You Can Make or Break Someone’s Day

Here’s how to MAKE someone’s day: Don’t just point out others’ mistakes. This breeds defensiveness and creates a negative, fearful culture. Give your attention to those specific actions people do well. Don’t let just squeaky wheels get the grease. Stop by good performers’ workplaces sometimes and ask, “How do you do this so well?” Close mouth and listen (without suggestions for how to do it better. Yikes, careful!). Extinguish whiners and complainers. Listening breeds more negative talk. Re-direct negative conversations by askiing an action-oriented question (“What’s the status of project abc?’). Also, most importantly, END the attention for the whining. You’ll feel so much better, too. More tips in a future post. In the meantime, share your experiences on how to break someone’s day, or make someone’s day. Write a comment below . . .

Fluff, Bluff, and Guff: How to Avoid the Stuff

  There’s nothing like a deadline to get me moving. And nothing like personal accountability (knowing someone will ask me about it) to make sure I get my task done. And nothing like positive reactions from my colleagues, customers, or boss to make me happy I’ve done it. One time I faced a scary challenge: a 50-minute meeting with a newly-formed team to plan public seminars for a year. This would be our one-and-only meeting. We were starting from scratch on topic ideas, speakers, locations, and dates. How to get it done?  

Quick-draw Recognition

The road to a blah workplace is paved with good intentions  .  .  . “I intended to let Michelle know what a good impression she made on our visitors.” “I meant to tell Derek that his solution worked for our team and saved us hours of work.” But time is precious. In just 30 seconds, put your good intentions into practice. Make your recognition handwritten and personal; therefore memorable. Write an old-fashioned paper note which can be displayed or kept in a drawer. When your lucky recipient runs across it days or weeks later, it will remind him of his action that you valued, and refresh his energy to continue that same good work. End the blahs for your lucky receivers! For printable forms like the one above, click  Download Quick-draw Cards, or for an email attachment card, complete the comment section below, typing “Request email card” in the comment box.

7 Ways to Make Your Customers Love You

My web designer has made a new person of me. Karen Mazza took me from being a technophobe, to being an excited website/e-newsletter/blog addict . . . addicted to working on my own tech stuff, that is. Here are seven examples of her actions – –  tips for you on how to educate your customers: Karen responds same-day, often same-hour, to my questions, changes, and requests. Karen sets me up for success by giving very specific instructions – she puts herself in my place and explains everything from the non-tech person’s point of view. Karen answers my dumb questions with respect and brevity.

Speeding at the DMV

“Waiting in line for a driver’s license is an aggravation nobody needs. People who wait one hour for a four-year license must feel like they’re waiting four years for a one-hour license.” – Lt. Governor Stan Lundine, New York State So the New York Department of Motor Vehicles decided to do somethng about it. They embarked on a mission to improve their customer service. They reinvented themselves and shortened their customers’ average wait time from 96 minutes to 27 minutes. How did they do it?

The People Side of Lean/Six Sigma

“They’re not doing it. They’re no longer using the new process the team created just a few months ago at their Kaizen event. What’s going on?” Michael McCarthy explains . . . When a Lean Sensei or Six Sigma Black Belt leads a team to design an improved process, he or she believes that the project is completed. The fallacy is “when you do it once, you’re done,” like machinery repair. Your mechanic says, “Your brake pads were worn out. We replaced them. Done. Good to go.” The Lean or Six Sigma project is complete and the project leader tells you, “Your old process was worn out. We replaced it with a new process. Done. Good to go.” WRONG! You’re not done.

8 Steps to Being an Expert Mentor

Stand back and feel proud. That’s the reward for good mentoring. Mike Georgion (pictured here), once my boss, was also an expert mentor. What made Mike such an expert? Here are eight of his secrets: 1. He gave me plentiful positive recognition for what I did well. 2. Later, when my confidence was strong, he privately asked me to take on a big project (a scary one with visibility to the whole organization). 3. He told me his specific goals, and seeing my reluctance, asked me to think about it for a week and jot down any ideas which came to me. 4. He put the next week’s meeting on both our calendars. Half-a-dozen times a day that week, exciting ideas popped into my head. By the next meeting, I’d filled two pages.

What Did I Do Wrong?

Be specific . . . when giving positive reinforcement, you can never be TOO specific. Wrong, apparently, in one case. Having experienced great teaching by my new continuing ed. teacher, I wrote an email to the teacher, her boss, and her boss’s boss, with a 1-7 numbered list of specific actions she had taken to make the class valuable for me.

Give Recognition Without Spending A Dime

Trinkets, parties, awards, pizza, and even money. They come and go as recognition. Your eyeball-to-eyeball words of appreciation are more long-lasting and positively remembered.