Monday, December 14, 2009


There are plenty of laws and HR guidelines that dictate how one should legally and ethically behave during a religious celebration. The laws are there to respected and follow. But let us not forget that common sense is always the best defense to avoid conflict in the work place, particularly during "the holidays" (We all know how I feel about that blanket statement so I'll spare you my soliloquy).

All the corners of the world have entrenched beliefs, cultural traditions and religions that they celebrate at one point or another during the year. One big difference between most of the world and us is that we've become sissyfied. And by that I mean that, in most religions, be it of the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or any other tradition, there is a pride and inner peace with one's beliefs. Of course, radical or extremist groups aside.

Recent polls show that 92 per cent of Americans believe in God (or a 'higher power'). We are a nation that has been born in the Christian tradition. Our very foundation is that of one country under God. I don't understand how we are steadily losing respect for what we have the right to celebrate and cherish.

At one point we are all going to be so consumed by worry about offending someone else that this in itself will be found offensive by a sue-happy employee. I can almost hear it happening: "Do you think I am so weak that you need to baby my every feeling? I resent that."

So what is there for a team leader to do? Well, just like in the movie clip below, take a metaphorical step outside the door, take a good look at any situation as an outsider, and analyze it with a critical eye. Let common sense reign, don't make anyone feel forced to partake on any religious celebration or feel ostracized by it. Respecting other people's beliefs goes without saying, of course. And just as important, know the laws that apply in your state to help keep employees engaged and your business away from law suits.

Let's hope for a de-sissyfication of America for this Christmas, no more double standards, and overall respect for what each of us believes in.

Here is a good link to learn more about religious freedom in the workplace.

Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

≡ FLUFF? ≡




What do these words evoke in you as you sit in your office up to your neck in deadliness and unreturned phone calls?

How about these words?




Do the latter sound more realistic and business-like? Am I hitting a nerve? Am I reminding you of something? Or are you already in tune with the softer side of you?

What prompted all this fluff? You may ask...After all, this is a business-related blog, right?

It all started when a friend was telling me about a bad event at his workplace and he finished the narration by saying "And to do such a thing during the Christmas season! How could they?"
Or as the politically correct would say "And to do such a thing during the Holiday season! How could they?" I am not politically correct so Christmas stands in this story.

At any rate, allow me to politely disagree with every cell of my being at the allusion of any festivity as the basis for us being more human and kind-hearted. After all, if you think about it, at any point during the year it is someone's time to celebrate, whether it be Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Earth Day. So why let outside events dictate who and how you'll be, how you'll lead your team and when you will deal with a bad situation?

"Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." -Mark Twain

And more importantly, where did we get the notion from that we have to be more humane during a common celebratory time? Why not behave humanely all year round?

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle."--Plato

A long time ago, while working for a large brokerage company, I attended a training where we all had to take part on role-play exercises. One person was the client the other the broker. Different scenarios played out for the entire team to see and evaluate. Scenario one: client wanted to understand his holdings and accounts and get some guidance on saving for his child's college. Scenario two: wife lost his husband and called to straighten out all of the brokerage accounts. Scenario three: son of a client was excited about opening his first account and wanted some educational help.

One thing immediately jumped out from all the scenarios. The tone. The broker's tone and inflexion when speaking with the widower was warmer and it addressed best the client's need. To which the trainer, arms up in the air, suddenly embodying an old Baptist minister & yelled out: "DOES SOMEBODY HAVE TO DIE FOR US TO BE EMPHATIC & KIND?"

That always stuck with me. A death is a sad, sad thing and it requires a special touch...but then again, don't we all go through small deaths and meaningful successes, rebirths if you will, through our days that we wish others were more in tune to?

Here are some simple practical applications for your work place:

  • Listen & ask questions
  • Be genuinely interested
  • Drop your crown-- if you go get yourself something to drink or eat offer to bring it to somebody else as well.
  • Offer to help someone who is in a bind or a tight deadline
  • Bring someone their favorite snack and put it on their desk without them knowing
  • Give that sincere compliment you've been meaning to for a while
  • Criticize behind closed doors
  • Take an interest in learning more about who the people you work with are
  • Avoid gossip, or anything that might be perceived as such
  • Have an accountability partner, someone whose feedback you trust
  • Be a mentor
  • Cultivate good motives in everything you do

As you carry on with your week, please remind yourself that tuning into your soft skills does not equal you becoming weak or wimpy. Au contraire, mon ami: ""Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair but manifestations of strenght and resolution." --Kahlil Gibran.

With these ideas in place watch your metrics be outstanding, your productivity soar and your deadlines be advance.

Friday, November 13, 2009


A quick & refreshing video to remind us that quitting and standing still are not viable options in business nor in life.

Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else's can shorten it. --Cullen Hightower

Also, a good way to remind us that we ought to encourage and empower each other to act boldly and be creative. Mistakes will surely be made but since most of our life is spent learning the art of fixing and capitalizing from our errors... why stop when we cross our work threshold? Why is it that many of us became different people when we sit at our workspace? Perhaps we are so deeply afraid of peer-ridicule that we just freeze our inner creative selves?

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. --George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

Judgement calls are prime real estate for error. Particularly when these snap decisions must be made faster than one's neurons can fire warning signals to each other. "He/she has good business instincts," we sometimes say of someone else...but if anyone ever takes the time to ask and dig deeper I am positive we'll find a plethora of mistakes in their past. The difference is that they choose not to wallow in despair and capitalize from every single crumb of a failed action or decision.

While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior. --Henry C. Link

Empowering employees, teammates and oneself can only lead to valuable learning and experience. Even when your employees might not have the ability to make a final decision all the time, teach them how to think and act as business owners, that is the only way that customers will stop finding excuses to bypass your staff and talk to you every single time. This will give your team a sense of ownership and accomplishment and will leave you with the necessary time to plan and achieve more.

The expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field. --Niels Bohr (1885-1962)

It is time to take our decision-making training-wheels off and fly.

Friday, October 30, 2009


If we were to put a group of random professionals in a room and asked them what their top three business pet peeves are surely the unreturned phone call would be in their short list.

Ironic, since the telephone was created with the hope of improving communication, not making it more frustrating.

