Daily Quote: Secret On Increasing Employee Engagement


Daily Quote: When people know we truly care about them—and not just about what we can get out of them—they tend to go the extra mile.

Reflection: Recently, I was pondering the lack of engagement and dis-satisfaction of employees at their workplaces. According to a 2014 Aon Hewitt survey, only 61% of worldwide workers said they feel engaged at their jobs. Why aren’t the numbers higher? Boredom, authoritarian management styles and lack of respect and trust are the usual culprits for these negative attitudes.

Self-Coaching: Over the next week checkout how your employees are feeling about their jobs and make a plan based on their input how to put mor joy and fun into the workplace. This effort would be appreciated and I promise will improve everyone’s “quality of worklife.

Click through to this insightful article on workplace satisfaction.




Attention Small Business Owners: Solving the Customer Satisfaction Problem

Part II: MESSAGE FOR Small Business Owners– Want more satisfied customers treat your employees better.

My second posting for modern day managers and small business owners is based on the latest research on best practices and my consulting experiences gain over 40 years of observing and working on customer care projects for both businesses large and small.

Solving the Problem of Customer Satisfaction–Satisfy your employees first.

Most business leaders are always looking for ways to increase customer satisfaction and thereby increase their chances of being successful. The place overlooked most often is right under their nose–BE MORE RESPECTFUL, KIND, AND FAIR TO THEIR MOST VALUABLE CUSTOMER THEIR EMPLOYEES. 

It is my belief that most workers try to do their best do an assignment or task. Yet trying to do it just the way the boss wants it done is exhausting. Focusing on a sense of pleasing the boss takes effort and jeopardizes self-initiative, morale of workers, and quality service. Here are some of the questions bosses need to answer when contemplating this issue: Do I really understand  my employee needs and create an environment were workers are motivated and reward for doing things right? Do I show appreciation for workers making the effort  or taking the initiative for making the customers experience the best it can be? Do I put in place rules or policies that support employee empowerment and autonomy to make decisions on the spot to make the customers experience memorable and satisfying? Do you leave room for employees to make and learn from mistakes? Are they doing it the way I want it done rather than what the customer needs and wants ? Are they staying late to complete their task or just punching the clock because they don’t feel ownership for making the business a success ? Is enough being done to create a more engaged and responsive work place environment based based on adult to adult relationship rather than a critical-parent to child one?

Part I: Message for Leaders– Don’t Micro-manage employees

My view based on consulting with organizations for forty plus years—Problem of Micromanagement. Trying to get people to do an assignment or task your way is exhausting. Focusing on a sense sense of urgency takes effort and jeopardizes self-initiative, morale of workers, and quality service. Are people doing an assignment fast enough?  Are they doing it the way I want it done? Are they staying late to complete their task or just punching the clock? Is enough being done to create a more responsive and productive work place environment?

Micromanagement takes a lot of work and energy in the wrong direction. How about being a constructive boss who respects others opinions and ideas.  If you want things done right and goals reached involve others in the decision-making and make them feel important by sharing in the rewards of success–living wage, bonuses and profit sharing. By building an open and trusting relationship the owner and boss will empower employees. This people first approach will pay dividends in many subtle but powerful ways. This type of respectful approach will build loyalty and help create a team of employees that will in turn show respect to customers and support the organization imperatives of productivity and profitability.  Be careful dismissing this point too quickly — even if you would never micromanage, you could be creating the wrong incentives for people in your organization.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Are you engaged at work?

Daily Quote: “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” –Theodore Roosevelt


Many studies are reporting the American workforce is not engaged at work. Although, there can be many good reasons for this problem I am convinced that the one place we don’t look is at our ourselves. We externalize the issue by blaming the “bad and insensitive boss”, boring work, work that doesn’t match our skills or strengths, greedy CEO’s, poor products and services, difficult customer, too little pay or benefits, etc.   We can go on and list many more issues for disengagement.

