13 Ways Leadership Can Lead Employees to Provide World-Class Customer Service

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by Forbes and discusses thirteen ways that great leadership can lead to employees delivering top-notch customer service. Leaders talk a lot about leading by example and, within the service industry, it is no different. Employees can’t deliver exceptional customer service consistently if their leaders don’t practice it is as well. The smallest of actions can resonate with your employees and drive the message of quality customer service. Equally, a leader’s lack of customer service will become the status quo quickly. Much like performance management and feedback, customer service should be reinforced at every available opportunity. Training for high levels of customer service should be an ongoing conversation – not just in the first week’s orientation. Weave the principles into your mission and celebrate the high performers. You will begin to build a culture of customer service that everyone adheres to. As a customer...
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Has the Focus on the Customer Left the Service Industry?

A couple of weeks ago I went into two different coffee shops – one an independent and one a chain. As I was waiting for my coffee I observed two interactions that left me scratching my head. The first was with a man who ordered a coffee and a breakfast sandwich. When his order came up he received only half of what he’d asked for and when he stated this wasn’t his correct order, the woman looked at him and said "oops". Then silence. No apology. No "Let me make you another one.", no "The next one is on us." The guy looked bewildered and left the coffee shop with his incomplete order in hand. That same week another gentleman ordered his coffee, admittedly with several ingredients and twists, and when his order came up the server had put in the wrong key flavor although the cup was clearly marked...
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Leadership Tips: Stop "Customer Facing"

One of the phrases we dislike at Fierce is “customer facing.” The whole notion that you need a different face when you are talking with the customer just doesn’t work for us. While some may argue that it is just an expression, we know that words matter. And having a different face doesn’t work in business anymore. Being in marketing most of my career, most marketing leaders know that keeping the customer front and center is key to success, whether it is a product launch or incentive plan or key event. I have always loved that Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, intentionally leaves an empty chair at meeting conference tables and lets everyone know that it is occupied by “the most important person in the room” - the customer.   And in turn, everyone is forced to remember that the customer perspective needs to be remembered and considered, even if...
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The Work Conversations We Dread the Most, According to Research

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Harvard Business Review and delves into the work conversations we dread the most, and in some cases, avoid altogether. A recent survey conducted by Fractl asked over 1,000 people about their most difficult conversations at work. According to the research nearly 66% of respondents claimed they would go out of their way to try to make the other person in a “difficult” conversation feel comfortable and at ease. If the majority of people walk into these conversations intending to be collaborative, why do we dread these conversations so much? Although intentions are good, many times people still enter the conversation with a combative mentality. This is the mindset where someone wins the conversation and the other loses – resulting in both sides feeling dissatisfied. According to Kerry Jones of Fractl, some tips to prepare for a difficult conversation are: Determine what you...
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A Call for Fierce Conversations

Monday night was the first night of the Presidential debates. After it ended, people called and texted me asking: Who do you think won? I always find that to be a very difficult question to answer. Maybe because I’m jaded. While I believe in our democracy and processes, I struggle with how we engage in the conversations in them. No one wins when it is about bantering back and forth about who is right and who is wrong – leaving meaningful discourse out of the picture. We see this ineffective tactic wreak havoc in organizations, in teams, and in families all around the world. And leaders around the world are paying the highest prices, because of it. So I guess when it comes down to it, I want so share that debates are NOT fierce conversations. This may be surprising for some people. When many people think of fierce, they...
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Leadership Tips: Time to Get Uncomfortable

Careful conversations are often failed conversations, because they postpone what wants and needs to be talked about. So I ask: How many careful conversations do you typically have in a week? And to add on to that. How many superficial ones? The “How are you?” – “I’m fine” ones. Or the “Have a great weekend – You too” ones. And of course, the “I’ll reach back out to you on that – Okay, talk then” ones. I don’t know about you, but the people in my life who really level with the me, who share their deepest thoughts, feelings, and opinions of me, of the world, of anything really, are the ones I crave the time with the most. This involves leaders in my life too. In Brené Brown’s recent book Rising Strong , she shares, “The most transformative and resilient leaders that I’ve worked with over the course of my...
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Taking Responsibility Is the Highest Mark of Great Leaders

