormity of this statement. “Just look busy.” Wow. I was floored.
I’m pleased to bring you the second installment on employee engagement from Dave Willis, one of our thoughtLEADERS instructors. Here’s Dave: In my previous blog post I talked about why employee engagement is critical to any business endeavor and is your most important job as a manager. I referenced part 7 of Mike’s Leadership Principles, He Drinks 7-Up, as a key lesson in how to create highly engaged employees. But of course, the point of that story is not that you need to know your employees’ preferred brand of soda. The point is… well, let’s hold off on that for a second. I’ve got a beverage story of my own. Several years ago I was mentoring a rising star in the consulting firm I worked for. Let’s call him Darren. Darren accompanied me on a number of client presentations. After several of these sessions, I asked Darren if he wanted to take the lead role in the next one. He was more than ready, and he eagerly agreed. Unfortunately when the day came, it was a disaster.
https://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-08-13 08:49:002018-12-21 13:33:28Employee Engagement is More Than Motivation (Part 2)
I’m excited to bring you Dave Willis, one of our thoughtLEADERS instructors, for today’s post on employee engagement. Here’s Dave: If you haven’t already done so, read Mike’s Leadership Principles. I love them all, but my personal favorite is number 7: He Drinks 7Up. Sometimes after reading this story I have visions of legions of managers frantically stocking up their office mini-fridge with all manner of beverages. Jolt Cola for the IT department; Evian for Susan from marketing; Zima for Bob from accounting. (Should you ever happen to be my manager, I like Honest Tea.) But of course, the point of the story isn’t 7Up or Zima. Like many of the Leadership Principles, at its core this story is about engaging your employees. Notice I didn’t say “motivating.” What’s the difference? Engaged employees are “motivated plus.” Let’s define some terms. Engaged employees are: Motivated – they give you their best effort, they help each other out, they find creative ways to solve problems for coworkers and customers Loyal – they stick with you when things get rough, they don’t jump ship the first time someone else offers them a 5% raise Advocates – they tout your products and services to potential customers, and they recommend you as an employer to potential employees. Motivated, loyal advocates. And you can’t have enough of them.
https://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-08-11 08:08:002018-12-21 13:31:14Employee Engagement is More Than Motivation (Part 1)
Life is full of awkward moments: the first kiss, an interview candidate having spinach stuck in their teeth, having your boss catch you leaving the wrong restroom. But one of the most awkward situations you can encounter in business is when someone goes from being a peer to being the boss. There are two sides to that awkward moment too – either you’ve become the boss or your peer has. Usually this occurrence is an unexpected situation. Many organizations are actually wise enough to prevent it from happening exactly because of the weird dynamics such a change can create. Given that it’s unexpected, it prevents all involved from preparing for the impending change (which in turn makes it even more awkward when it happens). Many times such situations are the direct result of a reorganization or the departure of some individuals from the team which creates an immediate need for a fill for that vacancy. There are three situations I’d like to explore: you become the manager, your peer becomes the manager, and you’re the big boss considering creating such a situation within your team.
https://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-08-06 13:06:002018-12-21 13:31:23Awkward! Going from Being a Peer to Being Their Boss
It’s my pleasure to bring you Jack Maher, one of our thoughtLEADERS instructors, for today’s post on Project Leadership. Here’s Jack: Imagine walking into work and being accosted by an excited colleague or manager first thing in the morning. They eagerly say “I need you to do something for me. You gotta get this new consumer oriented e-commerce website up and running, integrated into our back-office systems, and it has to be as reliable as Amazon by Christmas! Did I mention that the vendor says it might not work? Or that the project failed the last time (or two)?” After your shock subsides, you ask yourself the question “Do you need a project manager or a project leader?” What’s the difference and how do you know what you need? Hiring a project manager is tough enough, but if you need a project leader, that’s an even more difficult creature to find. Let’s go on a safari and see if we can find this beast. Project managers are adept at planning, monitoring, and reporting work to be done and completed. Project managers manage the basic three constraints of scope, time and cost. They are masters of metrics and proving value. Some are spectacular at cajoling and prodding project teams to complete assigned tasks on time and at or under budget. The real key to a good project manager is the ability to manage opposing constraints and deliver a planned solution. Unfortunately, a project manager isn’t enough in certain situations. Sometimes you need the mega-PM. You need a project leader.
I recently saw Kung Fu Panda. My expectations were quite low. I mean, a panda that does kung fu? A jackrabbit I could buy… but a panda? Then again I’m a huge Jack Black fan. The biggest and most pleasant surprise though was Master Oogway the turtle (or is it tortoise? I always get those confused). His wisdom was entertaining and enlightening. The best part is, it’s also applicable to everyday leadership and life. There’s a scene where Oogway is dropping some knowledge (as a kung fu master is wont to do). The dude is pretty deep for a turtle. He states “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” I stopped slurping on my white raspberry slushy and thought for a moment “wow, the turtle has a point.” The implications of Oogway’s statement reverberated throughout the cosmos with a thunderous clap. The dude was talking about how we move through life and, more importantly, how we can show up as leaders. Sure, right now you’re thinking that slushy gave me a brain freeze and that’s why this whole turtle/kung fu/leadership notion is so confusing so allow me to explain.
https://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-07-28 08:04:002018-06-21 12:52:06A Leadership Lesson from Kung Fu Panda's Master Oogway
In our last two sessions together, we explored how “expectations” can create a poisonous environment whereby the numbers dominate rational business decision making. We also covered some of my favorite self-defeating behaviors that can result from such a maniacal focus on the numbers. Unlike a typical critic though, I won’t simply point to a problem and walk away. Instead, I’m obligated to give you some thoughts and tools to help you solve these problems (after all, that’s what we at thoughtLEADERS are all about – real world, practical tools that can make your organization perform better). Business is a marathon. A long painful one but there’s only one goal – making it through that gruelingly long journey. Unfortunately in business, there’s no finish line. I won’t deny it’s easy to lose sight of the goal when the numerical mileposts on the way there take on a life of their own. As an aside, the reason those numbers take on such a huge presence in our lives is because they’re typically directly linked to OUR numbers (read: our paychecks and our bonuses). That close connection to something so incredibly personal makes it difficult to see “the numbers” as simply mile-markers on the way to a strategic objective (which in turn leads to the dumb behaviors outlined in the last post). That said, there are a few ways to mitigate these kinds of problems.