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Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous Brain food’ Category

How One Bad Customer Service Experience Can Damage Your Brand

I often speak about ‘the customers perception is your reality’ and how when a customer has a great experience with a company’s designated sales or customer service rep their perception of the company overall (their brand) is enhanced. Conversely, when a customer has a poor experience their overall perception of the company overall is diminished.

At no time is this more important than when dealing with customer complaints and problems. As I published in How Fit Is Your Customer Service?, the true test of a business’s customer service fitness is not when things are going right – but rather what is done when things go wrong.

That brings me to a truly horrendous case of customer disservice by a customer service rep at Comcast. As well documented in the article (with audio clip) posted below from cnet.com yesterday, the customer simply wanted to disconnect his service.  The abusive way he was treated has certainly left a lasting negative impression of the company overall.

Could this Comcast rep be the worst service rep in the world? – CNET
http://www.cnet.com/news/could-this-comcast-rep-be-the-worst-service-rep-in-the-world/

It’s a shame that this happened and I’m sure Comcast believes this incident is not representative of their customer service quality overall. Still, this one bad experience all by itself has done considerable harm – not only with this customer who undoubtedly will never return but also by extension with the countless folks he has now shared his tragedy with.

Always remember…

The True Test of Customer Service

Truly great service happens at all points (beginning-middle-end) of the customer relationship!

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For detailed information visit Sale Away. Steve can be reached directly at 866-721-6086 ext. 701 or via email at steve@saleawayllc.com

The Spirit of Giving and Self-Less Customer Service

With the Christmas season upon us, most of us are in shopping mode and taking the time and effort to purchase gifts for the significant others in our lives.  Invested in that spirit of giving, we put aside the focus on ourselves and concentrate on how we can provide something of value to others.

This same self-less behavior is the very essence of customer service.

Proper customer service is a self-less act. Selflessness is defined as the act of sacrificing one’s own interest for the greater good.  This is what we tend to do at Christmas time and, as professional service-providers, this is precisely the attitude and conduct we should maintain on a day-to-day basis.

When we practice self-less service we put the power of reciprocity to work. Just as we feel obligated to return gifts to those that have given us one, the same is true of our customer relationships. When customers feel they have received something of value they typically return the occasion with their loyalty and possibly even their recommendation of your service to others.

So while the spirit of giving may be most evident during Christmas time, it can benefit both customers and your business performance year-round!

The-best-way-to-find-yourself-is-to-lose-yourself-in-the-service-of-others.-Gandhi-quote

churchill-lifegiving

Make a Great Day!

Steve

How to be Engaging and Memorable: A Lesson from Virgin Airways

Richard Branson

In my “Put Some Zip In Your Do Da!” post I wrote about how a positive, upbeat attitude naturally improves your interactions with customers, co-workers and human beings in general. 

The sad fact is there’s far less than Zippy behavior out in the marketplace today with employees in countless organizations providing customer service with no life in it. Their bored, unengaged going through the motions demeanor demonstrating that they would rather be somewhere else (anywhere else) than serving customers.

The problem is so common that most customers have learned to live with it, usually tuning-out during and then forgetting about their lousy experience afterwards.

A good example of this is the airlines industry. With clients spread out over No. America, I travel frequently for business and have occupied a seat on just about every domestic airline there is. My experience has revealed there’s a clear distinction between those airlines that ‘get it’ when it comes to engaging, memorable service and those that don’t.

Case in point: Anyone who has flown knows that shortly before take-off a flight attendant will announce the FAA-mandated flight safety information.  Most airline attendants do this as if their reading a restaurant menu, all facts and figures, no emotion whatsoever. Consequently, 98% of the passengers tune-out and focus on something more interesting; a book, the view outside, the back of the chair in front of them, etc. For the record, it’s a sure sign your safety (or any other) announcement is failing when the  Solafeet Foot Tanner in the SkyMall catalog is more intriguing!