"An amazing invention-but who would ever want to use one?" --Rutherford B. Hayes, after making his first phone call upon its invention

Personally, the unreturned phone call is in my top three most disliked habits when dealing with people in a personal or professional level. Although, I am the first to say mea culpa for my own behavior which can, at times, be less than exemplary. But this behavioral flaw is constantly under my radar and I am working on improving. I find that one of the best potions against the forgotten call is keeping each other accountable in the office, forming unofficial alliances if you will.

"People who are funny and smart and return phone calls get much better press than people who are just funny and smart." --Howard Simons

One of the cloudy areas, where phone call responsibility often gets lost, is the confusing way in which we sometimes approach the "I'll call you/you'll call me?" moment. This could be because we are rushed, experience pangs of first-date-nerves, or simply have our heads already in the next meeting. So, just like one is to be in the moment when first meeting someone, one must remain in the moment until the time comes to bid farewell. This means, setting clear expectations of who will call whom and by what time/date. Don't be wishy-washy about this and take control of the situation by recapping when necessary.

You can hit all the right buttons during a business meeting. Be concise, focused, engaging. charming, cool, calm and collected, but if you don't follow up as promised an uphill battle awaits you. Don't undermine yourself.

"If The Phone Doesn't Ring, It's Me."--Jimmy Buffet

It is said that people will forget many things about you, your clothes, your hair, even your handshake, but they will always remember how you made them feel. At the risk of walking the slippery high-rope of the Feelings Territory, while momentarily stepping away from Manly Man County, I'll be the first to say it: an unreturned phone call can make others feel disrespected and under appreciated. This, needless to say, won't make things easier the next time you are trying to close a deal with said individual & it surely won't get you unsolicited recommendations. So make life easier for you, and others, and don't be a Parrothead, or at least not when it comes to business.

"The telephone is a good way to talk to people without having to offer them a drink."--Fran Lebowitz

Lastly, when you are returning that call as promised, remember to not get distracted with other office issues. Act, that is talk and listen, as if the call's recipient was there with you. In other words, act as if you could offer them a drink. Body language can be read on the phone almost as much as in person, and it is just as impactful. I think we all can use that reminder, so perhaps this is as good a time as ever to refresh your team's memory about making those call backs, not being a parrot head, and having that metaphorical drink ready to be offered during their next call.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


We, at Duncan Consulting, cannot say enough positive things about making the work environment as fun as is more proof on how the fun stuff has the power to change attitudes and, when properly executed, the positivism spills over and sticks to those around us like fuzz on Velcro.

Friday, October 16, 2009


A man has no more character than he can command in a time of crisis. -Ralph W. Sockman

When I think of leadership in times of crisis two people come to mind, Rudy Giuliani and Chesley "Sully" Sullenberg III. Regardless of whether we share their perspective and view points in other areas of their careers, wouldn't we all want to have such visceral response in a time of crisis?

I am positive experience plays a huge role in these two leader's responses to a time of crisis, but even those of us that at times still feel a bit green have hope. There are many things us, mere mortals, can do to be ready and it all boils down to preparedness, good instincts & a cool head.

Preparation involves lots of planning, training, repetition, educating and even-the often despised-role playing. Only via the conscious use of these tools we'll be able to make it so our reaction becomes nothing but what looks like an instinctual (but well thought of) a karate move. Sharp and decisive. But to achieve this as a team you'll have to become your team's Mr. Miyagi.

Leaders won't always be perfect, they'll make mistakes, and-provided they have decent people skills-most times they will be forgiven for their faux pas. However, in a crisis, if a leader is not a quick-thinker and an even faster-doer, no forgiveness will follow. Too much is at stake when a crisis pays us a visit.

Faced with crisis, the man of character falls back on himself. He imposes his own stamp of action, takes responsibility for it, makes it his own. -Charles de Gaulle

Some questions to ask yourself:

* How prepared are you to face a sudden and unforeseen financial, personnel, or physical crisis?

* How prepared is your team to work as one?

* Who are your natural leaders? Are they training others?

No matter how you choose to prepare yourself and your team for a crisis remember the oriental wisdom of Chinese culture. They have two characters that comprise the word crisis: one represents "danger", the other "opportunity."

Monday, September 28, 2009


One of my favorite questions to ask employees is "Do you feel content and challenged in your role?"

If their answer is indicating in any way boredom the conversation usually follows with more open-ended questions about why the associate gets bored and what he/she is doing about it.

One of my least favorite answers to hear is "When my work is done, there is nothing else for me to do." What does that mean exactly? Does it mean team members truly lack the clarity to see that there always is something to do?

When team mates don't have the inherent vision to see their role's infinite possibilities it is time to break down the communication to the most basic of levels.

These question and answer exercises might seem simple but simple fixes have the power to avert huge mistakes. Think about the hospitals that have given 100 grams instead of 10 of a prescribed medicine, or more recently, the embryo implant mix-ups. Simple errors, sometimes with fatal results, abound not only in the medical but also in the corporate world. No streamlining of methods or processes that will help your productivity, safety and morale is ever too small.

Ideally, we'd all hire solely go-getters, but the reality of it is that sometimes people have to be taught to be seismic thinkers, sometimes people need a bit of a shake up to shape up, and many times with a little positive Q&A leadership people will surprise you with performances high on the Richter Scale. So go ask. Find out if the boredom is justified or not...but above all remind them to not to wait until you ask & give them the tools to fix and outgrow these challenges.

Here is a sample list for those times when there's "nothing to do":

■ Document patterns observed

Based on the premise that most processes can be improved at one time or another a good question to ask is, "When was the last time you got frustrated with another department?" Well, there it is! you have plenty to do. Spend time improving communication processes, if you repeatedly ask a department/co-worker to answer all of your questions and invariably some answers are missing, then perhaps you need to establish a system that everyone will follow when communicating in written form.

■ Document proposed solutions to patterns observed

Teach them, if necessary, to view all "issues" as growth opportunities.

■ Mentoring

To follow up on the prior point: even better, instead of teaching them yourself, pair them up by empowering someone to be a mentor and help others develop untapped skills.

■ Improve job description & requirements

Because of the rushed pace of the workplace the clear, written delineating of the day-to-day basic activities falls through the cracks and people learn as they go. Why not take a quick moment to jot down things that will save time and be helpful to others following in our footsteps?

■ Advance own skills by doing tutorials (online, books, etc.)

■ Present info learned from tutorials

This will enhance your team member's ability to communicate with larger groups and instill leadership qualities in the process.

