Three Ways to Ingite ‘A Player’ Engagement

June 23, 2013

There was once a time when “because I said so” would have sufficed.  Those times are gone – especially if you’re committed to drawing from the best talent that this world has to offer you.  These are the people with the confidence, creativity and innovative spirits to speak up and maybe even offer alternative approaches and solutions.”

 

The preceding quote is from the latest “DFS Learning e-Blast” article, Three Ways to Ignite ‘A Player’ Engagement, by Martha Finney.

 

In this April 2, 2012 article on the HR Career Success website, the author helps managers understand how to effectively lead top talent.  As DFS continues to attract and develop top talent the author’s advice becomes critical.

 

Whether a first time manager or a senior executive, or any level between, you are likely leading a group of talented individuals looking to you for inspiring leadership.  If you follow the author’s three tips, you will find you are along the path to success.

 

More from the article:

 

“As a leader of A Players, you have to be an A Player yourself.  You must bring the same passion for innovation, exploration and personal challenge to your job that you expect your people to bring to theirs.”

 

Read the short article to learn more! 

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments to join the discussion!

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The Executive’s Guide to Better Listening

April 14, 2013

Good listening—the active and disciplined activity of probing and challenging the information garnered from others to improve its quality and quantity—is the key to building a base of knowledge that generates fresh insights and ideas. Put more strongly, good listening, in my experience, can often mean the difference between success and failure in business ventures (and hence between a longer career and a shorter one).”

The preceding quote is from the latest “DFS Learning e-Blast” article, The Executive’s Guide to Better Listening, by Bernard T. Ferrari.

In this February 2012 McKinsey Quarterly article, the author describes the power of effective listening skills to engage and develop talent, drive innovation, and facilitate organizational results.  We all could use a reminder of the importance of listening and this article provides some tools to help us achieve expertise as effective listeners.  If you want to lead effectively, you need to practice listening skills.

“Throughout my career, I’ve observed that good listeners tend to make better decisions, based on better-informed judgments, than ordinary or poor listeners do—and hence tend to be better leaders. By showing respect to our conversation partners, remaining quiet so they can speak, and actively opening ourselves up to facts that undermine our beliefs, we can all better cultivate this valuable skill.”

Read the short article to learn more!

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments to join the discussion!

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8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees

April 14, 2013

Great employees are reliable, dependable, proactive, diligent, great leaders and great followers… they possess a wide range of easily-defined—but hard to find—qualities.  A few hit the next level. Some employees are remarkable, possessing qualities that may not appear on performance appraisals but nonetheless make a major impact on performance.

The preceding quote is from the latest “DFS Learning e-Blast” article, 8 Qualities of Remarkable Employees, by Jeff Haden.

In this February 21, 2012 post on Inc. Magazine’s online edition, the author provides a straightforward list of qualities which separate ‘remarkable’ employees from ‘great’ ones.

At DFS we strive to select, develop, and retain the very best talent in luxury retail.  Learn how the author defines remarkable and then reflect on how or if you are developing the remarkable among your team and decide whether ‘remarkable’ is for you!

Read the short article to learn more!

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments to join the discussion!

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You don’t need to have all the answers

October 2, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Digging out of the Answer-Person Hole 09-19-2011

There are times when a leader must refrain from giving advice and offering opinions; yet such restraint is difficult. After all, you’re paid to provide solutions….aren’t you? So you don’t pause to consider, in the moment, about whether it’s appropriate to give your opinions and advice. When asked, your mouth opens and you speak your truth without considering the consequences.”

The preceding quote is from the latest “DFS Learning e-Blast” article, “Digging out of the Answer-Person Hole”, by Mary Jo Asmus.

In this March 1, 2010 posting on the Aspire Collaborative Services Leadership Solutions blog, the author provides a simple message on the necessity to let your staff develop by finding their own solutions.

As you read this article, think about your skills in delegation and situational leadership and your ability to match your leadership style to the readiness of your individual team members and the total team.

More from the article:

When you support your staff in developing their own solutions and opinions, you’ve not only supported their growth, but you also free up yourself to do work that has a higher priority for you and your organization.”

Read the short article to learn more!

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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The Art of Asking Questions

September 20, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

The Art of Asking Questions – 09-12-2011

“..asking questions effectively is a major underlying part of a manager’s job — which suggests that it might be worth giving this skill a little more focus.”

The preceding quote is from the latest “DFS Learning e-Blast” article, “The Art of Asking Questions”, by Ron Ashkenas.

In this August 30, 2011 blog post on the HBR Blog Network, the author provides clear guidance on the power of using the right questions to help an individual, a group, or even an organization succeed.

As you read this article, think about your ability to ask appropriate questions to guide progress, remove obstacles, and lead effectively.

More from the article:

Most of us never think about how to frame our questions. Giving this process some explicit thought however might not only make you a better manager; it might also help others improve their inquiry skills as well.”

Read the short article to learn more!

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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The State of Labor in Retailing

September 14, 2011

DISCUSSION TOPIC

The State of Labor in Retailing 09-02-2011

Labor Day is almost here and the retail industry’s focus is on sales this weekend and not the original intention of the holiday — to celebrate American labor and its historic role in making the nation great.

So what is the state of labor in the retailing business?

The industry, like others, has its problems, with a workforce largely made up of part-timers who work terrible hours for low wages and few benefits. The combination of unmotivated and sometimes poorly-trained workers and managers under extreme pressure to succeed has created issues in some stores.

Retailing also suffers from an upper management disconnect. As covered many times on RetailWire, top executives often do not have a true understanding of what workers deal with in stores. Unlike in the past, many top execs are more likely to come from MBA programs than up from the ranks.

