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What does Your Body Language Say?


“A blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts … the body language of a man wishing urgently to be elsewhere.” – Edward R. Murrow

You may know your content backwards and forwards, inside and out, and be completely confident in your subject, but is your non-verbal communication – i.e. your body language – undermining your authority in spite of your knowledge?

A little while ago, I was working with a client who didn’t realize that he was a “fidgeter.” After a first practice recording, he watched his video, and before offering any feedback, I asked him what he thought about his performance. He paused, and was quiet for a moment before very matter-of-factly declaring: “I’m going to cut off my hands.”

Running his fingers through his hair, folding and unfolding his arms, touching his face, hands in and out of the pockets, scratching his neck, lacing and unlacing his fingers… Not only did it distract the viewer from listening to the message, but more importantly, the “antsy-ness” (as my mother would call it) practically screamed of insecurity and discomfort, and this completely undermined his efforts to establish himself as a confident, competent leader.

What’s most important to realize is that before you even open your mouth to speak, your body has already communicated very specific messages to the audience, and those messages have one of only two possible effects: If aligned with your words, they strengthen your image and reputation; otherwise, they weaken it. That’s it.

The Importance of Alignment

This binary result is because when your words and body language are aligned or congruent, they reinforce each other, which is much more convincing to the audience. But when they are not in alignment – where perhaps your “script” seems confident but the delivery is not, or your words claim that you are caring and want to hear from people but you never smile and your voice is flat – it makes the audience question why, and this casts doubt.

When working with entrepreneurs preparing to pitch in front of investors, I always say, “Before anyone will buy your product or service, they have to buy into you.” Regardless of how well-composed the content of the pitch is, if the delivery isn’t in alignment, this will never happen.

Ultimately, alignment between verbal and non-verbal communication is the foundation of credibility. Lack of alignment destroys that foundation. Let’s look at ways to ensure that you are in alignment, in order to maximize your credibility.
Body Language – Do’s and Don’ts

Just about everyone gets nervous when speaking on camera (or in public without a camera), and in an earlier post I offered some strategies for calming your nerves ( insert hyperlink later). But that nervousness can come across as uncontrolled fidgeting and bad habits like touching your face or waving your arms around without realizing it, or on the flip side, you might come across as stiff, robotic and unfeeling.

In this video on body language, you’ll get a quick checklist with examples of non-verbal cues to watch for when speaking in public or on camera. I use the easy acronym P.E.G.S., which stands for Posture, Eye contact, Gestures and Smile.

Take a look at the examples for each category in the video to see how many of them you’re guilty of doing… then ask yourself how that might influence the success of the video’s overall objective.

In case there’s still a part of you that wants to argue that your position and experience speak for themselves, and your body language shouldn’t make a difference, I leave you with the immortal words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”

When the way you deliver meets up with the words you say you are speaking in unison. That is when your intended message is reinforced and your credibility shines through.

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Growth Human Resources Management Personal Development

Dissolving Problems: What Strategy Works Best?

Have you ever solved a problem only to see it return? We have all experienced this frustration. How can we reduce this frustration and make our best effort to prevent a problem from returning? What is the best strategy?

In March 2017 the United States Congress failed to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare (Affordable Care Act). The media reported numerous reasons for this failure and most of them involve blaming a person or group of persons. Looking for the “culprit” is a popular strategy for attempting to dissolve a problem and it never really works. Focusing on who caused a problem is very popular but also very unsophisticated. It’s popular because it is easy and it helps us avoid personal responsibility. It is unsophisticated because it is a focus on symptoms and not root causes. How can we avoid blame and focus on the root causes? The answer, focus instead on the first 15%.

I painted a bathroom this past weekend. Taking extra time to carefully tape the trim allowed me to do a high-quality job faster and with less waste in the cleanup stage. I spent time on the first 15% of the job, namely the taping, and it helped me save time and to do better job overall. I focused on the first 15%.