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Forbes and describes why leaders with a track record of taking responsibility – for both individual and team actions – are more likely to be promoted than candidates with similar qualifications. Forbes Contributor, Zack Zenger, believes that a leader’s demonstrated willingness to behave responsibly is one of the most undervalued leadership characteristics. This often overlooked aspect in leadership literature is the driving force for many promotional decisions within organizations. Zenger asserts that responsibility extends far beyond accountability. Being accountable means you are willing to accept the results of a team project or activity as your own. A responsible leader understands that they are the person who must make things happen. They set their own agenda and personal goals aside, and continually pursue goals that benefit the company as a whole. “Responsible behavior includes doing things for which there is no immediate reward,...
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3 Tips to Describe Reality as a Leader

As we say at Fierce, no plan survives its collision with reality. And to make it even more complex, reality is constantly changing. What may be YOUR reality may not be MY reality at all – they could actually be directly competing. We might not even remotely understand each other’s key responsibilities in the business. Last year, Deloitte published one of its most popular articles in the Global Human Capital Trends , which was the chapter on “the overwhelmed employee”. Deloitte, and many human capital firms, saw this as a sign that the complexity and feeling of overload was hitting organizations even faster and harder than expected. And hence, there is a massive need for leaders to be able to describe what they think, what they believe, and what they observe in a way that moves the business forward – in a richer and deeper way. Successful leaders are able...
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Leadership Tips: Don’t Point Fingers

A fierce leader does not blame others. A fierce leader asks, listens, and describes what has happened – without laying blame (that’s the hard part). I've worked with leaders in my past who would throw the first person they could under the bus when something went awry. Do you work with someone like that? Or more importantly - are you that person pointing the finger? If you are, I understand how tempting it is to share the juicy faults or issues, to share what really happened and lay out all the missteps. It's great gossip fodder. And besides that, it is often REALITY.  It is very hard to take responsibility for results that aren't necessarily completely in your control. There are prices you pay, though. When you blame someone else, people trust you less. And in today’s workplace – trust is a scarce resource. According to a new Edelman “Trust...
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Everything Is Possible with Momentum Thinking

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Huffington Post and explains the benefits of “momentum thinking” and how this approach can open doors in all facets of your life. In recent years there has been a lot of talk about the benefits and conversely the harm that positive thinking can bring while at work. Although phycologists and executive coaches can argue both sides of the debate, a new approach is gaining traction. That approach is momentum thinking.  Momentum thinking focuses on possibilities rather than expectations. Humans are inherently limiting their potential in work and life when they set expectations. When you set expectations for how your business will perform this year or your life will eventually turn out – you are limiting your potential by pre-determining the outcome. “There’s no way to be open to all possibilities if you don’t trust in what you can’t control.” Jeffrey Shaw believes...
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Nature vs. Nurture: Are Leaders Born or Developed?

The question of whether leaders are born or developed is a hot button issue. Nature versus nurture? This pesky question manifests in two scenarios. Scenario A:  If your organization thinks leaders are born, then they believe there are ready-made leaders waiting to rise through the appropriate ranks and land themselves in leadership positions. Scenario B: If your organization thinks leaders are developed, then they believe they need to offer leadership development and training programs so those who wish to become leaders can obtain the skills necessary to grow into leadership roles. Culturally these are two very different companies. Which culture do you have? At Fierce, we are not neutral. We believe that leaders are developed. We focus on the conversations that every leader needs to master. We teach that conversation skill set, and every day we hear stories about how people have “upped” their leadership game. What do you believe? Are leaders born or...
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Leadership Tips: Nurture Positive Thinking

Tomorrow is Positive Thinking Day. At Fierce, we talk about context - the lens in which you view the world. Your context is formed by your beliefs, experiences, and truths. It is how you see the world and how you interpret what happens to you while living in it. What we fundamentally know is that our context determines how we experience the content of our lives. It is the difference in believing in scarcity or abundance. In fear or hope. In loneliness or being loved. Some researchers, like Martin Seligman, frame positive thinking in terms of an explanatory style. People with optimistic explanatory styles will often give themselves credit when good things happen as well as think negative events are temporary and not normal. Negative explanatory styles are the opposite. Which category do you fall into? This week’s tip is to focus on positive thinking. Give yourself credit when credit...
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All Successful Leaders Need This Quality: Self-Awareness

This week’s Fierce resource was originally published by  Forbes and discusses the quality all successful leaders should possess – self-awareness. According to a study conducted by Green Peak Partners, one of the most important and also undervalued leadership qualities is self-awareness. This has long been regarded as a “soft” skill, however leaders that have developed strong soft skills are performing much better than their peers. This is such a sought after quality amongst leaders because those who continually make time for self-reflection are able to diagnose areas of personal weakness and surround themselves with employees who excel where they lack. Although self-reflection is not discussed as much as communication, charisma and other hard leadership skills, it is just as important.  “The most effective executives I knew had, I believe, realistic assessments of their own abilities – their strengths and weaknesses, their effect on others, the gaps that needed to be...
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Be Awake. Be intentional.

