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Fine Tuning Your Focus by David Guerra

Fine Tuning Your Focus – 16 MARCH 2017

There comes a time when all leaders, novice or masters, start to lose focus either by life becoming cumbersome or intentional. When leaders start to lose their focus is when they start to get sloppy and make mistakes.

While making mistakes is part of being a great leader, making preventable or avoidable mistakes is not the making of a great leader. It is carelessness. Being careless is something that while tolerated at first but is not something that is going to be good for follower retention or acquisition. However, as someone who seeks self-improvement and creating a solution to losing focus there are three things you can work on right now to make that happen.

By restoring your concentration, practicing patience and being consistent you can get your focus back to the level you had (if not better than) before you started noticing you were losing focus on not the little stuff but the big stuff as well. Remember, how you deal with the big and the small stuff contributes to shaping who you are as a leader.

Before I continue, I should explain that when I write leader I mean any leader at any level in any position in the organization. This includes those “recognized leaders” that are NOT in management positions but are individuals that others turn to for guidance or advice. “Recognized leaders” are those staff members that have been around the longest, the tenured staff. To be clear, I am referring to all leaders within the organization.

The individual’s ability to concentrate is key to remaining focused. When your concentration is on point, you are on point. However, with all the bells, whistles, and shiny objects in the modern age concentration is a commodity that is going the way of the Dodo. I know, I sound like I am over exaggerating but have you ever sat down and tried to write an 866 word article with Facebook, Twitter, and Email running in the background? Just three? Yes, as I am writing this after hours I do not have to deal with phone calls or text messages.

How we deal with maintaining concentration varies from person to person. No matter what works for you, remember to avoid what does not work. Of course, what works for me might not work for you. Personally, I prefer two things to help get my concentration back. Over the years, I have tried others but I have found that creating a quiet environment, my room/office, with the door closed is a starting point. Then when I am ready, the music comes on. It will either be classical music (Mozart, Chopin, etc.) or 80s music (Duran Duran, Talking Heads, The Police, etc.) and it is not at a low level. Actually, the level the volume is set is not important as the music acts like white noise. I listen to it, I like it and it works for me. Music as white noise did not always work for me.

I tried many things to help with my focus. Some worked, most did not. Those that worked for me did not work for very long. However, that did not stop me from trying again. To find your way to keep and maintain your focus with no matter what you do, patience is the only constant.

Patience in the sense that it will take time to master getting your focus. Keep working at it and keep trying until you find what works. Most of all do not give up but remain patient. Patient, especially when interruptions occur. When they do happen, address them. Depending on the scope or size of the issue you can either address the issue immediately or request to talk about it later. This decision must be made immediately otherwise why bother attempting to remain focused. The sooner you can get back to work the better off you will be in completing your assigned task.

Through all of this and along with patience you must be consistence. Consistency is key when it comes to making you attempts at finding what works for you a success. You remain consistent by scheduling quiet time daily, schedule open door time daily. Do this every day. Avoid the occasional observance of the quiet time. Remember you have work to do that is non-negotiable, aside from leading people or reporting to managers or directors you have to do work that involves you. Usually this involves paperwork and other administrative activities. That is why it is imperative you stick to finding what works for you to get you focus but to also get that focus fine-tuned.

Finding your focus is not something that only you can do but by encouraging others to do the same, you are creating an environment of focused individuals that are not above doing the impossible but doing the impossible on a consistent basis. However, it will take time so be patient. Most of all, remember that finding what works for you will not be what will work for others. That is why it is important for everyone to remember that all good things take time to achieve but once achieved, the success behind having fine-tuned focus is awesome.


What did you think of this blog entry / post? Let me know by email on on Twitter @daveguerra



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#TrainingThursday 16 – Business Ethics

Training Thursday (#TrainingThursday) #16


Today I want to talk about Business Ethics. Now you and I know that Business Ethics cannot be taught in one or two or three seven to eight minute videos. Business ethics is one of those topics that takes years to learn
and a lifetime to master.

However, what I want to present to you is a brief overview of business ethics, what they are and what they mean to an organization.

A lot of the business ethics you will experience in the modern workplace are from a set of standards, policies and procedures that have been in place since day one of the organization’s operation and refined over time.

Before moving on, I want to address what is BUSINESS ETHICS. The BOUNDLESS BUSINESS website Boundless(dot)com offers one of the best definitions of business ethics I have ever seen:

“Business ethics, also called corporate ethics, is a form of applied ethics or professional ethics that
examines the ethical and moral principles and problems that arise in a business environment. It can also be defined as the written and unwritten codes of principles and values, determined by an organization’s culture, that govern decisions and actions within that organization. It applies to all aspects of business conduct on behalf of both individuals and the entire company. In the most basic terms, a definition for business ethics boils down to knowing the difference between right and wrong and choosing to do what is right.

There are three parts to the discipline of business ethics: personal (on a micro scale), professional (on an intermediate scale), and corporate (on a macro scale). All three are intricately related. It is helpful to distinguish among them because each rests on a slightly different set of assumptions and requires a slightly different focus in order to be understood.”

Let’s look at this line in that definition “business ethics boils down to knowing the difference
between right and wrong and choosing to do what is right.”  Most ALL organizations choose to behave in a manner that fits this line. They know they can choose how to behave, act and perform their business
duties and responsibilities. It is those that know something has gone wrong and refuse to act on it and that is when the problems begin.

However, when they get out ahead of the problem and work hard to correct the issue that their comeback is all be ensured and welcomed. For example, let’s look at the recent BLUE BELL Famine of 2015. It all started when someone forgot to wash their hands after using the facilities.