“The secret for reduction in time of development is to put more effort into the early stages, and to study the interactions between stages.” (Deming, 1994)

The Butterfly Effect

A mild-mannered meteorologist professor at MIT was simulating weather patterns by entering data into a computer program. He decided to enter data dropping the last three decimals (ten thousand, hundred thousand, and millions) from the data seeing it as unimportant for his research. After the calculation, he was astonished to see how dropping those very small effects made an enormous impact on the outcome of the simulation. This effect came to be known as the “butterfly effect.” (Dizikes, 2011)

The metaphor of the butterfly is astonishing. The claim is a butterfly flapping its wings in New York will change the direction of a typhoon in the Pacific. Very small changes in the very beginning of a process will make an enormous change in the outcome. Focus on the first 15% to improve the outcome.

Typical managers use a different strategy. They ask questions about people such as “Who did this?” or “Who did that?” They also ask questions about fixing the issue, “How shall we fix it?” “When shall we fix it?” and/or “Who shall fix it?” They are assuming if they fix the problem they make progress. It’s not true. All they do is go back to where they started. The typical manager uses the typical performance appraisal to attempt to solve problems. This action rarely gets to the root cause because it does not focus on the first 15%. It focuses instead on the employee behavior which is most often not the root cause but instead the symptom. I could focus on being very careful not to get any paint on the trim in my bathroom and if I did, my wife could tell me to be more careful. But, because I had focused on covering the trim first my ability to be careful was less critical.

We must remove the root cause and we can only do that by looking in the right place. We must look at the beginning of the process. We must focus on the “0th” stage. To truly make progress we must improve the first 15% of the process.

Peter Drucker explained, “Progress is obtained only by exploiting opportunities, not by solving problems. When you solve problems, all you do it guarantee a return to normalcy.”

It is likely Congress chose the incorrect strategy in the first 15% of their planning and that poor choice damaged their ability to achieve their goal. What can we learn from these ideas? At the beginning of every project spend extra time to align the team members on the vision, the mission, and the action plan. Don’t be too quick to roll out the plan until this first 15% is clear.

When improving a process, identify all the steps that need to be completed to achieve the intended outcome and then spend most of your time on the first 15% of the process steps. This strategy will allow you to achieve an excellent outcome.

Wally Hauck, PhD has a cure for the “deadly disease” known as the typical performance appraisal. Wally holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Warren National University, a Master of Business Administration in finance from Iona College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Wally is a Certified Speaking Professional or CSP. Wally has a passion for helping leaders let go of the old and embrace new thinking to improve leadership skills, employee engagement, and performance.

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Growth Operations Personal Development

Don’t Let Common Sense Go Down with the Ship

Do you have policies or rules that are so strict that makes it nearly impossible for your employees to deliver the kind of customer service you actually want them to deliver?
In situations like these, common sense needs to prevail – especially when it comes to customer service – but following common sense is not always common, as evidenced by the following example.

Recently, I was sitting on an airplane next to somebody who was headed for a cruise ship vacation. The two of us started a discussion about how some employees are so set in their ways that they can’t think of creative ways to solve a customer’s problem. These kinds of people are so tied to their “systems” and the way they have always done things that they can negatively impact the relationships they have with their customers, even when common sense should prevail.

My fellow passenger has been on numerous cruises – and as good the customer service is on most cruises, he said you can always find a few of the ship’s employees that are more focused following the system or the process rather than on satisfying their customer. He then shared a few stories from his past trip about how some crew members lacked common sense. For some reason, I began to think of the Titanic and the story of how the eight-member band on the ship continued to play, even after the ship started sinking.

I wasn’t sure if the story of the band playing while the ship was going down was actually true, so I did a little research. Well, I found out that the reason the band kept playing was that Wallace Hartley, the band’s leader, had asked the band to continue to play because he thought it would help to calm the chaos that was ensuing all around them.
Maybe that was true, but to create a customer service lesson, I’d like to take some creative license and bend this story a bit. My fictitious version of the story has nothing to do with keeping the passengers calm. In my version, Mr. Hartley says, “Keep playing. We still have two hours to go in our set.” Meanwhile, the other passengers had already vacated the ship to save themselves, so the only sounds on that could be heard on the ship were coming from the band’s instruments. Yet the band played on … as they went down with the ship.

