10 ways to create a Teamwork 101 environment

in leadership,Leadership Rules. No Comments

I love the book of Philippians in the New Testament. The entire book is one of Paul’s greatest letters.

Specifically, chapter 2 is a gem. Paul lays out some strong language regarding teamwork and working together.

Verse 2-5: “Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus.” (New American Standard)

These verses are not just related to your specific team, but also the “team” you work with in impacting your city, your region, country, and the global large C Church. So try these virtues on for size! In your organization, in your neighborhood, in your community, and across the global church.

1. Be like-minded.

2. Be loving.

3. Be united.

4. Be focused (on one purpose).

5. Be generous.

6. Be selfless.

7. Be humble.

8. Look out for others before yourself.

9. Have a great attitude.

10. Be Christ-like.

Teamwork 101.

A simple call to action from Paul but incredibly difficult to put into action.

10 Ways to create a Great Customer Experience

in leadership,Leadership Rules,Uncategorized. No Comments

I’ve worked on some great teams over the past several years, and seen great customer service in action. One of the places I learned the most about great customer service was Lost Valley Ranch, an incredible 4 diamond guest ranch in Colorado. Serving the guests was part of the DNA of the staff. We took great pride in our ability to create a great experience for our guests through unmatched excellent customer service.

Here are a few of the ways we did that through great customer service:

1. Treat someone like you would want to be treated- the Golden Rule. It really does work. And it makes sense. Common sense. Use it.

2. Remember someone’s name. Always. Especially when you’ve met them before or talked with them before.

3. Let your actions speak way louder than your words. Don’t just talk about it. Make it happen. Your work can be a great example of your attitude and commitment to service.

4. Anticipate. Stay a step ahead of your clients or guests. Don’t wait for them to ask for something. Be proactive. Figure it out before they even need it.

5. Go the extra step. Have a “+1″ type of attitude and demeanor. Not just anticipating, but actually doing more than what is expected or required of you. Make memories for your client or guest by wowing them with the “above and beyond.”

6. Engage in meaningful conversation. Listen really really well. Serving creates opportunity for impact- it builds a bridge. So make sure to connect with your guests or clients through conversation when it’s appropriate. Understand who they are by understanding what they read, what they watch, where they travel and what their interests are. If you deal with families, learn their kids names and hobbies. Little things add up.

7. Give permission. Make sure your entire staff and everyone in the organization feels empowered to respond immediately to a customer service issue. Empower your employees at every level in the organization to respond and resolve. Especially those on the front line of service. Give them freedom to say yes as often as possible.

8. Own the relationship, and the result. Your answer should never be “that’s not my job.” Take initiative to see the problem or the issue through to the very end. IF you have to hand the relationship off to someone else, make sure you literally walk them to that other person, introduce them, and hand them off well. If over the phone or through email, the same applies. Constantly make sure you are “walking” with that person through the process.

9. Implement the 4 Core Communication Cues. Say “I’m sorry,” “Thankyou,” “My Fault,” and “Great Job” on a regular basis. 

10. Look people in the eye. This one gets forgotten like #2 above. But makes a big difference.

10 Simple Ways to be Great

All of us want to be great. Especially as leaders. All of us want to be part of a great team. Have a great family. A great neighborhood. A great church. A great community. A great legacy.

There are lots of factors that go into being great. But ultimately, being great starts with you. And since you are your greatest coach and advocate for yourself, here are a few things to always think about when it comes to being great.

1. Be responsible. Be on time. Get things done. Finish.

2. Be a learner. Read. Listen. Be curious.

3. Be a hustler. Work hard. Whatever it takes.

4. Be a carrier of the organizational vision. Be a role model of living out the values of your company, church, and staff.

5. Be passionate. Be positive. Live with joy.

6. Be self aware and self regulating. Know who you are. Lead yourself.

7. Be Humble. It’s not about you.

8. Be someone who “leans in.” Be first.

9. Be Disciplined. Stick with it.

10. Be a courageous risk taker. Step out.

11 Key Ways a Younger Leader can Gain Credibility

Are you a young leader looking to gain credibility? What to do?

I talk to leaders all the time, especially those in their 20’s, who are seeking the quick credibility answer. How do I get credibility now and not have to wait until I am in my mid 30’s or early 40’s before people will respect and respond to me?

Well, great question.

I have a theory. The Credibility theory.

Starts with an equation, since I was a math minor in college….. Ultimately, credibility is this:

C = T x (E + E). Credibility = Time (multiplied) by Experience + Expertise

Whether a young leader, or a seasoned leader, this Credibility theory can work for you.

So here are some thoughts on how to best gain credibility now:

1. Listen. Listen. Listen. Simple enough. Ask great questions of those around you, and then LISTEN to the answer. Don’t talk until you have something to say. Learn to ask great questions and learn from them.

2. Write it down. Record it. Put it in a moleskine or evernote or on your iPhone. But be just short of annoying on capturing things you hear and watch and are part of. You’ll find that writing something down automatically makes it a priority.

3. Find those who are smarter than you, and latch on. Learn from them. Ask questions. Be a learner. Connect with leading organizations, networks and individuals- connect with companies, teams or individuals who are highly respected, and you’ll gain respect.

4. Become an expert NOW, even before you need to be. Set a standard of excellence way before you’re the leader in charge who is expected to. That way when it’s your turn to come off the bench you are ready. When you are asked for your opinion or involvement, give it or do it.

