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"Why Choose Between Fun and Content When You Can Have Both"

Enough with the thinking. Implement already. Please.

  • A friend of mine is thinking about contacting someone he knows about an opening at the company where that person works.
  • A healthcare client of mine is thinking about pulling his team together to talk about how they can grow the business. He’s been thinking about doing this since March.
  • A neighbor of mine is thinking about a new business idea and the first steps to take. He’s thinking about the right time to do it.
  • A marketing client of mine is sitting on a marketing campaign that we developed three months ago. He is thinking about the right time to release the campaign.

The conversation I have basically had with all these people is that making the contact, gathering the team, taking a first step and releasing the campaign MIGHT leave them exactly where they are; but doing nothing assures it will leave them exactly where they are. And where they are is clearly a place of unhappiness.

When I started thinking about writing Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth I went out and interviewed people, documented my client experiences, formulated my own ideas and wrote the book. When Steve Jobs had a vision about so many cool products he didn’t sit and percolate on them for decades; he turned thinking into making our lives easier and raising the bar for other companies. He went out and did things. When employees are hired to do a job they are told to deliver a result by a certain date.

Imagine if Rich, Steve and the employee were still thinking.

What have you been thinking about? What have you been thinking about doing? Is it time to say “enough with the thinking already!” Did you ever think that over-thinking is killing you, your creativity or your organization? You can always tweak and change things. After all, how many iPhone versions have we seen?

So for Pete’s sake would you please give yourself a deadline, delivery or release date as soon as possible. I’m waiting to see what you can deliver and how you’re going to make my life better and more fun.

Thinking often times leads us nowhere. Implementation leads us to progress.

—–

RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. In his new book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace he talks about why it is important for every person within an organization to act and stop thinking.

Are you ready to take a Recess with Rich, inject some new energy into your organization,  create an even better employee and customer experience, and start implementing what you’ve been thinking about?

When employees work alone customers learn way too much about them

Yikes!

That’s all I could say when I walked out of the lab this morning. Doctor wanted to do annual cholesterol and what-not check so I went early in the day. Not eating for 12 hours (cuz let’s face it we all know what hunger is) coupled with starting the day off without coffee is just not a good thing for some of us.

So imagine how excited I was when I walked in and there was no wait. Hooray! This will be over quickly and I get a treat – a big ole latte for being stabbed.

The facility was staffed by one person. In the 10 minutes I was in the room with Vampira I learned:

  • Her drinking habits
  • She just came back from visiting a friend she met in Lamaze class an eternity ago
  • She travels with a vibrator
  • She hates her computer
  • They keep changing the rules and procedures at the lab so she hopes she has the right vials (you know how comforting that was; I’ll let you know if it’s a boy or a girl)
  • and what her kids were having for dinner tonight
In the 10 minutes I was in the room with Vampira she learned the following about me:
  • Nothing

She just talked and talked and talked and talked and talked and talked. And stabbed me. It was a one sided conversation with me wanting her to slit my wrists rather than find a cooperative vein. Remember, no coffee. It was hard to smile.

I work alone; my office is in my home. I know the excitement of finally being with other people. But I need to offer a reminder to leaders, training managers and HR professionals who oversee remote employees…..teach your employees to have conversations with customers that are two-sided and about the customer. As for the topics she chose to share with me; we’ll save that for another entry.

On a positive note I’m speaking at 2 healthcare conferences over the next week. I guess I have a good story to weave in.

—–

RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. In his new book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace he talks about why it is important for every employee to understand their impact on customers.

Are you ready to take a Recess with Rich, inject some new energy into your organization and create an even better employee and customer experience?

What if THIS was the company policy manual?

Companies have policies. Companies have rules. But what if company policy manuals and handbooks were a little less formal? A little less restrictive? What do you think would happen to the employee experience? Do you think customers would notice a difference? Be treated differently? Do you think employees would look as forward to Monday as they do to Friday?

What if risk really reaped rewards and not hand slapping? These are just some of the ideas being tested and implemented by companies across the globe. Perhaps it is time to change the look and feel of the employee handbook?

An excerpt from Diary of The Happiest Employee on Earth:

Quick read. Fun ideas. Endless possibilities. Get yours today!

Week #39
Dear Diary,

I forwarded this policy manual to HR, C.E. Ohhh, and my boss on Wednesday. Given 39 weeks here and observing so much I thought why not. 

The Only Employee Policy Manual You’ll Ever Need:

  1. The company promises to provide a great employee experience. Please tell us how we can make it even better. This is not lip service.
  2. The company promises to provide you with interesting and challenging work. We really do want your ideas to make this happen. This is not lip service.
  3. The company will find out what secret talents you possess and we will utilize them to ensure 1 & 2 are being met.