Like other industries, compensation of upper tier executives has grown at an exponentially faster rate than front line workers. A few businesses — Whole Foods comes to mind — have taken steps to tie executive compensation to what workers within the chain make, although even here the c-suite is growing at a faster rate than store employees.

In 2006, Whole Foods increased its the salary cap from 14 times the average pay of all full-time employees to 19. That number was nearly twice the cap (10x) Whole Foods had in place in 1999. The average hourly wage for full-timers at the chain between 1999 and 2006 grew from $12.36 to $15.38.

The debate over benefits and how to control health care costs remains contentious within the industry. Major grocery chains in Southern California and the United Food and Commercial Workers seem, almost unbelievably to outsiders, on the brink of another work stoppage. An employer lockout followed by a strike in 2003/2004 was extremely damaging to Albertsons, Kroger and Safeway with the chains estimated to have lost $2 billion, not to mention the hardship faced by workers not pulling in their regular paychecks.

Not all labor relationships within retailing suffer from animosity or, perhaps worse, apathy. There are many broad exceptions: Costco, Container Store, Trader Joe’s, Wegmans, Zappos and others are often given high marks for employer/employee relationships.

Ultimately, however, many retail businesses see and treat workers as expenses to be contained and not assets to be exploited. They do this even as they proclaim, almost in unison, that their front-line workers are most important to performance.

Discussion questions:  What do you think is the state of labor in the retailing industry today? How would you fix it, assuming you believe there is something that needs to be fixed?

My post:

As a career-long retail leader, this subject never fails to frustrate me.  The easy excuse of the poor state of labor in retailing is the dominance of short term financial metrics driving bad leadership at the shop floor level.  The constant demand of immediate results that beat market expectations forces leaders to cut investment in long-term success strategies:  training and development, benefits that drive employee loyalty and performance, and time spent in efforts to intentionally engage line workers.

However, any leader in any retail organization can decide today to focus on loving their teams and provide simple development opportunities and engagement activities.  I’ve seen it personally over and over again.  Having said this, those retailers who continue to push their leaders to not focus on positive efforts to engage their staff will continue to decline into irrelevance.  Why?  Most operational leaders do not have the character strength to counter poor senior leadership.

How to fix this?  Support those retailers who get it – Container Store, Zappos, Costco and others.  Their financial results will continue to strengthen their market share and eventually kill off lesser contenders.  The evolution of retail, happening in front of us.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full discussion at Retailwire.com:  The State of Labor in Retailing

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The Retail Power of Suggestion

April 4, 2009

DISCUSSION TOPIC

Retail Customer Experience: The Retail Power of Suggestion 4/3/09

TOPIC SUMMARY:

Just down the road from my house is a great, locally owned, independent comic book shop that used to be one of my frequent haunts. Recently I’ve gone back in to reconnect with a hobby that I once loved.

The owner, an unassuming and quiet fellow named Doug, is there virtually all of the time. He has a deep love for and knowledge of his product, and is always happy to make suggestions about what to read next, based on what you’ve previously enjoyed.

Doug does something else that I didn’t notice at first, a powerful little trick of language: When he’s handing you your purchase and change, he leaves you with a phrase that, for lack of a better term, is a command to come back.

He doesn’t say, “Come see us again!” or “Thanks, please come again!” or any of the common parting shots. No, he says, confidently, “You’ll be back” or “You’ll enjoy” or “You’ll come back for more soon!”

It’s a tiny semantic difference, but a major psychological one. Like I said, I didn’t notice this at first – but when I bought the first volume of “Queen and Country” and Doug said “You’ll enjoy that, and be back soon for number two,” I immediately formed a mental picture of myself doing exactly that. About a week later, that’s precisely what I did.

Notice the level of specificity in his parting shot. He planted the seed for my next purchase by spelling it out for me. It’s not some nebulous idea of future business; it’s a description of a specific product that I’m going to buy in the coming days.

Visualization is one of the cornerstones of any flavor of self-improvement; it works because the human brain is so incredibly good at taking the things it sees and carrying out the next steps needed to make them real. This is precisely why Doug’s method is so powerful – it paints the brain a picture of the customer’s next visit, the next purchase, the next satisfying experience.

Fortune favors the brave, and business goes to the bold. A timid plea of “please, come back and see us” reaches out for pity, and sometimes that works. Much more effective is a simple and direct statement of what value the customer received, why they will want to receive it again, and what they will come back for.

Discussion questions:  What do you think about the “power of suggestion” at retail, especially around product endorsements and goodbyes? Have you experienced any similar winning suggestive practices by sales associates at retail? Is there a downside to suggestive selling strategies?

My post: 

A couple points here:  First, the key for all retailers is to keep trying various techniques for effective customer communication.  Will suggestive statements psychologically impact future customer behaviors?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  To dismiss this as a “trick” is shortsighted.  To rely upon the technique to be the solution is naïve.  The sales associate must be able to determine appropriate ways to greet, interact with, and end each interaction, based on the experience with each customer.  Which brings me to my second point.  Retailers must, even in difficult economic times, invest in leadership development and effective staff hiring and development efforts – including the psychology of communication and human interaction.  None of this is easy either for the managers or for the associates.  It must be hired for, developed, encouraged and rewarded.  And then, watch the magic happen.  You will go try it now, won’t you?  (How was that for the power of suggestion?)

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist

www.OsorioGroup.com

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

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Go to the full discussion at RetailWire.com:
http://www.retailwire.com/Discussions/Sngl_Discussion.cfm/13654

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