Posts tagged "Consulting"

How One Man’s Cable Company Made Him Die 3 Months Too Soon

July 3rd, 2017 Posted by Alignment, Awareness, Behavior, Best Practices, Change, Client Experience, Communication, Customers, Emotional Intelligence, Engagement 0 thoughts on “How One Man’s Cable Company Made Him Die 3 Months Too Soon”


When it comes to getting service of true quality, times are tough. One of the best gauges of how positive most service interactions are is asking people to recount a recent “remarkable” experience. They are – as likely as not – to tell you a version of this true example:

I was eating at [a well-known] Steakhouse and found the cap of a steak sauce bottle in my loaded baked potato. I told the waiter, and he replaced my potato and was very nice about it. (Note: neither the potato nor any other aspect of the meal was comped by the restaurant).

I challenge you to journal a week’s worth of interactions with people you pay to provide a product or service and come up with more than a few examples of even passably good experiences, defined as including:

1.   Interacting with someone who looks and acts as though you’re not interrupting them,
2.  Interacting with someone who seems mildly knowledgeable about the service or product,
3.  Interacting with someone who seems mildly interested in understanding your need and advising you about best addressing it with their assistance/the help of 4.  their product, and
5.  From the grab bag: says “thank you” or “you’re welcome” (“no problem” does NOT count), does more than throw your store-bought items in a bag, offers more assistance, or engages in some sort of conversation beyond the transaction.

Why does service suck to almost fantastical levels? To some extent, business consolidation and a shortage of qualified workers plays a role. But I’ve yet to meet a business leader who does not want to create raving fans nor who lacks the understanding that the buyer’s interface with her team is the principal driver of whether they love you or hate you. As consumers, we share in the blame because we too often don’t take the time to provide feedback (in real-time, thorough reviews) and just switch vendors.

I recently moved, requiring me to go through the nightmarish upset of changing internet and entertainment providers. I’d scorch the Earth with the name of the provider I chose if I thought for a second that their ineptitude was unique. I will share the following facts:

1.  Their website did not allow me to order their service
2.  Their telephone support line required that I provide a phone number for the location, for which I was not able to buy service online… which was impossible
3.  I then traveled to a store to buy the service (discovering that those existed by accident)
4.  Service installation was scheduled… turns out not correctly… causing a minor delay
5.  This it where is gets weird. Over the course of the next month, we had 5 service calls by 3 different technicians, 2 store visits, and approximately 12 hours on the phone and online with people – each one blaming someone else for the fact that TV service and internet didn’t work. I’ve heard a multitude of potential reasons why things are not working, such as: equipment was faulty, installation was done incorrectly, the router must be bad, the wiring wasn’t set up right to support the services, etc.

In each instance, it was proven that a mistake had been made by the provider. They never owned, never offered a rebate, refund, or even an apology. The last tech who came to my house at 8 am on a Sunday (not really a good thing) actually knew what he was doing. I asked him how the company shared knowledge like his. He said they didn’t. I asked him if he would have the opportunity to help teammates benefit from some of what he knew. He thought maybe. So, I implored him to volunteer tips and support as often as he could… that the impact of doing so on his peers, their customers, and on him would be greatly positive.

Of course, I don’t know if he has or if he will… and, not surprisingly, his employer has expressed no interest in learning or doing a better job. They’re a multi-billion dollar enterprise. What could possibly go wrong?

Since they haven’t asked and I need an outlet, here are a FOUR ways you can take advantage of the dearth of even remotely, in-the-vicinity-of-remarkable service and make your business stand out in a good way, rather than being the reason that an unsuspecting customer lost time off of his life raging against how much you suck at doing even a passable job.  And now, the keys to impressing, pleasing, and keeping customer satisfaction at an extraordinary level:

Hire and grow people who give a S%$@.
This actually is easier than it sounds. You don’t have to use profanity, but you do have to ask them to describe what they’ve done in any aspect of their lives to demonstrate this sensibility and ability.

Allow your people to solve problems.
Increasingly, “service” is attempted through having representatives read scripts back to you rather than listening, asking relevant questions (which, by the way, should not include asking for the last for digits of my SSN for the 7th time on the same call), and using expert systems and notes to figure out how to be helpful.