I thanked them for actually making MY employee policy manual (I wrote it at the last miserable job) a reality and how I believed that too many rules and policies kill creativity and ………….

 

What do you think? Do you think too many rules and policies kill creativity? Productivity? Morale? Engagement? What policies or rules are keeping you from making a difference and doing a better job? Perhaps this entry should be a discussion for your Monday morning kickoff meeting?

Perhaps you need to confiscate your copy of Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth today?

_____

RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. In his new book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace he talks about why it is important to relax (not eliminate) all the policies and rules that are keeping people from being great.

Are you ready to take a Recess with Rich, inject some new energy into your organization and create an even better employee experience?

Way to go Comcast! Now that’s Customer Service!

Yesterday I posted my letter to UPS and Comcast about having to play delivery boy for them.(See previous post) I shared it on Twitter, Facebook and LinkIn land.

Within minutes the Twitter patrol at both companies responded.

But that’s where the similarity stopped.

The folks at Comcast were genuinely interested in my experience. Mark Casem aka, The Comcast Twitter Dude @comcastbill, was determined to get my thoughts and comments to the right person/people. He reached out to me  and within a few hours I heard from Roger Falis at Comcast who was apologetic for what I had experienced, acknowledged that their processes needed to be reviewed, and THANKED ME for playing delivery boy. He remarked that I didn’t have to do that, but was very appreciative. I’m even getting a little prize.

And the folks at UPS?…………….

Well I got a response on twitter and then some platitude-ridden-canned-email response about training and if my issue was not resolved I should let them know and they would have someone from management get in touch with me? Hey Katrina, I already got in touch with you. Maybe you folks can take a lesson from the Comcast Playbook……where the heck is my thank you for delivering the goods?

Let’s face it….Everyone has had good and bad experiences with companies. But yesterday I saw response time and action that deserves recognition. Comcast, I tip my beanie to you today. You done good. If I was an employee of Comcast I would be proud knowing how fast your team responded and recognized your process failed. Congratulations Mark, Roger and whoever else was involved!

And when I ship my books later this week I’ll be using FEDEX or the US Postal Service.

 

Hey UPS & Comcast, you owe me a thank you and a cup of coffee!

Dear UPS and Comcast,

If customers and employees really do matter to you, you will take the time to read this letter.

Imagine expecting to arrive home from work to your new Comcast television cable equipment. Your weekend plans might include that special movie, pay event, or child’s party favorite. Imagine pulling into your driveway and not seeing the package you were promised. You know the disappointing feeling.

On Friday morning one of you dropped a Next Day Air package off at my house. I’ll let you guess who. The package was not for me. Right house number but wrong street. Trying to be helpful I called you. I pressed 1, 2, 3, 4 or whatever other sequence was required to reach a real person; where I was informed by an irritating computer generated voice to please hold. Ten minutes later a human finally took my call.

I shared with the UPS customer service rep where I lived and where the package was supposed to be delivered.  She asked me for the tracking number. During the long hold I had left my home so I did not have that information with me. I reminded her where the package was and where it was supposed to be delivered. She told me there was nothing she could do. That was not how the process worked.

After asking me to go back home and get the tracking number (yes, she did!) I responded “May I remind you I am trying to help you folks do your job? I could very well keep the package for myself. Or throw it out.” I asked to speak to a supervisor. I was placed on hold again. After a few minutes I was disconnected.

I called back. I was still thinking about your disappointed customer. I was placed on hold again and disconnected. At this point UPS I gave up on you.

Now Comcast, don’t you go laughing or getting upset….it’s your turn.

After giving up on UPS and their “processes” of not letting employees keep a customer happy I thought I would call the people who shipped the package. That would be you Comcast.

After your sequence of number pressing and hold times, (as an aside, wouldn’t it be nice if all companies were required to use a standard sequence? Maybe Congress can waste some time on that one in their next session) your representative was equally as “helpful.” I gave her the scenario. She too told me there was nothing she could do. She could not access the account. And even though I told her the name on the package, where the package was and where it needed to be delivered, she told me that was not “your” process. I didn’t even ask for a supervisor. At this point I had spent forty minutes trying to help you both make a customer happy and I needed to work on keeping my own customers happy.

In Entry #36 of Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace I describe a company where every employee is responsible for solving customer issues; to figure out what needs to be done. Every employee is responsible for getting issues resolved. You can’t imagine how shocked and appalled I was that these two big companies had trained people not to solve issues. Talk about creating a great employee experience, let alone the customer experience. (Please note the preceding was sarcasm.)

