ETC is at the Heart of your Employee Experience.

A few years ago, MIT Sloan Management Review ran an article entitled Designing the Soft Side of Customer Service. In it, the authors argue that regardless of whether we are talking about a pizza delivery or a complex consulting agreement, emotions are lurking under the surface and that our job is to make those feelings positive.

If we are aiming to create the optimal customer experience, we'll need to start off by examining the kind of employee experience that's going to be the foundation of the customer experience.

A miserable employee is not going to provide your customer with a breathtakingly positive emotional experience, no matter how much you train them.

But this isn't just about the full employee journey from recruitment to exit interview. As team leaders, we need to focus on the day-to-day experience as well.

We have looked at endings, consequences and psychological safety in previous posts. In this blog post, let’s take a look at what else we can learn from the...

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A Team Leader's Key Instrument: Conversations, Not Small Talk

Before you plunge into this, take a moment, and think about leaders that you have admired in your life. This could be a teacher, scout leader, sports coach or boss. Go on. Do it now.

When you think of a leader in your life that you've admired, does a specific conversation come to mind?

I think most people can remember at least one—maybe even several—conversations that they have had with a great boss. A conversation that somehow shifted something in their thinking, understanding or behavior.

Great conversations have a powerful impact.

But great conversations are also time-consuming. For exactly that reason, they're also often the most neglected part of your leadership toolkit. Most people don’t seem to find the time.

That's a shame because when you neglect your conversations, you miss out on one of the most effective leadership instruments at your disposal.

Now, conversations are not just conversations; they come in many forms. Some are...

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How Your Relations Affect Your Results

In this blog post, I would like to focus on the importance of relations.

The last blog post briefly touched on this when you worked through the high-performance team model.

The second step in that process—the who part—is all about relations.

Daniel H. Kim, the systems thinker, has illustrated this in an elegant way.

You then have a fundamental choice here which can go one of two ways: You can generate an upward spiral where we are continuously developing our relations and, as a result, performing better, or you can take the downward spiral where it all just gets worse.

It's a choice—a choice that's going to determine whether the team's going to be successful or not.

Ultimately, it’s going to determine whether you're successful in your role as a team leader.

For the first-time manager (FTM), this sometimes comes as a surprise. You may think, "I have a gazillion other things to do. Do I also have to think about that? I just want to get...

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What The H— Went Wrong?

Driving home, Peter kept on asking himself this question: What the h— went wrong?

What a disaster! This was an important day. He had put together a cross-functional team of experts—supposedly some of the most competent people in the company. He had taken great pain—and expense—in organizing the best possible location offsite. There, he had given them a clear brief, explaining exactly what needed to be done and what he expected from them. The deadline was 4:00 P.M.—tight but doable.

The result?

—was a monumental f— up, to put it mildly.

What was wrong with these people?

There was nothing wrong with these people. What was wrong was that Peter was not managing their states in a skillful way. He might have ignored or was unaware of the basic mechanics of human interaction.

The Four Fundamental Questions

Once you understand that this instability of organic systems is what's going on, you need a basic tool to understand and master...

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