Monthly Archives: April 2010

Employees are asking: Why Should I Care?


Employees are wondering why they should care when at work. The old saying, “They don’t care what you know until they know if you care” is true even more so in today’s environment. Here are three great ideas managers can use to demonstrate how much they care about the employees. This will help them care about performing for you even more. At PinnacleSolutions.org Russsell J White teaches you how to enhance your profits with no hocus pocus.

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Are You Having Board Meetings or Bored Meetings?

Yesterday I was a guest attending a board meeting of an important organization that has more challenges and opportunities than hours in the day. After a presentation to the board by some concerned people the board committees were to report on their activity over the last 60 days.

Not a single committee had anything to report. This coming on the heels of a strategic plan that outlines goals and steps needed to reach those goals. One committee gave the excuse of “We couldn’t coordinate schedules of the (three) participants.” I wanted to holler “Bullsh*t” but I was there as a guest. It was obviously not a priority to them to not be able to find an hour in a six week time period.

We are in a new century, so let’s stop doing things like it’s the last century and use our time for action not words. Board meetings of the new century are about coming together to exchange information about actions that have transpired over the last 60 days, not banter about issues and what if’s.

Make sure your volunteers get a heads up that they are not just volunteering for meetings and free meals.

Set your volunteers expectations of activity beyond the meetings, of passionate involvement in the goals and objectives set, and let them know you are looking for people willing to get things done, not just talk over coffee around a board table. Make sure they know these are board meetings not bored meetings.

Volunteers should be expected to get with the program or get with moving on. This is how you make things happen in the new economy.

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5 Best Practices for Retaining Your Top Talent

Companies have a tradition of luring away top executive talent from the competition. Free agency has changed the entire landscape of professional athletics as teams constantly fight for talent. The talent wars are now reaching the trenches, and companies are taking off the gloves and aggressively going after top talent at all levels, regardless of who they are currently employed by.

Because employees now know they are potential free agents, they are looking for the best package, not just more money. Who are the people you would hate to lose? It’s time to use these five best practices for retaining your top talent so they aren’t as eager to see if the money is greener on the other side of the fence.

1. Give them a quality team.

Top talent wants to work with other top talent. The best talent wants to be part of a team awash in great talent. Why? Because they know they will be challenged to improve, they know the best coworkers understand how to pull their own weight, and they will respect those they work with.

Your top talent is looking for more top talent, and so should you be, if you want to keep what you currently have.

2. Provide perks they value.

Continue reading

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The VIP Customer (Vast Influential Power)

Russell J White teaches how to maximize the new power customers have with social media technology. Here are 3 tips on how to ensure your customers are using their Vast Influential Power to help grow your business. For FREE discussion questions to go with this video, email me at RJWhite@PinnacleSolutions.org and they are yours to train your staff to assist in growing your business. Check out the short video!

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Charm School for the Steelworker

I worked with a fast growing company that had an ex-steelworker for a CFO. Growing up in the rust belt and working in the mills of the late 60’s he developed his management style and approach to employees and life in general: Work hard, play hard and just deal with me being “rough around the edges”.

It was the “rough around the edges” which caused his steel company employer to send him to sensitivity training because of the complaints with his approach. To this day the CFO refers to that as the time he was sent to charm school. When I was hired to work with this new company in developing leadership, I heard this story from him over lunch on the first day I was there. I asked him how charm school worked out. His reply was, “It didn’t do me a G’dam bit of good.” Followed by a hearty laugh. He later confessed he did learn how to better understand how people see things differently and that he needed to have different approaches to managing a workforce, but he was still a man with his rough edges permanently in place, and proud of them.

Focus on Strengths

The old farmerism of “You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” also applies to leadership development. You can’t make someone be who they are not. People can modify behavior and learn new techniques and skills to becoming a better leader. The key is setting up the proper expectations and clearly defining the expected outcome. When I coach executives or work on leadership development programs with my clients I concentrate on this piece of leadership wisdom:

People can only change so much

Someone who is not a people person is not going to attend a class and suddenly feel the need to embrace the world and give everyone a hug at the end of the day. These type transformations only happen in the movies, or with celebrities going to rehab (cough, cough) or over decades of therapy. Can someone that is xenophobic learn to appreciate differences in people and modify how to approach them for pinnacle performance results? Absolutely. Just don’t expect it to be accomplished with a completely different personality than the one they currently have. The key is to focus on results and progress toward the desired outcomes.

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3 Ways to Cripple the Competition

3 Ways to Cripple the Competition is about taking off the gloves in this economy and blowing away the competition in sales, service, and work culture. Create your distinctive competence and beat down the competition with the power of your skills. Checkout this short video on 3 ways to cripple the competition.

If you’d like the Lunch and Learn discussion questions to go with this clip email me at RJWhite@PinnacleSolutions.org and I will send them right away. Enjoy coming out the winner.

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Innovation Stops Here

People love to enjoy new technology they can buy, but they are loathing going through the efforts to create it in the work place. What are these barriers and how do we need to overcome them?

We don’t do that here

How many great ideas have died because people didn’t believe the idea could fit who they were? To compete in today’s business climate, innovation barriers need to fall. Whether the discussion is about service delivery, product innovation or experimenting with a completely new direction, openness, eagerness and curiosity are the skills required to bring great new ideas to fruition.

