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Customer Service With Pizzazz!

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to add punch to your customer service. Reading time: 3:04

      The  fast-food counter seemed more like a stage to the clerk  especially when he welcomed his audience of one– his customer–with a bright smile and  even brighter affirmation of his customer’s order:

      A ham “I will get that right up for you sir and I can tell you that I’m going to put smile on your face and inch on your waist.”

      His  jovial voice beamed through pearly white teeth and a breathy enthusiasm that painted smiles on the faces of nearby patrons too.

      His customers appreciated the clerk’s creative zeal in turning an ordinary transaction into something extra-ordinary.  That’s what leaders do. They turn the ordinary into the extra-ordinary.

       Indeed, this leader in customer service showmanship made absolutely sure this $31.46 order for this  customer and his five other auto mechanic co-workers would be anything but ordinary.

           Leaders have a flair for customer service showmanship that re-focuses the spotlight on the customer to add even greater value to their customer experience. Continue reading

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Eating Humble Pie at 30,000 Feet

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to reinforce the integrity of your corporate culture. Reading time: 3:14.

      The CEO and the president of a multi-billion dollar company headed off to the airport for a business trip.

Virtual Images       No limousine. No private jet. They flew commercial—in coach. No first class treatment for them. They were too focused on treating others first class.

      That’s what leaders do. They don’t regularly spend on themselves for comfort or convenience. They more regularly invest in others for their added comfort or convenience that increases their performance and productivity.

     Of course, the CEO and President could have justified the expense of a private jet for a business trip. But on this occasion, they had planned a larger than normal window in their schedules to accommodate the added travel time. Continue reading

Spacing Your Leadership Bite

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to help you develop relationship in your project management. Reading time: 3:44

         The newly appointed CEO was shocked and perplexed when the Chairman of the company left an urgent message for the CEO to cut short his European business trip and return as soon as possible to the corporate headquarters in the United States.

wheelwright1         Was it an unwanted takeover bid? Or an explosion in a manufacturing plant ? A kidnapping of a board member?

        The new CEO wondered what the crisis was about as he hurriedly broke away from negotiations in acquiring a company that would shore up a key vulnerability in the company’s product line.

        “A party—a retirement party?” the new CEO repeated in a frustrating and exasperating tone. “You want me to leave millions of dollars on the table right now –that’s the potential we have in acquiring this company that we had already talked about with you and the Board–to fly back to corporate headquarters to attend a retirement party?

       The Chairman of the Board calmly and resolutely confirmed his direction. The new CEO did attend the retirement party –an annual event that celebrates, lauds and says a big Thank You to hundreds of employees with 25 years or more of service.

       That annual Retirement Party is so important that top management — including the Chairman and the CEO and each company president– are always there in person to press the flesh. Continue reading

Charisma: It’s Not About You

 By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to lead more authentically. Reading time: 2:34

     It’s not about you. Rick Warren’s opening sentence in his best selling book The Purpose Driven Life, is an apt description of charisma.

    Charisma-Header-2 Charisma is not about how vivacious you are.

     Charisma is not about how good looking you are.

     Charisma is not about how funny you are.

     And charisma is not about how pumped up you are.

     Instead, charisma is all about how vivacious you make others feel.

     Charisma is all about how good you make others look around you.  Charisma is all about how much you pump others up when you are around them.

     Charisma is not the force of your being but how you reinforce the being of others.

      Charisma is not how well you sing your song. Charisma is how well you sync to get along. Consistently. Predictably.

      In fact, Google’s employees provide their managers feedback in formal surveys twice  a year (on 12-18 factors) and it turns out the most critical trait of a leader –at least seen through their followers–is predictability.

      It’s better to be a little bit boring than to be a bit overbearing.  It’s not how you can win OVER people. It’s how you can win PEOPLE over.

     “Being charismatic means making others feel comfortable, at ease and good about themselves,” observers author Olivia Fox Cabane in her book The Charisma Myth.

     How do you generate charisma if you don’t look like a Movie Star or aren’t as glib as a Talk Show host and you don’t wear the latest designer clothes?

     Relax. Be yourself. Be real. Smile. Continue reading

Check Your Attitude Indicator On the Fly

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to conduct on-going feedback to enhance mutual performance. Reading time 3:37.

        Flying an airplane, a pilot gets immediate feedback on the plane’s flight performance from a gauge in the cockpit aptly called an Attitude Indicator.

        attitude2 indicatorThe Attitude Indicator features a graphic of an airplane on a gyroscope that gives the pilot a visual orientation of the airplane to the horizon.

        That graphic of the airplane on the Attitude Indicator tells the pilot if the plane’s tilt (pitching) is too high or too low;  if the plane’s  yaw of the nose left or right is off mark and if the plane’s roll (banking) is out of balance side to side.

        Feedback in real-time is vital to a pilot. And to a leader. Continue reading

Take Me to Your Leader

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to differentiate your managing and leading skills. Reading time 3:57.

        Take me to your leader. Remember those old science fiction movies you watched as a kid?  Those invaders from outer space never said: Take me to your manager.”

     take-me-to-your-leader Why? Managers focus on the NOW. Leaders focus on the NEW. As Peter Drucker famously noted  that managers (NOW) do things right while leaders do the right (NEW) things.

      In today’s ever-changing business environment proficient managing—good planning, budgeting, organizing and controlling- is necessary but no longer sufficient as John Kotter, the Harvard professor observed in his book The Leadership Factor. “One also needs good visions, strategies, coalitions and motivation to deal with competitively intense business environments.”

      Indeed all leadership development begins with your intensive managing skills to cope with changing conditions. Then leaders get involved and they evolve their decision-making  from a focus on changing conditions to  conditioning change.

     When you condition change, you adapt and adjust to the swirl of the world around you. And you evolve into a never-ending, always-engaging focus on continuous improvement. But it takes two to tango on the ever-changing dance floor of change.

     You can’t be a good manager without FIRST being a good leader.   And you can’t be a good leader without FIRST being a good manager.

      Managing and Leading are two sides of the same coin—the coin all leaders need to polish on both sides –IN ORDER to consistently open the gate into the C-Suite  for you and other developing leaders.

     To help better define, differentiate and distinguish your progress from managing to leading, study the following 24 behavioral comparisons.  They are  rhymed to make a more significant deposit long-term in your memory bank.

Continue reading

Engineering The Work Environment

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance productivity. Reading time: 2:32

Obelisk in Central Park, New York City

Obelisk in Central Park, New York City

      You’re an engineer 3,500 years ago in Egypt. And you’re trying to transport the famous obelisk –Cleopatra’s Needle—from Alexandria to Rome.

      You miscalculate the length of rope that you would need to lift Cleopatra’s Needle off the ground. The rope is too long. The winches can’t be tightened (shortened) any more.

      But then the leader in you comes to the rescue.

      You pour water on the ropes. The added humidity shortens the ropes. And you can then lift the 68-foot tall monument off its pedestal.

      The most effective leaders are like environmental engineers. They nurture the working environment to enhance productivity.

      Leaders as environmental engineers, develop the chemistry among employees, customers, stockholders and management, especially when the organizational chemistry must be held in a delicate– often ironic — balance. Continue reading