Connecting with Others by Jim Johnson

If you are in business, you want to better connect with your customers and/or potential customers.  When we truly connect with others, we have the door open to more opportunities, deeper relationships, and bottom-line sales.

So, how do we better connect with others?

I have developed and taught the following to my staff as well as to others in people-connecting industries (which is pretty much all of our industries).  My staff calls this the “Laffy-Taffy” approach to connection after a candy’s name.  You’ll see why:

Customer Brings

 

Our customers bring us many things.  Some are evident and we see/hear them.  Other things are “buried” and we have to explore and discover them.

How do get beneath the surface?  The next steps are critical…

 

 

Listen Ask Feel

 

 

We have to actively and intentionally Listen, Ask, and Feel.  Far too often we assume what our customers want.  We push our agenda and don’t listen well.  Our customers will share with us, but we need to truly listen to them, ask more questions, and empathize with them.  Do not skip over this step!  This is where the real connection begins!

 

 

Think Act Follow Up

Once you have spent the appropriate time in Listening, Asking, and Feeling, then (and only then) should you move to these next three steps.  Think – based upon what the customer just shared with you, think through the options.  Act – based on what you’ve just heard, take action.  Don’t push your agenda.  Act on THEIR agenda!  And always Follow-Up/Follow-Through.

 

Does this process take a long time to do?  Perhaps at the beginning, it might.  If you are not comfortable with it, it may take a bit of time.  But after practice, you will become far more confidently competent in your interactions.  Your customers will open up more.  They will share their appreciation of your efforts.  They’ll tell others about you. You’ll get results.

Make great connections with your customers.  Practice LAF TAF every chance you get.  It makes a difference!

The Process

 

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Don’t Forget to be Human!

harvard business review

“The problem is about 70% of leaders rate themselves as inspiring and motivating – much in the same way as we all rate ourselves as great drivers. But this stands in stark contrast to how employees perceive their leaders. A survey published by Forbes found that 65% of employees would forego a pay raise if it meant seeing their leader fired, and a 2016 Gallup engagement survey found that 82% of employees see their leaders as fundamentally uninspiring. In our opinion, these two things are directly related.

There is a vast upside to human leadership. As data from McKinsey & Company shows, when employees are intrinsically motivated, they are 32% more committed and 46% more satisfied with their job and perform 16% better.

As human beings, we are all driven by basic needs for meaning, happiness, human connectedness, and a desire to contribute positively to others. And leaders that truly understands these needs, and lead in a way that enables these intrinsic motivations, have the keys to enable strong loyalty, engagement and performance. As leaders, we must be humans before managers.”

Excerpt from:  https://hbr.org/2018/01/why-do-so-many-managers-forget-theyre-human-beings

Authors:

 

Does Your Team Know What Your Team Does? by Jim Johnson

I’ve been working on a little project here at work.  I lead 4 different, unique divisions.  We are all on the same floor.  There is a lot of collaboration between the teams.  But I discovered something.  The team still doesn’t always know what the team (overall) does.

So I addressed it.

With the help of my leadership team, I created a document (12 pages long) that highlights each of my divisions, the work they do, and the up-to-date results they are getting.  In each of their sections, I also shared the company awards they’ve received over the past couple of years (it’s always good to be reminded of this!).  Each team member was listed and all of their photos were included.

Teams can do the work day in and day out.  We all are busy.  My team is full of flawed, human beings – myself included!  We are not perfect.  But we do a lot to move our company forward.  We work hard to serve our customers (members) to our best ability.  We care about each other inside and outside of work.

I created this document to be sure my team understands all that goes on.  I want them to appreciate their own efforts and results.  I want them to appreciate the efforts of those working on the other side of the room.  Together, we are making a positive impact.

I challenge you to do something similar with your team.  This exercise helped me focus on the positive strengths this team has.  I think it will help my team focus on that, too.

winning teams