Monday, July 31, 2006

Seattle Mariners Finally Have Team Chemistry

Here comes the M's. They have become team both focused on the prize and doing what they have to earn it. They finally have all the ingredients of a highly successful team. Leadership, talent, teamwork, training, and TEAM CHEMISTRY.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Mike Hargrove, the team LeaderManager said, "Things are going good for us right now," Hargrove said. "Players know what they have to do, and they're doing it.

"If somebody sees a guy goof up, the veteran guys are pulling them aside and telling them what to do. It's the kind of thing winning clubs do, and it took us a while to learn it."
He is right, it took awhile for someone to teach it.

I am not certain it was Mike Hargrove, but knowing what it take to create a great sports team is not a mystery. The goal of every team is team chemistry. As college and pro teams prepare for the imminent football season, they are all working on their team chemistry.

I love watching Mariner games as the camera focus on the "bench" and dugout where you see players having fun (it is a game, games are fun) and talking each other about how to improve their skills. I especially enjoy watching veterans help the younger players.

It is all driven by the desire to win their Division, the American League West, and the knowledge that EVERYONE must contribute in order for them to win it. Team goals drive individual goals to improve and excel.

In team sports, team chemistry is the key to winning the "Best of the Best Trophy." Just as it is with a sales or customer service team.

Imagine the value of experienced personnel helping their peers improve their sales, service, and team skills. Imagine the vaslue of everyone talking about sales and service excellence every day, day after day, one by one.

Imagine the value of an entire team of frontline personnel who enjoy working together, helping each other, and providing a customer experience that inspires them to remember, return, and recommend.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Even The US Postal Service Doesn't Train Managers

As I read this article about the latest postmaster at the Apple Valley post office, I think about my current problems with the downtown Seattle post office which are too frustrating to waste time mentioning.

Leadership makes the difference in performance, yet few organizations see the value in investing in management training or having a successful management system in place at all locations.

Petras and other employees at the Apple Valley post office say it’s no secret that the town’s postal delivery service has been lackluster over the past few years, plagued with late deliveries and high employee turnover. But Petras — who started in January but was sworn in Tuesday— said changes are coming.

Apple Valley postal workers couldn’t put a precise number on management’s turnover rate the past few years, but they offered a guess.“It’d take me a while to count ’em,” said Dave Schloer, a postal worker and vice president of the local postal union. “Definitely in the dozens.”

In the dozens!!!

Just as most new frontline sales and customer service leaders receive minimal training-if any-before their first leading and managing opportunity, the government doesn't see the need for a leadertship model and a management system in the nation's post offices.

“I think it was just a lack of communication,” Petras said. “And a matter of putting some new rules in place.”

The postal service finally got lucky and stumbled across somebody to stop the waste of taxpayers dollars, but how long will this last? With leadership that allowed continual management the turnover to exist, what will they do next? If Mr. Petras is truly effiecient, do they cut the size of his staff?

I wonder how many frontline staff were blamed, through the years, for poor performance by their underperforming (untrained) postmasters? How many had a miserable employment experience? Day after day...

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bloggers, Help Groups, Consultants, etc: Thanks!

As I spent the weekend pondering exactly what to cover (and somehow survive my addiction to perfection) as I get back to posting on this blog, I read the sage words of Alan Alda I have framed on my office wall. "You have leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you are doing.”

I have never understood the bus part, but hard work, risk, and not quite knowing what I am doing is definitely applicable to this blog. His words make it ok to be wrong, which is music to the ears of a perfectionist.

I have finally decided what to do in a number of areas, but can't seem to solve the spamming in my of my "comments" that continues to happen every few days. (I have sought information in help groups, but no replies so far.)

I have to thank all of the people who are so effective in their efforts to help blog novices go through a rapid learning curve. They are too numerous to mention, but they are heaven-sent and greatly apprecated.

I am still trying to decide if I want to stay with blogger or go to typepad, but in the meantime I'll get back to consistent posting about sales, service, and team leadership excellence.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Exceptional Service = Exceptional Profits

This short article, Service is what keeps customers coming back for more, is spot on.

Provide exceptional customer service consistently and before long you will have a highly profitable reputation for great service. It's been that way for decades.

Jeffrey Gitomer says it well, "The bottom line is this: The products at department stores are about the same. The difference is the people, the service and the technology, not new signs and shelves. Create the atmosphere, and every employee will begin to hear ringing in their ears-the ringing of cash registers."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Achieve: Ask - Listen - Learn - Believe - Act

I want to do things right on this blog. Asking questions begins that process. Anyone who has any comments about what this blog needs should feel free to speak up. I love criticism, suggestions, ideas, or anything else that would improve what I want to do here.

And that is...motivate businesses selling and serving products and services to the general public to get their act together. Specifically businesses that appear to be trying to be one of the best, but just don't get it. Multi-location companies that try to have a team-focused, excellence-driven, "something special" culture, yet they fail to deliver because when their customers judge, consciously and unconsciously, everything the see, hear, smell, and "feel" when they enter their selling or serving environments, things aren't held to high standards.

I love the thrill of an exceptional customer service experience. It doesn't happen often, but It is so much fun being sold and/or served by friendly, excited, enthusiastic, and energetic sales and customer service personnel.

The problem with the leadership and management of many sales and customer service teams is that they don't believe they have a problem with their employees, sales, or service.