Day 26: Customer Service

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What are you doing to find out more about how you serve your customers and what it takes for your people to handle your customers?  Even if hugging is not your thing, you can reap the other benefits from being an undercover boss at your company, no television production required.  Stop relying on “How am I doing?” cards and surveys no one ever cares about.  Open your and all your employees’ eyes to everything that is happening on the first lines of service by getting out there.

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Day 25: Succeed

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Change agent are always going to hear more negative than positive
comments even when they succeed — or perhaps especially when they succeed.  Pauline Kael, the former film critic for The New Yorker, was once asked how she felt about everyone either loving her or hating her.  Her answer?  “That means everyone is reading me!”  We need to remain thick-skinned and unemotional, and ignore the critics.  Remember Dale Carnegie’s words:  “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain- and most fools do.” 

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Day 24: Preparation

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When you lead a public company or a business that’s in the public eye, people will come after you publicly, and as a CEO you need to show great restraint and strength in the face of often withering criticism.  You must stay aware of what is going on and who, where, and how people were saying what and why.  To handle it all, you sometimes do some extra messaging with and show kindness to your troops to keep their morale up and hold steady.  Sometimes it means just saying “for shame” and learning to turn the other cheek and stay positive and on message when the media or others try to bait you into going negative.

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Day 23: Fail

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If you’re going to fail, do it big!  Too many leaders want to find someone to blame or share the responsibility of failing.  And I admit the temptation to deflect accountability can be strong.  But change agents accept the fact that failure is inevitable sometimes, especially when you think big.  (The best home run hitters in baseball know that swinging for the fences means you will also strike out, usually a lot.)  It’s how you act and what you do next that matters:  you must take responsibility and hold yourself accountable at all points.

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Day 22: War

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Needed to win a war:  “The ordered arrangement and maneuver of units in relation to each other and/or the enemy in order to use their full potentialities.  The employment of units in combat.  It includes the ordered arrangement and maneuver of units in relation to each other, the terrain, and the enemy in order to translate potential combat power into victorious battles and engagements.” as projected in the United States Army Field Manual 3-0.  

As I have said before, I’m the son of the military; my father was in the military.  I grew up on bases, and I played military when I was a kid.  This tactical plan works for me and translates to business quite nicely.  This might upset a few doves, but any leader has got to see the tactics I presented sound like business tactics as much as military ones.

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