Heads up all of you who love to better understand customer service as well as those of you who love to read! Dr. Joseph Michelli (author of The Starbucks Experience) has released his newest book on The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. The book is called The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. I actually had the privilege of attending the same training session at the Ritz-Carlton as Dr. Michelli did when he was doing his research. I’m even quoted in the book (you have to read it to see what I had to say)! As all of you know, I’m pretty big on customer service, so this book is a must read from where I sit. I know you’ll value the insights he provides because I was there when he was gathering them. The Ritz-Carlton is a unique place we can all learn something from. Rather than me trying to explain what you’ll be getting out of the book, I’d rather let the professionals do it so here goes: Discover the secrets of world-class leadership!
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-06-16 06:28:002013-11-07 15:15:05New Book Recommendation – The New Gold Standard
I’m thrilled to bring you Ed Ruggero as a guest blogger this week. You’ll find some background on Ed at the end of the post. I hope you enjoy his thoughts as much as I do. Here’s Ed: Recently I watched some paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division train for deployment to Iraq. At one training site engineers had constructed a roofless house with thick walls—plywood covering stacked tires—some fifteen feet high and topped with a catwalk for observers. Working in groups of five, the paratroopers gathered by the entrance in tight formations, chest to back, each man keenly aware of everyone’s location. On a signal from the leader—usually the second man in line—the point man battered open the first door and the team rushed in. They moved quickly and methodically from room to room, rifles shoulder high, firing disciplined bursts of three rounds at life-sized targets positioned inside. Often the muzzles of their weapons were just a foot away from a buddy. The first man in had to trust that the second man would immediately cover the other side of the room—the blind spot. Any one of them acting carelessly might have shot a buddy in the back. So, of necessity, the paratroopers’ movements were well-choreographed—quick and deadly. When I told my wife about the exercise, she asked if I’d ever trained with live ammunition during my time in the Army, and I said I had. “What was that like?” she wanted to know. “Well, working with live ammunition flying all over the place tends to focus your thinking,” I said.
Meetings give me a rash. A really bad one. One that not even calamine lotion can soothe. The only things worse than meetings are reports. Standard daily reports, weekly reports, hourly reports. Reports on the status of reports. If I wasn’t already insane, these things would drive me insane. Take a look at your Outlook for this week (or if you’re a rebel, look at your Lotus Notes). How much time is spoken for already? How little time is left for you to actually get stuff done? Now take a look at your inbox. How many Excel files are in there with their thousands of rows of data that no one will look at until some SVP gets bored, opens one up and asks a random question about a data point no one has looked at in months? Even more alarming is if you have folders in your Outlook dedicated to storing each of these reports so you can quickly answer said random questions because you have the reports conveniently stored on your laptop. By the way, they’re probably also stored on a shared drive somewhere so you’ve now doubled the amount of data storage space required for this crap repository. Fear not my friends. There is a cure.
I know sometimes it seems like I have more complaints than I do uplifting, heartwarming stories like the ones you’d find on the Hallmark Channel. But every once in a while, someone gets it right. Nails it. Perfection like Nadia Comaneci.This particular individual of whom I speak was slightly less athletic than the sprite-like Nadia. Okay, a lot less athletic. About 6’2″, 280. With a mountain man beard. But that didn’t matter because his skills in the service arena were absolutely spectacular. It was a bright, sunny afternoon and I was performing one of my regular jobs – I was the IT guy for the day. It’s amazing how much maintenance running a home wireless network consisting of kid’s PC’s, laptops, XBoxes, and other peripherals can be. But it’s better than my other two jobs as plumber and chief bug killer. Anyway, it was time to install the new printer. Everything was hooked up just dandy. But where was the wire to make the final connection to the PC? I emptied the box. I went through the 18lbs. of packing materials. No wire. I read the box and in the modern-day equivalent of “batteries not included” in tiny 10 pitch the box said “USB cable to connect to PC not included. Sucker.” I swear, the “sucker” part was on there.
