Category Archives: change management

perspective

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My wife posted this on her blog. I’m not usually into reposting stuff but this is a good one for any topic.

In this video, the astronauts reveal how seeing the world from a different perspective has changed how they see the world. Perhaps it’d be healthy to look at our jobs, groups, and lives in general through a different perspective…and to question how we can do things differently with this new perspective.

Give it a read/watch. It’s well worth it.

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The 2 Keys To Success In Leadership

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I am working towards my next promotion at work. In preparation for this, I’ve been spending time going through mock interviews. Recently, one interviewer gave me this question: “As a manager, it is often said that you can influence 10% of change. Where would you focus this effort to get your maximum impact?”

So…where would you focus? Whether you’re looking at being a retail manager or coach or entreprenaur or whatever… where would you focus?

My mind raced at the sound of this question… there are so many things that are important to a business! I could respond with visual merchandizing, progressiveness/change management, forecasting, marketing… so many hugely important things… but I stepped back for a second and listened to my gut…” people.”

The most important step in leadership is investing in your people. You are only as good as your people. As a leader, your success needs to be measured by the success of your people. Being an advocate, a developer, a teacher, a friend, a coach, and a motivator – these are contagious behaviors that create a culture of success in any leadership position – and it is perpetuating. People helping people (cheesy youtube video – beware!).

The other key to success as a leader is having a growth mindset. This includes believing that people can becoming better, more, stronger, and that people have a limitless capacity. Even if people struggle with growing – this will set you up for the best way to invest in those around you as well as yourself. Think about athletes: Athletes are always training to improve. They do not simply tell themselves “my muscles simply cannot get stronger.” That fixed mindset is so limited. They continue to strive for betterness. 

So, fellow leaders: Strive for more, invest in your people, and believe in those around you. Grow your people, be an advocate, and be good to everyone around you. And have fun doing it! Everything else can come out of these two qualities. Lives are being changed and you’re driving your metrics and success simultaneously. People helping people.

 

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It’s All About Moments

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I’m a big football fan.

Recently, my favorite team, the Chicago Bears, hired a new coach named Marc Trestman. As with any new coach of a football team, Trestman has the huge responsibility of molding his team to his vision. Anyways… recently the Chicago Tribune published a newspaper headline that caught my attention in ways beyond football:

“Trestman whiffs on chance to make point”

I began to apply this to non-football life. I wonder… how often can that headline pertain to us in situations around leadership? How easily could our name be substituted for Trestman’s? “Matt whiffs on chance to make point.” The opposite could also work: “Matt succeeds on chance to make point.”

Every moment is a chance for us to mold the world around us to our vision, passion, and dreams. We can whiff or we can hit. How often do you consider each and every moment an opportunity to influence?

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Motivation

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A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus. – Martin Luther King Jr.

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7 Reasons Why Customers Should Be #1

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Ilya Posen put up this cool article on LinkedIn yesterday. It is written primarily to customer serving folk but I believe his ideas on what persuades people in this article are universal. Give it a read!

The customer is king. Believing otherwise will likely drive your business into the ground.

Here’s what I mean: Far too many businesses are stuck on perfecting their ideas, products, or services, when the real focal point should be pleasing the customer. Those businesses and brands who do cater solely to their user will always win in the end. But transforming your company to better serve your customers may not be as simple as it sounds.

To get more proactive insight on putting your customers first, I spoke with John Tabis, the founder and CEO of TheBouqs.com, an LA-based cut-to-order online flower delivery company. After recently receiving a $1.1 million seed round of funding, it’s clear their focus on improving the overall customer experience hasn’t gone unnoticed.

Here are a few tips from John to get you on the fast-track to putting your customers first:

1. Define and focus. Before your can begin to improve the overall experience for your customer, you must first understand who they are and what they really want. Toss out the idea of having a broad audience and hone in on the specific target market most relevant to your business. Research their basic interests, wants, and needs and begin transforming your business to better accommodate these aspects.

