Ever been in one of those situations where chaos springs forth and in the swirl of madness you look at everyone else’s face and see that blank look? That frozen look of “what do we do now?” Those situations get really unnerving when one of those clueless faces belongs to your supposed leader. Choices in moments like that are limited. It could be a project imploding, a meeting running off the rails, or a client deal exploding in your face. Normally we look to our leaders for direction in those moments. Unfortunately, they’re not always capable of leading us through those situations (and if you need confirmation of that, see the poll about how your skills compare to your boss’ at the bottom of this page). What then? What happens when it’s the “leader” who is freaking out? Your choices are pretty limited. You can either stand there frozen just like the rest of the team or you can act. Let’s discuss the latter – meet the situational leader. Many of you are probably too young to remember when Reagan was shot and Al Haig proclaimed “I am in control here.” The swirl of chaos of an assassination attempt had everyone scurrying. Haig tried to assuage concerns on the part of the public and the press by asserting “I am in control here.” Unfortunately his words were seen as overstepping his bounds and did little to calm those around him. Why? Why did Haig look like a buffoon in this situation? Probably because leaders are about action, not words. Perhaps had he spent more time driving tasks and organizing the government rather than asserting his position to the press, Haig would have been seen as a leader in the crisis. So when chaos strikes your team, how do you avoid […]
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2009-02-23 06:04:002018-12-21 14:15:30Who put YOU in charge? You, of course!
That’s right – customer service is contagious like the common cold. It can spread faster than pink eye at a day care center. Improved customer service comes from spreading a passion for interactions with our customers. And in today’s hypercompetitive world, customer service can be a true point of competitive advantage (Mike writes about that point constantly). So how do you make service contagious? I didn’t catch it until I was 16. I was working in a real honest to goodness Mom & Pop store. Murray Logan and his wife Del were the founders of Logan & Sons, a small grocery store specializing in high quality meats and produce and delivering great customer service. If you are involved in managing customer service you know it gets infinitely more difficult to treat the customer the way they want to be treated when you add employees to your business model. When it’s your store and you are the workforce you don’t have to worry that the customers will get treated well. But from the moment you add your first employee, your work gets much more complicated. Now you have to define excellence, teach it, observe it and re-teach it constantly. How did the Logans do it? Simple.
I read a great article in Fortune a while back. Joanna Shields of Bebo.com quoted her dad: “Your career is long and the business world is small. Always act with integrity. Never take the last dollar off the table.” Fantastic advice. Unfortunately many of us never heed it. We get wrapped up in near term numbers, performance bonuses, and, yeah, I’m gonna say it, greed. In economic times like the present, these pressures are amplified. Many folks look at business as a competition. In many cases it is (duh, hence the term “competitors”). Sadly we sometimes extend the definition of competitor to include anyone sitting across the table from us. Quite often, that person across the table is supposed to be our partner but we engage in completely dysfunctional competitive or territorial behaviors. Then bad things happen. What kinds of bad things? You know I’m going to tell you. Shields’ father continues: “You can always do a slightly better deal, but that incremental dollar or windfall is not worth creating an imbalance that affects the relationship. You have to have the intuition to know when to say, ‘I’m going to make sure that we walk away feeling like we’ve both done well.’”
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2009-02-16 06:03:002018-12-21 14:15:07Take A Dollar Today, Lose Ten Tomorrow – Negotiating 101
Since folks seemed to enjoy my post on how a demanding young lieutenant got himself inadvertently sent to Korea, I’ll pander to the masses today and tell another career implosion story but on a grander scale. I was a young lieutenant attending my basic course with 79 other officers. The course is the place they send lieutenants for about 3 months and teach us how not to hurt or embarrass ourselves or hurt our soldiers because lieutenants are notoriously accident and stupidity prone. My buddy and I had a good time while we were there. A really really good time. Most evenings were spent discussing the merits of our poker hand or asking some other guy to grab us another one from the fridge. I also had an alter-ego in the course. We’ll call him “Goofus” (like Goofus & Gallant in Highlights Magazine). Most of Goofus’ evenings were spent cracking a field or technical manual so he could understand the intricacies of the vee formation and its advantages on open terrain. He and I didn’t exactly get along but the reason was a little well… weird shall we say.