■ Job performance update

■ Job shadowing

■ Goal documenting & updating

■ Clean up of computer files (email, Word docs, etc.)

This will help all your systems run more smoothly and avert technical problems.

■ Organize physical work materials

■ Offer assistance to a co-worker or department

It might not be a bad idea to customize a list to your associate's roles, print it and post it in a prominent area of their work space. Let's make today and all of the days to come No Excuses Day.

Saturday, September 19, 2009



1. Did you ever have a job where the mere act of walking in would
make you feel that you could not breathe?

2. Do you ever stop to consider how many people in
your team could be feeling that way right now?

I bet all I have that question #1 made you go back in time & clench your teeth even at the brief resurfacing of those old feelings.

Remember the frustration?

That frustration that invariably leads to an increased employee issues, wasted time and sooner rather than later productivity loss? Well, just because it is not happening to you right now it does not mean that those feelings are not lingering in your workplace's corridors right as you seat reading this coffee in hand.

Funny thing is how much of this can be solved by the simple act of listening. Not the plain old listening, but the kind of intent listening that must take place during team meetings and any other gatherings, the kind of listening that does not involve the ears. The body language- listening, the results-listening, and the listening for one's team intrinsic mood.

If something does not sound quite right, to your ears, your eyes, or your intuition then action is a must. One of the key issues we find arise during this intent listening sessions is team construction and pairing.

The magic of pairing. So underrated. We insist that people must be able to work with anyone and be flexible at all times. True. Ideally that should work, and so should communism.

But the reality of it is that if you put two people that usually don't see eye to eye to work together for an extended period of time this won't translate into rewards of any kind. No matter what level of maturity, skill and professionalism is at work, if the heart and collaborative spirit is not there, you lose, and so will your company and your bottom line. History shows us that good partnering is essential to any great achievement, why ignore such tried and true wisdom?

While it is true that working with folks who have different points of view is likely to enrich us, if philosophies and personalities are diametrically opposite, the enriching part won't ever matter, because personal issues will inevitably blindfold & undermine more positive attributes.

The right pairings and team building won't take place overnight. This is an art with almost no science to it. So listen. Ask questions. Take the time to re-evaluate who sits next to whom, who seems unhappy to work with whom, what pairs/teams feed of each other's ideas and energy, and begin taking into account your team member's input when designing groups that will work side by side, departments, and shifts.

And why not go as far as to take more drastic measures and even consider having your current employees interview new hires that they'll work with? Studies show that companies that invest on that initial time to get to know potential new hires have a much lower turnaround than companies using more traditional interviewing/hiring methods.

Something to think about.

The most successful pairings occur naturally.
Don't get in the way of what works.

Photographs courtesy of GSN

Monday, August 17, 2009

Much more than physics-smarts...

How timely, here is Albert Einstein's take on hard times.

A good one to pass around the office and spark a solid motivational discussion.

“Let’s not pretend that things will change if we keep doing the same things. A crisis can be a real blessing to any person, to any nation. For all crises bring progress.
Creativity is born from anguish, just like the day is born form the dark night. It’s in crisis that inventiveness is born, as well as discoveries made and big strategies.
He who overcomes crisis, overcomes himself, without getting overcome. He who blames his failure to a crisis neglects his own talent and is more interested in problems than in solutions. Incompetence is the true crisis.
The greatest inconvenience of people and nations is the laziness with which they attempt to find the solutions to their problems.
There’s no challenge without a crisis. Without challenges, life becomes a routine, a slow agony.There’s no merit without crisis.
It’s in the crisis where we can show the very best in us.
Without a crisis, any wind becomes a tender touch. To speak about a crisis is to promote it. Not to speak about it is to exalt conformism.
Let us work hard instead. Let us stop, once and for all, the menacing crisis that represents the tragedy of not being willing to overcome it.”

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Midday Slump

If your once-a-day-sluggish-mode is as predictable as Florida’s afternoon summer storms read on.

Creativity. Productivity. A focused mind. These days we want it all, all the time, 100%.

But how we go about achieving it is no standard formula. To combat sluggishness some reach for the coffee, some go for the sweets, but not that many of us go for a little exercise.

I wonder why.

After all, we all remember the first time we ever did something physically demanding or out of the ordinary, like skiing, riding a roller coaster, sky diving, having a faster than usual run or bike ride, etc.…how could we forget? That feeling of I CAN DO ANYTHING-ness mixed with James Cameron’s Oscar acceptance King of the World-ness. Why would we not want to recapture it daily?

What ever happened to us that we taught ourselves to compartmentalize so neatly our humanness and its needs inside and outside of the office? If our bodies have reached a slump why not get creative and truly look for what works for each of us?

"If it weren't for the coffee, I'd have no identifiable personality whatsoever." David Letterman.

Coffee, water, sodas, and sweets may do the trick –momentarily- for most of us (after all, Bach wrote his famous Coffee Cantata under the influence of, what else but caffeine...), but why not get friendly with natural endorphins all over again? Exercise causes these morphine-like compounds to naturally be released into the blood stream. Endorphins, in turn, enhance creativity and productivity. And, best of all, you don’t have to jump out of a plane to experience this natural high, something as simple as a brisk walk will do the trick.

My wife and I are runners and, since we run at a different pace, we often meet and share our ‘running thoughts’ during our cool down walk. These thoughts are usually the most creative of the day and often the catalyst to major ideas for our business and our lives.

Besides the obvious, how does this information affect you as a leader in your place of business?

Well, these days more and more companies are encouraging their employees to take measures to stay healthy (thus productive and creative), some build gyms on site, some offer free or discounted gym memberships, many have showers on site to accommodate those who ride to work, and a few go as far as remunerating their team members to stay fit and healthy. This is a win-win investment as studies show that, within the companies that advocate fitness and prevention, absenteeism is down and so are their overall health care costs.

So, if you are feeling sluggish, gray, unfocused and unproductive stop pushing yourself through that quick-sand pace and, instead, set the example and try something different. Take a walk, run or even grab a cup of Joe if that’s what works best for you. But when you come back to your desk share your running (or coffee) thoughts, they are likely to be some of the best of your day.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Write about what you know...

...that is what people say in literary circles.

During the last few weeks I have acquainted myself with blog procrastination.

