Monday, November 9, 2015

Bad Leadership

Often a leader is assumed to be all-powerful. As a leader, we exercise power, authority and influence in the ways that do harm. How? A leader may or may not hold a formal position of authority; position is not the point. Rather, it is the leader as protagonist that matters. People in a state of nature are not, in usual sense of the word “good”. This is not to insist that people are bad but rather that relied on to behave well. Leaders are like everyone else. They-we- behave badly for different reasons, and they-we-behave badly different ways. A city in which corruption has long been tolerated is more likely to be defrauded by it elected officials and string tradition of good government.

Why do leaders behave badly then? The leaders’ traits and character play more important role in their behaviors. Traits once considered of paramount importance such as intelligence, are viewed as having fuzzy and imprecise denotations. It is now widely agreed that to emphasize the leaders. Traits are to emphasize other important variables, such as the situation, the nature of the task at hand of course the followers. Why people behave the way they do. Greed-Greedy leaders crave more-more success, more money, more power or more whatever, such as sex. This is not to say that all leaders who aspire to have more are bad. In some measure, rewards such as money and power are simply the benefits expected from hard work. Rather, when leaders’ appetite for more is excessive, it is likely to intrude on their capacity to exercise leadership for the common good. When leaders are unwilling or unable to control their desire for more bad leadership will be the result. Greed is likely to be most pernicious when in entails a hunger for power.

Unlike traits which are viewed as amenable to change, character is more permanent condition, fundamental and fixed. Character is embedded in who we are; it is who we are. As the word is commonly used, we also presume that to know a person’s character is to know his or her moral compass. The connection between character and leadership is easiest to make an extreme. Unless followers are pressured or coerced into going along with bad leaders, they resist them right? Wrong? We know full well that bad leaders of various kinds abound that their followers usually follow, even when they know that their leaders are misguided or malevolent. Why? The answer to this question matters, because we can’t expect to reduce the number of bad leaders unless, we reduce the number of bad followers. Followers have their most basic human needs which attract them to follow bad leaders.

The quest for safety, for self-preservation, is arguably the strongest of our basic needs.
Before anything else, we seek food, shelter, and protection from harm. Followers follow bad leaders not only because of their individual need for safety, simplicity and certainty but also because of the needs of the group. Group[s go along with bad leaders often provide important benefits. Followers’ dedications to bad leaders are very bad, as opposed to only somewhat bad. Followers who knowingly, deliberately commit themselves to bad leaders are themselves bad. Bad leadership falls into two categories; bad as in ineffective and bad as an unethical ineffective leadership fails to produce the desired change. For reasons that include missing traits, weak skills, strategies badly conceived, and tactics badly employed, ineffective leadership falls shorts of in intention. Unethical leadership fails to distinguish between right and wrong including corruption, callous, and evil acts.

This is a very big fact that without followers, nothing happens, including bad leadership. Together leaders and followers can bring out the best in people, as in say, the civil rights movement; or they can amplify what’s worse in people and leaver murder and mayhem in their wake. Obviously this finding has moral implications. Leaders and follower share responsibility for leadership, bad as well as good. Finger pointing- “He did it!” – will no longer wash. None of us is off the hook. We cannot stop or slow bad leadership by changing human nature. No amount of preaching or sermonizing, no exhortation to virtuous conduct, uplifting thoughts, are wholesome habits will obviate the fact that even though our behaviors may change, our nature is constant. Rather, it is that leaders are likely to change only when they decide it’s in their interest to do so. Bad leaders will not be good leaders unless they calculate the cost of bad leadership as greater than the costs of good leadership. Bad leadership will not, cannot, be stopped or slowed unless followers take responsibility for rewarding the good leaders and penalizing the bad ones.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Is working hard at work worth doing?

It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. By Theodore Roosevelt.

Recently a good friend of mine Suparna lost in her offer to be promoted for a Manager’s position. Last month an opportunity for me to bid for a campaign in a major company fell through. Also Last month I had a proposal rejected by a sponsor and everyday folks around the world sense the sting of frustration when things don’t work out as expected. Too often though when our hard work fails to produce what we have put our effort for, we focus on the failure.  People call it “waste of their effort” implying that because they did not accomplish the objective they set out toward—whether it be the business deal they had worked so hard to bring home or the job promotion that was given to someone else despite their hours of overtime—that their effort was of no value.

But that is not true. There is a saying Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

You do yourself a disservice when you approach hard work begrudgingly. There is little in life more rewarding than working hard at work worth doing, regardless of whether you always produce the result you want.

