Leaders distinguish themselves in times of great risk and great reward. Whether it is the political leader who bolsters our confidence in times of crisis or the business leader who follows her instincts to seize an opportunity, we respect and admire the leader who is out front when the stakes are high.
Delivering customer service – at least the way it is practiced in most companies – is easy. The customer asks you for something, and you give it to them. Building a culture that is obsessed with serving customers is hard. Carl Sewell’s family of auto dealerships is at or near the top for sales and service with the brands they represent for one simple reason: They are the best at sustaining a culture that serves customers.
This week we feature a guest blog by New York Times best-selling author, Larry Winget. It is based on his new book, Grow a Pair. I can't recommend this book enough. Buy it now, and then buy another copy for that person you know needs to grow a pair.
Why did you write a book about change? The host of a recent radio interview was being polite and, I suspect, genuinely interested. But the question is an important one—a quick search on Amazon.com found over 150,000 book titles that have something to do with change. Let’s assume that some of those titles are duplicates for hardcover, paperback, Kindle, etc. That still leaves thousands of books written on the subject. Aren’t those enough? The short answer is, “No.”
Scott Keller and Carolyn Aiken, consultants at McKinsey & Company, suggest that 80 percent of what leaders care about and talk about when trying to enlist support for change does not matter to 80 percent of the workforce. To gain the commitment for the change that you want, you must connect with people where they are. You do that by making the change relevant and real.
The old-fashioned view of mentoring is someone outside a learner’s chain of command who equips that learner with new skills and knowledge. It is an archaic expert to novice or smart to unwise philosophy. The goal is the transfer of information or expertise, much like pouring knowledge into the head of a passive learner. It is the model that antiquated teachers used to teach facts students only recalled long enough to score favorably on the test.
Liars – we've all seen them, fallen victim to them, and if we are truthful, joined their ranks from time to time. Some do it for malicious reasons. Others do so out of a sense of kindness or benign indifference. But, we all do it. There are times when that article of clothing makes us look fat. There are times when we feel like crap, and there are times when we feel the pressure to say what is untrue to cover for our lack of performance. And that is why you need to read The Truth About Lies in the Workplace.
You own your logo and marketing message. Your customers own your brand relevance in the marketplace. And when your customers say you are irrelevant, no amount of advertising, positive press, or sales promotions will convince them otherwise. Two iconic American brands are proving that every day.
In its “Economic Prospects for the Year 2000,” the writers at Business Week saw a glass half-empty and chose to see it as mostly full. The world painted in its 1989 article would have been a great place. The vision that they created was completely possible. We missed the opportunity. We lacked the rigor in our thinking and failed to consider all the possible implications of our choices. We lacked the discipline to execute toward the vision. And, we lacked the courage to confront reality and put long-term success ahead of short-term reward.
This week’s blog is a rant about the sequester that went in place in March. If you are sick and tired of the discussion, check back next week for something else. If you want to understand the impact of irresponsible leadership, read on. I promise this will step on everyone’s toes.