The point to the story is that, if common sense had prevailed, Mr. Hartley’s band would have stopped playing immediately and tried to save themselves. Like the rest of the passengers, the band should have headed for the life rafts. But, sometimes people are trapped in a rut caused by following processes and systems for so long that they disregard common sense … even when the ship is going down.

So, what does this have to do with customer service? The best companies hire people who follow the rules, but who are also smart, adaptive, problem-solving, customer-focused people. When it comes to preserving relationships with customers, they look for ways to work around having to say NO and come up with ways to say YES. They don’t get stuck on company policy. Yes, they work within the rules, but they also understand flexibility. They will do what’s right for both the company and the customer. In short, they use common sense, especially when the ship is going down – or when a customer is angry.

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Growth Health and Wellness Human Resources

3 Steps to Fearless Communication learned from the United Airlines Story

While the details of the removal of a passenger from a United Airlines flight are still being uncovered, there are many things to learn from this unacceptable outcome.

In all likelihood there were people who could have stopped this from escalating to what it became. There were people who had the skills to move through the conflict with calm and produce an ending that would have been quite different. There were people with courage and high ethical standards, right there, watching and feeling paralyzed by fear.

The situation got this bad because too many people thought they were powerless to suggest a change of course or break some rules.

As members of organizations, families and communities what do we need to learn from this episode?

We can’t stop bad things from happening. We CAN remind the people in our lives how simple it is to communicate without fear.

We CAN increase the number of times we feel confident and powerful and connected to others. When we feel connected to others we have less fear.

These are three ways I know to stave off fear.

Kindness is KING

Treat people well. Smile and say hello. Thank people for a job well done from the people who pack your groceries to the lobby attendant who hands you a pass to enter a building. Your positive energy actually increases when you are kind to people. It sets the stage for you to feel good and for the people around you to feel good too. Communicate kindness and you will feel more connected to people and situations.

Listen to LEARN

I can’t say this enough. People want to be heard. In even the smallest conversations, if you practice listening to people to learn something – other than listening for your moment to speak – you will feel lighter when you communicate and you will learn something that will take you out of your head. You’ll routinely learn more about people and how much you have in common.

GET COMFORTABLE Being Uncomfortable

We are suffering from a lack of confidence in conflict because people avoid conflict at all costs. Conflict is not fun but if we are regularly kind and know how to listen to people (because we do it so often) then conflict doesn’t seem so overwhelming.

If something is wrong we need to be able to say it is so. Take time to go over what this means with the people in your life. If you’re a manager and/or a parent, talk about speaking up and ask if there was something you could have done better. Encourage feedback that may be uncomfortable. When you do this, you too get to practice getting comfortable being uncomfortable.

I tell my teenage sons before they head out to a party or a large gathering of their peers, “Right before something bad happens there is no neon sign saying, ‘SOMETHING BAD IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN.’”

I remind them they’ve got to rely on their ability to see right from wrong. They must be able to stand up for themselves and/or remove themselves from a situation that’s escalating. Yes, I tell them I trust them even when there is a string of terror running through my body with memories of times when they got into trouble.

Fearless communication comes from within. It’s developed over time. It needs to start somewhere and be nurtured.

We are suffering from a lack of confidence in conflict. We can turn this around.

Imagine how much better this would have turned out if one or more people at United could say what they needed to say without fear.

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Best Practices Growth Management Personal Development

CEO pov: 5 Insights for Leading Change

The not-too-distant past rewarded CEOs for stable predictability. But as most of us experience, “Market transparency, labor mobility, global capital flows, and instantaneous communications have blown the comfortable, predictable scenario to smithereens.” (10 Principles of Change Management, Harvard Business Review).
The only thing that’s predictable today is that more change is coming. Whether it’s in the form of a re-org, a change in product, strategy, leadership, or a merger/acquisition, the best leaders know how to effectively manage themselves in order to keep people motivated and engaged, re-build or reshape company culture and set a new course.

