The Lead Yourself First Blog

How To Build an Extraordinary Workplace Culture

Three Ways To Sustain An Extraordinary Workplace Culture

How often does one hear a president of a company open an event for his leadership team with the words: “Mom and Dad, I want to thank you for all you do”. Not only were his Mom and Dad in the audience, they were interacting with everyone throughout the entire meeting, from start to finish. The Founder (aka “Dad”) joined both his sons on stage to answer questions from attendees, holding nothing back. More than 300 people hung on his every word; laughing and at times moved to tears, as Dad told stories about the early days, his reasons for starting the company, as well has his vision for future success.  As I witnessed the smiles and animated conversations that ensued during coffee breaks, lunch and the reception afterwards, it was clear that this was no ordinary company. What made it so special? In a word: Culture.

The ability to sustain an extraordinary workplace culture while growing at an unprecedented rate is a scenario that many organizations would like to have. At the same time, preserving the unique attributes that make an enterprise successful can present its own set of challenges. The solution to maintaining an outstanding culture lies in consistently applying the following principles: Continue reading “Three Ways To Sustain An Extraordinary Workplace Culture”

The Lost Art Of Service: Is “Good Enough” Good Enough?

A smile. A thank you. An apology. One may argue that any of these gestures are better than a mediocre interaction with a service provider. Or, one may suggest that acknowledging a customer by being pleasant, showing appreciation or making up for a mistake is an adequate demonstration of treating the customer appropriately.

What should we expect from a front-line employee, a maître d’, a call centre representative, or a table host at a fine dining restaurant? Does the level of service need to differ if we are doing business with a corner store or a high-end establishment? In other words, should the level of service matter regardless of the value of the transaction? Continue reading “The Lost Art Of Service: Is “Good Enough” Good Enough?”

Effective Onboarding Practices

Setting Up To Fail: Why Onboarding Programs Do Not Work…And What You Can Do About It

Imagine companies investing heavily in recruiting great people and promptly allowing them to fend for themselves from their first day at work, with zero communication and a lack of strategy to help them succeed. It sounds unthinkable, yet it is sadly true. It is a problem that is entirely avoidable if more organizations developed onboarding programs that mitigate disengagement, high turnover and the enormous costs associated with re-hiring.  Continue reading “Setting Up To Fail: Why Onboarding Programs Do Not Work…And What You Can Do About It”

Your Perception Is Your Truth

Your Perception Is Your Truth: Why Judging Others Is Bad For Business

Imagine a workplace where managers and coworkers viewed one another through a purely objective lens. Or a business where customer concerns were resolved without blame, judgment or misunderstanding, 100% of the time. Based on one’s work history or customer service experiences, most people would view either scenario as pure fantasy or highly unrealistic. The reason these scenarios seem inconceivable stems from the fact that many organizations’ perceptions of their workforce, customer service standards and brand reputation are out of alignment with those of their employees, customers and their respective industry as a whole. Continue reading “Your Perception Is Your Truth: Why Judging Others Is Bad For Business”

Woman Out Of Control Overcoming Workaholism

Out Of Control: Three Reasons Why We Can’t (Or Won’t) Get Off The Work Treadmill

“There aren’t enough hours in the day.” …The catchcry for the busy professional who laments the fact that if it were possible to cram more hours into a day, he or she would make it so. When will the “crazy busy” lifestyle give way to a more “sane” way of being? If you were to ask most people to answer this question, the likely response would be “perhaps never”. Or, you may hear complete denial regarding the reality of life spinning out of control. Continue reading “Out Of Control: Three Reasons Why We Can’t (Or Won’t) Get Off The Work Treadmill”

Driving with husbands in cars

Driving With Husbands In Cars: Business Lessons From The Road To Help You Stay Ahead Of The Curve

During our Christmas vacation, we rented a vehicle, as part of our ritual holiday planning. My husband, who works in the automotive industry, quickly pointed out that our car was supremely inferior to the Ford Motor Company’s equivalent, which was unfortunately unavailable. When I asked him about the difference, he simply stated: “Ford’s technology is intuitive, simple and way ahead of the game.”

Although my enthusiasm for cars will likely never match my husband’s, I was nonetheless intrigued by the conversation that ensued as we navigated the highways of California in our “second rate” rental car. My husband’s comments about the Ford product got me thinking about the three main challenges that many of my clients are facing in their efforts to stay ahead of the curve: Continue reading “Driving With Husbands In Cars: Business Lessons From The Road To Help You Stay Ahead Of The Curve”

Resilient Leadership: How To Rise Above, Resolve And Respond To Adversity

Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit….Bern Williams

As the end of the year nears, we often tend to reflect on what has happened in our lives over the past twelve months. Looking back, we may be surprised by the challenges we’ve overcome, and the way we dealt with hardship, when in fact, our capacity for resiliency shouldn’t be a surprise at all. Continue reading “Resilient Leadership: How To Rise Above, Resolve And Respond To Adversity”

Workaholism – A Sanctioned Addiction: A Message For Dedicated Slaves…And Slave Drivers

How do you extricate yourself from an unhealthy work situation? Is it more difficult to do when you relish a challenge? Can you tell the difference between being a workaholic and a hard worker? If you are an employer, are you treating your best people with respect, or are you rewarding hard work with more work? Continue reading “Workaholism – A Sanctioned Addiction: A Message For Dedicated Slaves…And Slave Drivers”

Leadership Lesson: Can You Motivate “Dead Wood” Employees?

“I’m done.” These are thoughts or words that indicate an employee’s time with your organization has come to an end. Of course, many people reach this point for reasons that have nothing to do with low morale, lack of opportunity or a dislike for their jobs. They are ready to move up, move on or begin a new chapter in their lives, once their careers are finished or their time in the workforce is over.

Scenarios like those above are easy to understand. However, the same cannot be said about an employee who shuts down, becomes apathetic at work, or sucks the life out of their co-workers by displaying negativity day in and day out. While there is little doubt that a lack of motivation manifests itself in various forms, there are often underlying issues that can be addressed positively and proactively. Continue reading “Leadership Lesson: Can You Motivate “Dead Wood” Employees?”

The Five Biggest Credibility Killers Leaders Can’t Ignore

Deborah is a senior marketing manager for a renowned home care services organization. I have known her and several members of her executive group for more than a decade. Over the past year she has witnessed growing discontent amongst the core leadership team, a dedicated group that pioneered significant initiatives to innovate and grow the business. During their last management meeting, frustrations reached a crescendo when the VP of HR reported on the findings of the previous month’s exit interviews. Continue reading “The Five Biggest Credibility Killers Leaders Can’t Ignore”