A few airlines do this noticeably different, Southwest and JetBlue being two of my favorites, with employees regularly injecting ‘fun’ into their customer interactions and typically making announcements with added humorous flair.  In fact, on a recent JetBlue flight the attendant received a seated ovation from the captive audience that was clearly entertained and engaged by his funny flight safety rendition.

And now,  Virgin Airways trumps them all with their version of the flight safety announcement in this entertaining video that was just released on October 29th:

As I posted recently, Richard Branson and Virgin Airways understand the importance of having fun to engage their internal customers (employees) and external customers to create memorable experiences.

Ask yourself and your customer service team: What can we do differently to add more fun in our customer service process to create more engaging, memorable experiences?

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For detailed information visit Sale Away. Steve can be reached directly at 866-721-6086 ext. 701 or via email at steve@saleawayllc.com

Sell Value or Pay The Price

Selling Value Guy

Businesses lose substantial dollars in revenues and profits each year because their sales and service people do not effectively sell the value of their product and service offerings.

Hall of Fame football coach Vince Lombardi said, “Inches make the champion.”

The same applies to the selling profession; it’s a game of inches. Every business day your salespeople have opportunities to win new business. How effective or ineffective they are in their customer interactions determines their success or failure – and ultimately the return (or lack thereof) on your sales staff investment.

The fact is your salespeople are always on the verge of either making or losing their next sale. What if they could execute better and win a sale that they would have lost? How about if they did that on a consistent basis? Now multiply that by the number of salespeople you employ. That’s your value opportunity!

Defense! Any coach worth his whistle will tell you that a strong defense is the best solution against a good offense. The reality of many organizations is that their customer’s have a better system (defense) than they do of selling them on their value (offense).

Ask yourself: Ever had a prospective customer request a discount, postpone an order, or worse, cancel purchasing from you? Well, then it’s a good bet they don’t understand your offering’s true value.

Wait a minute you say, no one wins them all. You’re right, but those who effectively sell value win more often, accelerate their sales cycle, and make customers feel better about their purchases in the process.

True Value Areas

Value is in the eye of the beholder. In the case of selling anything, it’s the customer’s perceived value that matters, is essential and vital – not the sellers.

Customers don’t want all your stuff! They only want what they perceive and believe will help them. This is especially important to understand in product or service sales where potential customers can quickly be turned off by technical features and functions they don’t understand or perceive to be unnecessary and of little or no advantage.

All too often sales staffs employ a one-size-fits-all, throw it against the wall and see what sticks presentation. I’ve witnessed countless phone and face-to-face encounters that were cut short because the sales person says some version of “just let me show you” and moves too quickly into the product demonstration without first really understanding the customers’ needs and true value areas.

To effectively sell value, sales people need to engage the customer in a proper discovery process first to uncover what is important to them and why. It is only with this understanding that the sales person can effectively communicate value and tailor a presentation to fit the needs of the customer. By implementing this consultative approach, the buyer-seller relationship is strengthened by properly positioning the sales person as a consultant/advisor.

In addition, sales people need to know what their competitive differentiators are, the areas that their product/service business is better/faster/more cost effective than the competitive offerings the customer may compare them to.

When these Selling Value areas are proper incorporated, sales people have much better control of the sales process, become more efficient, improve customer experiences, and ultimately produce better results for themselves and the businesses they represent.

Sell Value or Pay The Price

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For detailed information visit saleawayllc.com. Steve can be reached directly at 866-721-6086 ext. 701 or via email at steve@saleawayllc.com

Click-On for a printable pdf of this article > Sell Value or Pay The Price

The Truth About “Born Salesman”

Born Salesman

No doubt you’ve heard someone referred to as “a born salesman” but is this old adage true?

Having spent 25+ years in the sales industry in every role from rep to manager to trainer of reps and managers, and having observed a countless number and wide variety of salespeople over that time, I am uniquely qualified to answer that question with a tried and true “yes and no”.

