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In the topic 'Organization Improvement'


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Service Strategy Differences between Retail Staff and In-Home Service Technicians

A long term Client sent me an e-mail looking for advice on how to best position his expertise for a new position he is pursuing: “What would you say are the major differences between the strategies to support service excellence in a retail environment with fixed locations/employees (i.e, McDonalds) versus a service company with technicians […]

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How Customer Service Training Often Reduces Service Levels

A big city public transit system just released a report addressing its terrible service and image problems. While some of the panel’s recommendations deal with the organization’s culture, much of it is focused on “fixing” drivers, counter staff, and other frontline service people through training and “attitude change.” The way too common “fix our customer […]

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Team Building Tips and Techniques

Continuing the focus on team building from my last two blog posts, here are further approaches to strengthen your team – as a leader or as a member: a) Be careful of team building exercises that promote “teaminess” as an end in itself. Lasting teamwork comes from getting everyone focused on the issues outlined in […]

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12 Steps to Building Highly Effective Teams

Strong leaders – whether in appointed roles or taking leadership action – build highly effective teams. Where teams have been effectively organized and led, the list of team outcomes have led to dramatic improvements in productivity, customer service, quality, process management, innovation, cost effectiveness, job satisfaction, morale, and financial performance. My last blog post looked […]

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Team Talk: Nine Reasons Many Groups Aren’t Teams

Growing appreciation for the power of teams and teamwork has created an explosion in team talk. But many so-called teams aren’t teams. Most are organizational units, committees, or task forces that have been grouped together. The team problem generally starts at the top. Many management groups leading a corporation, division, department, or branch often has […]

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Are You a High Potential? Should You Tell Others If They Are?

My last blog post discussed Dan Tobin’s new book on building a leadership development program. His first chapter deals with identifying your organization’s high-potential talent. Once high potential people are identified, the next question often is whether to tell those rising stars that they’ve been flagged as such and will be developed further. In their […]

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Book Review: “Feeding Your Leadership Pipeline”

Are many of your key managers and executives well into their fifties or beyond? Are you concerned about developing your organization’s next generation of leaders? Is succession planning a growing issue as you look ahead a few years? Could lack of “leadership bench strength” constrain your organization’s growth? A key element in top performing organization’s […]

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Building Healthy Workplaces: Learning from Good and Bad Examples (like King Henry VIII)

How healthy is your workplace? Are you helping to energize or enervate the people you work with? With constant change and the relentless pressures of today’s 24/7 work world, stress is taking a heavy toll. A national opinion poll by the American Psychological Association found that “two-thirds of both men and women say work has […]

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Another Study on Slowing Down to Speed Up

The pace is frenzied – even desperate – in most organizations today. Restructuring, revamping IT systems, and reengineering processes are just a few of the major initiatives driving big changes across organizations. At departmental levels projects, goals and objectives, and operational bottlenecks expand exponentially. Add with today’s 24/7, always on and always connected technology, all […]

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How to Motivate Employees to Attract New Customers in a Recovering Economy

Last month Return on Performance magazine asked me to respond to a series of questions on motivating employees to attract new customers in a recovering economy for their “Winning Tips” section. My responses below reflect many of the internal service and servant leadership themes found throughout my work – and this month’s issue. Ask yourself… […]

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Reader Reflections on Frantic Busyness, Priority Overload, and The Acceleration Trap

I am glad to see that last month’s newsletter (The Leader Letter) theme of spring clean up, To-Stop lists, busyness, and The Acceleration Trap touched a nerve with many readers. It’s a complex, multi-layered, and very serious problem at personal, team, and organizational levels. Following are some thoughtful reflections and observations on the topic: “I […]

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Are You Seeing – and Hearing – Your Team Members in 3D?

My last post looked at a common cause of poor internal or external customer service rooted in not seeing – or hearing – customers in 3D. A major contributor to this problem, and the resulting “functional chimneys,” is management’s failure to listen to the needs of service teams and their individual contributors. “If you don’t […]

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Are You Seeing – and Hearing – Your Customers in 3D?

3D is all the rage today. Movies like Avatar take us to a new level of realism. TV manufacturers are furiously announcing new 3D systems. Apple has reportedly filed patents for special 3D glasses technology. Adding the third dimension of depth to a movie brings us up close and puts us into the action. Are […]

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The 85/15 Rule: Get at the Root Causes of Poor Customer Service

Recently, I was approached by a misguided manager looking for training and motivation programs to “fix” their frontline service staff. This is a fairly wide spread and common problem showing a lack of understanding about basic customer service cause and effect. And it’s focused on treating symptoms rather than the underlying disease. How reasonable would […]

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Thoughts that Make You Go Hmmm…on Reducing Priority Overload

There’s an epidemic of frantic busyness, multi-tasking, project overload, way too many goals, and tyranny of the urgent. An old folk saying reminds us “the hurrier I go the behinder I get.” A theme running through many recent blog postings has been the critical need to be more focused, disciplined, and strategic with our personal, […]

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The Acceleration Trap: Frantic Busyness and Priority Overload is Overwhelming Way Too Many Teams and Organizations

As I was preparing to facilitate a senior management team retreat and planning session I came across an excellent Harvard Business Review article on the huge problem of frantic busyness and priority overload. This was especially timely since the executive team was debating how they’ll deal with a long list of urgent projects, goals, and […]

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Building Flexible and Resilient Teams and Organizations is Critical Today

Now that we’re a few months into a new decade, has the pace of change slowed down for you or your organization? Not very likely! Constant change is constantly with us for some time to come. Like the earth’s tectonic plates continuously grinding against each other, change is often produced with a massive earthquake-like shift. […]

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Avoid Motivation Madness: Little Rewards and Small Recognition Can Produce Big Payoffs

Big bonuses and skewed incentives paid to a tiny minority of elite money managers created huge pain and suffering for millions around the world in the past few years. Finally we’re seeing one of the main players, Goldman Sachs, being charged by the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission for their part in the fraud, deception, […]

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Spring Clean-Up: Does Your Team Keep an Active To-Stop List?

Last weekend was perfect weather to clean up our perennial garden. After a few days of much needed heavy rains, the sun was shining again. The garden was springing back to life with plenty of green shoots (sadly, the deer and rabbits did chew off a few) and vigorous growth. So it was time to […]

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Beware the Vision and Mission Statement Trap of Wordsmithing Hell

Last week a reader asked for advice on the best way to craft a vision and mission statement for their organization. Beware! This could be a big trap. I often poll my speaking or workshop audiences and ask for a show of hands on how many participants’ organizations have a vision, values, or mission statement. […]

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