Your Colleagues Are Not Customers

Your Colleagues Are Not Customers

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Leadership

Anyone who has spent time in a medium to large organization over the last ten years has probably heard the term “internal client.” The idea is that you should be treating your clients like royalty and your colleagues deserve the same treatment. This is an excellent idea, in theory. There are, however, big problems that develop when the idea is translated to the real world.

When you communicate with a client, you likely have on your “game face” and project a high degree of professionalism. This should definitely be carried over when you communicate with internal colleagues, suppliers, partners, etc. Whether you are talking with an assistant, your boss, or the CEO of a client, it pays to be thoughtful and articulate every time. When you ask a question, make sure it’s a smart one. When you present an analysis, spend a few minutes thinking ahead about your key message, supporting details, and follow-up or action items. This shows your team that you have respect for them. It also shows people that you are smart and competent.

The key word in the above description is not client. It is team. When you work with partners, whether they are in your company or outside suppliers or contractors, you are a team. As a team you share goals, attitudes and burdens. When you start to use the “internal customer” model, an “us vs. them” mentality evolves. After all, if the customer is always right, the give and take of a well-polished team goes out the window. Teammates have to work together to ensure that all their responsibilities are met, all their goals are achieved, and everyone comes out a winner.

Forget treating colleagues like customers. Treat customers and colleagues like team members. This way when one of you wins, all of you win.

To find out how The Modern Observer Group can help your team function better, contact us here.

The Business Coach Advantage

The Business Coach Advantage

Improvement, Leadership, Personal Growth, Planning, Process

business coachWhy should you have a business coach? Every athlete and every top performer uses a coach to bring out their best. Michael Jordan is widely considered to be the best basketball player ever. He has often credited his college basketball coach with turning him from a good player to a great one.  As a business person, you present yourself to your clients as a superstar. If Michael Jordan relied on his coach to get him to the top, shouldn’t you have a business coach of your own.

A business coach is somebody who helps you move from where you are to where you want to be, and does so by solely focusing on your goals. You’ll never really know what you’re capable of until there’s someone to push you outside your comfort zone. If you’re questioning what a coach can do for you, here are some reasons to get one

Gain an outside perspective: Brainstorming is a great tool but when you brainstorm with the same set of notions, you come up with the same ideas. A coach brings an outside perspective to the mix. By including ideas from other industries and coming in without preconceived notions, a coach brings your brainstorming to the next level. At the same time, that new perspective provides an opportunity for you to see the forest for the trees and take a look at the big picture even though you spend your days dealing with day-to-day details.

Bounce Ideas: A coach will listen to your ideas and bring expertise to allow those ideas to be evaluated and improved upon.

Guidance: A coach will make you focus on the big picture and your long-term strategies. Whether it is operations, marketing, or personal growth, your coach will help you develop plans to achieve your goals.

  • Accountability: A coach will keep you on track. Just like an athletic coach keeps a player training and improving, a business coach will keep you on track following your business plan, marketing plan and keep you growing.
  • If you want to grow and achieve your goals, a coach is what you need to step up your game.

Contact The Modern Observer Group to find out what a coach can do for you.

Achieve More By Thinking Strategically

Achieve More By Thinking Strategically

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Improvement, Leadership

strategyTo achieve more it is important to see the big picture. Because of the amount of work most people have and the pace at which it needs to get done, it is common to put your head down and plow through.  Doing this leads to missing key information that could help you focus, prioritize, and be proactive.

In order to be strategic, you need a solid understanding of the industry context, trends, and business drivers. Here are some methods for improving your strategic mindset:

  • Make it a routine exercise to explore and synthesize the internal trends in your day-to-day work. For example, pay attention to the issues that get raised over and over in your organization and synthesize the common obstacles your colleagues face.
  • Be proactive about connecting with peers both in your organization and in your industry to understand their observations of the marketplace. Then, share your findings across your network.
  • Understand the unique information and perspective that your function provides and define its impact on the corporate level strategy.
What Is Networking?

What Is Networking?

Attitude and Mindset, Communication, Featured, Leadership

handshakeDuring the publicity tour for the book “Captivate,” author Vanessa Van Edwards appeared on CBS This Morning. Discussing her book, she made it clear that she had no idea what networking was. The reporters asking her questions were similarly uninformed. Despite the importance of networking in the success of a business or a career, there is still a great deal of misunderstanding about what it is and how to do it.

Networking is a process. The first mistake most people make is thinking that by attending a single networking event they are networking. The networking event is the first step in the process that has the goal of creating long-term relationships with will connect you to the resources you need. People you networking may never use your service or buy a product from you. They will introduce you to people. This people may or may not buy from you. They will introduce you to more people. Get the idea? You are not networking so that you can sell. You are networking so that you don’t have to sell. Ideally, your network will recommend you to people who want to buy.

Networking is not about trading business cards. Many people  treat networking as though the one with the most business cards wins. This is wrong. Having someone business card is irrelevant. The one who wins is the one who follows up. When you meet someone at a networking event, you need to follow up and meet them again. People do business with people they know, like and trust. While meeting someone once could be considering knowing them, it is by no means enough to generate like and trust. This takes several meetings and the time to really get to know each other. The business card is just so you have the person’;s contact information. It is not the goal and it is not an invitation to sell.

Ultimately, you want to be a superconnector. A superconnector is someone who meets people and introduces them to others who can be useful to them. Real networkers know that you must approach networking asking the question, “What can I do for you?”, not “What will you do for me?” Networking is about helping each other.

Has The “Extra Mile” Gotten Shorter?

Has The “Extra Mile” Gotten Shorter?

Attitude and Mindset, Featured, Leadership

roadWhile many people talk about going the extra mile, it seems that few people are actually doing it.  I had two interactions that took me by surprise, illustrating how short that extra mile has gotten.

