Leading Edge – Customer Service Excellence: Holds and Transfers

Customer Service Excellence:  Holds and Transfers

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Do Good or Do Nothing

Tim Schneider
Leadership Development from Aegis Learning

By Tim Schneider

About 15 minutes of cable news is all I can stand anymore.  I used to be a news junkie and keep up with current events but any reading or watching of the national political scene just turns my stomach.

Likewise, I have become familiar with a couple of incredibly toxic workplaces that when I hear the stories of extremely poor leadership, it just makes me sick.

The causation of this nausea is not the remarkably bad dinner in Eugene Oregon last night but rather the poor choices made by leaders to invest time, energy and effort in consciously and intentionally doing bad.  Don’t get me wrong here; we all do bad and make mistakes and exercise poor judgments and choices but not many people (sans politicians) consistently set out on a path of doing dumb things. 

In the case of toxic work environments, consider the amount of time, energy and emotional composition that is totally wasted in documenting, cross-emailing, complaining and filing grievances.  All because someone or a set of people have chosen to do bad instead of doing good.  Poor leaders concoct schemes to retaliate, get rid of someone, make another department look bad or to protect their own jobs and all at the expense of team members, morale and the general well-being of the workplace. 

And back on cable news, our elected officials (mostly national but also state and local) are engaged in a series of grandstanding, ridiculous hearings and posturing rather than doing what is best for their constituents.  Rather than good, they serve special interests and their political affiliations all the while that Rome is burning.

We have a choice every moment in our lives.  To do good, to do bad or to do nothing at all.  That choice becomes conscious and when we can spend a moment thinking about the consequences of our actions, we can learn to make better, and more aligned with the common good, decisions.

Interestingly, the choice of doing nothing in many cases is better than the choices of some leaders.  If doing good becomes impossible, then the decision to do nothing is by-far-and-away better than crafting a path for doing bad.  For reference, think about the savings in money and time if congressional hearings were vetted against serving a good purpose or for doing bad and focusing only on individual gain or glory.  How much angst could be saved if a toxic leader spent her time relationship building, providing positive feedback and empowering others rather than tearing down, conspiring and self-preserving?

To make some better choices, try the following:

  1. Analyze Motive

Understanding your own motives are clearly the first and most important step of making better decisions and choices.  Always asked my boys if they are telling on someone to get them in trouble or save them from trouble.  That simple question forced them to examine the motives of their actions and make more thoughtful decisions.  We too can examine why we are choosing a course of action but that take a hefty amount of emotional intelligence and self-regulation.  Really reflect on why you are choosing the path or direction.

  1. Test Against Mission

Check your choices against the mission, vision and core values of the organization.  This should provide ample guidance in most cases.  It’s hard to justify the harassment of a team member when an organizational core value is to treat team members well and fairly. 

  1. Test for Value to Others

Look to see if your decision or choice benefits others and not just you.  There is a time and place for a self-caring choice but not in a role of leadership or public service.

  1. Test for Unintended Consequences

Diagnose and spend some time thinking about what some unintended consequences might occur from your choice.  This is enhanced even more when you engage #5 below.

  1. Seek Input

Ask for some feedback from trusted and wise sources before storming off on your own decision.  This input can save a lot of time and energy and keep you from making some bad choices.

An above and beyond all of those, be a deliberate responder and not a reactor.  Use some time, take a pause and then choose to either do good or do nothing at all. 

Tim Schneider is the founder, CEO and lead facilitator for Aegis Learning.  

Leading Edge – Customer Service Excellence: Telephone Greetings

Customer Service Excellence:  Telephone Greetings

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Leading Edge – Customer Service Excellence: Writing to Customers

Customer Service Excellence:  Writing to Customers

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Celebrating Leaders-EduCode 2019

EduCode 2019

15th Year of Leadership Learning with EduCode

Aegis Learning was privileged and honored to provide a week-long leadership development track for EduCode 2019.  

Our 15th year with EduCode had the biggest groups yet with some classes at over 80 participants!!

Special recognition to the really awesome people who took the entire series and spent 40 hours in immersed leadership learning.  Great job!

EduCode 2019 Leadership Track from Aegis Learning
EduCode 2019 Leadership Track from Aegis Learning
EduCode 2019 Leadership Track from Aegis Learning

Leading Edge – Customer Service Excellence: Needs, Expectations and Wants

Customer Service Excellence:  Needs, Expectations and Wants

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Aegis Cares – Animal Foundation and Rotary International

Furthering Our Commitment to the Community

Aegis Learning Cares

The Animal Foundation of Las Vegas

Aegis Cares supported the Las Vegas Animal Foundation on Saturday, March 23, 2019 with some needed clean-up.  

