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The Four Questions To Ask During An Exit Interview

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As a leader, it's critical that you understand the real reasons employees leave your company. To do that, you need to ask specific questions that may not be ones you currently include in your exit interviews.

Fortunately, Richard Finnegan, shares in his book, Rethinking Retention in Good Times and Badfour key questions you should include in your exit interviews:
Why did you decide to leave us?Of all the things you've told me, what is the top thing that caused you to resign?It's great that you've found such a good opportunity, but why did you look?What one thing could we have done that would have caused you to stay? Your goal is to learn the most important leave reason rather than learn which three or five things contributed to your employee's decision to leave. The four questions above will help you learn the most important reason.

Don't Hire Someone Just Like You

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Despite the temptation to hire someone like yourself, hire someone to complement your skills --not to duplicate your skills.

Managers often find it easier, more comfortable, or less threatening to hire someone with similar skills and work habits. But, to build a well-balanced team and to achieve maximum success, you need to have employees who can fill in your weaker areas.

So, if you are a great idea person, but a poor communicator, hire someone with strong communications skills. Similarly, if your team excels in sales but lacks organization, add an employee who leads in organization.

This may all seem like common sense. And you obviously need to hire someone to meet certain/minimum skill sets and who will be a good overall fit. But, do what you can to avoid the trap or temptation to hire someone just like you.

Seven Ways To Delight Your Customers

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If you want to delight your customers, then the book by Steve Curtin, Delight Your Customers -- 7 Simple Ways to Raise Your Customer Service from Ordinary to Extraordinary, is a must-read for you and your employees.

The book explains the seven ways for you and your employees to demonstrate exceptional customer service:
Express genuine interestOffer sincere and specific complimentsShare unique knowledgeConvey authentic enthusiasmUse appropriate humorProvide pleasant surprisesDeliver service heroics "Exceptional customer service typically costs no more to deliver than poor customer service," explains Curtin.


For example:
How much does it cost to express genuine interest in customers or to anticipate their needs?Does it cost more to display a sense of urgency or to pay attention to detail?Do you pay your employees more to smile, to make eye contact, or to add energy to their voices? Curtin reminds readers that:
Customers don't establish relationships with businesses.  They es…

How To Create A High-Performance Culture

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In his book, The Responsible LeaderTim Richardson explains that to create a high-performance culture, you need to plan and prepare for the following moments to ensure the conversations surrounding them are both meaningful and intentional:
recruitment and induction of new team membersperformance management discussionspromotion interviews and talent management discussionscoaching discussionscustomer sales presentationshandling customer complaints and problemsbriefings to the press, analysts and wider marketsenior leaders' contact with, and briefings to, teams across the organizationinternal presentations with executive committeesteam meetings and management meetings Richardson's advice to improve the quality of these conversations is to consider: How clear is the principal message for the conversation? How can you ensure that the content of the discussion is focused on the key message(s)?How can you ensure the quality of the listening by all parties?How can you set a pace that …

Today's Thoughts About Leadership

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A relatively small Kansas City-area newspaper for readers over 50 years in age published an article by C.W. Hanson a few years ago where he offered these keen observations about leadership:
The longer the contact with those you offer leadership to, the more scrutiny you will receive and the more self-disciplined you must be.People will pay attention to what you do as well as what you say.Your contingent may be one or many. You may not even know you are being watched, but that does not preclude you from being a role model for someone.  Your word and your behavior are still important.Your contact with those you lead may last a lifetime or be just a passing moment.The preparation for leadership is necessarily more complex when you are responsible for many than for one. Source:  Kansas City 50 and Better

11 Ground Rules For Meeting Behaviors

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While recently reading C. Elliott Haverlack's new book, Unbundle It, I found his 11 ground rules for meeting behaviors to be particularly helpful:
Arrive on time.Be respectful of other attendees.No phones or computers if at all possible.No leaving the meeting or getting up to walk around until scheduled breaks.No eating unless during working meal meetings (consuming beverages as appropriate is acceptable).No side conversations.Good posture.Listen intently (even if you don't want to).Ask questions at the appropriate time.No filibustering.Take notes.

Today's Five Quotes For Leaders

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Some of my favorite quotes for leaders are:
A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit -- Arnold H. GlasgowI praise loudly, I blame softly -- Catherine II of RussiaHonest disagreement is often a good sign of progress -- Mohandas GandhiA long dispute means that both parties are wrong -- VoltaireThe least questioned assumptions are often the most questionable -- Paul Broca These and many more compelling quotes can be found in Susan H. Shearouse's book, Conflict 101.