Category Archives: Change Management

What if… your performance fails “suddenly”?


TWP blogHave you ever been in a situation where your professional life seems to fall into pieces? You have been around for some time, you have been successful so far, you were even used as a role model for others, but suddenly the winds changed? Nothing goes right, whatever you try fails, and even those who supported you before now turn their backs on you.

Well, if you haven’t, congratulations! I hope your life continues without this experience. However, in case you have been in a similar situation, like I have, or even worse, in case you are in this difficult situation right now – here are a few ideas for how to get yourself out of this dip of misery.

  1. Get yourself out of the center of attention – sometimes the best move is to take a few days off if you can.
  2. Think about what led to the situation: What could you have done differently? Could you or should you have done more of certain activities? What other influencing factors do you recognize?
  3. Gather hard facts (e.g., data, reports, stats) about your performance.
  4. Obtain observational feedback from colleagues who know you and who can assess the particularities of your work environment.
  5. Once you’ve done # 2, 3, and 4, work on your personal list of what you would like to achieve professionally: What is important to you? What fills you with joy? Where have you been most successful before?
  6. Think outside the box – what would be best for you? Stay with your current employer or move on? If you should move on, what comes next? If you want to stay, think of other ways to improve your performance; the protocol What? How Much? By When? can be a useful guide.

The most important message though is: Do not doubt your abilities and capabilities! They are still in you, and you’ve proved yourself many times before – you simply need to re-discover them again! Good luck and all the best in your future career path!

Claudia Irmer is Senior Results Consultant at Cohen Brown Management Group and an expert in behavioral embedding. Claudia covers continental Europe and Russia.

5 Behaviors That Effect Change – My Personal Journey


This website usually provides readers with tips and tools on business issues, challenges, or interests.

However, allow me to share a story with you about how the business practices in my world as a Results Consultant helped me on a more personal level.

It involves a lifelong struggle I have had with weight, particularly keeping it off and finding the right balance through diet and exercise.

It was a moment of enlightenment that took years to realize.

One day something clicked, and I realized that my efforts at weight loss and sustaining it were so similar to the behavior changes I was expecting of my clients. I took a step back and changed my approach.

As a company, we speak ‘against’ flavor-of-the-month training and teach and instill behavioral embedding techniques to sustain behavior change.

We talk about viewing behavior change as a gradual, long-term process rather than a one-off training event.

Yet in my personal life, I was following fads, one-off dieting fads… one after another… I remained frustrated to find myself losing motivation, reverting to old unhealthy habits, never finding a balance or making a change that I could sustain.

I had a wakeup call. If I am going to practice and preach ‘behavior change’ with organizations made up of different individuals, personalities, roles and a spectrum of motivation levels, I need to tackle my Challenge with Weight using the SAME APPROACH!

Let me see how I can apply the business principles to my own life.

  • Do I have a structured approach? Yes
  • Is it easy to manage and easy to apply? Yes
  • Is it a process, rather than a one-off event? Yes
  • Is the Objective in Place? Yes

The Goal/Change: Adapt my personal eating habits to impact positive weight loss & sustain the weight loss

So my approach used Cohen Brown’s The Success TriangleSM.

The Success Triangle, performance,

Success is the outcome of consistently utilizing the three sides of the triangle: Clarity, Capability, and Motivation.

Losing weight for me meant changing what I ate, why I ate, and how much I ate.

I lost 35 kilos (75 lbs.) in the first 8 months. The part I’m really proud of is that in the last 4 months I have found my balance and the weight has remained off.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about sharing such a personal story, but if it can be of benefit in any aspect of your life, then consider it a gift.

