Posts Tagged 'motivation'

Games to Build Customer Service Spirit

As children, we all enjoyed playing games. Most of us were probably at our most creative and free when we played games as kids. We also took more risks without worrying too much about negative consequences. So why is it that as adults, we moan and groan about playing games?

So, it’s time for us to recapture some of that spirit. Okay, no moaning! It’sgames - crop also important to include this new spirit into our work lives, where we spend the most time — at least eight hours a day, for at least five days a week.

So, how exactly does playing games improve business communication? In my video, Games for Business Communication, I’ll explain the biggest benefits of playing games: through play, we get to engage with others in a safe environment, and we are better able to absorb more readily the main learning points of any game. Simply put, games help us to learn new things about others while having fun.

Strategies that Turn It Around!

  1. Two truths and a lie. This game allows you to get to know your fellow team members a little better by evaluating three statements made by someone and figuring out which one of the statements is a lie.

a. Depending on the size of your group, get people into groups of 3 or 5.
b. Everyone needs to write down two truths and one false statement about themselves.
c. Each person then reads the three statements and the rest of the group tries to figure out which statement is the lie.
d. Each person who guesses a correct false statement gets a point.
e. Once every person in each group has revealed his or her false statement, tally up all of the correct false answers.
f. Pick a winner from each team and reward him or her.

Mirror mirror. This game helps people to recognize elements of non-verbal communication styles like big hand gestures or head nodding. The object of the game is to spot physical movements and mirror them back to the person with whom you are speaking, thus learning to communicate in her style. This makes people feel more at ease.

Pair people into couples.

  1. Have each partner talk about anything for a minute (e.g., what they did this weekend, favorite food, favorite movie — anything.)
  2. The partner who is listening will then observe the person talking, paying close attention to the non-verbals (e.g., fast moving hands, head tilts, shoulder shrugs — anything that is non-verbal.)
  3. Have each person tell his or her partner which non-verbals they observed and how they mirrored the gestures. This will reveal which gestures were perceived as friendly and which were a little annoying.

Remember: People are more at ease when they communicate with others who have a similar non-verbal communication style.

Which games or icebreakers have you used effectively to improve business communication among your staff members? Please share your experiences in the Comments section below. I look forward to engaging with you and your comments.

Why Being Happy NOW is So Important

On January 10, 2014, Sam Berns died at the age of 17 of complications from a rare premature-aging disease called progeria. Although Sam knew his life was short, he lived each day to the fullest and inspired teens and adults alike to adopt his positive mindset.

Check out Sam’s inspirational message:

Sam Berns crop

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/My-philosophy-for-a-happy-life;search:Sam%20berns

Sam’s three principles:

1.       “I’m OK with what I ultimately can’t do because there’s so much that I can do.” Focus on what you can do, not on what you can’t. We all have “challenges.” Period. Instead of focusing on the negative, find something or someone to help you with your deficiencies, so you can spend time doing the things you’re good at. For example, if you want to write a book but are not confident in your writing skills, have someone interview you about your subject. Record the interview, then have someone transcribe and edit it.

2. “I surround myself with people that I want to be with, people of high quality.” We are all familiar with the adage “Misery loves company.” The problem with this is that negative people bring you down. So, instead of getting sucked into negativity, find and spend time with people who are doing something you admire. You will not only be inspired, but your perspective as a whole will improve as well.

3. “Keep moving forward.” Do one thing every day to achieve your goals. It doesn’t have to be big. Just take action. You may find that the path you take may NOT be where you end up. But, at least you’re moving, and that’s half the battle.

Remember:  Happiness is a choice in which you have full control. Make a conscious decision to be happy. Take action and watch the good times roll.

What do YOU do to be happy? Please share in the comments section below.

When a good deed turns into a real turkey

Recently, in one of my training classes, a participant told me that her colleagues were mad at their employer because it gave out turkeys for Thanksgiving to all its employees. Everyone started complaining about how some of the turkeys were bigger than others. Here, the company’s management was trying to do a good deed, and all that they got in return was grief.