Recently, I came across a message from United Technologies Corporation published in the Wall Street Journal ( part of a series) back in the 1980’s that highlights one of the many issues we forget to mention when talking about “job engagement: “taking pride in our work”.

I take Pride In My Work–author unknown    

I’m a little fed up with the constant criticism of American workmanship.

How other people do their jobs is their business.

But I do good work and I know it.

I have perfected my skills.

I make each minute count.

When I make a mistake I correct it.

I would gladly sign my name to every piece of work I do.

I going to hang this message over my work area to let

my employer, my customers, my co-workers

know that—

I take pride in my work, I take pride…I take pride… 

Self-Coaching Challenge: How engaged are you at work? What are the reasons for your non-engagement?  What are you willing to do to change the situation?

Want to be the next Top Sales person? Learn the secrets of how to Influence others.

“No manipulation, no capitulation—how to bring true influence to everything you do”. Dr. Mark Goulston 

People won’t put up with the “tell and sell” model of selling anymore. If they sense they are being told they need to buy or you push the hard , they are likely to get defensive and their guard goes up and you lose the sale. Even if they do finally give-in and buy or comply, lingering resentment undermines the relationship…maybe forever.

Yet, most books on influence still portray it as something you “do to” someone else to get your way. That out-of-date approach invites resistance or cynicism from those who recognize the techniques. Manipulative tactics might occasionally wear down a colleague’s or client’s resistance, but they fail to produce the mutual trust that sustains successful relationships. In short, they just won’t work in our sophisticated, post-selling world.

In this groundbreaking book, authors Mark Goulston and John Ullmen reveal a new model for authentic influence—the kind that creates a strong initial connection and survives long after agreement has been reached. Their model’s core elements are listening, genuine engagement and commitment to win-win outcomes. In their new book, Get Real Influence  they provide a powerful four-step method you can use to positively influence others:

• Examine your priorities

• Learn about the key players and what they need

• Earn their attention and motivate them to hear more

• Add value with active listening tools such as probing through questions and actions

Complete with examples of the steps in action and insights from real-world “power influencers,” this one-of-a-kind guide shows that being straight with everyone means winning for all.

So what is your style and methods when you are trying tp influence or persuade others?

Daily Quote and Reflection: Work and the Principle of Meaning

Daily Quote and Reflection: It is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. -Jim Collins, Author of Good to Great

Reflection: Have you ever contemplated what is the difference between work and play? Many people when ask to do this reflection say to me –work is work. It doesn’t have anything to do with play. Maybe maybe not I reply. I say what about organizations like  Southwest Airlines (Fun LUVing attitude not just words but real action in creating a family atmosphere and support programs to make communities a better place to live and work. The attitude is made-up of these principles–

  • Have FUN
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously
  • Maintain perspective
  • Celebrate successes
  • Enjoy your work
  • Be a passionate Teamplayer

The essence of work at Southwest Airlines  is  doing good while having fun. Of course there are many other organizations embracing this philosophy of meaning and fun at work like Tom’s of Maine, Zappos, and Patagonia who’s mission is to: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis..

Let’s brainstorm for a second the characteristics of work vs. play. Work conjectures up characteristics and thoughts of : required activity, pay for results or services, to survive and put a roof over your head, paid to do it, have to, sweat, challenge, bosses, be told what to do and how to do it, how to behave, command and control, schedules, boring, supervision, structured routine, time pressure etc… vs Play– want to, engaged, spontaneity, fun, freedom to choose, smiles, do it because I love the activity, enjoy the people playing with me, time is mine, etc…

So the question becomes how do we put more fun and meaning into work?

Poem on Respect and Responsiveness

Poem on Respect and Responsiveness by M.W. Hardwick

    Idea for poem: Respect and Responsiveness are the keys to employee and customer satisfaction and they seem to be lacking in many organization–for example We can’t do that because of policy.

      R&R is key to brand perception.

      R&R are keys to your ability to look in the mirror. 

      R&R are keys to to leadership effectiveness.

      R&R are keys to long-term relationships and trust.

      R&R are free.