Working hard toward a goal or vision that inspires us, regardless of the outcome, always holds intrinsic value. What matters far more than what we get from our hard work and effort, is who we get to become because of it. It is only human to feel disappointment when we don’t achieve something we’ve worked hard toward. But our hard work and effort is never wasted. It truly is one of life’s deep joys to “work hard at work worth doing.”  And working hard toward something that fills you with purpose and passion is always work worth doing— whether it be fulfilling a long held dream, building a business that fulfills an unmet need or, closer to home, writing a book to help people be more courageous in their working lives.
Today the word “work” has come to mean something to be avoided as much as possible for many people who approach hard work begrudgingly. But there’s value in work. Not just for the money you can earn, but from the person you get to become through it. Hard work draws out talents and capacities that may otherwise have lain dormant.

I don’t know what challenges you face right now. But I will bet that in order to meet them successfully it will require you to do some hard work.  Work isn’t always “fun”. Sometimes it can be a grind. But that does not diminish its intrinsic value.

So let me ask you, where is your life calling on you to work harder at work worth doing? Whether it’s the inner work of transforming the way in you’re living your life, or the outer “roll up your sleeves and set your alarm early” work, always keep forefront of mind, that nothing worth doing has ever been done without good old fashioned hard work.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The art of getting good service

When was the last time you walked into a department store and stood at the counter waiting to be waited on? Two sales associates were in clear view, chatting away about their personal lives. Trying to be patient you stood quietly waiting for them to notice you and offer you a helping hand. After a while, you started to think, “Do they see me, or are they still on break?”  “What’s going on there?”  Later, you get annoyed in this situation; will you start off on the right foot with the person who is serving you?

It depends! How you initially approach service providers influences the entire interaction as its outcome. Don’t let your time pressures or frustrations run away with you. You want to give the message to the service people that you view them as allies rather than obstacles. Even if you greet the sales person and ask for help, there may be times when the people are simply having a bad day, or it might be more complex, so if you stand in their shoes your interaction will be more effective.

One of the biggest mistakes customers make is expecting the service provider to be a mind reader. Making clear requests saves you time and lessens the service person’s frustration so ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT and be specific with details if applicable. If you need help in solving a problem, utilize the resources of service person by asking:
  • “What do you recommend?”
  • “Do you have any suggestions?”
  • “What would you do if you were in my situation?”
  • “What’s a good next step?”

On those occasions when you are dealing with someone who is obviously in a bad mood, try defusing the situation by recognizing her feelings and saying:
  •  “You seem like you’re having a bad day today.”
  •  “This situation must be tough for you.”
  •  “You’re doing a great job; I know this is a difficult situation.”

There are some major don’t that you should never do if you want to get great service:
  • Don’t threat to sue as a tactic.
  • Don’t yell, scream, or shout.
  • Don’t use foul language.
  • Don’t threaten physical harm.
  • Don’t claim you know the owner of the company (when you don’t) and say you will be speaking to him or her about this incident.

Certain situations provide more fertile ground for conflict than others for example in restaurants. Since 90’s, everyone seems to be on a diet or food program. Phrases that we rarely used a few years ago now dominate our daily conversations. Some of our personal favorites include:-
  • No butter or oil.
  • On the side.
  • Steamed not fried.

In these situations, where you need to make a change, the best way to approach your wait person is by stating pleasantly:-
  • “Excuse me, but right now I am not eating any butter. Could you please ask the chef not to put it on the vegetables?”

This statement is clear but no demanding way to enlist the support of the waiter. Definitely don’t state your preferences as a demand by saying:
  •  “I don’t eat butter! Tell the chef to leave it of the vegetables!”

When you are in a spot of making a complaint, you may have an overwhelming urge to speak. Don’t. Learning to live with silence will pay off. The person serving you whether it is hotel, airport, or retail store will feel more compelled to respond if you are patient and not in bad mood. This is the point when he is more likely to offer a suggestion, alternative, or run screaming in horror looking for his manager. If he does the later, you need to move your complaint up the ladder.

If you have gone as far as you go with the person helping you, ask for a supervisor or a manager. Don’t put the person on the defensive by saying:-
  •   “You are obviously not the right person to take care of this situation let me speak to someone higher up!”

A better approach will be to say:-
  •  “I appreciate everything you have done, but I want to speak with a supervisor so that I can move this situation forward.”

Be prepared. If the person you are dealing with has a bad attitude, the supervisor, or manager may be the same because the manager sets the departmental tone. Just be sure to express yourself in style, or as one of my friends says: “Standup for yourself in an elegant way.”

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Be a company that people want to work for

Does your company’s culture look more like a “culture of commitment” or more likely a toxic or abusive culture that is indifferent to employee burnout and turnover? Use this following checklist to help you answer this question:-

  • A Culture of Commitment
  • Views employees as partners.
  • Recognizes the human needs of all employees.
  • Invests in people as primary source of competitive advantage.
  • Commits to long-term strategy and carry the people needed to carry it out.
  • Reward system and management styles support the mission and strategy.
  • Focuses on “managing the performance contract”, not in controlling the people.
  • Puts a premium on employee involvement in new ideas and innovation.
  • Focuses on results, not on who gets credit.
  • Trust employees enough to delegate.
  • Tolerate “intelligent error: and experimentation.