Next thing you know there is Listeria all over the place and the ice cream plant shuts down to begin fixing the problem. Then when things start to look up, another infection of listeria is found in the ice cream making machines. Now the return date to the shelves for the ice cream is unknown. Eventually, Blue Bell worked hard to take care of its staff while operations were offline and they worked hard to get the machinery back online and
producing ice cream.

Fast forward to the summer of 2016 and Blue Bell Ice Cream is fully entrenched in the store refrigerators and all is good with the world. Who knows World Peace might just break out.

Now if the Blue Bell organization had decided to press on and ignore the trouble well we can only imagine what the outcome might have been.

So with that being said. Business ethics are a critical part of the overall operations of the modern work place. However, knowing what is right is one thin line from doing the right thing and doing the right thing is an even
thinner line from doing what is wrong or not doing anything at all. So let’s be careful out there.

Thank you for your attention.

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#TrainingThursday 15 – How to Handle Customer Complaints

How to Handle Customer Complaints – (video)

If you have ever spent more than five minutes working in customer service then you know that a customer complaint is not that far behind. It is just part of the job. It is a necessary evil. You would not have customer service without customer complaints they are going to happen sometimes for the most mundane little thing to something so serious you might have to call the police.

It is true, it happens but well there is no but you have got to deal with it has to get deal with it has to be done properly, it has to get that we dealt with immediately, it has to be dealt with was a sense of urgency.

It truly does because again, it is just that important to the customer just as it is important to the individual that is being complained.

Remember, customer service and customer complaints go together like peanut butter and jelly.
How do you deal with it? Well, we are going to talk about the five things we can do to address these issues and how to address them properly. How to take care of things so that they don’t grow into something bigger and it doesn’t turn your organization to some rascally care less, better still some could not care at all about the customer, only in it for themselves type of organization.

Now we are going to get these things, we are going to work on them and you are going to have to jump on it immediately because when a customer comes up and complains. First off, you have to know how to deal with it and who to hand off the complaint to because you at some point you might have to hand it off to your supervisor. If it is, you they are complaining on then it is going to have to immediately go to your supervisor. Doing this immediately creates a sense of transparency and creates a sense, to the customer, that you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about, and there is a process. It is going to give them an opportunity to feel like a something good is going to come out of this and that is a very good thing.

Now if it is you that gets to handle the customer complaint well, that is all right and welcome to the world of customer service. You know while we’re always taught the customer is always right, sometimes it’s the other way around but this is where you and how you handle these customer complaints can kind of turn that around a little bit.

The first thing you have to do is get the details not just the facts. I am talking the details get them. Get as much detail as possible. It will go a long way in helping to paint a better & larger picture of the entire situation.
Who knows it could just be the day they are having, the customer is having a bad day and decided to take it out on the first person that they ran into in your organization, through no fault of the individual. Then again, it could also be that one of your employees really, truly messed up and how are you going to deal with that but that is for a different time we are still dealing with customer complaints.

Get all sides of the story!

Do not just stick on one side, then just go ahead, and say, “You know what Joe; you really truly messed up because the customer said so.” No, get both sides or as many sides witnesses that there were any get all sides of the story and again that goes a long way to showing everybody not just the customer but the employee being accused that you’re going to be fair and you are going to be impartial because you demand to know everything that happened.

Now that you have everything, the information, continue investigating until the end. Review the transactions. If there is video get the video, if there is tape receipts get the tape receipts. Get everything you can even including video. If your facility has cameras outside get video. If shows how the individual walked in without any problems when they walked in. Did something happen outside the building that caused the individual to become upset? Then look at the employee that is being accused. Video goes a long way. Computer interactions go a long way. Tape receipts they go a long way, as well. Continue investigating until the end and then once you have done so deliver your results.

However, there is one thing you should never ever do or say. It does not matter who you are never do this thing: never promise anything to the customer. Never promise things like “heads are going to roll for this” or “someone will lose their job of this” because you do not know what is happening. It could be your job that could be you that is losing your job, it could be your head is going to roll because you over-promised something; you overstepped your boundaries, especially when you are not in a position to make those kinds of decisions.

Do not promise the customer anything. However, do promise you will look into it and deliver on that. That much they are expecting. You cannot promise anything other than you are going to look into what is going on and if there was a direct violation of company policy then appropriate action will be taken. You could say that but again you are not going to promise things like “heads are going to roll” or that “someone’s going to lose her job”.

As far as anyone knows the customer could be having a bad day, misidentified the employee and they are blaming someone completely different and yet you are going to tell them that that individual is going to lose her job. No. You do not do that. You never ever promise things like that. You can promise that there is going to be a resolution. Again, what if it just turns out all of the evidence points to one thing but the customer’s word points in a different direction, what do you do?

You do not. You bump it up, you send it up the chain of command until there is a resolution. Remember never promise anything especially when you are in a situation where you cannot deliver on that promise. If you do, I guarantee it will make you look bad, it will make the organization look bad and it will prove that customer’s point.

Again, handle all customer complaints swiftly, thoroughly, appropriately and give them the results. Give them an answer even if the answer is no answer. No matter, they need to be addressed because it is not only a reflection of how you are as a leader, how the organization deals with situations like this but it is also a reflection of the type of people the organization attracts.

Is just somebody that’s looking for trouble or is it somebody that just going about their business doing what they need to be doing and then something happens?

It is how you deal with it. At that point, you become a different type of ambassador for your company. You become the policy and procedure ambassador. What I am getting at is they get to see the other side of the store. They get to see the other side of the business. They do not only get to see the front end of the business everybody else sees but they now get to see the inner workings of the organization and how all of that functions.

They get to see the company deals with situations as they arise.

You become an ambassador not just on the front end of the house but also in the administrative side of the house.

When it comes to customer complaints, as a leader, you have a unique opportunity to show others what you are made of. Don’t let them down.