How many born doctor, born attorney or born scientists do you know? Likely not many. With many years of teaching and training to achieve those occupation designations it would surely be improper referring to those (or any other honorable profession) that way.

Put in an athletic perspective, you are not “born” to be a great basketball player, a great golfer, a great tennis player, etc. It is true, however, that many great athletes are indeed born with good genes and innate physical characteristics that, when properly developed and applied, result in great achievement.

So while many “born salesman” have natural attributes like “outgoing, articulate, optimistic, assertive, nurturing” that lend themselves well to success in the sales profession, top ‘Pinnacle Performers’ combine this with a set of skills learned over time, and reinforced through continuous practice and disciplined application.

For companies that are hiring new salespeople, that means ideally you would want to start with an individual that has that strong foundation of natural attributes and then build a top performer through a consistent skills development program.

As I cover in my Strong Selling In A Weak Economy presentations, this is especially important in a down or ultra-competitive market. Why? Because many of those alleged “born salesman” (and saleswoman) fail under those circumstances. Often these folks have those natural ‘gift of gab’ attributes to talk the talk but come up short in the training and development required to walk the walk and perform in those tougher selling environments.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” That applies to success in sales and any other profession. Top performers don’t rely on fate/destiny, they decide and commit to being a student of their profession and work to master their craft over time.

The fact is, top performing sales people are not born. However, they can be made by combining natural talents with proper training and development.

The Only Person

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the CEO & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For more information on Steve and Pinnacle Performance services for your team visit Sale Away

Monday Morning Motivation: The Ant Philosophy

For this weeks Monday Morning Motivation, below is a great little piece from renown business philosopher, Jim Rohn.  This is a perfect lesson for Pinnacle Performers and those who would like to be one.

Walk The Path!

Steve

ant_01

The Ant Philosophy
by Jim Rohn

Over the years I’ve been teaching kids about a simple but powerful concept—the ant philosophy. I think everybody should study ants. They have an amazing four-part philosophy, and here is the first part: ants never quit. That’s a good philosophy. If they’re headed somewhere and you try to stop them, they’ll look for another way. They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under, they’ll climb around. They keep looking for another way. What a neat philosophy, to never quit looking for a way to get where you’re supposed to go.

Second, ants think winter all summer. That’s an important perspective. You can’t be so naive as to think summer will last forever. So ants gather their winter food in the middle of summer.

An ancient story says, “Don’t build your house on the sand in the summer.” Why do we need that advice? Because it is important to think ahead. In the summer, you’ve got to think storm. You’ve got to think rocks as you enjoy the sand and sun.

The third part of the ant philosophy is that ants think summer all winter. That is so important. During the winter, ants remind themselves, “This won’t last long; we’ll soon be out of here.” And the first warm day, the ants are out. If it turns cold again, they’ll dive back down, but then they come out the first warm day. They can’t wait to get out.

And here’s the last part of the ant philosophy. How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for the winter? All he possibly can. What an incredible philosophy, the “all–you–possibly–can” philosophy.

Wow, what a great philosophy to have—the ant philosophy. Never give up, look ahead, stay positive and do all you can.

How To Avoid Being Punched In The Face

Here’s my practical, 10-step guide to avoid being punched in the face by way of improved human relations at work and life in general

Contribute positively to society by sharing this presentation with your friends and professional network.

Steve 🙂

Link In With Me @ Steve Ferrante on LinkedIn

HOW TO AVOID BEING PUNCHED IN THE FACE Cvr Pg

Top 3 Reasons Why Phone Skills Are Most Important In Sales

Phone Guy

As a professional sales/customer service trainer, I work with many businesses that sell (or have opportunities to sell) both face-to-face and on the phone. Of course, from a development perspective, both of these point-of-sale areas need to be addressed with an effective methodology and a process institutionalized to maximize selling opportunities.

