Fluent in Friendliness? Apply Within. Hats off to Lowe’s who posted that sign outside of their newest location under construction. I spent 30 years in the retail business both as a general manager and business owner – so that sign naturally caught my attention. The one-on-one service that you provide to your customer is the only competitive advantage that you have. It’s not your product or service. It’s not your selection or price. The only competitive advantage that you have to set yourself apart from your competition is the level of customer service you provide.
Every time you come in contact with a perspective client it’s a moment of truth. Every time you come in contact with a perspective client they get to decide if they want to continue to do business with you or not. And most often that decision is based upon the way they feel they have been treated. When was the last time you had “Wow” customer service? When was the last time you got “So-So” customer service? I’ll bet the “So-So” out numbered the “Wow” ten to one. (Ten so-so to one wow)
You don’t need to like everyone you come in contact with – But if you want to get repeat business you need to learn how to get along with them. The same holds true with the people you work with. You don’t have to like them or socialize with them – But you do need to learn how to interact and collaborate with them. If you’re the one who gets to pick who is on your team you need to make sure you’ve surrounded yourself with people who like being around people. Managers and business owners need to make sure they hire people who like helping people. You can’t afford to have someone on your team who is turned off and have tuned out. You need to be just like Lowe’s and hire people who are “Fluent in Friendliness” and get rid of the ones who aren’t. 🙂
A hero, a teacher, a mentor, a coach – both on and off the field. A good father – a father who loved his six children unconditionally and was proud of the adults they had become. He loved his grand children and his great-grandchildren. A man who adored his wife – and for the 66+ years that they were married he did everything he could to make her the centre of his world.
A go getter. An achiever. Someone who was all in no matter what he was doing. He figured if you are going to put in the effort – you might as well give it your all – because you just never know how far it will take you or where you’ll end up.
He was a kind man who reached out to his friends when ever he could. He was fun to be around and hang out with. He was a story-teller. He was not a saint or a sinner. He believed in God but didn’t force his beliefs on others. He was a proud Canadian who wore his colours on his sleeve and fought to defend our rights and freedoms.
He was my Dad. He passed away yesterday on his terms – quietly and at peace. I will miss him dearly. I have a lifetime of memories to keep me company until we meet again. Bye Dad – I love you – but you already knew that. 🙂
One of the best compliments I had ever received as a Manager was from an employee after I had disciplined her. It took her about 15 minutes after the fact before she realized what I had done. I was reminded of that incident the other day when a reader wrote me and asked me how to go about “calling attention to a person’s mistakes indirectly”. In my management training sessions I talk with team leaders, supervisors and managers about how they need to create “Teachable Moments”. Mistakes are inevitable. Mistakes will happen but discipline should always be a positive learning experience.
It’s difficult for anyone to take constructive criticism in a positive way. (As far as I’m concerned there is no such thing as constructive criticism only positive feedback) People on the receiving end do take it personal. (It’s human nature) I know for the most part you are giving it for the right reasons.
When working with others it’s important to always be positive. You need to look at mistakes in a positive way. (Look at them as learning opportunities) When mistakes happen – and they will happen – you need to create an environment where it’s OK to fail. You need to create a “Teachable Moment”. You need to be able to separate the act (What the person did) from the person they are. (You’re OK; it’s what you did that isn’t. I don’t want to change you I just want to change what you did wrong.) Try using the “Sandwich Technique”. Think of a sandwich that has two slices of bread (whole wheat multi-grain, lightly buttered, hold the mayo) with a slice of lean roast beef, lettuce and a tomatoes. (If you’re going to eat this sandwich it might as well be a healthy one)
Try creating a “Teachable Moment” by following this simple recipe:
- The first thing you need to do is design the right environment. Make sure you have your teachable moment in an area that is conducive to learning. A quiet boardroom, office or on the shop floor if you are going to be teaching someone how to operate a piece of equipment, etc.
- Start the conversation off by saying something positive about the person. The years of experience they have that is invaluable to the department and organization. How they contribute to the overall success of the department. The first slice of bread will help you take your emotion out of the equation. The first slice of bread will help you separate the act from the person. Remember the person is OK; it’s the act that you want them to change.
- The lean roast beef in your sandwich is what you want them to change. It’s important to let the person know that it’s not them that needs to change but what they are doing. Let them know the negative impact the “act” is having on the team, department and organization. Let the person know you are there to help them be successful. Ask them what they think are the reasons mistakes are happening and what they would recommend be done to correct the problem(s). Together, work out a course of corrective action that you both can agree on. However, it’s important that they own the plan. If it’s your plan – and it fails – then you’ve given them an excuse why it failed. If it’s their plan they are more likely to “buy-in” to the process and make it happen.
- The second slice of bread is used to bring about closure. Let the person know that you are looking forward to working with them. Let them know that you will be following-up with them to ensure that the plan is getting the desired results. (People do what you inspect not what you expect) Always follow-up. Manage by walking around. Discipline should always be a positive learning experience. Be sure to praise performance. Let them know you are pleased with the progress they are making. “Catch people doing something right and give them a one minute praising” – Ken Blanchard – One Minute Manager.