Here is my approach:

  1. Clarity: Be honest about why you’re trying to lose weight. Make the change for yourself. Relying on others for motivation is a fickle thing. If you are doing this for yourself, the likelihood of success is much higher. Take responsibility for the change. Track what you are eating each week, why you are eating, and how much. Acknowledge and face the fears you have, not only about starting your diet, but what you expect might happen during the diet and afterwards. Ask for support to handle your fears when needed.
  1. Clarity: Set yourself a goal you would like to achieve and be clear about what that goal means and what you expect from yourself. The goal should be realistic. Including several small steps (mini-goals) in your overall goal is advisable as well.
  1. Motivation: Make a daily plan of what you would like to eat and how much. Failure to plan is planning to fail. And that’s no cliché! Include healthy snacks during the day to keep you motivated and avoid being hungry. If necessary, including incentives throughout the day or week can also help keep you motivated.
  1. Capability: Keep tracking your goal and activities and evaluate what worked and what didn’t work. Change what didn’t work and keep on doing what worked. Ask for support/ideas/input from family and friends (or experts) when needed.
  1. Motivation: Compliment and reward yourself when achieving the small steps in your goal (in my case, new clothes, a healthy dinner at a restaurant, etc.). Of course, compliments from others help a lot as well. Identify the people and places or activities that keep you motivated not only during the weight-loss period but also afterwards.

If you have any questions about my approach, please let me know.

If you want to learn more about Cohen Brown’s behavioral change processes for any challenge you may have, please contact me.

Good luck to all of you who want to make a long-lasting, positive change!

Brenda Schäfer is a Results Consultant with the Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc. covering the territory of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Do you say it’s urgent?


eisenhowerDwight David Eisenhower had a pretty decent career. Supreme Commander of the forces that defeated one of the vilest regimes ever to threaten civilization. 34th President of the United States during one of the most prosperous periods ever experienced by any country in the history of the world.

So who better to turn to as a model for how we use the precious time of our lives? I’m referring of course to the Eisenhower Principle that distinguishes between urgent and important activities. It goes like this: “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” Rendered as a graphic, the Eisenhower Principle might have looked like this on June 5, 1944.

With all the claims on his time, Ike needed a simple, clarifying way to make sure that things that appeared to be urgent didn’t divert him from things that were assuredly more important—and at the same time, not procrastinate matters that were both urgent and important.

He also recognized that great time management means being effective as well as efficient. We must spend our time on things that are important and not just the ones that are urgent. To do this, and to minimize the stress of having too many tight deadlines, we need to understand this distinction.

When I began to teach managers and employees how to manage their time most productively, I was working with executives from one of the country’s greatest brokerage organizations – ambitious, hard-charging, intelligent executives. But they had in common a failing endemic among high achievers who are not skilled in managing their time: They had trouble distinguishing between urgent and important. So I adapted the Eisenhower Principle to the workplace in the form of Critical Few versus Minor Many.

Our Critical Few are those which, if we neglect them, will have dire consequences for us, whether in business or our personal lives. Our Minor Many are not necessarily insignificant, but they can wait, and their neglect might be disappointing but not dire.

Personal preferences can complicate our reasoning. I get great intellectual stimulation from floating new ideas with my team, and I consider time spent this way to be of the utmost importance. One of my colleagues likes to work out problems alone, doing solitary research. Another likes to solve business problems by putting a pencil to them – working them out in financial terms. Who doubts that these preferences cause all three of us to consider work that we enjoy to be more “critical” than work we dislike?

So, to separate our Critical Few from our Minor Many, the first step is to subject our too-long to-do list to an 80/20 analysis that obviates personal preferences: Which ones deliver more value than the time, energy, and expense it takes to accomplish them?

When clients wrestle with priorities, I take them through the DERSSIM Logic System.

  • Define the problem.
  • Understand the Effects of not solving the problem.
  • Identify the Reason for the problem.
  • Conceive a Solution.
  • SIM stands for the Solution Implementation Methodology.

Which problem, if not solved, has the greatest negative or positive effect? Sometimes the reason for the problem isn’t immediately identifiable, but the effect may require immediate attention.

If an individual is having difficulty breathing, the reason may not be immediately apparent; however, getting the individual to breathe is of utmost importance. In other words, act now on urgent matters.

Even when the reason is apparent, remember that a solution for a problem without a solution implementation methodology is worthless.

