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Head Tilt #60: Walt, Leadership, and the Soup Scene

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Do you remember that scene in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where they all sit around the table and slurp soup? Neither do I.  It never made it to the big screen. Ward Kimball (one of Disney's original animators who was part of the famed Nine Old Men) spent eight months working on that scene.  Fellow animators loved it! Walt thought it was good! Walt also cut it from the film.  He said that the picture was simply too long and something had to go. It was 1937, and since Snow White would be the first full-length cartoon feature film, Walt knew that he had to keep the story tight. Regarding the soup scene he said, "Even though we liked the sequence, it was not essential to the telling of the story." Ward was disappointed. He'd worked so hard. But Walt came back quickly with a new character he wanted Ward to sketch for an upcoming project.  From the recorded interview played at the Walt Disney Family Museum, Ward happily recalled the next conversation he had with Walt a

Head Tilt #59: Challenging customers? Try this.

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Is this your difficult customer or is it you? Hey service providers, this one's for you! So you have an unhappy customer? EXCELLENT!  Disgruntled customers give you the chance to put all your service skills to the test. If your customer is challenging, t hey likely see  you as challenging too.  And because of your service role, YOU are the one who needs to resolve the situation.  Certainly there will be times when you need to escalate authority and get someone else on your team involved. But first, be a proactive problem solver; aim to be the LAST person this disgruntled customer encounters.  How? By following the L.A.S.T. communication model: Listen, Apologize, Solve, Thank.* I've taught this and tried this for years. (I did not create it.)  It's not a match for every challenge.  It needs to be adapted for certain situations. And it is still a solid communication framework for communicating with unhappy customers. Here are the steps, in order: 1. LISTEN When dealing with a

Head Tilt #58: Tell Better Stories

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That's me! The other day I went surfing for the first time in more than 25 years! It was a stellar adventure and I can hardly wait to go again and again.  I didn't stand up (not yet!), but I did ride a wave and I got tumbled a couple of times. 🌊🌊🌊 I  loved  every minute of  it.  I'm getting ahead of myself though. For the past 30 years I've lived in Santa Cruz, California, aka, "Surf City." Whatever, Huntington Beach  🙄. I've been married to a top surfer in town for 27 of those years. I've also steered clear of the ocean for almost three decades.   Why did I stay away?   Because I defined myself by these statements: I am not ocean savvy. I am a runner, not a surfer. Surfing is Brian's thing, not mine. Those statements introduced powerful stories about who I am and what I do and don't do.  And though each line had a modicum of truth, I wore them like permanent tattoos. I let them color every conversation about why I don't surf. I was the

Head Tilt #57: Never underestimate the power of a Post-it note

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"There are two things people want more than sex and money...recognition and praise." Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics,   Well, that is an interesting perspective! 😳 Rather than debate the quote's accuracy, let's just agree that recognition counts. It shows others you see them and that you appreciate them. It tackles anonymity-- one of the biggest de-motivators in the workplace.*  Here are some different ways to show your team members that they matter. ( Because truly, one can only have so many cliche-covered coffee mugs.) When introducing a new hire to your team; showcase each team member's special talent or area of expertise (beyond their title). No matter what your title or rank, ask your team members for valued input. Park any objections and listen to their ideas.  Purposefully take time to connect with the person you know least on your team. You can start by asking them their favorite part of what they do and what their biggest challenge is.  Stan

Head Tilt #56: So, tell me what you want, what you really, really want

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Hugs or High-fives? In the previous two posts I shared my personal favorite recognition stories.  This tilt of my head is all about effectively using praise as a form of recognition.  Remember the platinum rule ? (It's one of my favorite things to teach.) "Treat others as they want to be treated." Positive, impactful praise requires thought; it needs to be tailored to the recipient.  To sharpen your recognition skills, think of each co-worker/direct report/friend and consider the following: Are they extrinsically or intrinsically  motivated? Are they driven by visible rewards or by the sense of completion and success? Do they prefer public or private praise? When in doubt, praise privately. Do they prefer simple or detailed communication? Are they a bottom-line person or will they benefit from more specific praise? Do they prefer face-to-face recognition or would it be best to send in an email*? Some "hear" the praise better if it's in writing

Head Tilt #55: I recognize YOU!

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I see you! I really do! In the previous post (#54) I shared my favorite recognition story: the time when the director of HR met me to say how much the company appreciated me. Wow. I love that example of leadership.  Today's post is my other favorite recognition story: the time when I recognized others for being fabulous.  Pull up a chair, pour some tea, and relax. It's a long, but worthwhile story.  First, some background.  I ❤️  recognizing others. I love spotting the good, calling it out and making people feel seen.  I've been known to ask to see the manager (not because I have short hair!) just so I can rave about their employees. I end many customer service calls with, "Who can I tell about your great service?"  I get joy from finding the right way to let others in my circle of influence know that I see their contributions and think they are awesome.   This specific recognition story goes back to a time when I was an adjunct instructor at a Cal State Universit