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

I'd like to think that this is not a habit of mine. After all, I have been quite busy and these activity- filled days felt like the absolute opposite of procrastination. Busy analyzing job descriptions, meeting clients, planning...busy with life. So I never got around to posting anything in this site. I let it go into hibernation for almost a month, and now the process of waking it up has forced me to re-examine the true root cause of this dormant period.

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.
~Don Marquis

All roads lead to Rome, and all my thoughts lead to the P word, as much as I hate to admit it. But I'd humbly argue that not everything we call procrastination is necessarily so.

In this case I'd like to think that I simply had more important items to tend to (like clients and writing assignments deadlines). So, yes, it is a form of procrastination that sprouts only after well-thought analysis. Some would simply call it prioritizing. But whatever you call it, in this instance, it is a good thing. Likewise, working with team members that can independently discern, prioritize and act in a manner that improves your company's productivity and engagement is something rare these days. It is also something tinted with what is known as common sense, and this is mighty hard to teach. So be sure to ask the right questions during your hiring interviews so that you won't find yourself doing the thinking for your team all the time.

If it weren't for the last minute,I wouldn't get anything done. ~Author Unknown

On the other hand, if I had chosen to push back my blogging because I went golfing, then that's just poor choice. That'd fall under what is, by definition, 100% pure procrastination.

What may be done at any time will be done at no time. ~Scottish Proverb

As a leader, when confronted with a true procrastination situation, you might be required to micromanage individuals who are simply not pulling their weight. As much as we all dislike being looked at over our shoulder or being the one doing the looking, some situations call for step-by-step analysis of a team member's daily routine. After the bad habits have been identified, it is a good idea to have the talk. After that, agreeing to a few specific action steps (e.g., job-shadow someone whose prioritizing and decision-making faculties aren't comatose) might do the job.

A year from now you may wish you had started today. ~Karen Lamb

There are many other reasons procrastination may knock on your team's door. Fear is the most pervasive root cause. As an employee, have you ever felt under trained to fulfill a project? I can remember being very young and having to analyze stats for an important meeting. The idea of presenting the results to the company's management made my stomach curl. I was frozen with fear. I had no idea what I was doing, but at least I had the common sense to talk to my boss and explain that unless somebody trained me for this assignment I'd have to defer the job to someone. The moral of the story is: you can unknowingly create procrastination for your workforce. This highlights, yet again, the importance of asking questions and truly listening to the answers. Something as simple as asking "Have you been properly trained to complete this task?" can save your company time, money, and keep your people's engagement high.

Other possible ways in which leadership may cause procrastination include: unrealistically high expectations, perfectionism, lack of motivational skills, poor listening skills, and work overload.

Just to clarify: laziness is not a form of procrastination. Laziness is a long loud yawn: highly contagious. Again, it all goes back to making it easier for yourself to focus your efforts in the goals that matter most to you and your company. Hiring the right people and asking the right questions during the first interviews is key.

There are a million ways to lose a work day, but not even a single way to get one back. ~Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister

I must go now. I have the nagging feeling that I should be doing something else at this very moment.

Monday, June 8, 2009

What's your personality's weather?

When it comes to leading your team, and as cliche as this may sound, are you a half-full or half- empty type of leader?

Have you ever gave this some thought?

This is important in that, whatever our true nature is, it will bleed through our words and actions like cheap marker's ink. That is, unless we make a daily conscious effort to remain in the half-full mode at all times.

Your personality's weather is contagious, so here is a quick quote to help lead your team through the day in positive consciousness:

"We may be powerless to alter certain events, but we remain free to choose our attitude towards them, and it is in our spontaneous acceptance of necessity that we find our distinctive freedom."

Alain de Bottom, from The Consolations of Philosophy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Simple Art of the Apology

"Sorry, I did not mean what I said."

We've all been on the receiving end of this line. I wonder how many of us were ever satisfied by its meaning, or lack thereof. I wonder how many man up enough to actually speak the truth and say "I am sorry because I meant what I said."

Sincere apologies are hard to come by and hard to offer, we all know.

But just like there is an art to public speaking, to writing, to cooking, etc. there is also an art to the apology. And it is pretty simple.

Keep it short.

Own it.

Mean it.

Offer to do whatever it takes to fix the situation.

Keep it short--Most times a heartfelt "sorry" will do. Seriously. Once we start adding to it we run the risk of adulterating the meaning of it. These add ons mimic the artificial colorings of the culinary world. They may look good, but are completely unnecessary.
I once read this smart quote "Don't ruin an apology with an excuse." I think nothing could explain better than that what the offended party hopes to hear.

Own it--If you offended someone, then the apology should always start with "I." Not "we" not "they" and no passive voice (e.g., "The mistakes made had negative repercussions."). Don't insult the offended party further by resorting to these ways of hiding behind someone or something else.

How is this relevant to your business? An absurd amount of time is lost to workplace friction, most times due to one or more parties refusing to admit their wrong-doings. If it is necessary to walk your team through the art of the apology as part of a mini-training, do it. The rewards in time, money, productivity and overall work experience will be immense. In addition, a sincere apology is quicker as it does not allow for much he said she said, it is the first building block to repair a fractured relationship, and best of all, it makes feelings of frustration and resentment vanish on both sides. When a simple "I was wrong" is offered, even in the worse of situations, forgiveness is usually instantaneous and mutual respect is regained.

Here are some examples of how not to do it:

"I am heartsick about my personal legal situation and deeply sorry for the pain and difficulties it has caused our employees."
Martha Stewart

"The Duke of Edinburgh regrets any offense which may have been caused by remarks he is reported as making earlier today. With hindsight, he accepts what were intended as light-hearted comments were inappropriate."
Buckingham Palace, on Prince Philip saying a fuse box looked "as though it was put in by an Indian."

"If I caused anybody, including myself, any pain about the comments I made earlier, then I want to apologize to myself and Senator Obama and any of his supporters."
South Carolina's Senator Robert Ford's quasi-apology after being asked why he endorsed Hillary Clinton and replying, "Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose because he is black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything."

In lieu of more effective apology examples, just remember chemist-inventor Orlando Battista's thought: "An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it," and a good ol' apology is usually the best first step.