So the next time you are faced with way too many obligations, all of which “feel” urgent, take a deep breath, and run them through the DERSSIM Logic System. It won’t take long, and it will quickly clarify things for you. You will end up knowing, with confidence, how you should allocate your next minutes and hours. You will know what is urgent for you when you apply the Important vs. Urgent Test, taking care to apply it objectively to your own situation and needs. We all know people for whom almost everything seems urgent. When my wife answers calls for me at home at inopportune times, she has a habit of cupping her hand over the phone to whisper a reminder to me: “He says it’s urgent, but it might be HIS urgent and not YOUR urgent.” I find that immensely helpful.

Just remember – nobody else can decide your urgent. Learn how to quickly draw those distinctions for yourself so that you don’t suffer those agonizing moments of wondering what to do for whom and when – and almost inevitably, out of a desire to please or clear the decks for your own purposes, doing other people’s urgent, not your own. That’s not the path to career success or life happiness!

Who is your greatest Time Bandit? Ask the mirror.


Ask the mirror

Ask the mirror

 

What is more self-defeating than a command to “Concentrate!”  Even when you say it to yourself.  Concentration has never been a highly cultivated skill, but these days, in our interruption culture, it’s even more difficult.  The National Center for Biotechnology Information finds that our average attention span is down to about 8 seconds (from 12 seconds fifteen years ago.)

Eight seconds!  That’s a problem.  Elsewhere on this blog I’ve written about Time Bandits and the damage they inflict.  But just as big a story about Time Bandits is this:  We are our own worst thieves of our precious time.  We steal from ourselves.  What could be more perverse?

Even (especially?) when we most want to concentrate on the job at hand, we experience what I call Mental Leakage.  The mind goes elsewhere, to some other subject.  Maybe something more entertaining.  More distressing.  More visible or audible.  If we are unaccustomed to concentrating, that means we are accustomed to mind-wandering, so we give in to a habit honed by years of accidental “practice.”

I said “we,” not “you” for a good reason.  Even though I invented the term and created the solutions for Time Banditry, I have not entirely immunized myself against the pull of old habits.  I am as prone to fragmented focus as you.  That’s why over the years I have developed and perfected a series of techniques to permit Focal Locking, which is the solution to Mental Leakage.

It was a harrowing personal situation that prompted me to do so.  I tell the whole story in my book, but let me sketch it for you briefly here.

I’d been scuba diving and got a dangerous case of “the bends.”  While I was experienced and knew better than to rise to the surface too quickly, I was aiding an inexperienced diver who didn’t know the danger.  I was taken to the emergency room where the doctor told me what I already guessed – the condition was potentially fatal, but a stint in a decompression chamber would cure me.

I knew the chamber was barely big enough for me to fit inside, so I didn’t relish such claustrophobic treatment, but I was okay until the doctor told me how long I’d be confined:  Nine hours.  From my book:

If you have ever received frightening news, maybe you recognize my first emotion.  It was simple.  “I cannot do this.”  No more claustrophobic than the ordinary person, I still couldn’t imagine being confined to a barely see-through coffin for much longer than I could hold my breath.  Nine hours!!!  That is a whole working day, with nothing to do but think, in a situation where all thoughts are terrifying.  I would panic.  I would suffocate.  If I screamed would they hear me?  Help me?  All those thoughts raced through my mind as if it had joined my body in torturing me.

Obviously I survived, or I wouldn’t be writing this blog.  I survived because I drew on almost everything I had ever learned in my whole life about making my mind do what I wanted it to:  not think about my confinement and instead carry me to blissful places where panic couldn’t intrude.  Yoga, breathing techniques, mantras, psychotherapeutic techniques – I used them all.

My point is, you can exercise control of your mind.  You can prevent Mental Leakage when you must.  You just have to develop new techniques to replace your old habits, and they are all there in my book.  Different techniques work better for some people.  You have to choose the ones that suit your challenges, your personality.

But let me offer you one of the most powerful solutions here – actually a series of steps.  It is called meditative relaxation, wherein you focus on your breath, both inhalations and exhalations, keeping your eyes closed. Focus deeply on a mantra that enables you to escape to a seascape, landscape, or the cosmos, just for ten seconds. On the exhalation of your breath, to yourself, utter the word, “Calm.”

