Monthly Archives: February 2012

Make My Day! Understanding Anger Triggers


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Well, we’re all on the edge sometimes and ready to lash out at the next person who cuts us off in traffic, jumps in front of us in the checkout lane, etc. Well I say, why so edgy? If you know your own anger triggers, you don’t have to join in the road rage or cart-smashing activities. What a relief!

During our research, we found that if people take the time to understand their OWN anger triggers, they have a chance to control them. Most of us do understand our anger triggers but we don’t sit down and formally list them, study them and develop a plan to control them. I’m not talking about anger management classes here; I’m talking about just understanding what sets you off so you can control it.

Here’s the best news. If you can control your own anger triggers, especially in the workplace, you will be happier, your colleagues will be happier and most importantly—your customers will be happier.

So here’s a list of things to consider the next time something makes you upset:

  1. Make a list of what angers you.
  2. Practice staying centered when something upsets you; take the high road.
  3. Stay detached from angry comments made to you.

Make YOUR Day by focusing on the positive and good things that are coming your way. Don’t let the little annoying things ruin it for you, your colleagues or your customers.

Your thoughts?

Johanna Lubahn is Managing Director of Call Center Services for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

Ten Steps to Better Performance


leadership processIf cooking is your thing, you know that you have to follow certain steps for your recipe to turn out right. The right ingredients need to marinate, rise, set, simmer, or blend properly for success in the kitchen.

At Cohen Brown, we don’t teach cooking, but we do support our clients in leading and managing their teams to perform optimally on a consistent basis. So what are the key steps that business leaders and managers can take to coax the highest performance levels from their teams?

The steps are discussed in our Ten-Step Leadership Model:

Vision: Next time you pass one of your colleagues or direct reports, ask them if they know what the company’s vision is. If they don’t, then it’s time to get back to basics. A Vision nobody can remember, or one that’s just mere words on the company website, is as good as worthless. A good way to make the bigger, Company Vision come to life, is by asking “What does this vision mean to me in my role and how does my daily focus contribute to this vision?” People strive when they believe in and own the Vision.

Goals: These are the numerical producers of your Vision. Ask yourself, where do you want to be? And when do you want to get there? Once you and your people set specific Goals, you’ll be compelled to move forward.

Plans: Isn’t it worth planning how you’ll achieve those Goals? I suppose you could completely skip over the planning part and act out all your impulses, but you’ll probably find that you’re experiencing more perspiration than success (or) intended results. Don’t ignore this step. Don’t get too complex with it. Just do it and do it consistently.

Actions: Now that you have your plan, hit that ground running, engage that clutch, do a little dance if you need to. You might be a brilliant planner, but I have to admit the Chinese Proverb says it best: “Talk don’t cook rice.” Or, as Cohen Brown says, “Execution is the chariot of Genius.” Don’t just sit on it. Do something. Engage that Plan!

Results Tracking: You need to find out what’s happening, what’s working, what’s not working, and if you’re reaching your goals. That way, you’ll know what you need to do to refine your Plans and increase productivity. And…you’ll discover Success stories, hence, Proven Best Practices that can be cross-pollinated to others.

Follow Up & Provide Feedback: As a leader, manager or coach, you should provide feedback because that’s what you’re there for. This is your chance to give advice, remind people of their goals, re-direct people who’ve gone off course and show you care.

Motivation: Take it from me, if you follow these steps, you’ll be increasing motivation far more than incentive compensation can do on its own…but getting financial remuneration isn’t too bad either! Just make sure your company’s incentive plan actually reinforces the right behaviours!

Resource Management: Manage your space, budgets, time and people as if they were the last living and non-living resources left over on Planet Earth. In other words, stop blaming what you have or don’t have for not achieving your very best.

Relationship Techniques: You can also manage your work relationships effectively by using these ten steps. Build trust and rapport, know what motivates people, and you’ll surround yourself by those who not only report to you, but truly look up to you.

Well, there you have it. Now it’s up to you to implement these Ten Steps and experience the sweet rewards that come with them. And if you prefer to bake lemon meringue pie instead, don’t forget to add me to your guest list.

Your thoughts?

Neda Bayat is Global Business Consultant for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc. and Breakthrough PerformanceTech, LLC.

Turning Clients Into Referral Sources


When I first went looking for a job, I got a friend of my dad to give me a referral. He said he thought I was a hard-working young lady, and he was willing to go to bat for me. It was really important for me to have someone who could talk about my strengths and work habits.

So how come it’s so easy to forget the people who know us best when we’re working on getting new clients? That is…our current clients.

How many people have I sent to my hairdresser? Hundreds if not thousands in the last 10 years.

But here is an interesting fact: in private banking, more than 80% of clients say they would provide referrals, yet only 12% remember being asked. The better you are at relationship-managing your clients, the more likely you are to receive referrals—but you have to ask!

The best way I’ve found to ask is to use multiple-choice prompts, provide clues to the types of referrals you are looking for (including key attributes), and always close the loop and follow up. And make sure you discuss with the referral source what information will be disclosed and then inform the lead that you have permission to disclose it.

In our business, our best advocates are our clients so it really is malpractice on my part not to ask for a referral. So, “Did you find our conversation to be of value to you today? Thank you. Maybe you know of another colleague in another organization that could benefit from our services.”

Hands down, clients are the best advocates for your company when a job is well done. You have created the loyalty, and they are most likely to be helpful when they have received value.

And remember to ask. It’s like the lottery—you have to play to win.

Your thoughts?

Melissa Marvin is the Performance Results Network Director for Community Banks and Credit Unions at Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

Are You Ignoring Your Biggest Sales Engine?


While everyone is running around in a panic about generating new sales, some organizations completely overlook the gold mine they already own, up and running but ignored, the call center. Now, this doesn’t apply to all organizations. Some new entrants to the financial sector have figured out that call centers are the ONLY way to go for sales and customer satisfaction.

With the explosion of cell phones around the world, why would some organizations limit the capabilities of their call centers by insisting that anything to do with sales has to be done face-to-face? This is 2012, and people are shopping, trading, doing almost everything over the phone, so why the restraint on internal call centers?

You can argue that it’s because of identity protection, but if that is the case, why are the new on-line banks and organizations making it big with sales and customer satisfaction? I think the reason is because it’s hard to disinvest in a physical network once you’ve established it. So, to justify the physical network, some organizations mandate that customers visit a branch/office to complete a transaction.

Do the math: a typical call center in an organization can generate up to 50% of the sales and, if staffed properly, can equal the efforts of physical branches/offices. They can also do this with a 10th of the staff and at a quarter of the cost. So, if your organization is focused on cost-cutting and efficiencies through the call center, think about how business is really conducted. It’s on the phone. Don’t ignore your biggest sales engine—the call center—because the opportunities are enormous!

Your thoughts?

Johanna Lubahn is Managing Director of Call Center Services for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.