Having one-on-one meetings is a simple strategy and just plain common sense—but it’s not common practice, according to polling we conducted together with Training magazine earlier this year. When we asked people what they wanted out of their one-on-ones with their immediate supervisor, we discovered managers aren’t making time to meet with their direct reports on a regular basis—and when they do meet, they aren’t using the time effectively. (See infographic.) Continue reading
A client recently asked me to speak to their company about “the new normal.” It reminded me of an interview I conducted with Sir Richard Branson on the same topic a couple of years ago. As you know, Sir Richard is an expert on operating in the new normal. His international investment group, the Virgin Group, is one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands and runs successful businesses in several different sectors.
During our interview, I asked Sir Richard how he chooses the different sectors he invests in.
His reply was that he looks for sectors where the current competitors are not as customer focused as they could be. If they are not taking care of their customers, he’ll go into that industry.
But that was just the beginning. In addition to being customer focused, he shared that you have to be fast and flexible, you have to be cost effective, and you have to be continuously improving. Continue reading
One of the books I’m working on this summer is a customer service book with Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halsey tentatively titled I Care—Do You?: The Essentials of Delivering Legendary Service. A recent experience I had at my vacation home in upstate New York beautifully illustrates what we are trying to capture with this new book.
I was driving the car we use up here when the light came on and said I needed an oil change and the air pressure in the tire was down. So I took it over to a local service station about fifteen minutes from our cottage for an oil change and to have the tire checked. Bob, who owns the place, is a fabulous guy.
While my car is being looked at I asked, “How’s business going?” and Bob replied, “Amazingly well—but some of the other folks I talk to, it’s not so good.” And I said, “The reason, Bob, is because you are such a fabulous guy with your customers. You really care and so do your people.” Continue reading
I was talking with some friends at a recent morning men’s group. Our focus was on the importance of being connected to other people and what it means. We came up with five things we think help you really get connected to others—at work, and in all aspects of life. How would you rate yourself in these five areas?
- Listen more than you speak. We talked about listening a lot. If God wanted you to speak more than listen, he would have given you two mouths!
- Praise other people’s efforts. This one has always been so important to me. Catch people doing things right. That really helps you get connected with people.
- Show interest in others. It’s not all about you. Find out about people and their families and learn about what’s happening in their lives.
- Be willing to share about yourself. In our book Lead with LUV, my coauthor and former Southwest Airlines president Colleen Barrett said that people admire your skills but they really love your vulnerability. Are you willing to share about yourself? I think being vulnerable with people is really important.
- Ask for input from others—ask people to help you. People really feel connected if they can be of help to you. Continue reading
I’ve written more than a few books over the years, but I still get excited when a new one comes out. We’ve just released a new book I coauthored with Cynthia Olmstead and Martha Lawrence called Trust Works! Four Keys to Building Lasting Relationships. We think it will make a difference in people’s lives while giving them a smile.
The first part of the book is written as a parable about a dog and a cat and how they learn to trust each other. It’s interesting—we asked people for feedback on one of our first drafts, and some dog lovers were offended because it seemed as if the dog had to do all the work to get the trust from the cat. We realized that we needed to emphasize that trust is a two-way street. So in our finished story, not only is the dog trying to get the cat to trust him, but the cat has to get the dog to trust her too. Of course, the story is a metaphor for any relationship where people need to create and build trust with one another. Readers will be able to apply it to their working relationships as well as their relationships with family and friends.
Cindy Olmstead spent years developing the wonderful ABCD Trust Model™ we use in the second part of the book to highlight the four behaviors that need to be present in order to build trust. If even one of these behaviors is absent, trust erodes.
First, you have to prove that you’re Able. You are competent to solve problems and get results. You strive to be the best at what you do and you use your skills to help others.
Next, you have to be Believable. You act with integrity and honesty. You show respect for others, admit your mistakes, keep confidences, and avoid talking behind others’ backs.
You also have to be Connected. You care about others, which includes showing interest, asking for input, and listening. You praise the efforts of others and share information about yourself.
Finally, you need to be Dependable. You do what you say you will do. You are organized and responsive. People know you will follow up and be accountable.
How would you assess your trustworthiness in these four key areas? Go to http://www.trustworksbook.com and take the self-assessment. While you’re at it, ask the people you work with to evaluate you as well.
That’s how I learned that my lowest score in these four areas was in the Dependable category. What an eye opener! I never thought of myself as undependable but since my executive team and I understood the four factors, we were able to have that conversation and zero in on the problem. Turns out that my desire to please everyone showed up in real life as a tendency to over-commit myself—which resulted in people ultimately being disappointed because I couldn’t meet their expectations.
Using the ABCD Trust Model™, my team came up with a great solution for me. Now when opportunities come up, instead of saying yes without thinking, I hand out my executive assistant’s card so she can make sure I have the time and resources to follow through. As a result, my Dependable score has soared!
In most organizations, trust issues are simply avoided until they reach a breaking point. You can’t just assume that trust will grow over time—sometimes the exact opposite happens.
Trust is hard to define. You can tell when it’s absent—but how do you create it and build it when it doesn’t exist? Trust Works! provides a common language for trust—and essential skills for building, repairing, and sustaining it. Building trust is one of the most needed skills for leaders today. Don’t leave trust to chance in your organization.