Training Strategy: should you choose to include an apology section in your communications or customer service training, discussing what is actually wrong with each of the above referenced apologies will be an effective way for your team to self-discover why following The Art of the Apology principles is the best way to go.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Safety in the Workplace

Safety in the workplace is not just a matter of following OSHA guidelines, (though OSHA does provide great resources for keeping your employees safe). No, safety in the workplace includes keeping your team safe whether on a forklift, climbing a ladder, driving to pick up mail, or sitting in the office. Workplace safety includes proper lifting techniques, prevention of workplace violence, internet safety, and much more.

This post serves as an invitation to list your most pressing safety concerns as well as safe remedies. From the mondane (tipping water cooler over and crushing foot) to the extreme. Included are safety videos for you to use in your business.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Why Employee Satisfaction is the Wrong Metric

By Rodger D. Duncan

With more than two decades of experience observing and measuring a wide range of workplace issues, my bottom line advice on such metrics can be distilled into two simple maxims.

First, ask the right questions.

Well, of course, you say! Anybody knows you have to ask the right questions.

But the second maxim may not be so obvious: Avoid asking the wrong questions.

When you ask the wrong questions, you still get plenty of information. Then the information spawns charts and graphs and an endless stream of PowerPoint presentations. And you chase the wrong rabbits.

I frequently hear business people talk about the importance of “employee satisfaction.” They conduct surveys that purport to measure the extent to which workers are happy with their jobs.

These are interesting questions, but often the wrong ones.

If an employer provides free day care, company cars, liberal vacation policies, short office hours and hefty bonuses, workers are likely to be “satisfied.” But being “satisfied” is not necessarily the same as being productive. Even a bankrupt company can have “satisfied” employees.

The right metric to use does not target satisfaction, it targets engagement.

For yesteryear’s command-and-control leader, the paradigm was about compliance. For today’s enlightened (and more effective) leader, the paradigm is about commitment. Commitment does not thrive in an atmosphere of giving and taking orders. Commitment thrives in an atmosphere of mutual purpose, mutual respect, and high levels of psychological ownership.
In other words, engagement.

Workers are engaged when they feel part of decisions that affect them. When they feel trusted. When they feel free (safe) in speaking up about issues that matter.

Truly engaged workers eschew the “subordinate” mentality that says someone else is in charge so the success of the enterprise is someone else’s worry. Instead, genuinely engaged workers adopt the “steward” paradigm. A stewardship is a job with trust. Stewards are proactive, resourceful, and assertive. They provide discretionary excellence – doing the right thing for the right reasons, even when nobody’s watching.

Engaged workers have the will and the willingness to adapt swiftly to changing conditions.

At this point you may be thinking, Wait a minute. I have a business to run. All this stuff about engagement and commitment sounds nice, but it requires too much time and effort.

For those who suggest that the cost of engagement is too high, consider the price of disengagement.

A study by the Gallup organization shows that “actively disengaged” employees – that is, workers who are fundamentally disconnected from their jobs – cost the U.S. economy up to $355 billion a year. The researchers calculate that nearly 25 million U.S. workers are actively disengaged, each year resulting in about 86 million days absent from work, less productivity, more stress, and poorer health for both themselves and for their organizations.

The Gallup conclusions are based in part on its national Q12 survey. The survey takes it name from 12 core questions that Gallup asks workers. The questions are designed to measure the linkage between levels of employee engagement and productivity, growth and profitability.

Some of the questions are “Do I know what is expected of me at work?” “Is there someone at work who encourages my development?” “At work, do my opinions seem to count?”

When The Duncan Company studies culture and performance in an organization, we ask similar questions aimed at measuring engagement. We want to know the extent to which workers seem more interested in accomplishing excellent work than in who gets the credit. We want to know how much employees can see the linkage between their own work and the organization’s “core doctrine” of mission, vision, and values. We explore communication practices, accountability practices and other culture components that reinforce (or undermine) the social contract between worker and organization.

In his fine book Terms of Engagement, Richard Axelrod discusses the principles and practices that result in an engaged workforce. He correctly points out that in high-engagement organizations you will find that

People grasp the big picture, fully understanding the dangers and opportunities facing the enterprise.

There is urgency and energy as people become aligned around a common purpose.
Accountability is fully distributed throughout the organization as people come to understand the “whole” of the system.

Collaboration across organizational boundaries increases because people are connected to the issues and to each other.

Performance gaps are quickly identified and decisively dealt with.

Creativity is sparked when workers from all levels and functions (along with other important stakeholders) contribute their best ideas.

Capacity for future changes increases as people develop skills and processes to meet not just the current challenges but future challenges as well.

So, am I suggesting that employee satisfaction is unimportant? Of course not. Employee satisfaction is often one of the most noticeable hallmarks of a high-performance organization. But employee satisfaction is more often the result of high performance than an overriding cause. The most common cause of high performance is high engagement.

It goes back to the two maxims: (1) Ask the right questions. (2) Avoid asking the wrong questions.

You can rent a person’s back and hands, but you must earn his head and heart. And when you earn his head and heart (engagement!) you’ll tap into a reservoir of energy and commitment that can make all the difference.

Article from The Duncan Report. For more information please click on their link.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Boredom at Work

Some maintain that boredom is a vehicle to creativity. Some, would argue that in work environments where creativity isn't fostered, boredom spreads like dandelions in a Spring lawn.

Whatever your own take on the issue is, the truth is that at one point or another boredom at work affects us all. Nobody is immune.

You know what I am talking about.

The days when time just doesn't pass fast enough to get away from work, the days when our neurons need Drano to let one squalid thought get through, when our eyes are like magnets to any time telling device, and our fingers are Velcro on your car keys.

Probably the difference between man and the monkeys is that the monkeys are merely bored, while man has boredom plus imagination. Lin Yutang.

Psychologist Stephen Vodanovich of the University of West Florida says that, "The most common way to define boredom in Western culture is having nothing to do." No definition is ever without flaw, and this in my humble-non-psychologist-view is no exception. Boredom, as I have observed and experienced it, has more to do with things like frustration and blahness, than with lack of things to do. It is more closely related to a lack of willingness to overcome what has paralyzed us to begin with.
I am partial to a piece Fritz Redl wrote based on children's boredom and behavior:
"Boredom will always remain the greatest enemy of school disciplines. If we remember that children are bored, not only when they don't happen to be interested in the subject or when the teacher doesn't make it interesting, but also when certain working conditions are out of focus with their basic needs, then we can realize what a great contributor to discipline problems boredom really is. Research has shown that boredom is closely related to frustration and that the effect of too much frustration is invariably irritability, withdrawal, rebellious opposition or aggressive rejection of the whole show. "
Now change the word children to bored adults at work...shockingly it all makes sense, right?
So what's a mere mortal to do? What is a leader, motivator, manager, team associate to do to get out of the bore-funk?
It is always a good idea to try and figure out how we got there in the first place before setting out to change a behavior. Keep that in mind (as some strategies might not apply to you or your team members) as you read on.