Which results in:-

High-performing, confident, innovative, committed work-force.
Achievement of company mission and lasting competitive advantage.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Customer Delight: Waves of Change

No Strategy is borne or executed in a vacuum, and the customer delight principle is no less subject to the environment in which it is implemented. Today’s market is far different from any of the past. It poses problems of seemingly insurmountable difficulty. In these challenging times, the attention of several writers has focused on what is being labeled “the new economy” and how it seems to be changing the rules of productivity, growth, and profitability how it is changing the very ways we conduct business. The expanding economy places a premium on retaining both high-valued customers and dedicated employees were underappreciated and often “downsized” out of their jobs. Businesses must adapt to their rapidly evolving market. The marketing department is one of the primary corporate departments that can help effect this change, and it’s capabilities to assist evolution. In general business must become three things:

1.       More” Outside-focused,” because that is where revenues come from.
2.       More long-term-oriented, because long-term customer relationships are the key to revenues.
3.       More focused on service excellence because delighting customer is the key to long-term success.

Customer delight being outside focused is very easy to spot. The focus on the customer, delighting him or her and in so doing building long-term relationships, long-term success can be easily achieved. These three things can be practiced in any business enterprise, though the outlook tends to be more prevalent in the service sector or where the servicing component can be made an important point of differentiations. Too many companies long for relationships with their customers. The truth of the matter is, it’s a one sided longing. While some do, most customers don’t long to establish a relationship with a company. The truth of the relationship goal is the marketer’s perspective that with a relationship, customers will be less likely to leave. This means that the underlying strategy is retention; establishing to help accomplish that goal.

As a long-term view of customer relationship is adopted, loyalty becomes a desire for both the company and the customers. To earn loyalty, the company has to be willing to evince long-term commitment toward its most valuable employees. Companies need to treat their employees better in order to retain them longer and to encourage them to give better service that customers are seeking. Many business organizations have begun to recognize the need of customer delight and excellence. “Your satisfaction is guaranteed.” This statement is self-evident. Dissatisfied customers are bad for business. They don’t come back and all too often, they tell their friends why. If dissatisfied customers are bad for business, then satisfied customers are good for business. Nothing is more important than satisfying the customer. Everybody talks about customer satisfaction but few companies measure it and even fewer implement it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Why Good performers leave?

If you recruit, hire, train and manage people, you are engaged in fighting the war of talent every day. You are tired- tired of resignations on short notice, tired of new hires leaving after only a few days on the job, tired of spending so much of your time and money on recruitment and on getting new hires up to speed, tired of the disruptions in customer service created when a key person quits, tired of asking your other workers to pick up the slack, and tire of the way it feels to be “fired” by one of your employees. Think for a moment about the jobs you’ve held and why you left them. Also consider any good performer who has left your current or previous employers. In how many of these situations did the reason for leaving originate from dissatisfaction with the job or work environment?

In exit interviews, departing employees most often say they left for “a better opportunity” which is usually taken to mean “more money”. Actually, it often does mean they received a salary offer greater than what they were previously making, but there are usually deeper motivations involved. Many top performers get calls from recruiters enticing them to pursue more lucrative positions with other companies. Yet they often decline to pursue these opportunities. Why? Because they are satisfied where they are. The top performers who do pursue these invitations are usually dissatisfied in one or more key areas- growth prospects, lack of challenge or a poor relationship with the boss. We refer these as “push-factors” because they push the employee in the direction of leaving the company.

One of the key “push-factors” is the employee’s inability to see any link between performance and pay. It is demotivating to most top performers when they work harder and smarter and get better results than their peers, yet receive the same percentage pay increase, bonus or promotion. If an employee perceives no growth or advancement opportunities, even when they exist, then for all practical purposes, they do not exist. In a common scenario, an employee announces his resignation to his manager, who responds, “I’m surprised and disappointed, I had plans for you.” This often happens because neither the manager nor the employee has taken time to schedule a meeting where career options and opportunities can be discussed.