      Embrace and pursue the value of R&R

      R&R require empowerment and empathy…

     Where are they…Where are they… 

Creating Trusted Business Relationships: Be a Person for Others

Daily Quote: “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” – Jackie Robinson, First African American Major League baseball player

“The friendships which last are those wherein each friend respects the other’s dignity to the point of not really wanting anything from him.”- Cyril Connolly


Core of Respect for others is a mindset that fosters building effective and long-term trusting relationships.  In this instance, it involves listening to and understanding the other person, noticing details about them and their situation, and then taking an active role in doing something about it. I really consider this to be a strong Quality of worklife (QWL) culture where respect + solution oriented action =friendship and loyalty. Taking action is about participating rather than observing which is essentially communicating disinterest or not caring behavior. Unique connected behavior has the benefit of the concept many are calling purpose-centered behavior which is the reward system for doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do. Everything we do, say and act on has a reaction –there are no neutral moves. Because we are connected, almost as quickly as one positive happens the next is sure to follow. This concept is so important, it will change the way you think and do things indefinitely as well as everyone you come into contact with.

Call for Action: What can you to today to create trust and respect at your work place?  Use the Stop-Think-Do technique to get started in creating a more respectful climate and more trusted relationships.   

A great read for the Thanksgiving Holiday–Free e-book by Heath Brothers.

Recently, I was reading The Myth of the Garage by Dan Heath and Chip Heath. This e-ibook is from Crown publishers and is free to the reader. The articles are the best of the Heath Brothers columns from Fast Magizine articles from 2007-2011. The stories range from Mutual Fund investing through customer service. The insights about business practices are mind stretching and not always what you expect, so if you want a great read and some AHA moments try reading this bag of business surprises. To access and download the articles in the Myth of the Garage log into the Heath Brothers Resource collection at  http://www.heathbrothers.com/resources/download/ 

Fact: 80% of employees not involved or engaged at work. Want to change this situation?

In the past I have blogged about the chain for success in motivating and creating engaged employees. I have used SAS, rated last year as number one or best place to work and Whole Foods as models because they pay a living wage above their peer group, individual opportunities for growth through education and training and create pleasant, safe and involved workplaces. The results show if employees are treated fairly and with respect then customers will be satisfied and beat a path to their door. I have ask you to reflect on what a great workplace would be like and you respond with replies that essentially follow some of the elements Tony Schwartz in a recent HBR article. I think Mr.Schwartz has it right and wanted to share some of his observations and insights. He and other researchers have found  — That only 20 per cent of employees around the world report their excited and fully engaged at work. This group sees work as a “want to” not as a “have to”.  This 80/20 gap has important significance for workers, company and especially customers.  Mr. Schwartz says “It’s a disconnect that serves no one well. So what’s the solution? Where is the win-win for employers and employees? The answer is that great employers must shift the focus from trying to get more out of people, to investing more in them by addressing their four core needs — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual — so they’re freed, fueled and inspired to bring the best of themselves to work every day.” He identifies 12 elements for successful workplace that engages and respects employees. For example he talks about sharing the wealth and rewards of profitability with all stakeholders. This element would say to employees we ar all in this venture together “Give all employees a stake in the company’s success, in the form of profit-sharing, or stock options, or bonuses tied to performance. If the company does well, all employees should share in the success, in meaningful ways.” He cites  11 other elements that lend credence to his theory of how to go about creating a win-win environment for all. In this article you are provided with a standard to measure your company against. So get busy seeing if your company passes the test of employee engagement and if you are in a position of influence start thinking about what needs to be changed in your workplace to create an environment that gets everyone engaged and supportive of the organizations mission and vision. .

Four Ways to Connect With Buyers: Start with Listening and Respect…

A recent survey in 2009, reported that 90% of consumers learned about and trusted personal acquaintances recommendations more than ad claims. Consumers mis-trust with media is a difficult hurdle to overcome when trying to increase a product or service visibility and credibility. So what to do?

