Posts Tagged ‘employee motivation’

 I like Seth Godin. I subscribe to his blog and just today received his posting called The Paralysis of Unlimited Opportunity. It made me think about all the distraction we face in our work lives and wonder how many of us are compromising productivity due to a lack of focus. How many of us possess the drive, ambition, know-how and desire to succeed but are distracted by a million little nothings in our day? You know what I mean; web-sites, phone calls, text messages, family, and life in general. It is easy to get pulled in a million directions. How many of us spend too much time sifting through email that adds no value to our lives? Are you spending more time waiting for opportunities than creating them? Are you flogging dead horses even though you know you are not Jesus Christ and cannot give life to the dead? Is this the paralysis of unlimited opportunity or just the paralysis of having a distracted and undisciplined nature? Maybe you are just spending too much time tuning into the white noise of being busy doing nothing.

Here are some tips to help you get around this:

1. Know what you are working toward. Have a very clear purpose, write it down and decide what exactly you need to do to achieve this. Failure to do this will result in your swirling in a sea of white noise for eternity.

2. Turn off the white noise at the end of every day and make a list of priorities for the following day. Your day isn’t done until you’ve accomplished them and written out new ones for the next day.

3. Find someone to hold you accountable. Having a friend at work or even outside of work who can participate in this with you is very effective. Your friend should also be setting goals and reporting to you. You can’t meet every week and have none of your goals achieved; it’s way too embarrassing! Mutual accountability is great for helping you move things along.

4. Read books that motivate you. Filling your head with fluff will result in your being less productive. A commitment to reading or listening to books that inspire you to achieve more, develop important skills and increase your expertise will allow you to become much more productive.

5. Hire a coach. I do provide private leadership coaching to my clients, and it is not terribly expensive. There are many ways to access coaching with the technology that exists today. If all of the above isn’t helping you, consider hiring someone who specializes in working with others to enhance performance.

Taking action to  overcome your white noise will be the difference that gives you an edge and will allow you to be all that you can be. Do something. As Seth Godin says in his blog post, just don’t do nothing.


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I regularly play a training game with my clients, which demonstrates the power of positive feedback. I divide the workshop participants into three groups and assign three leaders. The object of the game is to toss a penny against the wall and have it land on a strip of masking tape placed about two feet from the wall. The leader of each team is given a separate set of instructions which must be kept secret. One leader is to give only positive feedback to their team mates, and should continually offer encouragement by saying things like. “Good try.” “Nice technique”, etc. The second team leader is to say nothing at all. He must allow the players to just toss away pennies and make no comments of any kind. The third leader is instructed to give only negative feedback. He must make comments like, “That’s terrible!” “What are you doing?” “You suck,” etc.

I have to say that every time I play this game, the results are always the same. The team who gets positive feedback always manages to get the most pennies on the tape. The team who gets no feedback does much worse, and the team that receives only negative feedback gets the worst score of all. Interestingly, that team tries really hard to win. They support each other and offer encouragement to each other. They shut out the team leader completely, physically blocking his view of their performance. They do this every single time! It’s fascinating, and people do this at work all the time.

Think about your experiences with negative managers. How did you and your co-workers cope? Did you all gang up and complain about him/her whenever you had the chance? Were there things you tried to keep your boss from seeing? How can you use what you know about motivation to build the power of your team?

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Let’s face it. We live in a world of rapid communication and that communication can make or break your business. Potential employees can surf the internet to find out what employees think of the companies they work for or have worked for in the past. Potential customers can view customer service complaints on millions of websites to see what experiences others have had with your company. A simple Google search could reveal a ton of information about your business that may not be favourable at all.

In spite of all of this, I am continually mystified by the reluctance of many companies to actively try to engage their employees and their customers. How can they not accept the reality that the world has changed and that corporations are no longer as powerful as they used to be? The days of being able to hide your problems from the public are long over and it simply doesn’t pay to live in denial!

An engaged workforce will at least triple your current bottom line results so it is well worth your while to invest in leadership and employee development programs and to concentrate on building an engaged corporate culture. Failing to do so means your business results will only be about 29% of what they could be. That is because on average, only 29% of employees are engaged and they are carrying the results of your entire company. The remaining 71% of your employees are dragging you down and since this condition is reversible, it makes good business sense to work on increasing employee engagement!

I understand that soft skills training is often seen as being a nice thing to do, if you can afford it, but the fact is a good training professional will be able to tie training to solid business results. It really is not fluff and if your employees are like those in most companies, you truly cannot afford to let developing your employees become a low priority.

I have seen what’s out there and I know why we training professionals get a bad rap. It’s because there was a time when less than competent people thought they could cash in on the gravy train when companies had money to spend. They produced nothing, held no one accountable, took away a cheque and drove off in their Beemers. Meanwhile everyone who participated in the sessions went back to their old habits and nothing really changed for the business.

