I Don't Care How, Just Get It Done!

In the last LinkedIn article I published, A Great Customer Experience!, I referenced being tied up in customer support calls for more than twelve hours over the course of four days. Here’s where I need to be very transparent… For years, my dad has told me that I would become more patient as I got older. To this point, only one of those two things has happened - and it hasn’t been an increase in patience! For me, fifteen minutes stuck on a customer support call is cruel and unusual punishment… After twelve hours, I wanted to fight someone! (Ok, I was ready for that after two hours…)

With that in mind, it gave me some perspective on just how important providing a great customer experience is in maintaining and strengthening relationships with the people we serve - whether they’re our direct customers or they’re members of the team we’re responsible for leading. And we have to be honest with ourselves; there are going to be times when...

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What Does It Really Cost?

As I wrapped up the last blog, I referenced a study that showed how many organizations lose as much as 17 hours per week to miscommunication. Unlike the Salesforce.com study, I couldn’t put my find on any of the additional details that study covered or who conducted it. That said, I found it! We typically share these statistics during the second lesson of our Emerging Leader Development course, Critical Principles for Effective Communication… Here you go:

According to an SIS International Research study, the cumulative cost per year due to productivity losses resulting from communication barriers is more than $26,000 per employee. Not only that, the study found that a business with 100 employees spends an average downtime of 17 hours a week clarifying communications. Translated into dollars, that’s more than $530,000 a year.

I go on to detail out that math for companies half that size and twice that size, just so participants have a chance to relate it to the...

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How To Do It and What To Expect...

On April 23, 1910 in Paris, Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech called Citizenship in a Republic. In full disclosure, I’ve never read or heard the entire thing (but that may no longer be true by the time you’re reading this). However, that speech is where one of my favorite quotes of all time - commonly referred to as “The Man in the Arena” - was first shared:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at...

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Clear Expectations with Specific Details

Originally shared in A Daily Dose Of Leadership on August 7, 2020.

To this point, we’ve looked at specific action steps we can take in being intentional about including team members with the first three of the four primary communication styles. Let’s close the loop by digging into some ways we can provide that same sense of inclusion with the final group: the more CAUTIOUS ones…

So how can we ensure that we’re providing those who are typically more CRITICAL and CAREFUL with what they need so they can feel like they’re accepted as part of the diverse team we’re building?

These Reserved and Task-Oriented folks are where the phrase “measure twice, cut once” had to originate! They have a strong desire to make sure everything they put their hand to yields an accurate result. One of the best ways for us to help them feel included is to be sure we’re providing them with a very clear set of expectations and all the specific details...

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Genuine Appreciation

Originally shared in A Daily Dose Of Leadership on August 6, 2020.

Through the last few blogs, we’ve taken a look at some things we can do to intentionally include individuals as part of our team and build a culture of authentic inclusion. Since we each have our own unique blend of all four behavior styles, this has been focused on providing a starting point based on someone’s primary style. The first two styles we looked at were very Outgoing and rarely need more than an initial invitation to begin the process of bringing them into the fold. But the group we’ll look at today will likely need a bit more encouragement, and that’s critical to recognize because this group makes up almost as much of that population as the first two combined!

Those with a primarily SUPPORTIVE style represent around 35% of everyone we come in contact with on a daily basis. These Reserved and People-Oriented folks are nearly always willing to do things for others that they’d...

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Some Recognition and a Little Fun

Originally shared in A Daily Dose Of Leadership on August 5, 2020.

The last blog covered ways we can help the more DRIVEN folks be more included in the team we’re working to build and I closed by sharing that they only represent around 10% of the population. The next step we can take in making our diverse teams truly inclusive will address another 30% of all the people we’re likely to interact with on any given day, the INSPIRING ones!

While this group is often just as Fast-Paced as the DRIVEN group I just touched on, control and results won’t be what provides them with the fuel they need to feel like they’re a valuable part of the team. This People-Oriented group can certainly accomplish great things but they’re far more likely to give it their all when they really enjoy the team they’re a part of and they can have some degree of fun in the process!

For those of us who are wired to just get things done, these Interactive folks can at times seem...

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You Don’t Have to Control Every Single Thing

Originally shared in A Daily Dose Of Leadership on August 4, 2020.

Over the last few weeks in this series, we’ve taken a look at how things can spiral out of control throughout an organization once Ethical Fading begins, then we dug into the real definitions for diversity and inclusion as we looked at why both really matter when we’re working to build a world class organizational culture. I published an article on LinkedIn yesterday called Don’t Just Say It, Do It! that was intended to set the tone for what we’ll be looking at through these next few blogs showing how to take tangible steps toward achieving authentic inclusion in every part of our team.

While there’s certainly no magic pill that can solve every problem you or I will ever encounter, just changing how we communicate with each individual on our teams can make a significant impact in building a culture where everyone truly feels more included! When orders are being barked from top down,...

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Part of a Winning Team

Originally shared in A Daily Dose Of Leadership on July 31, 2020.

Have you ever noticed how quick folks tend to be to associate themselves with a sports team when that team is performing well but how those same folks can tend to distance themselves in the bad years. Phrases like We’re going to the playoffs can be fairly common during the good years, but those are often replaced with things like They’re just really bad this year when things aren’t looking so good. 

It’s not at all uncommon to hear both of those things said by the same person, about the same team, in back to back seasons! But why?

I believe each and every one of us have a deep desire to be part of something bigger than ourselves. According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, the desire for community must be met before we can really begin to feel accomplished personally.

OK Wes, what does this have to do with the topics we’ve been working through over the last several blogs?...

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Not Just More of the Same!

Originally shared in A Daily Dose Of Leadership on July 30, 2020.

Before I pick up where we left off, I want to share some feedback I received from the questions I closed that last blog with. My challenge was for you to think into how you’ve been proactive about including the people on your team who may not have the same background as you and to consider what you can do to help someone who may have been on a proverbial island become a part of the team.

Truth be told, my thought process with that was geared to the BC (Before Covid) era… Here’s what a great friend sent in response: “I think you could do an entire lesson on the questions you just asked. In the last few months, I’ve been more intentional about reaching out to my co-workers through text, phone calls, emails, and Zoom to stay connected to them. I struggle though to get the message across to Senior Management that I have felt like that proverbial island since I work in an office by...

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A State of Being Included

Originally shared in A Daily Dose Of Leadership on July 29, 2020.

We looked at what it takes to build a truly diverse team in the last blog. But just having a group of people with varying skill sets and experience doesn’t promise there will ever be a high performing team…

I’ve been in a number of situations where I was always the odd man out. Now before you write me off by saying that doesn’t surprise you, hear me out…

Have you ever been part of a work group where, regardless of your expertise or performance, you just never seemed to fit in because you didn’t come from the same school or didn’t attend the same church? Maybe it was because you had only been with the organization for a few years while nearly everyone else around you had been there for decades. How a scenario where a significant portion of the management team had all come from one other company and anyone without that history was a bit of an outsider? And what if your...

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