Four things are important for anyone’s media strategy:

1 Listen, Show and Problem Solve. Be sure to understand the  target audience needs, desires and pain then  customize ads and be responsive in face to face interactions to begin to solve these problems.

2. Integrate Web, Facebook and twitter in to your brand strategy. This provides the opportunity for word-of-mouth campaigns or virus to develop.

3.. Respect people’s time–show the how the product will save them time or help them use time in a more efficient and effective ways.

4. Stop the old worn out ” Tell and Sell” approach–Give buyers the space and respect they deserve when spending their money. Provide tangible view or experience with your product or service. They will determine the value and benefits. Use relevant success stories, testimonials and visuals to make a “unique connection” with target audiences; rather than telling them your product or service is outstanding and using high pressure sales tactics to close the deal.

Are you missing out on how to sell your services or products? Learn The Secret to Selling…

Do your sales people’s conversations enable them to stand out from the crowd – and explain to your prospects why you are distinctively different, and worthy of their consideration? If not, you should be aware that your sales people’s ability to conduct compelling conversations influences B2B buying decisions more than any of the other factors – brand, product or price – combined.

Your most natural salespeople – usually the top performers -have a particular talent for earning the trust of their prospects. They do it by sharing valuable information and by telling compelling, credible stories that make the listener respect their expertise and want to learn more. But the power of compelling conversation does not have to be restricted to the gifted few.

What if you could capture this capability and share the skills with your whole sales team? What if you could equip them to have engaging and stimulating conversations?  The good news is that the “gift of trusted conversationalist can be taught. The answer is to develop compelling stories that can be shared with potential customers and clients.  We’ve proved it time after time.  All the average sales person needs is a little help, the necessary resources – and the right attitude.

We’ll work with you to identify your most meaningful messages and capture your most compelling sales stories.  We do this through a combination of interactive workshops with your most gifted sales people (we can usually find some on every sales team) and the lessons learned from voice of the customer interviews. We’ll help you say something different, remarkable and meaningful – and enable you to stand out from the crowd. Storytelling is the new differentiator. Facts and figures, specifications and price all still matter, for certain. But it takes stories to connect with customers on an emotional level. The motivation to choose one brand over another – when the choices are endless – is triggered by emotion. More on next blog about how to connect through emotion and tips for collecting and developing your stories.



The 8-Step Process of  In-Sync Sales Management

Develop the over riding purpose and vision

  • Set the vision and direction – Create a vision to help direct the sales campaign change effort

Making the Connection

  1.  Pull Together the Intelligence and Sales Coalition Team.
    Make sure there is a powerful group guiding the sales campaign —one with information, insight and influence skills, bias for action, credibility, communications ability, technical competence, problem solving /opportunity finding and networking skills.
  2. Create a Sense of Collaboration and Importance of Team.
    Help team see the need for cross functional knowledge and the importance of campaign.

Decide What to do– Creating The Coalition Building Plan

3 . Develop the Sales Campaign Vision, Strategy and Goals
Clarify how the future will be different from the past, and how you can make that future a reality. Explore and develop an in-sync plan that focuses on client needs and imperatives, your position with the client and competition, present key and new relations needed to win, opportunities for differentiation and solutions that are measurable and results based. Get commitment to the idea of working together to share information and resources and work closely together to execute plan.


4. Communicate for Understanding and Empathy and Buy-in.
Include cross-functional areas and senior C’s as possible resources for executing the client service and sales vision and the strategy.

5. Empower People to be Involved and Act.
Remove as many barriers as possible so that those who can contribute have the authority to actively pursue the vision, strategy and goals a reality.

6.Produce Solutions that Differentiate offerings and can be measured with tangible metrics.
Create results that are visible and produce unambiguous successes such as ROI, cost reductions and new revenue for the client organization.

7. Mobilization– Don’t Let Up and keep the team rolling
Press harder and faster after the first successes. Be relentless with instituting change after change until the vision, strategy and goals become a reality.


8. Create a Sales Culture based on new roles, goals and methods for winning client’s loyalty.
Hold on to the new ways of communicating and collaborating within and external to the sales organization. Make sure the new behaviors are reinforced, rewarded and continuously improved  until they become a part of the very culture of the company.

Change is a matter of central concern to sales managers. In their book, Project Manager’s Portable Handbook, David I. Cleland and Lewis R. Ireland state, “Projects are the principal means by which the organization deals with change.” While projects may be the mechanism for change, the actual how-to steps of implementing change are often a frustrating, unsolved mystery.

Daily Quote and Reflection: High Cost of Arrogance, Poor communication and Zero Empathy Skills

Daily quote and reflection: Most people don’t associate the word “empathy” with effective leadership. 

Reflection: what do you associate the word “empathy” with?  I associate the word with the ability to put yourself in someone’s shoes without  judgment. Recently, I had a conversation with a friend that called for empathy. They were describing their frustrating position at work. They had ideas for improving training with doctors and their ability to be more sensitive in communicating with patients. She presents ideas for improved and open communication to fellow doctors  with little support reaction to the suggestions. Later, she received  feedback from her supervisor that she was over-steeping her role and authority in making patient-doctor communication advice. Her boss liked her initiative  but others indicated that she must being to aggressive with her advice. The boss said her approach might be threatening doctors autonomy and control of patient care.  After this she took a more subservient role for the next few weeks..Eight weeks later the “Transplant physician was sued by a patient for malpractice.The key point in the law suit that the doctor did not listen and answer questions when the patient shared side effects of the medication plan. According to the lawsuit he and the Transplant Team were unresponsive to patient requests and questions about side effects of the medicine   But as with so many things in life something small changes might have made a difference but no one was listening to the patient and her family. The doctor proceed to blame other people for not providing him with the right information and did not know the problems with the patient.  Consequently, the patient had a sever stroke and fell into a coma. She was rushed to the Emergency room of a nearby hospital  The patient never came out of the coma and was later declared brain-dead by the  emergency room physician.   During the depositions it was uncovered that this doctor was insensitive and a displayed a very callous and  no-nonsense approach  to this transplant operation. He saw the operation as routine and spent little with the Transplant Team and patient. after the initial operation.  The patient’s family felt neglected and had a hard time communicating their concerns with the doctor and his team.  Whether the stroke had anything to do with his insensitive manner and poor communications with the patient will now be settled in a very expensive trial. In other words, the doctor and his team were having communication problems and little time was spent in building  a more empathic and effective relationship with the patient and the family..

How to create sustainable Value to your Relationships: Try these 5 proven and powerful Mindsets.

How you  can add sustainable value to your relationships:

  • You can listen and observe then provide feedback
  • If asked you can offer valuable insights and provide solutions to pain or problems.
  • You can ask challenging and profound questions that stimulate thoughtfulness and creativity
  • You can show people how to make or save relationships and maximize possibilities.
  • Build trust by giving credit away and providing a win for others.

These techniques are seen as helpful by most people. Just keep them in balance to develop long-term impact.

Blanche Lincoln needs to go–“Tell her don’t ask”

Newsflash–Blanche Lincoln just committed career suicide. It’s not enough that she was against the Public Option and a progressive voice for HC reform. She now is against eliminating “Don’t Ask Don’t tell” for gays in the military.  This was her second big opportunity to show she supports change and represents the voters of Arkansas –she failed.

Lincoln was a critic of the public option, backed the Baucus bill in the Finance Committee, and lobbied not even to put the “Public Option” on the table for discussion. So after this wrong headed position what does she do but vote against even discussing the “Don’t ask, Don’t Tell” amendment.   She is not a leader who is championing change or even compromise. She has taken up the banner of fear and  no change of the republican party. Maybe she needs some time off to figure out who she was sent to represent and how to get things done that will improve the quality of life for her constituents and the American people. Maybe we all need to become more effective advocates for change. Let her know you thoughts and ideas for change by calling or e-mailing her office today:

1-202-224-4843 or e-mail her http://lincoln.senate.gov/contact/email.cfm