On a scale from one to ten, how awake do you feel in your life? Are you paying attention to the most important things right now? As summer comes to an end, think about these questions during this transitional time. I was recently talking with a retail executive, and she shared with me that her team stepped away from their phones and computers for a whole strategy session. Everyone noted that they were present with one another in a new way. One of the comments was:  I actually felt like I was paying attention to what I needed to, instead of the 10 distractions that come up every hour . I am sure you can relate to the feeling of distractions running your life. And every day, whether we want to admit it or not, we pay a price for not being awake to this. Our actions and inactions have...
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Leadership Tips: Kick the Post-Summer Blues through Reflecting

With the seasons changing and school starting, many workers can have the “post-summer blues.” You yourself may be mourning the end of the hot, sunny days. And if thoughts of the Greek isles or a summer camping trip are often coming to mind, it can be hard to focus on what is ahead. The one thing you should do to focus? Reflect. Reflecting sounds counterproductive when we have a lot to do, because our inclination may be to focus and grind away, to push past the feelings and thoughts. However, Master Facilitator, Beth Wagner, mentioned in a Fierce webinar at the beginning of the year, reflection is a very important and often overlooked activity for leaders.  Many  studies  have shown the critical role that reflection plays in performance and learning.  Leaders and employees alike who take time to reflect on their successes and their mistakes at work, perform 20-25% better than those...
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6 Rules for Building and Scaling Company Culture

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review  and provides six rules for building and scaling company culture. A rich company culture is one of the most sought after qualities in today’s workforce. It attracts and retains the top talent across all industries and is the driving force behind the work of a company. “Great performance can never come without great people and culture, and the opposite is also true – great people and culture are affiliated most with high-performing organizations.” Although organizations understand the value of company culture, not all of them are getting it right. It needs to start with mission of the company. Do your employees identify with it? Are their personal goals in close alignment with the company’s? Once the purpose or “inspiration” is defined, a few tips for building and scaling the culture according to Anthony Tjan, CEO and Founder of the...
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Your Employees’ Emotions Are Clues to What Motivates Them

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review  and explains why employees’ emotions are clues to what motivates them.    Emotional intelligence is one of the most important leadership characteristics. One of the reasons this is such a desired trait is that emotional intelligence helps us understand what motivates the people around us – even if they are not completely aware. In his article, Art Markman asserts that companies focusing solely on producing optimistic emotions within are hurting the productivity of their organization. “The more satisfied people are with their current state, the less motivated they are to move forward and achieve new things. A little negative emotion reflects that people have goals that they have not yet achieved.” It is important for leaders to understand and pick up on these emotions. Negative emotions should be seen as an opportunity to connect with an employee and help...
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A Podcast with Susan Scott: Fierce Leadership, Radical Transparency, & Deeper Human Connectivity

Halelly Azulay is an author and leadership development strategist, and she recently hosted Susan on her TalentGrow podcast. In this session, Susan Scott explains what fierce conversations are, why it’s important that we have them, and a common obstacle we all face and how to overcome it when having these types of conversations – both at work and in your personal lives. In their conversation, Susan also talks about how to be open and more transparent and invite this kind of openness from others. They also explore why she thinks careful conversations are almost always failed conversations. A few key takeaways include: How being more transparent can actually help you raise the bar in all your contexts.   What’s a mistake we make about radical transparency?   How is trust built and lost? What does it require? And in the end, Susan shares one actionable suggestion that will help you...
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How to Quit Your Procrastination Habit Once and for All

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Fastcompany.com and explains why people tend to procrastinate, and some solutions to this common issue.  Leo Babauta of Fast Company asserts that most people know the solutions to procrastination – they are simply unaware that they are procrastinating in the first place. “ Clarify what task is most important, clear away everything but this more important task, clarify my motivations for this task, break it down into something smaller and easier if I feel difficulty. Awareness is everything with procrastination. The problem isn’t finding solutions to procrastination—it’s being aware of what’s going on in the first place.” If you are subconsciously procrastinating, it is hard to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and attack procrastination at its root. You have to continually be mindful of your procrastination and aware that it exists in order to control it. A...
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Leaders, You Must Scan Your Own Integrity