But what area is more important, face-to-face or on-the-phone? I can attest with unwavering certainty, that for businesses where the same employees sell both ways, the phone is by far the more important of the two areas. In fact, I often paraphrase Sinatra’s famous line when speaking about telephone relations to my training clients: “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” Why are phone skills most important?

Here are my Top 3 Reasons:

1) Resistance is Greater

Simply put, selling face-to-face is easier. When a prospective customer takes the time and effort to visit your store or office they have made a higher level commitment to buying from your business than they would have simply phoning in. More often than not a prospective customer’s visit is premeditated, they have determined in advance that you can provide what they need/want and arrive with the intent to buy.

That’s not to say that salespeople don’t lose face-to-face sales opportunities as this is a regular occurrence in companies where the salespeople are not well trained and/or don’t follow an effective sales process. It’s just easier as  face-to-face customers’ resistance is typically much less than the phone-in prospect that is often just ‘calling around’ for pricing and specifications.

2) Escape-ability is Higher

When a customer is face-to-face they cannot easily do anything but interact with you and other members of your team. When a customer phones the business expressing purchase consideration in your products and/or services it is extraordinarily easy for them to disconnect and call one of (or all of) your competitors at light speed if they are not effectively engaged.

Human nature plays a role here too. There’s an emotional element when two people interact face-to-face that doesn’t exist on the phone. Accordingly, it’s considerably easier to hang-up and end a phone interaction than it is to walk out on someone face-to-face.

Add in the fact that (to point #1) they took the time and effort to visit your location, most customers are far more willing to stay put and try to make a deal even if the interaction with their salesperson is less than a high quality experience. Contrast that to a phone interaction where if the caller is not engaged and/or doesn’t feel they’re receiving the best service to meet their needs they can swiftly move on to the next service provider with a few clicks.

3) Communication Deficit

While number one and two have a major impact, the single biggest reason phone skills training is most important in sales is in communication itself.

As you may know, there are 3 elements that compose communication; words, tonality and body language. In face-to-face interactions, salespeople have all of these communication tools at their disposal to maximize their selling capability. Conversely, on the phone, the single biggest component of communication, physiology (body language) is absent and the salesperson must rely only on what they say (words) and how they say them (tonality).

For these reasons, any business that has salespeople that sell both on the phone and face-to-face should emphasize phone skills training and development to offset the disadvantages and maximize their sales opportunities!

Printable PDF of this article > Top 3 Reasons Why Phone Skills are Most Important in Sales

Now that we’ve covered the importance of phone performance, what should you and your team be doing on the phone to maximize results? Plenty and much of it is covered in this Tire Review magazine cover story featuring yours truly > Phone Skills Drill

Have a look and, by all means contact me if your team needs help with phone skills to win more customers for your business 

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the CEO & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For more information on Steve and Pinnacle Performance services for your team visit saleawayllc.com

Leader Lessons in Delivering World-Class Customer Service from Amazon.com

a.com_logo_RGB

I love Amazon! Over the past 10 years or so, I have purchased countless items from Amazon.com; books, office supplies, DVD’s, electronics, coffee, assorted gifts and a lot more. In fact, rarely does a week go by without at least one Amazon package arriving from UPS.  I even have my own “Recommended Reading Store” powered by Amazon.com. You can (and really should) visit it here > Steve’s Recommended Reading

Apparently, I am not alone in my infatuation with the company. In the published 2011 Temkin Experience Ratings, Amazon was ranked #1 in customer service out of 143 large companies across 12 industries. According to Temkin, the results were based on feedback from 6,000 US consumers that evaluated three components of the customer experience:

  1. FunctionalHow well do experiences meet consumers’ needs?
  2. AccessibleHow easy is it for consumers to do what they want to do?
  3. EmotionalHow do consumers feel about the experiences?

Anyone who has participated in my Pinnacle Performance sales/customer service training can tell you this is remarkably similar to my teachings of the ingredients of a properly-balanced world-class customer service organization. As an example, far too often I see businesses that focus too much attention on meeting customers “functional” needs, compromising or outright neglecting the “emotional” aspects of the customer experience.