2. Keep it simple. If you’re really looking to stand out, simplicity will be your saving grace. Far too many businesses think their customers want fancy features and end up overbuilding their products to the point of no return. In reality, your customer craves a simplistic experience with no unnecessary features, “extras”, or gimmicks.

For example, Tabis knew a stealthy, no-nonsense ordering process mattered to the target audience of TheBouqs.com. They created a straightforward, honest, and simple way to purchase their product that involves one flat fee, only 40 bouquet options to choose from, no hidden fees, and just three clicks to checkout.

3. Tout your personality. Who says simple can’t be fun? Make your brand more memorable by injecting it with a level of personality. TheBouqs.com may have a simplified ordering process, but their website and online presence boast a youthful and engaging level of personality. From their bouquet names to their use of photography, one click-through of the website gives customers a taste of the energetic personality of their brand.

4. Find what’s missing in your market. This mixture includes equal parts of knowing what customers in the market want and understanding what your competitors aren’t doing right. By fixing this disconnect and filling a void, you’re not only going to stand out from your competition, but also have a chance at changing the market in the process.

In the flower industry, many businesses have completely forgotten about the buyer by throwing in hidden fees, spamming marketing materials, and trying to sell non-bouquet extras in the purchase process. TheBouqs.com got to the heart of this big market-related issue, which also positively transforms the customer experience as a whole.

5. Develop a pleasant experience. By making your customer’s interactions and experiences as efficient and effective as possible, you’re ensuring their return. Streamline interactions and processes to cut the fuss and put your customers at ease. This means providing fewer clicks at the point of purchase and keeping fees as transparent and standard as possible.

6. Show them respect. Giving your customers an unmatched experience is only possible through respecting their time and inbox. Don’t spam your customers with marketing materials or hit their inbox too often. Too many businesses believe this is a way to keep their customers “in the know” when it’s actually working to push them away. At TheBouqs.com, they send out one email a week. For your customer, twice a week or daily might be best. You need to customize your marketing to match your customers wants and needs.

7. Play to your user’s values. Sure, you may doing your best to give your customers what they want in terms of experience, but keying in on their values will show them you really care.For instance, TheBouqs.com knows their customers value social-responsibility. They built their business foundation on this value through partnering with eco-friendly, sustainable farms that respect the environment and their farmers.

When it comes to your customers, giving a little will get you a lot in the long run. Put your customers first and you’re sure to come out on top.

 

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Leading is Like Walking a Tightrope

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image courtesy of nbcbayarea.com

Perhaps you were like me Sunday night and you watched Discovery Channel’s SkyWire special. If not, well, I’ll fill you in: Nik Wallenda, a renowned tightrope walker and daredevil, walked across the Grand Canyon with no harness or catchnet. Every second was caught on film and it was intense.

This whole event got me thinking about leadership and management. Nik embarked on an all-or-nothing adventure that would make or literally break him. Much of our daily lives are similar. We are forced to walk a tightrope, where consistency, balance, and pace are imperative to keeping us alive. Without a balanced tactic, we run the risk of sliding off of the narrow tightrope and failing. The stakes are high as a leader and person in the spotlight round the clock… but the rewards are also worthwhile and life is ultimately satisfying.

The other thing to take from this is activity. I’d never heard of Nik Wallenda before Sunday night. In order for us to be effective, we need to be in the game and leading alongside others. If we sit around on the couch eating Doritos and watching tv all day long, our amazing potential to affect others may never be realized.

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Stop! Look! Listen!

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I recently switched departments at work. This is a common thing in our company and facilitates personal and professional development for leaders, as well as simply changing up the leadership voice for each department.

Receiving a new assignment as a leader comes with a responsibility to NOT act. As leaders, we are wired to act, act, act, and create change around us constantly. We want to develop and evolve our tasks at hand. However, we need to also remember to stop, look, and listen to those around us. If I were to come into this new challenge and change stuff up immediately – even if it made perfect sense – I would absolutely isolate my employees and miss out on their valuable input and insights.

As leaders, we need to slow down sometimes.

We need to earn the respect our employees, followers, and peers.

By stopping, looking, and listening, we will achieve success.

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