5. Self awareness and self identity. Be self aware. Know who you are and where you are in life. You are young- deal with it. Don’t think you know more than you really do, or have more experience than you really do. Maintain a very clear and realistic picture of your self identity and current reality.

6. Demonstrate your ability to collaborate and be a team player. Reality is, most of us work in a team environment, so you have to show your ability to get along with others in making things happen. The Lone Ranger and Han Solo aren’t ideal.

7. Stay focused, but broad. Those who have the most credibility no longer are just experts in one area. You need to be a generalist, but have the ability to dive deep in a certain expertise area.

8. Learn how to follow. And follow really well. It will position you for authority later.

9. Deliver. Faithful with little, faithful with much. No matter what the task or assignment, whether how important or how minuscule, GET it DONE. Work really hard. Be a hustler. Accomplish getting coffee or making copies or working on spreadsheets or filing papers like it’s the most important assignment ever. Demonstrate in the small and unimportant tasks the characteristics you will still have with the large and important tasks. Do what you said you would do. Follow through. Credibility is built over time because of hundreds and hundreds of small assignments done well.

10. Lead with humility. Be known as the team member who will always get it done and is completely trustworthy. Show up early. Leave your ego at the door. Do your work with excellence. Volunteer for the tough assignments that no one else wants. Be the Hungry 2nd, not the Arrogant 1st. Act like you don’t belong. No one enjoys being around someone who thinks they deserve way more credibility than they really do. Stay humble and motivated, with an attitude and posture like you really don’t belong in the conversation.

11. Be patient and let your Experience create your Expertise. Credibility comes with action- doing, not just thinking or talking. Jump in and get involved. Do something. A little dirt on your hands and sweat on your brow goes a long ways. A platform takes time- it’s just a reality. Most of us aren’t patient enough to spend adequate TIME at DOING something until we gain a platform or credibility. We usually lose interest, get bored, or just simply move on to something else. The key- stick with it. Gladwell says it takes at least 10,000 hours.

How High is Your Emotional Intelligence?

in leadership,Leadership Rules. No Comments

Measuring your IQ has been a standard for years and years. We determine how “smart” someone is by their IQ score.

How about your EQ? Your emotional quotient. Your level of emotional intelligence. Your ability to read people, connect relationally, create long term friendships and relationships, etc.

Why is it that some folks just seem to have that sixth sense when it comes to connecting with people? Why is it that the one staff person can always talk the cranky accounting person into approving the difficult invoice that no one else can get pushed through? Or that sales person can get on the phone with the angry customer, and not only solve their issue and dissolve their frustration, but actually upsell them on a new product. Certain folks seem to always get a yes, when you’ve tried and tried and get nothing more than a no.

This comes back to your EQ level. High EQ leaders typically are persuaders. They tend to move into influential positions more quickly and stay there.

There’s no question that the higher your level of influence, the more relational equity you need to have. Most notable leaders throughout history have high EQ scores.

High level deals require high level EQ. High level positions require high level EQ. High level opportunities usually require a leader with high EQ. To make it work you gotta be able to connect.

The greatest salespeople in the world have off the chart EQ scores. They can easily connect with you and ultimately make you feel so positive about a conversation or a product or service that you just can’t help but say yes.

The dominant voice on Emotional Intelligence over the last several years has been Daniel Goleman. Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence: Why it can Matter More than IQ is the classic EQ book. I highly recommend it.

Remember to work on your EQ as much as your IQ. Find others around you who are incredible at reading people and connecting with people and learn from them. Ultimately, just remember that your EQ factor is just as important as your IQ factor.

Beware of a Shortcut Leadership strategy

in leadership,Leadership Rules,Next Generation Leadership. 1 Comment

I admit, I get a bit impatient at times….. Okay, maybe that is a slight exaggeration…..I get very impatient at times!

Lately, I’ve noticed a ton of impatience in my driving. Now it’s not road rage (not yet!), but getting close. It’s not just that slow drivers get in the left lane, but more that I seem to think I now know every shortcut in the greater metro Atlanta area. So my solution for impatience on the roads is that I get frustrated and try to find shortcuts or alternate routes to get somewhere. Only to find that these shortcuts end up taking longer and actually don’t get me to my destination at all.

We’re all like this at certain times in life. We look for shortcuts, for alternate routes, for the easy road, the road less traveled but quicker to the destination. Or so we think.

So here are a few thoughts on Shortcuts that hopefully are helpful.

1. Shortcuts aren’t bad. Most shortcuts are valuable and helpful. But beware of constantly looking for them.

2. Little (or at least less) strategy goes into shortcuts. as so many times shortcuts haven’t been planned out, and actually lead you to a different destination, or worse off, just get you lost and late to your final destination.

3. Being impatient is not a good thing. Patience is a virtue. Shortcuts are usually due to impatience and frustration, vs. relying on a system that has proved worthwhile over time.

4. There’s value in the journey. the longer route may be better for you in the end. You’ll see or hear or learn things that you wouldn’t have otherwise. And maybe see more scenery, and find that it’s intentional and on purpose.

5. The quality may suffer. In organizational life, shortcuts may end up leading to a lack of excellence.

6. Short term gain vs long term rewards. Shortcuts are usually tied to short term gain. Again, not bad, but long term perspective and long term goals are what vision and legacy are built on.

7. Staying in your lane. Be committed to the lane and current assignment you have. Switching lanes and switching roads and switching routes leads to anxiety and lack of contentment. Be diligent and faithful to the road you’re on.

So next time you think you see a shortcut, and you’re convinced it’s the better road to take, beware.