While talking with a new client the other day she vomited the words that make my head spin: we’re going to have to learn to do more with less. I heard those words a lot during the global financial meltdown that happened a few years ago. As your co-workers were sent to the unemployment lines the marching orders from the CEO, HR, your boss, the governor, etc was we’ll have to learn how to do more with less.
How come no one seems to take the tough times to ask themselves what do we not need to do any longer? Maybe we should be asking ourselves what things really aren’t important and question the things we are/were doing only as an attempt to validate our existence? Perhaps a question that should be asked in offices everywhere is whether or not anyone would really care (or miss) if a certain daily, weekly or monthly report wasn’t issued. Or what about the weekly sales call, the one where everyone is doing sixteen other things while on the, not contributing and rolling their eyes. (Yes, they are.) Why not switch it to every other week?
The next time someone says to you we need to do more with less get brave, push back, and ask why can’t we do less with less. Or better yet maybe it’s just a good idea every so often to look at the work in front of you and question its necessity and value.
Now once you get rid of the unimportant stuff start working on new things that will make a difference, differentiate you and once again get people excited.
First of all, I know the importance of surveys to a company so I shared my comments. Towards the end of the survey it asked if you would like to give your email address to receive promotions. I chose no. Well it seems that if you don’t give your email address, no code for your free food. Didn’t say that anywhere. Not how Starbucks does it. Or Dunkin Donuts. Or Burger King. Take the survey and your free code appears on the screen in front of you.
A call to their customer hotline. Thought they might want to know about the glitch. (I also wanted what was promised me.) Person tells me “higher ups” can only help me. Would I like to leave my name and contact information. Nah, got no time for you. Bye. I’ve got a better chance of reaching the higher up on my own than you taking my information. Oh c’mon, you know I am right.
I email the CEO. So easy to find people’s email addresses these days. She ignores first email. Second email I make a snarky comment about her being the “beacon of customer service.” I get a call from someone 30 minutes later. How to win friends and influence pissed off people.
That person basically tells me I didn’t look hard enough and somewhere it tells me you must give your email address or no code. It’s nowhere to be found. Or it’s buried somewhere that the customer can’t find it anywhere. But………..she wants to send me something. I don’t need her to send me anything. I need them to stop deceiving people.
A few days later I receive gift checks to be spent in “participating locations” along with a letter from someone in Marketing who says he has spoken with franchisee about my unpleasant experience.
IDIOT! I didn’t have an unpleasant experience with the franchise. I had an unpleasant experience with your deceptive marketing promotion on the back of your receipts.
Fast Forward: I had a hankering for fried chicken. Well it seems no locations in my area are participating. Not even the one where I supposedly had my unpleasant experience. Now in all fairness one restaurant manager took them after calling the franchisee at home to see if he could accept them and how they should be tendered on the register. Of course the people behind me in line were rather annoyed as all order taking came to a halt for 10 minutes as we waited for the manager to figure out what to do. I’m not kidding!
3rd email to CEO:
First deceptive marketing practices. Then gift certificates sent yet no locations seem to be “participating.” I’ll be sending them back to you personally. Maybe you can find a location near you to redeem them.
No need to respond. You just became a great example for my clients on how not to treat a customer.
Some things to think about:
Doesn’t matter. Fried chicken is bad for you anyway. It was probably a higher power’s way of telling me not to eat that crap.
Oh and by the way, I even sent them screen shots of their survey to let them see firsthand what the customer was seeing. Thought that would help them. They seemed disinterested.
A couple of years ago I was introduced to the FourSight Thinking Profile. Like Meyers-Briggs and DISC and others it didn’t really tell me anything I didn’t already know. Although it was one of the more fun approaches.
At the end of the assessment you are scored and ranked/classified on four preferences. The Preferences are Clarifier, Ideator, Developer and Implementer. My scores revealed that I am an Implementer and Ideator. They were too close to pick one over the other.
As I said I was not surprised by the result. So I thought.
I knew this about myself. It’s how I was able to start the nonprofit DoubleDDiner.org as quickly as I did. It’s how I was able to take the idea for Diary of the Happiest Employee On Earth from concept to published book in a few short weeks.
This morning I was having breakfast with a friend and colleague who was sharing a few ideas with me. One idea is pure genius! She shared how she and another friend come up with lots of great ideas and then do nothing. I would bet if they took the assessment they would both be Ideators.
I am currently working on a very fun project with three friends who are all Ideators. So we have 3 full Ideators and one 1/2 Ideator / 1/2 Implementer. Guess who became the project manager? Guess who gets to crack the whip? Guess who gets to scold people when they’re not meeting the deadlines on their tasks?
But it’s all good. Because I know this about them. They told me their preference. We even talked about it early on when this project was just an alcohol and candy induced dream. And then it was crystal clear that for this idea to go from dream to reality the 1/2 Implementer would have to step up!
