Skip to content

Archive for October, 2014


Plan Now to Wow Your Customers This Holiday Season

I know, the upcoming holiday is Halloween, not a great time to honor customers; however, it is time to decide how you will say “Thank You” for Thanksgiving. While the December holidays are traditionally the time when businesses remember their customers, Thanksgiving may be a better choice. Your acknowledgement will stand out more and be a welcome surprise.Giftcard

Depending on your business, here are some ideas:

  • Make an offer. Recognize your customers by making an exclusive, year-end, loyalty offer just for them. Review their past buying history and come up with a deal that fits their profile.
  • Showcase their business. Work with your PR or Marketing department and get the customer’s permission to highlight them in your company’s publications and on its social media channels.
  • Throw a party. Invite your top customers to a party or luncheon hosted by you and let them meet and mingle with other loyal customers. Make sure to include your employees who serve these customers.
  • Send a gift. While everyone gets gifts in December, sending something around Thanksgiving is a welcome change. Choose a gift that lends itself to the season, such as a gift basket that can be shared at the Thanksgiving celebration.

Keep in mind that many organizations have strict guidelines on gifts and invitations, so keep the recognition affordable and reasonable.



Set a Good Example

Employees take many cues about how to behave from you as their leader. These cues come from your attitude, your behavior, and your communication. Here are some tips to help you send the right cues to your employees and to always present yourself as the leader you are.shutterstock_131766014

  • Honor your word. Always be trustworthy and make sure your words and actions are congruent. Be aware of body language, too. What you don’t say communicates more effectively than what you do say. See my blog post Body Language That Says No When You Mean Yes for more information.
  • Give people credit for what they know and do. Be generous with praise and recognition. When you appreciate the efforts of your team, you motivate them to achieve even more. Encourage your staff to give praise to each other, too.
  • Show respect to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are interacting with the CEO, your staff, a customer, or the janitor. Show courtesy by paying attention when you are with someone and really listen to what they have to say. Stay calm, smile, and keep a positive mood no matter the situation.

Trust is the foundation of all good leadership. When your employees trust you, they look to you for how to act and what to feel about the workplace. See my blog post Trust Your Team to Deliver for more information.



Carry Ideas Through to Completion

We’ve all had employees with high levels of creativity who are great at coming up with ideas, but who are not as good with implementation! To succeed as a manager and leader, you need to be able to bring great ideas to successful implementation.shutterstock_100756951

Try partnering a creative employee with someone who is good with planning and implementation. This partnership lets you leverage the strengths of each employee and mitigate the weaknesses. Make both accountable for creativity and implementation and then give them the training and resources they need to become good at both skills. Set specific deadlines for delivery and coach them, as needed.

Another approach is to give creative employees free reign and let the planners take over for implementation. Unlike the first approach, this option focuses solely on responsibilities that fit each person’s strengths. However, you lose some ability to develop more well-rounded employees with this option.

No matter which approach you choose, remember the words of the American inventor Thomas Edison, “Vision without execution is hallucination.”


How to Avoid the Micro-management Trap!

It’s easy to fall into the micro-management trap, especially if you have new employees who need time to learn processes and procedures. That “I-can-do-it-faster” urge can be hard to resist when deadlines loom and tasks require pinpoint accuracy. When a manager gives in to the urge and imposes his or her work style and methods on an employee, the micro-management trap closes. This can leave employees feeling inadequate, unmotivated, and unproductive.shutterstock_76543579

Here are some tools to help you avoid micro-managing:

  • Give new employees time to learn before demanding high productivity or performance. Partner them with a senior employee as a mentor, if possible, or plan your time to be available to answer questions and give feedback.
  • Honor different learning styles. Some people prefer to learn a task by reading a manual or looking at pictures and diagrams, others learn by listening and repeating what they have heard, and still others need to actually do it a few times to gain the tactile experience. Make sure you deliver training in the right way to get the best results.
  • Identify which tasks and procedures must be performed exactly as specified, such as activities involving safety and security. There may not be any leeway or ability to adapt them. On the other hand, many tasks can be performed in a variety of ways. With these, be open to variations and give employees the latitude to do it their own way.

Micro-management is a habit and like all habits, it can be changed. If you tend to micro-manage, use these tools to break the habit. You will discover how much more positively productive your employees can be when left alone to do their jobs in their own way.