I am sure that the challenges I encountered trying to get cable installed are far from unique. Unfortunately, corporate feedback systems typically focus on gathering affirmation, not information. How many of you have been asked in a restaurant if “everything is excellent?” That’s not a serious question, nor one designed for much else than the response of “sure.” Have the guts to inquire in ways that invite reinforcement of what the customer is responding well to and how we can do even better.

Show genuine appreciation.
It’s not hard and costs nothing to be polite. Welcome customers, focus on them, and say freakin’ THANK YOU. Without the interest and commerce of that person, you don’t have a job.  And that
should matter.

I’ve given you one of the world’s easiest assignments for ensuring that your organization stands out in a positive way.

Do you choose to accept it – or do you prefer to languish in the depths of the “others” – those who can’t be bothered to act like what they do and how they do it matters?

The life of your business may hang in the balance. The length of my life surely does!


Top 5 To-Do’s When Your Merger Press Release Hits The Wire

June 6th, 2017 Posted by Acquisitions, Business Strategy, Consulting, Culture Change, Employee Experience, Engagement, Growth Strategy, Merger, Merger 0 thoughts on “Top 5 To-Do’s When Your Merger Press Release Hits The Wire”
Co-Authored by: Sarah Le Roy

In our last blog post, 90% of Mergers Fail Without These 5 Crucial Elements, we focused on the organization’s role in a merger. Today, we’re focusing on the individual’s role  – people absolutely can and should set themselves up for success once a merger is announced.

So what does an individual need to do to navigate their way through a transition? Below are the 5 critical steps everyone should take when a merger announcement goes to the masses:

1. Research:

Learn as much as you can about the other company. Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and earnings calls all provide different and important windows into an organization. Are they all 100% accurate all the time? No; be sure to acquire a wide variety of insight from a broad spectrum of resources.

Draw your own conclusions based on analysis, not emotion. Do a temperature check, swim in the pool early, and get a head start on understanding the priorities and cultural dynamics of the other organization.

2. Prepare for job shifts, including elimination:

You may need to re-interview for your position, so make sure your resume is up-to-date, your social media profile reflects the public persona you want to share, and get clear on your “superpowers.” What does that mean? Get some feedback from those who work with you and think in a clear-eyed, pragmatic way about what you’re great at and then apply those strengths to create a personal narrative of how you can add value to the new organization. “

“Synergy” is an innocuous term used frequently in merger integration activities. The end result being that you may end up competing for your own spot. Take this opportunity to do a bit of soul searching– are you content with your current role? If you have any ambivalence, use this opportunity to explore positions in other departments or consider “special projects,” such as a merger integration team.

3. Make the human-to-human connection:

Get to know your counterparts in the other organization’s departments. If you stay in your division, you’ll likely be working with some of these people – it’s never too early to start building those relationships. Doing so will also provide invaluable cultural insights.

4. Maintain perspective:

Understand that everyone in your organization is going through the same challenges as you are, so be gracious in the process. Your leaders are experiencing the same anxieties you are, this isn’t just happening to you alone, and it’s essential to keep this in mind as you reach out to others. Remember, uncertainty does not discriminate.

5. Set the right tone:

This is particularly relevant for leaders – everyone is watching you and taking cues. Be intentional regarding what type of culture you want to create. If you have an “us” versus “them” mentality, people throughout the organization will quickly adapt and resist true integration, a mindset that’s difficult to reverse.

It’s also essential for leaders to foster a space that allows people to be open about their fears and concerns, but not plug into those either. Instead, help others reframe how they can view the situation in a positive light. Be aware of the power of mindset and frame the merger as a positive event, citing how and why. The new organization will be larger and stronger, not to mention how it’ll be exciting to be a part of the future growth.

Ultimately, for individuals to successfully navigate a merger, having the right frame of mind and a plan for themselves is essential. Take this opportunity to do some soul searching, reset, and be your best self. Tap into your “why” and how this fits into the new organization.

Want to talk it out with our knowledgeable team? We’ve got your back.  Get in touch!

#BetterYou #BetterUs #BetterAll

give up bad habits

Want to Be a Better Leader? All You Have to Do is GIVE UP.

