The Lead Yourself First Blog

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?”

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”

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”

Sink Or Swim? How To Anticipate Change

Why do organizations repeatedly react to rather than plan for change? Why are leaders often stupefied by the glaring realization that their workforces are aging, or that their customers have “suddenly” switched allegiances?

Consider the example of Mike, a manager working in the wholesale grocery business. Mike sought my advice to lead his department through change. He had just received a list of his company’s soon-to-be retired employees. Continue reading “Sink Or Swim? How To Anticipate Change”

Here Today. Gone Tomorrow…Why Customers Go Elsewhere In A New Economy

In a memorable Seinfeld episode, Jerry and Elaine are incredulous as the customer service representative from “Worthy” Car Rentals informs them that her company has no mid-size cars available, despite the fact that Jerry has reserved one. The exchange becomes heated when Jerry exclaims “you know how to take the reservation…you just don’t know how to hold the reservation.” The customer service representative discusses the matter with her supervisor and offers Jerry a compact size vehicle instead, which he accepts. The scene ends as Jerry agrees to take full insurance on the vehicle, informing the agent that he will be sure to “beat the hell out of this car.” Continue reading “Here Today. Gone Tomorrow…Why Customers Go Elsewhere In A New Economy”

Group of young people

Three reasons why you aren’t winning the talent war

Although the buzzwords “Talent Management” were first coined more than 15 years ago, many organizations are still searching for ways to attract and retain the best and brightest in order win the talent war.

Attraction is arguably the easiest piece of the talent management equation. However, companies that spend energy creating the perfect cocktail of salary and tailored compensation packages are missing the point for long-term success. High engagement and retention, coupled with developing outstanding leadership skills are the critical elements for gaining the strategic advantage. Conversely, your business will continue to lag behind if any of the following conditions persist: Continue reading “Three reasons why you aren’t winning the talent war”

Seven deadly mistakes that destroy employee motivation

Originally published in the Globe and Mail Leadership Lab Column

Don is the CEO of a family run business. His entrepreneurial roots span three generations and he is fiercely proud of his lineage . When “the good times” recently came to a grinding halt and the business headed into a rapid decline, a foreboding cloud of doom overtook a once, happy thriving workplace. With seventy employees on his payroll and a shrinking customer base, Don’s anxiety skyrocketed with each passing day. No one was immune from Don’s tongue-lashing as he grappled to manage his emotions and prevent his business from collapsing. Continue reading “Seven deadly mistakes that destroy employee motivation”

Four ways to deal with a bad boss

A recent Gallup survey reported that 25 per cent of people would like to fire their boss, if they had the power. Interestingly, the majority of those 25 per cent were reported as the “highly disengaged” cohort.

On the other hand, those who enjoyed a healthy relationship with their managers were reported as “highly engaged” in their work and consequently had no desire to oust the boss.

The reasons for disengagement, however, aren’t necessarily a one-way street. Poor leadership plays a significant role in the engagement equation and it is a fact that managers and employees alike become disenchanted and disconnected due to the negative impact of mediocre leadership at the highest level.

Continue reading “Four ways to deal with a bad boss”

US Flag

The “Wow” Factor…Brought to you by the U.S. Post Office

Cynics may say that you would never expect a public servant to give outrageously good customer service. So let me prove you wrong. Ross, who works at the USPS located in Point Roberts, WA provided incredible service…so good that he puts many corporate retailers to shame.

Despite the fact that Canada Post has an outlet across the street from my house, I deliberately drove 45 minutes to the nearest U.S. border to mail my packages bound for multiple destinations across the United States. You may be asking “why”? Well, from past experiences I can tell you that not only are the savings enormous, the service that I have received at my Post Office across the border is second to none.

Last Friday, Ross delivered a customer service experience that I will never forget. As I placed my packages on the counter and waited for Ross to carefully weigh each envelope, he asked the game-changing question: “Can I offer you the “WOW” factor?” Continue reading “The “Wow” Factor…Brought to you by the U.S. Post Office”

The trouble with leadership: It’s Time to Lead Yourself First

Leadership is always a subject that finds its way into the headlines. Unfortunately, we are witnessing a decline in the high standards that we expect to see from our leaders. Whether we are talking about sports, politics, business or religion, why are we so often profoundly disappointed in our leaders? Why do so many fall from grace and how does it come to pass that character becomes secondary to title?

Continue reading “The trouble with leadership: It’s Time to Lead Yourself First”