Do this three times.  As you begin to feel Calm take effect, return to the task that requires your focused attention and say to yourself, “If I can Time Lock, I can Focal Lock.”  I can bear down on the task at hand.  I can enter into my Time Lock for its full length, complete this task, and then undo the Focal Lock and focus on other matters.

Happy Focal Locking.  And if it’s a little rocky at first, don’t worry – you’re learning a new skill that will serve you well for the rest of your life – at work and in other parts of your life.  And here’s the really good news: I bet you don’t have to do it for nine hours!

 

 

 

Collaboration Can Ensure You Never Move Forward


Well, there is a way to move your organization forward and there is a way NOT to move your organization forward …. it’s called COLLABORATION.

teamwork, leadership, leaders, goals

Why would collaboration be a blocker?  Because without a structured process, it’s a great way to invite objections and ensure that all voices, even the resistors get their way, not the way of the organization, but their way.

 Why not maintain the status quo anyway?  We understand that with all the changes taking place for people, processes and technology, it’s a challenge just to keep the status quo.  Unfortunately for the steady-as-it-goes-crowd, top performers are not thinking about how to maintain the status quo, they are thinking about how to smash new goals, introduce breakthrough products and processes and push forward.

The Leadership Unpopularity Law from Cohen Brown is, “You don’t have to be disliked to be a great leader, but you cannot be afraid to be disliked.”  Well, that is a game changer for some leaders as they may be afraid to be disliked and they think that means keeping the status quo.  But what if the status quo really isn’t working for the team?  What if the team really wants improvements and it’s just the leader who is afraid of the change or afraid to lead the change?

Well, for all the meek and mild leaders, we have a way to for you to engage the team and get the change that is needed.  This is a paradigm shift of telling people what to do.  It involves getting all the ideas from the team in a brainstorm session, then letting the entire team vote on their favorites and providing their commitments to move forward.  How hard is that?  And you don’t have to worry about being unpopular, you’ll be popular with everyone because everyone had input.  It just takes breaking the status quo of leadership behaviors to try new ways to engage the team.

Collaboration can be a great way to get great ideas and smash new goals.  But use it the right way.  So protecting the status quo with getting collaboration from the team may be on your personal agenda but it won’t be on the company’s agenda and it won’t be on the hitting new goals agenda.  Engaging the team with a structured collaboration process and moving forward is about the only option companies who are serious about growing have now.

P.S. Just by reading this blog you may have changed your leadership behaviors, that wasn’t so bad was it?

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

Maximizing The Customer Experience Through Taking Ownership and Follow UP


take ownership, customer experience, customer service, follow up Companies desire to significantly maximize and differentiate their customer experience. Vast sums of money have been spent on this quest. However, two of the most important approaches have still not been mastered at most companies. These are Taking Ownership and Following Up. Taking Ownership and Following Up are the mot powerful levers of a superior customer experience. That is, mastery of these two concepts will have the greatest positive service impact on customers, let alone improving customer service surveys/assessments. Although every organization has existing service processes, customer perceptions of service excellence can be dramatically improved by focusing upon Taking Ownership and Following Up. In fact, ineffective and inconsistent implementation of Taking Ownership and Following Up virtually guarantees a less than desirable customer experience. Unfortunately, these two concepts are constantly being preached, but rarely being implemented at levels of executional excellence.

Overview of Taking Ownership and Following Up

These two vital concepts are not novel to the business world and are in fact desired by most companies that want to increase both the external and internal customer experience and positively influence service metrics. However, converting these concepts into consistently implemented and embedded behavioral actions is the real challenge. Although both concepts typically resonate with Leaders/Managers/Coaches (LMCs) and line employees, merely having insight into their importance is not the same as achieving sustainable executional excellence with customers. Furthermore, these are not novel concepts employee populations, and they have been communicated to them over and over again for years. so, if these two concepts are apparently so self-evident and logical, why are they not routinely being implemented at levels that differentiate and organization from the competition? Unfortunately, communicating the importance of Taking Ownership and Following Up, regardless of how eloquently and motivational, is not in and of itself enough to embed the desired behavioral changes at the right quality and frequency levels. Communicating the value of these two concepts, regardless of how frequently it is done, just sets the stage.