While it can be easy for us to judge this situation and simply think of these employees as ungrateful, we should really try to understand the two-turkeys-pluckedmechanics of how a good deed can turn into a real turkey of a situation. When employees are not accustomed to being rewarded or recognized, they may not know how to appropriately react when they are. They may even misinterpret a genuine and sincere deed because appreciation is not something that they are accustomed to receiving, and thus, a good deed is received with mistrust and apprehension. And when employees are recognized during holidays only, they may then come to develop a mentality of “Well, they have to be nice to us. It’s the holidays.”

The best way to express your Thank Yous, and to ensure your deeds of appreciation are well received, focus on the basics of giving thanks:

• Be genuine. Reward employee behavior that aligns with your company’s values. But first, make sure everyone knows what those values are.
• Be sincere. Reward employees because they deserve it, not because it makes you look good.
Be timely. Immediately reward an employee who deserves to be recognized.
• Be consistent. Show your appreciation throughout the year, not just during the holidays.
• Be nice – duh! Always treat your employees with respect.

And finally, don’t just say your Thank You’s — put them in writing. There’s nothing like receiving a written heartfelt THANK YOU! to make someone feel truly valued and important. Give it a try and let me know how these employee Thank You strategies work for you.

How do YOU say Thank you? I look forward to reading your comments below.

Happy Giving Thanks Day!

Mission Statements: Worthless or Worthwhile? The truth revealed.

Once again, it’s January: a time for New Year’s resolutions and goal setting. I’m a big proponent of goal setting. Not only do I teach it, but I also set goals myself. However, for goal setting to be effective, you must first set the big picture. In most companies, the big picture comes from a mission or vision statement. And these statements are shared on most company websites. The two main problems with most mission statements are that they are usually set by a group of executives only, and once these statements are set at the start of a new company, they are never looked at again. Most mission statements read something like, “We will create and sell a product to customers.” It’s generic — and boring.  But it doesn’t have to be! To convert a mission statement from worthless to worthwhile, it must be relatable to each employee. When employees understand that what they do impacts the big picture, their work has more meaning, and they tend to be more motivated.

Here’s what NOT to do:mission statement

Spend an entire weekend in a meeting with fellow executives creating a mission statement. Print the statement on business size laminated cards.On Monday morning, hand them out to your employees.

Why not? Your employees won’t have any buy-in. They could not care less. Duh!

What’s better?Schedule a meeting with your team and create the mission statement together. (And to build greater cohesion, remember to call the people who work for you “team members” and not “employees.”) Ideally, each team will create its own statement that is in line with the organization’s mission statement. When creating your mission statement, keep the following three characteristics in mind:

1. 30 words or less
2. Answer the following questions: who, what, when, where, — and especially, why
3. Incorporate values *

*Incorporating values is very important. According to Kouzes and Posner in Leadership Challenge:“Recognition of shared values provides people with a common language. Tremendous energy is generated when individual, group and organizational value are in synch. Commitment, enthusiasm, and drive are intensified: people have reasons for caring about their work. When individuals are able to care about what they are doing, they are more effective and satisfied…Shared values are the internal compasses that enable people to act both independently and interdependently.”

For example, a healthcare company should not just say, “we provide service,” but instead, “we provide compassionate service.”Notice the difference when values are incorporated? It tells not only what you do but HOW you’re going to do it. Here’s another example: “we will communicate in a timely manner” versus “we will respectfully communicate in a timely manner.” Are you getting the hang of this?

Real World Story: A manager of a manufacturing plant, who attended one of my seminars, told me this story. He was having trouble motivating his staff. It’s very difficult to motivate people who work on repetitive tasks every day. When he learned about the value of the mission statement, he did the following: he held a team meeting and asked everyone to write down their top three personal values. Then he paired team members and had each pair come to a consensus on the top three values. Then he had a spokesperson from one pair talk to a spokesperson from another pair, and they again came to a consensus. This manager and his team continued through this process until they had their final three values.   final three, the team created its department’s mission statement. The manager did one more thing. He showed each employee that what each did on the job affected the result of the final product. These two combined techniques allowed the employees to see that, even though their tasks were excruciatingly repetitive, what they did every day had value; it was not meaningless.And guess what? Motivation increased, as did productivity. If a manager at a manufacturing plant can gain such results, I think customer service departments can do it, too.Don’t you?

Now, it’s your turn. Give these techniques a try and let me know how it goes. If you have any questions or want my opinion or assistance, please let me know.


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