Similar to individuals, companies that struggle with these types of changes knock themselves out of the market. We see it all the time.

While many factors contribute to how well a company maneuvers change, success heavily depends on how executives prioritize its people and communication in the process. How open, transparent and frequent executives decide to communicate is a solid predictor of how successful the change will be.

During the last CEO Forum, I had the privilege of asking Steve Singh, CEO of Concur, Jean Thompson, CEO of Seattle’s Chocolates and Stan Pavlovsky, president of Allrecipes.com what was most important to them as they maneuvered change.

For context,
• SAP acquired Concur for $8.3 billion in 2014

• Jean Thompson became the majority owner and CEO of Seattle Chocolates in 2002

• Stan Pavlovsky became the new President of the world’s largest food brand, Allrecipes.com, a year after Meredith Corp. purchased it for $175 million in 2013

Here are my top 5 takeaways from the conversation:

1. Create Success. The role of the leader is to create opportunities for others to be successful.

2. Talk Less. Really listen, get feedback and have empathy. Change is hard for most people.

3. Pause. Take time to celebrate the success the team and company is having.

4. Decide. Don’t’ be afraid to make a decision. You can likely fix the bad ones, but being indecisive is the worst thing you can possibly do.

5. Be Bold. Go create the world you want, and empower those around you to do the same.
I’d love to hear your perspective: What’s your best advice on leading change?

Teri Citterman coaches first-time CEOs, seasoned CEOs and high performers. Her latest book “From the CEO’s Perspective” provides a peek into the thinking of some of today’s top CEOs from companies like Alaska Airlines, JP Morgan Chase and Gravity Payments. She is a regular contributor to Forbes, a sought-after speaker and thought cultivator/founder of “From the CEO’s Perspective” leadership forum.

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Best Practices Growth Skills Women In Business

Build Audience Belief the way Actors Do

To enhance your credibility when speaking for business, you can borrow a technique that actors use to build belief within the listening audience.

Why use an acting technique? The reason is simple: Persuasive and influential business speakers have a lot in common with actors. They all know that the key to successful speaking is to inspire belief in the hearts and minds of the audience.

The most important belief-building technique for actors is the use of what we call Acting Objectives. You can apply this technique to the rehearsal and delivery of your business talks (formal or informal), so that you will speak with the greatest power: power that comes from a complete commitment that is visible on your body and audible in your voice.

When actors are preparing a role, they make careful choices about what actions to take, to help the audience believe that the make believe situation is real. For actors, it’s all about actions; actions speak louder than words. So, actors examine each script and create acting objectives: actions that lie underneath the words – actions to take toward the listeners. This helps actors become motivated to speak the words that the playwright or screenwriter wrote and speak them truthfully, authentically, and conversationally.

In rehearsal and performance, actors pursue their acting objectives as if their lives depended on it. This helps the audience believe that the actor and the character are one and the same: that the actor IS the character.

This process is useful to business speakers for two important reasons:

• When you’re speaking in business, you want your listeners to believe something (believe that you have solution to their problems, for example). The more rigorously you pursue your actions (your acting objectives), the more completely your listeners will believe that you and your message are one and the same: believe that you are your message.

• As a business speaker or presenter, when you make your audience believe, they are likely to overlook minor shortcomings or mistakes you might make. Once you’ve made your listeners believe, you’ve won them over to your side. After that, your audience will forgive you almost anything!

Beats:

In order to make choices about actions (to identify acting objectives), actors divide the script – and you should divide your notes for a business talk — into units. Actors call them BEATS. Each beat is a separate topic, smaller than the overall subject of the message. It is a topic of conversation: what the speaker is talking about: a simple noun or noun phrase.