As I have stated many times, great customer service is a feeling thing; its how the customer feels when they’re doing business with you and, more importantly, how they feel and the stories they tell when their business transaction is complete. Amazon, as well as any company, figured this out and committed to consistently delivering a complete customer experience.

Speaking of Amazon’s customer-centric philosophy and success, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, said;

“If there’s one reason we have done better than of our peers in the Internet space over the last six years, it is because we have focused like a laser on customer experience, and that really does matter, I think, in any business. It certainly matters online, where word of mouth is so very, very powerful.”

Here are a few Amazon best practices that every tire/auto service business can also do to improve the customer experience, customer retention and sales:

  • They Personalize

When you purchase an item (any item) from Amazon, you will often receive an email back that reads “customers that purchased what you just purchased are also interested in these items”.  Every time you visit their website and search for an item you are also shown alternative items that other customers have ultimately purchased. These types of recommendations personalize the customer experience and make customers feel like someone is paying attention and is interested in helping them. Speaking from personal experience, Amazon not only knows my buying history they use it effectively to introduce me to other items aligned with my interests.

How well do you monitor and manage your customers specific service/product purchase potential? How well do you communicate this with them in ways that do not feel generic or one-size-fits-all?

  • They Keep You Informed

One of the biggest consumer grievances in all of customer service is the lack of progress updates once a business transaction is underway. This is especially true of service providers where consumers typically experience anxiety and frustration when they are not kept informed of developments with their job.

This issue rarely, if ever, occurs at Amazon. Place and order and you’ll receive an instant email with your order confirmation and estimated time of delivery. Not long after that first email you’ll receive another with your shipping information and tracking number. Any questions along the way can easily be administered by email or, if you prefer, by calling a real live human-being on their customer service line.

Do you practice pro-active customer-contact? When customers are waiting for service, do you check-in with them and provide progress updates? Do you phone customers if their service may be longer than originally anticipated?

  • They Reward You

Amazon apparently understands a fact I reference in my training; keeping your existing customers is cheaper and more profitable than getting new ones. Accordingly, they have created a rewards program that, well, rewards customers for their loyalty.  As an Amazon Rewards card holder, members receive points on purchases transacted with the card and can then apply those points as rebate dollars towards future purchases – something I regularly do!

Amazon is not alone in this endeavor. Most industry-leading retail and service companies have some type of customer rewards or loyalty program. Why? Because they work to strengthen the customer relationship, make customers feel that their business is valued above and beyond the transaction at hand, and provide an added incentive to continue the relationship.

What does your customer rewards program look like? If you don’t have one, why not? Are you losing business to competitors that may be benefiting from their program?

  • They Practice Customer-First When Things Go Wrong

As I wrote in my Winning and Losing with Customer Complaints article in Tire Review magazine, the true test of a business’s customer service effort is not when things are going right – but rather what is done when things go wrong.

Consider this personal experience I had while attempting to purchase an MP3 player as a Christmas present for my daughter. Below is the self-explanatory communication between myself and Amazon customer service.

Me

My MP3 product was delivered today. It arrived in a thin white box with “BP Consulting” on the return address. I opened it and was (still am) shocked and upset to find the product in a plastic bag with PC connecting wire and headphones – that’s it. There is no original product packaging, users manual, mfg info, etc. I will leave packaging feedback with photo shortly.
This is a gift and I can’t give it as is. Looks like I purchased, discarded packaging, used and re-gifted this way.

 Very Disappointed and Need Resolution ASAP (or sooner)

Actual response from Amazon.com Customer Service (received 3 hours after original message)

Hello,

I’m sorry to hear if your MP3 disc player arrived that way. This usually doesn’t happen. We make every attempt to package items securely to protect them during shipping, but sometimes cases like this occur.

