E-couragement: The 1% Rule

November 11, 2014

Honored Guest“If your view is basic badness, you see it wherever you go. If your view is basic goodness, you see it wherever you go.” Pema Chodron

It was summer 2012 and our conversation started like this, “My wife had an account with you. She died 7-months ago and was the big Netflix user. I haven’t watched a single movie since she passed. I need to cancel her membership. Can you help me?” I had low expectations based on my typical customer experience. I was hoping for the cancellation of my draft within 30-days without having to produce a stack of legal documents validating my request. What she did next demonstrated a company culture that embraces the 1% rule and harnesses its power for customer engagement.

“Mr. Schlentz, let me start by saying how sorry I am for your loss. Here’s what I’m going to do: your membership will be cancelled today. I’m also going to provide a refund for the last seven months. You’ll see that credit posted to your card within 48-hours.” I sat silent for a moment. This representative blew me away. The total cost to Netflix was $55.65. The experience was priceless for me.

Here’s how the rule works: 1% of your customers are thieves, liars, and cheats. They’ll steal whatever they can from your business. They’re better at taking than you are at keeping. Here’s the key. They can never steal or lie enough to hurt your business—ever. The other 99% of your customer are honest, trustworthy, hard working people. They are willing to pay a fair price for your product/service. They want to be loyal buyers and establish an ongoing business relationship with you.

It’s a poor business decision to focus precious time and attention on the 1%. Your policies will reflect a belief that buyers are thieves. Employees will treat your customers as liars. Good clients will be forced to your competition. You’ll spend more time brooding over the 1% who took from you instead of loving the 99% who want to give you money and refer their friends (perhaps even write a blog about you).

I understand how bad it hurts that 1% of your customers are no good. Resist giving them power over you. Let them go (emotionally, intellectually, and physically). Concentrate your energy, policies, and resources on the 99% of your customers who have the biggest impact on your growth and profitability. Welcome them. Believe them. Serve them. Honor them. Make it easy for them. If you do that, they’ll willingly give you money and tell the world about you. Isn’t that why you got into business in the first place?

Leave your comments: How does your company engage customers and treat them as honored guests?  

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V-couragement: Chapter 11 – Inspire Them

November 5, 2014

In the movie, Jerry Maguire, Jerry has a powerful vision to launch his own company. Initially, business is slow—almost non-existent. This causes tension between Jerry and his only employee, Dorothy Boyd. They begin to argue. That’s when she says the phrase we all believe and rarely articulate: “I care about the job, of course, but mostly, I just want to be inspired.” Most of us are conscientious. We work hard and do the right thing. Yet deep down inside, we hear our inner thoughts whisper, There’s got to be more to it than this. We want a work experience that inspires us. That’s why our ninth fundamental engagement principle from Your Employees Have Quit—They Just Haven’t Left  is…Inspire Them. Watch this video and uncover three recommended action steps that are sure to inspire and engage your culture.

To see more encouraging videos, visit our YouTube channel. Click here.

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E-couragement: Fine Print Debacle

October 28, 2014

Fine Print“One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.” Jim Rohn

It didn’t feel good. I recall thinking: “This is my reward for loyalty? I rack up thousands of miles on this airline—and this is what I get?” These days, companies are feverishly looking for ways to distinguish themselves from their competition. They’re searching for best practices that will engage customers and create long-term loyal buyers. Yet, there’s one insulting practice that remains alive and well. Refrain from using it and you’ll have a distinct advantage over your competitors.

Here’s the scenario. I was finally cashing in miles earned from consistent domestic and international flights. Carley and I were headed to Northern California for a week-long “dad-daughter” camp. After securing our complimentary tickets, the airline was unable to provide adjoining seats based on the fine print: limited seating selection. My daughter and I traveled cross-country sitting on different rows—victims of fine print trickery.

I recently received an email from a resort I’d visited. At first glance the bold print seemed to promote an enticing opportunity for loyal customers. It read, “GO DISCOVER. Save up to 30% at one of our 60 properties…” Then, just like the airline experience, they stripped away value in the fine print:

Subject to availability. Minimum stay varies by property, see participating property for details. Application for new reservations only. Not applicable to groups, conventions or in combination with other savings or discounts. Blah, blah, blah…(delete email promotion).

Compare these experiences to the time I visited Starbucks and I had to wait longer than expected for my drink. As a means of making amends, an employee handed me a free drink coupon. My natural reflex was to search for restrictions and limitations. I found none. Starbucks had forgone the fine print in order to simply and powerfully demonstrate their appreciation for my business. Any drink I wanted at any time I wanted it. What a novel idea to substantiate my value as a customer.