Many organizations and leaders have integrity as a core value. It is important in order to build trust.  In many ways, having integrity feels really touchy, feely. From an organizational standpoint, having a culture with high levels of integrity means that employees feel leadership is trustworthy and ethical.  The Trust Index Employee Survey (TIES) conducted annually by the Great Place to Work Institute measures a company’s level of integrity by asking questions about management. With this data, the TIES found that the higher measure of integrity, the better performance of the company. Leaders, that does mean that the performance of the indication lies on your shoulders – and ethics. So I ask: Do you feel your behaviors are in alignment with your personal values and your organization’s? Even if your overarching answer is yes , there most likely are areas that could be improved upon.  We recommend leaders to go...
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Why Working Smarter Means Conserving Your Energy

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by BBC.com and offers insights into how employees can avoid burnout and work exhaustion by conserving their energy. A common workplace phrase we hear is “work smarter, not harder,” but how is this really done? Surely everyone would be working smarter with higher energy levels if this was easily attainable. According to Dizik, “Working smarter is not really about being focused on details to assure productivity, but rather being focused on the energy we harness while we’re working and relaxing.” When operating at a frantic pace, it is extremely difficult to measure energy levels and gauge if you need to take a break or have the capacity to keep pushing. Tracking how you feel at any given hour throughout the day allows you to set your schedule to do your best work during your “high energy times.” This could be first thing in the...
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Leadership Tips: Restore Your Energy

I recently heard Tony Schwartz, President & CEO of The Energy Project, speak at an employee engagement conference. His company focuses on helping organizations fuel sustainable high performance by better meeting the core needs of their employees. Schwartz’s recent book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working , makes the case that we’re neglecting the four key needs that energize great performance: physical (renewal), emotional (value), mental (boundaries), and spiritual (purpose). His background in working with athletes is quite analogous to employees. We need to feel healthy and strong to perform at our best. And yet, we often do not focus on our physical needs. Even worse, for many leaders, their health and energy ( how they actually feel) is something that they “deal with” as opposed to focusing on and improving.   So my plea to you: Pay attention to how you act during the week when demand is high....
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Great Managers Can Fix Broken Performance Management Systems

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Gallup.com and discusses how high performing managers can fix broken performance management systems. A Gallup study on The State of the American Manager: Analytics and Advice for Leaders revealed that companies hiring managers based on their talents and fit for the role see “a 48% increase in profitability, a 22% increase in productivity, a 30% increase in employee engagement scores, a 17% increase in customer engagement scores and a 19% decrease in turnover.” So what are these high performing managers getting right? They focus on building engagement and employee growth through developing their strengths – not correcting weaknesses. When an employee’s strengths are leveraged, they are more engaged because they are contributing at a higher level. This leads to higher retention rates and happier employees. Additionally, great managers understand the human element, and how to motivate by building genuine relationships with their...
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The Power of Context in Performance Management

Our beliefs, attitudes, and biases create a filter in which we view the world. At Fierce, we call this context . While it is unconscious, context affects everything we experience daily. What we believe determines how we interpret the world around us, and yes, it has a direct impact on the results we are – or are not – getting in our lives. Context shouldn’t be ignored during a performance management discussion. Before you begin the conversation, examine your context around the individual and the situation. Is it negative or positive? Ask yourself these questions: What are my beliefs (context) about this individual?   Are there beliefs that I am holding skewing the way I am preparing to approach this conversation?   What context does this person hold about me? This conversation? This company? What you believe to be true about people determines how you interact with them and how...
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Leadership Tips: It’s Not About Being Right

How many of you know someone who would rather “be right” than happy? Rather “be right” than loved? Rather “be right” than successful? Leaders often struggle with the idea that their job isn’t always to be right . It is to get it right – for everyone – the company and the results they produce. Early in my career I worked at a commercial real estate company, and one of the brokers often went into meetings and would argue his opinion until his face was blue. People knew that he would defend his position no matter what, so they stopped sharing theirs. Do you know anyone like this? As leaders, everything we say matters and holds weight. And going deeper, our intention in the conversation matters. Check-in with yourself about your intention when you present or share your ideas. This week’s tip is to be aware when you go into...
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How to Handle Difficult Conversations at Work