Here is an example: an excerpt from the “Greed Is Good” speech, delivered by Michael Douglas’s character in the film Wall Street.

“Our company, Teldar Paper, has 33 different vice presidents each earning over $200,000 a year. Now, I have spent the last two months analyzing what all these guys do, and I still can’t figure it out. One thing I do know is that our paper company lost 110 million dollars last year, and I’ll bet that half of that was spent on all the paperwork going back and forth between all the these VP’s. The new law of evolution in corporate America seems to be survival of the UN-fittest. Well, in my book, you either do it right, or you get eliminated.”

In this excerpt, there are two beats. Beat one ends with the phrase “all these VP’s”; it is about waste within the company. The second beat begins with “The new…” and ends with the word “eliminated”; this beat is about the survival of dysfunctional companies in America.

Take a deep dive into the notes you have for a business talk, and divide it into beats, separating the beats with small dividing marks. Consider what each beat is about, and where it begins and ends. Then, in the left hand margin, identify what the beat is about. Express this as a simple noun or noun phrase.

Objectives:

When you know what each beat is about, you are ready to identify an acting objective for each beat (an action that lies underneath the words you speak). This should be a specific, active verb expressing what you wish to do to your listeners as you speak; what you want to make them feel or do.

Choose objectives that are personally appealing and attractive to pursue, so that you’ll be motivated and project energy. There are three ingredients for an effective acting objective, and these are the very same ingredients for an effective speaker objective. Each objective should have the following qualities. It should be

1. A specific, active verb, Directed toward the listener

2. Personal and appropriate to the spoken message and the listener’s situation

3. Truthful (for our purposes, truthful doesn’t mean actual; it means believable)

Pursuing an objective (the simple, active verb) gives you energy and focus as you speak. Studies show that listeners pay the most attention to the actions underneath the words we speak – the vocal tone and demeanor of the speaker. Consider how a person’s tone/demeanor (not words alone) reveal sincerity, evasiveness, or sarcasm, for example.

Process:

Let’s imagine that in one beat of your business talk, you wish to be powerful.
Verb: to be powerful

Problem: the verb “to be” is static. It doesn’t contain active energy.

Better choice: you wish to obtain power

Problem: the verb is too general.
Ask yourself: “What must I wish to DO in order to obtain power?”

Now you can plan specific actions to take towards the audience – in order to obtain power. Possible verbs/objectives:
• I wish to impress the audience

• I wish to instill confidence

• I wish to earn their affection

Is the purpose of your presentation to move the listeners to give you money or provide funding for a project? Here are some objectives that may apply during your presentation:

• I wish to persuade the audience to make a sacrifice

• I wish to direct them on a noble/moral path (for PR purposes!)

• I wish to illustrate the joy that comes from sacrifice to others

• I wish to save them from their misguided ways

If these power verbs seem overly-dramatic to you, know that these objectives are for the purpose of strengthening your delivery and should remain your secrets. Keep your acting objectives private. Have you ever noticed that your secrets hold great power for you — the longer you keep a secret, the more power it holds for you? Have you noticed that when you let a secret out, tell it to someone, it loses some of its power over you? We want our acting objectives to have great power to affect our delivery! So, keep your acting objectives private; this will strengthen your motivation to speak and galvanize the commitment and passion in your voice and your gestures.

Actors write their acting objectives in the margin of the script, right next to the dialogue. In your speaking notes, in the right hand margin next to each beat, write one simple acting objective.

Rehearse By Pursuing Your Acting Objectives:

Actors rehea
rse aloud, rehearse often, and rehearse at performance level energy. Rehearse improvisationally from your notes; do not memorize or speak from rote memory. Internalize your ideas. As you speak the words of the beat,

• Focus on the underlying acting objective

• Keep it at the forefront of your mind

• Pursue the objective as if your life depended on it

Over time, as you rehearse, you should begin to notice that you are communicating your joy in sharing ideas. Always be sure you are communicating: “My message is important for you, so I love being here with you.”