Abort fine print. If your goal is to recognize, appreciate, or apologize to customers through a special offer—then do that. You’re better off to forgo the offer all together rather than deflate the customer’s value by restricting how they might enjoy it. A no-strings-attached approach is a sure way to engage your customers. Give without limitations and watch customer loyalty (and profits) soar.

Leave your comments: Tell us about a no-strings-attached approach your organization uses to recognize/reward customers or employees?

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V-couragement: Lead, Connect, and Trust

October 23, 2014

Communication is the #1 issue managers deal with today. It can make or break your organization and can hinder your growth or lead your team to a bright future. In this V-couragement, Executive Coach Elaine Penn uncovers 5-steps to ensure your communication is powerful and impactful. She’ll remind you how effective communication is critical for building trust and enhancing engagement. As a result of applying these steps, you’ll create a team that is committed to achieving significant and sustained results.

To see more encouraging videos, visit our YouTube channel. Click here.


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E-couragement: Do It Like This

October 15, 2014

Road“Oz never did give nothing to the Tin man, that he didn’t, didn’t already have.” America

To improve, grow, and develop is an innate human desire. I am grateful for the opportunity to help people and teams along that path. My work is fulfilling and meaningful, yet I’ve noticed a potential trap between those in my business and our clients. It’s called, “Do it like this.” Let’s take a look at how this happens.

When a person or team recognizes the need to improve and add new skills, they often reach out to a professional consultant, facilitator, or coach. This learning and development professional should then ask strategic questions and listen intently to determine how to assist the client in achieving their desired outcome. The problem occurs when the professional starts rolling out a plan that includes phrases which sound like this:

  • If you want to be an engaging leader, do it like this…
  • If you want to start your own business, do it like this…
  • If you want to experience financial freedom, do it like this…
  • If you want to have more energy, eat like this…
  • If you want to be sleek and strong, workout like this…

You’re not designed to follow a one-size-fits-all “do it like this” path. You’ve got to be an active participant in your own self-discovery. Imagine if the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion listened to an infomercial that said, “If you need a heart, do this. If you’re looking for a brain, do this. If you want courage, do this.” What they really needed was to go on a journey that included fear, courage, set backs, teamwork, problem solving, and celebration. And just like you, the magical Land of Oz they were searching for resided within.

Resist the temptation to improve and develop yourself with a “do it like this” mentality. It’s smart to seek advice, support, and guidance, yet in the end you’ll have to make application and discover what really works for you. There is never one way to improve, grow or develop. Chart your course. Take a detour. Walk your own yellow brick road. In the end, you’ll learn more and become more than you ever imagined.

Leave your comments: How are you determined to improve, grow, and develop?

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V-couragement: Chapter 10 – Have Fun

October 7, 2014

“How do you like your work?” is a question I often ask people. It’s commonly followed by a deep sigh and a discouraged voice that answers, “Twelve more years.” It’s time to bring the “F” word into your workplace. Our eighth fundamental engagement principle from Your Employees Have Quit—They Just Haven’t Left  is…Have Fun! It makes good business sense to have fun at work. Recent research demonstrates that employees who enjoy their jobs are more creative, productive, innovative, more effective at problem solving, have lower absenteeism, experience improved overall well-being, and get along better with co-workers. That’s a good return on investment. How might you go about improving employee engagement by incorporating more fun at work? Watch the video for your answers. 

To see more encouraging videos, visit our YouTube channel. Click here.

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E-couragement: 3 Steps to Master Time Management

September 30, 2014

Time Management“In fact, the most important thing probably isn’t even on your agenda.”  Seth Godin

Maybe it’s a result of our current work reality that companies are still demanding workshops and learning wrapped around the topic of time management; in fact, it’s one of the most requested sessions. We have more to do and we need to get it done faster with fewer people to help. This time-crisis is at epidemic proportions, impacting our work and personal life. So, let’s fix it today with our 3 Steps to Master Time Management.

