by Unlimited Coaching Solutions, Inc. on April 10th, 2013

What do most executives, managers, and business owners want? The word I hear repeatedly is efficiency.  Productivity is important, but we need it to be efficient. Creativity and innovation are important, but not if it costs us efficiency. Bottom line, we need a good profit.

Ken Blanchard quoted his wife Margie saying “Leadership is Love;” and I couldn’t agree more. Ironically, this is the word we avoid using, yet the concept for which we are striving. Love is the core of being impeccable. It is the driving force behind what we do and why we do it. It is what ignites and fuels creativity, productivity, and yes, efficiency.

The struggle is describing this to our current workforces. There are very few who are able to digest the word “love” in this context. Most need a way to relate it to their work language. Since the common definition of love is different than “love” in the workplace, it can cause misunderstandings before we even get a chance to describe it.

“Love” in the workplace cannot be defined in one word but rather a combination of words: Openness; Positive; Helpful; Passion; Fearless; Happiness; Creativity; Connection. Whichever combination of these words you choose, using love as a guide to making decisions, to BEING a leader, will be much more impactful and efficient.

For example, when it comes to speaking to someone about a performance issue, if you use love as a guide, you will be open and honest about it, and simultaneously helpful. Sometimes it’s a gentle approach; sometimes it’s more direct – but with a helpful intent and manner. It’s about helping people take a look in the mirror and becoming aware. It’s out of love, not fear, hate and frustration; not an out of control, negative reaction that you’ve built up and only communicate when you are frustrated and can’t take it anymore!

Most of us are not even aware that we act out of frustration and fear. So our first step is being aware of what is driving our behavior. What thoughts and feelings are we experiencing? And then shift to being open, positive, fearless, and creative (this might take some practice!).

When our actions come from love, it feels natural and is accepted. When they come from frustration, hate or fear, it is resisted and less efficient. If there is a change, it is temporary, and fake. When it is accepted, because it was given through love, it is more likely to be received openly, to be implemented, and to last. Above all, acting with love is the most efficient way to a greater profit margin.

by Unlimited Coaching Solutions, Inc. on April 4th, 2013

  1. Wouldn’t it be great to have employees eager to come to work on Monday morning? What would that mean to your organization?
  • Less “Monday transition” time, meaning more productivity
  • Less absenteeism, meaning more productivity
  • Less griping and complaining, meaning more productivity
  • More enthusiasm, meaning more productivity
  • More collaboration and creativity, meaning more productivity

I think you get the picture!

The question is; how do we create an enjoyable and productive workplace?

Begin with these 7 steps, and you’ll see immediate results!
  1. Be clear on what’s important to the success of the organization, and employees. Don’t assume you know what employees want; ask them. Survey them. (Tip: Measuring Work Expectations is a tool that painlessly does this for you!)
  2. Help employees understand their role in making the company a success, and what’s in it for them. This takes regular communication – yes, that means two-way dialogue to check understanding.
  3. Make sure employee behavior is aligned with company strategy. This takes benchmarking behaviors, training, and aligning systems to support and track progress. (Tip: you’ll save a lot in the long run if you get professional help with this one!)
  4. Empower those that YOU HIRED to take ownership; get involved; make positive change. If you’ve hired the right people, give them the freedom to make things happen. If you haven’t hired the right people, learn from it, and fix it – fast!
  5. Allow opportunities for creativity and fun. Yes, there needs to be parameters. But don’t focus on that. Let people run with ideas – great things never happened in the constraints of a dictatorship!
  6. Provide employees with the resources they need: equipment, technology, training, mentoring, and coaching. Don’t skimp on training. It’s like feeding your children junk food and nothing else – we all know what results we get from that!  If the budget is tight, work with a training vendor who will help find creative ways to stretch the budget.
  7. Make sure one of Management’s goals is to effectively manage people. This means a percentage of their time is spent on developing, recognizing and appreciating people. The payoff is a workforce dedicated to getting results by working with each other, not against each other.

Creating an enjoyable and productive workplace attracts talent to your organization. And people stay longer. Any astute business owner, executive and/or manager understands the impact of that to your bottom line!

by Unlimited Coaching Solutions, Inc. on March 28th, 2013

Will you be prepared when the economy turns around? In times like these, it’s difficult to avoid getting caught up in reactive behaviors. Companies tend to react by either cutting important areas like marketing and training, or by being so distracted and overwhelmed, they’re not focusing on the right things for their business. Then, when the economy rebounds, they’re not ready, and they’re caught in the vicious cycle of reacting.