I’m still dumbfounded that you both knew where a package was, you had my name, the name of the person who was supposed to receive the package, the address where the package was supposed to be delivered and your “processes” could not get this resolved. I’m even more dumbfounded that your employee customer service training left me feeling that helping a customer was not on the top of your priority list. All I heard was what could not be done.

I find it hard to believe that the UPS facility which services my neighborhood could not be contacted. I find it hard to believe that a driver who was in the neighborhood could not be contacted. I find it hard to believe that SOMEONE at Comcast could not access the address where the package was being delivered to access some sort of tracking information. I find it hard to believe…..

May I remind you both that you have competitors out there who would happily take your customers?

I was gone all day Friday. On Saturday the package was still outside my door. I delivered the package for you.

I think you both owe me a cup of coffee – a Starbucks gift card would suffice. Or Comcast, you can give me a free month of service. It’s the least you both can do.

Rich DiGirolamo

 

P.S. If anyone reading this has a connection to anyone at Comcast or UPS with one of those big important fancy titles would you please direct them to this letter. My coffee supply is running low.

Or more importantly, maybe any company reading this should look at how your “processes” kill the employee experience and do nothing for customer service.

—–

RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. In his new book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace he talks about why it is important for every employee to understand as much of your business as possible.

Are you ready to take a Recess with Rich, inject some new energy into your organization and create an even better employee experience?

Create a great workplace with these 7 questions

Q: What’s on the minds of your employees?

A: Getting better at what they do and being allowed to contribute to the greater good of the organization. Really, that’s all that is on their minds. Go ahead and ask them.

Okay, well maybe updating their Facebook status is also on their minds. Tweeting that they are in the bathroom. Texting their significant other about the romantic weekend that is being planned.

So how do you get as much productivity and interest as Facebook, tweeting and texting?

It’s easy.

Ask questions.

So much could be learned about employees if we asked them some questions versus jumping to conclusions (or thinking you know it all). Employee morale would improve. Employee engagement might increase. Productivity just might soar. You might have happy employees. But you don’t want truthful answers in order to get those results, right?

Below is a partial entry from Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace. Why not take some time soon (maybe even today) and give these some thought.

Week #42

Dear Diary,

Arrived to work Monday morning and found these 7 questions on my desk. Boss asked me to answer them by the end of day:

  1. This is a great place to work because?
  2. I could contribute more to my employer if?
  3. In order for me to improve my skills I would need?
  4. The things I like most about my job are?
  5. The things I would like to see improve at my job are?
  6. If I could have any job in the company it would be?
  7. My latest contribution to the organization was?

On Tuesday morning there was a note on my desk to…

 

Why not use one of these questions to get to know your employees better? Perhaps use them as a meeting ice breaker. Take a Recess one day next week and have a conversation with your team. And if you want to know what the note said you’ll have to email me or buy the book

—–

RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. In his new book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace he talks about why it is important for every employee to understand as much of your business as possible.

Are you ready to take a Recess with Rich, inject some new energy into your organization and create an even better employee experience?

Who are the Unusual Suspects in your company? Do you know their value?

Q: Marketing holds a meeting. Who do they invite?
A: The Marketing people

Q: Finance holds a meeting. Who do they invite?
A: The Finance people.

Q: Client Service Team holds a meeting. Who do they invite?
A: I’ll give you one guess.

What if Marketing invited Finance? Or extended an invitation to the IT folks? How would a Customer Service meeting benefit if people from Finance, Maintenance, or even your company receptionist were asked to sit in and contribute? Or let’s get even bolder……what if you invited someone from outside your company; that person you say good morning to every day while waiting for the elevator?

Why do we continue to look for answers from the usual suspects? Why don’t we turn to unusual suspects? Fresh new ideas are staring us in the face in hallways, elevators, and lunchrooms of companies around the globe. The person you least suspect might be the person with the idea that is going to separate you from your competitors and propel your company to new places.

In Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth we learn about a company that invites “Unusual Suspects” to meetings. Unusual Suspects? You know, those people outside the department who might be able to add a different slant to a product or service. Those people looking for a better employee expereience. Those people who might be able to make something better or contribute an idea that your team couldn’t ever imagine because they’ve got their head in the sandbox or up their butt.

Holding a meeting today? Invite someone you normally would not ask to attend. Ask for their contributions. Listen and process. You only have to gain.

If this idea has you thinking check out my new book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace. Order the eBook or Kindle Version of Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth by 10-18-11 and I’ll send you  2 printed copies once they’re in my hands. Just send me your receipt with your mailing address.

 

RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. In his soon to be released book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace he talks about why it is important for every employee to understand as much of your business as possible. Are you ready to take a Recess with Rich, inject some new energy into your organization and create an even better employee experience?

