Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category.

Business Ethics Ain’t Rocket Science

The famous U.S. Army General H. Norman Schwarzkopf once said, “The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do… the hard part is doing it!”  Likewise, the answer to most business problems is usually obvious as well.

Consider this – when was the last time you were really stumped for a solution to a problem?  In most cases, the hardest things about solving the problem were the obstacles of personalities, politics, or cost.  Taken together, these obstacles usually make the obvious solution very hard if not impossible to implement.  These are failures of an organization’s values, guiding principles, and ethics.

Twenty years ago, my elderly mother came to live with me due to her declining health.  She sold her home and hired a moving company to move her furniture and transport her car via trailer from New England to Virginia (primarily to minimize the mileage).  When the moving van and car arrived, it was obvious that the car had not been transported but driven instead.  When questioned, the driver admitted that they had driven the car and not transported it as they had been contracted to do.

When I called the moving company’s main office to complain, the representative asked what I wanted them to do about it.  My only reply was “What would you expect someone to do if it was your mother!” Shortly thereafter, the driver came back to tell us that they were refunding the cost of transporting the car.

When a customer calls about a problem with your product or service. You generally know right off hand what the right thing to do is: either fix it, replace it, or refund their money.  But company management may complain that “if we fix every problem for every customer then how are we supposed to make a profit?”  Well, if your company’s product or service has so many customer problems that fixing them impacts profits, then fix the product or service!  It ain’t rocket science!

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How workplace culture can help drive employees to succeed

How would you describe your organization/department/team’s culture? Take a moment and select three words or phrases that describe your company culture. Write them down and set them aside; we’ll come back to them in a few paragraphs.

If you’re like most leaders, you don’t pay careful attention to the work environment that exists in your organization today. Most leaders have been groomed to focus primarily on performance metrics, things such as net profit, market share, EBIDA, payroll expenses, etc.

These are certainly important metrics; all organizations need to meet or exceed performance standards. And research indicates that these, alone, are not the strongest drivers of desirable outcomes such as consistent performance, terrific customer service or engaged employees.

What differentiates great organizations from ordinary ones?

Leaders in every organization around the globe monitor performance metrics. Yet some organizations are seen as “great places to work” and “great investments” and deliver “great customer experiences.” Most organizations are not seen like that.

Organizational cultures that are consistently high performing AND values-aligned do not happen casually — they happen intentionally. The leaders of these organizations understand that they must effectively manage employees’ heads, hearts and hands — not just one of those three. Leaders that focus on performance alone typically see their role as managing employees’ hands, not employees’ heads and hearts, as well.

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