Projection – A Performance Killer . A classical belief set error of the leadership and management of many companies is the psychological concept of projection. This is the situation where those in charge feel that what they are asking their downstream employees to do is so self-evident that it is unnecessary (and even ridiculous!) to have to train them to  do. And, even if there is some training involved, reinforcing that training, inspecting what is expected and holding people  specifically accountable, is only minimally done. This projection mechanism is a killer of performance excellence. LMCs must drive the behaviors that are desired, rather than simply wishing that they were so, and getting frustrated when they are not. This unquestionably applies to Taking Ownership and Following Up, especially because they are somewhat amorphous and less concrete concepts for most employees.

So, what is necessary to truly achieve world-class Taking Ownership and Following Up?

The process starts with a Success Triangle analysis of how Clear, Capable and Motivated company employees currently are regarding Taking Ownership and Following Up, and then transitions into creating and implementing specific solution action plans.

CLEAR

First, have companies establish a methodology to codify and assess/measure these concepts? If not, it is critical or else they will remain metaphors. As we all know, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Whether or not companies measure their Taking Ownership and Following Up baselines, baselines do exist. Therefore, if these two critical concepts are not already being measured, it is necessary to establish nd assessment methodology so that baselines can be established and improvements can be analyzed. Unless this is done, it is unlikely that Taking Ownership and Following Up will be culturally embedded. Second, Companies must determine whether their employees are Clear about the mechanics of Taking Ownership and Following Up within each job family on a situationally specific basis, versus individuals and teams being only “conceptually clear”.  This is critical as goals about these concepts are necessary but not sufficient to do the job. Many employees may at least be able to generally explain the importance of Taking Ownership and Following Up, but that does not mean that they are precisely clear on how to do so.

Example for Taking Ownership

For example, one of the most common directives that many companies give to their employees is to implement “one touch” solutions with customers. With respect to Taking Ownership, ideally, a one touch solution means that whenever customers ask questions/express  concerns/complaints/overall dissatisfaction, the employees whom they are speaking to are able to provide solutions on the spot without the customer’s having to speak with anyone else (although the employee might need to).

The one touch desire is commendable, but realistically, it is often not possible. Therefore, just communicating to employees the company’s desire for one touch solutions, when the employees do not have one touch enablement, is often frustrating to these employees, as they do not specifically know what they are supposed to do in each and every situation (at least on a prioritized basis.) And communication alone will rarely maximize the customer experience.

If it were so easy, Taking Ownership would be much further along than it is within most businesses. The fact is that most companies are sub-par in this regard. Consequently, merely having a Taking Ownership initiative, without clearly defining what the employee is supposed to do on a situationally specific basis, is a formula for under-performance.

The reason is that even when an employee can potentially provide a one touch solution, it doesn’t mean that they are enabled to do so. Furthermore, there will be some situations where the employee can’t solve problems with a single customer touch, as these situations will require one or more follow ups with customers and perhaps include the need to engage multiple employees in the solution as well.

Also, there are clearly times when a different employee will need to engage with the customer instead of the customer’s original contact, who may (appropriately bow out of the situation. This will require a “warm hand-over” internal referral, including necessary data transfer, so that the customer doesn not perceive that he or she is being handed off and/or starting all over again.

Additionally, if an internal referral is necessary, what does “Taking Ownership” precisely mean with respect to the employee contacted following up and following through thereafter, so that the “solution chain” is not broken?

These internal referrals are typically a challenge for companies and are one source of customer complaints, particularly when they are not handled at the highest levels of professionalism. There is a big difference between desirable customer centric/friendly internal referring and the perception by customers of having been unceremoniously handed off to someone else. Of course, if customers perceive indifference from the initial contact or down-the-line contacts, it can exponentially increase the problem.

Whether one touch is doable or not, unless the employee who initially speaks with the customer knows precisely what to do with respect to protocols and what to say/ask, let alone is able to execute seamlessly, the odds of a positive customer experience and probably be diminished.

However, the need for multiple touches with multiple employees does not mean that you can’t still create and extremely positive customer experience.

This can be achieved by training employees to pre-position and immunize customers against disappointment in the most positive way through effective communications, as to what customers can expect in each and every situation.

