The Road to Human Loyalty- A Forever Journey

“Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one’s head.” Mark Twain

Greatness finds ways to be loyal and extract loyalty from those they serve. It is reciprocal. It is not a given.

Goodness find ways to give and earn respect.

Mediocrity finds ways to get by and fill the role.

You want loyalty above respect. You want to live in greatness. You can live in mediocrity or goodness or greatness. Choose.

Greatness: Every human relationship has the potential to be a great relationship. A customer can be a great customer. A supporter can be a great supporter. A family member can be a great family member. A co-worker can be a great co-worker. A staff member can be a great staff member. Choose. The choice lies in the hands of whoever takes the lead. Lead well. Manage that relationship.

Stages: There are five discernible stages to an effective relationship. Fringe, friend, familiar, faithful, and forever. You may have more, but I find these cross most relationships. In non-profits and congregations, I add a few and change the names around. These five hold. Honor them in building service inside your organization and amazing results transpire.

Fringe: Every relationship starts on the fringe. These are people with whom you have no relationship at all. They do not even know you exist. You may not know they exist. They are out there waiting to get to know you and enjoy your companionship and possibly your service. Respect them as valuable. Honor them. Give them credit for being worthy of dignity and your attention. People are worthy of your attention.

Friend: Somewhere you meet. Someone visits your brick and mortar shop. You talk to a businessman about a new sign. At the bank, you open a new account and meet a representative. Each human transaction can open a friendship. They become more aware of you and you become more aware of them. Being a friend is more than just acquaintance. You exchange information about each other. This exchange opens the next path. Many businesses leave potential customers at this juncture. They know your name and your business but nothing about you and your mission and vision and hopes and dreams and likes and dislikes. Open up and develop this relationship.

Familiar: Now, you have transacted business. This may be with a staff member where you’ve worked on a project. It could be with a customer who has purchased product or service. Maybe you have participated in a class discussion. But, there has been significant exchange requiring trust and revealing of more information. The familiar are more likely to engage at continuing intimacy of relationship and trust. Most people stop in relationships at this level. Customers never become settled. Staff members are held at a distance. Co-workers struggle to fully understand each other.

DANGER! The next two levels are dangerous. They require open-hearted exposure. That is why most never enter into these levels. When you lose a relationship at one of these levels it is painful. To be great, you must risk and receive pain. Go for it. The pleasure of good customer and co-worker relationships at these levels outweigh the pain. Assess the ability to be loyal in customers before you move them up into these ranks. Some customers are just jerks. Sorry. Be cautious. Some supporters are over controlling. Don’t be a fool and risk your organization. Some co-workers need psychologists more than you need them to get too close to the knitting. Advance the best and honor the rest.

Faithful: Over time, the familiar enter into more and more transactions. They become faithful. A faithful customer orders over and over. A faithful co-worker takes and gives advice continually and participates in more and more projects and actions. A faithful supporter reads updates and gives regularly. There is a goodwill and loyalty exchange that has become a given in the relationship.

Forever: Few relationships reach this level. There is a foundational commitment and insider understanding of operations for a business. These are customers for life. You find yourself talking through key business strategies with a foundational customer. A foundational co-worker sees you at your worst and at your best. A foundational supporter in a non-profit understands the mix of vision and mission and can advise on action with your best interest at heart.

Movement: Advancing from fringe to forever should be a pathway for marketing, operations, and activities of any organization. Take time to understand the events, education, information, engagement, transaction, and social touches that assist customers, co-workers, and compatriots in moving along this path. Each of these paths is a continual exchange and deepening of relationship. None should be one way. Have a purposeful plan to advance the best of the best relationships into the Forever circle.

Summary: This is a quick caricature of a complicated subject. Take time to map out your advancement strategies especially with key stakeholders and players in your life. You can have some wonderful moments with Forever people as customers, co-workers, and compatriots.

Remember people are not static.  As much as you invest, at any time an individual may abort the relationship and move to a conflict level or vacate the relationship. That is a risk.  But the joy of good connections outweigh the risks.