All workers need to believe that their work is centrally important to the success of the enterprise, whether the job is restaurant server, housekeep, data processor, factory worker or bank teller. This means that the employee’s manager needs to convey with strong belief, exactly how the worker’s job is central to the company’s mission. Manager must be willing to back up his statement of belief by offering viable rewards of some kind based on the employees’ actual performance. Sometimes, when employees resign, they have the reason of not being able to tolerate abusive manager. Waves of downsizings and proliferation of toxic and abusive companies have killed loyalty. It’s no wonder that younger workers than ever aspire to the dream of self-employment rather than their parents dream of working for a large corporation.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

For Managers: 12 easy ways you can give and get back every day

You are a manager having hard-time in managing your employees performance? Do you find that your employees are not satisfied with your management style? Need solution! Here are twelve simple tips that you can use to get better performance from their employees:
  • Smile, make eye contact, and say “good-morning” to every person you supervise. Continue to acknowledge each person throughout the day.
  • Stop every now and then to ask them sincerely, “How are you doing?”
  • When they speak, really listen, and don’t interrupt.
  • Ask, don’t tell; say please and thank you (just like your mother taught you)
  • Be generous with praise at every opportunity.
  • Correct people only in private not in front of the co-workers.
  • Respect, even celebrate, those on your team who are different; they bring a diversity of perspective, background, and strength that all teams need.
  • When you say you will do something, do it. Honor your commitments to your staff.
  • Give honest and constructive feedback and tell the truth about what’s happening in the organization.
  • Trust people to do the job well without your constant monitoring.
  • When one of your staff members faces a personal crisis, serious illness, or emergency so everything in your power to help the person through it.
  • Act as if you are there to serve your employees not the other way around.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

How to Spot the future Leaders of your business

Thinking to promote someone at work? Confused who is deserving candidate? Here are some tips to help you in you decision:
  • They consistently deliver ambitious results.
  • They continuously demonstrate growth, adaptability, and learning better and faster than their excellently performing peers.
  • They seize the opportunity for challenging, bigger assignments thereby expanding capability and capacity and improving judgement.
  • They have the ability to think through the business and take leaps of imagination to grow the business.
  • They are driven to take things to the next level.
  • Their powers of observation are very acute, forming judgement of people by focusing on their people by focusing on their decisions, behaviors, and actions rather than relying on initial reactions and gut instincts; they can mentally detect and construct the “DNA” of a person.
  • They come to the point succinctly; are clear thinkers and have the courage to state a point-of-view even though listeners may react adversely.
  • They ask incisive questions that open minds and incite the imagination.
  • They perceptively judge their own direct reports, have the courage to give them honest feedback so the direct reports grow; they dig into cause and effect if a direct reports and match the job with the person; if there is a mismatch they deal with it promptly.
  • They are able to spot talent and see the “God’s gift” of other individuals.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Today’s Managers or Tomorrow’s Leaders

Chaos. Uncertainty. Unpredictability. Constant change. These are all characteristics of the world in which we now live, and all indications are that the world of the future will be even more chaotic, more uncertain, more unpredictable, and in even greater states of constant and unprecedented change and flux. Such circumstances desperately call for new leaders. Indeed, “if there was ever a moment in history when a comprehensive strategic view of leadership was needed,... this is certainly it.” For almost a century, writers have attempted to describe leadership, and researchers have attempted to identify the defining characteristics of leaders. The outcome has been one very clear conclusion: “Leadership is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth” It is multidimensional and multifaceted—a universal human phenomenon that many know when they see it, but few can define clearly.

Opportunities exist in all aspects of our lives to exercise leadership and to make a difference in the lives of others and in the directions of groups and organizations. Leaders do not need to be appointed or even “invited” to exercise leadership; they do it because they “care more than others think is wise; risk more than others think is safe; dream more than others think is practical; and expect more than others think is possible” It is easy to obtain the title as strong Leader when you know in your heart you are doing right thing for the “good of all”. When I was working in a bank, my manager had bunch of clients who were more inclined to follow her wherever she used to get transfer. If people follow you, and you have all the pieces of the puzzle in place as described throughout this course, you will succeed.  Leaders do not abuse their power, but build trust by using it properly.  Trust fosters collaboration, which contributes to openly sharing information, which then creates a solid team who supports each other.  Trust is based on the respect and expectations of a leader who cares and acts with compassion in a most positive way. 

The traditional qualities that may have made a leader effective in the past no longer apply in today’s world, where employees span multiple generations and countless ethnic and regional backgrounds. In the past, management typically sets rules, policies, and procedures, and employees followed them. Today many organizations seek to have leadership quality in their managers to take full advantage of their employees’ talents and abilities and to make the best use of everyone’s time. It makes sense for those who best understand work processes and improvement opportunities to make the decisions. Therein lies the challenge, because we typically do not prepare new supervisors or operations officers for their new duties, which require a completely different skill set, as well as management and leadership abilities. It is often observed that even the most clinically competent paramedic can make the worst supervisor.

A friend of mine lives in high-rise of apartment in Kathmandu. One example of "teaching empolyees" was the general manager telling employees that the doors to the resident gym must now be kept closed at all times. For years, previously, the doors had been left open unless a resident wanted privacy and chose to close them. My friend asked one of the employees, "Why are the doors closed all of the time now?" The employee replied, "I don't know, the manager just told us to."

