Archive for January, 2009

In our high tech world, often we never meet the people we work with face-to-face

In our high tech world, often we never meet the people we work with face-to-face.  The majority of our interaction is via the Internet or over the telephone.  Without the ability to see a person’s body language and facial expressions we lose up to 60% of a communication’s meaning between two people.

“Non-verbal cues are as or more important than verbal cues.  The subtle circumstances  surrounding how we say things may matter more than what we say”. -Malcom Gladwell,  The Tipping Point

Understanding personality types using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) can help to enhance communications, especially in situations where body language can’t be observed.

In the January/February 2009 issue of our e-Newsletter, Leadership Central, we provided a high level overview of the four MBTI personality preference pairs.  The information below reviews these preference pairs for those who are new to the MBTI:

1.    E/I  Preference:

  • Extraversion (E) includes those people who prefer to focus on the outer world of people and activities, whereas
  • Introversion (I) includes those people who prefer to focus on their own inner world of ideas and experiences.

2.    S/N Preference:

  • Sensing (S) includes those people who prefer to absorb facts and data that are real and tangible.  They tend to focus on the past and present.
  • Intuition (N) includes those people who prefer to absorb information by seeing the big picture, and who focus on relationships and the connections between facts.  These people tend to focus on the future.

3.    T/F Preference:

  • Thinking (T) includes those people who prefer to look at the logical consequences of a choice or action.  They are more objective than subjective.
  • Feeling (F) includes those people who like to consider what is important to them and to others involved. They are more subjective than objective.

4.    J/P Preference:

  • Judging (J) includes those people who prefer to live in a planned, scheduled, and orderly way, and who seek to manage and organize their lives.
  • Perceiving (P) includes those people who prefer to live in a flexible, spontaneous way, and who seek to experience and understand life, rather than control it.

With this information how do you first identify the personality type of the person you are communicating with from their email or voicemail, and then how do you modify what you write in your e-mail and say in your voicemail to adapt to the receiver’s preferred language style, the one with which they feel most comfortable?

Tips to Identifying Type in Emails and Voicemails

In emails, notice the length, punctuation, words, ideas, and data.  In voicemails, ‘listen’ for tonal inflection and excitement.

You are communicating with an ‘E’ if:

  • the email contains a lot of explanation points, words, run-on sentences, and ideas which are just ideas, but not final decisions.
  • the voicemail is spoken very quickly and is lengthy.

You are communicating with an ‘I’ if:

  • the email contains shorter sentences.
  • the voicemail has a slower speed, includes pauses, is brief, and focuses on one’s ideas or problems.

You are communicating with an ‘S’ if:

  • the email is precise, to the point, provides descriptions, and requests details and data. Its focus is on the past and present.
  • the voicemail is similar in style to an email.

You are communicating with an ‘N’ if:

  • the email contains ideas, yet contains no detail or data to back up the ideas, has few specifics, and contains ‘why’ questions to determine the purpose of a project, action, or task.  Its focus is on what can be or the possibilities.
  • the voicemail is similar to an email, with the potential for even more questions

You are communicating with a ‘T’ if:

  • the email focuses on the business at hand, tests your knowledge, and doesn’t focus on the implications a decision/project may have on others. It does, however, provide decisions.
  • the voicemail is similar to an email.

You are communicating with an ‘F’ if:

  • the email includes values, implications about people, strives for consensus before a decision is made, and invites others to become part of the process.
  • the voicemail is similar to an email.

You are communicating with a ‘J’ if:

  • the email is often structured using paragraphs to separate specific topics and ideas. It emphasizes goals, plans, timelines, polices, procedures, and reporting structures and provides little flexibility for changes. It may provide information after a decision is made.
  • the voice mail has a tone of impatience as time and closure is important.

You are communicating with a ‘P’ if:

  • the email provides additional information before a decision is made so changes and adjustments can be made. New information will be valued.
  • the voicemail generally focuses on process, ideas and possibilities, including ‘what else’ type phrases.

The last steps to improving communications are to identify your own personality and communications type, and to make adjustments in your emails and voicemails to mirror the communication type of the person with whom you are communicating.  Being able to mirror another person’s communication style will significantly improve your effectiveness as a leader.

