Archive for May, 2012
Last fall, I spent two blog posts discussing how effective leaders stay organized. At that time, I was referring to your actual to-do list, which typically won’t have the actual words “pay attention to John on Monday.”
But maybe you should consider it.
A colleague of mine was telling me about a car salesman who kept a Rolodex of every car he’d ever sold (this was back in 2002, so there is a chance he’s gone electronic by now). He checked in with the owners of the cars every year on the anniversary of the purchase. Good service, right?
It goes beyond that. Also on each page of that Rolodex was the birthday of the car’s owner, names of family members, jobs, and a whole slew of personal information. Several times a year, he found a reason to contact his clients- on their birthday, on the car’s birthday, their child’s graduation, etc. And at the end of every greeting card, phone conversation or voicemail was the line, “Is there anything I can do for you?”
Nine times out of ten, the answer was no. But that tenth time? Might just lead him to selling yet another car (the auto industry’s equivalent to successfully engaging an employee). At this time, my colleague’s extended family has bought a total of seven cars from him in the past decade.
Do you need a Rolodex with the personal information of everyone you’re leading? Maybe not, but no matter how many people you manage, it takes forethought to ensure you’re regularly engaging them- and asking what you can do for them. Unless you’ve conditioned your brain to be a steel trap, there’s no shame (and probably great benefit) from keeping written track of the key details.
Of course, you could always spend the time sharpening your steel trap.
When I was in 6th grade, my music teacher, Mr. Jones, played us some “Switched-On Bach” – Bach performed on synthesizer. That was pretty cool back in 1980. If you’re over 40, I bet you know what I’m talking about. It actually got me really interested in “real” Bach music; I’m a fan to this day.
Mr. Jones was a real advocate, and fed me more to listen to, and encouraged my unusual (for a 6th-grade boy) passion for Baroque music. Until one day… Read the rest of this entry »
If you’re a leader, you’re likely an expert on something.
If you’re an expert, people come to you for advice and opinion.
And you might find yourself talking and talking and talking.
Then, you realize that you’re talking too much, and listening too little. You know better, but you’re stuck. What can you do?
Here’s a phrase that works in nearly every situation:
I don’t know; what do YOU think?
This will force you to stop, and will dignify the people you serve, and build relationships.
But I don’t know – what do YOU think?
Sometimes, servant leadership calls for relinquishing power. Insecure leaders look for opportunities to take power, and we know this on some level. Here’s an opportunity to Read the rest of this entry »
I ate in a London pub with a group once, and the server made a mistake when calculating the bill. Unfortunately, he didn’t believe us, and our argument kept escalating. I got a little, um, Read the rest of this entry »