I Coach Managers

3 Ways to Boost Employee Morale

As many of my clients are looking for ways to build employee engagement, when I came across the interview of Mr. Doug Conant (former president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company) and how he succeeded to achieve remarkable results by turning around the morale of the employees, I knew I had to share.

Here are the three main ideas:

  • His advice to leaders: “Declare Yourself”… People are not mind readers. You have to annonce your intentions loud and clear in regard to the changes you’re trying to implement. Of course, real actions need to follow this announcement, your employees will be looking for something new. Are you just All Talk?
  • Mr. Conant used to write 10 to 20 handwritten notes per day to employees, to highlight their contribution to the company’s success. Always remaining specific about what he wanted to recognize. (I also liked that he noticed that these notes were displayed on the employee’s cubicles. They were so proud!)
  • Every day, the CEO wanting to achieve his health goal by doing 10,000 steps a day, would put on his sneakers and go around the office, going through every department. This allowed him to personally meet with the employees and exchange with them informally.

Considering how easily these initiatives could be implemented, really anyone could decide to try one or all of these ideas.

Go ahead! Try it! Try something new!

How To Use Your Phone As A Moral Booster – Send an ISAT

Your morning was painful. Your kids and the traffic weren’t collaborating. As soon as you entered the office, you were told that there would be a delay in a project for a major client, and that two of your employees are a no-show. You notice that 30 emails are waiting in your inbox and you’re wondering, for the umpteenth time, if you shouldn’t just quit.

But then your phone vibrates, it’s a text message from your boss: “I just finished reading your report, what a powerful document, we can certainly move the negotiations forward. Excellent Work!”

Now you’re smiling and your energy level is back up.

That’s what I call an effective ISAT (Impromptu and Specific Appreciation Text).

The idea is to develop the habit of sending this kind of unexpected feedback as soon as you have something positive to share.

Don’t wait for the next opportunity or for the Performance Review (although you should keep notes of the messages so you don’t forget), do it right away when the thought crosses your mind. This will allow you to be specific in your comments. Don’t try to be eloquent, keep it simple and authentic.

  • I noticed that you stayed later to finish the job. Very professional of you! Thank you!
  • I just had a conversation with our client and he was telling me how much he trusts you. Wow!
  • That was a high-caliber presentation, dear colleague! I, now, better understand the issues.
  • As I walked by your desk, I heard you talking to our client…Two words come to mind: Tact and Skill!
  • I really appreciated your support during the meeting…Thank you boss!
  • I just came out of a meeting with your employees…Exceptional collaboration and creativity!

We often hear people complain that with the arrival of cellular phones, the employees are on-call all day, even at night and during the weekend. I consider that, when properly used, these same phones could become “weapons of massive construction” for morale and self-confidence.

In order to develop the habit, aim at sending a minimum number of ISATs per week.

Return On Investment guaranteed!

Incidentally, if you’re finding that you have nothing positive to communicate, it may be appropriate to redirect your focus.

You could also try to send a few ISATs to your spouse and kids…How do you think they would react?

Let me know what you think of this strategy in the “comments” section below.


 

The One Question To Ask Yourself Before Leaving For The Holidays

christmas

 

During your discussions with your family and friends pay attention to people’s comments about their work.

Because my mission is to inspire managers to care for their team, I always feel sad when I hear:

 

 

  • My employer revised the budget this year, everything that was fun has been cut
  • Every minute of my time is counted, we no longer have any autonomy
  • My boss hardly knows my name
  • I don’t have the latitude to help my clients, I feel helpless
  • My evaluation was done in 10 minutes, my boss had no interest in my comments
  • I’m so looking forward to my retirement …

On the other hand, I jubilate, and always ask for what company the person works for, when I hear:

  • I have a new mission for January, I can’t wait to tackle it
  • My boss really trusts me, next year, I will represent my sector for a major project
  • Our supervisor always comes up with little surprises
  • I received a written note from my boss, I was surprised to see how well he knows me
  • My boss is very accessible, he is an equal part of our team 
  • What a great team we have…

So before you go away to regain your strength and spend time with your loved ones, the coaching question is:

What will your employees say when they talk about their work during the holiday season?

The answer could be a good start in planning your objectives for the new year.

I wish you a wonderful holiday season and a successful year!

Performance Appraisal – Important Reminder

 

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Performance appraisal season is dangerously close.

If you don’t act now, you could fall short when trying to accomplish all that you need to do to excel in this important mission.

 

Start right away, by answering the following questions:

  • What is the extent of information you have on file for each employee? Remember that this is what you will base yourself on to evaluate and compare performances. You need a lot to determine if your judgement is accurate and not based on preferences and hearsay.
  • Do you have concrete examples? Facts and specific events?
  • Over what period of the year? Has there been an evolution? Is it recurring?
  • How could you beef up your files, so your conclusions are really substantiated?
  • Who could you ask about your employees’ performance? Hint: The people benefitting from their hard work should be interested in helping you discover more facts.
  • Which team values are crucial to your success now? Don’t forget to address these in your review. Highlight what’s important this year, don’t lose the employee in a sea of meaningless words.