Benefits of Using Objectives:

Pursuing acting objectives holds three powerful benefits for you as a speaker:

Benefit #1: It gives you laser-beam focus and simplifies your process, because it gives you just ONE thing to think about as you speak each beat.

Benefit #2: It galvanizes your energy toward what you are doing with your words. It’s the quickest and most powerful way to project energy, commitment, passion, and poise.

Benefit #3: It’s a completely organic way to make your voice and physical demeanor support your content. It turns your voice, body language, and content into one seamless, unified message.

When you are pitching to clients, making presentations, speaking with senior management, or even delivering an elevator speech, the pursuit of acting objectives will give you maximum power and deliver to your audience maximum impact.

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Growth Human Resources Leadership Personal Development

Level Five or Machiavellian: Which Leadership Approach Wins in Employee Engagement?

A widely-accepted assumption is employee engagement is influenced by how the leaders of the organization behave. Another way to say this is, the work environment is influenced by leaders and that work environment influences employee engagement. Both Level 5 Leadership and Machiavellian Leadership can create outstanding results but how does Level 5 Leadership behavior stack up against Machiavellian behavior regarding engagement?

The purpose here is to make the case for higher employee engagement. There are two big distinctions between Level 5 Leadership and Machiavellian Leadership that provide key insights for action.

First, we need agree on clear definitions. I prefer using the Conference Board’s definition of Employee engagement. I paraphrase, “Employee Engagement is a strong emotional connection an employee feels with their organization and team such that they are willing to give extra effort without being asked bribed or threatened.” (Gibbons, 2007)

Level 5 Leadership is the term describing leaders who were uncovered by Jim Collins, and his researchers, while writing Good to Great. (Collins, 2001) Level 5 Leaders are both modest and willful. They are humble in behaviors and fearless in their pursuit of results. They avoid letting their ego interfere with their ambition to achieve a great result for their organizations.

Machiavellian Leaders are also willful. They believe people are self-interested creatures and will put their self-interest ahead of other considerations. This is a key characteristic they share. In part because of this belief, they also believe it is better to be feared than to be loved. Machiavellian leaders hold efficacy and foresight as important characteristics. Humility is not needed to achieve results. Humility is not needed to achieve power and achieving power is a high priority for these leaders.

There are two key insights which can help us decide which leadership approach is best to build engagement. The first is trust vs. fear. The second is autonomy vs. dependency.

Trust trumps fear

Trust is much more effective than fear for achieving engagement. If we choose to accept the engagement definition above the presence of fear proves there is little or no engagement. Engagement is an emotional connection where employees are willing to put in extra effort without threats. Threats create fear.

If employees are willing to put in extra effort they must feel safe to do so. Safety suggests a lack of fear. Innovation and risk taking requires reduced fear, not more. If Machiavelli prefers fear to love from followers, it suggests engagement would be reduced with a Machiavellian leader.

Autonomy trumps Dependency

There are two laws attributed to Machiavelli which might cause concern for those who value engagement. The first one is:

“Learn to keep people dependent upon you: To maintain your independence you must always be needed and wanted. The more you are relied on, the more freedom you have. Make people depend on you for their happiness and prosperity and you have nothing to fear. Never teach them enough so that they can do without you.” (Greene, 2000)

To be fully engaged, people need autonomy. They need freedom to make decisions to innovate and to feel fulfilled. If the Machiavellian leader purposely creates dependency, it follows that engagement will naturally be reduced.

The second is:

“Cultivate an Air of Unpredictability: Humans are creatures of habit with an insatiable need to see familiarity in other people’s actions. Your predictability gives them a sense of control. Turn the tables: Be deliberately unpredictable.” (Greene, 2000)

Unpredictability creates uncertainty and fear. It can lead to a lack of trust. It can prevent people from taking risk and/or acting at all.