Join Champions of Fathering Sept 16th for Lunch and/or Tourney
Join Champions of Fathering Sept 16th for Lunch and/or Tourney

Presence Communicates Production Priority

Managers and leaders communicate priority by where they spend their time. Production teams make America happen. A walk through a production press room tells the workers they are important and what they do is important. Stopping by the front desk in the morning and looking the receptionist in the eye followed by a specific word of appreciation tells the company that guests are important. Openly discussing decisions and gaining feedback from the team along the way gives them a stake. Presence communicates production priority.

30 years of overseeing production teams 24/7 leaves me with a little insight on helping a shift through their day. Every shift is a day in itself. Each one needs right attention and priority.

Every meeting you attend, every walk down the hallway, every lunch in public communicates your deepest heart. You are being watched. An encouraging word, a kind action, opening a door for someone else, or a playful interchange all communicate compassion and priority.

An ancient proverb tells us to not muzzle the oxen as they tread grain. One visual picture we draw is of an ox pulling along in a field being harvested. He needs to munch a little every once in a while. He needs to gain benefit while working, not just at the end of the season. Your presence and encouragement is one of the daily benefits you can give with little cost and great results. Corporate parties, big meetings and bonuses help. They can never replace personal attention and involvement. Presence communicates production priority every day and communicates concern for the people.

Early In The Day Sets A Tone
A manager starts the day for work teams. A little whistle up the hallway in the morning tells the team it is a bright day. P lesant greetings communicate positive expectation and confidence. It is not just physical presence but emotional engagement that builds a productive team of individuals bound by mission.

Middle Of The Day Stimulates
By mid day in a production crew, sales team, customer service group, or any other set of individuals bound by mission, there have been problems. Opportunity to turn dour has come many times by noon. This is one perfect moment to inspire and prioritized. Where you spend the last minutes before lunch tells the team where to focus.

A purposeful and thoughtful communication to key team members on priority projects can keep problems from dominating. Customer service needs to keep moving while issues are resolved. Down equipment needs attended. Production schedules may need adjusted considering current availability. Sales teams may need a pep talk to overcome any weight of complaints.

End Of The Day Rules Over Tides
By the end of a good day, there have been powerful moments and struggling moments. Tides have pressed against the team attempting to bring them to defeat. They need presence. They need reinforcement that the customer is king and the team is in your heart. You need to let them know you are one their side. Before you go home, visit the oncoming team and give them the same whistling start you gave the first team.

Summary: Presence communicates production priority. Production is the ox of your company. Sales must happen. Production must run seamless. An ancient proverb tells us to not muzzle the ox as he treads the grain. Consider your time and attention and presence as unmuzzling the oxen. Invest in your people. They are the strength of the company.

Be Busy Building Better Business.  Have a Great Day!

Phil

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Make a definitive difference in the community!

I need your help. I need you to join me for lunch.  (It is okay if you want to just give to the work also if you can’t come.)

Register now. http://www.championfatherstourney.org

On Sept 16th at 11:45am join Carey Casey, CEO of the National Center for Fathering, Hon. James Lankford, U.S. House of Representatives, Chuck Bowman, Larry Campbell, Imagenet+ Consulting, R.K. Black, Kimray, Tom Hill, keyevado, Shepherd Consulting, Willow Creek Golf and Country Club and others.

  • Understand the immense fatherless crisis impacting our nation, state, and your neighborhood.
  • Get insight on positive action you can take to change the statistics.

Your registration goes directly to works in progress at Tulakes Elementary in North OKC, Epperly Heights Elementary in Del City, East OKC, West OKC, Dad’s University, and Matamoros families. Through the support of a friend, lunch expenses are covered. That means your registration goes directly to the work.

You can join for golf afterwards, if you would like. But, I need you to join me for lunch.

You can sponsor more, but, I need you to join me for lunch.

Register Now: http://www.championfatherstourney.org/

Fix The Plumbing

Don’t hand your customer toilet paper for a messy problem. Fix the plumbing.

Creative managers create solutions alongside staff. Duct tape and WD40 and vise grips may be all that is needed to do small jobs around the house. That won’t do in a productive and viable business. You need to fix the plumbing. You need to eliminate the repeating problem. You need to take responsibility instead of putting the issue in the customer’s hands. Don’t make them clean it up.

