Culture Warriors – Best Advice From The Front Line

May 4, 2013


Culture Warriors is an ongoing weekly post where I’ll be highlighting the best advice, tips, tricks, etc from the hundreds of articles I review each week.  These will all be based on leadership, team engagement, culture, training, motivation, etc.

This week, I’ve selected the top three articles from these categories in order to help filter and learn from the best of the best!

Best quote from last week:

“The only thing distinctly different about me is that I am not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked period.”  Will Smith

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Now, on with the show:

1.) by @Sales_Source

This article hits me two ways.  On the surface it’s a great reminder of how to handle face to face customer meetings.  However, below the surface, this is also a pretty good structure for important meetings with your boss or even your bosses boss.  Don’t be intimidated by overpowering or under-organized leaders.  Show them what you can do:

  • Do your homework.
  • Create an agenda.  If you are with your boss, at least make sure you know what the agenda is.
  • Make a positive first impression.  With your boss, you get this opportunity everyday!
  • Set the agenda.  If you are with your boss, let him or her know if you have things that you’d like to add to the agenda.
  • Use the agenda to reveal requirements.  Bosses have needs, know what they are.
  • Pace the conversation so the customer isn’t overwhelmed.  Listen twice as much as you talk.
  • Keep everyone in the conversation.
  • Discover the buying time-frame.  Or what time-frame you have to get your task completed.
  • Preempt inevitable objections.  Don’t be defensive.  Listen carefully…
  • Never criticize a competitor.  Think co-workers here.  
  • Show how you can meet the customer’s requirements.  Be confident in your ability to perform.  Stretch yourself.
  • Close the business or confirm the next step.  Always know the next steps; make them concrete and follow through.

2.) by @Leadershipfreak

Once again, Mr. Rockwell uses his unique writing style to hit leaders over the head with a simple message.  People matter.  Results also matter.  But, if your results matter more than your people, you’ll eventually trample on your people and your results.  Here’s how not to:

  • Exceptional leaders focus on how they get things done.  Know how the team is connecting, supporting, and respecting each-other.
  • Constantly evaluate.  Breake silos, confront rudeness, create cross functional connections, increase morale, etc.
  • Eliminate toxicity.  Just don’t tolerate it.
  • Be courageous. Define how you do things, hire for fit, fire those who don’t fit, reward desired behaviors.

3.) by @LetsGrowLeaders

Here’s an open letter to a company that most of us know pretty well…McDonald’s.  The main premise – great customer service only comes from great employees.  Check out Karin’s suggestions on how to improve the customer service for one of the largest companies in the world:

  • Envision great service.  Define it.  Build it with the guidance of the franchises.
  • Invest in your frontline leaders.  Start by teaching the basics: motivation, trust, recognition, etc.
  • Establish non-negotiable standards.  Trust and verify.
  • Learn from the best.  Review franchises that are doing things differently and getting better customer service results.  Rinse & repeat.
  • Create motivating compensation structures.  Get creative.  Pay for performance.  Incentivise on what matters.

This week it seems like there is a theme going on…treat people with respect and compassion; focus on engaging them with their work for the best results.  It sounds so easy; so why isn’t everyone doing it?  Because it’s NOT EASY!

Question: Have you treated anyone disrespectfully this week?  Should you apologize?



3 responses to Culture Warriors – Best Advice From The Front Line

  1. this is a fun idea. Thanks for including me.

  2. I had the opportunity this past week to do so to a man, from the world view, who deserved to be disrespected. But I knew it wouldn’t help our relationship as neighbors if I acted like I was on a high horse. Instead I listen, respond in questions, and acted back with truth and love and a few hundred dollars!

    Thanks for writing out the high lights from those three articles!

    • Hey Steve! Great to see you here!

      Wow, that’s a pretty interesting story you are telling there! I know that feeling. Especially when you are talking about subjects like religion or politics.

      I’ve been in sales for most of my career and realize how dangerous it is to take a hard stand on things. It sounds like you made the wise choice by asking questions, listening, and loving. Not an easy thing to do!

      I applaud you!