Upon  launching a new newsletter, the e-mail system sent the newsletter template out while it was being set up. So a portion of our list received a half done newsletter two weeks before it was supposed to launch. We quickly e-mailed those who received it an apology and explained what had happened. During this I received an e-mail from a woman who was unsure how she got on the mailing list and asked me to contact her, providing her phone number. I called her and had a brief discussion and we figured out what event she had attended that put her on the list. She proceeded to tell me how happy she was that I had called her and how much she appreciated it.

The second interaction was an e-mail from someone who attends our events. She told me she would be unable to attend a particular event and was sorry because she was interested in the topic. I e-mailed her back providing her with a link to a blog post I had written that was the basis for the event and included some of the basic information.  Since I had met this person several times, the e-mail was conversational in tone and included points from our past discussions. She responded how thoughtful I was and thanked me.

What took me by surprise about these interactions was how appreciative both people were to what I considered a very minor thing. The effort on my part to respond to their needs was minimal and took only a few minutes between them. What I learned is that so few people are taking even that minimal effort that it stands out. People talk about “going the extra mile” but so few people are actually doing it that the extra mile has shrunck to a few feet. Any effort is appreciated. It took me no time and cost me nothing to make both of these potential customers very happy.

Go the extra mile. The results are well worth it.

Tips To Help You Become A Better Leader

Tips To Help You Become A Better Leader

Featured, Leadership

LeadershipWhen it comes time to lead people, great leaders know the power of information, information they gather from listening to people they respect. They also know what to say, how to say it and when to say it so that during tough times things get done. Here are some tips to become a better leader.

Build Better Relationships: Great leaders know the value of relationships. They know who people are, what is important to them, and what motivates them. Knowing this will help you understand their goals and how you can support them. When you help people, they will care about you and your goals in return.

Get To Know People On A Personal Level: If you take the time to get to know people you like, they will no doubt come to like you, too. Furthermore, it is always nice to ask people about their families and interests. You will also find that, if people like you, they will be more open to helping you and taking the extra time to get things done.

Be Upbeat And Stay Positive: In the business world, it is easy to criticize what everyone does and to be negative, especially in this economy. As a leader, you need to find ways to stay positive and find ways to do things better, faster and more effectively. It is important to remember that people are not perfect, and while you do need to address poor performance, great leaders know the value of acknowledging when people are doing things correctly. Doing so builds a positive work environment that helps make people feel appreciated.

Know Your Strengths: We each have strengths and weaknesses. That being said, you will find that it is better to spend time working on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. By doing this, you will find that you can rise to the expert level sooner than you would be by working on your weaknesses. Bottom line: Know what you are good at and keep at it.

 

Watching For Unintended Consequences

Watching For Unintended Consequences

Featured, Leadership, Planning

consequencesEvery action has consequences. There are the intended consequences, which are what you want to happen, and the unintended consequences, which may or may not be beneficial.

For example, word that a company was for sale reached investors. As a result, investors jumped in and the stock price went up. As a result of the stock price going up, the company that was buying it decided it was now too expensive and pulled out. With no buyer, the stick dropped below where it had started. Is it good or bad? If you are an investor and you timed it right, it could have been very good because you made money by buying low and selling high. If you are the company and you needed to be bough, it’s bad.

The point is that whenever you take action, you need to watch for the unintended consequences and be prepared to respond. The purchasing company in the example could come back after everything happened and put in a lower bid based on the new stock price. While some unintended consequences are predictable, others aren’t. Your action doesn’t end with that initial action. You need to watch for the consequences and react accordingly.

7 Horrible Ways to Lead a Team

7 Horrible Ways to Lead a Team

Leadership

LeadershipLeadership is not, “Hey, you, go do this thing for me.”

When we think about leadership, we tend to think in terms of hierarchy–those at “the top” are considered “the leaders” and those at the bottom are considered “the followers.”

The problem with this sort of perspective is that, in all honesty, just because you hold a formal position on the ladder does not necessarily mean you are a “leader.”However, lots and lots of people wear their title and their badge of honor proudly–while at the same time ignoring the fact that they are, in fact, horrible leaders.

Read the entire article at Inc. Magazine

The Best Leaders Question Everything

The Best Leaders Question Everything

Featured, Improvement, Leadership

QuestionIt can be difficult for leaders (especially senior ones new to their roles) to pause before acting. But when was the last time you stopped to ask, “Why are we doing it that way?” Leaders must constantly explore new ideas and seek out new thinking from those around them. You need to regularly ask uncomfortable questions and think about whether to change or abandon an existing strategy.

If someone asks you “why?” strong leaders don’t take it as a challenge. They take it as an opportunity to find improved ways of meeting that why. Only poor leaders discourage questions. Only people who have no leadership skills will ever use the answer, “Because I said so.”

The best leaders step back and look at the big picture every so often. They surround themselves with diverse teams and capitalize on opportunities to hear and experiment with new ideas. They give themselves time to surface divergent opinions that ultimately lead to smarter business decisions.

3 Ways to Create a Deeper Connection at Work

3 Ways to Create a Deeper Connection at Work

Leadership

meetingsYou have to put yourself out there if you want to create an authentic connection with people.

Sharing your Leadership Point of View is one of the most powerful ways to accomplish that, according to coaching expert Joni Wickline.

In the August issue of Blanchard Ignite, Wickline describes a Leadership Point of View as a story about“…the people and events that have shaped who you are. It also speaks to your values, your beliefs, and what drives you as a leader.”

For many, creating a Leadership Point of View (LPOV) is an emotional journey. Wickline says a lot of leaders play it safe when first given the chance to share.

Read the entire article at Blanchard Leaderchat