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review and details how to handle difficult work situations. Difficult conversations and situations are part of our lives. For those in a management role, these conversations can be more common than you’d like.   Whether you are delivering bad news to a client, or having a performance review conversation with a direct report – it’s no easy task. The difficult nature of these conversations can force some people to avoid them altogether, which is a mistake. These conversations help us grow – as leaders, employees and people. So instead of avoiding them, learn how to handle them in a way that produces a better outcome for both parties. A few tips to help you get there: Plan but don’t recite. You should never go into a tough conversation unprepared, however you should not read from a script. The conversation will...
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Have a Fierce Conversation

We all want to have meaningful and real conversations in our lives – both inside and outside of work. In the workplace, Gallup has found that consistent communication -- whether it occurs in person, over the phone or electronically -- is connected to higher engagement. Gallup shares, “For example, employees whose managers hold regular meetings with them are almost three times as likely to be engaged as employees whose managers do not hold regular meetings with them.” And let’s be honest - scheduling meetings is the bare minimum requirement here. What is important is the type of conversations you have. And without surprise, I will recommend you make them fierce. The simplest definition of a fierce conversation is one in which you come out from behind yourself, into the conversation, and make it real. You know you’re having a Fierce Conversation when: You are speaking in your real voice.  ...
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Leadership Tips: Create Time for a New Relationship

Looking ahead at your eventful week, think about the many people you will interact with – on the phone, via email, in your community, and in the office. When you talk with these people, will you ask engaging questions and really listen for the answers? Or will you simply wait until it is your turn and talk at somebody? As Susan Scott, Fierce Founder, states, “If you want to become a great leader, gain the capacity to connect with your colleagues and customers at a deep level…or lower your aim.” [tweetable text="Being genuine and authentic is easily identifiable through conversation." tweet="“Being genuine and authentic is easily identifiable through conversation.” via @fierce_inc"] Conversely, being unauthentic and fake can be even more obvious. This week’s tip is to make time to rekindle a fading relationship or create a new one with someone in your life.  Schedule the time in your calendar to build this new relationship. Create a...
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When a Vacation Reduces Stress — And When It Doesn’t

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Harvard Business Review and discusses why employees have varying levels of happiness after returning from vacation. To put it simply – all vacations are not created equally. There is no doubt that a positive vacation creates a significant increase in happiness and energy levels while reducing stress. However, a poorly planned stressful trip can leave you more burnt out than before. According to the research, the post-vacation blues are more a result of the type of vacation you take than taking the vacation itself. So is it easy to just have a great, stress free vacation? According to the research, apparently not. Luckily there are some steps you can take to help plan your stress free vacation. Go far away. We all know the benefits of a staycation – lowering your carbon footprint, saving money and being a tourist in your own...
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3 Tips for Curing the Post-Vacation Blues

If you took a vacation and this post is relevant to you, congratulations! Taking time off is important. However, coming back from vacation and hitting the ground running can be quite jarring. In fact, the whole notion of “post vacation blues” is actually a top excuse used to not take vacations by many Americans, and consequently, the American workforce leaves approximately 429 million paid vacation days on the table every single year. Wow. At the end of the day, [tweetable text=" as a leader, it is your choice – no one else’s – to take or not take your provided vacation days. " tweet="“ as a leader, it is your choice – no one else’s – to take or not take your provided vacation days. ” via @fierce_inc"] In an effort to not contribute to that astronomical number, I recently took some time off for a vacation to France. It...
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Why Don't Americans Take More Time Off?

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Fortune and questions why Americans do not take more time off from work. The American workforce leaves approximately 429 million paid vacation days on the table every single year. This begs the question – why do Americans feel that they cannot take time off? This is paid time off that employees deserve and have worked hard for – so why do we collectively feel so guilty taking the time off? According to a 2015 study by The Creative Group, 40% of executives believe employees would be more effective if they took more of their vacation days with only 9% believing there would be a decrease in productivity in their absence. One of the leading reasons Americans abstain from taking their much needed vacation days is the fear of returning to thousands of emails and unhappy clients or coworkers. This is an ill-conceived...
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How To Take A Vacation From Work