Reading the news (or even your email) can be distressing and can drive one to the point of despondency. It can also be fun. It’s especially fun when people say or write silly stuff and the reporter has to write “[sic]” after a misspelling or stupid comments in the original transcript. “[Sic]” technically means “Thus; so. Used to indicate that a quoted passage, especially one containing an error or unconventional spelling, has been retained in its original form or written intentionally.” Said more simply, it’s a way for the author of the article to point out the person they’re quoting can’t spell quite as well as they can or to indicate the speaker speaks funny. To be clear, I never want to be [sic]. Being [sic] means I forgot to hit the spell check button before I put something in the pubic [sic] domain (See? It can be funny!). It means I’ve been less than attentive to basic tenants [sic] of professionalism. It reflects poorly on me and really tests the patients [sic] of my readers. In some cases, it reflects a certain level of disrespect for my audience as it implies they’re not even important enough for me to spell check before presenting an idea to them. At the very least it indicates I don’t have enough spare change to buy a pocket dictionary or buy web access to get to dictionary.com. I’m not saying I’m bettor [sic] than people who misspell things. I’m simply trying to point out that the one minute you save by not proofreading something costs you immeasurably in terms of your own personal brand equity. I saw a massage [sic] the other day where the author was exhorting people to do their diligence on companies before interviewing with them because “failing to do so […]
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-05-19 09:11:002018-12-21 13:22:07I never want to be [sic]k
Stupid stuff is going to happen. Expect it. It’s part of our complex and highly interdependent world. People will make mistakes. A lot of them. Layer on top of that some incredibly politically charged cultures (for more on that subject see “Hot Heads and Karma”) and there’s an abundance of potentially bad outcomes. There will be times where stupid stuff will happen to you (and yes, there are times you will do stupid stuff – accept it as axiomatic). When really stupid stuff happens (known as “stoooooopid” stuff it’s so stupid), it can feel like others are conspiring against you. It can seem like a plot of Oliver Stonesque proportions. During those situations, the outcomes are mostly binary – you defuse the situation or it blows up sometimes causing irrepairable harm to your career or reputation. You may even have an urge to attack the responsible individual. Doing so can create a situation where they feel like a rabid ferret backed into a corner. When you create that dynamic, they’re most likely to attack back (and rabid ferrets can be NASTY!). The good news is, there are ways to defuse these events simply by adopting the right mindset. When you’re facing that little fang-baring whirling devil-spawned rodent, give them an out. Create a way for them to gracefully exit the situation without a full-on conflict. They want a fight as little as you do.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-05-13 05:25:002018-12-21 13:21:35Rabid Ferrets In The Corner… Give Them An Out
There’s an old Army saying that “no plan survives first contact with the enemy.” (I’m sure some navy or marine guy out there will attribute this comment to their branch of service but to be clear, it came from the Army… well, actually it came from Helmuth von Motltke but his version was much less pithy. Gotta love his helmet though…). This principle holds true in business as well. You can put together the mother of all PowerPoint presentations, make massive strat plan binders for the Board of Directors or the heads of your business unit, create Excel models that cause the lights to dim when you run them and lay out huge project plans in MS Project. The thing is, as soon as you’ve briefed your plan, it’s irrelevant. The world has changed. Oil spikes. Consumer sentiment. A presidential election. New regulations. Disruptive technologies and even more disruptive competitors. Not to mention natural churn in the labor markets (see “Talkin ’bout My Generation“). In these changing times, it’s easy to get “off strategy” and chase things that seem important. Unfortunately you can end up behaving like a puppy in a park (Ever seen a puppy in a park? They chase EVERYTHING that looks interesting.). The only thing that can save you and keep you “on strategy” is something called “primacy of purpose.”
I love passionate people. People who throw themselves into their work with every last erg of energy they have. To them, everything about their work is important. It’s serious business and they drive hard to form the world in an image they’re proud of. With passion, however, comes peril. If everything is important, you tend to get worked up over every issue no matter how large or small. You feel it necessary to stand up for what’s right in every instance. You might even seek to transform situations by injecting yourself into them even if you don’t really have a say in the matter. The result is repeatedly diving on your sword for many issues or sticking your beak where it doesn’t belong and getting involved in problems that are larger than you. As usual on this blog, I’m going to give you a helpful little tool to help you avoid all those nasty sword gashes. All you have to do is ask and answer one simple little question: “What’s the upside?” That’s it. That simple. That single question will keep you out of more trouble than you can imagine. It provides what I call “clarifying moments” that help you better evaluate a situation and the possible range of impacts and implications of the actions you’re considering. If there’s no upside, it’s not worth fighting for or taking the risk. If the upside is clear, dive on in.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2008-04-29 13:05:002018-12-21 13:20:52To Fall on the Sword… or Not