It's disrespectful to just give directives without letting people understand the reason(s) why. There might have very well been a good reason why the doors were now to be kept closed. Had the manager taken just a few minutes to share a reason why, the employees would feel better about them and would more likely keep the doors closed? If employees are following directives out of a fear of being "written up," they aren't in a position to provide great service.
This is the exact opposite of what good managers do to be great leader. A good manager would explain why the doors now need to be closed. And, if there wasn't a good reason why, they wouldn't force the change on a whim. After speaking to an audience, I often have a manager come up to me and say, “Seema, I really want to grow and develop as a leader, but the managers at all levels above me certainly don’t. What can I do?”

I give them two bits of advice. One is that you can’t change anyone or anything above you in the company. You can’t manage the corporation from your level up, so don’t even try. The second nugget I pass along came from Tony, who was in one of the audiences I’d just spoken to. He explained that he couldn’t do much about changing anyone above him so he had decided to become an “island of excellence” within his sphere of influence. He would get so good at what he was doing that something great was bound to happen. That’s the spirit! That’s what I’m talking about!

No one is as interested in your career as you are. No one is more interested in your future than you are. Take the responsibility of becoming an island of excellence within your present company no matter what anyone else is doing. We are all working for the future. I’m excited by the changing world in which we live because the future is rich with possibilities we haven’t even considered. Someone once said we don’t grow old, we become old by not growing. The ultimate threat to our future is stagnation. Continued personal and professional growth is essential to a tomorrow that will be better than today. The managerial moment of truth comes when you realize that, as the leader, you are the trigger for change in and for the organization. The people in the organization will pay the price in time, energy, and money to grow and develop in their jobs as they see you do the same as their leader.

As leaders, we are engaged in the effort to help our people climb over their walls. Personal and professional growth can’t happen in that kind of personal captivity. Our first order of business must be to climb over our own self-imposed barriers, then help others to grow beyond theirs. We never get rid of our self-imposed barriers, but we can discover they’re on wheels. We must simply keep pushing them further and further out.

Business is changing. Although this is hardly an original observation, what few realize is the extent to which and speed with which it is doing so. What are some of the more important factors driving this change? First, the way in which business is transacted is changing. Technology—the Internet, new methods of communication, faster and more customized manufacturing, and so on—is a principal cause, but not the only one. Second, the breadth of the playing field in which business takes place is increasing enormously. A tiny bookstore in a suburb of Manila can take a sale away from Borders. Third, consumer expectations are changing, and consumers are becoming much more demanding. At the same time, employees and their expectations are changing. They expect more from work and want to contribute in different ways. 

Another important factor is that interdependence is becoming greater and much more complex. A U.S. company may have a research laboratory in Bangalore developing prototype products for Australia. The interdependence goes beyond business relationships to encompass governments, nongovernmental organizations, and other parts of the citizen sector. Last, the pace of change has accelerated so rapidly that size is no longer a protective buffer. Multibillion dollar companies often see their competitive positions erode within months.

Leadership then is a hot area for management thinkers and writers, for good reason: in this new world, our organizations—commercial, not-for-profit, and government—need leaders with different skills and a richer set of them to lead us into the future.And I know what the successful leader of the future will be like. I am not guessing. I know.Let me explain. I know this not because I am brilliant or a prescient thinker or in possession of a time machine that can reveal the future, but because I have been unequivocally told this by the people who know. The people who know are the bright graduates of some of our best business schools who are entering the workplace and are very clear about the kind of person who can command their unquestioned allegiance.

The leader blazes a trail for others to follow. In doing so, there will be markers along the way. Knowing that the organization’s future rests on the success of the people on the team, the leader seeks qualities that will lift him or her above the timely and into the timeless, thus inviting everyone in the organization to do the same. The quality of leadership is not determined by the urgency or size of the task to be accomplished. Some of the greatest leaders I’ve ever observed or read about spent most of their time dealing with common details in order to achieve their vision. What made these people great was the uncommon way they dealt with everything in their lives, whether it was an ordinary detail or a major challenge. Here are 10 qualities I believe will be in the profile of tomorrow’s leader:

1.         Tomorrow’s leader will be a remarkable builder of team spirit.
2.         Tomorrow’s leader will be self-reliant and confident and will teach team members to do the same.
3.         Tomorrow’s leader be creative and not afraid to take risks.
4.         Tomorrow’s leader will understand the value of change.
5.         Tomorrow’s leader will be fair, not afraid to challenge or be challenged.
6.         Tomorrow’s leader will be open to new ideas and perspectives.
7.         Tomorrow’s leader will possess a far greater understanding of people.
8.         Tomorrow’s leader will be organized and adept at setting and working priorities.
9.         Tomorrow’s leader will be on a continuing high personal growth curve.
10.       Tomorrow’s leader will be in balance in his or her business and personal life.