You'll find boredom where there is the absence of a good idea. Earl Nightingale

Boredom has very few positives, and mostly will affect your work place by increased absenteeism, lack of engagement, low productivity, Internet abuse, errors, and verbal and physical aggression. So here are a few points to help you fight the boredom-blues:
Ask questions & listen- Too often boredom is not identified quick enough. It is like a loud radio playing in the background, we know something is bugging us but we can't quite put our finger on it. Most times we fail to recognize feelings of boredom until it evolves into something else (generally something worse), and engagement surveys don't usually address this topic. Remember that while under performing employees might share their frustrations, highly driven employees can appear engaged and be bored at the same time. Neither of you may notice the boredom as the work is still getting done will only learn about it when you see your valued employee walk away into more exciting territory...elsewhere. So take time during your one on one meetings and point blank ask: "Do you feel bored with your activities?" or "Is there any part of your role here you think you are bored with?" get the idea. Be candid. Listen. Find solutions together.
Challenge yourself and your staff- And more importantly, teach them how to self-challenge, e.g., learn a new skill, teach others something one has mastered, etc. Put your ear down the railroad tracks of past mistakes and, instead of merely punishing, take the time to teach and retrain.
Energize yourself and others- This begins with your morning greeting, and no, not being a morning person is not an excuse for grumpiness or being short with one another. Surprise someone with a morning snack and five minutes of random conversation. Smile. Seriously. Smiles can do wonders, didn't you know? Oh, and a sense of humor never hurts...
As much as possible avoid repetitive tasks- Be as creative as the job allows. Allow team members to switch tasks, take a breather, give them a learning hour or day, encourage them to shadow other roles (this is a great investment to see how other departments can work better together...think old SouthWest Airlines business model).
Avoid the status quo & make lists- That's right, whenever something frustrates you (or your associates) write it down and later (when frustration wore off) think about ways in which you can avoid this in the future. Each moment of frustration experienced enhances your chances to contribute to the company's success and your own. But only if these moments are capitalized on. So go ahead, try it, write it down and watch perspectives change.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Leading at The Speed of Trust

by Rodger Dean Duncan

At this time of economic upheaval and political transition, trust is an issue that’s front and center.

Everybody’s in favor of trust. We all know it’s important. But a lot of people seem to regard trust as soft and intangible, a social virtue that’s nice to have but impossible to quantify.

Yet trust is much more than that. Trust is a hard-edged economic driver. Yes – trust is indeed a character trait. Trust is also a competency that can be taught, and learned, and improved.

My associate Stephen M.R. Covey has written a best-selling book on the subject. It’s called The Speed of Trust.

So what’s the big idea?

The big idea is simply this: Low trust is a tax. High trust is a dividend. It’s true in a relationship. It’s true on a team. It’s true with a client or customer. It’s true with every kind of stakeholder.

When trust is low, you pay a “tax” – because everything requires more time to accomplish and everything costs you more. When trust is high, you receive a “dividend” – because you’re able to get things done faster and at a lower cost.

This dividend is real. It’s not just a feel-good factor. It’s an actual economic dividend. And the data on it are overwhelming.

For example, a Watson Wyatt study showed that high-trust organizations outperformed low-trust organizations by 286% – that’s nearly three times – in total return to shareholders.

Every year Fortune magazine – in conjunction with the Great Place to Work Institute – publishes a list of “The 100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” Trust is the primary defining characteristic required to get on that list: trust between management and employees, trust between and among work teams.Trust factors comprise more than half of the criteria.

So, how do these high-trust organizations do? They outperform the S&P 500 by 416% in terms of their economic return.

A similar phenomenon occurs in education. We all know there’s a correlation between learning and the relationship between student and teacher. And as you’d expect, trust is an important component of that relationship. A national study shows that students in high-trust schools are three-and-a-half times more likely to increase their test scores than are students in low-trust schools.

Regardless of the industry, the research data are overwhelming: The low-trust tax is real. The high-trust dividend is real.

I frequently tell my clients that the second most expensive thing that can happen with regard to their employees is when smart and capable people quit and leave. But the number one most expensive thing that can happen is when their smart and capable people quit and stay.

Disengaged employees are enormously expensive. Engagement flows out of trust, and trust flows out of engagement. They are mutually reinforcing.

Studies by the Gallup organization show that 96% of engaged employees trust their leaders, while only 46% of disengaged employees trust their leaders. Gallup puts a conservative price tag of $300 billion per year on disengagement in the U.S. alone

So which comes first – the distrust or the disengagement? Both. And that’s the point. Trust affects everything.

Consider something like innovation. The Financial Times studied the 100 top companies on their list. They compared the top 20 innovators to the bottom 20 innovators. High trust was the number one differentiating factor.

Think about it. Innovation flourishes and thrives in an environment of high trust. Try innovating in a low-trust culture. People clamor for credit. They point fingers of blame. They tell each other a lot of victim, villain, and helpless stories. Because low-trust environments are not safe, it’s hard to make strides with innovation. You want to increase innovation? Increase the trust.

Consider teamwork. Our entire global economy – from the factory floor to relationships between nations – is based on collaboration. Genuine collaboration thrives or dies based upon trust.

Without trust it’s impossible to collaborate. You might be able to coordinate or you may cooperate. But genuine collaboration requires trust.

What about partnering? Partnering is an absolutely critical element in the industries represented here today. Partnering can take many forms, from outsourcing help with outages to installation of major hardware needed to operate a nuclear plant.

What about outsourcing? A study by the Warwick Business School in the UK focused on outsourcing contracts over a ten-year period. They found that companies that managed their outsourcing relationships based on trust – as opposed to relying on the fine print of service contracts – outperformed low-trust organizations by 40%. They call it the 40% dividend.

