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You Have The Right To Be Here

Monday, October 8th, 2012

Last week, I was in NYC at the World Business Forum.  Barbara Corcoran was one of the speakers, and she was awesome.  She has a great, American, rags-to-riches story that is inspiring for anyone with the entrepreneurial spirit.  After I heard her speak, I immediately downloaded her book, Shark Tales, to my iPad.  Among her many nuggets of wisdom, the one that stuck with me was when she was in the elevator on the way up to talk to the one and only Donald Trump.  She found herself nervous . . . . although this was before he sued her and she counter-sued, and won.  (Now, she thinks he’s a jerk.)  But, when she first met him, she was shaking in her boots.  And, before she got off the elevator to walk into his office she remembered something her mom had often told her and her siblings:  “You have the right to be here.”  So, she closed her eyes and repeated to herself three times: “I have the right to be here.”  Natch, she waltzed into The Donald’s office and made her pitch.  At that time, the outcome wasn’t as important as the fact that she fully believed that she had a right to be in Donald Trump’s office.  And, indeed, she did.

How many times have you been in a meeting, with a client, or in any circumstance where you’ve questioned your abilities and/or competencies?  I know there have been plenty for me.  I’ve suffered from the well-documented psychological phenomenon called “imposter syndrome” where I’ve been unable to internalize and accept my own accomplishments.  Well, for heaven’s sake . . . I’m glad I’ve gotten over that.  I am accomplished . . . I’m not an imposter, and neither are you!  You have the right to be here, whether it’s to teach something or to learn something, whether its to talk or to listen, whether to give or take.  I know that you prepare for a meeting, presentation, project or other circumstance with all the necessary attention to detail and commitment to excellence.  But, does your preparation include the reminder that you have the right to be there?  Up until last week, mine didn’t.  Going forward, I am committed to making sure my prep time includes a healthy dose of ”I have a right to be here.”  It’s sure to significantly reduce (if not eliminate) any anxiety I might have.

I have the right to be here.  I have the right to be here.  I have the right to be here.

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My 3 Tips for Customer Service Success

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

I’ve recently signed on with a new client who is keeping me hopping.  She’s a long term client, but has just joined a new company.  She has a lot to do, and is counting on me to help her deliver.  Her needs got me thinking about my needs.  And, right now, my needs are secondary.  That’s what I’m thinking.  My needs don’t matter as much as hers, and that’s the essence of excellent customer service . . . at least in “my book”.  And, I have three rules of the road for serving this customer, and all the other ones I am blessed to have:

  1. Meet your customer in her “space”.  I don’t mean “put yourself in her shoes.”  That’s oversimplifying things and means you have to do some imagination.  I mean, pay attention to what’s getting her attention, causing her stress, or ramping up her enthusiasm.  Slow down or speed up to match her pace of communication, brainstorming, and problem solving.  There’s no imagining involved here . . . just plugging in to what’s really going on.
  2. Be. Here. Now.  I don’t mean that you have to physically be where she is.  (My client is in Dallas, I’m in Minneapolis . . . we don’t share the same state, let alone the same office.)  But, when we’re talking on the phone, I don’t multi-task.  When we are face to face, she gets my full attention.  It makes service (and life) so much easier when I focus on what’s in front of me instead of thinking about what I could be, should be, or would be doing if my client wasn’t around.
  3. Work hard and be nice.  I have a sign in my office that says this because I can’t be reminded enough how simple it really is.  No matter what . . . I work hard for my customers.  And, no matter how grouchy I am feeling, I am nice.  (The same goes for when my clients are grouchy.)  Nice makes a difference.  Actually, nice makes the world go around.

Those are them . . . my three tips for customer service.  Nothing magical or complicated.  The key for me is to remember that it’s not about me, it’s about my customer.

What are your tips for excellent customer service?  I’d love to hear them.

Lynae

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Sponsorship is a Powerful Leadership Strategy

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Last month, I attended the annual fundraiser of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.  The keynote speaker was Marie Wilson from the The White House Project.   The White House project is a national, non-partisan, not-for-profit organization with the aim to advance women’s leadership in all communities and sectors, up to the U.S. presidency.  To advance this mission, The White House Project strives to support women and the issues that allow women to lead in their own lives and in the world.  Marie was a passionate and dynamic speaker who made a compelling case for, among other things, women sponsoring women.  The theme of her talk was sponsorship and the role that women MUST play in sponsoring other women.  I was moved by the idea . . . and respectfully argue that the concept applies to both genders.  Sponsoring others is a powerful leadership strategy.  Whether they are emerging leaders, leading indivividual contributors, high potential team members, or someone who clearly demonstrates an interest in self-development, it’s important to reach out and help lift someone up.

Sponsorship involves 4 actions:

  1. Encourage.  Express your belief in his ability to succeed, both passionately and frequently.
  2. Support.  Look for all the ways you can help her get where she wants to go.
  3. Authorize.  Create a culture of “yes” so he can explore what is possible.
  4. Introduce.   Make sure you’re not the only one who knows who she is, sees her potential,  and recognizes her results.

When I was 23, I had a sponsor.  She made sure I was involved, connected, visible and responsible for just a little more than what was in my job description.  I loved it.  I felt engaged and I truly believed I could succeed.  I credit her with getting me a leg-up in a great 10 year career with that company.  Her faith in me and commitment to my success made me want to work harder, be more accountable, and get better results.  That’s typically what happens when someone is sponsored – they are driven to live up to the faith that is placed in them.  That’s one reason sponsorship is a powerful leadership strategy.  Another reason is that sponsorship begets sponsorship.  When you reach out and lift someone up, it increases the likelihood that she will do the same and the resulting culture is one where people help others and share in their successes.

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Posted In: Leadership, Motivation, Organizational Culture, Uncategorized
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