Never be less than your dreams. Someday you may look back and ask, “Did I really build my dream or is it too late?” Let me assure you that it’s never too late. In business, we realize our dreams by building up internal and external customers. An organization is alive and vital when the leader helps people grow and climb over their walls.

Leadership is not about the leader, it is about how he or she builds the confidence of everyone else. Leaders certainly need self-confidence. (“Often wrong, never uncertain,” Gillette CEO Jim Kilts cheerfully described himself.) Self-confidence helps leaders persist through problems and triumph over troubles. But self-confidence is not the secret of leadership. Leadership involves motivating others to their finest efforts and channeling those efforts in a coherent direction. Leaders must believe that they can count on other people to come through—like a high school principal's faith that inner city children can learn and that her teachers can teach them. If the people in charge rely only on themselves as heroes who can rescue any situation, while focusing on other people's inadequacies, they undermine confidence and reinforce losing streaks. In contrast, when leaders believe in other people, confidence grows, and success becomes more attainable.

The ultimate reward is not the promotions, perks, and larger paychecks. As nice as those things are, the ultimate reward is the ability to go home at the end of a day and say to yourself, “I saw someone grow again today and I helped.” That’s what it’s all about as a leader. Seeing people grow is the only experience in business that brings your heart up into your throat. When your team members see their own growth along with your matching growth as a leader, their memory of you and the difference you made in their lives will be vivid and inspiring for years to come.

Hesselbein, F., & Goldsmith, M. (2006). Tomorrow's Leader . : John Wiley & Sons, Inc..
Clawson, J. (2006). Level Three Leadership: Getting Below the Surface (3rd ed.). : Pearson Prentice Hall.

Tichy, N. M., & Devanna, M. A. (1990). The Transformational Leader: The Key to Global Competitiveness . : John Wiley & Sons, Inc..

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Saturate your company with the voice of the customer

You just can't create customer loyalty without putting your effort on it. Consumers buy from people they like, people they can create a relationship with. As consumers we've come to expect good customer service and when we don't we can walk right down the street to the next business or even easier yet jump online to find a company that not only wants are business, but is willing to earn it. Now, this doesn't mean that customers should walk all over you, but it does mean that you need to make sure you have done everything that you can to encourage them to do business with you.

A lot of time customers return form your business because of companies policies which they are not satisfied with. You have to wonder why a company would want to make it so difficult for their customer to do business with them. I think sometimes we need to re-evaluate our policies, strategies and identify their purpose and whether or not they are really necessary and if there are ways we can make it easier for consumers to business with us. Take a few moments and just consider your own business, are their obstacles you put in the way of consumers having a good experience with you? Perhaps a few things to consider:

Do you have a return policy that is outdated?
Do you make it difficult for customers to talk to you?
Are there processes within your business that are hard for them to understand?
Do your hours serve your customers, or do they serve you?
As you think of these things, be open minded to evaluating if you truly are a business that is centered around customer service.

Below I share with you five best practices that any business can use and they will help you in not only creating a customer driven atmosphere, but also excel in customer service.

Set the Customer's Expectations
We know that nothing impresses a customer more than when someone goes over and beyond the "call of duty" but have you set the expectation for the customer? I'm a firm believer in no surprises. Let a customer know what you are willing to do for them, what service you will provide to them. If you set the expectation and then exceed those expectations you'll have a customer for life. My favorite saying "under promise and over deliver." If you can follow that philosophy you'll never go wrong.

Listen First then Speak
Customers want to be heard. They want to know you are listening. They want to know that you have an interest in what they have to say. If they are shopping they may ask you for information or advice, use that time to direct them to the right product or service. If they are upset use active listening, let them know that you hear them and work to discover the root of the problem. Ask questions, get to the bottom of it and provide a resolutions.

Draft Customer Service Standards
Define your service standards, make sure every employee is aware of those standards. Having a clear document that explains acceptable standards will help in setting the customer's expectation and they will help in measuring your employees and create training programs to help them to excel. Create your customer service standards to be specific, concise, measurable, based on the requirements of your customer, written in your job descriptions, and used in performance reviews. You can't measure or enforce what your employees don't understand.

Treat Your Employees as Your First Customer
We've all heard happy wife, happy life - well let me do a little word play with you. Happy employees means happy customers. The attitudes and behaviors of your employees will determine your customer service and satisfaction. Employees should be put first than customers. I know this may be contrary to your current belief, but think about it. An example of a company that has demonstrated this well is Southwest Airlines, they've built a culture by instilling entrepreneurship in their employees. When your employees are happy they will look forward to work, because they are valued and appreciated. If we first treat employees like our first customer the employee wins, the customer win and the business wins.

Create Customer Touch-points and Follow-Up After the Sale
Creating touch-points beyond a sales shows your customer that you care. Follow-up with them, thank them for their business. There are so many businesses forget this step that if you remember it you will stand out above the crowds. This outreach will show that you care about their satisfaction and encourage them to not only tell others about your business but also inspire them to purchase from you. Research shows that follow-up is the best way to create customer loyalty. Use follow up to follow up to thank them for their business, share with them your menu of services and encourage add-on purchases. Can you really afford not to do it?