Congratulations. You are gainfully employed. The primary focus of your organization is growth, and you have some knee-buckling goals to deliver. If you fail, darkness will cover the earth, the stock value will plummet and chaos will reign. Meanwhile, a talented colleague is vying for your job. And you could sure use a vacation! Hence, a few suggestions: Take one. Dammit! When your body and brain are running on fumes, you can’t do your best work. [tweetable text="It’s important to step away from time to time – physically and mentally" tweet="“It’s important to step away from time to time – physically and mentally” via @fierce_inc"]  –  so that you can return refreshed, energized. In fact, schedule three trips for the future. Each time you take one, add on another so that you always have something wonderful to anticipate. Check the dates with your boss and then put them on your...
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Leadership Tips: Break Down a Silo

The word silo comes from a farm storage silo – a tall airtight container with no windows. In many organizations that is exactly what a silo feels like, and often silos are competing for limited resources. According to a Clear Company survey, 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. Does this surprise you? We know from the work we do at Fierce that this is true. One of our clients shared that if they could quantify the biggest line item on the loss side of their P&L statement, it would be miscommunication. So why do we stay in our boxes/silos/bubbles? Well, it is less work. It is more comfortable. I love the quote from Brené Brown, “You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort, but you cannot choose both.” Leaders (with or without the titles ) today who have the most influence are...
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7 Mistakes Most First-Time Managers Make at Least Once

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by The Muse and explores common pitfalls of the first-time manager. The days of relying solely on yourself to get the job done are gone – as a manager you need to ensure you are providing your team with the resources they need to complete their jobs . Success is now measured by what your team can accomplish and requires consistent coaching, supervising, and guidance. Oftentimes, one of the hardest habits to break is to get out of the weeds and look at the big picture. As a manager, you are in charge of guiding your team or department towards long-term goals. Part of that is letting go of the tiny details and trusting your team to accomplish their individual goals (don’t become a micromanager – no one likes that). Getting into the cadence of a managerial role can take some time to...
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3 Tips for First Time Managers

So, you got promoted to your first management job. Congrats! Most likely, it was a direct result of you achieving your goals in your last role. And now your responsibilities have increased, and it can be overwhelming for your metrics to be based on others, while also maintaining your own. A recent study by the Ken Blanchard Companies with over 500 managers revealed only 15% received any training prior to switching into the role of manager, as a result, 49% felt unprepared to succeed. By the six-month mark, 63% of respondents felt less than effective in their new role, and at 12 months 50% still felt somewhat ineffective. While, organizations do want to make sure first time managers get the help they need, you should not rely on what is given to you to be successful. (And clearly it is not working given the survey results). You must be diligent...
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Leadership Tips: Have a Liberating Fourth of July Conversation

A core Fierce philosophy is: “While no single conversations is guaranteed to change the trajectory of a career, a company, a relationship or a life   -   any single conversation can”.  And I would add “the trajectory of a country.” On this fourth of July holiday in the United States, we celebrate the inception of our nation. As collective citizens, we are where we are today as a direct result of all of the conversations we have had and not had – in our courtrooms, in our schools, in our communities, and in our homes. While it may seem like an impossible question to answer: How can our current dialogue of blame, fear, and name-calling ever shift in US politics? Well, it shifts one conversation at a   time. And it starts with the individuals. Many people in our country seem resistant to get curious, put their egos aside, and...
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Why Businesses Should Rethink the Annual Performance Review

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Forbes and provides insight into why businesses should ditch the annual performance review in favor of a more agile on-going performance conversation. The article focuses on Adobe’s need to shift their performance review process in 2011 after having significant changes to their business model by introducing cloud-based software and real-time services. These changes did not translate to how Adobe was evaluating performance, supported employee growth and fostered a team environment. Common pains with the yearly review process were that both managers and employees alike dreaded preparing for and delivering the review, and in the months following, Adobe saw an increase in voluntary attrition. The antiquated yearly review system was actually hurting the company and hindering their employee’s personal growth more than helping. There were three key areas that needed to be changed: The annual review process Evaluating past performance Comparing employees against...
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Fierce Performance Management: Tips & Tools to Unlock Potential

A workplace revolution has begun. The old school performance review processes with ratings and rankings are out the door. And they are being replaced with fresh and agile approaches that make the people the most important factor in the process – not the numbers. Is your workplace  part of this movement? We just wrapped up the inaugural Human Capital Institute (HCI) Performance Management Innovation Conference in New York yesterday. There were robust conversations about leadership development, growth plans, separating compensation from the performance review process, and many other thought provoking topics. Earlier this year, our 2016 predictions included the continual revamp of the performance management review. As we partner with our clients, I am continually impressed with how organizations are shifting their processes to be more and more human-centered. While Fierce does not create the technologies or systems for all of the performance process, we focus specifically on the conversation...
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Leadership Tips: Have a Mid-Year Check-In

