What Customer Complaints May Really Mean

Customers complain. It’s a fact of business life. Sometimes they have a valid complaint, but often they’re just cranky, having a bad day, or upset because they can’t find what they’re looking for. Whatever has set them off, they are likely to take it out on an employee. But if you are hearing a lot of complaints, especially if they are not targeting a single employee, they’re telling you something…

Clothes Don’t Make the Team

“Bring your team together with these team shirts.” The commercial showed groups of happy, smiling people, all wearing the same shirts with the company logo. The narrator explained that teams would be more productive when they wore the same clothes because they would feel more like a real team. Nice thought and I hope they sell lots of t-shirts emblazoned with company logos. But that will not cause a more…

Absence of Punishment is a Reward in Itself

That’s a saying I learned back in my days in the old Strategic Air Command (SAC). It reflected a culture that existed at one time in the military: the no news is good news style of leadership. In reality, most of the leaders I worked for back then didn’t really subscribe to this leadership theory, but there was still a culture in the larger organization that made this statement at…

Innovate or Die

I was speaking to a friend recently and the subject turned to innovation. He was working with a client who was concerned that there was no longer an innovative spirit in his company. It reminded me of a conversation I had recently had with a client who wasn’t sure how to get his managers to be more innovative. I absolutely believe that in today’s business climate a company is either…

It’s Okay to Have Fun – In Fact it’s Necessary

A basic tenet of a military organization is the ability to pack up and move out quickly. Being proficient at that skill requires planning and practice. Although I’ve been involved in many such efforts, both as rehearsals and as real deployments, one example has always stuck in my mind. It was during my days in a combat rescue unit and there are two reasons it has stayed with me. First,…