Al Dunlap of Scott Paper fame exemplifies the Machiavellian Leader and is profiled by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Dunlap cut expenses at Scott Paper, mostly by cutting jobs and lay-offs, sold the company, and pocketed millions for himself, all in less than two years. He then wrote a book about himself drawing a parallel to Rambo. He demonstrated unpredictability and a dependence on him for success. His changes could not have been sustainable and it is probably why the company was sold (besides the desired outcome for Dunlap to hoard millions for himself).

In contrast is Arnold Palmer. One of his quotes on his website is, “Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you.” This could easily be attributed to a Level 5 Leader, a fearless pursuit of results while demonstrating warmth and humility. He had thousands, if not millions, following him in Arnie’s Army. He touched thousands of lives, made his sport much more popular, and positively changed the world in numerous ways.

In summary, Machiavellian Leadership is great for beating down competitors. Beating competitors can certainly lead to success. Level 5 Leadership is great for employee engagement and generating positive results with minimum unintended consequences and enormous leverage. There is value in both but the place to use each is very different. I personally would recommend you stay away from Machiavellian techniques if you find engagement an important outcome.

Resources:

Collins, J. (2001). Good to Great . New York, NY: Harper Collins.

Gibbons, J. (2007). https://www.conference-board.org/publications/publicationdetail.cfm?publicationid=1324&centerId=1. Retrieved from https://www.conference-board.org: https://www.conference-board.org/publications/publicationdetail.cfm?publicationid=1324&centerId=1
Greene, R. (2000). The 48 Laws of Power. New York NY: Penquin Books.

Level 5 and Machiavellian Leadership Video

Wally Hauck, PhD, CSP helps leaders boost profit by unleashing the genius of every employee. By showing leaders how to get the best from their teams, with proven methods and by avoiding morale-busting mistakes, leaders can achieve their strategic goals more quickly and with less waste.

For more than 20 years Wally has worked with nearly 200 organizations, hundreds of leaders, and thousands of employees to optimize engagement and customer experience. Many have achieved significant transformational improvements.

Wally holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Warren National University, a Master of Business Administration in finance from Iona College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Wally is a Certified Speaking Pr
ofessional or CSP. As a professor of Organizational Change and Development at the University of New Haven in Connecticut Wally received the highest ratings of all professors in 2012.

Wally is married to his lovely wife Lori for over 26 years. They have two daughters, one son, three grandchildren, two rescue dogs a very dysfunctional cat. Wally has passion for golf, family, politics, and good movies not necessarily in that order.

Dr. Wally Hauck, CSP helps leaders boost profit by unleashing the genius of every employee. By showing leaders how to get the best from their teams, with proven methods and by avoiding morale-busting mistakes, leaders can achieve their strategic goals more quickly and with less waste.

For more than 20 years Wally has worked with nearly 200 organizations, hundreds of leaders, and thousands of employees to optimize engagement and customer experience. Many have achieved significant transformational improvements.

Wally holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Warren National University, a Master of Business Administration in finance from Iona College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. Wally is a Certified Speaking Professional or CSP. As a professor of Organizational Change and Development at the University of New Haven in Connecticut Wally received the highest ratings of all professors in 2012.

Wally is a proud member of the C-Suite Advisors Network

Video

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Growth Human Resources Management Personal Development Women In Business

Knowing What Great Leaders Do and Doing What Great Leaders Do Are Two Different Things

The other day I heard a leader speak to his team of fifty. He was sharing that he wants his managers to walk the floor and identify ways to improve processes and procedures and to identify a person who should be acknowledged for giving their all to the job.

After his talk a group went to lunch and he invited me along. He shared with us about his desire to grow his managers and encourage them to lead. He shared about his speech. One of his friends laughed and asked, “when was the last time you walked the floor and told someone ‘good job”? I know it wasn’t lately” The whole table laughed.

Sometimes leaders talk a good talk but don’t walk the walk. When you don’t walk the walk your reputation is diminished, people don’t trust you and even your friends know when you are just giving lip service.