We always appreciate customer input on how we can improve our store, and I’ve forwarded your message to our shipping department.

I want to make this things right for you, so I’ve requested a full refund of $79.99 for the MP3 disc player, since you received the item that way. This refund will appear as a credit on your American Express card in the next 2-3 business days.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Did I solve your problem?

Best regards,

Donna A.

Amazon.com

This response is right on many levels; there’s empathy, appreciation, no blame, accountability and action. You’ll notice I didn’t ask for a refund but that’s exactly what I received. Customer service champs like Amazon realize it is far better to lose a little bit now then it is risking the loss of a customer for life.

Do you have a customer-first complaint resolution process? Do all your employees understand and are empowered to use it?

Amazon practices world-class customer service every day. Following their lead can make a real difference in your business results as well!

Steve

Steve Ferrante is the CEO & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Winning Team Culture training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For more information on Steve and Pinnacle Performance services for your team visit saleawayllc.com

Jack Welch: The Six Deadly Sins of Leadership

Good Day All,

As my Pinnacle Performance pupils well know, there are many elements that make up an effective “Winning Team” culture as I wrote about here > The Great Eight Practices for Creating a Winning Team Culture

Of these, the most important is effective leadership that leads by example, supports and manages effective team member behaviors, and drives morale and motivation.

For a reverse perspective, below is an excellent article from Jack and Suzy Welch that outlines six areas that work against effective leadership and impede the successful development of a winning team culture.

Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

The Six Deadly Sins of Leadership

By Jack and Suzy Welch

Being a leader is perhaps the hardest challenge any of us will ever face. No matter how long we work at it, practicing the right behaviors is a never-ending task. Knowing – and avoiding – the wrong ones is too. Thus, we offer the following six common leadership pitfalls:

1. Not Giving Self-Confidence its Due.

Self-confidence is the lifeblood of success. When people have it, they’re bold. They try new things, offer ideas, exude positive energy, and cooperate with their colleagues instead of surreptitiously attempting to bring them down. When they lack self-confidence, it’s just the opposite. People cower. They plod. And they spread negativity with every word and gesture.

But all too often leaders ignore (or neglect) this very basic fact of the human condition. Why is anyone’s guess. Perhaps they just don’t understand that it is part of their job to instill self-confidence in their people. It may even be said that it’s their first job. You cannot unleash the creative power of individuals who doubt themselves.

Fortunately, some people seem to be born with self-confidence. Others gain it from life and work experience and come to a company fully loaded. Regardless, leaders can never stop pouring self-confidence into their teams. The ways to do so are myriad. Make sure goals are challenging – but achievable. Give effusive positive feedback. Remind your direct reports of what they do right.

We’re not saying that leaders should blindly extol and exalt. People know when they’re being gamed. But good leaders work relentlessly to find ways to instill self-confidence in those around them. They know it’s the gift that never stops giving.

2. Muzzling Voice.

Perhaps the most frustrating way that leaders underperform is by over-talking. That is, they act like know-it-alls. They can tell you how the world works, what corporate is thinking, how it will backfire if you try this or that, and why you can’t possibly change the product one iota. Sometimes such blowhards get their swagger from a few positive experiences, but usually they’re just victims of their own destructive personalities.

Ultimately, the company ends up being a victim too, because know-it-alls aren’t just insufferable, they’re dangerous. They don’t listen, and that deafness makes it very hard for new ideas to get debated, expanded upon, or improved. No single person, no matter how smart, can take a business to its apex. For that, you need every voice to be heard.

3. Acting Phony.

Can you spot a phony? Of course you can – and so can your people. Indeed, if there is one widespread human capability, it is sniffing out someone who is putting on airs, pretending to be who they’re not, or just keeping their real self hidden. Yet too many leaders spend way too much time creating personas that put a wall between them and their employees. What a waste.