May 31st, 2017 Posted by Change, Efficiency, High Performance, Leadership, Success 0 thoughts on “Want to Be a Better Leader? All You Have to Do is GIVE UP.”

Fill in the blank: “The world needs more of __________.”

What do you think it needs? In my opinion, it’s positive, successful leadership. And I’m not talking about the kind of leadership that requires the title or the salary.

Anyone has the potential to be a leader. Dictators can be leaders (though arguably, very negative and dangerous). Teachers can be leaders. Team captains and team members, parents, the oldest sibling, the youngest sibling, the entry-level hire, and so many other roles all have the potential to be leaders. So how do we cultivate more of the leadership this world needs? How do we go from good to great, a subject author Jim Collins has written much about? How do we face challenges and course-correct our vision like Howard Schultz did for Starbucks and as detailed in his book, Onward?

The secret lies within our current state; too many of us think about leadership in a certain way. This perception affects the way we act, diminishing our potential and that of those around us.

Who is a leader?

Let’s start by defining who a positive, successful leader is, what that looks like, and what they do.

  • A leader knows he/she has influence and must steward it for good.
  • A leader strikes an appropriate balance between encouraging and challenging others.
  • A leader admits his/her own faults and invites constructive feedback.
  • A leader strives for better, always – this includes the capacity to ask for help.
  • A leader recognizes people’s strengths and utilizes them effectively.
  • A leader does not dismiss his/her responsibilities to his/herself just like a leader does not renege on the duties of his/her role on a team/in a department/head of a household or company.
  • A leader can be fearless or highly cautious and it’s he or she who applies this effectively, gets more done, in the way he/she intended or better, exceeds expectations.

By now you might be thinking of some individuals who fit these descriptions – past presidents, coaches, teachers, parents, managers, some of your peers, you. Whomever comes to mind, challenge your thinking. Yes, they fit the bill according to how we’ve defined ‘positive, successful leadership’ but how do they steward influence, strike balance, admit fault, and so on, consistently?

How do leaders balance it all?

We might think that leaders shoulder a great deal of duty and seem to have an uncanny ability to take on more. In some ways it’s true.

Take for instance: CEO’s who inherit projects from predecessors or spearhead new ones; managers who willingly pick up slack between the time an employee transitions out and a new one learns the ropes; parents who are already blessed with two children then learn they are pregnant with twins; students in high school who take AP courses while already being committed to clarinet lessons, a school club, and the basketball team.  Somehow, they all find a way to make it work.

How do they do it? It’s not a matter of what else they add to their life.  It’s about the things you cannot see… their success comes from what they choose to cut out.

Wait… these leaders are giving up?! 

In a Medium article written by the creator of the “Ultimate Productivity Cheat Sheet,” Zdravko Cvijetic, professes there are 13 things we must give up to be successful:

  1.  Give up on the unhealthy lifestyle
  2. Give up on the short-term mindset
  3. Give up on playing small
  4. Give up your excuses
  5. Give up the fixed mindset
  6. Give up believing in the “magic bullet”
  7. Give up your perfectionism
  8. Give up multi-tasking
  9. Give up your need to control everything
  10. Give up on saying yes to things that don’t support your goals
  11. Give up the toxic people
  12. Give up your need to be liked
  13. Give up your dependency on social media and TV

Think back to the leader you imagined after reading the descriptions of a positive, successful leader. How many of these 13 things show up? What is intentionally absent from that leader’s life? What have you chosen to eliminate from your life?

We’re in this together.

The world needs more and we all have the potential to give it, only IF we are highly selective and incredibly intentional about how we spend our time, manage our energy, and tend to our minds.

If you want to see positive change, not just local but global, think twice about what you add to your plate. Think next – what can I stop doing? What can I edit? Imagine when enough of us do this… what’s the end game?

It’s a better you.

We’ll be a better us.

Together, we WILL be a better all.


Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career

May 2nd, 2017 Posted by Awareness, Behavior, Consulting, Growth Plan, Growth Strategy, High Performance, personal growth 0 thoughts on “Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career”

Watch this video to learn why you’ll fail to have a great career (yes, you read that right).