Posted tagged ‘jazz’

A New Year’s Resolution to Becoming an Undercover Boss

January 5, 2011

  Have you seen the new show on CBS called Undercover Boss? It is one of the best new reality shows on TV.  Sorry, no drunken cat fights, no one living in a house with too much time, money and mirrors available, no Snookie (there’s a name to make a mother proud,) and  no cheating spouses caught in the act.  Some of you will quit reading at this point and some will be relieved at the above list!

If you work in an organization that has been impacted in any way by the economy, the new year provides a great opportunity for a new perspective. On the show, the CEO of a company alters his/her looks and goes to work in the lower ranks of his company. Carefully edited to make each CEO look completely incompetent at any position, the opportunity unveils critical areas needing improvement. Each CEO seems to finish the show proclaiming it was “the best experience” of their lives.  They uncover seemingly hidden treasures called hard-working dedicated employees who usually receive a promotion or fabulous vacation when the CEO comes clean about his/her identity.

So let’s imagine you have the chance to go undercover at your own organization. What would you find? 

 Here is my challenge: Conduct business with your own company as a customer or client normally would.  Call on the main phone line, walk in the front door, encounter your employees.  Don’t look for what is working fine, rather “Declare War on your Company Comfort Zone!” says Mark Stevens, author of Your Marketing Sucks…followed by the sequel, Your Management Sucks.  (I highly recommend both books but they are tough to give out without initially offending people.)

Look for the areas where complacency has begun  to grow like a new seedling and is ready to pop its sprout of “I don’t care that much” out at any time.  What are the little areas that  have gone unnoticed but could begin to have a big impact?  We call these the Sour Notes of business.  You may or may not notice them, but enough of them put together kills your company Vibe and ruins the experience of your audience.  

Here are a couple of real-life examples of sour notes:

  • Poor telephone answering skills, no on-hold experience, a monotonous voice that communicates lack of concern
  • Sloppy construction workers that leave a mess behind
  • Doctor’s who don’t apologize when little things go wrong, like accidentally puncturing a lung in surgery
  • Websites who bury and hide customer service phone numbers
  • Any restaurant with a dirty bathroom (must mean the kitchen isn’t very clean either, right?)
  • Churches with information display windows that haven’t been cleaned in years and sun-faded promotional pieces displayed

…and these are just a few from my last week of experiencing different organizations. 

So I encourage you to go on a hunt for sour notes that are affecting the experience of your customers.  Do it by the end of the week and…

There’s a Reward for you to participate!

You will be rewarded for participating!

 For the first FIVE people who find and fix sour notes in their organization, I will send you either a copy of our newest book, “The Social Cause Diet” with 45 inspiring stories of people who volunteer time to help others, or a $500 gift certificate that can be used toward one of our three most popular workshops:

PERSONAL VIBE  Our newest Personalities Workshop!

DELIBERATE DIALOGUES   How to engage in the most needed conversations without them getting personal.

WHAT’S VIBE GOT TO DO WITH IT?  Just like a jazz band, every organization gives off a Vibe. That Vibe directly impacts your bottom-line either positively or negatively. This workshop teaches everyone on your team how to be intentional about building your company’s Vibe!

Just send me an email at jody@jazzbc.com and let me know what Sour Notes you found and fixed and either you will receive the prize of your choice listed above…or you will receive an encouraging email from me along with seeing a positive impact on your business.

I look forward to hearing from you soon! Happy New Year!

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Five Simple Lessons for Business to Learn From the Titanic

August 24, 2010
Titanic memorial

1522 People Perished because of three bad decisions

Have you seen the movie, Titanic?  If so you already know the story of the ship they called “Unsinkable.” However, did you know that there were five bad decisions  that resulted in the demise of over 1500 people? If the crew had made even just one of them differently, it may have saved the lives of all who perished.  What can be learned by leaders in business today, who are trying to navigate their own murky waters of economic climate changes, consumers’ hesitation to spend and overburdened tired workforces? Plenty it seems…and it doesn’t take  much effort to avoid the same deadly mistakes.   

 Fatal Error #1 The overriding mistake made by the designers of the Titanic was that of pride and arrogance. They were sure it wouldn’t, no…it couldn’t sink…It was a magnificent work of engineering art! It was brilliance on the water! It was a floating money-maker. It was about to sink and take with it fifteen hundred and twenty-two precious lives.   

 As a management consultant, I am always delighted to find and talk to leaders with tremendous humility. There seems to be a direct correlation between a leader’s lack of ego and the long-term stability and success of an organization. One of my favorite examples would be the late Coach John Wooden. During the off-seasons, he would teach workshops to young coaches at conferences. It always surprised the other younger speakers to see him in their workshops furiously taking notes and learning as much as possible. His own success never deterred him from the desire to learn and improve.    

Challenge Question #1- Would your co-workers describe you as a humble leader open to different perspectives?    

