May 2012

Eliminating the Buts

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The only thing more important than the language you use are the actions you take with both contributing to the perceptions that others have of you. Recently, I watched a CEO speaking with a large group of employees talking as though he were a champion of his people, yet, his language betrayed him as he created an image that his words were merely false praise. A few examples of his comments included:

“We had a great first quarter, the best ever, but I know we can do even better than that.”

“Our Net Promoter scores for customers service are at their highest levels to date, but we are still having some customer complaints in areas where we could be doing better.”

“We have a great company and a great team of people, however, I know we can take this up a notch. Don’t settle for the great success we are having today because, if you do, all you’ll have are memories of a good past.”

Here was a Harvard educated, highly successful CEO of a reputable company saying one thing while communicating another. As I watched the audience, you could visibly see the discouragement in their faces as he lathered on the praise then shaved it away in one stroke with the words “but” and “however” followed by the comments that came after. In talking with the CEO he knew, from watching the audience, that something was wrong, yet, could not identify the issue. When I pointed out his choice of words he acknowledged his shock that something so simple could have such a huge, negative impact. Humbly, he asked me how he could have phrased his comments differently, and here is what I suggested:

“We had a great first quarter, the best ever, AND I know we can build on this success in the coming quarters.

“Our Net Promoter scores for customer service are at their highest levels to date, AND we will be rolling out plans as to how we will use this momentum to continue to increase customer satisfaction.”

“We have a great company and a great team of people, AND we will continue to leverage the people-power in this organization to make our company even greater.

Often, all you have are your words. Choose them carefully. Eliminate the contradictions, including all of the buts, howevers, and other words that negate all of the positive things you say and do.

Scott WintripEliminating the Buts
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Biggest Mistakes In Growth and Profitability

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Scott shares a real life example of an organization that made the mistake of not innovating and evolving their company to illustrate his point. You must innovate and evolve so that you don’t expire!

Scott WintripBiggest Mistakes In Growth and Profitability
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The Dangers of Wearing the Wrong Hat

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Every job requires the wearing of the proverbial multiple hats. Leaders don the headgear of coach, mentor, visionary, accountability agent, and strategist. Salespeople balance helmets for the roles of hunter, farmer, educator, and relationship builder. In customer service, they’re sporting the babushkas of facilitator, problem solver, mediator, and counselor.

While experienced individuals typically know which hats to wear when, it’s not unusual that people keep their favorite chapeau on way too long. Leaders who love to create strategy often lose sight of accountability; salespeople who live for hunting down the next new account frequently miss business opportunities that can be immediately captured from existing customers; customer service professionals who focus solely on empathizing miss opportunities to be the facilitator to a larger audience of customers.

While it’s great to wear your favorite hat, there is also a time to take it off and use the others on the rack. Make a point to wear more of your rich collection of job hats as possible every day. As you do, you’ll find a greater sense of balance in your work, your responsibilities, and the outcomes as a result.

Scott WintripThe Dangers of Wearing the Wrong Hat
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