Leading Customer Experience Management

Providing a level of customer experience that ensures your customers ‘feel’ the difference between your business and competitors is crucial to success. A key element to be able to make this a reality rather than a pipe-dream is how many of your employees and particularly leaders ‘live the reality’. Discussing customer experience (CE) as a core part of business culture genuinely reinforces the messages – but not if this is felt by a few, not the many. Effective business leaders should always know that they are building a culture and understanding with all employees that the customer matters. This cannot be achieved through empty words, sound bites or a shallow attempt at driving a customer-centric organisation. CE can be incredibly complex and very simple at the same time. I wonder Read more about Leading Customer Experience Management[…]

CoachStation: Leadership

Roles, Structure and Instinct…Be Like a Bee

In my front garden is a small bush. As we enter the early stages of Spring, it has come into full bloom. The plant is covered in bunches of small, white, delicate flowers. I can see the bush from my office and often enjoy the view of our garden. Under my office window is a bench seat that I made last year using the original wood from a patio that we pulled down in our backyard. It is one of my favourite places to sit. One beautiful Spring day last week I was sitting on the bench watching the bees, literally hundreds of them, flitting from flower to flower. I watched them for 20 minutes or so working very studiously collecting nectar and doing what bees do….and it got me Read more about Roles, Structure and Instinct…Be Like a Bee[…]

CoachStation: Building Leadership

The Current Challenge Of Leadership

People-oriented issues are the biggest factors impacting business success in 2012. A recent report by the business group, SixSeconds, titled The 2012 Workplace Issues Report: Insights On The People Side of Performance seeks to identify the key challenges in the workplace today. The report details the results of a global survey which explores top issues as well as employee attitudes and the role of emotional intelligence in solving those key issues. The findings collate 775 responses from leaders and employees worldwide, representing various levels of employment, industries and sectors. There are many interesting results and data-sets stemming from the survey, all providing depth to the importance of people-related leadership activities. 58% of survey respondents list ‘Leadership’ as the biggest ‘people-side’ issue in their organisation. Additionally, the survey highlights key words Read more about The Current Challenge Of Leadership[…]

At Last We’re Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 2)

Is employee engagement relevant in today‘s workforce? Earlier this week I wrote the first part of this blog relating to Employee Engagement. In part two I examine some of the leadership themes, highlights and a few statistics supporting the relevance and importance of engaging employees. A leader‘s ability to consistently demonstrate and apply relational skills has a direct correlation to the level of engagement an individual may feel. Providing genuine leadership is key. There appears to be a gap between what employees state is occurring and what leaders feel they are applying in reality. Data and surveys continually reflect the discrepancy between what leaders believe is occurring and what their team members state. This is often reflected in frequency and quality of the levels of engagement through formal and informal Read more about At Last We’re Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 2)[…]

CoachStation: Employee Engagement

At Last We're Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 1)

Is employee engagement relevant in today‘s workforce? I would suggest more significant than ever with the ‘war for talent‘ escalating, technology providing a seemingly endless stream of information and contact with new job opportunities being more accessible than ever. What is employee engagement? Simply, it is how well an employee is fully involved in his or her role and the desire in meeting business interests, outcomes and goals. Employee Engagement is the extent to which employee commitment, both emotional and intellectual, exists relative to accomplishing the work, mission, and vision of the organisation. Engagement can be seen as a heightened level of ownership where each employee wants to do whatever they can for the benefit of their internal and external customers, and for the success of the organization as a Read more about At Last We're Engaged – Leading Your Team (Part 1)[…]

CoachStation: Developing Leaders

Efficiency and Effectiveness – Leadership Impact

Are you efficient and effective in all that you do? I’m not, however a recent experience has taught me more about myself and the importance of these two attributes . Self-reflection, taking into account the many factors that influence us all is important for growth. Taking time to reflect provides a platform for improvement and awareness about what is going well and what you would like to change about who you are and what you do. In my most recent role as a senior leader within a global organisation I had many responsibilities and tasks assigned to my position. I was also in the fortunate situation where, for most of my tenure, I had a high degree of flexibility and freedom in my direction and subsequently, that of my team. Read more about Efficiency and Effectiveness – Leadership Impact[…]

CoachStation: Learn To Lead

Development and Training – Same, Same: Maybe Not?