Many of you reading this have taken personality profile assessments. You’re an ENTJ, INFP, ABCDEFG, High D, Low S, a Clarifier, a 1234567, etc! And while you may know what you are………..you need to take the time to know the personalities, preferences, or whatever other buzz words and phrases are used on a particular assessment to describe the others on your team. You need to see what is missing from your team and go out and find or hire those people. Because understanding all that removes all the aggravation, gets to the fun and takes a project to completion!
In a big organization it is easy to find people to add to your team once you figure out the type of thinking that is missing. But what about when you’re a small organization? Or an entrepreneur? Last year I realized I needed two coach/mentors. One for my creative side; the other for the what I like to call the “crappy business development stuff I don’t want to deal with” side. One keeps my Ideator/Implementer side thinking bigger. The other pulls me back to reality when necessary.
I hate seeing great ideas go nowhere. And I can only hope that my breakfast partner reads this (okay, I am going to make her read it) and starts connecting with people who can make her idea a reality. Because if she does nothing with it I may just have to steal the idea from her. Remember, I’m an implementer and I think it’s a winner!
Don’t let your great idea slip away. Don’t let people steal your great idea. Find the people who round out your thinking, whatever that thinking may be!
And if you’re interested in learning about Foursight get in touch with my friend Russ. I have no relationship with FourSight and get nothing from this post. Well maybe Russ will buy me some Freeze Dried Corn from the Chicago Spice Company if you decide to do business with him.
Last week was my birthday. I gave myself a present. I went off the grid for 24 hours. I took three phone calls from family in the morning and that was it. (Didn’t want to listen to mom yell at me the next day.) Then I turned off my phone.
I took a drive through New England. No web surfing. No Facebook. No Twitter. No LinkedIn. No Google+. No phone GPS. No Starbucks App. No looking for a recommendation. I think you get the point.
Later in the week I went away to do some writing/editing of my next book. I got an early check-in at a Residence Inn and spent the next 24 hours off the grid again. I sat by the hotel pool area and wrote on my laptop – with connectivity turned off. When I needed a diversion I went in the hot tub or for a quick swim.
In the late afternoon I transferred my document to a flash drive and printed it in the hotel business center. I found my way (GPS-less) over to the Cliff Walk in Newport Rhode Island. I walked a bit, then sat and edited. Walked a bit more. Edited some more.
Here’s what I “learned” from my two days off the grid; and I use the word learned loosely because I don’t think the learning is shocking, but rather a reminder:
So instead of worrying about who you’re going to impress why not take a day to go impress yourself. Get off the grid. Get some work done. Have some fun. Finish that project. Renew that romance. Get your creative juices flowing without technology.
If you’re a boss maybe you should consider a day when all grid distractions are removed from employees for a day. I bet a lot more could get done. I bet a lot of great ideas would emerge.
Take a day off the grid soon. I highly recommend it!
For me it’s the most wonderful time of the year. No it’s not Christmas. It’s not New Year’s. It’s not back to school. Although the folks at Staples seem to think that is the most wonderful time of year.
It’s PEEPster!! – that holiday that coincidentally occurs with Easter. And my favorite candy on the whole planet…………………….Marshmallow Peeps, can be found everywhere!
Now for the record, let’s get two things straight.
So now that some things have been cleared up, here is what you can do:
Disclaimer: Should you develop cancer from hanging around your microwave for too long sue the folks at Just Born, Inc. They caused the addiction.
Very few people volunteer for altruistic reasons. There’s usually some personal motive behind donating your time and expertise to a nonprofit or other volunteer organization. Sure people donate to give back, bring about change, make friends, and have fun. But many times behind their involvement is hope for something else. After all, how many people volunteer to deal with egos, get stuck with people who couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag, and deal with personal agendas as it relates to the cause?
Recently I was chatting with someone deciding whether or not to get involved with a local community initiative. She commented why she is leaning towards NOT getting involved. It seems a committee chairperson has stated her main reason for getting involved was to gain some visibility for her business.
Let me remind you that we live in a what’s in it for me world. That has no changed in our new economy. And when it comes to recruiting volunteers (which seems to be harder than ever) maybe we need to start thinking about attracting people by learning their non-altruistic reasons; and perhaps working a bit harder to help those people.
A few weeks I was asked to get involved with an event which was going to require a weekend away at my expense. Now a prior commitment kept me from saying yes, but I had already decided that if I did say yes I was going to request that the organizer introduce me to people who hire professional development speakers and trainers for the school system.
Selfish? Maybe. Altruistic? Maybe not.
Recruiting and engaging volunteers is becoming harder and harder. People are busy and have limited time. So maybe there is a case to be made to turn the tables and start working towards finding out how to reward their tireless efforts? Who knows, you just may get better results out of these people.