At the end of this week, July begins. It signifies the middle of the year. A halfway point.   In our Feedback program, we talk about waypoints. The definition of a waypoint is a reference point in physical space used for purposes of navigation. When you think about the last time you used Google or Apple Maps to navigate, you probably didn’t take one straight line to get from Point A to Point B. There was probably some redirecting involved – traffic you didn’t expect; construction you may not have known about. You needed points along the way to pivot, to turn, and sometimes, U-turn. Each piece of feedback you receive is a waypoint. It’s an opportunity to check-in and see how you are trending towards your goals; how you are navigating your life, your relationships, and your career. Sometimes, it’s necessary to pause and give feedback to yourself and...
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9 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated During the Dog Days of Summer

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by CIO.com and provides nine ways to keep your team engaged and motivated during those long, hot summer days. In the article, Schiff provides tips and tricks from HR experts on ways to take advantage of beautiful summer days and re-energize your team at the same time. Some of the tips require little to no organization and can be fun, spontaneous outings like conducting your sales meeting outside. As long as you do not need a projector, technology allows us to work outside seamlessly. If the office is getting stuffy and employees are butting heads, hold a friendly team-building competition. There is no better way to get some work angst out than a lively game of ping-pong or an office soccer game on the pitch. Another common approach is allowing employees to have flex schedules on Fridays – as long as deadlines are...
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3 Hacks for Your Summer Work Routine

Yesterday was the first official day of summer. And let’s be honest, sometimes the summer work routine can really drag you down.  You are at the office grinding, while you longingly stalk your colleagues on social media - sailing in the Mediterranean or camping in the Grand Canyon. Summer vacation jealousy can rear its ugly head quickly. So…how do you deal?   Use the summer as a reason and time to explore different ways you can work. It is a great time to take advantage of more daylight, and other people’s vacation time to get ahead. Here are three routine shifts to try: Change your hours.  Experiment with when you work. Perhaps the sunshine in the morning makes it easier for you to wake up. Go to the office early, so you can leave and enjoy more of the afternoon sunshine. If you can’t change your hours, run errands or pay bills early in the...
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Smart Leadership: Delegate, Prioritize and Simplify

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Business News Daily and discusses why it pays to work smarter, not harder, by prioritizing and delegating tasks successfully.  In the article, Fallon deflates the myth that a leader’s success is measured by how late they stay in the office or how many emails they answer over the weekend. While it is important to work hard and lead by example, it is not healthy to create a culture of workaholics that feel late nights and early mornings in the office are the only way they will be recognized. “The job of a leader is exactly that: to lead. As a leader, your primary responsibility is to guide and supervise your employees as they get their work done, not to do everything yourself.” The truly effective leaders know how to work smarter, not harder. A huge part of this is having trust in...
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Get It Right – Don’t Worry About Always Being Right

Reading the news today, I’m sure you can identify many leaders that seem more worried about being right instead of getting it right – for their people, for their organizations, for their purpose. Last week, we launched our new fierce survey results , and I was not surprised that we found more than 71% of professionals surveyed believe neither their companies nor their government acts in their best interest. Acting in others’ best interests requires deeper understanding of needs and goals. And when you really step back for a moment as an employee and a voter, you should know that it is not possible for your leaders to know everything on their own. They can’t possibly make the best decisions without engaging and learning along the way. That’s why they must focus outward. They shouldn’t focus on “being right”, having the savviest answer, or the most logical argument. They need...
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Leadership Tips: Identify Your Top Time Takers

Most leaders I talk with believe that there are not enough hours in the day. Oftentimes, they talk about a disliked portion of their job and then proceed to delegate it to someone on their team. I have talked about that activity of dele-dumping before. This is not how to approach delegation. It shouldn’t feel like being “dumped on”. And it shouldn’t create a negative connotation with something that can help grow an employee. Having a responsibility delegated to a team member should feel like a privilege. It is development. So how do you avoid the dreaded dump ? You must look more closely at what’s on your plate. Oftentimes delegation is approached with the notion that there are items on your plate that you know are either not your passion or clearly not what you are best at . The complication is that responsibilities that you are passionate about...
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7 Reasons It Always Pays to Celebrate Small Victories