Don’t have to wait for someone to give you the starting signal! If you already know what you want to say, start meeting with your employees.  Open your agenda and start reserving some time for each person. Don’t rush the process!

The performance evaluation process isn’t a necessary evil, it’s an opportunity for you to demonstrate the importance of each team member.

But before you begin, make sure you have the answer to the following “delicate” question:

  • How will you make sure that, regardless of the type of feedback you need to communicate, each employee will come out with a positive outlook?

Let me know how you feel about having to tackle this mission in the “Comments Section” below.

 

 

 

The Danger Of Not Using This New And Exciting Way To Start Your Presentation

a_In order to reach and convince others, it is very important to consider how the brain works. I recently listened to a presentation by Oren Klaff who researched the topic to write his book “Pitch Anything”.

 

The basic premise is simple: If you can’t, first and foremost, get the attention of those present, you will not succeed in convincing anyone, even if your presentation is very well prepared, detailed and relevant.

 

You must therefore begin by stating clearly why we should pay attention.

 

To achieve this successfully, you should know that the brain decides what is important on the following basis:

  • If it is not dangerous, ignore it! (What happens if we do not listen to your message? What will we be missing?)
  • If this is not new and exciting, ignore it! (We love high contrasts – good / bad,  black / white …)
  • If it’s new, the brain summarizes it quickly and forgets the details (Do not waste your time by presenting details!)

 

Remember in class when the teacher said: “Pay attention to this, there will be a question about it in the exam.” Although it might not have been new and exciting, the danger was clear and the professor got our undivided attention.

 

Oren Klaff  also remind us that we are conditioned to love listening to stories and that to be a great speaker, we should master the art of telling compelling ones. All information and/or statistics should be sent prior to the meeting. Don’t waste people’s time!

 

If you take into consideration the brain mechanic, how should you tweak your next presentation?

 

I Would Still Love to Be a Manager…Don’t Miss Out!

a!!!!!!Being a good manager is really demanding. I know because I was one for twenty years. In the midst of all the problem solving, I truly enjoyed the projects where I got to use my creativity. But back in the days, I didn’t have the social medias to “play” with. They weren’t as powerful as they are today. They can be very dangerous, but they also give you a lot of power and possibilities…

I closely follow the company Zappos (the online retail store) and admire how they use the potential of the social medias. Their mission is “to live and deliver WOW” through service. Since they do this very well, they’re constantly receiving rave reviews from their customers. (Who wouldn’t share that they’ve received a surprise in the box, a little personalized note, flowers or an upgraded delivery time?) They also have an employee online “live” on Twitter that receives and replies to every comment…Take about keeping your finger on the market pulse!

Continually receiving positive feedback, what a great way to stay motivated and engaged! I want that type of feedback too! Don’t you?

Why not challenge your team? How could you make your services stand out? Really stand out? (for you external or internal clients)

  • Faster than expected service delivery
  • Follow up call to check satisfaction
  • Special way to greet or assist the clients
  • Special way to dress
  • Little unexpected surprises
  • Personalized email (to follow up on a previous conversation)
  • Delivering more than promised…

With this exercise:

  • You will discover new ways to serve your customers
  • You will give a boost of energy to your team
  • You will develop pride for a job well done and the satisfaction of being part of an exceptional team (the best team!)
  • You will increase sales
  • and who knows, with the social medias, the story of your “service extraordinaire” may become viral!

Go for it! Have fun with your team! Surprise your clients!

How could you, using the power of social medias, get to know your customers better? Ask your “younger” employees, they might surprise you with their suggestions”.

As usual, let me know how it goes and feel free to share any additional suggestions, in the Comment Section, to WOW the customers.

The Secret To Making The Behavior Change You Always Dreamed Of Doing

aaaIt’s possible to change! Not easy, but possible! Here’s what to do to maximize your chances of success…

I had the pleasure of witnessing profound transformation in some of my clients. It’s amazing to see the positive impact on the lives of people who decide to take action.

As a coach, I can’t be present every day to remind you of your desire to change. But there are people around you in your day-to-day life, who, unintentionally, have a great power of influence on your behavior. By choosing these people carefully, depending on what you want to change, you greatly increase your chances of success.

Imagine having lunch every day with a colleague that is very health conscious. How would that affect the choices that you make? Would you be more inclined to go for the french fries or the salad? Imagine the impact on your health after 6 months? 

Now let’s do the same exercise with someone that:

  • Loves his work and speaks about it with passion and enthusiasm
  • Loves the Company you both work for
  • Loves Personal Development and is always looking to learn and grow
  • Is generous
  • Is knowledgable about finance and has good personal discipline when it comes to spending
  • Is going for a walk every day (or trains every day)
  • Always looks for the best in everyone
  • Treats people with respect and kindness (including the waiter and the busboy)
  • Listens with interest…

Changing your surroundings is an easy way to increase your chances of successfully transforming yourself.