Humans can be funny—especially when we don’t mean to be. We often accept theories simply because we’ve been told, “that’s the way it is.” Therein lies the root of our time management crisis. The solution rests in our ability to challenge current beliefs. With that in mind, let’s dive into the 3-steps:

  1. Recognize the Illusion: Solving the time management predicament can appear sexy. It involves the quest for more effective checklists, calendars, and technology. All the while, this busying pursuit is a perfect distraction from a reality: time management is an illusion. We can’t manage time anymore than we can grab a fistful of wind (go outside and try it). Perhaps if we could uncover a way to manage time we could also figure out how to control the sun and earth’s rotation. Did I mention humans are funny?
  2. Accept responsibility: Here’s the irony. By holding on to our former belief we ensure failure. Success relies solely on our willingness to take 100% responsibility for what we do and when we do it. The minute we place blame somewhere else (lack of time, our boss, customers, coworkers, the economy, etc.) or resort to excuse making, we lose our power. Here’s a tough reality that I regularly remind myself of (with a spirit of compassion): Yesterday—and all the days before that—I did exactly what I wanted to do. My evidence? I did it.
  3. Modify actions: Now that we’ve regained our power, it’s time to take action. Here’s the final step. At the end of each day, reflect and ask: Am I happy with how I invested my time? Were my actions aligned with my purpose, priorities, and goals? If so—awesome! You rock. If not, then determine what you’ll do different tomorrow. That’s it. Success.

Here’s what I’ve found after decades of struggling with the time management fantasy. My real challenge is self-mastery. Once I finally recognized the illusion, accepted responsibility, and modified my actions, things started to improve. I don’t want to be misleading—I still wrestle (daily) with self-mastery. The difference is that I can actually do something about myself, leaving time to manage itself. Reclaim your power. Align your actions and priorities. Do what’s important. At the end of the day, you’ll have an overwhelming feeling of satisfaction.

Leave your comments: How are you being more effective with self-mastery?

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V-couragement: Create Your Miracle Mindset

September 23, 2014

Successful and happy people subscribe to Albert Einstein’s philosophy of “seeing everything as a miracle.” Each day they recognize the good, the possibilities, and the opportunities surrounding them. These people intentionally nurture a miracle mindset. In this video, Executive Coach Elaine Penn explains the value of creating your own miracle mindset, allowing you to confidently believe in your own ideas, talents, abilities, and life purpose. Break free of limited self-thinking, adopt a few simple practices and you’ll shine as you’re meant to. Enjoy this V-couragement as you fully engage your work and life.

To see more encouraging videos, visit our YouTube channel. Click here.

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E-couragement: Pain and Joy

September 15, 2014

JoyPain“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” Khalil Gibran

It’s been two-and-a-half years since my wife transitioned. I’m occasionally prompted to revisit journal writings and blogs from the time around her death. Not long ago, I encountered such a nudge. Sometimes I feel like an outsider reading my own journal posts—reliving an experience that seems so long ago and still remains surprisingly raw. I stumbled upon one entry that aligns perfectly with a recent conversation I had with a friend.

In late 2011, during our three-week stay in Palliative care, I found myself vacillating between feelings of pain—watching Ivy traverse the dying process, and joy—recalling the significant impact she had on my life. Remembering the Buddhist saying, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear, I was keenly aware that Ivy, and this event, were important teachers for me. Here’s a particular student lesson lifted from my journal at that time:

Pain and Joy = opposite sides of the same coin. Seeking a life of safety and security in order to protect ourselves from potential loss or pain also numbs and robs us of deep joy. Live with courage, curiosity, wonder, risk, abandon, and joy. Thoreau wrote, “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, to suck the marrow from the bones of life; to put to rout all that was not life, and not to come to the end of life, and discover that I had not lived.” Don’t seek the straight and secure road, rather the windy, twisty, scenic path.

That bold writing emerged only days before Ivy died. The pain that followed was excruciating, at times unbearable. Yet, a month after Ivy’s death, when asked by our minister, “knowing what you know now, would you have done anything different?” My answer was a quick, “No.” The immense pain of losing Ivy had not overshadowed the incalculable joy of knowing her. That’s one of the final lesson she left for me.

Common life teaching encourages people to mitigate risk and pain. It’s well meaning advice, often given by those who care deeply for you. This does not have to be your path. It’s not for the person looking to experience the depth and breadth of what life has to offer. Attempting to alleviate pain robs you of deep joy. In order to live fully engaged be willing to embrace both sides of the coin—pain and joy.

Leave your comments: What potential joy are you missing out on in order to limit your risk of pain

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V-couragement: Chapter 9 – Crave Feedback

September 8, 2014

Feedback can be challenging. Your willingness to seek out and accept feedback from those you trust can be the difference between mediocrity and excellence. That’s why our seventh fundamental engagement principle from Your Employees Have Quit—They Just Haven’t Left  is: Crave Feedback. Feedback is your personal GPS. It helps close the gap between where you think you are and where you actually are. It gives you a fuller truth to operate from and can offer perspectives that you might otherwise be blind to. Watch this eight-minute video and learn how this principle can help you grow and develop into the engaging leader you’re designed to be: crave feedback. 

To see more encouraging videos, visit our YouTube channel. Click here.

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