With the election of Pope Francis yesterday we kept hearing the words poverty, humility and simplicity on the news. The new Pope lived in a tiny apartment, rode the bus and worked tirelessly to help the poor. Today he has a Popemobile, runs a small country and heads the largest corporation on the planet.
This morning, a friend, who is also a client and Executive Director of a nonprofit, posted this on his Facebook timeline: “Like the new Pope…I too took a vow of Poverty. It’s called non-profit employment.”
More often than not non-profit employees accept positions and stay put because they love what they do. They enjoy making a difference in the lives of the people they serve. Sadly, making a difference comes with scrutiny by the public. Making a difference organizations (non-profits) are often funded by grants and donations; and the public has decided that the work these folks do is not worthy of the pay their counterparts see in the for-profit world. Some argue that a whole different pool of talent would be available if pay was on par.
Now the great thing about working at a non-profit is you never had to adjust to doing more with less when the crap hit the fan a few years ago. You already were lean and doing more with less. Less people. Less resources. Although, your grants and donations probably were impacted. And as your counterparts in the for-profit world moaned you kept plugging along.
So to all you non-profit employees out there who work just as hard, if not harder, than your pals on the other side, keep doing what you do……who knows you may not rise to Pope but you might become Supreme Ruler of the Universe someday. And I’ll be happy to cheer you on!
And as for that new pool of talent thing…………….. I think I’d rather have people who truly enjoy doing the work and figure out a way to invest in their training, development and pay scale.
When you accept a position with a nonprofit there are a couple of realities:
But there are things that a nonprofit executive (or any company leader) can do to make up for the lack of pay.
I’ve often wondered why we have good-bye lunches when people leave, yet we do nothing to really welcome someone when they join a company. Why do we take someone out to lunch and sometimes even buy them a gift for their contribution when they are leaving us high and dry – sometimes to go to a competitor? Wouldn’t it be cool if on your first day at a new job there was a “party” in your honor; a welcome of sorts – maybe just some donuts or bagels with a chance for everyone to meet you? What if that first day was really about making you feel like a member of the team and not just showing you to your desk, filling out some forms, and being walked around to meet a few select people?
During the interview a hiring manager should be learning about more than just your technical skills. Did they take the time to learn any of your interests? Are you a sports enthusiast? Coffee drinker? Do you go to the gym? Do you like to go to the movies?
Imagine if on your first day of work you showed up and on your desk was a brand spanking new coffee mug with a couple of movie passes inside. You think that would tell you something about the people who just hired you?
Sometimes you can’t pay people a lot of money, but you can do things (starting on day one) that don’t cost a lot but could make a lasting impression. Just an idea/thought for any nonprofit or for-profit that might be hiring – which according to recent news you might be doing.
Back in the day I had a boss who understood the importance of having her team spend some time together outside of the office; having some fun; seeing the human side of one another. The challenge was she herself wasn’t the most social person.
She was a great manager. She mentored. She truly empowered people to get the job done and coached them along. She was supportive of your ideas and willing to try your approach when you showed enthusiasm, the need, and that you had done your homework before coming to her with the idea. She acknowledged what she was not good at; and who could help her.
So every few months she would come to me and say….”Rich, why don’t you organize something fun for the group.” Little did she know she was shaping my next career. Some of things I organized: lunch outings, roller coaster ride lunch hours, a Friday night haunted hay ride, and a happy hour or two.
If I had to do it all over I would add a new category: doing things that could be fun while helping others.
When I think back to that team I worked with, I know without a doubt they all would have gone along with any one of the above ideas. And I think in this world we live in right now we could all use a bit of perspective from time to time - while having some fun getting it.
So go out to lunch, happy hour and on the hay ride. But every once in a while why not do something as a team that will matter to someone else.
Dear TV News Outlets,
You suck! All of you. Well almost all of you.
Last night I was flipping from news station to news station as the Carnival Triumph had arrived in Mobile, Alabama. I was excited to see people waving and cheering and applauding from those on the decks; as well as those waiting for passengers on the dock.
Many of you were interviewing people via phone. Most of you seemed to be looking for stories of doom and gloom and horrible conditions and poor service by Carnival. Shame on you. Wouldn’t it have been awesome if you had focused on how people persevered? How they made the best of a bad situation? To let us hear more stories of good and hope and human kindness? Stories of how people helped one another get through the ordeal? To see you grasping for a story that isn’t there is like watching bar drunks at closing time deciding who looks a whole lot better than they did three hours prior; hoping to score.
I have some NEWS for you folks. We’re tired of stories that make people look bad. We’re tired of you looking for things that aren’t there in hopes to see your ratings soar. We’re tired of you concentrating on the bad rather than all the good that is going on in this world. We’re tired of you twisting stories. We’re tired of you!
It’s about time you cleaned up your act. Who’s gonna be first?