Warning: this post is a bit of a rant (but does have a story and some practical advice). Does it seem like every day there’s a new pile of “experts” cropping up on every subject imaginable? Social media expert. Blogging expert. Communications expert. Strategy expert. Wingdings font expert. It’s enough to make me gag. Sorry but having a bunch of twitter followers or being at the top of the twitter elite for a podunk little town doesn’t make you a “social media expert.” Even worse than the seemingly-viral proliferation of these “experts” are the egregious rates they expect for their services. Just because you call yourself an “expert” it doesn’t mean you’re entitled to the fee levels “real experts” charge (then again, if you’re the individual hiring an “expert” and paying them ridiculous fees, I can’t save you from your own insipidness). Lastly, the worst aspect of these “experts” is the damage they can do to your organization. In some cases I’d love to sue some of these folks for malpractice of the trade they proclaim they’re an expert in. So how can you as a leader of your organization protect yourself from the damage false experts can cause and how can you find the real experts among that mess? How can you ensure the expert isn’t like the false tailor and you end up like an emperor with no clothes? It all boils down to asking the right questions.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I was lucky enough to speak at the W.P. Carey School’s Compete Through Services Symposium. Coming out of that, Dale Dauten did a wonderful piece on how to “Leave ’em wanting more” based on some of the ideas I shared in the session. Another article by Kerri Susan Smith has just been published on the W.P. Carey site. Her article further elaborates on the methods we discussed in the breakout session. She’s done a wonderful job capturing the essence of the methodology. I encourage you to read the article HERE. Additionally, the W.P. Carey site has some AMAZING articles published there regularly. It’s a fantastic business resource you should consider taking advantage of. I hope you’ll check out their site and subscribe to their feed as well. – Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC
It’s a tough economy. Jobs are scarce and becoming harder to find. The talent pool is extremely deep especially given the abundance of MBAs we’ve minted over the past few years (although everyone knows I don’t care about your degree). To land that new job, it’s increasingly important to stand out from the crowd and have truly distinctive capabilities to offer. But I don’t want to talk about that today (I know – once again I’ve let you down). No. Instead I’m going to talk about the easiest ways to blow your opportunity. The overarching message of this post is don’t be stupid or lazy. Today we’re talking about the job search equivalents of having spinach in your teeth (hence the photo which I also included and forced the tie-in to the post because I think the picture is hilarious). “Gee Mike, again, that seems like an obvious point. Why are you writing about it?” To be honest? It’s because I see plenty of stupid and lazy out there and I want to keep my loyal readers from making some of these mistakes. Now let’s start with stupid and lazy.
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2009-01-26 06:02:002018-12-28 19:33:29Looking for a job? 4 Tips on How Not to be Stupid and Lazy
How incredibly glorious is it to intern at Goldman Sachs? Or Google? Microsoft? Apple? I mean, hey, you’ll have a huge brand name on your resume when you eventually seek employment. You’ll work at beautiful corporate headquarters next to movers and shakers. How much better can it get? News flash – as a hiring manager I don’t care where you did your internship (and to be clear – in my “corporate” days I hired plenty of new hires who had prior internship experience). Want to learn more about this perspective? I’ve graciously been asked to elaborate on www.internshipratings.com. You can read the rest of the article here. I also encourage you to check out the rest of their site and their blog. They have wonderful advice both for those seeking internships as well as those offering them. I hope you enjoy the article. If you’re looking for an internship opportunity, we here at thoughtLEADERS have a few available. For more details, read about the positions HERE and HERE (there are two separate postings). – Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC
https://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2009-01-22 12:55:002018-12-21 14:14:09Small is the New Big for Interns