Monthly Archives: April 2012

Do You Really Care?


“You’re the absolute greatest asset of our company. You were carefully selected. We’ve invested in your training and success, and we really care about you. You, dear employees, are the key to differentiating us.”

Have you heard this speech, perhaps delivered by your CEO at your annual employee meeting or stated from the heart by your boss?

But how do you know they REALLY care?

Follow-up. That’s the answer in a nutshell. Follow-up is where the speech from the annual meeting meets the reality of the daily responsibilities.

Does your boss say nice things about you, give you goals and share the plans to achieve them and, then, send you off on your own? (Hmmm…not quite sure they care.)

Or does he or she also follow up with you frequently to find out how you are doing in achieving your goals and provide value-added advice to help you maximize your performance? (Yes, they care.)

If you are the boss, your follow-up has a huge impact on what your team members perceive regarding how much you really care.

Your thoughts?

Julie Freeman is Regional Director for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

Anxiety Is the Price You Pay


Although many people will tell you NOT to discuss religion and politics in public, my family has always been very open in these conversations, so my sons have never been afraid to express their opinion on either subject. One night I received a distraught phone call from my 21-year old who had offended his dear friend’s mother during a debate on one of the “banned” topics. He wanted to call her in the morning to apologize but what should he say?

My advice was to put it in writing so that his words would be well chosen, hopefully well received, and he could stay focused on the apology.

This is the same advice I would give to anyone communicating with a client or employee. Put it in writing so your words are well chosen and you stay focused on the topic.

Getting started is sometimes the hardest part of scripting. Try these steps to simplify and create a compelling script.

  1. Jot down all the ideas or concepts you might want to incorporate into your script.
  2. Narrow the ideas down to the five most important.
  3. Include specific examples to prove the points you’re making, using words or phrases such as “which means,” “therefore,” and “for example.”
  4. Utilize the Litany Technique to allow the listener to concentrate on your points. This is where you say, “The number one reason I believe this is the right choice for you is… Secondly, I feel… My number three reason would be…”
  5. Now write the script in the first person, meaning that you write it exactly how you would say it to the listener.

Try it, it works! Then, let me know how it worked for you.

Cynthia Whitmer Griffith is a Performance Results Network Results Consultant for Community Banks and Credit Unions at Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

Emotional Intelligence Gives Strength to Leadership


Working for an emotionally unintelligent manager, or organisation, is akin to working in hell. If you’re not sure what emotionally unintelligent means, ask yourself this question:

Do you start your meetings looking displeased before asking: ‘John [or Stacy], how are you, yes YOU, going to hit your targets this week?’

Is this you? Don’t raise your hand.

It’s a misperception that being a good leader means being a serious leader and that enjoying what you do and being kind to others means you’re too soft. Business standards and expectations for results are not in question here…just our attitudes and emotional understanding of our employees and colleagues.

Perhaps, like my company’s CEO, you’re one of the lucky few who recognises the human in yourself and others, and therefore starts that same meeting with a joke and a smile: ‘I want to know, John/Stacy, how may I support you this week in achieving your goals?’

This difference in approach makes all the difference in the world. Who wouldn’t prefer to work for an emotionally clued-in Manager versus the robot manager, going through the motions of the day…ticking the boxes.

But do know, that good managers are not born with emotional intelligence (EI). EI is a learned behaviour, just like any skill acquired in life. And, although humour plays a big part in EI, no one expects their boss to be a professional comedian. It just comes down to putting some enjoyment in what you do.

‘EI competencies are not innate talents, but learned abilities, each of which has a unique contribution to making leaders more resonant and therefore, more effective.’

I believe that people pick up on our self-limiting beliefs; so if you’re a manager who’s looking to help others achieve their maximum potential, why limit yourself? Enhance your EI skills and everyone will take note.

Your thoughts?

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

What’s the real cost of high fees and poor service?


Los Angeles Times Video: Columnist David Lazarus documents the movement of customers away from the top four national banks due to high bank fees and lousy service. We would like to know what you’re seeing in the market. Do you agree?

Did You See That?


How many times do you hear someone tell you about a movie only to conclude, “You have to see it for yourself”? This happens to me all the time.

But how many times do you hear this in the context of your responsibilities as a leader and coach at work?

Outside of work, we rely on our eyes to inform us about what is going on. We believe that what we see is true…Seeing is Believing.

Isn’t the truth equally important in our responsibilities at work? But so many managers stay in their offices, believing that they can spot opportunity and effectively lead and coach based only on what people tell them or what the numbers say.

Professional sports coaches observe players in practice and during the game. You should do the same with your team.

Get up right now from behind your desk or laptop and go take a look.

Let me know what new truths you discover.

Your thoughts?

Julie Freeman is Regional Director for Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.