Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Summer Book Read About Leadership

Don Kardux doesn't disappoint us this month with his choice of book to share with us.

 Don begins, "I've probably read over two hundred management and leadership books in the past thirty years.
Too many were overblown and overly complex. Or as Bill Treasurer, (who is - a real Treasure) says, "The complexification of leadership."'

By the way, don't look for the correct spelling. I think Bill coined the word.

So when Bill stated in the book’s preface, "I resign from the legion of Leadership Complexifiers," I was encouraged. 

He did not disappoint. 

This book, 'Leaders Open Doors' has a clearly stated premise with two parts, nine chapters, a conclusion and all within a relatively short one hundred and ten pages.

On the last page of the preface Bill writes, "The approach to leadership described in this book is based on the simple and well-tested idea that leaders help people and organizations grow when they focus on creating opportunities for others. But just because the idea is simple doesn't mean it is easy. Open-door leadership takes work. So let's get started. How do you start opening doors for people, and what's in it for you if you do?"
In the preface he outlines each chapter with a matrix which includes three columns. Chapter/ You'll Learn / Key takeaways.

What a wonderful contribution to clarity

For example:
·         Chapter 3- Purposeful Discomfort
·         Why is making people uncomfortable - in a way they can absorb- is every leader's primary job
·         Create discomfort for both yourself and others to inspire them to grow.
I particularly liked 'Ways to increase accountability' pg. 84, chapter 9, The Door to Personal Transformation.

As with many good leadership books, Open-door Leadership is chock full of wonderful examples of people and situations which clearly illustrate the point in focus.

It's worth the read and I'd like to thank my client and good friend Roy Hauser for literally putting this book in my hands.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Just Be Nice Please

I am often asked to speak....for free.  Unlike my son, Greg Peters, The Reluctant Networker, I do agree to these requests.  Greg's speaking career is much more advanced than mine and he deserves to be paid.  But back to me!

Groups that ask me to donate money.....after all, my time is money when I'm giving my expertise.  I hope they'd realize that they need and should want to give something in return.  I know, I know, I get my meal paid for and sometimes I get a nice pen or plaque.  But beyond that, they need to make a big deal over this person.

A member of the group should be assigned as my go-to person.  That someone is my contact person both before the talk and then also actually at the event to welcome me!  This ambassador should take the time to find out something about me (either by calling in advance or Googling me) so that when making an introduction to another member, they can give a little synopsis. 

I can't tell how many times I have NOT received the above.  A couple times I've arrived at an event and the few people in attendance asked me who I was and why I  was there.Suspiciously!  

One time I was told to sit at the head table and no one sat with me at the long expanse.  Talk about feeling a little weird.  Funny thing, for that talk, I was asked to speak about how a group could be more welcoming! Obviously they needed to hear my message.

So I don't ask for much, just a friendly face and perhaps an introduction that could lead to business for me.

What's your take on this?

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Push-back, Big-time!

 A friend of mine was recently rebuffed in her networking attempts.  You see, she had met a fellow business owner at a networking event where they shared a table. (Let's call him Joe)  She wanted to reach out to Joe just to further the connection.  The appointment was held, but constantly through the appointment, Joe kept saying, "I just don't know why you're here.  I don't need what you offer.  Why are we spending this time together?"

Of course, my friend was frustrated.  She was NOT selling her services and truly just wanted to get to know Joe.  But it didn't happen.  Because the walls were up. (In Joe's defense, probably he had been sold to in such an appointment previously.)

What did Joe miss by being so afraid?
  • He missed the opportunity to meet a really neat woman who is fun, compassionate, interesting AND connected.
  • Joe missed an opportunity to add to the resources available for his future needs or even his clients needs.
  • Joe missed an opportunity to tell someone else a bit about himself in order to find a connection and perhaps a new friend. 
  • Joe missed an opportunity to link to someone who could be a future customer/client.  And there is considerable competition in his business segment. 
How would you have handled this situation if you were in my friend's shoes?

Friday, April 29, 2016

May Book report

Don Kardux took a leave of absence from book reporting last month, but he is back stronger than ever with this book about customer service, something that we can all relate to.

To misquote Portia, "The quality of customer service, in American Business, is strained" so much so that when we get mediocre service we are grateful.

Can you imagine if your business provided superb customer service what would happen?

Well, Scott Brown's book "Who Cares?” highlights  his 'Six essentials of service' that when you understand and implement all of them your customers will cry out, "Mercy! Mercy! I will go nowhere else!"

As Scott says in his first chapter "The Foundations of Customer Service" "Customer Service is Caring about the people you do business with...caring is the key."

His emphasis is that you must implement all six. Picking only some of them just won't work.

  1. Essential # 1: Vision, he lists seven elements of vision but, my favorite is the                               second, "Ten things that people who care about you will do"                                        because those ten are transferable to business. 
  2. Essential # 2: Hiring, he quotes Walt Disney, "You can dream, create, design and                                  build the most wonderful place in the world...But it requires people                                     to make the dream a reality."  And Brown offers practical insight into                          the hiring process. 
  3. Essential # 3: Training, he lists ten elements of training that are critical to                                                 creating, 'Service with a purpose'. 
  4. Essential # 4: Communication, seven elements of communication and my favorite                   is the second, "Cherish your Complaints". 
  5. Essential # 5: Recognition, five elements and  of course, I like the second,                                              'It's Okay To Have Fun!' 
  6. Essential # 6: Revision, follows Deming's 'Continuous Quality Improvement' or                          my, 'Got to keep the plate spinning philosophy'.