Originally published on

Thursday, February 26, 2015

“Women - Powerful or Weaker”

More women than ever before have joined the ranks of the superrich, according to Forbes’ 28th annual billionaires list 2013. Forty-two women made the list for the very first time, up 25 percent since 2013. They remain a small minority among the world’s wealthiest, however, making up only 172 of the 1,645 billionaires. Among the newcomers is Sheryl Sandberg, the famed Facebook COO, who is encouraging women to take positions of leadership through her Lean In movement. Another remarkable new name is self-made business tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, who made her fortune in the oil industry and is now Nigeria’s first female billionaire. Wal-Mart heiress Christy Walton—worth $36.7 billion—took back her title as richest woman in the world from L’Oreal’s Liliane Bettencourt. Also notable: 32 of the world’s richest women made their own fortunes, rather than inheriting it from their husbands or parents.

Forbe’s annual snapshots of the 100 women with the most impact are top politicians and CEOs, activist billionaires and celebrities who matter. In roughly equal measure you’ll find next gen entrepreneurs and media mavens, technologists and leaders in philanthropy — all ranked by dollars, media momentum and impact. 

In the world even though women are the major founders of the society, yet women have not achieved equality with men. Of the world’s 1.3 billion poor people, it is estimated that nearly 70 per cent are women. Between 75 and 80 per cent of the world’s 27 million refugees are women. The political participation of women in the world seems relatively low and it is duly because of the existence of the patriarchal mindset even in the political parties in almost all countries in the world no matter how advanced and socially, economically, culturally and politically sound the countries are.

The socio-economic status of women in Nepal is very poor. The women are being discriminated in every aspect of the society. Today trafficking in persons (TIP) is, yes, a problem of migration that can be deadly. It can also be racked with innuendo and sexual exploitation, forced labor and/or the monetized removal of organs for sale on the global medical black market. Today trafficking in persons (TIP) is, yes, a problem of migration that can be deadly. It can also be racked with innuendo and sexual exploitation, forced labor and/or the monetized removal of organs for sale on the global medical black market.

Members of the Hindu community in some parts of western and central Nepal still practice Chhaupadi, a custom that forces women to live in the stable while menstruating and just after giving birth. They are forbidden to cook and eat with their families. It’s hard to find official statistics there regarding complicated issues: violence, rape and trafficking, for instance. Most victimized women don’t dare go to the police. There has been a growing number of cases of women being burned in domestic disputes over the past decade. Other issues on the rise include trafficking to the Gulf countries and female feticide, which is relatively new to Nepal.

A decade ago, there were very few “massage parlors” and “dance bars” in Kathmandu. Now, with growing poverty in Nepal’s villages and increasing tourism from China, Pakistan and the Gulf countries, what the government calls the “entertainment business” has expanded. It’s a very classic pattern of exploitation.

Socially and economically men are always considered as superior to women, breadwinner, head of the family and the care taker and this is major cause for the low participation of women in civil services in Nepal is in the transitional phase even though women are participating in the political field but it is not up to the level. The concept on women as weaker-sex and subordinate to the man has not changed yet and will still take long time. However people talk about gender equality, in cities of Nepal where the literacy rate is better than the remote villages and small towns, still people do not want to accept it. There is difference between words and their implementation.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Be the peacemaker in organization Politics

Don’t dilute yourself in philosophy that your organization has no politics. Politics is part of every organization. Every company has internal politics. There is not an organization on earth (or space for that matter) that does not have to deal with politics. The degree of organizational politics varies from one organization to another but the reality is, all organizations have some sort of internal political struggle that can rip it apart. The bigger the organization – the “better”. Dealing with this struggle takes a keen awareness of the landscape, players and rules in which the political game is played.

People don’t like change. Most see it as a threat, a loss of their power or a loss of the security in the old way of doing things. They worry how the change will affect them and become apprehensive. These people are prone to defend the old way, some out of habit and out of unease. Knowing how to deal with these situations is challenging. The reality of any organization with more than one person is that politics is the lubricate that oils your organizations internal gears. Apply the proper lubricate and things will work fine. Forget to lubricate it and your organization will grind to a halt. 

Everyone will tell you the right way to design a business process – is by designing it around the business procedure, not around people. But in real life you find that you need to “bend” the process around political obstacles. The task should go to head of the department for his review. But everyone knows that Mister X needs to be bypassed. Sometimes it’s because he is a slacker, he will never do the task, he has been in the organization for years, he doesn’t care about the “procedure” and there is no one to discipline him. Sometimes it’s because he is too powerful and can get away with murder. In any case, trying to force the process to make him do the tasks will end in tears. The best way is to bypass.

