Monthly Archives: June 2019

Creating a Learning Culture

Creating a learning culture

Can we really learn from mistakes?

Well, yes. Providing we’re able to spot the mistake, make the effort to understand the mistake and be open to learning from it.

And the same applies with your team.

Let me explain…

A few weeks’ ago, I was at a conference and one of the talks was on creating a learning culture. To my mind there was one aspect of this which was completely overlooked. And that was to create a learning culture you have to be prepared for people to make mistakes and to help them learn from these. Unless you do people will not be prepared to try new things or take a chance on taking action for fear of messing up and being blamed – even when they think it’s the right thing to do.

Here are 10 ideas to help create a learning culture, one where it’s ok to take a chance and make the odd mistake, so long as you learn from it.

  1. Set the example. Admit when you’ve made a mistake – when you’re open about making mistakes your team will be recognise that everyone makes mistakes. But, make sure you also focus on what’s been learnt as a result of that mistake (see The Emotional Bank Account)
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  2. Demonstrate your trust in team members by giving them responsibility and authority to do what they believe is right. E.g. to respond to customers’ expectations and requests in the way that they see fit. If they truly understand your values and what’s of most importance generally they’ll work out the best route to get there.
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  3. Define what levels of authority your team members have in any given situation, and give them examples of when they need to refer to a manager or get sign off, and when it’s OK for them to make the decision. But when you do have to get involved use this as an opportunity for others to learn from the situation, by explaining your approach and why you approached it in the way you did.
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  4. Build confidence; often people know what they should be doing, but just lack that certainty and confidence to do this really well, so give time and an opportunity for them to practise in a safe environment.
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  5. Listen out for hesitation. When you hear a team member saying  “I can’t…” that might be an indication they are fearful of making a mistake. Talk this through with them to identify any obstacles. Do they have the necessary resources, time, authority, peer support?  Let them know you are still there to support them.
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  6. Don’t expect perfection straight away. People need time to find their own way of doing things, and they shouldn’t feel afraid to make the odd mistake when they initially put principles into practice. Recognise and reward as they improve, even if things are not yet perfect.
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  7. Foster a supportive culture. It should be okay to ask questions and admit they don’t know all the answers, where they’re encouraged to seek out new activities and it’s accepted that people won’t always get things right. Recognise even marginal gains in performance are a step forward.
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  8. Give supportive feedback, and help people see their own mistakes, as well as encouraging them by pointing out what’s gone well. https://www.naturallyloyal.com/giving-effective-feedback/
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  9. Reframing. Get people into the habit of looking for solutions rather than trying to blame others. Asking “what can I do to improve the situation?” “What’s in my control?” Rather than focusing on what’s gone wrong, or seeing it as a failure.
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  10. Think about your emotional states. When you, your team – any of us – are in an unresourceful state (such as anger, exhaustion, boredom) if faced with challenges the tiniest problem can lead us to frustration or aggression; the slightest failure can lead to disappointment, blame or self-doubt; a hint of rejection can lead to defensiveness.

Take action

If you only do one thing towards creating a learning culture…

The next time you or any of your team make a mistake use it as an opportunity to learn from it and move on.

Book recommendation:

Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed.

An inspiring book about how we cannot grow unless we are prepared to learn from our mistakes, by understanding and overcoming failures and demonstrates how even marginal gains all contribute to success.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Box-Thinking-Surprising-Success/dp/1473613779



How to Engage New Team Members

How to Engage New Team Members

Employee Engagement Starts Here

Nearly every business owner I know lists recruiting and retaining good staff high on their list of priorities.

Having gone to the effort and expense of finding a good fit, don’t waste this by poor induction.

Many hospitality, leisure and tourism businesses will be taking on seasonal staff now.

Maybe you are too?

The first few days and weeks in any job will determine how that person feels about your business and whether or not this is the place they want to stay. It might just be for a season initially, but who knows… maybe even to pursue their career here. Is this an environment where they’ll be happy, fit in and feel their contribution is valued?

