New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions can be a productive use of time IF one plans to actually carry out the goals and objectives they desire.  Especially during this last week of the old year, I think it is a perfect time to reflect on your purpose and what needs to change in the coming year.

For those of you following this blog, you know that the purpose of my message has been about Building Leaders and Empowering People.  Most of the time I am focusing on one particular group of employees or manager, but today I believe this message will be something everyone could benefit from.

I have three New Year’s Resolutions I would like everyone to add to their list of resolutions.

First, be grateful for all that you have, focusing less on what you think you are missing.  Be grateful for the job and responsibilities you have been given.  There is a purpose for what you are doing or else you would not have your job.  If you are a leader then be grateful for the opportunity to set a vision and lead others toward implementation.

Second, be a lot more productive in 2012 than you were in 2011.  I don’t mean busier, I really mean productive.  By focusing on time management and goal accomplishment, you can get more done in less time.  Being productive can mean giving your employer more than they are paying for, but it also makes job security a closer reality.  If everyone in your world were a little more productive and accountable, life would be a whole heck of a lot easier to deal with.

Third, be a mentor to as many other people as you can.  All of us can add value to another person’s life at work and home.  We need to be open to helping others learn, and at the same time learning from others.  In the past few years there has been almost a stinginess in mentoring to remain the source of all knowledge, thus increasing job security.  We need to reverse this trend if we are ever to dig ourselves out of this economic hole.

I feel these resolutions will give you a more fulfilling New Year, and prepare you and your team to meet the challenges ahead.

Happy New Year!

Spineless Managers

I am getting to the point where I really love shopping online versus in person.  You seem to get more information online, and at least the program is written to provide service.  Unlike the human beings that are being employed to ignore me, and are so under-skilled they can’t answer a single question about a product they are selling.

This time of year retailers pull out all the stops to bring shoppers into their store.  These same retailers staff up with rude and inconsiderate people who are focused on their own needs in sidebar conversations and collecting their next check and never missing a break.

I was in a great mood this past weekend, as my wife and I were shopping with a great coupon and found something we had been searching for, and now was that much cheaper too.  Then we check out of this department (not discount) store only to be “assisted” by a young lady talking on her in store head set about her next break.  I came within inches of screaming – “hey, I’m the customer here!  You are ringing up the wrong price!  Hello? – Get off the phone!”  Thankfully my wife has much better control, and while grabbing my arm, also got this lady’s attention.  Smiles were not exchanged, but we paid the correct amount.

In other areas of a different store, I saw numerous employees that were dressed (and I say that loosely) with revealing clothes, un-tucked shirts,  and pants below the butt-line.  This is not this store’s dress code, and I can guarantee that HR and Training communicate a different set of standards during orientation.

The fault of all these issues and the many more I’m not naming sit at the foot of Spineless Managers.  These folks are scared of communicating with these staff members.  They are focused on getting through the day with as little confrontation as possible, and since they can count on customer issues, they take a pass on dealing with staff.

If a manager doesn’t know how to deal with these types of communications, okay, train them.  And while I agree that many managers are not trained these days in one-on-one communication skills, many choose to look the other way.

Staff represents your company.  Staff-Customer experiences today determine future experiences.  Managers are being paid to manage the operations, the service level and the staff.  It is about time they did their jobs a little better.

One last thought for those who think they have job security and can act any way they want.  You are wrong!  There are still a lot of people out there that want your job, and would work harder than you do.  That goes for the lady that ignored me, and her spineless manager for not dealing with this behavior.

Saying Thank You

Have you ever heard someone say something that made you think, “hey, did I hear that right?”

I was listening to a news article on TV the other day claiming that office parties are still the best way that organizations can say “Thank You” to their employees.  Really?

What happened to the simple vocalizing of the words THANK YOU to each of your employees, peers and supervisors throughout the year?  When was the last time you heard people thank you for your contribution one on one?  When was the last time someone sent you a note of thanks for your contributions?

Oh no, parties are the way to go!  Spend money on food, entertainment and gifts to demonstrate your gratefulness to employees.  Make a heartfelt speech to the group that everyone is valuable and a contributor to the success of the company.  Give me a break!

We have all been to these parties, and I will admit that the sentiments spouted off from the platform are never as sincere as they should be.  There is always someone in the group munching down the food, and tearing open their gift that has not been a part of the company’s success, in fact they are the real reason we are not as successful!

I will be the first to admit that I am old fashion.  I am the kind of leader that takes the time to know my staff, and I look for ways to thank them specifically and frequently.  Yes that takes time, but it is more cost-effective than wasting money on office parties.

So for those reading that I’ve got your attention, try diverting the money spent on parties toward developing your employees.  Honestly, if companies spent the money they do on parties on training, the appreciation factor would still be high, and the return on the investment in your employees would last longer then the logo pen set you gave them!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Leaning On Experience Can Make You Successful

Last year I published my first book, The Training Physical.  Although writing a book was a bigger challenge than I anticipated, promoting the book has been even more of an adventure into the unknown than I anticipated.  When the publicist told me they would be promoting me and the book at the same time, I guess I didn’t hear the “me” part of that statement.  So when she called to set up my first radio interview I was a bit stunned to say the least.

I was given the phone number, and told to call in a few minutes before the interview time, and then I noted that the whole interview was only 10 minutes long!  What could we possibly discuss in 10 minutes?  Thankfully the DJ was a skilled interviewer and immediately put me at ease and we covered so much more territory than I thought possible.  I also noticed that after hanging up the phone I was still breathing and I had survived!

Although I get bored with routine very easily, I also approach everything new with a tremendous amount of caution.  Actually to be truthful, I ask a million questions of anyone that I can find that has experience in the area I am about to enter.  In this case, a friend of mine used to host a radio talk show and understood my anxiety and prepared and coached me through the process ahead of time.

Too often I see people struggling to get through an experience that is new to them without any outside help.  When if they reached out to friends, peers, managers, staff or consultants (me) they could reduce a lot of stress and perform at a higher level.  I have no fear in telling someone I could use their help, advice and experience to make me perform at a higher level.  Or in the case of the radio interview, get through it and not come across as completely incompetent because of being nervous.

So the next time you are faced with a new challenge, take a moment and look around your world and find someone who knows more than you do about the task at hand.  Give them a call and lean on their experience to make you successful!