Welcome to My World!

What if I told you there was a way to increase employee engagement, customer satisfaction, innovation, alignment and empowerment - for free?

Wait… what?  Yes, it’s true.   

Idea of the month:  Host a Departmental Open House

Invite colleagues from other departments to come visit your department.

Have team members be ready to describe “a day in the life” of your team. 

Share challenges, motivations, goals and metrics that your department is working hard to achieve.

Encourage questions and suggestions.

Listen to them, and act on them.

When I worked at Chateau Whistler, a Fairmont Hotel and Resort, we would set up the ballroom as an internal tradeshow.  Employees would travel the aisles with a “passport” and earn stamps after learning about each of the other departments.  It was fun and effective!

BTW - that's why, if you mention to a server in the Wildflower Restaurant that your ski boots are cold or wet, they’ll tell you about the handy ski-check services!  Win-Win-Win


The 5 Whys

I ran a great session on Change and Problem Solving with a fun bunch of professionals last week. Shout out to #WoltersKluwer #Nashville !!

One of the most popular take-aways was using the problem-solving model, “The 5 Whys”, as a way to have more effective feedback conversations with team members.

Here’s how it works.  When there is an issue, uncover the true problem by asking "why" no fewer than five times.  

Issue:  Bart is often late for work.

1.     Why are you late, Bart?  Traffic is bad.

2.     Why?  'Cause I have to get on the Always-Backed-up-Highway.

3.     Why?  'Cause I drop my daughter off at daycare across town.

4.     Why do you go to that daycare?  'Cause it’s closer to my wife’s office and she picks our daughter up at the end of the day.

5.     Why?  ‘Cause I don’t get out of work in time to do pick-up.

Spot any solutions yet?  

Now you can put your problem-solving hat on and work collaboratively with Bart to create focused solutions, rather than assuming a bad attitude, or tips on navigating traffic or buying alarm clocks!

'Tis the Season

Whether you are big or small, you cannot give good customer service if your employees don’t feel good about coming to work. ~Martin Oliver

This time of year brings a lot of added stress for a number of reasons, coming to work shouldn't be one of them.

Take a moment to check in with your team. It's as simple as slowing down and focusing on them.  In fact, ask them, "What do you need from me?"

Just asking can do a world of good. 

Special Note:  We're holding a Pay it ForWARD contest on Facebook.  There are individual and office prizes to be won.  Simply share a pic or just post and tell us what you've done for someone else.  If you've not already found us on Facebook, here we are:   Click here

Show Your Gratitude

Are you trying to be right?  Have the answer first?  Research shows that grateful people are happier and more likely to maintain good friendships.

A state of gratitude, according to research by the Institute of HeartMath, also improves the heart's rhythmic functioning, which helps us to reduce stress, think more clearly under pressure and heal physically. It's actually physiologically impossible to be stressed and thankful at the same time. When you are grateful, you flood your body and brain with emotions and endorphins that uplift and energize you, rather than the stress hormones that drain you. 

That’s better than any multi-vitamin!

Here’s how to put it into action:

Write it!  Martin Seligman, Ph.D., the father of positive psychology, suggests we write a letter expressing our gratitude to someone. Then we visit this person and read them the letter. His research shows that people who do this are measurably happier and less depressed a month later.

Say it!  Take a moment to energize and engage people on your team by letting them know you are grateful for them and their work.  Doug Conant, the CEO of The Campbell Soup Company, has written over 16,000 thank you notes to his employees and energized the company in the process.  (I wonder how many were written in alphabet soup?) 

Did you know? The number one reason people leave their jobs is because they don't feel appreciated. A simple 'thank you' and a show of appreciation can make all the difference.

It's Thanksgiving week, let your employees know you are THANKFUL for having the opportunity to work with them.

All of us here at Ward Certified are thankful for the opportunity to connect with you every week!

Flexibility is the key...

Q: How many times a day does something unpredictable or unexpected happen? 
A: All the time!
A key leadership skill is flexibility - the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.
This skill is the most challenging for anyone who values structure and predictability because for those people, unexpected change is probably a big source of stress.
To improve flexibility, consider your language.  Re-label tasks as ‘preferences’ rather than ‘must-haves’ and change your own expectations by removing the absolutes.  This can give you some room to flex.
For example:
I must have a perfectly clean kitchen when I leave for work.
Rewrite: I prefer to have a clean kitchen when I leave for work.
I must have all the answers when a customer or team member comes to me.
Rewrite: I prefer to have the answers, but know that I can be helpful in any situation.
I must have zero defects.
Rewrite:  I prefer zero defects but appreciate hard work and effort.

Don't fear the tears

I’ve been running a lot of performance management training sessions lately and when I ask participants for their challenging situations they often respond:

 “What do you do when the employee cries?”

Here are some tips:

Let them.  Performance reviews or any conversation about a person’s career can evoke a strong emotion and tears might be part of that.

Give them a moment.  Chances are they are not thrilled to be crying so just be patient and pass the Kleenex box.  (Hint: Have a box of tissue in the meeting room just in case, plus it’s flu season, so always good to have them handy)

 If they can’t move on, tell them you will have the conversation later that day.  The sooner the better to ensure you talk.  You don’t want to give the impression that crying will get them out of feedback, coaching or performance reviews.

Tennis anyone?

It’s good form to ask your employee questions in order to

  • Get their buy-in
  • Hear their ideas
  • Build their confidence
  • and teach them to solve their own problems

 But how do you ask?

 Consider a tennis coach who watches you swing and miss the ball.  The coach asks;

  1. “Why didn’t you watch the ball?” 
  2. “What were you thinking?”
  3.  “What did you notice about the ball?”

What’s your response to those questions?  The first might make you defensive, the second feels condescending but the third might make you think.  “Hmm I wasn’t watching the ball, maybe that’s the problem?

Next time you catch yourself asking “You don’t really think that solution will work, do you?” be aware that you’re calling them stupid. Re-phrase it and aim for a truly open-ended question.