Managing the political atmosphere in a business takes willingness to acknowledge the practice and a method for avoiding the gamesmanship. Politics generally refers to the tactics used to position yourself through relationship manipulation. The best way to survive business politics is to stay away from it. Avoid contributing to the rumor mill. Do not pass on information unrelated to your job. The person who told you the secret is not counting on you to keep your mouth shut. He is likely telling you so that you can share with others and further the political game. Staying out of the chain will make it more difficult for the rumor to spread while displaying yourself as a person unwilling to add to the problem.
Deal your co-corkers evenly. Avoid aligning yourself with certain colleagues or espousing the "that's not my responsibility" mantra. Keep the team goals ahead of interpersonal affairs, and contribute to all company goals to the best of your ability. 

The influence of confessing when you are incorrect is rarely assumed. When used appropriately, it disperses a politically stimulating circumstance within an immediate. The trick is to use it cautiously since if you are wrong too often, people will start to question your competence. It’s best that you get the reputation of someone who finds solutions to tricky problems. Being the peacemaker is one way to achieve that. Peacemakers are looked at favorably because they transcend the politics and focus on making progress. By promoting a positive culture that values integrity, respect and fairness within their team, the leader is able to channel people's interests and energy away from negative political interplay and towards an alignment with organization objectives. Allowing team members to express their interests and demonstrating a commitment to support individual needs integrates their fulfillment into the work organization and promotes the positive resolution of political conflicts.

Source: thedailyMBA

Thursday, January 8, 2015

This place sucks

Operating a business without a clear picture of what’s happening in the marketplace, specifically with direct competitors, is like flying with blinders on. Running your business by looking your own data (cash receipts, web analytics, comment cards, your own online reviews) and no external reference is very similar to flying a plane into the clouds wearing foggles or glasses with the upper half of the lenses fogged out.  In today’s world, where so much information is publicly online, a smart, competitive intelligence strategy can be accomplished with a few keystrokes and no out-of-pocket expenses. Your only cost is the amount of time it takes to do the research.

 All businesses are engaged in a war to acquire customers. That war, however, has turned very bizarre with the advent of online reviews. Realizing the benefit that multiple five-star reviews can have on a business, common sense would dictate that every business would want to develop and deploy an online review strategy to maximize customer acquisition. Yet for many businesses, only the bare minimum is done: monitoring online review activity; if the business sells products online, then deploying a third party review solution; and in some cases, responding to negative reviews. Even worse, some businesses ignore the space entirely, confused and angered by this new platform that provides their customers with a means to broadcast their experiences, both positive and negative, to every existing and future customer. Consumers aren’t the only ones who can benefit from reviews. Businesses have the opportunity to get in front of their prospective customers at the point when they’re making purchase decisions.

 The importance of consumer opinions in consumers’ decisions of what to buy continues to grow. According to a survey of U.S consumers, close to 80 percent of the population consult online reviews before they make purchase decisions. Despite the growing importance of online reviews to revenue, many business owners choose to ignore this platform, creating massive market inefficiency. If business owners are willing to navigate the complexity of this space, that inefficiency can be converted to a significant gain.

The influence of online reviews expands beyond website commerce. National retailer Sephora, have launched mobile app to help consumers consult online reviews while in their physical stores. In fact, in addition to its mobile app, online review terminals appear in many of Sephora’s stores, where consumers can read cosmetic reviews supplied by other consumers to help them make informed purchase decisions. Now it’s time to take off your foggles and research your competitors, and, in doing so, gain a deep appreciation for some external reference points. A great business practice that you can start during this analysis is to constantly review and revise vision on what’s happening in the marketplace. As you read your competitors’ reviews, ask yourself if there are elements to your own vision that are lacking. Once completed, given everything you’ve read about the way consumers view your business and the way they review your competitors, ask yourself why someone would choose to visit your business versus your competitors. If you’re having trouble answering, it might be time to revisit your vision.

As philosopher George Santayana stated, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That lesson is specifically applicable to this practice of online review competitive analysis. Along with analyzing your competitors who are thriving, you should think about doing a postmodern analysis on businesses in your sector that didn’t make it. Now ask yourself a question: what about my vision sets my business apart from everyone else in my field? If your answer is “nothing,” then it’s time to dream bigger. In my research on businesses, I have discovered that the owners are all incredibly passionate about the product or service that they present. The success to delivering on your passion is to make the end point of what you want your business to be as vivid as possible. If you’re a hotel proprietor, think about how your guests’ every concern is addressed even before they mention it, or how you’ve drawn guests out of their rooms to interact with staff so that they feel an emotional connection to your hotel. If you have a cafĂ©, imagine who the customers feel as they’re greeted when they walk into your shop. What specifically keeps your customers coming back every morning on their way into office?