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Archive for August, 2017


Juggling Multiple Deadlines Using Paired Comparison

Some days it seems as if everything is important and needs to be done NOW! On those days, overwhelm can quickly take over and make it impossible for you to set priorities and accomplish the right things. Start by stepping back and taking stock of what’s on your plate, what really needs to be done now, and what can wait.shutterstock_86483428

This is hard to do when you are looking at a dozen different tasks. List everything you think you must do and then compare each item two by two, weighing one task directly against another for relative importance. This is called “paired comparison,” and it is an easy way to get a handle on what’s truly important and what just seems important. Here is a simple example:

You have the following tasks on your list:

A. Prepare three performance reviews and plans

B. Start a sales proposal due in two weeks

C. Counsel an employee about tardiness for the third time

D. Meet with procurement about a needed amendment to a vendor contract

E. Finalize a presentation to the board

With paired comparison, evaluate the importance of each by looking at just two items at a time.

  • What’s more important, A or B? You choose A.
  • What’s more important, B or C? You choose C.
  • What’s more important, C or D? You choose C.
  • What’s more important C or E? You choose C.
  • C is now your top priority.
  • Start over with A and B. When you finish, you discover your new priorities are C, A, D, E, B

Paired comparison is a quick, easy tool to help you get out from under overwhelm and back on track toward being positively productive. For a longer-lasting solution, see my blog post How to Use the Pareto Principle for Productivity at Work.


Movin’ On Up!

Moving from a staff role to one of management and leadership can be challenging. Your new role changes others’ perceptions of you, and you may have former colleagues now working for you. Here are three tips to help you be more successful in your expanded role.Ladder of Success

  1. Get everyone on the same page. Explain to your team what your leadership role means and what your expectations are about department goals, deliverables, responsibilities, and interactions. Be open, transparent, and confident.
  2. Lead by example. Employees will look to you to determine how to act toward you in your new role. Be friendly and open with them, but establish clear boundaries when it comes to professional behavior. Avoid traps like gossiping, becoming part of cliques, and showing favoritism. See my blog post The Dangers of Office Gossip for more information.
  3. Stay positively productive. In your expanded role, you are accountable for not just your own deadlines, but that of your entire team. Set clear priorities, manage your time based on your most important tasks, and help your team to do so also. See my blog post How to Productively Manage Priorities for more information.

People expect you to always demonstrate management and leadership skills. There are no time-outs! This can be a challenge, especially when you are new to the role. See my blog post Are You Recognized as a Leader? for more information and check out my leadership program Leading Multi-generation Teams.



Workplace Relationships and Leadership

Effective leadership requires you to build good relationships with people up, down, and across your company. The more responsibility you have, the more important your relationships become for your long-term professional success. Here are some tips to help you deepen your workplace relationships.Authentic

  • Be collaborative. A report by ESI International showed that more than 65% of workers surveyed believe that personal and organizational performance would improve if teams worked more collaboratively. Collaboration is a willingness to set aside your personal preferences and biases and work together with others for a common goal. If you disagree with tactics, you accept that everyone has a prefered way of working and as long as everyone is headed in the right direction, others can contribute in their own way without criticism.
  • Be transparent. Transparency requires honesty and assertive communication skills. Speak up if something happens that affects your team or deliverables and accept accountability by admitting mistakes and acting to remedy them. This demonstration of leadership deepens your influence with others and improves your ability to be persuasive. (See my program Getting Results through Influence and Persuasion for more information.)
  • Be a people person. Get to know people as individuals and interact with them one-on-one.Forge lasting relationships with people by relating to each person as an individual with a life and interests outside work. Be willing to share information and offer to help if you see someone struggling.

Building effective workplace relationships enhances your perception as a leader, broadens your influence throughout your organization, connects you to new sources of opportunities and information, and gives you access to new resources.



Achieve Customer Service Excellence

Every interaction a customer has with your company is an opportunity to build a long-term customer relationship–or break one. For an organization to grow and thrive, investing in customer service training is essential.shutterstock_147498467

Developing your staff doesn’t just improve the customer experience. It can drive sales and give your organization a competitive edge. Positive service experiences translate into satisfied customers who keep coming back and who tell others about the great service they have received from you.

According to the Customer Experience Impact Report, 86% of customers stopped purchasing from companies after experiencing negative customer service, and customers who had the best experiences spent more than ones who hadn’t. How you treat your customers affects your bottom line.

Training, however, does more than create happy, loyal customers. It also increases employee engagement, motivation, productivity, loyalty, and retention. When employees feel valued, customer service delivery excels. If you’re ready to improve your customers’ experiences, contact me about bringing my program Creating a Positive Customer Service Experience to your organization.