I like this book because after thirty years of working with small to medium businesses I am convinced that Scott Brown is right "Caring about your customer (inside and out) is the key!"

Monday, April 04, 2016

Faucets and Fido

Last week I met with a new member of the Rocky River Chamber.  Ric Carpenter works in sales for Cleveland Plumbing & Supply.  I met him briefly at the monthly lunch meeting when I won his door prize..a very nice new shower head.  So I contacted him and suggested that we get together. 

First I got a tour of their new Rocky River showroom and it is truly beautiful and amazing.  I told Ric, that it will sell for him!  At lunch that day, though, I found an entirely different side of Ric that meant we could have talked forever.  He is active in dog rescue groups and from the sounds of it has been for quite awhile.  Currently he and his wife have two dogs that are rescues and also one rescued cat. 

What was so interesting about this whole exchange was that I asked just one extra question of Ric after we had talked about his work and his family.  "What do you do in the little bit of free time you have?"  That opened the door to this whole other side of Ric.

Sometimes, I have to remind myself to ask that one extra question, because I get so involved with business conversation.  I guess that is a good lesson for me to slow down and enjoy the exchange!

What surprising information have you found out about someone?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Even If It Scared Me

A couple weeks ago I was challenged to have lunch and a chat with someone that made me feel uncomfortable when I thought about contacting them.  Like so many, I had this voice inside my head that said,

"She's so much better than you are and at such a high level, she probably doesn't even know who you are."  

Because of the challenge, I stuck my tongue out at that voice and emailed this person, who happens to be the mayor of Rocky River, Ohio.  I had met her before, but it was just a fleeting meeting.

I didn't expect to hear back and I think secretly I was kind of hoping that I wouldn't.  I could say that at least I had tried!  But of course, Mayor Pam Bobst, graciously accepted my invitation.  I did bare my soul and tell her that I was total apolitical and she still agreed to have lunch.

The person that met me for lunch wasn't the mayor..... it was just Pam.  And we had a great 2 hour lunch. (I was feeling guilty that I was taking too much of her time away from the city!) where we talked about everything under the sun, including canning of fruits and vegetables.  I found a new friend and an awareness of how crazy those notions inside my head had been.

I have wondered since then, how many times I have held myself back because of that voice inside my head.

What stops you from taking the big challenges?

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Food for Thought from Don Kardux

Don Kardux always is creative in his approach to giving us a book report that makes a person want to read that book.  This one is great in that while it was originally written for hospitals, Don realizes that  hospital is nothing more than a big business!  Enjoy!

I worked with the management team at Swanton Health Care and Retirement center monthly for over eight years.

Like most of the management teams I serve we read many of the books I've included in my Connext Nation monthly book reports.

Stacy, the wonderful chef, at the Swanton, Ohio facility recommended Fred Lee's book "If Disney Ran Your Hospital 9 1/2 things you would do differently."

We studied the book and for a number of months revealed our 'Take-a-ways'. We weren't exactly a hospital but almost all of the book's insights applied to our situation.  We had 'Residents' (patients)  Nurses, Doctors, Aids and all sort of support staff just like a hospital.

It was a great reading experience and I know those 9 1/2 revelations helped the staff improve on the excellent company culture which Mitch, the founder, created years ago.

This books main focus is on a 'Customer Service Culture' and I believe can benefit with any business.
All you need to do is substitute the words 'Doctor & Patient' with customer and hospital with your company.

There are literally hundreds of 'Take-a-way' in this book.
To help 'wet your reading appetite' I'm going to mention ten.
One for each chapter
1.       Redefine Your Competition and Focus on What Can't Be Measured. - "If Disney ran your hospital, you would define your competition for customer loyalty as anyone the customer compares you to."
2.       Make Courtesy More Important than Efficiency.  from the director of food service, "We had the idea that if our department really wanted to give great service, we would be offering room service any time during the day, just like a hotel" Stacy and the team at SHC implemented this idea and the results were: A decrease in anxiety medication, reduction in wasted food and many other patient center positive results

3.       Regard Patient Satisfaction as Fool's Gold  "A five means you are very satisfied" and they only count the fives. Remember the book "Raving Fans".

4.       Measure to Improve Not to Impress  "no amount of quantifiable numbers will ever have as much impact on behavior as anecdotal information.

5.       Decentralize the Authority to say Yes-  A highly rated indicator for customer loyalty is spontaneity. "The ability of frontline employees to solve problems spontaneously on the spot "

6.       Change the concept or work from service to theater  "What is the reality of this patient's experience and how can I make it real to me?"

7.       Harness the motivating power of imagination  "Motivational imagination begins with question like: What would you do in this situation? If such-and- such happened to you, how would you feel? These kind of questions prompt us to imagine a real situation, then analyze or rehearse our response."

8.       Create a climate of dissatisfaction  "If necessity is the mother of invention, dissatisfaction must be the father of improvement."

9.       Cease using competitive monetary rewards to motivate people.  "Participating in the reward system will breed cynicism and rivalry between team members and might even render suspect the moment of kindness in the customer's eyes."
10.   Close the gap between knowing and doing  "It takes desire to accomplish a dream, the 'want to' of motivation. ...If you are a competent and self confident manager, and want to badly enough, you will find a way. The great manager, like all great performer, will make it easy."

Intentional culture has been a key to the success of Disney. It's worth finding out the why and how.