Studies in every industry validate the notion that trust is king. Whether you’re talking about execution, loyalty, sales, accelerating growth, or any other metric – high trust is a dividend. Everything – all the execution strategy, all the innovation, all the partnering, all the collaboration, all the growth and performance improvement – all of these things are tied to trust.

Now, let’s dig deeper into this idea of trust being a competency.

When we see the importance of trust we experience a paradigm shift. When we begin to speak the language of trust, it signals to others that we are committed to earning the dividends of trust.

When we behave in ways that build trust we actually earn those dividends and minimize the trust taxes we may have been paying.
It is then that we’re best able to achieve the sustainable high results we want.

Now, all of this may seem like a blinding flash of the obvious. Unfortunately, as we all know, common sense is often not common practice. And in the case of trust, the common practice seems to be to distrust.

Distrust is reflected in the silo mentality we often see in organizations. The surface relationships may be cordial, but right underneath the top veneer there’s often doubt or outright suspicion.

Fragile trust is often reflected in relationships between management and union members, between companies and suppliers.

Even when many of the other performance metrics seem to be okay, fragile trust can be a hidden variable – lurking beneath the surface as it slows down processes and drives up costs.

Why does this occur? I suppose there are many reasons. And I believe a primary reason is that most people still regard trust as just a nice-to-have social virtue and don’t yet understand trust as an issue they can do something about explicitly, deliberately, and quantitatively.

At one time, most of us didn’t understand the effects of cholesterol. But now there’s plenty of information available and we can make informed choices about our eating and exercise behaviors. There’s also plenty of quantitative information available on the effects of trust.

So let’s consider some of the informed choices we can make to earn trust, to maintain trust, and to extend trust.

Stephen M.R. Covey has identified 13 specific behaviors exhibited by leaders who consistently enjoy the benefits of high trust. Some of these behaviors are Character-based. Some of them are
Competency-based. And some include both Character and Competency components.
One Character-based behavior of people who earn high levels of trust is Straight Talk. They not only communicate clearly enough to be understood, they communicate so clearly that it’s difficult to misunderstand them. They use simple language.

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says “the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.” Trustworthy people call things what they are. They do not “spin” the truth. They’re careful not to leave false impressions.

Of course the opposite behavior would be to lie or to deceive. Honest people don’t lie or deceive. However, honest people do sometimes engage in what can be called “counterfeit” behaviors. With regard to Straight Talk, counterfeit behaviors include “beating around the bush,” withholding information, selectively divulging only the information that supports our position.

And the granddaddy of them all: “corporatespeak” – that convoluted mass of euphemisms that puts a rosy spin on even the most negative of events. Nobody appreciates “corporatespeak” and spin. They’re not only not credible, they’re insulting. Yet they are very common.

Trustworthy people talk straight.

A Competency-based behavior that builds trust is to Confront Reality.

Trustworthy people step up to the tough issues and deal with them head-on. They engage others openly so they can tap into the creativity, ingenuity, and synergy that make for better decisions and better outcomes.

This has a powerful effect on both speed and cost.

Of course the opposite is to simply ignore reality or to act as though it doesn’t exist. We have a multitude of case studies on ignoring reality in the in the political arena, in the aerospace industry, in the healthcare industry, and certainly in the financial industry.

A counterfeit behavior is to pay lip service to dealing with the tough stuff, while really just tinkering with superficial symptoms rather than focusing on root causes.

Confronting reality requires courage and can be very uncomfortable. But it’s not nearly as uncomfortable as suffering the consequences of Pollyanna nonchalance.

An important trust-building behavior that has both Character and Competency components is to

Listen First. Trustworthy people listen first to understand, not to judge.
Genuinely listening first is harder than it may sound. Trustworthy people listen not just with their ears, but also with their eyes and their hearts. They’re very cautious about making assumptions. They don’t presume to have all the answers – or even all the questions.

A counterfeit behavior is to merely pretend to listen … just waiting for your turn to speak, or looking for holes in the other person’s position so you can attack theirs and bolster yours. That’s not dialogue. That’s debate.

Trustworthy people are not afraid of having their own positions challenged. Trustworthy people are eager to learn, even when it involves changing their minds. They Listen First.

And finally, an important way to earn and maintain trust is to Extend Trust.

Trustworthy people have a propensity to trust others. We’re not talking about blind trust or gullibility. We’re talking here about “smart trust” that’s based on a reasonable assessment of risk. Trustworthy people tend to extend trust abundantly to those who have earned it. They extend trust conditionally to those who are still earning it. But their first inclination is to trust.

A counterfeit behavior is to extend “fake trust.” This often comes in the form of giving people responsibility for results but withholding the authority or resources needed to achieve the results. In other words, giving someone a job but then “snoopervising” or hovering over them.

Micromanaging is perhaps the most common form of “fake trust.”

People tend to behave the way they’re treated. If you want people to trust you, extend trust to them. Otherwise, you simply contribute to the downward spiral of distrust and suspicion that imposes low-trust taxes and pushes aside the opportunity for high-trust dividends.

One of the many myths about trust is that it’s only about integrity. Trust is actually equal parts Character and Competence. Both components are required. The big idea here is that even if the superficial relationships in an organization are cordial and friendly, fragile trust under the surface can impose a number of expensive, low-trust taxes on overall performance.

Conversely, organizations that appreciate the real, economic effects of trust – and that explicitly and deliberately teach trust behaviors and build cultures of trust – enjoy the benefits of high-trust dividends. Believe it. You, too, can enjoy the speed of trust.

Article from The Duncan Report. For more information please click on their link.

Friday, February 20, 2009

IQ or EQ?

This is another of our recurring themes at Duncan Consulting, Emotional Intelligence, a term coined by Daniel Goleman and the title to one of his best selling books.

One of our goals is to start posting more original articles and thoughts, but this time it really is not worth trying to reinvent the wheel, thus I resort again to the wisdom of Rodger Duncan. Please invest a few minutes and read through the article below this promises to shed new light into how maleable you and your staff can be in managing and improving one of your most valuable assets: EQ.

How's Your Emotional Intelligence?
by Rodger Dean Duncan

Pick up any newspaper and notice the headlines. From day to day it’s pretty much the same cast of characters. In the political and diplomatic arena you see George W. Bush, Colin Powell, Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat, Tony Blair. In the technology arena it’s Hewlett-Packard’s Carly Fiorina, eBay’s Meg Whitman and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. In religion, the current spotlight is on Pope John Paul II. In the world of terrorism, Osama bin Laden is in a category all his own.