Your customers: treat them well; build strong relationships by sondra taylor customer relationships are what make your business important

Your Customers: Treat Them Well; Build Strong Relationships

By Sondra Taylor

Customer relationships are what make your business important. Your customers are fabulous. Your business would not be as profitable without them. You might be just a face on a website with a name (or a voice), if this is the type of business your run. It might be that your customers never see or hear from you. You could be based on a collection of emails. You can go further to make a relationship than an email. Go a step beyond to call them and check on a project. Make them aware that you are taking time to speak to them and that you feel they are important. A good business owner puts time and money into appreciating their customers. Your customers generate profit to pay accounts; they refer you to other customers, open up new aspects of the business, and help the business expand. You make big profits and have great success because you have loved your clients and been loyal to them. These are three ways to build closer customer relationships.
1. Be watchful for the customer attitude that puts your business in the pit. With your skills, help out the client beyond what the job contract states. Understand where they are headed and be helpful. The last thing you want is for them to look for someone who can do the project for less money. So many people do just what is necessary. Go beyond to care about your customer. Help clients keep their deadlines. It can help you keep the customer. A customer might know somebody who can do the work at a cheaper rate, but because they always hit their deadlines the customer will continue giving their work to the business.
2. Thank the customer. Many feel like they hear too many complaints and do not get enough appreciation. Compliment the customer with lunch (a restaurant of their choice), thank-you cards (purchase a large box of thank you cards and send them handwritten),a email and sometimes a gift (and make sure it is a cool gift-desk set, coffee mug, a sweater, $50 giftcard to their favorite restaurant or keychain). Give attention to yearly holidays, different seasons of the year and build ideas of your own for gifts. Drop by with a soda in July, hot cocoa in February. A box of chocolates would be nice on Valentines Day. Many gifts are available for Christmas. Most people love free stuff. Give away T-shirts and promotional items to your customers. Have a “customer appreciation” party 2 or more times during the year. Have a lot of food and drinks and let the people enjoy. People will go to many meetings, events and other places and talk about how they appreciate you to other possible customers once you say thank you. Humans have a natural hunger to be appreciated, to be complimented and thanked for the work that they do. As a business owner or contractor there are many benefits to being grateful. You will gain the support of people around you. Good will grows immeasurably. You will maintain good customer relationships. It may also improve the relationship in your personal life. You never know that a new project might hit the desk of a client and you well be well-timed. It might get there just in time to get the job. Once your customer thinks you appreciate them they will be quick to give you more projects.

Even if you do not solve all of the customers problems, email them and let them know that you are taking them seriously. Email them right away. They will love the quick response time. Tell them you were happy to help them out so far and you will be available when they need more help. If these are clients you are looking to build a long business relationship with, it will be worthwile to return the favor with appreciation and loyalty. More articles with business incentives can be found at http://www.sondrafast.zoomshare.com.

Turning up on time and emptying your tray by 5pm just doesn’t cut it any more in today’s business environment

Turning up on time and emptying your tray by 5pm just doesn’t cut it any more in today’s business environment. With the current economic climate and CEO’s looking to cut the cost of labor you need to inspire confidence on every level. If you want to build a reputation as a strong business leader there are some surefire ways to guarantee your success. Here are 5 top tips to add value to your performance.

Remind your customers what a good job you are doing. If your strength lies in getting a product out on time you can reinforce this perception in the eyes of your clients by adding a note to the bottom of your invoice that shows the date requested, the date delivered and the difference. This type of subtle self promotion is pure gold.

Giving credit where it is due costs you nothing and empowers your employees to continue giving great performance and as a result enhances your reputation. Recognize your employee’s contributions.

Treat every complaint or upset as an opportunity to win allegiance. When a customer comes to you with a complaint you have the chance to bend over backwards and ensure that they are left with the feeling that you care. The memory of the issue dissolves and what is left is the positive memory of the resolution that will keep them faithful to the end of their days.

