Elevate Your Effectiveness Giving Constructive Feedback by Keith Weedman

Effectively giving constructive feedback is a learned leadership skill. When effectively given, the feedback is appreciated by the recipient as being helpful and the experience is empowering to both parties. The giver elevates their skill and commitment to generously give constructive feedback while the receiver utilizes the feedback received to elevate their performance. In this article, I will share ideas you can utilize to significantly elevate your skill to effectively give constructive feedback. I invite you to utilize these ideas to elevate your skill to a level that is highly uncommon and in great demand today. How effectively do you give constructive feedback? How do you measure your effectiveness? How do people typically respond to receiving constructive feedback from you? How consistently do people get maximum value from your constructive feedback? As a leader within your organization, you are always influencing how people around you perceive constructive feedback. Yet in many organizations, constructive feedback is given in less than effective ways, as if you, as the giver, have no influence as to how your feedback is received. In this article, we will first explore some of the common reasons why constructive feedback is given less effectively. Then we will consider a few useful assumptions you can utilize to elevate your effectiveness. Then we’ll review a step by step process for effectively giving constructive feedback. Most people have had past unpleasant experiences receiving constructive feedback delivered in an ineffective way. It is too often understood as a criticism or a critical judgment. Because of their past experiences, you can unintentionally trigger a defensive reaction from someone when you are giving them...

Raving Fan Customers: Creating Customer Focused Teams Part 4

Customer Focus, Feedback and Service Strategy To create customer-focused teams, employees must understand that they win when the customer wins;  there is more to this positioning than meets the eye.  The customer win has to be defined so that the company also wins.  If you ask customers what they want, they will tell you I want the service and product for nothing.  Typically companies cannot stay in business by doing this.  So the raving fan service strategy needs to be designed so that the company and its employees can deliver.  Back to Apple, their products are easy to use and their informed employees can teach consumers how to use their products.  All this conspires to make many raving fan Apple customers.  Every service strategy needs to be designed so that this concept is constantly reinforced. The front line (people who directly impact the customer) has to get feedback so that they can: Know what it is doing right in creating raving fan customers Know what it is doing that is not working Coordinate and fix problems with other departments that impact the delivery of raving fan customer service Ensure that the customer consistently perceives great value from the product and service that they are getting.   Two challenges exist in creating successful, high performance, customer focused teams.  The first challenge is getting the voice of the customer clearly delivered to the front line regarding the service or product.  Therefore, it is important to create forums and opportunities for the front line to listen to the customer.  The other challenge is to make sure everyone understands the standards by which...

Raving Fan Customers: Creating Customer Focused Teams Part 3

Why are Raving Fans a good thing? Ask Zappos, ask Southwest Airlines, ask Apple, ask Jimmie Buffett and ask CMI (that is us). What companies do not have competition? When you earn raving fan customers you have a strategic advantage over your competition. You have customers that are going to buy from you no matter what. In essence your company becomes a monopoly. This is the ultimate positioning from a business perspective. One frequently sees this with Apple’s iPhones. Apple customers are disdainful of any other smartphone product and are absolutely loyal to Apple – no matter what – even when Chinese workers might be suffering. Apple Customers say “Heck, Apple might need to change some Chinese employment tactics, but no way am I giving up my iPhone!” For more information about creating raving fans click here....

Raving Fan Customers: Creating Customer Focused Teams Part 2

What is a Raving Fan Customer? I first saw this term used in the book Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard. A “raving fan customer” is a customer that is excited about the company’s service delivery and product way beyond normal. Raving fan customers remain loyal given price pressure from a given service’s competition. These customers would go through a lot to get the company’s service. Even a price increase would keep these raving fans loyal buyers. Raving fan customers would wait in long lines; pay extra shipping fees; all for the service or product that their favorite company offers. For more information about creating raving fan customers click...

Raving Fan Customers: Creating Customer Focused Teams Part I

What is a Customer Focused Team? The word “team” is overused in business; it gets applied to any group of humans in a work setting. However, when you define a team as everything, you end up with nothing. The best and most concise definition for corporate teams I have found comes from The Wisdom of Teams by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith. They define a team as “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.” The crucial words are “common purpose” and “mutually accountable.” Without these, you don’t have a team. In addition, for a team to exist there has to be adversity, challenge and tension between the team and attaining a common purpose. No adversity and challenge means no team. You do not need teams for easy tasks. Tough challenges and high performance standards, such as those associated with customer service, quality and profitability are essential for teams to come together and coalesce. Having customers consistently be raving fans of the company’s service is certainly a challenging and lofty goal. For more information about customer focused teams click...

The Fifth Truth About Teams

Teams develop in stages. It is good for participants to be aware of these stages because they normalize the experience of growing and developing into a high performance team. The stages are as follows: Stage A – This is the birth of the group and there is typically some excitement and anticipation about the potential and possibility of the group. Stage B – This is when reality sets in about how group life can be demanding and hard work. It is no longer fun and there is finger pointing between employees. Mutual accountability by most is seen as an empty concept and team members look at who to blame. This is where most teams die and where there is the need for the most support and focus. Commitment needs to be generated to work through the issues. This is also where the employee’s love of the game is needed and counted. For most groups Stage B is where the real work counts and is necessary. Stage C – Getting behind the game stage. This is when everyone begins to align behind the group performance and what needs to happen in order to allow the group to succeed. Real group performance results are for the first time seen. Stage D – This is the high performance stage, where the team is really using its group structure to produce some remarkable results. For help transitioning to Stage D, click...

The Fourth Truth About Teams

In sports, different games constitute different types of teams. Soccer, because of the nature of the game, will require a different type of team than baseball. Work related teams are similar. Depending on the work output of the team and the dynamics of the workplace, the type of work team that is required is different. The rules and dynamics that govern the work team will also be different. For help picking the right team for your project click...

The Third Truth About Teams

  The definition of real teams from The Wisdom of Teams by John Katzenbach and Douglas Smith is accurate. They define teams as a small number of people with complementary skills who are equally committed to a common purpose, goals, and working approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable. Real teams are a basic unit of performance. Mischief comes from team members who are equally responsible for the result. This is quite different than how most of the work world is organized. In the typical work place, each employee is accountable for their job and they are often formally measured on their performance in the yearly appraisal process. No group or team performance is formally measured or expected. The pretense is that if each employee just does his or her thing it will work out perfectly. Unfortunately the work world is more complicated and in many cases customers are impacted by a group of employees. When a group takes on being mutually accountable for their customers’ experiences, the group can generate profit and customer loyalty. Looking to generate mutual accountability? Click...

The Second Truth About Teams

Teams enjoy and play games. The vast majority of employees go to work because they have to in order to survive. That is the culture most adults live in. This is different than in the world of sports. People voluntarily play the sport because they want to and like the game.   When members of teams fundamentally do not like the games or feel connected to the game the group is playing, there will be real performance issues for the group. However, when teams of employees are into the game of making their customers raving fans, magic occurs, and they start enjoying the game. Looking to enhance work team performance?  Click...