For good or ill, these people have one thing in common: they are leaders. Whether elected, appointed or self-anointed, they make headlines because they have the ability to influence others to embrace their cause – sometimes even to the point of death.

Leadership – or lack of it – is at the core of most everything good or bad in our world. Yes, of course there’s the issue of individual agency and the right to choose one’s own behavior. But an individual’s choices are closely linked to the kind of leadership to which he’s been exposed.
I’ve spent much of my life studying leadership.

As a young journalist, I covered politics and business and saw examples of both the best and worst of leadership behaviors.

As a university professor, I noticed that the art of "politics" is not confined to Washington or the state capitol. I also noticed that in addition to being fine teachers, the best educators are also great leaders.

As a consultant to people ranging from White House occupants to corporate chieftains, I’ve witnessed the full range of vision, short-sightedness, courage, cowardice, empathy, arrogance and all the other characteristics that make or break a leader.

Because of that mix of experience, I’m often asked the question "Are great leaders made or born?"

My response is, "no!" and "yes!" No, I do not accept the false dichotomy embedded in the question, and yes, I do believe great leaders are both made and born.

Organizations spend billions on leadership development. While some of the training (and follow through) are questionable, I have no quarrel with the motive. Leaders can be made.

Some people are also born with leadership qualities. Just like other human traits, the gifts associated with leadership – vision, imagination, empathy, courage, etc. – come to some people as naturally as freckles and curly hair. And even for these "natural" leaders, improvement is always possible.

Leadership is so much more than conducting meetings and making presentations. Good leadership involves affirmation and encouragement. It involves teaching and correcting and coaching. It involves planning and coordinating and executing. It involves a wide range of skills, all of which are marshaled to bring out the best in others and enable them to produce great results.

It is true, of course, that great leaders tend to make the most of their God-given gifts. It’s also true that the best leaders among us deliberately search for ways to be better and to do better.
Aside from personal integrity, what quality is most critical to effective leadership? In my view, that quality is something called emotional intelligence.

In recent years much has been said and written about emotional intelligence, notably in Daniel Goleman’s best-selling book of that title. Goleman’s latest book, Primal Leadership, addresses the power that emotional intelligence brings to a person’s leadership behaviors.

The importance of emotional intelligence applies to every leadership role. Here’s the way Goleman describes the dimensions of emotional intelligence and the associated competencies. See how relevant you think these are to the style and service of someone who’s assigned to teach, coach and judge you.


Emotional self-awareness: Attuned to one’s guiding values, able to see the big picture in a complex situation, able to be candid and authentic, able to speak with conviction about one’s guiding vision.

Accurate self-assessment: Knowing one’s strengths and limits, exhibiting a gracefulness in learning where improvement is needed.
Self-confidence: A sound sense of one’s self-worth and capabilities.


Emotional self-control: Able to stay calm and clear-headed under stress, able to stay unflappable even when confronted by a trying situation.

Transparency: Authentic, open, honest, trustworthy. Willing to admit own mistakes and faults. Willing to confront unethical behavior in others rather than turn a blind eye.
Adaptability: Able to juggle multiple demands without losing focus or energy. Comfortable with ambiguities. Nimble in adjusting to fluid change.

Achievement: The drive to improve performance to meet high standards. Continually learning – and teaching – ways to do better.

Initiative: Ready to act and seize opportunities.

Optimism: Seeing the upside in events and the best in other people.

Social Awareness

Empathy: Able to sense the felt, but sometimes unspoken, emotions in others. Able to understand other people’s perspective.

Organizational awareness: Reading the currents, decision networks and other dynamics at the organizational level.

Service: Recognizing and meeting the needs of others.

Relationship Management

Inspirational leadership: Able to articulate a shared mission in a way that inspires others to follow.

Influence: Persuasive and engaging when addressing others.

Developing others: Adept at cultivating the abilities of their followers in the context of their followers’ goals, strengths, and vulnerabilities.

Change catalyst: Recognize the need for change, challenge the status quo.

Conflict management: Able to draw out all parties, understand the differing perspectives, find a common ideal that everyone can support.

Teamwork and collaboration: Generate an atmosphere of friendly collegiality. Able to draw others into active, enthusiastic commitment to the collective effort while building spirit and identity.

Wow! If a leader can do all that, plus bake bread and make his own clothes, he’s only a step away from perfection. Of course even the most effective leaders acknowledge they have plenty to learn. (In fact, that very acknowledgement is one reason they’re already so effective.)

Continuous learning is a hallmark of great leadership.

The best leaders I’ve observed are very good about providing unvarnished feedback on the performance of others. Their feedback is specific and relevant.

At the same time – and this is a key differentiator – the best leaders I know frequently solicit feedback on their own performance. They are open to critiques of both their ideas and of their leadership. On occasion, they actively seek "negative" feedback, valuing the voice of counter thinking. (By contrast, less effective leaders – if they solicit feedback at all – most often solicit confirming feedback.)

The most effective leaders I know are careful to break through the information quarantine that sometimes surrounds them. They actively seek negative feedback as well as positive. They understand that in order to perform better they need a full range of information – even when the information doesn’t feel good to hear.

Last summer my wife Rean and I were on a drive. It was a hot day and I stopped at a convenience store. I returned to the car with two bottles of cold water and two Snickers candy bars. My wife thanked me for the water and said it was thoughtful of me to be concerned for her thirst.

"And did you notice that I bought your favorite candy bar?" I asked. To which Rean replied: "Honey, Snickers is your favorite candy bar. I never did like Snickers. My favorite candy bar is Milky Way."

So here I was – married to a wonderful woman for 35 years – and I somehow never noticed that her favorite candy bar was not the same as my favorite.

Think how easy it must be to miss the cues and clues from the people we serve. Are we providing what they really need? Are we really reaching them? Are we really lifting them?
If we’re not accustomed to asking, they’re probably not very accustomed to telling. So we need to ask, then ask some more. And listen.

The bad news is that not everyone is born with emotional intelligence competencies. The good news is that the competencies can be learned and practiced.

Sometimes our best coaches are the very people we’ve been asked to serve.
It’s not called "servant leadership" for nothing.

Article from The Duncan Report. For more information please click on their link.
web analytics tool