This community asset serves our four-legged friends in a kind and compassionate manner and we are proud to serve some of their needs.

Big thanks to Teresa Lowry for coordinating this Aegis Cares event.  

#powerof1

#risetopurpose

Rotary International's Campaign to End Polio

Rotary International has polio on the run.  Not eradicated but close.  Aegis Cares supported John Chase and the Rotary International’s campaign to end polio forever.  

#powerof1

#risetopurpose

Join our Facebook group to receive updates and to participate in Aegis Cares campaigns and events.

Leading Edge – Customer Service Excellence: Communicating with Customers

Customer Service Excellence:  Communication with Customers

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Trust and Communication

Tim Schneider
Leadership Development from Aegis Learning

By Tim Schneider

 

(Originally published and written on August 30, 2015) 

I’m going to want you to be honest with me here and honest with yourself.

Think back to the times where you had a lot of apprehension, anxiety and mistrust.  These memories can come from the work environment or your personal life.  Maybe you thought your job was going to be eliminated.  Maybe you were being audited and did nothing wrong.  Maybe your spouse was out late and didn’t call to check in.  Maybe you were waiting for some medical test results back and hadn’t heard for a few days.  Maybe you hadn’t gotten a call or text you were expecting for a friend.

I know those are not pleasant memories and we won’t be staying here long. 

Each of those examples and most others like it have one single cause point:  communication frequency.  Communication, even a simple update can ease most of the apprehension, anxiety and mistrust described above and failure to communicate and the march of time will continue to grow those highly negative emotions and fears.

The balance of this article will take two very divergent angels in how to deal with communication frequency and the impact on trust.

Over Communicate

Quite simply tell people what you are up to and what you are doing.  As a leader, you can’t afford any lapses in trust that are so easily curable as you communicating with affected team members.  Your team can’t read your mind and they don’t automatically know what you are doing and your motives.  You have to tell them.

A couple of the best models to use include regular team meetings to insure that everyone is hearing the same thing and that will eliminate the in-the-know jealousy that sometimes develops when insiders know what is going on and others don’t.  To reduce the risk of trust lapses, these meetings should be weekly or every two weeks.

One-on-one meetings allow team members a better forum to ask questions and dive deeper into subjects than in a group setting.  When done monthly, it allows for a lot of clarifications and amplifications where needed.

Daily huddles are another great tool to give brief updates on what is happening in short term basis and it makes sure everyone has the same level of communication on a daily basis.

One final consideration is the use of technology in communication.  I started to count the ways people can communicate with me through the written word and social platforms.  There is email, text, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google + and Instagram.  Within each of those, there are subsets of groups, pages, forums and instant messages.  The excuse of not having a way to connect with team members left with the dialup modem. 

Some of the good examples of using technology to assist in communication frequency include using private groups to post project updates, using group notifications to spread the word about a new team member and using social media with tags to share key news.  This method of communication will become more and more prevalent as millennials dominate the workplace (they check their social media before email).

Self-Management and Expecting Better

The divergent side of communication and trust involves a bit of self-management, emotional intelligence and changing your expectations.  By a big part, this is harder but the long-term value is very high.

Just because you don’t hear something doesn’t mean something is bad or something is wrong.  In a perfect world, you would know and have access to the information you need when you need it but we do not live in that realm.

So there are times you don’t know and don’t get the communication that builds and maintains trust.  The reaction to that situation is now up to you.  You can choose to be fearful or you can choose to expect a positive outcome.  That choice rests entirely with you.

The other reminder here is that you have almost no control over how people choose to communicate with you.  If they communicate frequently, infrequently, disjointedly, harshly or not at all.  You can control your reaction but not control the communication.

“Fear is that little darkroom where negatives are developed.”

Michael Pritchard

Like many subjects related to self-management and your emotions, this is not one that can be cured by reading an article or looking at a motivating picture.  You will have to commit to changing your reaction to these situations and begin a journey where you will have to remind yourself regularly of your control over the reaction and not the lack of communication you are receiving.

The two sides of communication and trust.  Over-communicate when you are owning and driving the event and manage your reaction when you are the expected receiver of the communication. 

Tim Schneider

Tim Schneider is the founder, CEO and lead facilitator for Aegis Learning.  

Leading Edge – Customer Service Excellence: Courtesy

Customer Service Excellence:  Courtesy

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