Sadly, those guys are still out there and they still get business from those who have a poor point of reference. They look super slick and act like they’ve got the world by the tail, but they are not true professionals. Look for training that is focussed on achieving results and comes with a guarantee. In my opinion, anyone in my profession who is not willing to stand by their work isn’t worth hiring.

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I am so proud and happy to report that my new book, Engaged for Growth is getting top ratings from Indigo shoppers. Feel free to check out the listing, make a purchase and post a comment for the world to see. The book is a quick read and is meant to give the reader the most important things they need to know to get their people engaged at work. http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/Engaged-for-Growth-Ren%c3%a9e-Cormier/9781897453285-item.html?ref=Search+Books%3a+%2527renee+cormier%2527

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By: Renée Cormier

The road to developing extraordinary customer experiences shouldn’t be riddled with pot holes, but it often is. Managers want to know how to get their people to care enough to go the extra mile while customers are fed a line of excuses that would choke a bull. “We’re so busy.” “The truck didn’t come in.” “We only do what we are told.” “That’s our policy.”

Here’s the thing about customers: they don’t care why you can’t do something, or why you failed to deliver. They only care that their expectations were not met. They also get really annoyed when they spend money doing business with you and are treated like an inconvenience, or worse, like they have a mental problem.

Customers may not always be charming to deal with, but you should always be charming when dealing with them. Most of us know that. Still, doing what is unexpected and positive is the best way to charm your customers. That’s called going the extra mile. Seeing something that needs to be done and doing it, even though the customer did not ask for it. Taking time out after hours to make sure your customer has their order on time, because you value the needs of your customer and understand that the health of your business depends on their happiness.

Here’s a fact: There is a direct correlation between engaged employees and customer loyalty. It’s not hard to figure out why. Disengaged employees don’t care about the results they create. They are merely putting in time. Therefore they never consider doing anything that would pleasantly surprise a customer. They deliver service that is mediocre at best, and sometimes downright horrible!

Many companies think that by offering extensive Customer Service training they can fix their Customer Service problems. The trouble is the training is only beneficial after the manager has been trained in how to engage employees. If you’ve ever wondered why “training doesn’t work” that is part of the problem. You need to get to the root of the problem. Bad managers create disengaged employees. Sometimes, in fact, often times, the whole company is comprised of bad managers and that is where the real problem lies.

Getting your customer service staff in gear to exceed your customers’ expectations is key if you want to have an edge over your competition. Here are a few things you can do to get started:

Draw the Line: Some people just don’t get the relationship between behaviours and outcomes, so in a non threatening way, it is important to draw the line, so to speak. Let your employees know how important excellent customer service is to the health of the company (and their jobs). Your front line people are extremely vital in keeping your business afloat. They need to know the value of the role they play in realizing the mission/vision!

Hire Smart: Never hire anyone for any position in your company simply because they are willing to do the job. Customer Service people need to have an attitude of helpfulness and an eagerness to please (as should everyone else). If you hire people with the wrong attitude, you will drive your customers away.

Show Great Appreciation: Given the nature of Customer Service work and the important role your CS staff play in your company, it goes without saying that you must show them appreciation. It is imperative that you make sure they know how important they are and are shown appreciation for their efforts daily!

Outstanding Moments: In the name of delighting your customers and reminding your CS staff how important it is to deliver outstanding service, have a brief meeting after shifts to allow your people to share their outstanding moments. Asking your Customer Service staff to talk about how they went the extra mile that day will inspire their co-workers and reinforce the right mentality. It will also provide the manager with the opportunity to congratulate and openly express appreciation for their efforts, thereby driving up morale and engagement.

Look Inward: Great leaders strive for continuous self-improvement. They are not afraid to let go of their ego and reflect on their own mistakes. As long as you are asking your employees to tell you how they were outstanding each day, you may as well do the same in the confines of your brain. Do take the time to reflect on how you were outstanding each day in the eyes of your employees, and where you could have been better. Make a plan to improve and follow it. No one wants to follow an arrogant leader, so this is a really important exercise to perform.

Train, Train, Train: Ok, now I’ll give myself a plug and tell you to train your people! We all need reminding and there is always something more to learn. Start by getting Leadership and Communication Skills training for your managers and Customer Service and Communications Skills training for CS staff. Yes, it is among the many ways I work with companies to help them achieve employee engagement and positive bottom line results!