Getting this right is as important for temporary or seasonal staff as it is for permanent. They too can act as ambassadors for your business, and make all the difference the next time you need to recruit. Quite apart from the impact they can have on other team members and your customers depending on how well they’re equipped for the job.

People like (and need) to know what’s expected of them. But your on boarding process should go far deeper than simply their duties and contractual obligations.

If you need to re-vamp your on-boarding process or want to learn more about how to engage new team members I’ve just made that chore a whole lot easier for you!

Take action

If you only do one thing, take a fresh look at your on-boarding programmes and how you engage new team members, and ask yourself do they really give the best possible start for anyone new to your team to be a productive, happy and engaged team player in your business.

p.s Start your on-boarding process as soon as possible; the more you can do before their first day the quicker they’ll get them up to speed.

Discover more here…

 


Getting emotional

improve customer experience

Why Emotions Matter to your Customer Experience

Last week was full of emotions for me. Tuesday marked the 25th anniversary of my mother’s death, Wednesday would have been my father’s 90th birthday and of course Thursday commemorated D-Day. Who couldn’t fail to be moved by some of the incredible stories told by the veterans?

But emotions aren’t all ones of sadness, reflection or gratitude.

Emotions are key in influencing our customers’ perception of service and their likelihood of buying from us, becoming a repeat customer and in recommending us to others.

In fact:

Over 50% of the customer’s experience is down to emotions.

Your customers’ experience can be your single most valuable competitive advantage, whatever type of business you are in.  But, when it comes to experience based businesses such as hospitality, leisure and tourism this of course is even more important.

It’s the experience and emotions you create for customers that gets remembered.

Their experience is based on their perceptions and how they feel about your business. In other words, it’s based on their emotions. And you and your team are the key drivers of these.

So, what do we want customers to think and feel about us and when with us; what emotions do we want them to have?

These could be emotions of fun, joy, happiness. They might be ones of pride, excitement, achievement. They might be security, reassurance, comfort, or indulgence, inspiration, relaxation… I could go on!

Think about what your customers really care about and why they buy from you specifically.

When you and your team know the emotions you want your customers to have at each stage of the customer journey it makes it so much easier for everyone to determine what needs to happen at each stage and therefore what actions and behaviours are appropriate. All too often we tell people what they should do or say, but not necessarily explain why.

When getting team members to think about customers emotions here are a couple of exercises I use:

1. The Thank You Letter

This is a useful exercise to get your team thinking about how they want customers to feel about the business as a whole but also about them personally.

The participants are to imagine they have just received an appreciative thank you letter from a customer, one which makes them feel happy and proud.

Ask them to jot down a few ideas about what might be in that letter that makes them feel good. What would be the things they’d like that customer to notice about them.

Then ask them to write the letter they’d love to receive!

The purpose of this exercise is to get them thinking about the perfect customer experience and how they might contribute to it.

2. Customer Needs and Expectations

Delivering excellent customer service and ensuring people have a memorable experience when they visit starts with understanding what they want and expect.

This exercise helps your team recognise that different customer groups will have different requirements and will want different things.

When I’m training I ask participants to identify their main customer groups, then get them to visualise each group – picturing the person (if a family, they might want to split this into parents and children and even sub-divide for different ages of children)

They are to give each person a name, gender, age, where they live, disposable income and other basic demographic information, then start adding in the detail. You can start to build up a detailed profile of them, their family and friends, their favourite pastimes, food, habits, interests, values, etc. Anything that’s important to them so you build up a profile until you feel you know them as a friend. Then draw an image of this person (and family if appropriate). A stick man is fine!

Under the picture I ask them to identify the needs, wants and expectations of that customer, that will be specific to that category and not so important to other categories of customers, thinking about their emotional needs a well as their physical needs?

