I believe that people would rather have a lousy job working for a great person than a great job working for a bad manager.
And I believe very strongly that the single largest component of a business that adds to shareholder value is great management, and the single largest destroyer of shareholder value is bad management.
Now, being a good manager is really, really difficult. And the sooner people who are managers recognize that, the sooner they’ll start being a good manager.
It takes unbelievable courage to be a good manager. It is hard to have difficult conversations with people when they’re not doing well. Who likes to do that? That takes courage. You can’t slide out of the way and hope it’s going to take care of itself. — Aron Ain, CEO of Kronos (a global vendor of workforce management enterprise software)
Not a lot for me to add, considering I’ve been saying the same thing for over a decade, but maybe hearing it from Ain will carry more weight.
High employee retention pays off; Kronos is a billion dollar company based on revenue, not investment rounds.
“Kronites who feel valued stay longer and develop a deeper understanding of and stronger relationships with our customers. It is their experience and knowledge that allows Kronos to deliver incredibly innovative products and a superior customer experience.”
It’s amazing to me, but looking back over a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.
Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
Last Tuesday, We considered the bottom line value of gratitude, which reminded me of a post from 2009 when I wrote a leadership blog for B5 Media. Good morning. Thanks. I appreciate X. So few words, so little effort and such enormous returns.
Back when I wrote for B5 media, Phil Gerbyshak over at Slacker Manager quoted an interesting statistic. He said that “7% of employees leave their managers because they didn’t say good morning.”
In the conversation that follows, Roger says, “I have always been of the ilk that I don’t always say “Good morning” to people in the office. I have felt that once a week is good enough… However, this is probably just a reflection of what feedback I personally need. As a manager I have to think that others are different and have different needs.” (Current links unavailable.)
Phil Gerbyshak over at Slacker Manager quoted an interesting statistic. He said that “7% of employees leave their managers because they didn’t say good morning.”
In the conversation that follows, Roger says, “I have always been of the ilk that I don’t always say “Good morning” to people in the office. I have felt that once a week is good enough… However, this is probably just a reflection of what feedback I personally need. As a manager I have to think that others are different and have different needs.”
I worked for a guy like this. Oh, he said good morning and was a really nice guy, but he didn’t understand that our needs differed from his.
Most of us are like that to some extent. We see the world through our own MAP and unconsciously make the assumption that others see it the same way.
This is especially true with regards to people we’re close to, such as family, or with whom we’re friendly, such as team members, peers, colleagues, even bosses.
Think about it. How many times have you recommended a book or movie only to have the person ask you why in the world you suggested it; or introduced two people you really liked only to find that they can’t stand each other.
My old boss didn’t care about pats on the back, positive feedback or congratulations when he accomplished a critical piece of the sales process. It’s not that he wouldn’t do it, but he just didn’t think of it on his own.
I still remember one time that I closed a really big deal. He was out of the office, so I put the paperwork dead center on his desk where he couldn’t miss seeing it. He came back mid-morning, but it wasn’t until I went to his office, asked and he congratulated me—but when you have to ask, it has no value.
And even when he did say the right thing it was obvious that he didn’t know why he was saying it. It wasn’t that he didn’t mean it, he did, but he never really understood why it needed to be said.
So more important than saying the right thing; saying it at the right time; or honestly meaning it; is taking the time to learn and understand why you’re saying it.
In my personal experience, this “why” is so important because it helps you rally people behind your mission. It gives you purpose and meaning. It helps you make the right decisions. And when things get hard, as they inevitably will as an entrepreneur, the “why” keeps you going – especially in those moments when you want to give up.
It’s amazing to me, but looking back over a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written. Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.
I wrote Verbal Avoidance in 2011, not because it was new, but because it was so prevalent — and since them it’s gotten more so in spite of all the talk about honesty and authenticity. Read other Golden Oldies here
There’s a bad habit I see sweeping through companies. It’s not really new, but it has gotten much worse in recent years.
This particular habit used to be more the province of arguing couples, relationship counselors and divorce courts.
Always more of a guy thing, I now find it on the rise among women.
I call it “verbal avoidance” and it is irritating to say the least.
It occurs when something happens, or is supposed to happen, and person A needs to communicate that to person B.
A doesn’t because
what happened is going to upset B and A either doesn’t want to be the messenger, since messengers are sometimes killed or deal with the fallout if/when B gets upset.
B is waiting for A to notify him of good news, but B doesn’t have the information yet, so rather than saying that, he doesn’t call.
Of course there are dozens of variations, but they all boil down to the same thing—A does not communicate with B as expected.
When B does reach A, A offers a variety of reasons why the contact didn’t happen, but reasons don’t excuse anything.
B feels frustrated/disappointed/disgusted/angry/betrayed.
Verbal avoidance for any reason breaks trust.
And trust is the basis for any kind of relationship, whether at work, at home or in the world at large.
Now a Carmine Gallo, a much bigger name than me, has written The Storyteller’s Secret, highlighting the importance of story from building a culture to building a brand or entire company.
Vinod Khosla, billionaire venture capitalist here in Silicon Valley, where I live, tells me that the biggest problem he sees is that people are fact-telling when they pitch him. They’re giving facts and information and he says, “that’s not enough, Carmine. They have to do storytelling.”
When Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz, another big venture capital firm, tells me the most underrated skill is storytelling, or when Richard Branson, who I interviewed, said, “entrepreneurs who cannot tell a story will never be successful”
Of course, what can you expect from generations that don’t read much and think communication is an email or, worse yet, texting?
Every day at the Ritz-Carlton there is a brief morning meeting of housekeeping.
And they ask the question of the employees: “Is there a great customer experience that you’ve been a part of, that you can share with the rest of us? (…)They start sharing stories with one another, and then they start competing for who has better stories. They get recognized publicly.”
Southwest’s success is the result of a masterful storytelling culture.
So they created what’s called a storytelling culture, where every week the HR teams go out, and they take videos of real passengers who have had a struggle, or have maybe almost missed a funeral or a birth, or a life-changing event, and stuff like that. But they were able to do it because of Southwest.
Apple is a giant at storytelling, as is Microsoft and Zappos.
So is Whole Foods, KPMG, every farm-to-table restaurant and even ugly food.
Just don’t kid yourself about why the stories work.
The work because they are real, true, authentic or any other adjective you care to use.
The stories are based on/backed by employee actions, which is what makes them resonate.
That means the CEO and all the executive team not only believes in the importance of customer experience, but also knows that the experience is created and facilitated by their people at all levels — especially the front-line people.
A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read allIf the Shoe Fits posts here
“I look back on my career and I didn’t change the world as an entrepreneur; I did as an educator. So I’m a little wistful. Now, my charge for twentysomething entrepreneurs is, do you want to be known as the guy who makes the next porn app or fart app or do you want to put men on Mars?” –Steve Blank
In light of Blank’s question above, you might want to take time to ask yourself ‘what am I doing’?
What value am I adding to my intrinsic worth as a human being?
Does my product/service make even a tiny portion of the world a better place in any way?
How will my kids describe/explain me to their kids?
What legacy will I leave behind?
How will I be remembered?
Will I be remembered?
Now write down your thoughts/answers.
Reread them over the next several days/weeks.
If you don’t like the profile that emerges it’s time to pivot your life.
Not randomly, but with the same consideration and planning you would use to pivot your company.