Are learning, training and development the same thing? The short answer is no, however training is one avenue to learning and development. Why does defining the difference matter – aren’t I really just splitting hairs? Now, that is the interesting question!! Having worked with many varied people and business cultures and recognising the similarities and differences, it is clear to me that many managers think training and development are the same thing. I have seen examples where a manager has sent one of their team to training to ‘rectify’ a skill gap and behaviour. Attending the training did not make the difference expected by the manager, so he sent the employee back on the 2-day training course at the next available opportunity. Of course, there was no change as a Read more about Development and Training – Same, Same: Maybe Not?[…]

How Important Is Reading To Development and Leadership?

In one of those coincidental yet surprisingly common situations, I have been engaged in several scenarios regarding the importance of reading in recent weeks. As a keen reader, this stimulated thought regarding my current situation and what has led me to where I am today – do I believe there is a link? I recently left permanent employment to focus my time and energy full-time on a consulting business I have been developing for the past two years. As with most small business owners, I am keen to succeed for my own reasons (making a difference, ego, challenging myself etc.) as much as external factors such as earning an income and supporting my family. I was keen to investigate how much I have learned through what I have read as Read more about How Important Is Reading To Development and Leadership?[…]

360 View in 360 Words: Leaders Are Born AND Made

Some months ago I read a post written by Colleen Sharen titled, Leaders Are Born, Not Made. I have continued to think through this question, particularly as I have changed my views somewhat over the years. I felt it appropriate to provide further insight into this question of leadership, based on my response to the original blog. It appears Colleen hit the right note to stimulate thought and some controversy based on the various responses from other readers that were posted in response. My belief is that leaders can be taught and developed, however there is a ‘minimum’ requirement that must exist to start with i.e. emotional intelligence, intelligence, physical, personality along with other skills, traits, behaviours and attributes. What I am interested to discover (and I continue to look Read more about 360 View in 360 Words: Leaders Are Born AND Made[…]

Personal Values – One View

Understanding your own set of personal values can be a powerful tool. Increased self-awareness and knowledge of what is most important to you can help to identify how you act, what motivations drive you and better understand why you react to particular events or situations more than others. What are personal values? Wordnetweb defines values as beliefs of a person or social group in which they have an emotional investment (either for or against something). Values exert major influence on the behavior of an individual and serve as broad guidelines in all situations (BusinessDictionary.com). Values can and do change over time depending on environment, parental influence, teachers/schooling, friendship groups, specific situations and many other contributing factors. Importantly, values can be shaped through both negative and positive experiences. An individual may Read more about Personal Values – One View[…]

Leadership @Customer Experience Management Conference

This week I attended the IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest speaker during the Focus Day on Monday and many other speakers have shared their thoughts and presentations over the three days. Although the conference theme was based around Customer Experience, there have been many great quotes and comments regarding leadership, business and culture that are worth sharing. This blog highlights a few of the key points that I felt were most relevant and resonated with my own values and passions. Thank you to all the speakers for sharing! How are you choosing to challenge what has been done previously? Don’t accept the reasonable reasons from the past. Our employees want to know their leaders and what they care about. Gordon Read more about Leadership @Customer Experience Management Conference[…]