If you’ve been stuck repeating the same behaviors, even though you would sincerely like to tweak your personality, look around you…It’s not only pessimism that’s contagious!

What about you? What kind of impact do you have on the people you hang out with?

Let me know what you think of that Success Strategy in the Comments Section.

 

Take Advantage Of The Holiday Events To Boost Your “Personal Brand”

a--You surely have a few get together during the month of December with your colleagues, your employees or customers. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce them to your personal side. They already know your professional persona, the one they always have to deal with, now is the time to showcase your personal self, to demonstrate your emotional intelligence and make new contacts.

I was inspired by an article from Dr. Travis Bradberry. Here are a few of his suggestions:

  • Pay attention to your body language (we have 7 seconds to make a good first impression)
    • Check your energy level before entering the room (an enthusiastic person will always be more interesting)
    • Smile
    • Don’t cross your arms
    • Maintain eye contact (don’t look for other people in the room while the other person is talking)
    • Lean towards the person to show that you don’t want to miss a word of what he or she is saying
    • Use their name during the conversation
  • Don’t stay too superficial. Open up, talk about what your passionate about, the other person might follow your lead.
  • Ask good open-ended questions (show your interest)

These “informal” meetings are not to be taken lightly…Someone is looking at you!…Someone is listening!

Oh, and I almost forgot…Don’t forget to have fun! 🙂

Let me know, in the Comments Section, if you have other good suggestions for these professional gatherings!

Is There A Personal And Powerful message In Your Performance Appraisals?

simpleDo you know for sure that, as a manager, you didn’t lose your time going through the Performance Review process last year?

Here is an easy trick (a sort of barometer) to know if you’ve done a good job:

Choose one of your employees and ask:

  • What was your challenge for 2015? What did you have to accomplish? (develop or improve…)
  • What personal ability did you have to work on this year? (teamwork, listening skill…)
  • Did we have something to achieve as a team? Did we succeed?

If the person can’t answer, then your message lacked clarity, was diluted in a mountain of words and/or wasn’t personalized enough.

This exercise will allow you to do a better job this year.

When establishing objectives for 2016 for each employee, be specific about what you want and keep your communication simple.

Choose one target, whatever is urgent for reaching your short term goal as a team,  you can’t accomplish everything in a single year.

Take a second look at what you’ve done so far in regard to the Performance Review process. On a scale of 1 to 10, how simple is it?

Let me know in the comment section.

 

 

“007” Steps To Achieve Employee Engagement A La “James Bond”

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Here is a concrete way to build engagement among employees.

I recently worked with a client to create a “MISSION” for each of his key employees. Here are the elements that made this challenge a success:

001 Give them a “personal” mission

The overall mission of James Bond is always to save England, what am I saying, the whole world, but it always starts with a precise target that allows him to focus on something specific. It’s important to have a goal for the team, but nothing is more energizing than to feel personally responsible for something.

(Give them a specific group of clients to WOW, a process to improve, an internal department to research and better understand, the task of networking to create new opportunities, the team spirit to improve…)

002 Make sure they can visualize the target

James Bond always takes on a mission with the picture of the enemy to conquer… Make sure to properly communicate what needs to be accomplished. (If the mission is a success, what will be different?)

003 Give them free rein – Action!

Our spy doesn’t choose the target, but he’s so free to choose his action plan, that he’s even “licensed to kill”! Once your employee understands what you want to accomplish, and why it’s important, let him use his creativity… He might surprise you!

004 Give them the tools

In the movies, I love the part where they present the new gadgets that are available to Bond in order to achieve his mission. Make sure you do the same with your employee…Give him the necessary time, a small budget, the technical assistance, the needed ressources…

005 Remind them that it’s also important to help others accomplish their mission

Like James, your employee will meet team members during his adventure, make sure that he will do everything in his power to assist them. Even if he’s on a personal mission, he must not forget that he’s still part of a team!

006 Errors are allowed

Even in movies nothing is perfect. There are always unexpected problems, unforeseen events and broken pieces. Your employee may try something that won’t work, if he takes full responsibility and that you both learn from the experience, it’s still a step forward.

007 The story always ends with the “Bond Girl”

We know how James celebrates his successes. What about your employees? How could you, specifically, celebrate your agent who completes his mission? It’s your turn to use your creativity!

Nothing could be more exhilarating than being on a MISSION!

Yes it requires some planning time, you need to figure out the best person for each different type of challenge, but you will be surprised by the results. It’s really something special to see your employees come to life.

If you need help in putting a similar program in place for your own team, don’t hesitate to sign up for a “Mission Development Coaching Session”.

What to you think of this idea? Let me know in the “Comments” section.