When colleagues communicate with you, do they know that you are listening? A few years ago, one of my peers asked me to accompany him into a meeting with our collective boss at the time, to help support him in a difficult discussion. In short, our boss was not happy about something that occurred and my peer disagreed with his approach. In the meeting, my peer shared a bunch of professional, yet direct thoughts and opinions and our boss listened. This went on for about 15 minutes and at the end of the discussion our boss said something that was genius. “I need some timeRead More →

Based on 20+ years working in corporate america, I have created this fun cartoon with 5 scary office scenes. I am sure you will agree these are hair raising and may make you want to scream and run away from your cubicle. First we have the dreaded, single point of failure! Second, the time sucking meeting with no agenda. Third, the Red Bull drinking employee who works 24/7. Fourth, the over promiser. Last, we have the Friday afternoon meeting from home, complete with pizza and beer. You may want to use this cartoon to add some operations humor to your next team meeting Please click on the imageRead More →

One thing I have noticed throughout my career, is an ongoing business assumption that if we add more people to address a particular body of work, then problems will get solved. There are times when this is most definitely true. If there are substantial changes in your business model that result in material increases in work volume (and hopefully sales revenue and profit), it will be hard to cover that work without more people, at least at first. However, before moving to a people solution, I encourage leaders to think of the issue as if you were spending your own savings account on the personnelRead More →

“I am a complexity assassin” Love it! I was recently on LinkedIn and came across a complete stranger who had this statement as his headline and my eyes were immediately drawn to his profile. If you read my profile, you’ll see a statement about how “I love the beauty of simplification”. I’ll take a bullet point over a paragraph any day! Simplifying the complex is something I strongly believe we need to embrace. There is a tendency in the workplace to do the opposite…delve into the deep details, the technical specs, the minute by minute timelines. There is definitely a place for details especially forRead More →

The days of show and tell meetings are over. No, not the show and tell that we did back in grade school where we brought in our pet snake, souvenirs from vacation or science project and presented to the class. (Although, that was fun. Life was so easy back then!) I am referring to the workplace where we sometimes hold meetings for the sole purpose of “show and tell”. 1) What is a Show and Tell Meeting? A show and tell meeting is one where the communication is primarily one way and covers information that is readily available to read on your own in aRead More →

Sales wants to add as many customizations as possible, but operations wants sales to sell “what is on the truck” already. I have seen this natural conflict or push/pull relationship at every company I have worked for, from packaging supplies, to online advertising to software. Having worked in both sales and ops, I have been both the requester and the rejector. What causes this conflict? Sales people want to please customers and they often believe that providing custom options and/or all the bells and whistles that the customers ask for, is what’s best for everyone. Their perspective is often about the short term gratification andRead More →

For a number of years I have been involved in initiatives to improve employee morale and engagement, and create a more positive working environment. In my gut, I have always felt like the big, complex projects or events have a much lower impact on improving this area, versus the small things (like touch points) we can all do day in and day out. So, I was pleased when I came across the book called “TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments” by Douglas Conant and Mette Morgaard. A short aside… I came across this book while perusing the business section of myRead More →

In my personal life, I tend to be drawn to consistent experiences. When I want something really good to drink, I go to Starbucks and get a Grande Soy Latte. It tastes the same everywhere I go. When I want a really delicious dessert, I head for the warm, chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream- rarely a bad choice!  I have my favorite brands of yogurt, wine and coffee so when I consume them, I get that consistent, good experience. I am a big fan of consistency, and it is just as important in my personal life as it is in the business world. 1)Read More →

When I look back at my leadership successes and challenges from the past year, one of the key concepts that had a strong presence in my day-to-day activities and that I learned a lot about/from was “building trust with employees”. It can take one sentence, one conversation or one seemingly innocent action to completely lose the trust of your employees or colleagues. Conversely, it will take multiple conversations, consistent actions and time (and more time), to build the trust of your employees and colleagues. When it comes to building this bond, there is no magic bullet, no special pill and no one week contest. A talented coworkerRead More →

We spend a lot of time talking about customer satisfaction but a lot less time talking about customer effort. Said another way, how much effort do your customers have to invest to actually get the satisfaction they are looking for? How easy is it for customers to find your self service portal? Once they get there, how is easy is it for them to navigate and find the actions they are seeking? After they open up a customer service ticket, how well do we do keeping them informed of the progress, or do we rely on them to continually check in? When we improve ourRead More →