Renée Cormier is the President and owner of POWERHOUSE CONFERENCES, a company dedicated to working with businesses to increase efficiency, productivity and profit.  A specialist in the area of Employee Engagement, Renée has spent the last 12 years as a training and development professional. She has been an entrepreneur, worked for both large and small companies, managed both people and sales effectively, and developed systems and habits that brought her much success. Renée uses her experience in Business and Adult Education to develop and implement training programs that show business leaders how to engage their workforce and get guaranteed bottom line results! Clients say her learning sessions are lively, engaging and valuable. POWERHOUSE CONFERENCES is a member of the Canadian Society for Training & Development.

Contact: renee@powerconferences.ca      Phone: (905)593-2778 www.powerconferences.ca

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By: Renée Cormier

Did you know that an important part of securing employee engagement means making sure your employees have the tools to do their jobs effectively?  In spite of this, a surprising number of companies force their employees to wing it. It seems ridiculous that sales managers would send their reps out without the benefit of a presentation binder or a script to work from, but many do. Similarly, it is pretty common for employers to force their people to work with computers that continually crash, or software programs that do not quickly and effectively produce necessary reports. Ineffective tools and systems waste time and money and will most certainly lead to employee frustration of mammoth proportion. Those frustrated employees become quickly disengaged and will ultimately harm your business results!

If you think you are saving money by not purchasing top notch equipment for your employees to use, then you are sadly mistaken! As an employer, anything you do to help your employees be more effective is money well spent. Here are some areas to keep an eye on in your company:

Sales: Since I spent many years working in sales roles, I know how important it is to have a structure to follow. Now, I know many sales people complain about having to follow structure, but you will find that the most successful sales people will tell you they use a presentation binder and they know exactly what they are going to say when they go into a sales meeting. Professional selling is a process. It doesn’t happen by accident. Skilled sales people follow a finely developed process that works. If your company hasn’t developed a process, then doing so is a must! It is also important to make sure your people stick to it. If you have developed a process that doesn’t seem to work very well, then get input from your people to help you fine tune it. You’ll be glad you did!

Customer Service: Sales people always complain about the gap between what they promise customers and what actually gets delivered. Interestingly, Customer Service people complain about the same thing! Part of providing excellent customer service is getting everyone on the same page. Each department in your company is dependent upon the other. No one can function efficiently without the support of others, and your customers will most certainly be let down if your various work teams are not in sync. Successful companies have solid systems in place for taking orders and delivering products and services to their customers (both internal and external). If something is not working, then the whole team needs to get together to see what tweaks can be made to the existing system to make it more effective. Striving for continuous improvement is a vital part of creating engaged employees and securing customer loyalty!

Continuous Improvement Systems: Toyota implements 99% of the suggestions received from employees. The result of doing so has paid off significantly. The people who actually use your systems and equipment are in a much better position to tell you where you need to improve than any “Lean Expert” or consultant. Just look at GM and Ford. They employed tons of Lean Manufacturing experts, and most likely forgot about the people running the equipment.  The moral here, is develop a system that allows employees to help you improve all of your processes, and then implement the best suggestions. You will be more likely to have effective systems, and your employees will know they are valuable to the business. Valued employees are engaged employees, and as long as you are striving for continuous improvement, you will continue to rise above the competition!

Meetings: In many companies meetings are a great way to waste time and talk about what needs improvement. Meetings should be a springboard for action, not a forum for inaction! Structure your meetings so that you have objectives. Do not have a meeting just because it’s Friday and you always have meetings on Friday. If you’ve got nothing to address, then you don’t need to have a meeting! If you do have issues to address, don’t add too much variety to the agenda. In fact, the fewer items you address in a meeting the better. Many companies save a whole bunch of items for a long and boring meeting and then wonder why they never act on anything that was discussed. The reason is that you will be more likely to take action on the one thing you discussed than on the twenty different items you discussed. It is far better to have several short meetings that end with an action plan, than one big one that ends in, “I can’t wait to get out of here!”

Remember, successful companies are all about structure! Develop systems that work, support your people, and give them the opportunity to be the best they can be. Of course, you can always call me if you need my help!

Renée Cormier is the President and owner of POWERHOUSE CONFERENCES, a company dedicated to working with businesses to increase efficiency, productivity and profit. A specialist in the area of Employee Engagement, Renée has spent the last 12 years as a training and development professional. She has been an entrepreneur, worked for both large and small companies, managed both people and sales effectively, and developed systems and habits that brought her much success. Renée uses her experience in Business and Adult Education to develop and implement training programs that show business leaders how to engage their workforce and get guaranteed bottom line results! Clients say her learning sessions are lively, engaging and valuable. Contact: renee@powerconferences.ca

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Are your employees calling in sick a little too often? Are they having a hard time meeting deadlines? Are your customers complaining? Are you experiencing high turnover in staff? Do you feel like an overpaid babysitter? Give me a call. I’ll give you some strategies to help get you the results you’ve been wishing for.

Employee Engagement Specialist
1-888-MY-ETHER ext. 03844862

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