Binoculars    

  • Fatal Error #2 Missing Binoculars meant they could not see what was ahead One of the first ways that arrogance was manifested was in a pair of binoculars being locked in a cabinet.  The prevailing thought was that binoculars wouldn’t be necessary! Binoculars would have helped the Captain or his crew see farther than the naked eye. They would have seen masses of icebergs and avoided collision. But how necessary is being able to “see” any more clearly when you have an unsinkable ship? Right, BP or Wall Street or Congress? 

Challenge Question #2-When do the leaders in your organization have the opportunity to look ahead and give consideration to potential icebergs in your path?    

Short rope...no temperature readings

Fatal Error #3 A SHORT ROPE   In those days, ships kept watch over the temperatures of the water by tying a thermometer to then end of a rope and dragging it in the water. A dramatic drop in temperature would alert the crew that there were potential icebergs ahead. Because the Titanic was larger than other ships, the rope attached was of a standard length. This meant that the thermometer on the end could not reach the water. A longer rope would have enabled the crew to realize that their climate temperature had dropped from 43 degrees Fahrenheit to a mere 28 degrees.  The Captain would have found out much sooner that the ship was about to encounter icebergs.   

Business leaders can become so inundated with daily pressures that they overlook taking the temperature of their own surrounding climate. I knew a man who operated a kitchen countertop manufacturing company who assumed that the nation’s economic woes were the only reason for his own business seeing a decline in sales. It was later revealed that several potential clients had attempted to do business with him; however, his son who was running the showroom, was playing games and viewing pornography on his computer and ignoring customers.  This business owner had refused to take the temperature of his industry climate. It may have forced him to consider other key performance indicators affecting his business. He eventually filed for bankruptcy and sent a flood of clients to his competitor.   

    Challenge Question #3-Do you make assumptions about your industry’s climate based on news forecasts that are often generalized about the overall economy?  What potential opportunities have you missed in accepting flawed assumptions?    

 Fatal Error #4 When the Titanic set sail, it did not house nearly enough lifeboats for all of the passengers. The designers did not want to compromise usable space for life rafts. The ones that were included were for higher-paying passengers and small fishing expeditions.  This flawed thought-process cost many people their lives.   

This type of thinking occurs when companies are anxious to get products and services to market without lifeboat/backup plans for unexpected events. Remember “faulty Firestone Tires on Ford Explorers” or “accelerator problems with Toyota vehicles.”  The number one solution to avoid many of these disasters is a leader’s willingness to engage in and have critical conversations. We call these Deliberate Dialogues. They are conversations focused on key business priorities and not personal agendas or politics. Conversations create your lifeboats. It seems as though most, if not all business disasters occur as a result of a key player avoiding a necessary conversation.   

 Challenge Question #4 – What important conversation are you avoiding? What is holding you back and what could it potentially cost you?    

Fatal Error #5 Poor People Skills. The radio operator responsible for conversations with surrounding ships had an abrasive edge to his style of communication. This annoyed the person operating the radio of the nearest ship.  Irritated with his rudeness, the radio operator of the neighboring ship actually turned off his own radio and went to bed. When the Titanic radio people were calling for help, no one could hear their cries because communication had been shut down.     

How often does communication get shut down because of a lack of understanding of temperaments and social styles? Honestly…constantly! A Personal Vibe (Personalities) class is the first workshop we teach on any project. It gives people a common working language and equips them to communicate more effectively without taking things personally.  Communication is a vital and often undervalued skill.  Leaders tend to see it as fluffy or touchy-feely and miss the benefits that clear communication  and people-skills provide.     

Challenge Questions #5- When was the last time your employees had training in the area of personality types or communication? What assumptions are you making and how costly might those be?    

If the crew and management had addressed only one of the Fatal Errors differently, many lives would have been spared. But because of pride, arrogance and lack of being teachable, this story ended on a sad note. But your company has the opportunity to do things differently. Spend just a few moments and ask yourself what needs to be changed to avoid the sinking of your “organizational ship.” Do you need:    

  • To be more open to other perspectives,
  • A clearer vision about where your company is headed,
  • A better gauge of your industry’s climate,
  • More lifeboats (resulting from quality conversations), or
  • Better communication and people skills?

This is your chance. Don’t make the same mistakes.  Choose wiser and enjoy the many benefits of having everyone on your team rowing in the same direction. And if you aren’t sure where to start, call us at Jazz Business Consulting at 800-797-8138. Our “radios” are always on!   

Bon Voyage!

Vibe and Wise Counsel

January 29, 2010

Business people running the raceDid you ever hear a great speaker and become so energized that all you wanted to do was to get out there and “run” armed with  your new knowledge?