To get out of reaction mode, it takes a little planning. Step back and think of what is vitally important for the long-term success of your business. And, what’s important for its short-term success? Now allocate time for both. Make sure everyone’s daily activities are in alignment with your company’s overall strategy. A daily meeting with direct reports to check-in is crucial to staying on task. To change the future, we can only change what we are doing today, right now, in the present. Remaining focused on the important things today will guarantee success tomorrow.

Consider both an internal and external focus. For example, customer retention might be a vitally important factor in your company’s long-term and short-term success. What are you doing to ensure your clients stay with you? Internally, we need to take care of employees, so they are treating our clients right. Are you keeping your staff trained to properly support your clients? Do you have a leadership program for current managers and high potentials, that includes a focus on client loyalty? Are you recognizing and rewarding employees for behaviors that result in client loyalty? Are you focused on your customer loyalty initiative every single day?

Externally, we need to focus on our client contact. Are you getting the word out, with newsletters, and other value-added touch points? Are you aggressively advertising? Research proves that advertising in a weak economy will boost your market share, because everyone else is reacting by cutting advertising!

The number one mistake companies make in a recession is reacting. Don’t cut your training and marketing efforts. Focus them, and get smart about it. We keep talking about change, but we keep doing the same thing – we keep waiting for someone else to make the change. We keep reacting to events, rather than being proactive and making change for ourselves. Try a different approach – you’ll most likely get a different result!

by Unlimited Coaching Solutions, Inc. on March 22nd, 2013

Think of how you feel when you’re going on vacation – it’s exciting, right? You can’t wait! You’re energized by just the thought of it! Do you think your employees ever feel this way about coming to work? Most people would probably say, “no.” In fact, they look at me like “are you nuts?” It’s an expectation to not want to go to work. Do you realize that  these are the same employees in direct contact with your customers every day?

Think about how it would impact your organization if people really wanted to go to work; if people were genuinely happy to be there. Can you picture it? They smile, say hello, and they really mean it when they say “how are you today?” Everyone communicates very openly and to the point, without holding back for fear of making someone upset, or rocking the boat. When people communicate with the intent to be clear, helpful and understood, they don’t get defensive. They listen objectively, considering what is being said, and reply openly and immediately. They do not feel frustrated, angry or upset. Their goal is simply to understand, to be understood and to be as productive as possible. Even when they disagree, they openly communicate that they “just don’t see it that way – can we talk about it a little more?” And the receiver of that message simply says “sure, when’s a good time?” They continue to go about their business, without wasting unnecessary time on misunderstandings. People are generally happy, productive and completely engaged. They want to do their best, for each other, for you, and for the customer.

So you ask, “How can I achieve this happy, productive work environment that impacts customer loyalty?” The answer is leadership development. You may not realize the role leadership plays in creating and enabling negativity in the workplace. And can you see the link to customer service? The number one influence on customer service is your organization’s leadership.  The way they treat employees impacts how employees treat your customers. The good news is, leadership development can make a direct impact on attracting and retaining customers, and employees. It also increases productivity and saves money in multiple areas. The return on investment greatly outweighs the cost. So customer service really does start with you – your commitment to developing leaders who really make a difference!Type your new text here.

by Unlimited Coaching Solutions, Inc. on March 13th, 2013

Employees who don’t feel recognized tend to burn out, disengage, or leave an organization. Many leaders feel as if recognition is costly and labor intensive, yet simple day-to-day positive feedback, which is easy and free, renders a substantial return on investment.

Managers may withhold positive feedback, until a result is delivered. Thus, the behaviors that deliver results appear to go unnoticed. Whereas some don’t see the value in recognizing people at all. Isn’t their paycheck enough recognition for them? Without reinforcement, even the steadiest performer will lose motivation. Positive feedback not delivered properly often feels like an empty compliment. The typical response to, “GREAT JOB!” is “Oh, it was nothing.” Without specifics, “great job” becomes cliché. Employees are engaged when they know the work they do is important.

Positive feedback, delivered as a specific value message, transfers a sense of pride and accountability. When an employee does something that you wish to have repeated, try these steps to deliver a value message:

1. Say thank you. John, thanks for offering to prepare that presentation.

2. State specific positive behaviors, and the impact of those behaviors. You really helped me to get that proposal out. It’s this type of commitment that helps us to meet our goals.

3. If the response seems like a “brush off”, restate the value of the behavior. Really, Mike, it was nothing. I pounded it out in two hours. Restate: You were able to do it in two hours because of your experience. It would have taken me twice as long. Your statistics were great too; they really helped to make the point.

4. Thank the employee, again, and encourage him/her to continue the behavior.

Remember, when you give your employees compliments, they walk away thinking you’re great. When you give your employees reinforcing feedback, they walk away thinking they’re great!