leadership lessons from Laurel vs Yanny

Leadership Lessons From “Laurel vs. Yanny”

Laurel vs. Yanny was everywhere over the last week. I heard Laurel so clearly, it was hard to imagine hearing Yanny. Surely someone must have adjusted the pitch so people could hear both. So, I went out to the internet to find it. I found a Youtube video that adjusted the sound in a way that was supposed to let you hear both. And I still heard Laurel.

As a leader, it is important to hear different perspectives from your team, your people, and your customers. Sometimes it takes work to hear those perspectives. And sometimes, you won’t hear the perspective directly no matter how hard you try. But, you need some way to know that it exists and it is a valid perspective.

How are you seeking out the perspectives you need to hear?

are you setting your front line people up for success?

Are you setting your front line people up for success?

It was a long flight, so I got up to stretch my legs for a minute. The flight attendant was nice and not in the middle of anything, so I stopped to chat for a minute. She was having a tough day. The coffee had exploded on her three times, leaving spots across her uniform at the start of the flight. Catering did not stock about half the food they should have. She expected to spend the entire flight apologizing. After all, she had 26 years of experience and did not relish being in the position of looking incompetent.

Being on the front line is tough. Especially if the business is not run well. Front line people are left to apologize and take heat for something they have no control over. At the same time, the customer expects a certain level of experience and don’t really care who is to blame. Having a cohesive experience is important. How are you ensuring you meet customer expectations, while not leaving your front line people to flap in the wind?

Are you compelling enough?

Are you compelling enough?

The dogs two doors down were barking, so my 75 lb yellow lab decided it would be fun to join in. She was having a grand time barking and running back and forth across the fence line. So when I called her, she really was not interested in coming. She was having too much fun and was enjoying herself. My offering of a treat was just not that compelling.

That’s the thing with motivating people. If they are having a great time with what they are doing, and are enjoying themselves, doing something different is not compelling. Even if they aren’t having a blast, if there is no promise that doing something different will be better, there is no motivation to make that change. Change has to offer something better—people need to understand why they will be better off. It has to be compelling.

How are you making change compelling in your business?


Longevity and Customer Service-A lesson from the oldest business in the world

longevity and customer serviceLast week, I was working on my book and got curious about the oldest business in the world. Founded in 705, Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan is a hot spring hotel with 37 rooms in Japan. It has been operated continuously by 52 generations of the same family. Known for its hospitality and hot springs, it is an a worldwide attraction. The pictures of the hot springs are stunning—and so is its longevity. Can you imagine running a business for 1,300 years? It is a great example of knowing what the customer values and delivering it. And that leads to longevity. How are you delivering what your customers value?

Is your data leading you to the wrong conclusions?

Is your data leading you to the wrong conclusion?Have you ever started receiving advertising from a business that makes you scratch your head? You would never use the product they are targeting for you in personalized ads. I had that happen to me recently and realized the data they were using was leading them to the wrong conclusion.

I wear a night guard for my teeth. Every morning, I take it out, rinse it off and drop it in a container with denture cleaner to clean it. So, it was a surprise when I was barraged with advertising for a variety of denture related items because I don’t wear dentures. Clearly, their data that shows I buy denture cleaner led them to the wrong conclusion.

How are you using data in your organization? Do you have a mechanism in place that keeps you from drawing the wrong conclusion from the data?

What are you thankful for?

What are you thankful for?Thanksgiving is this week in the United States. People get together with friends and family to share the bounty of the season. It is a good time to reflect on what we are thankful for both personally and professionally and express our gratitude. What are you thankful for?

It’s not that I can actually do it, I just feel like I can

believe you canAs we walked to our cars after Zumba, Pam spoke about what a great class it was. The instructor is always upbeat and has such tremendous enthusiasm and joy for what she does. So much so, that it becomes infectious for those taking the class. I agreed. I always have a great time and get a great workout. But, there are a few moves I just don’t have down yet. Pam agreed. That’s when she said, “I feel like I can.”

She went on to say that the whole experience is so uplifting that even though she doesn’t have all the moves down, the instructor creates an environment that makes her believe that she can, and even feels like she does. Wow! Can you imagine that customer experience everywhere you go? The experience is so welcoming and inclusive that your perception of the experience is an 11 out of 10. How are you creating that experience for your customers and your team?

The Dedicated Fan

the dedicated fanHe parks his truck on the same overpass. Always dressed in Seattle Seahawks garb, he waves a “12” flag taller than him back and forth, periodically stopping to wave at the cars that drive by below. He has been there on and off for years, his dedication to his team never wavering. He clearly epitomizes the fan that the Seahawks retired the number 12 to recognize.

Can you imagine if you had this type of fan singing your praises not just to everyone he knows, but also to everyone that passes by? People tell others about their experiences, good and bad. How are you creating dedicated fans that sing your praises to everyone they know?

The Field Trip

The Field TripField trips were an amazing part of growing up. Living in Southern California, we went to the La Brea Tar Pits and Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills. La Brea Tar Pits gave a perspective of dinosaurs and the like. While on paper it seems strange to visit a cemetery for a field trip, Forest Lawn back then had an amazing exhibit on US history. Being able to see history put it into context, at least as much as you can without a time machine, took the learning to a different level. Trips as I got older took me to Checkpoint Charlie and Auschwitz during the cold war. An experience that cannot be had from books. Seeing something in real life gives context. The same is true in leadership. Walking around a facility, talking to the people, visiting customers gives an unfiltered, contextual experience. It is one that is critical to really understanding your business, your customers and your people. How are you making field trips into your business on a daily basis?

Are You At An Impasse?

Are you at an impasse?It was 5:30 in the morning. Light enough to see clearly, but not yet at the point where the sun had fully emerged. My dog was quiet in the backyard. When I looked out to see what she was doing, I was surprised. She wasn’t sitting on her normal spot on the deck. She was locked in a standoff with an opossum. There they sat for twenty minutes, staring, not moving, undistracted by anything else going on around them. They were at an impasse.

How often do you find yourself in an impasse in business? It could be with a customer, different departments within your organization, or between individuals. Many times the resolution is either a loss of business, or one party being happy with the result and the other disappointed. The key to resolving the impasse is finding the motivating factor for each party, not what was initially asked for. It is possible to break through an impasse and find a win/win situation. How are you breaking through your impasse? And more importantly, what approaches are you putting in place to ensure you don’t wind up in an impasse again?