Good service management attends to a few items. There are incidents and service requests, problems and changes. Keep clarity between items. Address appropriately.

Incidents and Service Requests: These two items make up the bulk of customer service.

A service request is what we live to do. A customer asks for a product or service to be delivered. So do it. Do it with excellence and alacrity. Do it with pizzazz and punctuality. Do it. A service request may ask for an altered product or service or a new product or service. That means we have to jump into the area of change and that is another manage well article.

An incident is what we wish would never happen. While delivering a product or service, something is not right. Color is too light. The size is too big. The pizza came with pepperoni instead of black olives. The customer wanted 250 and we delivered 1000. While working with a client, every other email returned an error. My service provider was experiencing incidents. Thankfully they cleared the issue, but not before my customer had to wait extra minutes waiting on reports to be delivered as I had promised. Incidents need to be restored to proper service levels immediately and product or service delivered.

Problems and Changes: Confuse these and your customers will suffer unreasonable delays and constant delivery disruption.

Problems are incidents that won’t go away until a change is installed or a fix applied. A fix is just a fancy name for a change. When the plumbing backed up into my house through the shower drain, it impressed me something was tragically wrong. All the paper towels and mop buckets would not resolve this. When a problems occurs you need to look for root cause of the issue and determine a resolution or change to be made to stop the incidents from coming back. The sewer main had collapsed at the saddle in my back yard blocking all drainage from the house. The city came, sent cameras down the lines, and claimed it was an incident, it was my incident, and they were going home. I don’t think so. A friend and I dug seven foot deep in my back yard until we found the collapsed connection leading to the major collapsed connection. The city came back and repaired at much expense and then paid to restore my house to right order. Their paper towel and toilet paper solution was not going to fix my backhoe and major plumbing problem. Full repair and restoration was needed. The root cause had to be determined and a change made to get us back on track.

Changes move the nature of the service into a different order. Replacing the main saddle in my back yard not only restored right water flow out of the house, it took care of a sinkhole that could have swallowed one of my children. No one knew the sink hole existed until we dug up the yard. There were bigger problems looming that the change repaired. Changes fix things for good. Not necessarily forever, but for good. And they have potential to adjust the nature of the product or service. By handing me a toilet paper solution the city was setting us all up for some major pain.

Kudos for the city. The next time I had a city potential issue, the service manager came out, inspected, found a crack in the line feeding water to my house, repaired it, installed a new meter, and made me a happy man. It was a different experience and one for which I am grateful. Oh, they also reversed charges on my water bill even though the leak appeared to be in my pipe not the city pipe. That is service. They took responsibility for a debatable item and went an extra step. I love my city’s service.
Summary: Get your customer back to service as rapidly as possible. And then look deeper to determine if a problem exists that will cause service to be impacted again. Find the root and fix the plumbing. Work on your shop processes. Look for machine malfunctions. Examine reporting routines. Do whatever it takes to eliminate repeating incidents. Your customer will appreciate. Your business will grow.

Be Busy Building Better Business  Have a Great Day!

Phil

========================================

I need your help. I need you to join me for lunch.  (It is okay if you want to just give to the work also if you can’t come.)

Register now. http://www.championfatherstourney.org

On Sept 16th at 11:45am join Carey Casey, CEO of the National Center for Fathering, Hon. James Lankford, U.S. House of Representatives, Chuck Bowman, Larry Campbell, Imagenet+ Consulting, R.K. Black, Kimray, Tom Hill, keyevado, Shepherd Consulting, Willow Creek Golf and Country Club and others.

Your registration goes directly to works in progress at Tulakes Elementary in North OKC, Epperly Heights Elementary in Del City, East OKC, West OKC, Dad’s University, and Matamoros families. Through the support of a friend, lunch expenses are covered. That means your registration goes directly to the work.

You can join for golf afterwards, if you would like. But, I need you to join me for lunch.

You can sponsor more, but, I need you to join me for lunch.

Register Now: http://www.championfatherstourney.org/

Exceptions Are Not Rules: 3 Safe Guards

The life of a manager would not be complete without that wonderful day where she finds herself stumped as to why a staff member acted in a certain manner inconsistent with policy.  After several months of training a colleague, you find them going a different direction than guided.  It is inevitable.  It will happen.

