You Can’t Suck and Blow in The Same Breath

You can’t suck and blow in the same breath. You can do one or the other, but you can’t do both at the same time. I have a soft spot for service providers, and those working with the general public., having spent over 30 years as a general manager for a major retailer. Profit and being profitable is not a dirty word. When small businesses go out of business, the whole community suffers. You have a choice. You can pay lower prices for the goods and services you buy , or you can have exceptional customer service, but you can’t have both.

Self-Serve Checkouts

I know a lot of customers are upset with retailers who are installing banks of self-serve checkouts. Some are going so far as to suggest you boycott those stores. I spent over 30 years in retail as a general manager for a major retailer. I understand the challenges they face. Margins continue to be squeezed. Costs continue to go up. Business owners are paying more for the goods they sell, the utilities they use, and the equipment they lease or buy. You have a choice. If you want exceptional customer service, you’ll have to be willing to pay more for the products you buy, but you can’t have low prices and service too. If you put it to a vote, the majority of customers would pick low prices.

ATM Machines

I remember the time, yes I’m that old, when my local bank installed an ATM (Automatic Teller Machine) along the side of the building. You had to stand out side – sometimes in inclement weather to use it. Customers had a choice. You can go inside the bank, stand in the line up and wait your turn to get served by the teller or learn to use the machine. Initially, there was a lot of pushback from customers who refused to use the device. If you wanted the bank to hold the line on what they charged for the services they provided, then something had to give. Either they had to charge you more for the services they offered so they could afford to hire more tellers or install more ATM’s, because they couldn’t afford to do both. At least nowadays, you don’t have to go outside to use one. Even better yet. Some banks now have drive-through lanes so you don’t even have to get out of your vehicle to use the ATM.

Fast-Food Outlets

I love the touch screen machines being installed at fast food outlets. You have a choice. You can either embrace the new way of ordering your food and pay for your purchase online or stand in the line up. However, keep in mind that they can only afford one cashier so it may take longer to place and pay for your order. The new frontier, now being introduced by the Taco Bell’s of the fast-food industry is contactless service. They are experimenting with multiple drive-through lanes, some of them dedicated to mobile orders and curbside pickups. Customers can scan their order via a QR code at the digital check-in screen, pay for their order online and then proceed to the pickup area. Handling cash with become a thing of the past.

You can’t suck and blow in the same breath. You can have low prices or pay for exceptional customer service, but you can’t have both.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. Brian specializes in soft skills training and leadership development. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit his website: https://briansmithpld.com or contact him directly – brian@briansmithpld.com

It’s Not All Doom and Gloom

I’m an optimist because there isn’t a good enough reason to be anything else. Pheonix will rise from the ashes, despite what you may be hearing or reading. In the end, what we regret the most are the chances we never took. It’s not all doom and gloom. Dark clouds can have a silver lining. Where there is chaos, there is opportunity. Where there is a gap – there is room for someone to fill it. Timing is everything, and there has never been a better time than now. But don’t wait too long. The window of opportunity will close.

Worth Remembering … “Excuses will always be there for you – but opportunity won’t.” – Unknown

The landscape is littered with going out of business signs. Small, independently-owned businesses have been the hardest hit. Main street has been boarded up. Restaurants that have been in the family for generations are gone. Your local hardware store is closed. Hair salons, clothing and shoe stores have all but disappeared. A sad testament to the turbulent times we find ourselves in. But in spite of it all, the timing to get into business for yourself couldn’t be better. It’s not all doom and gloom. Find the silver lining in those dark clouds. Look for that window of opportunity. But don’t wait too long. The window of opportunity will close.

Worth Remembering … “The ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity.” Ann Rand

The great resignation, a wave of workers leaving their jobs, has left employers scrambling to fill positions from entry-level to senior management. According to a recent survey conducted by Robert Half, a leading recruitment agency, 33% of employed Generation Z and Millennial Professionals polled reported they plan to pursue a new job in the coming year. That’s not a bad thing. The timing to get promoted and take on a leadership role in your organization or change careers couldn’t be better. It’s not all doom and gloom. Will those dark clouds have a sliver lining for you? If you wait too long your window of opportunity will close. – Act now.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization, visit https://briansmithpld.com

To Get Buy-in – You Need to Buy In

Daniel Goleman, in his groundbreaking book – “Working With Emotional Intelligence” said it best: “A new yardstick is judging us: not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other”. Productivity is still the name of the game, and that will never change. Your job as a manager or business leader has always been to minimize the input and maximize the output. Right-sizing has put added pressure on management to hold the line on the expense side of the ledger while still growing the profit side. To accomplish both – managers and leaders must change from being task-focused to being people-focused.

Worth Remembering … “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing – expecting a different result.” – Einstein

You need to decide whether the management style that got you here will be the same style that will get you to where you need to be to stay in business? I’m betting that it won’t because there’s been a dramatic shift in people’s attitudes. Their wants and needs have changed. For the newest generation, Generation Z, whose leading edge is just entering the workforce, life outside of work is just as important, if not more important, to life at work. Today’s managers and business leaders need to change how they lead to keep step with those changes. It’s no longer managing as usual.

Worth Remembering … “One of the most important things about being a good manager is to rule with a heart. You have to know the business, but you also have to know what’s at the heart of business and that’s people.” – Oprah

Technical skills are essential, but you can get those out of a book. What is needed to be successful managing and leading others today is someone who understands people. Managing and leading others is about them – not about you. They need someone who possesses exceptional soft skills, the ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others. Someone who spends time getting to know them for more than just the job that they do. How do they like to be managed? How do they want to receive information? Are they visual learners or do they learn by reading a set of instructions? If you can’t or you’re not willing to change your management style to be more in tune with how they like to be managed, you will have difficulty convincing them to buy in. Different folks = different strokes. To get them to buy-in – you need to buy in.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. Find out more about Brian and what he can do for you or your organization by visiting his website. – https://briansmithpld.com

Wishing and Hoping Won’t Make It So But Setting SMART Targets Will

Wishing and hoping won’t make it so but setting smart targets will. As Covey would say – “Miracles are great, but they are so hard to come by. You never know when one will come along.” To accomplish what you want to achieve, no matter how big or small, it’s a planned event. You can’t wish and hope to lose weight, get that promotion or start your small business, but you can put a plan together to achieve your goal and end up where you want to be.

Worth Remembering … “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra

Don’t generalize. Set a SMART target.

S – Specific: You must name it to claim it. What steps will you have to take to achieve your goal? What objectives need to be accomplished to reach your target?

M – Measurable: If you don’t measure it, how do you know you are headed in the right direction? Your plan should include trackable benchmarks. What gets measured gets done.

A – Attainable: You must believe it’s doable, or you won’t be motivated enough to put in the effort to accomplish your goal. Have you been honest with yourself? Do you believe the goal you’ve set for yourself is achievable?

R – Relevant: Why is this goal important to you? What are the tangible benefits you’ll receive if you reach your goal? Knowing what it will do for you will help you keep your eye on the prize.

T – Time Based: How much time have you given yourself to accomplish your goal? Having a deadline helps to keep you moving forward. Having a deadline creates a sense of urgency and gets you up and off the couch.

Worth Remembering … “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” – Scottish Proverb

That proverb suggests that if wishing could make things happen, then we’d all have everything we wanted. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so but setting a SMART target will. A goal is a dream with a deadline. If you genuinely believe that you have all the tools you’ll need to accomplish your goals – then the only thing getting in your way is you. Put your plan together and work your plan.

Copyright (c) 2021. Brian Smith – Power Link Dynamics. Not to be reproduced without permission. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you or your organization visit: https://briansmithpld.com