Because authenticity is what makes people love you. Visibly grappling with tough problems, sweating the details, laughing, and caring – those are the activities that make people respond and feel engaged with what you’re saying. Sure, some people will tell you that being mysterious grants you power as a leader. In reality, all it generates is fear. And who wants to motivate that way?

Now, obviously, authenticity is unattractive if it’s coupled with immaturity or an overdose of informality. And organizations generally don’t like people who are too emotionally unbounded – i.e. so real that all their feelings are exposed. They tend to tamp that kind of intensity down a bit. And that’s not a bad thing, as work is work and, more than at home, allows us to maintain some privacy.

But don’t let convention wring all the authenticity out of you, especially as you climb the ladder. In time, humanity always wins. Your team and bosses come to know who you are in your soul, what kind of people you attract and what kind of performance you want from everyone. Your realness will make you accessible; you will connect and you will inspire. You will lead.

4. Lacking the Guts to Differentiate.

You only have to be in business a few weeks to know that not all investment opportunities are created equal. But some leaders can’t face that reality, and so they sprinkle their resources like cheese on a pizza, a little bit everywhere.

As a result, promising growth opportunities too often don’t get the outsized infusions of cash and people they need. If they did, someone might get offended during the resource allocation process. Someone – as in the manager of a weak business or the sponsor of a dubious investment proposal.

But leaders who don’t differentiate do the most damage when it comes to people. Unwilling to deliver candid, rigorous performance reviews, they give every employee the same kind of bland, mushy, “nice job” sign-off. Then, when rewards are doled out, they give star performers little more than the laggards. Now, you can call this egalitarian approach kind, or fair – as these lousy leaders usually do – but it’s really just weakness. And when it comes to building a thriving organization where people have the chance to grow and succeed, weakness just doesn’t cut it.


5. Fixation on Results at the Expense of Values.

Everyone knows that leaders deliver. Oratory and inspiration without results equal…well, a whole lot of nothing. But leaders are committing a real dereliction of duties if all they care about are the numbers. They also have to care about how those numbers came to be. Were the right behaviors practiced? Was the company’s culture of integrity honored? Were people taken care of properly? Was the law obeyed, in both letter and spirit?

Values are a funny thing in business. Companies love to talk about them. They love to hang them up on plaques in the lobby and boast about them to potential hires and customers. But they’re meaningless if leaders don’t live and breathe them. Sometimes that can take courage. It can mean letting go of a top performer who’s a brute to his colleagues, or not promoting a star who doesn’t share her best ideas with the team. That’s hard.

And yet if you’re a leader, this is a sin you cannot squint away. When you nail your results, make sure you can also report back to a crowded room: We did this the right way, according to our values.

6. Skipping the Fun Part

What is it about celebrating that makes managers so nervous? Maybe throwing a party doesn’t seem professional, or it makes people worry that they won’t look serious to the powers that be, or that, if things get too happy in the office, people will stop working their tails off.

Whatever the reason, too many leaders don’t celebrate enough. To be clear here, we do not define celebrating as conducting one of those stilted little company-orchestrated events that everyone hates, in which the whole team is marched out to a local restaurant for an evening of forced merriment when they’d rather be home. We’re talking about sending a team to Disney World with their families, or giving each team member tickets to a show or a movie, or handing each member of the team a new iPod.

What a lost opportunity. Celebrating makes people feel like winners and creates an atmosphere of recognition and positive energy. Imagine a team winning the World Series without champagne spraying everywhere. You can’t! And yet companies win all the time and let it go without so much as a high-five.

Work is too much a part of life not to recognize the moments of achievement. Grab as many as you can. Make a big deal out of them.

That’s part of a leader’s job too – the fun part.

This content was originally presented as a lecture at the Jack Welch Management Institute.

Jack Welch is Founder and Distinguished Professor at the Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University.

Suzy Welch is a best-selling author, popular television commentator, and noted business journalist. 

Together, Jack and Suzy Welch co-authored the international bestseller Winning. 

 

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