To be a great leader who has influence, impact and the ability to inspire others cultivate the following:

Have Integrity – Do what you say you will do. If you can’t do it say so. If you don’t know something, say that. Integrity is about follow through and commitment. This is especially true for those who follow you. They are watching you and they know the person you are by how you follow through.

Model The Behavior You Want Others To Have – if you want an enthusiastic, energized workforce set an example. If you want helpful, customer focused culture you have to emulate that in everything you do. That also means that you find teaching moments to share how you would do it and people can model you. Think about how you greet people in the morning, are you inquisitive, are you sincere? It is okay if that isn’t your style, just don’t demand that from others. You are the one who sets the standards of behavior. If you can’t behave in a certain way then shift your vision of what you want or move on.

Standards – This is so important and so often missed. Missed because you, as the leader, take it for granted. You have standards for yourself, have you ever written those standards down? Have you shared your standards of behavior to your new hires, your executive team, even to your family? Too often leaders assume that others know, that others have the same standards. They don’t. Every single person comes from a unique, distinct and diverse background compared to you, including your children. They have different perspectives of the same event, location, or person than you. It is normal. That is why it is critical that you write down your standards, your values and be clear about them.

I have a friend who is a local politician with a great career ahead of her. When we worked together we worked through these three key components. It became such a strong foundation for her new career in politics that she had two works of art commissioned that reflected her standards and values. They hang in her office. Her core team has her value statements and standards on a card on their desks. Her meetings with her executive team start with reading her standards and values so that everyone is on board, with clarity and focus.

Everyone can be a leader. It takes focused action to be a great leader.

Categories
Growth Management Operations Personal Development

Customer Service Lessons Learned from United Airlines Computer Outage

The problem lasted two and a half hours and caused 200 flight delays and six cancellations. No, this wasn’t just a single unhappy customer complaining to a gate agent at the airport. These were the results of a recent widespread computer outage at United Airlines. Thus, thousands of people were inconvenienced. I would describe a two-plus-hour delayed flight as a Moment of Misery™.

This outage resulted in thousands of passengers becoming angry. Yet, problems like this are seemingly unavoidable; just last year it happened to Delta and Southwest. Sometimes it may not be a computer glitch, but a weather problem that can cause airline delays. Yet every cloud can have a silver lining; this is an example of a mini-case study on how to handle a customer service crisis.

I did not witness what happened at the airport when passengers approached United’s gate agents for help, nor did I listen on the phone lines as passengers tried to reach their customer service representatives. I’m sure there were both long lines and long hold times. Those individual interactions turned out either good or bad because of the individual employees’ attitudes and how well they had been trained to handle such situations. Instead, what I am about to address is the overall response that United Airlines made, and how it was an excellent example of what to do in a crisis.

I teach a five-step process on how to deal with a complaining customer, and for those who follow my work, here is a short review:

1. Acknowledge the problem.

2. Apologize for the problem.

3. Fix the problem – or discuss how it will be fixed.

4. Do it with the right attitude – not just being nice, but acting accountable.

5. Doing all of this with a sense of urgency.

Well, you can extend how you should deal with an individual customer to the way you should deal with a service crisis that impacts thousands of customers.

First, United acknowledged and apologized for the inconvenience. They covered the first two steps. United responded to media inquiries and tweeted out to all of their followers: A ground stop is in place for domestic flights due to an IT issue. We’re working on a resolution. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Then they fixed it, accomplishing step three.

Step four was complete when they accepted responsibility. No excuses. Maddie King, a spokesperson for United, met with the press and told them they were working to fix the problem. In other words, United was owning the problem.

Finally, there was a sense of urgency throughout the entire process. Because United worked hard and fast, it took them just two and a half hours to fix the problem. The key to restoring confidence is urgency.

So, whether you have a single customer complaining or a major service crisis affecting thousands of customers, consider the five-step process, which not only fixes what is broken, but can potentially restore the customer’s confidence. And, done well, the process may even restore the customer’s confidence to a level higher than if the problem had never happened at all.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

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