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Two Magic Words – Thank You!

Thanking works because it expresses one of our most basic emotions: gratitude. Not an abstraction, gratitude is a genuine emotion. It cannot be exacted or forced. You either feel it or you don’t. Yet, when someone does something nice for you, they expect gratitude and they think less of you for withholding it. Think about the last time you gave someone a gift. If they didn’t say thank you, how did you feel about them? Great person? Or ungrateful S.O.B.?

When someone gives you a gift, you wouldn’t say, “Stinky gift!” “Bad gift!” or “I already have this stupid gift!” (Unless you are a real jerk.) You would say, “Thank you.” If you can use the gift, use it. If you don’t want to use it, put it in the closet and “let it go.”

Watch the video blog and read the accompanying written blog below.

It Really Is Not A Carry On If You’re Stuck On Air Canada

So me, my business colleague and another abused Air Canada passenger are waiting in baggage claim as every other passenger on our flight leaves with their checked baggage.

The three of us are talking about how this has never happened to us before.

The only reason I was on this horrible airline is because they have a direct flight from San Diego to Toronto.

A direct flight is supposed to mean no hassles, no inconveniences and no wait time.

Not on Air Canada Rouge.


Top 10 Tools for Learning

Jane Hart compiles, every year, a list of the top 10 tools for learning.  And, of course, it’s that time again, so here we go. I like what Harold Jarche did about tagging his list with the steps of his Seek-Sense-Share model for Personal Knowledge Mastery, so I’m adding that as well. In no particular order:

When Service Is Two Chairs and a Napkin Short

A few weeks ago, we attended a gala event, and a series of service bobbles reminded me again that even when service people are perfectly nice, the service itself might still be inadequate.

How much does a customer’s response to service results from the communication between humans? And how much of it is caused by the service person’s lack of judgment, discretion, training, procedure, or supervision?


6 Steps for Women Who Deserve a Raise

Pay raiseOne of the continuing inequities in the American workforce is the paygap between women and men.  Even though women, on average, tend to be better educated than men, those women who work full time only earn about 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. I suppose it's good news that the figure has gone up 2 cents since 2010.

FYI: To my amusement I've learned that a few women get frustrated by a man writing about this, but I have plenty of reasons, not least three daughters, who are professionals, as was my now deceased wife. At different times in their marriage all four made more than their husbands.  (Furthermore, it's important to take truth wherever you can get it.)  Although I've consulted to numerous female execs over the years, a dozen or so years ago, one client from among the top paid executives in America was especially instructive about the issue of male consultants working for female execs.  I asked her why she wanted to work with a man.  Her response?  "The image of me working with a male consultant has much more cachet than working with a woman."  Of course, she tossed me a bone: "Besides, you're more knowledgable than any women I know in the consulting business. ...


When is a Carry On Not a Carry On?

A carry on piece of luggage is not a carry on when you are flying the airline Air Canada Rouge.

I woke up and it was still dark and I thought I was having a nightmare but it turned out to be a true airline story.

If you have read my blog before you know that I’m a global traveler with a Nexus card.  On this particular adventure my boarding pass said, “You have been cleared for TSA expedited travel. Please see ticket counter agent to reprint boarding pass.”

In hindsight the first mistake I made was approaching the ticket counter in the first place.

From start to finish the experience was nothing but horrific.


Preparing your workforce for tomorrow

I created a performance improvement toolbox when I started this blog in 2004, and have kept adding to it over the years. I often look at workplace performance first from the perspective of whether the situation we are trying to address is complicated or complex. Training works well for complicated problems, when you have clear and measurable objectives. Training looks backwards, at what worked in the past (good & best practices), and creates a controlled environment to develop knowledge and skills. Training can be good to develop ways to reduce errors, which is only one part of improving organizational performance.

Monday Motivation – Do what you can

Something to think about

Sometimes in the pursuit of perfection, we wish for more time, more resources, or a different situation. Instead of focusing on perfection (even through a change in constraint), embrace progress.

When I discussed this concept with a renowned sculptor, he simply pointed out that ours is to the do the best we can with the time we have. His life experience matched the sage words of Roosevelt.

Today, choose progress over perfection. Be present in the moment and embrace whatever opportunity arrives.

2014-07-21-mm-Do what you can


Great Work Provocation

What has this inspired for you today?


How Does Who You Know Affect What You Know?

Decision makingBad decisions are a big drain on personal time--and they often waste precious resources. But why do these failures happen? Early on researchers focused especially on problems inherent to small groups, including bad chemistry, ineffective leadership and groupthink. Then there was a strong suggestion that bad decisions were the result of "cognitive biases." That included overconfidence and the tendency to overlook or ignore alternative viewpoints.

Although all of the above are definitely a part of the problem, Cross, Thomas and Light seem to have a better resolution of the issue. In an intriguing piece of research reported in the Sloan Management Review, they focused on how informal networks affect the decisioning of leaders. They've found the most significant answer to the question of bad decisions: network bias.  

Two conclusions are very significant:

--Leaders often try to rectify inefficient and ineffective decision making by increasing collaboration.  Cross found that engineers and scientists looking for information were more than five times as likely to turn to friends or colleagues than to a different network or research.

--Leaders are often blind to the way their ...