Ford is working on voice recognition technology, individual modifications of the instrument panel, and driver preferences that can be transferred between cars using a USB thumb drive. They didn’t used to do that, but they do know. They are asking themselves: How can we make our cars a killer app?

What if you could pay for car insurance by the mile?

What if your doctor could check your vitals remotely?

What if you were able to buy power only when it was the cheapest?

All of these innovations will be here very soon because people in those creative organizations know “We can do that here” is the answer to all innovation questions.

We can’t afford it

If people waited until they could afford it, most couples wouldn’t have babies, most contractors would never build a building and most entrepreneurs would never start their businesses. A lack of funding is a weak answer to an important question – How bad do you want it?

If you want it bad enough…

Create a compelling proposal that is strong enough to convince someone to offer capital.

Create a joint venture where a number of people come together to pool resources to drive this idea to the top.

Sometimes the negative responses you hear on your proposal is something worth listening to. How can you recraft the innovative idea to improve it, redirect it or retool it to be a better idea? Negative feedback isn’t always something to overcome. Sometimes it’s a guide to creating the best idea. How badly do you want it?

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Two Prospects, Two Drinks and Two Easy Decisions

While enjoying a little R&R at the Rio Casino in Las Vegas I watched as a woman showed up for a job interview to be a dealer in the poker room at the Rio. She spoke well, was dressed properly and had years of experience as a dealer; however, it was her one accessory that made the interviewer fold that job interview faster than a 7/2 off-suit: Her drink.

Yes, this woman showed up for her job interview holding and sipping a bourbon drink at roughly 10am! After she was quickly dismissed, the poker room manager and I just looked at each other in disbelief. The poker room manager then tells me, “That’s what’s available in the workforce these days.” Only if you are standing by and waiting.

Jump across the country with me to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. You are sitting in an upscale restaurant and your wait staff is marginal at best. Then you notice the waiter three tables over delivering drinks, offering incredible service, incredible task efficiency and being very personable without being overbearing. Here is someone who understands serving people. Do you admire from afar, or do you take action?

Constantly scout for talent

The responsibility of keeping a file of great prospects is the key to rapidly filling open jobs. Corporate executives need to be talent scouts at all times. Whenever you find yourself being served with great people skills, take note of the name and location of this person. If your business is in the service industry, you need to be looking for people people. Task related skills can be easily taught through effective training programs, but teaching someone to change their ways in their interaction with people can be a laborious and monumental task.

Anticipate job openings

In the early days of my career the company I worked with had what we called “spare help.” A few extra people on the payroll filled in for open positions, and allowed the organization to cross-train their better workers in anticipation of future needs. The down-sizing craze in the late 80’s eliminated these positions permanently. It’s time to rethink that. Even in today’s economy.

One important aspect of a job the younger generations of workers are looking for is a constant learning opportunity. To keep them you need to constantly teach them thereby strengthening your staff in the process. If your staff is better trained to handle multiple functions, you are prepared for potential job openings and your staff and customers never see a blip. Having a couple of “spare help” allows you to develop your workforce, keep them longer, and create more consistency through times of illness and vacations. Your bottom line will benefit as well as your customers.

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3 Ways to Create the “Insider” Customer

Customer service needs to elevate the customer to actually being part of your organization. The insider customer wants to be in on the lingo, see the behind the scenes and actually feel part of the team. Once the best customers feel they are on the inside, they will become a word of mouth sales force that will rock your bottom line! Not to mention keeping those insider customers coming back for more. Check out this short video.

Want to use this video for a short teachable moment for your staff? Use these questions for discussion following this short video.

1.  How are you currently keeping the customer coming back for more?
2.  What do you need to do to create the “insider” for your best customers?
3.  What type of insider specials can you develop that make the customer actually feel part of the organization?
4.  How can you create a customer experience your competition can’t or won’t match?
5.  List 25 ways you can create such attention that customers are literally lining out of the door waiting on your product? Of those 25, pick three that are keepers and put them to work.

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Feed your Excitement Engine and Boost your Energy

“You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind. Your mind gets bored and therefore tired of doing nothing. Get interested in something! Get absolutely enthralled in something! Get out of yourself! Be somebody! Do something. The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.” Norman Vincent Peale

This quote reminds me how easy it is to get distracted by the 24/7 news cycle, family emergencies (which has broadened to include non-emergencies), social media, bright shiny objects, hobbies, doing “research”, television story lines and juicy co-worker stories. By comparison work can seem dull and boring without the glitz and excitement of these distractions.

Bored with work? Feeling low energy for your tasks you need to accomplish? Ask yourself the follow questions to find your energy for the important things in your life.

How focused am I on getting my important tasks accomplished?

How many distractions to my day are self-imposed?

What are the parts of my career that I do enjoy, that excite me?

Where do I want my career path to take me, and how can I use today to take me there?

Where am I not involved as I should be at work? How am I letting myself down as a result?

So often energy isn’t only impacted by our sleep and eating schedules, it’s dramatically impacted by our excitement for what we are doing. By getting involved mentally in the important things of your career and creating your own excitement about being somebody that makes a difference, you will regain some of the energy loss you are now experiencing.

Focus, catch fire, and feel the driving energy that will make your career grow.

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