Recognising that the customer journey and what influences their perception of the customer service can be determined before they even make direct contact with you, this can impacted by how they are feeling at this first touch point.

With these needs, wants and expectations in mind in an ideal world…

  1. How would they like these customers to be feeling before they arrive?
  2. How would they like these customers to feel whilst here?
  3. How would they like these customers to feel as a result of their visit? E.g. how would you like them to feel when they leave, how would you like to be remembered?

Emphasise you want them to be thinking about feelings and emotions, not about actions and behaviours.

At the end of the exercise ask them to identify:

  1. What you do brilliantly? This might include things you do that are unique or special that make you stand out from your competitors.
  2. What are the things you do really well, we’re 99% there, but with just a 1% tweak, we could make even better? (i.e. with minimal effort we could make a big difference.)
  3. Pick one emotion or feeling you are not yet achieving as well as you could. What could you do or put in place to improve this? Get them to focus on things which are within their own sphere of influence, i.e. things they could do, say or put in place that would make a difference.

Take action

If you only do one thing to improve your customers’ experience – identify the top 3-4 emotions you’d like your customers to experience when they visit/buy from you.

Related posts: https://www.naturallyloyal.com/employee-recognition/

https://www.naturallyloyal.com/emotional_triggers/


Giving Effective Feedback

giving effective feedback

Giving effective feedback

Last week I was a guest on a webinar and was speaking on the topic of giving effective feedback. We did a poll at the start to ask if people felt they give or receive enough feedback. 80% responded NO. This stacks up with the feedback I hear from delegates on my workshops too.

I know I’ve written on this topic before and I make no apologies for doing so again as I believe giving effective feedback is such an important skill for any line manager, mentor or coach. When done well, not only can it improve performance, but it can be a great morale booster too.

I’m not going to go over the structure again as you can read about this here or watch a recent video here (starting at 1:47).

But, here are my before, during and after tips on giving effective feedback.

Before

  • Know what good looks like, so you know what benchmark you’re using for your feedback.
  • Ensure all line managers are consistent in their expectations and messages; this is particularly important when team members report to different managers/supervisors on different shifts.
  • Be clear on objectives/the outcome you were looking for as result of giving feedback; is it to see an improvement (if so in what way?) or are you aiming to show recognition for a job well done and boost morale.
  • Timing is important. Ideally you want to feedback as soon as possible after the event you’re feeding back on. If you’re feeding back as part of a general review, choose the most recent examples.
  • Consider moods/emotional states, both yours and theirs. If you’re frustrated or irritated by their performance, this will inevitably taint the feedback, so wait until you are in a better frame of mind.
  • Equally, if they are in a negative state e.g. tired after a long shift, this might be fine for giving morale boosting feedback, but if you need to see an improvement in performance this is properly not the best time.

During

  • Avoid fluff (see Fluff busting). Be specific and stick to the facts. If you need to deliver bad news, don’t fluff up the message in cotton wool. If you need to see an improvement, make sure this is clear. So avoid the praise sandwich.
  • Make it a two-way conversation, asking for their comments and ideas on how to improve or build on their successes.
  • Tune into their reaction: watch for signs that they are confused, defensive, or worried, and address these concerns during the conversation.
  • Demonstrate your trust in them. If they sense you have no faith in them, it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • Commitment: show your commitment and support for any actions needed following the discussion, and get their commitment on their part.

After

  • Be prepared to invest time and attention in following up, otherwise it implies it’s not important.
  • Monitor progress, offering support, guidance and coaching where it’s needed.
  • Maintain momentum; you need to be confident that any changes aren’t just adhered to for the next two days, what about the next 2 weeks or next 2 months? It takes time to embed new habits.
  • Recognise improvement or actions taken as a result of the feedback, and give praise where it’s due, so people feel proud of their progress/achievements. This means people will be more likely to be receptive to future feedback.

If you only do one thing

  • Give a piece of effective feedback today to at least one person in your team.