Micromanaging Your Customers

Check Out
Standing in line at the store the other day, I’ve got to to say that I sort of really resented this ridiculous check out line.



We are not in kindergarten and do not need little footsies and signs to tell us where to stand, how far apart, and who is up next in the line.



Actually, it’s really not all that complicated–we can figure out to lineup in front of the counter and wait our turn civilly.



Micromanaging your customers (or for that matter your employees) is a pretty stupid idea.



Get your own house in order–and do a good job servicing the people that are paying you (or working to make you a success).



How about you take your little feet over behind the counter and get the line moving that much faster and stop making us wait so long to begin with to give you our business.



Happy Black Friday…loosen the reins a little won’t you and you’ll find a happier customer (and employee) base and make some more money in the process. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Dealing With Change Resistance

In leadership class, I learned that in performance management, there are two major types of issues–conduct and performance.

In conduct issues–people willfully do not follow the rules of the workplace. Conduct issues are those of “won’t.”

However, with performance problems–people cannot meet the expectations for quantity and/or quality. Performance problems are issues of “can’t.”

On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I wonder whether these same types of performance management issues apply to our lives as human beings and as children of G-d.

– Some people just won’t do the right thing, instead willfully choosing to lie, cheat, steal, and mistreat others. They prefer the monetary or egotistical rewards of doing the wrong thing over the spiritual and relationship hardships and challenges to do the right thing.

– Other people can’t do the right thing–they are too scarred by hurt, abandonment, loneliness, being told they are not good enough and can’t compete, and so on. For these people, sometimes, no matter how hard they try, they feel that they cannot meet expectations.

Of course, willfully doing something wrong is worse than not being able to do something right.

That is why for the first type of people–those with conduct problems–there is disciplinary action.

For the second type of people–those who have performance issues–we recognize their commitment and try to help them through things like coaching, mentoring, training, and counseling.

Performance issues may be linked to change resistance to change–and there are 3 dimensions of this:

1) Cognitive–“I don’t get it”–the person doesn’t fully understand and therefore agree with the rules.

2) Emotional–“I don’t like it”–a person emotionally rejects the rules of change, because they are afraid of the loss it will cause to them, personally and/or professionally.

3) Interpersonal–“I don’t like you”–when people are not resisting an idea, but rather they are resisting you, personally.

Great leadership is the ability to sense when any of these dimensions are off and help to course-correct them:

– When people don’t get it–we can inform, create awareness, and educate.

– When they don’t like it–we can listen to them and show empathy, get them involved in the process, and maybe show them the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM).

– And when they don’t like you (the most difficult one)–we can try to win people over by taking responsibility for the things we have done wrong, demonstrating over time that we are trustworthy, spending time together to better get to know each other and build the relationship, and maybe even give in on some issues, where appropriate.

Like on Rosh Hashanah, where we seek G-d’s mercy on us and ask that he work with us, so too, we can learn to work with others to try and help them, where possible.

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal)

Candy Dish, Come and Get Some

Candy_dish

I saw this brilliant piece in the Wall Street Journal (20 March 2012) about building relationships with sibling “rivals”, but in my opinion the advice has much broader implications for growing our relationships for how we deal with others in life.

The article describes about how one man sends his brother, with whom he has been fighting with for years, the following story in an email:

“Two men had a stream dividing their properties. One man hired a carpenter to build a fence along the stream, but the carpenter built a bridge by mistake.” The brother then wrote, “I’d like to walk over the bridge.”

Wow! This is a very powerful story.

We can choose to build walls to separate us or build bridges to close the divide.

This can be applied to so many situations, where building relationships has a genuine chance or can be a lost and forgone opportunity.

In the office, for example, some people choose to put up proverbial walls between themselves and others. They do this by closing their doors, scowling at others, putting up signs that they are having a bad day, or perhaps by literally surrounding themselves with the accoutrements of their office (desks, chairs, appliances, mementos) and sending a message of a clear distance between them and others–almost like they are circling the wagons and no one will get in without getting shot.

While others take a different approach and are busy building bridges between themselves and others. For example, they regularly say good morning and how are you, they have a true open door policy, they may even have a candy dish or other enticements for others to stop by and just talk. They are open to others to share, collaborate and to build relationships.

Thus, just like with the two brothers, the conflict between them can turn into a hard and deeply anchored wall that closes all venues or the opposite, a bridge that connects us.

Think about it as building or burning bridges. When dealing with people who are really not deserving of trust, sometimes there is no choice but to separate and “live and let live,” but when dealing with those with whom a real relationship is possible and even desirable, then start building those bridges today or at least take a first step and put out that candy dish. 😉

(Source Photo: Blumenthal)