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by Inc.com and discusses why it pays to celebrate your company’s small victories. Fierce celebrated its 15 year anniversary this past Monday. While it is important for any company to celebrate big milestones like this – it is also important to celebrate the little victories that take place throughout the year. In the article, Mochari emphasizes that celebrating these smaller victories is a tool that can be leveraged to keep your team focused and motivated during the tough times. Even when a team does not hit their desired goal or projected outcome, celebrate what worked well. Don’t be fooled by the word “small” - there are some serious upsides to this approach. Through spontaneous team celebrations a company increases its desirability to attract top talent via a healthy work-life balance , it cuts down on office confrontations and provides constant positive reinforcement for...
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New Survey Reveals Lack of Trust in Politics & Companies

Today we released survey findings that reveal people’s sentiments towards leaders in both business and politics. Given that we are in the middle of a contentious, unpredictable election cycle, our goal was to have a better understanding of what people are looking for in political leaders. We also wondered if there would be any difference with desired attributes for politicians compared to leaders in the corporate world. Our nationwide survey of several hundred professionals identifies how their views on leadership compare in the business and political worlds. In what I deem a “lack of trust”, we found that more than 71% of professionals believe neither U.S. Corporations nor the U.S. Government acts in the best interest of voters and employees. This is not particularly surprising given the climate and dialogue surrounding politicians and corporate America. However, when presented with a variety of characteristics, 51% of respondents ranked “communicator” as the...
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Celebrate Fierce’s 15th Anniversary with Us Today

Fifteen years ago today, Fierce, Inc. was born. It has been an amazing journey. As Susan Scott, Fierce founder & CEO wrote, “Life is curly, don’t try to straighten it out.” Trust me, we enjoy each twist, twirl, and turn. I have been with Fierce for almost seven years. I have witnessed how the work changes lives. And I am so grateful that it has changed mine. It has opened my mind and heart to navigate through life more thoughtfully. More courageously. Fierce has given me the skill to lean in and have the conversations that are central to happiness, success, and much more. So on this beautiful celebration, I want to take the time to thank the people who have been central to Fierce’s success. We would not be here without you. Thank you to our amazing Fiercelings. Our current employees who are dedicated to making our work possible....
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Employee Recognition: 3 Simple Conversation Tips

We live in a time where everyone is visible more than ever before -- now we can even see how far our reach extends with profile views, shares, tweets, and “likes.”  In a world where every failure, frustration, and triumph is publicly recognized online, an unexpected yet poignant result is that conversely, many of us feel less “seen,” both in the workplace, and at home. According to a 2011 Workforce Mood Tracker Survey, 69 percent of employees would work harder if they were recognized more often in the workplace. Recognition is inspiring and if we had more of it, we’d probably work harder with our families and friends as well. We must make recognition less complicated and more accessible. When you peel it all back, conversations are the workhorses of every organization….and great leader. Conversation is an accessible tool that can continually be honed and used to move closer or further from where...
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Leadership Tips: Don’t Fake It

Fake it until you make it. We have all heard this phrase before. This is an appropriate notion when you are letting self-doubt or the imposter syndrome creep in. However, it is not great to fake it when it comes to who you are in situations – whether at work or at home. I was recently interviewed by Business News Daily about getting “personal” through the interview process. Any time we are in new situations, whether given new challenges or working with new people, there is an inclination to be who someone else wants you to be. The article dives into how the modern workplace has relaxed a bit from the "strictly business" environment of decades past, and the lines between work and play have blurred as the standard 9-to-5 workday becomes less common. It can be challenging to find how to bring your “blended” work-life self into the workplace....
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A Great Leader Is a Great Executor

This week’s Friday Resource was originally published by the NY Times and features an interview with Adena Friedman, President and Chief Operating Officer at NASDAQ, and explores what it takes to be a great leader. In the article, Friedman dishes out some key tips that have helped her become a successful business woman and leader. Starting as an intern for NASDAQ, Friedman asserts that complacency is the enemy of all great companies – and leaders. “Don’t sit in your office and simply do what you’re told. Be intellectually curious, ask questions, walk around; try to learn as much about the business as you can.” This approach served her well as she rapidly moved up the ranks while still maintaining a healthy work-life balance with her three children. She was able to accomplish this through effective communication and the advent of modern technology. Looking at data and being able to quantify...
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