Elevating your leadership | If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. – John Quincy Adams

Customer Service: UPS vs Amazon

Customer service is essential and nonnegotiable for any business that wants to be competitive, successful and valuable. Furthermore, today more than ever, longevity and long-term client retention directly depends on the overall customer experience your business provides to their clients.

Here’s is my most recent example with two major companies, UPS and Amazon. One has failed miserably while the other one was exceptional in their customer experience. Can you guess who did better, Amazon or UPS?

Best job interview advice: be yourself!

Job interviews are an important and (for most) unavoidable process in transition between your current place of employment and the next chapter of your career. While I have made a video about in-person interview tips, I want to take a moment to focus on the most important advice of them all: be yourself!

No matter what happens or what you go after, always remember to stay true to yourself, be yourself and go for it. If it works out, wonderful, and if it doesn’t, you were at least your true self and consider that their loss as you move onto your next opportunity. Be yourself.

7 signs your boss is not a leader

7 signs your boss is not a leader is a collection of overarching items that stood out to me over the years. This is not an all inclusive list by any means, but should you come across these seven (or most of them at least), take that as a sure sign that you are not working for a leader. Furthermore, lack of leadership will almost always lead most people to update their resumes and look elsewhere.

7 signs your boss is not a leader:

  1. Lack of vision, motivation and inspiration
  2. People don’t come first
  3. Plenty of excuses, not enough of resources
  4. They don’t lead from the front, no ownership of mistakes
  5. No individual accountability
  6. They are not decisive, confident and certain of their decisions
  7. Responsibilities aren’t delegated to others, lack of empowerment

Leaders care

True leaders care. They care about their employees; they care about their coworkers; they care about the vision and mission of the overall business. They care for everyone they work with and genuinely want to see them succeed.

Exceptional leaders are able to motivate others and get the best out of them, they are able to inspire people to contribute at levels which were previously considered unattainable, even unimaginable by some. While it is rare to have an opportunity to select your own leaders, whenever possible, surround yourself with leadership that cares about their people above everything and anything else. Leaders who care are able to transform organizations and bring everyone up to a new level, a new standard of performance.

Stop drifting through life and career

Opportunities are created, they are not found on the side of the road. You must be intentional, direct and focused on your future and desired outcomes. You must be relentless and tireless in the pursuit of your goals and realization of your ideas.

Whatever your personal and professional goals may be, it is up to you to own the process, be honest with yourself and put plans in place in order to achieve them. Commitment, hustle and execution matter and it is what sets you apart from those who have ideas they have never acted on. You don’t want to have regrets later in life and you don’t want to doubt yourself and your potential today. There’s only one way to find out, go for it!

People don’t leave companies, people leave their managers

People don’t leave companies they leave leaders! We have all heard and experienced this notion in one form or another. You either know someone who has or you have left a company due to poor leadership, I know I have.

Furthermore, if your firm is experiencing high turnover (and it is not an intentional “house cleaning”) it is undoubtedly in some way related to your organizational leadership, more accurately, the lack of leadership. While compensation, benefits, growth and advancement opportunities matter, leadership has even a greater power to influence employees to stay or move onto “greener pastures.” Take your leadership seriously and lead your staff, help them grow and advance and don’t sabotage their careers and success.

LinkedIn spam is not marketing

LinkedIn spam is something we are all familiar with and the reason for it can be summarized in the words of Gary Vaynerchuck: marketers ruin everything. While this is in no way a proper marketing approach, strategy or even a tactic it is certainly of great annoyance to most.

LinkedIn spam generally beings in the following way:

1. You get an e-mail notice that someone has requested to connect with you,
2. You login and seeing that you have shared connections, you approve the request,
3. Almost instantaneously, you get a message from your new “contact” asking you to buy their product or services (in addition to meet with them, have a conference call, webcast,…).

Ladies and gentlemen who work in sales, marketing and are responsible for lead generation, this approach will never be useful and beneficial to you and your businesses. Please abandon this tactic of spamming and frustrating your potential clients and business partners as it simply doesn’t work. Thank you!

Eternally grateful,
your LinkedIn “contact”

How do you make people feel?

How do you make people feel? Really ask yourself this question as that is part of your legacy, part of a lasting impression and memory that will remain after you have left your current role or place of employment.

Your contributions, skills, knowledge and experience all matter yet they will fade with time and the only lasting impression in minds of most people will be how you made them feel. Did you care about them; were you interested in their needs and problems; did you do your absolute best to help them along the way; did you put the needs of many ahead of your own personal agenda?

What is keeping your CEO up at night?

If you want to succeed, grow and advance as most of us do, the conceptual approach is very straight forward and simple. Solve the problems that are keeping your CEO up at night. That’s all!

Yes, I know I made that sound very simple and that the execution is generally much more complicated requiring months even years of hard work. However, that’s what it comes down to, solving problems bigger than your own immediate responsibilities shows that you are ready to take on additional opportunities. Being brave, courageous and producing quality in all you do will always end in success. This success will come within your current organization or elsewhere, but quality always rises to the top where it belongs. Believe in yourself, trust the skills and experience you have acquired along the way and move forward.

If you do the work, they will never succeed

Help people, empower them, provide resources and tools they need to be successful, but DO NOT do their work for them. Completing the work of others doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help them, it doesn’t help you nor does it help your organization. People must be empowered and positioned to succeed, yet they must be accountable for their performance and contributions.

Furthermore, everyone has a role to play and your time and effort is much better spent elsewhere. Focus on your responsibilities and have others do the same. Remember, you are a team.