Attack the Issue, Love the Person!

We’ve been looking at different scenarios where team members aren’t performing to the level they’re capable, whether that be through their words or their deeds. In some cases, it can be very intentional. But there are certainly times where they’re just not aware that more is needed. 

For the most part, supervisors, and owners have great relationships with the people around them. That’s how it really should be, right! Solid relationships lead to long term working relationships, but that can also make it pretty tough to have a candid conversation… That said, not addressing a situation can lead to all kinds of yucky business down the road!

One of the fundamentals I learned early on with behavior-based safety, more specifically when addressing at-risk behavior with a peer, was to be very intentional about pointing out the potential for injury from that behavior and be very careful not to question their ability or intent in the process....

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Rip That Band-Aid Off!

In the last blog post, I shared a story about a fellow who thought the owner of the company rigged the soda machine to squeeze a few more nickels out of him. Then I shared a little bit about how the negative comments he made about the owner openly in front of his supervisor and many of the team members he worked with every day can impact an entire organization’s performance. Even if he had been the hardest working and most productive guy in the bunch, those comments weren’t OK. But he wasn’t…

I emphasize again here, he was remarkably knowledgeable in the work he was doing; I can’t take any of that away from him. Truth be told, I’m not sure anyone in the company knew how to perform the job better than him!

All that said, having knowledge and applying it in a way that exceeds expectations are very different things…

For the sake of the point I’m driving, let’s just pretend his actual performance was hitting the mark; one time,...

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What Are You Willing To Risk?

In the last blog post, I Just Can’t Take The Risk, tiptoed around the edges but stopped just short of defining what that perceived risk was… With limited time right now, I’ll touch on the perceived risk quickly and toss out a few other risks that many managers or business owners may not recognize until it’s too late. 

Don’t worry though, I won’t drop the ball on you! I’ll circle back with the next few posts to cover some things we can each do to effectively handle each of the risks we look at now.

The risk I’ve seen so many supervisors, managers, and business owners work so hard to avoid is the potential for losing a long term, highly skilled team member to the competition after addressing an issue with them. In many of those situations, that person is truly a master of their craft. But from time to time, even the best in the business get lackadaisical… But there are also times where a senior team member can begin to...

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I Just Can’t Take The Risk...

Over the last decade, I’ve seen dozens of situations where a senior or incredibly skilled team member has chosen not to exceed expectations. The challenge in most of those instances really boiled down to that team member actually choosing to not even meet the expectations the organization (or business owner, or their team members) had clearly defined for the role they were in.

As we looked at how failing to exceed, or even meet, expectations can impact customer retention and the organization’s overall profitability through the last several posts, it was extremely clear that average performance won’t be what separates any of our businesses from the competition. This is just as true when it comes to the culture we build internally - how tasks get done even when a customer will likely never have direct exposure to them…

Let’s be honest, highly skilled team members are hard to come be regardless of the ups and downs of the economy. That often results in...

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Exceeding Customer Expectations

As I referenced in the last blog post, John Maxwell told me several years ago that just five percent of the people we interact with are willing to put in the effort to truly EXCEED what’s expected of them. With the regulations we’ve seen in place over the last several months due to Covid, many businesses in the service industry have taken quite a hit. Times like this make it even more important to have a culture where each team member is willing to be in that five percent!

But before we can EXCEED anyone’s expectations, we need to have a clear understanding of what they really expect from us! And in many cases, we need to take responsibility for setting clear expectations of what they should expect from us... 

Cindy and I were recently on a Zoom call with Jeff Henderson, author of Know What You’re FOR, where he challenged us to consider three seemingly basic but extremely important questions:

  1. What do you want to be known for?
  2. What are you known for?
  3. Do...
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Like It or Not, That’s How It’s Gonna Be… Really?

Have you ever been told that by a company you’ve done business with? Like it or not, that’s how it's gonna be… Have you ever heard a supervisor say something like this to one of their employees? Have you ever been that employee???

I remember being told something very similar to that by an administrative assistant for the attorney I was dealing with about 15 years ago following a nasty car accident and the other party had a less than stellar insurance company. After being jerked around by the other insurance company for weeks and not hearing back from the attorney for quite a while too, I began calling daily until I got a response. After a few days of this, she told me “You’re not our only client. We’ll get to you when we get to you.” That didn’t go as well as she thought it would…

While I can’t say that I’ve ever been anything like that by a supervisor, I’ve certainly heard it said a few times. It’s one...

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The Hardest Person You’ll Ever Have To Lead Is...

Before I dive into how we can handle the hardest person any of us will ever have to lead, I want to share a link to a video I posted on our social media channels a few hours ago calling attention to the amazing work that’s done by the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and why we’re so excited to be able to work with them again this year as Community Partners for LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg!

I also want to share a link to a blog post I just read from The John Maxwell Company that ties right in with what we looked at in the last blog I posted, what we’ll be working through here, and what we’ll be digging into with the next few blog posts. Their post was called Leading from the Middle: I’m Not the Boss! You Do the Leading! I won’t speak for you on this, but the fact that this is something they’re addressing as well tells me that the misconception that you have to have authority in order to lead is pretty widespread!

How will you recognize the hardest person...

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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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A Fight To Be The Best!

I can vividly remember back a dozen or so years ago to a time where an absentee plant manager would send a late night email to one of his minions on the local management team demanding a to-the-minute update on the various metrics we were all required to track on a monthly basis. He always expected those numbers to be presented at the 8:45a production meeting; never mind the fact that he sent his diktat by email around 10p the night before, most of us didn’t arrive in the building to even access his emails until 7:30a, and those reports typically required several hours to complete each month even when we had the necessary data to put them together… That’s when one of the management team members taught me an interesting lesson, “the hard it is to prove something is correct, the harder it will be to disprove…” 

That was also the day I learned that the majority of my peers had learned to pay very little attention to our absentee boss’s...

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Responsibility Stinks!

Originally shared in A Daily Dose Of Leadership on July 1, 2020.

Do you remember a time in your career, or even in your personal life, when so many people weren’t depending on you to make the right decisions? And maybe there wasn’t even anyone watching if you did something stupid, or something you wouldn’t have been proud to tell your grand kids about… Since smart phones have entered the equation, those days seem to be gone, huh…

I kinda remember those days… But I more clearly remember the day I volunteered to serve on a safety committee and learned that every move I made from that point forward would be under a microscope. The idea we touched on in the last message about Monkey See, Monkey Do would be hard at work in my life from that day forward. I couldn’t promote the importance of choosing safe behaviors and continue to do dumb stuff that could get me hurt if I wanted to earn any credibility at all! And as I accepted different roles...

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