We had a lunch like that today. Our three owners of Jazz Business Consulting had lunch with a man we have respected and admired for many years, Sam Beler. Sam is a wildly successful business man with a passion for God and his lost people with almost an equal passion for Jazz music. Last year, as the Executive Producer for Unity Music (his side job),  he orchestrated a Johnny Cash-like concert with Jamie Davis and some guys from the Count Basie Orchestra to be held at Angola Prison. This prison was at one time known as the most violent prison in the country. However;  under the direction of a new warden, the prison has experienced an amazing transformation in the last 15 years.  This is another story of great leadership….but back to our lunch.Unity Music Logo
Originally we invited our friend Sam to lunch to give us experienced and wise counsel in launching our new business. He asked great questions and had each of us explain what we do. Although we only were able to share slices of how our team goes in and works with leadership teams to transform the culture of organizations, Sam kept coming up with ideas on how he could help us build our company and connect us with quality people so that we could help them.  Sam loves our tag line of “Change that creates great Vibe!”  We loved his enthusiasm.
I asked Sam what were the things he did right in his early years of business building. He named three key things:
  1. He didn’t build his company alone. He started with a great partnership with a quality man…Check! I’ve got Yvonne and Roger.
  2. He built a company that was totally focused on serving clients. Check…Isn’t that a given? “No,” says Sam. “So many organizations focus on selfish motives, agendas and greed! Look at Wall Street.”  Note: Sam’s company is  an investment firm (PTLA) who grew substantially last year. Trust me, it has everything to do with his integrity, people skills and what he calls, “the Lord’s Favor.”
  3. Care deeply about your people (employees, friends and clients and family).  Be there when they need you. Your life scars are what give you the ability to serve your people with genuine heart. Be there when they experience life’s tragedies.  And be there when you can support the growth of their dreams…Observation: wasn’t that exactly what he was doing  for us?

Wow…in a nutshell. The observations of a wise, loving, smart, genuine and caring man. A man whose life had been an accumulation of experiences lived within the framework of the 3 keys above.  A wealthy man, wealthy in family, many many friends, wealthy in the amount of respect  he had from people all over the world….and richly wealthy in the size of his heart and the amount of generosity he shows in every opportunity he gets.

All three of us left that lunch knowing we had experienced a “kairos moment.” (a life changing moment). It isn’t often we get to sit at the feet of wise counsel and have someone speak into our personal and work lives this way. We also know that the greatest way we could honor that moment, was to allow it to change us, to shape our outlook and perspective on what is most important. And then to live out the lessons we had learned.

Thank you Sam….Thank you for your kindness and for sharing yourself the way you did today. None of us took it for granted as just another business lunch. It truly had life changing implications. Sam…you’re the best!

You can have your cake and eat it too!

July 30, 2009

cakeHave you ever walked into Claim Jumpers Restaurant and seen the enormous chocolate cake in the display case? And by enormous, I mean, the size of a small child? Yesterday, I had the privilege of having lunch with the HR and Sales Team from BBSI (aka: Barrett Business  www.barrettbusiness.com). It is not very often that I am super impressed by an insurance company, but this one is definitely different. Doing business with them is a lot like ordering the big chocolate cake. They position themselves as a Workers’ Comp, HR, Payroll company, but what they deliver is infinitely much more!  Because they are in the unique position of being self-insured (almost unheard of), they only take on companies that operate in a safe, smart and intentional way. Since their clients are a lower risk, BBSI is able to offer insurance rates that can be  substantially lower. In addition, you receive all of the payroll benefits (tax reporting, etc) and a smorgasborg of HR support services. I had recently referred BBSI to a client and as soon as they were accepted, we calculated that this would be an annual savings of about $25,000 a year (with no accidents). For a company that only has 25 employees, that is a lot of money….(We paid for our consulting on this recommendation alone:) Additionally, they handle and represent your company if there is any employee related legal action. Wow, talk about peace of mind!

So we ordered a slice of the chocolate cake……..and after wrestling it away from,    sharing  with Vince the Managing Director, we left full, happy, and excited about the future.

So my question to you is, do your clients feel like they have enjoyed the giant chocolate cake after interacting with your customer service? Or do they feel like they got the diet plate, just the minimum amount to get by?

Here’s to Chocolate Cake Service!

To contact BBSI for more info, call my friend Vince at 925-686-2800, ext 114. Tell him Jody recommended the chocolate cake package!

A Young Entrepreneur’s VIBE

May 2, 2009
Young Entrepreneurs with great VIBE

Young Entrepreneurs with great VIBE

  I love to help excited people with good ideas get a business off the ground and humming! I had the pleasure of having coffee with an amazing young man who has a great future ahead of him. Faced in his early twenties with a surprise baby on the way, my friend Matt chose to create a future of hope and stability for his son. He finished college in about 1/2 the time it takes others and launched a new company called GoAutoAds. He has fleets of drivers all over the country that will have their cars wrapped with your logo and artwork and drive them all day within your target demographic area. For example, if you want to advertise a tanning salon, he finds drivers that attend the nearest colleges. The drivers are also briefed on how to talk about your company and pass out brochures wherever they go. Additionally, you can hire anywhere from 1-50 drivers. The exposure is amazing and it is way more cost effective than print advertising or radio or even TV!!! Check out his website www.GoAutoAds.com

He is just about ready to launch a new website so be patient with him…but really, check it out.  Matt has everything it takes to be a great success! He’s got energy, high standards of excellence, professionalism (he wore a tie to have coffee), a great idea and an outstanding work ethic. He is a stand up guy that you need to know about!

Go Matt! GoAutoAds!