Tuesday, May 21, 2013
If you've flown Southwest Airlines you know they're tops in airline customer service, driven by a leadership style that creates a company-wide culture where all employees own that culture.
According to SWA Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly, as reported in the company's in-flight magazine, "every company has a culture, whether that culture is supportive or stifling, active or passive, fun or discouraging."
"One way we do culture differently is by making Southwest's culture everyone's responsibility. In fact, we ask everyone to 'own it,'" says Kelly.
Here are some of the ways that SWA keeps its winning culture in the forefront that you can also do to keep employees motivated and to drive great customer service:
1. Form a corporate culture committee and a local culture committee that organizes low-cost employee events throughout the year.
2. Include a section related to culture on each employee's annual performance appraisal. This goes for every employee in your company, including the entire management team.
3. Explain your company's culture on the first day of each new hire's orientation and training.
4. Foster a culture that encourages celebration.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
All you need is one hour to read Brian Tracy's newest, pocket-sized guide for managers, Motivation.
"You cannot motivate other people," explains Tracy, "but you can remove the obstacles that stop them from motivating themselves. All motivation is self-motivation. As a manager, you can create an environment where this potential for self-motivation is released naturally and spontaneously."
In the book, Tracy presents chapter-by-chapter his 21 most reliable and powerful methods for increasing the effectiveness of any individual or group.
Each chapter includes a couple different action exercises.
Toward the end of the book, Tracy explains the importance of the Friendship Factor in motivating employees. "Every manager can tap into the power of friendship in everyday employee interactions by remembering the three Cs: Consideration, Caring and Courtesy.
- Practice consideration by expressing an interest in your employees as individuals.
- Express caring for your staff members by listening attentively and with compassion.
- Express courtesy toward employees by showing personal regard and respect for each person -- especially under stress, when a situation goes wrong, or when a worker makes a mistake.
Whether you have one or many employees, be sure each has a current and accurate job description.
A job description is a written document that should include the:
- employee's duties
- employee's responsibilities
- outcomes needed from that position.
If your employee has a poorly written job description, or one that is out-of-date, it will lead to confusion and misunderstandings.
Once you have a job description for each employee, you'll be able to ensure the descriptions all fit together logically and leave no holes in the duties that need to be assigned.
- Check your job descriptions at least yearly to be sure they reflect the employee's proper title and current duties. Very often employees get new job titles or are assigned new tasks mid-year, and those don't get reflected in their job descriptions. Don't let that happen.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Some of my favorite quotes for leaders are:
- A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit -- Arnold H. Glasgow
- I praise loudly, I blame softly -- Catherine II of Russia
- Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress -- Mohandas Gandhi
- A long dispute means that both parties are wrong -- Voltaire
- The least questioned assumptions are often the most questionable -- Paul Broca
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Negative feedback is part of growing as a leader -- both delivering that feedback and sometimes receiving that type of feedback.
Keith Ferrazzi, CEO of Ferazzi Greenlight, a research-based consulting and training company, suggests practicing "caring criticism," as he explained it in a past issue of the Harvard Business Review.
"Negative feedback can hurt, but usually it's a gift aimed at helping the recipient improve performance or avoid mistakes. We should deliver and receive it that way," says Ferrazzi.
"Use phrases like 'I might suggest' and 'Think about this'" when giving feedback.
And, then Kerrazzi suggests when receiving candid feedback, that you thank the person who offered it and make clear the points on which you agree. He's found that if you think of the person giving you honest feedback as generous, rather than critical, you become less defensive and more open to changing your behavior.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
- Does my business have a clear, meaningful, and easily understood vision/mission?
- Do I have the right people in the right seats on the bus?
- Do I have a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal), and have I communicated it to my employees?
- Are my values driving the behavior I want in my organization?
- Am I creating a culture that increases employee engagement?
- Am I cultivating a spirit of internal and external learning?
- Do my employees know what an A looks like, and am I supporting them to get that A?
- Are our products/services creating lasting, positive memories for our customers?
- Do I have the best, most timely data and information to help my business make good decisions?
- Are our key performance indicators the right ones, and are we measuring what matters?
- Do we celebrate success?
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
"Some of the biggest challenges in relationships come from the fact that most people enter a relationship in order to get something. In reality, the only way a relationship will last is if you see it as a place you go to give, and not a place you go to take." -- Anthony Robbins
Sunday, May 12, 2013
When I read business books, I turn the corner of every page that has something I really like, want to remember and easily reference in the future.
Halfway into the 300-page book, Leadership Conversations, I had turned the corners of nearly every fifth pags. So, you can see why I believe this is such a good book. There is so much to learn from Leadership Conversations. It's a must read for today's business leaders. Leaders who are leading multi-generational workforces. And, leaders who want the skills to get promoted and move up the corporate ladder.
Authors Alan S. Berson and Richard G. Stieglitz wrote the book because they believe that a leader's most powerful skill is the ability to hold effective conversations.
So, in their book, they detail the four types of conversations every leader must effectively master. Conversations that:
- Build relationships
- Develop others
- Make decisions
- Take action
And, they provide real-world examples and tactical guidance for each of those conversation types.
Here are some of the book's gems:
The breadth and depth of how leaders connect with people determine a leader's ability to influence, and the greater the influence, the greater the alignment and results. Leaders who effectively make those people connections:
- Have a style and a voice that fit their organization and enable them to form bonds with their followers and ignite their passion.
- Beget great followers. Leaders learn their people's objectives and guide them toward achieving their full potential.
- Address small conflicts to avoid larger ones later. They know intuitively when things do not seem right, and promptly hold the conversations required to fix them.
- Know that creativity cannot be forced. They enable creativity in the natural flow of business by providing the time, the space, and the conditions for people to be creative -- then they cultivate the fledgling sprouts of innovation.
- Celebrate their people. They are liberal with praise and realize that their personal success is rooted in their people's successes.
Thanks to the book's publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.
Soft skills, all too often deemed the less important skills for a leader, are needed now more than ever.
- Soft skills are interpersonal skills that demonstrate a person's ability to communicate effectively and build relationships with others in one-on-one interactions as well as in groups and teams.
Each of the book's nine chapters, listed below, provide dialogue, questions, tips and recommended activities:
- What Are Soft Skills?
- The Hidden Side of Communication
- The Power of Positive Intentions
- Tack and Diplomacy
- The Challenge of Problem Solving
- Soft Skills and Teams
- The Personality Factor
- Taking the Sting Out of Feedback
- Conflict and Cooperation
- Following through
- Accurate work
- Problem solving
- Technical expertise
Kamin, M.Ed., is the founder and president of TOUCH Consulting, Inc.
Thanks to the book's publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.
Insecure managers hog the credit for a job well done. Or, they hide the credit and don't give credit where credit is due. These managers are afraid to let their employees be in the limelight.
Secure and successful managers talk up their employees, highlighting the good performance they've done, and are eager to give credit where credit is due. They promote their staff to their supervisor and to others within their organization.
Successful managers know that they look good when their employees look good.
Giving credit where credit is due is a sign of a manager who is wise and confident. It's a sign of a manager who demonstrates good leadership skills. So, when your employees excel, allow them to take the spotlight.