Examples for Following Up

One of the most egregious Following Up failures, which consistently upsets both external and internal customers, is when employees make promises to get back to customers (or LMCs to their downstream employees) at a particular time, and don’t.

It would seem blatantly obvious that when a promise is made about following up with a customer that the promise is kept. They why doesn’t it happen?

Here are five common possibilities (there are more) that are all understandable, but unacceptable if companies want to achieve world-class Following Up, which unquestionably links to perceptions of service excellence.

1. The employee was too busy with other “priorities”.

  • Poor time management prioritization and/or “an excuse” (see #3 and #4 below.)

2. The employee “forgot”.

  • Poor data entry/contact management and/or “an excuse” (see #3 and #4 below.)

3. The employee didn’t get the information that was necessary for the follow-up and so he/she simply didn’t contact the customer.

  • The employee perceived that contacting the customer without the necessary information would result in an upset customer, and so elected to avoid the situation.

4. The employee would have to present “problematic” information to the customer, so he/she simply didn’t contact the customer.

  • The employee perceived that contacting the customer with problematic information would result in an upset customer, so he/she avoided the situation.

Note: we call the avoidance of Following Up in #3 and #4 above FOFU…Fear of Following Up…and it is far more common than most companies realize.

5. Problematic existing Following Up habits

  • Not uncommon, especially if there is poor role modeling of Following Up by LMCs and/or because of poor role modeling of Following UP behaviors from employees’ life experience in general.

Surprisingly, employees often don’t follow-up even when they have good news to convey to customers.

If employees often don’t follow-up even when they have good news to convey to customers.

If employees don’t follow-up when they have made a promise to do so, regardless of their reasons for not doing so, it is a clear sign of disrespect for customers, and it is the antithesis of a customer centric culture that desires to maximize the customer experience.

All of the preceding reasons for poor Following Up can be remedied by implementing the proper training and LMC solutions.

As an example, #3 and #4 above, which are often emotionally difficult situations regardless of the given realities and potential negative customer reactions and rehearsing their communications until they are fluent and second in nature.

One of the Cohen Brown Laws about potentially fearful communication interchanges is, “Anxiety is the price you pay for the unprepared mind and mouth“!

If employees are anxious about Following UP, it is not unlikely that avoidance and delaying tactics will occur.

Discover It, Implement It and/or Refer It.

In short, every employee must be Clear about their personal Discover It, Implement It and/or Refer It responsibility regarding the specificities of TAking Ownership and Following Up.

Using a sports analogy, employees, as well as their LMCs, must be crystal Clear about the “plays’ that they have to execute with respect to these tow concepts

CAPABLE

Once the Clear side of the Success Triangle has been dealt with, it is essential to train employees to know “at the drop of a hat” how to implement these plays flawlessly, fluently and confidently on a situation-specific and job-specific basis, regardless of how challenging the challenging the communication with the customer may be.

Ultimately, it is all about executional excellence, as knowledge is not power…acting on Knowledge is power. Jsut as in sports, knowing something and doing something and doing something and doing something/doing something well are vastly different.

This also applies to Taking Ownership and Following U between LMCs and the line, LMCs and LMCs and peer-to-peer.

MOTIVATED

It is essential to continuously motivate LMCs and the line to sustainably implement Taking Ownership and Following UP behaviors.

Unfortunately, the common reality in organizations is that when people move out of their comfort levels and pre-existing performance baselines, there is a stong tendency to regress to pre-existing levels, unless there is continuous motivation to maintain (let alone improve) new performance levels. This requires best of class LMC.

However, if LMCs and their employees are not absolutely Clear about the precise responsibilities and are not Capable of implementing them at the highest possible levels, motivational approaches will at best be short-term fixes, driving only increased frequency and perhaps higher levels of enthusiasm during interactions, with regression soon thereafter.

Unfortunately, Motivation does not typically result in superior quality performance as Motivation, in and of itself, does not increase competency, unless the Motivation inspires LMCs/employees to engage in specific training including necessary levels of practice and rehearsal (that is, the Capable side of the Success Triangle). This naturally applies to Taking Ownership and Following Up.