11 Key Leadership and Customer Experience Mantras

This week I am attending the IQPC Customer Experience Management Conference in Sydney. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a guest speaker during the Focus Day on Monday and presented on the subject of ‘Building Customer Experience Frameworks From The Inside Out’. The comments and quotes highlight some of my key themes and concepts that I feel are most important when developing a Customer Experience philosophy and strategy: Unless your business sees Customer Experience as a culture, not a tool, then your customers will feel the pain of what is not being provided by your customer-facing employees. Leaders should create a culture of employee engagement, empowerment and buy-in that ensures your customers benefit. When we get our leadership mantra right…our employees care about their roles and our customers ‘feel’ Read more about 11 Key Leadership and Customer Experience Mantras[…]

Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 2)

Richard Branson recently stated that coaching senior managers can be difficult for various reasons, not the least of which is the difficulty in finding an uninterrupted period of time to conduct and review. In Part 1 I noted the first three guidelines Richard Branson highlighted in a recent article in the Business Review Weekly magazine titled, 7 Rules For Managers, focusing on effective leadership, coaching and empowering leaders.This post concludes the guidelines, consisting of the final four points. Who’s In Charge? It’s Up To You? A good manager provides clear roles for members of his team, which enables everyone to get on with the job of running the business. Once you’ve made these choices, do not micromanage. If you make a habit of diving in and changing a major project’s Read more about Developing and Empowering Leaders – Richard Branson (Part 2)[…]

The Positive Impact Of Connecting

I recently read an outstanding article titled ‘The Why (and How) of Employee Engagement‘. It incorporates an interview with Kevin Kruse, entrepreneur and CEO of Kru Research and co-author, along with Rudy Karsan, of We: How to Increase Performance and Profits Through Full Engagement. I am particularly interested in this topic as it is often one of the key differences between those in charge who are managing and those who are leading. Employee engagement is a large topic with many inputs. On a one-to-one level or team level the connections made form part of the engagement story. There are many interesting points made in the article, notably the need to apply the same rigor and analysis to engagement as we would any other area of management by measuring its success, Read more about The Positive Impact Of Connecting[…]

CoachStation: Coaching and Leadership

Leadership Credibility: The Right To Lead?

A few questions that I have been recently pondering. How do you know that you have leadership credentials? What gives us the right to lead others? How do we know if our leadership is effective – how is leadership development success measured?   I had a coffee last week with Steve, someone who I was meeting with for the first time. Overall the meeting went well and we discussed many thoughts, concepts, real-life scenarios and philosophies regarding work culture and leadership. We covered background information and work history, along with discussion about values and motivations. Overall, it was a fantastic discussion and I felt a natural level of affiliation with Steve as we held many similar views. During our chat though, he asked a great question. Considering my passion for Read more about Leadership Credibility: The Right To Lead?[…]

Leadership Starts Early…Real Early

I love my family. I am very proud of my three daughters. I am also pleased that my wife, Julie, and I (almost always!!!) share a similar view on raising our girls. Like any parents, we want our girls to be healthy, happy and able to cope with the many challenges life offers, whilst maximise the joy in their lives, now and in the future. Julie and I set high standards. We are consistent. We love our girls. We lead…and we are developing our daughter’s accordingly. Leadership is not a title…it is a series of attitudes, developed skills and related actions. Julie and I discuss values with our daughter’s, particularly as our eldest, Maddy, is about to turn 10 – I do wonder where that decade has gone? We do Read more about Leadership Starts Early…Real Early[…]

Leadership, The Coach and Coaching – Ange Postecoglou

With this evening’s win by Australia in the Asian Cup Football, it is timely to share a blog I wrote a couple of years ago after seeing and hearing Ange Postecoglou speak. He was then and is now a very inspiring leader. So much so that he has turned our national team around in a very short period…leading to tonight’s win. His thoughts and words regarding team, leadership and culture are just as relevant in business as they are in sport. I was fortunate to attend an evening hosted by one of my local football clubs on Friday night. The guest speaker was Ange Postecoglou, head coach of our local nationally based football (soccer) side, the Brisbane Roar. Ange has represented Australia playing football and has successfully transitioned into coaching Read more about Leadership, The Coach and Coaching – Ange Postecoglou[…]

Expectation Setting – Who Cares?