 

What do you look for when you walk in to a business?

You walk into a store, restaurant, doctor’s office or perhaps that new client location. What do you look for when you walk into that business?

  • Decor?
  • Merchandise availability?
  • Clutter?
  • Lighting?
  • Cleanliness?
  • The bathroom?

I look at the employees.

Are they smiling? Do they look happy? Do they look stressed? Do they look frazzled? Do they look afraid? Are they nervous due to lack of training? Are they laughing with one another? Do they appear to be plotting the demise of current leadership?

Observing people tells me so much about an organization. And whether I’m walking into a place of business as a customer or as that guy hired to RECESSitate the organization and improve the employee experience first impressions can tell me so much about a culture.

If I walked into your place of business today what would it be telling me? And is that a good thing?

Are you working towards a 100% positive employee experience?

 

RICH DIGIROLAMO works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. In his soon to be released book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace he talks about why it is important for every employee to understand as much of your business as possible.

Dear Employee, the answer is “I don’t know, let me find out for you.”

You walk into a big box retailer. You ask an employee a question. He or she responds with some version of “I don’t know” (I’m not sure / I couldn’t tell you / I’m not from this department) and then stands there. Or worse…..the employee walks away.

Responses like that surely do not make a customer feel appreciated. It makes people not want to spend their money. Perhaps you feel that the company does not invest in training and development of its people? Or the employee has no pride in the company for which he or she represents? And even if the question was of minor importance or just curiosity don’t you still want/deserve an answer?

Recently while visiting a big box retailer I asked an employee a question about a particular line of available products. I got one of those “I don’t know” answers.

Isn’t the answer…………”I don’t know. Let me find out for you.”

Especially in these economic times.

Especially when you are not the only game in town – and your competition might even be located on the other side of the street?

Heck, just make up something that sounds good. At least I will feel that I mattered to you. Of course hopefully then you’ll go find out the answer so the next person who (and someone else will) asks that question gets the right answer.

These days companies need to be training people better and employees need to be interested in learning more about their employers to better serve and engage customers. Not to mention stay employed.

 

Or maybe Thinking Outside the (big) Box (retailer) might be a better approach?

 

RICH DIGIROLAMO works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. In his soon to be released book Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace he talks about why it is important for every employee to understand as much of your business as possible.

 

 

Now that’s not fun! My Peer Coaching experience.

A little over a month ago my good friend lost his job. Ten years with the company and he received a two week severance package. Woo-Hoo!! (Sarcasm)

Trying to be of help I shared with him something I had been wanting to try…………Peer Coaching. I learned about it while reading some of Marshall Goldsmith’s work. I thought it would help as he moves forward to his next job adventure.

Here is basically the way it works:

At the end of each day (Mon-Fri) we get on the phone and ask each other 20 questions. We record one another’s answers. It’s a quick phone call. No judgments. Positive affirmations. A little bit of encouragement and support.

At the end of the week we each receive a summary of those responses. I designed my own 20 questions (they have been tweaked and changed in the last month); he designed his. Some are business; others are personal. We also decided to ask one another a tough question at the end of each day regarding our responses.

For me it’s been a Recess (a break form my normal work style) and a great accountability tool. Design 20 questions that will keep me on track to personal, relationship, health, and business success. During the day if I find myself suffering from The Bright Shiny Object Syndrome I also have a place I can refer to; to get me grounded; my 20 questions.

So how has it gone?

OUCH!

My life has been like an airplane in a holding pattern for some time now; circling the airport and getting me dizzy. I’ve been dealing with the health issues of a family member and it has consumed more time than I ever would have imagined. In reviewing my summary responses from the last month there are a lot of what might be considered “negative” responses or responses where I continue to take no action.

Book Back cover

My immediate thought: This is not fun at all. This is stupid. Run! Get the hell out of this arrangement as fast as possible.

My second thought was that of ego: My good friend, the one who thinks I have it all together, is going to see how “the real Rich” is not so together.

But then I realized I wrote my latest book, got it edited and will be releasing it shortly.

Diary of the Happiest Employee on Earth: 52 Provoking Thoughts for Creating a Great Workplace will be available mid to late October.

So while I didn’t pedal as many miles on my bike as I would have liked; nor spent the time I would have hoped on program and product development I can celebrate the accomplishment of writing the book (and being a good relative).

Is Peer Coaching for you? Is this a way to keep employees and volunteers engaged and excited? Is it a way to boost employee morale?

What do you have to lose?

But more importantly how are you going to celebrate the successes? After all, what started out as me helping a friend has offered amazing insight into my own world.

Is it 5:00 yet?

 

 

RICH DIGIROLAMO works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers.