Odds and Ends to Make Yours a Better Workplace By Richard Hadden and Bill Catlette
September 2005

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In this issue...
  • We Recommend "Willie's Way" by Phillip Van Hooser
  • Featured Article - Odds and Ends to Make Yours a Better Workplace
  • Myth Shattered: We can't afford to bring these guys in to speak to our group!
  • Buy the Book or CD at the Cow Store

  • We Recommend "Willie's Way" by Phillip Van Hooser

    September 20 (today, if you're receiving this issue as a current - not new - subscriber) is the release date for the new book "Willie's Way - Six Secrets for Wooing, Wowing, and Winning Customers and Their Loyalty", by our friend and fellow speaker and author, Phillip Van Hooser, CSP.

    If you're looking for a great Customer Service book, we'd encourage you to check out "Willie's Way". If you buy the book, through a special link on barnesandnoble.com, you'll receive a special price, plus some valuable extras from Phil.

    To learn more about "Willie's Way", and to access the special barnesandnoble.com link, click here.

    Featured Article - Odds and Ends to Make Yours a Better Workplace

    By Richard Hadden and Bill Catlette

    It’s been a long summer. We, for two, are ready for some cooler days, better news, and our respective hometown NFL teams to have a winning season. On the assumption that after the events of the last few weeks and months, you, and many of those you work with, could use a little lift about now, we’re going to stray from our usual narrative format, and simply offer some ideas – things we’ve seen done, with good effect, to make the place you work a little better for yourself and the people who come in to work there every day.

    1. To begin with, go and say a word of encouragement and thanks to those who have helped the victims of hurricane Katrina. Wherever you may be. In the U.S., or in one of the many countries abroad where our friends have shown their generosity. Here’s just one story, out of hundreds, perhaps thousands just like it. Members of one department in one company we know in Florida decided on the day that New Orleans’s flood’s magnitude became apparent, to take up a collection just among themselves. Nothing organized. That would take too much time, and besides, the company was making a sizeable donation of its own. Within one hour, the spearheader of the movement had collected more than $650 Then he went to Costco, spent all the money on water, diapers, baby formula, clothing, and nonperishable food items, and took everything, in his truck, to a Red Cross collection point. The next day, what started as an idea in the mind of one employee was unloaded from trucks at the Superdome. The group’s manager, who merely contributed, and had nothing to do with organizing the relief – told her group she couldn’t have been prouder of them.

    2. While you’re at it, go and thank someone in your organization who has served in Afghanistan, Iraq, or some other distant field of battle. You don’t have to agree with the reason they were sent there. Just thank them for their contribution.

    3. Don’t stop with those who’ve actually gone and returned. Find a spouse, or other family member of someone currently serving abroad. Or perhaps you know someone who’s family member went to serve, but isn’t coming back. Either way, thank them for their sacrifice. And then go out of your way to do something for them, anonymously if you can. Scrape the ice off their car someday this winter. Get them an encouraging book and put it on their desk. Better yet, go online (https: //thor.aafes.com/scs/default.aspx) and buy some prepaid military telephone cards so their soldier can call them from the desert. Leave the cards on their desk when they’re not looking. They’ll know what to do with them.

    4. Stop what you’re doing right now, and go tell someone on your team how they’re doing. Make that two someones. We’re not talking about doing their performance evaluation. You’re four months behind on those anyway. Start with someone who’s not performing up to what the two of you agreed on during your last goal-setting discussion (you have had those, haven’t you?). Give it to them straight, and then pledge your support to get them back on track before their performance means they can’t work here anymore. Once you’ve got that unpleasant task out of the way (if it’s not unpleasant to you, find something else to do besides managing people), go and find someone who’s doing a great job and tell them so.

    5. Find one of your newer employees – someone who’s been with the company for less than, say, thirty days. Tell them that you know that sometimes important things get overlooked when people first get onboard, and then ask them if there’s anything they need that hasn’t been provided to them yet. Anything at all. Information, some piece of equipment, the combination to the restroom door, how to access their benefits account online – let them name it – and then help them get what they need.

    6. Suppose you see someone who appears to be unaware of one or more of the “unwritten rules” for success in your organization. What to wear to a client meeting, how to talk to the Senior VP of Whatever, chitchat etiquette, or how many drinks to order at a business dinner. Take that person aside and help them out. Warn them of potential minefields, or cow patties, they might be about to step in.

    7. What’s the one thing your people complain about the most? The one single thing? Maybe it’s the same thing that got dinged the hardest on your last employee survey? Can you do something to provide relief where that one thing is concerned? If so, do it. Now. Forget the task force, the bureaucracy, or all the reasons it can’t be done. If it’s a problem, and it’s interfering with your employees accomplishing your mission, and you have the power to fix it, fix it.

    8. The next time you get ready to make a pronouncement about something, ask yourself if you know what you’re talking about before proceeding. If your people know more about the thing you’re preparing to opine on, maybe you should get their input first.

    9. The next time you’re flying with a member of your team, and you get upgraded to first class, and they don’t, trade seats with them.

    10. The next time you want to chew out one of your people, stop and think better of it. Compose yourself. Then compose your message. Then have a constructive discussion with them about what went wrong. To be sure, you shouldn’t cloud the message. But bloviating only rarely produces the desired results. Take a more reasoned approach, and you’ll feel better, your blood pressure will remain lower, they’ll feel better, and there’ll be a better chance for change than if you blow up all over them.

    11. The next time you’re tempted to send an email to an employee who is in the same building as you, don’t. Get up and deliver the message in person.

    12. Fire a nonperformer. But wait! Everything heretofore has been so kind and affirming. This suggestion is no different. The longer you wait to do what will have to be done, and which you should have done months (years?) ago, the more cruel it is to the nonperformer, everyone around them, your customers, and your shareholders. If you feel you need permission to say goodbye to someone who needs to go, consider this your permission.

    13. This one is for CEO’s, VP’s, Directors, and other managers who manage managers. Suppose you lead your organization according to what we’ve come to know as Contented Cow principles – you know – treat people right – make more money. BUT, you’ve got a manager in your downline that manages by running roughshod over his or her people. We don’t care if they’re bringing home the bacon in the short- term. As good as you may be, if you continue to tolerate a habitual morale-breaker, your credibility is out the window. Bottom line? If that person’s a manager, but a lousy leader, then he or she is a nonperformer. See item # 12 above.

    14. After, and only after, you’ve accomplished half of the items on this list, reward yourself with something you enjoy. When you finish the whole list, reward yourself again. You need a little positive reinforcement for doing a great job, too.

    Myth Shattered: We can't afford to bring these guys in to speak to our group!

    The fact is - you probably can't afford not to. We don't publish our fees online, but we'll be glad to talk with you about what it costs to have one of us come and speak for your company or professional association. And we'll bet it's not as much as you think.

    If you want a return on the speaker investment from your next meeting, consider whether you want a funny motivational speaker, or a high-content speaker who's funny and motivational.

    Our clients repeatedly remark on the take- home value we provide in our customized programs.

    You may be able to hire bigger names, at bigger fees, but you can't hire a speaker who will show up better prepared to make you look good, and to help your audience create a great, and more profitable, workplace.

    To find out more about bringing in one or both of the authors to speak for your association conference, or corporate meeting, click on the "Find Out More" link below. OR, pick up the phone, and call our office at 800-940-7006 (that's 904-720-0870 from outside North America). Or, send us an email and let us know how we can be of service. We look forward to hearing from you.

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