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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The Culture of Your Company

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by S. Chris Edmonds

“Consider new research from management consultancy Orion Partners. Its survey of over 2,000 employees found that 24% of employees thought their bosses were overstressed, poor communicators, and lacked empathy. Only 5% of employees felt that their managers were empathetic, explained why organizational change was good for employees, or rewarded employees for their efforts.

Almost half (47%) of employees said that their managers made them feel threatened. 85% said that their managers cared more about what they did than what they were feeling.

Every one of these issues is fixable. Most managers can easily reframe key messages in ways that demonstrate care, that encourage employees, and that make employees feel heard and valued. The trick is to invite employee opinion, then refine behaviors to better serve their needs — and, in the process, create a safe, inspiring work culture.

What are proven ways to gather reliable, valid employee perceptions about your work environment?

Employee surveys are a very effective “formal” means to gather this data. Informal ways include regular one-on-one meetings, “breakfast with the CEO,” town hall meetings, exit interviews, or discussions that organically happen when leaders “manage by wandering around.” It’s amazing what leaders can learn if they are available and present for these conversations.

The path is clear: Ask employees what they think of your company and culture. Then share the results, no matter how depressing the data. Then act — repair lousy systems, coach lousy bosses and employees, etc., to improve your company work culture day by day.”

Read the entire article here: http://smartblogs.com/leadership/2012/12/26/is-culture-your-companys-most-important-asset/