Furthermore, Motivation is enhanced when people feel confident. However, real and lasting confidence is only produced as a by-product of clarity and competence.

STAGING

Should companies choose to embrace this level of precision interventions to maximize Taking Ownership and Following Up, it may appear somewhat daunting to do so because of the number o real world scenarios that need to be mastered.

Furthermore, the human brain can only digest and embed a finite amount of information in a particular period of time, let alone convert that information into action.

Consequently, the solution is to stage-in prioritized interventions and create a time managed rollout, which focuses on the most important opportunities /challenges that occur most frequently, rather than trying to get employees to learn everything at once.

This staged prioritized approach will significantly increase the probability of both rapid behavioral implementation and incremental performance results.

CONCLUSION

Companies desire to significantly improve their differentiated customer experience, customer-centricity and customer service realities and perceptions.

There are numerous contributors to service excellence. However, two of the most important direct service perception modifiers are Taking Ownership and Following Up. In fact, as mentioned earlier, if these two concepts are not operationalized at world-class levels, it is very unlikely that companies will achieve their customer experience and service objectives.

Superior levels of consistent Taking Ownership and Following Up will require improvement in:

1. Clarity about precisely what must be done in each and every interaction with both external and internal customers. (Unless these two concepts and also operationalized internally, it is unlikely that they will be operationalized externally).

  • It is essential that a superior level of If/Then scenario granularity regarding “what must be done” should cascade throughout companies.

2. Capability with respect to implementing “what must be done.”

3. Motivation regarding achieving the foregoing.

  • This includes improvements in LMC.

By utilizing the approach overviewed in this document, the probability of companies achieving mastery and consistent implementation of Taking Ownership and Following Up will be significantly increased. Thusly, along with other company service initiatives, companies will enhance and accelerate their ability to achieve their desired customer service outcomes.

This article is a re-print which first appeared on BankersHub.com December 2013.

About The Author

Martin L. Cohen, M.D. is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Chairman of Cohen Brown Management Group. Dr. Cohen is one of the leading strategists, consultants, managers, lecturers, and trainers in the financial industry today. A widely respected expert in psychiatry, Dr. Cohen shares his knowledge of human behavior to train and motivate institutions to change and improve their sales and service behaviors in order to achieve dramatic, profitable results.

Email: info@cbmg.com

To Get Your Team To Embrace Change, Reverse The Alphabet!


change, behavior change

Many people in my part of the world will say they “love the change of seasons.” For a change of pace I’ll say, “Let’s eat dinner at the park.”  I always get grilled chicken salad for lunch, but yesterday I changed up and ordered tuna.  Changing into my jeans after work feels great!   I’ve been known to change my hairstyle and color more than once a year.

Change is good!  Change is stimulating!  Change keeps you going, vibrant!  Okay, right. So when you tell your team about change, why don’t they all say, “This is great!  I’m ready to change.”?

Things change.  It has taken millions of years to populate the earth with the current numbers, and it won’t take long to double that.  With more people, comes more thinking, and with more thinking comes more change.  We need to face it – change is inevitable.

So when you must lead change, how do you make it appealing to your team?

A friend has a great technique.  She knows that the typical “A-B-C” approach doesn’t work, that being:  explain the Actions someone needs to take, then incorporate the Behaviors (such as patience, empathy), and then provide the Concept with benefits. The reality is the listener will not hear B and C because they are so hung up on the actions.

My friend reverses it.  She goes C-B-A.  Provide the Concept along with the benefits, then the Behaviors needed, and only then the Actions needed to accomplish the goal.  By the time she gets to the Actions, her listeners are right there with her.

Try it!  It really works!

And don’t forget.  Even when your teams embrace change, make sure it sticks.  Follow C-B-A with creative behavioral embedding techniques.

Cynthia Whitmer Griffith currently serves as Performance Results Network Results Consultant for Community Banks and Credit Unions at Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc. Cynthia works with clients to assist them in establishing and growing a culture of World-Standard sales and service.

For more information on how you can successfully lead and embed change in your organization, visit www.cbmg.com, or write me at Cynthia_Griffith@cbmg.com.