The next surprise is when they tell you it was  your idea.  What?  My idea?  What incredible bump do you have on your head that caused such a thought?  Have you lost your mind?  Where did you get that idea?

Then you remember.  You remember the question you answered last week in the middle of a major emergency.  A customer needed an exception to your normal policy for a critical project.  You authorized the team to process the job in a different manner.  It was an exception needed and specific to that day and that job and that customer.  Now, it is a rule.  Now, it is embedded in the minds of staff as the way to cut a job short.

Of course, if you take this exception route on a routine basis you will lose all your profits, mix up customer work orders, and generally destroy the business.  One time on a special project is okay with manager discretion.  Any time on normal jobs with a staff discretion is chaos.

Every manager must understand exceptions, communicate them clearly, and contain expanded usage.

Understand Exceptions

The impact of an exception on the minds of team members is big.  They watch you, manager.  They take clues for action from your action.  When you step out of the normal, they believe it is okay to do the same anytime they so choose.  Get it?  Get it!  Guard it.

Understand your own decision.  You cannot simply make an exception without understanding and being able to explain to someone else.

Exceptions are not meant to be rules; however, if you don’t take the next two steps, they will become rules.

Communicate Clearly

Exceptions will cause a problem.  They will.  You have order and rules to prevent problems.  Okay, accept that and be prepared to contain the problem.  Of course, you accommodate for that in your decision.  Explain the problem.  Explain the accommodation.  Explain why this is a onetime decision.  Be prepared for questions and distrust.  Yes, you worked hard to communicate why you would never do what you just did and then you did it.  But, it was an exception, right?  You really did have a reason other than you just wanted to do it?  Right?

Let your leaders and decision makers know this is an exception, why you made it, and how they might follow your logic in their next decision.  Logic?  You had some, right?

Contain Expanded Usage

After an exception, reinforce the rule.  Take time to pull documentation if necessary and explain why this is a onetime decision and why not to do it with any regularity.  Be honest.  Did you do it for political purposes?  Then explain the urgency of the situation and protocol you followed.  Did you do it to prevent  Don’t hide behind, “Because I said so.”  That is weak and lacks open communication to the team.

Summary:  Do these three things when you make an exception and they won’t become a rule.

Be attentive and cautious when making exceptions that they really fulfill your direction.

Always enjoy managing the exceptions and the disciplines.

Be Busy Building Business  Have a Great Day!

Phil

========================================

I need your help. I need you to join me for lunch.  (It is okay if you want to just give to the work also if you can’t come.)

Register now. http://www.championfatherstourney.org

On Sept 16th at 11:45am join Carey Casey, CEO of the National Center for Fathering, Hon. James Lankford, U.S. House of Representatives, Chuck Bowman, Larry Campbell, Imagenet+ Consulting, R.K. Black, Kimray, Tom Hill, keyevado, Shepherd Consulting, Willow Creek Golf and Country Club and others.

Your registration goes directly to works in progress at Tulakes Elementary in North OKC, Epperly Heights Elementary in Del City, East OKC, West OKC, Dad’s University, and Matamoros families. Through the support of a friend, lunch expenses are covered. That means your registration goes directly to the work.

You can join for golf afterwards, if you would like. But, I need you to join me for lunch.

You can sponsor more, but, I need you to join me for lunch.

Register Now: http://www.championfatherstourney.org/

Are you a PMO or a PCO?

Entitlement breeds discontent.  There really is no productive way to look at entitlement.  Don’t read this if you like entitlement organizations.  Don’t read this if you enjoy getting something for existing.

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”  Margaret Thatcher

Business, NGO, and government must face the question.  Are a PMO or a PCO?

“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”  Abraham Lincoln

PMO – Poverty Maintenance Organization

PCO – Positive Change Organization

PMOs proliferate under social thrusts.  The easy part of being a charitable organization is asking people to give for compassionate repair and reparation and life needs.  Food, clothes, housing, and basics are all needed.  People will give to maintain a certain level of poverty in another’s life.  Poverty is the mentality that there is never enough resource and my efforts will never be rewarded adequately.  Poverty is a codependent focus instead of an interdependent cooperation.  Poverty is not an economic condition.  Lack of economic resource is a result of poverty mentality and living.  Societies and organizations that promote systemic adaptation to low rewards encourage economic, moral, and mental poverty.

