Tag Archives: LinkedIn

Learning to not overprotect my leaders


I pride myself on my commitment level and ability to maximize and develop leaders. In every management role I’ve ever held, I’ve played a large hand in ensuring the development of multiple future leaders. Additionally, I care deeply about each and every one of my employees and peers. A linkedin article that I read this morning brought to light a question I haven’t really focused on recently: How often should I share the stress and heavy burdens of the business with my employees?

As a person who has been in leadership for awhile, I have grown into a style where I like to take any stress and big opportunities from above me and translate them into results and specific tasks/objectives for my employees. I try not to pass along anything incredibly overwhelming, as I want to allow my employees to focus on a few things as much as they can and to not feel any aforementioned stress. I can remember working at a job where a superior told me point blank “you need to do this…or I won’t have a job come tomorrow.” I absolutely do not ever want to pass any stress or attitude like that to my team.

However, this linkedin article has got me questioning if I do that too much. Bernard Marr suggests three steps that strong employees can/should take when it comes to responding to big challenges being passed along (or “bad news” as he calls it):

1. They work on the way they personally react to bad news and make a conscious effort to react positively.

2. They create an environment where bad news is welcome. They often create an environment where the consequences for not telling bad news far outweigh the potential consequences of telling bad news.

3. They make sure to celebrate turnaround stories, where…the right actions were taken straight away to contain or eliminate the problem. Sharing these stories will help to create the right environment and will send out the signals that it is not only important to share bad news, but that the reactions and consequences are positive.

So I’m asking my fellow leaders out there: what do you do for your employees? Is it a good idea to pass along more of these “bad news” challenges to your staff and inherently demonstrate that trust and confidence in them? Or is it more beneficial to absorb a lot of that ourselves and keep our team “safe” from some of the huge things that can fall on our shoulders, especially when many of these employees may be looking for part time responsibilities in their part time jobs?

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7 Reasons Why Customers Should Be #1


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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Leaders Will Be Disliked…


…at times. Fortunately, there will also be a lot of times where you’re also appreciated openly.

Michelle Rhee posted a great article about this on LinkedIn this week. Her best advice: “Develop your tough skin now…”  I could not agree more. Well spoken, Michelle.

I fully agree with Michelle’s article. As a leader, I’ve enjoyed some great moments of positivity where I felt appreciated… and I’ve had moments where people around me clearly did not like what was happening. There are many reasons for it – perhaps it was their disposition, jealousy, some internal issue, struggle with change, or genuine dislike for myself and what I was doing – but a leader must hunker down during those times and lead from the front. If a strong leader is truly doing this, many of those naysayers will come around eventually or move on to greener pastures.

Read the rest of the article here. It’s well worth it, especially for younger leaders.

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work/life balance is key (shane atchison)


Shane Atchison, the CEO at Possible, posted this cool article on LinkedIn yesterday. Work/life balance is key. Check it out:


My 7 Steps to Getting More Done

15 years ago, my industry was filled with sweatshops. People slept under their desks, drank Red Bull by the gallon, and never had lives. We kidded ourselves, but it wasn’t any fun.

So when I founded my second company, we tried an experiment. Except when absolutely necessary, we’d work normal hours and stay home on weekends. People thought we were crazy, but it didn’t take long before we realized something: The breaks we took were great for our productivity—and our lives.

I know you can find a lot of people these days telling you that you can get more done by working less. While this is true, I’m afraid many of them overcomplicate the process. If you take good breaks regularly—ones where you really get away from things—you’ll be more focused and productive. It’s that simple. So I thought I’d share some practical guidelines our team follows to make sure we get away.

1. Limit screen time. Take a break all screens for a significant amount of time every day and connect with the people around you. For example, go to lunch with someone and leave your phone at your desk. Or when you get home, shut the TV off, toss the phone on a table in a different room, and have a glass of wine with your partner. You’ll be surprised how much your concentration improves at work.

2. Don’t book meetings or phone calls on weekends. This seems like a small thing, but don’t do it. You need time when you’re not working, so do as little as possible on those days. If you can’t avoid it, block off a whole day of freedom, rather than spreading the work over both. A solid break is better than two interrupted ones.

3. Take real vacations. I have ritualized annual vacations (family trips, camping with friends, hanging out with relatives) that I never miss. And when I’m on them, I disconnect from the office almost completely so that when I return, I’m ready to go.

4. Make it natural. It makes no sense getting stressed about relaxation. Some people, for example, advise answering your email twice a day or limiting web surfing to 30 minutes. That’s going after the symptom not the cause, and it puts unnatural limits on what should be a natural process. Instead, take breaks where they make sense to you in your life.

5. Develop outside interests. If you take time off, you’ll realize that you like not working. So find or rediscover an outside interest and spend time with people you enjoy. That way, you’ll be inspired to work harder to preserve time for yourself and the things you love to do.

6. Quit your current job if this is not possible. I know that sounds a little extreme and may not be feasible for everyone. But people who are making you work 24/7 aren’t allowing you to live up to your true potential. Let someone else work for them if you can.

7. Discuss it with your partner. The amount you work is a decision that affects more people than you. Everyone is different, so make sure the most important person in your life agrees with your approach to the life/work balance.

So how do you get away from it all?

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