Does an employee have the right to clear expectations? Or, is it the employee’s responsibility to ask if they are unclear about any aspect of their role. As leader’s should we just expect that the clarity and details will come in time – it’s not like there is an expectation of high performance on day 1..or day 10..or day…? Or, is there never an expectation of high performance? There should be! Earlier this week I read a blog on the Leaders Beacon website (thanks Colleen Sharen) providing insight into expectation setting. It got me thinking. How well do we as leaders really set clear expectations? Do we induct our new employees effectively? Is this even on the radar of leaders or central to business planning and strategy? Do we consider business Read more about Expectation Setting – Who Cares?[…]

Leadership – It's About You

Effective leadership is neither easy nor a given – it takes effort, practice, ongoing learning & persistence: Steve Riddle The rewards that stem from being an effective leader are difficult to articulate or describe to someone who has never felt them. I have recently started reading the outstanding book, The Truth About Leadership by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner. The premise for the book is that the authors have identified ten ‘Truths’ that form the core elements of effective leadership identified over years of research. In the introduction Kouzes and Posner highlight that, “…as much as the context of leadership has changed, the content of leadership has not changed at all (since we first started studying leadership). The fundamental behaviors, actions, and practices of leaders have remained essentially Read more about Leadership – It's About You[…]

Leaders and Managers: The Time Factor

Last year I was introduced to a simple, yet powerful concept describing the breakdown of how a person in charge of people or a process (manager and/or leader) should spend their time. It is powerful in that it encourages all of us to reflect on where we are dedicating our time within our roles and possibly make a conscious decision to change, if necessary. The percentages are an indicative reflection of where the balance of time should be spent if you wish to be an effective leader. The power of this simple tool develops from each of us assessing where we actually spend our time as leaders of people. In my experience many of us spend much of our time in the first two categories i.e. ‘Doing the Job’ and Read more about Leaders and Managers: The Time Factor[…]

Falling Into Leadership

An individual taking on a leadership role is often something that has ‘just happened’. Being a genuine leader does not come from the role and title designated to you but rather from your decision-making, inclusiveness, delegation skills, ability to communicate and other, well-recognised and documented traits. Many of these traits can be learned and enhanced through proper coaching. Does this story mean anything to you? You started in a company at a lower level. Opportunity presented itself in the form of a chance to step-up temporarily or permanently into a role providing more money, esteem, credibility or some other perceived benefit. You jumped at it! Of course, along with all of the benefits the role also came with much higher expectation…that of others and your self. You worked hard…things went fairly Read more about Falling Into Leadership[…]

People and Process: Aligned or Loggerheads?

I often wonder what it is about processes that many managers have a need to see as entirely separate from their people. Similarly to my previously documented thoughts regarding the key differences between leaders and managers, the ‘need’ to focus solely on the process is often due to the conscious or unconscious decision to concentrate time and energy on the simpler or more controllable part of the equation. Unfortunately for those leaders with this mindset, unless you are in a pure process driven environment (which is rarer than many people think unless/until robots take over our world!), this leaves out the core reason why these processes often fail – a focus on our people! The ability to bring individuals and team members into the process is key to project success Read more about People and Process: Aligned or Loggerheads?[…]

Practicing Leadership: Skill Development and Commitment

Why is it that people are prepared to spend time practicing learning an instrument, language, sporting skill or similar but are less willing to apply lengthy practice schedules in developing leadership skills? As part of my various roles, I often facilitate leadership training in a group setting and conduct coaching and mentoring sessions with attendees. It’s not always the case, however the one-on-one session content often refers back to the leadership training itself. This is powerful in that training rarely leads to lasting change in itself – something most of us already know. Reinforcing the knowledge gained through practice and support is a key. The opportunity to reflect internally and share with your coach or mentor adds weight to the ‘stickability’ of the training concept, content and the growth in Read more about Practicing Leadership: Skill Development and Commitment[…]