PMOs proliferate under corporate mentality.  Oops, you thought this was about charities.  Any business that purses entitlement mentality of ‘get the minimum done to get paid and get benefits’ is as life force destructive as a charity giving out groceries to people who need growth.  Businesses that emphasize fun and frivolity and fairness and equality usually end up with a work force bent on work avoidance and entitlement expectation.  Those are all good things.  They need to be built alongside productivity and profitability.  After all business is about a fair return on investment.  Jobs happen when profits happen.

PMO is the way of life of the government.  Government consumes more and more of the community resource as laws get added and modified and bureaucracy grows and grows.  It is impossible for all the government entities to pay off the exorbitant early retirement programs that are inequitable and inconsistent with business productivity.  More and more cities, states, and nations have reached bankrupt points of no return.  PMO.

How do you become a PCO when you are a PMO?

Positive change organizations proliferate under reward and recognition.  Now, reward and recognition do not mean everyone gets the same dole or the longest tail gets the  biggest piece of the pie.  In a PCO, reward comes in relation to present contribution not position or power or political expertise.

In parenting theory we call that love and logic.  Raising children in a positive environment keys on establishing positive and negative consequences for behavior.  Reinforce that environment consistently and a productive citizen is formed.  Oh, that is also a great system for correction systems and addiction recovery.  Entitlement is an addiction.  I used to believe nicotine was the hardest addiction to break.  Entitlement is tougher.

So how do you change from PMO to PCO.  This little graphic maps the path.

entitlementtoconsequenceDocument the state of entitlement.  Confront the facts.  Identify where behavioral consequences are missing.  Quantify the cost to your organization of death by indecision. Decide which battles you are willing to fight.  Any reversal of entitlement will be met with violent resistance and revolt.  Better to build with encouragement and consequence systems, but PMO happens.  So be real and be honest.

Communicate change repetitively to those involved.  Give plenty of lead time to the change but not so much that griping and groaning have time to build barriers.  That is a fine balance.

Start rewarding productive behaviors before removing entitlement doles.  This won’t change anything, but it will establish a new thought pattern in those affected.  It might have been so long since they had positive reward for productivity that they have forgotten what dignity feels like.  Entitlement strips dignity and inner drive.  Dignity based on reality has to be instilled fresh.

Move to consequence and positive reward.  You might find this difficult.  Your management team may have no idea how to identify positive and productive behavior.  They are used to promoting entitlement and systemized to zombie workplace.  Dilbert might be their favorite cartoon for a reason.  Of course, as the executive leader admit your guilt in leadership.  You will have to change, too.  The greatest failures of organizations wanting to make this move is that top leadership credits the workforce for being more powerful than the executives and blames them instead of the mirror.  Truthfully, it takes combined efforts of management and work team to enter entitlement and to exit entitlement.

Measure Shock and Fear.  This will be large.  Get ready.  Get poised.  Backbiting, blaming, and bickering will explode.  But it will pass if you hold ground.  Keep focus on where you are going, encourage the afflicted, and do not let this stop you.  If you stop here, you will find it doubly difficult to work on this in the future.  Many companies sell out at this point and leave the issues for the new owner.  They may scuttle great managers and executives as sacrifices to the masses.  Don’t doubt in the dark what you know in the light.  Keep moving forward.  Plan to run.  Run the plan.

Productive Behavior and Growth.  Here is where you land.  Here is where you focus.  Here is where you want to be.  The Positive Change Organization promotes, inspires, and realizes productive behavior and growth.  Not everyone can exist in this environment.  Yes, you may lose some people you had believed to be key.  Not everyone wants to change.  Try to salvage them, but don’t sink productivity in the process.  New leaders will rise.  They’ve been poised for this new environment and potential was shadowed in the old system.  Now you can see them.

PMO or PCO?  You decide every day with every decision what environment you wish to build.

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