Recognize the power that lies in attention to details. However voicing concern about the detail can leave you being seen as pedantic by your colleagues and employees. Better to keep quiet and give them the attention they need in private. Your tenacious pursuit of them can lead to great rewards.

Every so often send out a series of thankyou notes. This will strengthen your employees perception of you when they realize that you have noticed their contribution in a particular area.

Roland Poitevin is a dedicated writer with a passion for business and environmental issues.

You can check out his new website at Chaise Lounge Furniture which helps people find the best Chaise Lounges and Bedroom Chaise Lounge Chairs and information they are looking relating to this subject.

I think of feedback as perspectives you give employees about how well or how poorly they perform

I think of feedback as perspectives you give employees about how well or how poorly they perform. It can be a great retention tool, as well as a good way to shape employees’ attitudes and behaviors. By regularly letting employees know how they are performing, managers demonstrate they are actively interested in employees’ development.

The failure to get useful feedback is one of the major reasons people leave their jobs. They resent not knowing how the company perceives their job performance, and feel that since they hear nothing, no one cares.

Don’t make the mistake, however, of delivering all employees the same level and nature of feedback. Doubtless, some of your employees are happy with the annual or semi-annual reviews and feel that a check in with their manager once or twice a year is sufficient. On the other hand, many want more perspective on their job performance and look to managers to provide detailed insight and analysis. Still others require feedback on how well they perform their tasks on a much more frequent basis, along with information on how they stack up against their peers

How can a manager know how much feedback is appropriate for an employee, what kind to offer and how often to provide it? I’ve found that age can provide a good clue. While not etched in stone, most often a manager can gauge the feedback approach that will work best by an employee’s age. Let’s consider four age groups:

Traditionalists (born 1906 to 1945)
Traditionalists value teamwork, commitment, sacrifice and discipline. Coming through the Great Depression and World War II, they have “done without” and don’t need to be told they are valuable to the organization. On the other hand, they always appreciate a pat on the back and a kind word privately.

Deliver feedback to this group privately. They want to know they are appreciated and that their service matters, but in a low key way.

Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964)
Boomers value idealism, individualism and self-improvement. They bring high expectations to their jobs, both personally and professionally. Boomers generally want more feedback than Traditionalists, but they are comfortable receiving their performance reviews on a regular and formal basis, such as their annual review.

This group will respond well to feedback when given in a straightforward manner along with specific examples of what they do well and what needs improvement.

Generation X (born 1965 to 1979)
Known to be extremely self-sufficient, members of this group value their freedom in their workplace above all else. Because Gen Xers generally like to work very autonomously, it can often appear to their managers that they don’t need feedback. In fact, just the opposite is true. This is the first group of workers whom I’ve known to leave jobs solely on the basis of not getting enough information on their performance.

In general, Gen Xers want to know how well they perform after they’ve completed major projects and reached key milestones. Don’t wait to let these workers know how good they are and the strong contribution they make to your organization. By making a concerted effort to check in with them often, and comment specifically on their contributions to the organization, you will build loyalty with this elusive group.

Millennials (born 1980 to 2000)
The newest addition to the workplace values ritual, optimism, technological adeptness, volunteerism and teamwork. Millennials have taken the term ‘feedback’ to a whole new level. They insist on getting frequent input on their job performance, and want to know where they stand compared to their peers. I’m personally convinced that this desire for very frequent feedback stems from time they’ve spent playing competitive computer games. They’ve also gotten unprecedented attention in their youth by teachers, coaches and parents. That said, they just logically assume that they’ll get similar feedback on their job performance.

Savvy managers will leverage the Millennials’ desire for lots of feedback into an opportunity to mold and develop these young people into productive and committed employees. Deliver comments on performance often and use as many metrics as possible, and use the time to learn more about them. Certainly, this group requires a bit more time and nurturing than the others, but if they feel they are valued members of the team, they will want to do well and excel within the organization.

Summary: Giving employees a “report card” once each year is often no longer enough. Many workers today are looking for more frequent performance evaluations, and their effectiveness and longevity in their roles can hang in the balance.

Just remember: It’s often not what you say, but the way you say it…as well as how frequently!

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