Do your clients think you are inaccessible?

Ridiculous you say?  Hhhmmm…

  • Does it take several phone calls to get in touch with you? 
  • Does it take longer than 24 to 48 hours to respond to your voice mail messages or emails?
  • Do you normally use the excuses “I’m too busy.” OR “I don’t have the time?”
  • If so, you probably do not know this Law of poor customer service:
    The longer it takes for you to return a call or respond to an email, the more the issue will grow exponentially larger.

 Try this instead:

Treat your phone and email with reverence. Phone messages and email messages from clients and prospective clients are the life blood of your business. Prompt responses are a good opportunity to enhance the value you provide to your clients. It’s also a great way to up-sell and cross-sell any additional products and services that they may need, but do not realize you offer.

All clients are important. Rank ordering clients as to whom you will contact based upon revenues will work only until you lose the BIG client. Then, you’ll need to re-group and try to re-capture smaller clients who found excellent customer service with your competition while you focused on the BIG client.

Keep meetings. Continually canceling, not being prepared, and not taking responsibility for ensuring the client feels valued are good excuses for your clients to seek out other vendors. It’s easier and less expensive to keep good clients, then to go and find new ones.

Blitz them with customer service. We falsely assume, with devastating results, that everyone knows how to be a good representative of the company. Train all employees to be on the same page, and work together for the benefit of the client. Contact me for details … it will save you many clients! JLSeibly@gmail.com

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Which assessments = hiring success?

A business owner recently made a typical statement about whether or not a  candidate possessed the required core values for a job.  “I’ll simply ask her if she has integrity, work ethic, and reliability, and if she does drugs. Then, I won’t need to use an assessment!”

Huh?  Over 71% of people lie in their interviews and on their resumes. Why would this person be the exception?

Scientifically validated assessments have been a continuing debate for several decades. It can be difficult to discern from among offerings of over 3,000 publishers, which tools are available and to understand their inherit differences. The issue here is that thousands of test publishers do not go to the expense and trouble to validate and test for discriminatory impact. This shortfall is compounded by the hundreds of thousands of users who don’t follow assessment directions accurately. 

The following are key points to consider when selecting the right tools required to hire the right person.

Not all assessments are created equal. Using the wrong tool, or no tool at all, is like tossing the dice and hoping for the best. Some tools are incredibility accurate, while others are simply fun to use in a seminar type setting.  The problem is we often don’t understand the difference, and end up inappropriately choosing the fun ones for hiring purposes. Legally, you need to use the tool that has a window of predictive validity of more than several months.

One assessment can not address everything. There are different types of assessments; each validates specific areas:

  • Skills Tests – measure actual competency within a particular skill set
  • Core Values Assessments – gauge integrity, work ethic, reliability and attitude towards substance abuse. 
  • Job Fit Assessments – ascertain a candidate’s ability and commitment to get the job done in the manner you desire.

Passing one of these does not mean the applicant possesses everything else required to best fill the position. For example: although applicants have successfully completed skills and core values assessments, they may not have the interest, thinking style or core behavior to do the work.  The reality is, the candidates may not have the willingness to do a good job – although, they may have the skills.  Measuring these key factors is the purpose of job fit tools.

Assessments help you find and hire the qualified people. Using an interview process alone is only successful in one of eight hires! When you employ an objective process and hire the right person, it will make a significant difference in your own success, and your company’s bottom line. 

How do you find and select the right assessments?

Insist on having the Technical Manual. It will describe precisely how the assessment has been validated, and how it has been tested for discrimination. It will also provide further information about study size, validation and reliability processes – important determinants.  Predictive validity is the key!  Are the results valid for a few months or five years?  If the provider is unable or unwilling to provide a Technical Manual, move on to another provider.

Review key determinants.  The Department of Labor offers a publication on use and selection of assessment tools. They list 13 key determinants of whether an assessment is appropriate, and its proper use.  Contact me for a copy of this publication. JLSeibly@gmail.com

Still in doubt? Ask the provider for a copy of their attorney’s legal opinion.  Many sales people will tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to know. Get the company’s legal counsel to provide a written outline of how the tool works and how it can be used. Have your own attorney review for clarification.

Employers need to hire the right people the first time to turn their companies into profitable ventures. It makes good business sense to ensure successful hiring practices.  Contact me today to discuss how you can use scientifically validated assessments to improve your hiring success. JLSeibly@gmail.com

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Bosses! Come down to reality!

Are you a business owner, executive or the boss?  We all need a reality check from time-to-time. Do you believe projects could be completed quicker if only they would do it your way? Do you expect more from others than you do from yourself?  Are you intolerant of others’ mistakes? Yet, harder on yourself?

Here are three easy ways to get real and get results:

Come into alignment.  Get on the same page with your employees regarding the expected results. This is critical for ensuring agreement. Then, have them put together an action plan and review it with you before they start!

Be the coach.  Don’t micro-manage the process. If the process is not moving forward as discussed, or it has hit more than one bump, you may need to step in. Review the thought and action processes. Correct inaccurate assumptions and negative attitudes. Be aware that many people have a hard time addressing the details of a project, particularly if the process is not working the way they envisioned it would.

Manage results.  Have short weekly reviews. What worked? What didn’t?  Be specific and stay away from the why’s. Create a plan to address issues and acknowledge successes. The key is to fine-tune and move forward. Above all, do not let set-backs stop you.

As the boss, your job is two-fold:

  • To manage major blunders and the hiccups that occur along the way.
  • To recognize and reward great progress.

(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Confidence vs. Bravado

Strong leaders recognize that their self-belief starts from within. They are responsible for their actions and words.  They develop a natural and positive self expression, a genuine confidence that is not false bravado.  They meet challenges by sharing their ideas and solutions without blame, judgment or criticism.  Others are comfortable following their lead, and wish to follow the leader’s example of developing a clear compass for achieving great results.

1)Leaders make mistakes. When they do, they quickly apologize and don’t nitpick the facts. Then, they simply follow through and deliver the newly negotiated agreement on time.

2)Experience is the key to understanding. Everyone has thoughts, opinions and feelings about a situation or person — normally a reflection of their unconscious biases. Conscious recognition and experience require taking responsibility of one’s own perception, and developing compassion for others. Compassion does not imply agreement, but it does develop the depth of soul needed in a true leader.

3)Leaders are able to work with a wide variety of people and situations by relying upon their strengths, and managing their own weaknesses. Leaders who stay focused on the human and material sides of a project are able to elicit the best in others.  They are developing breadth in their own skills and the skills of others at the same time. Their success is repeatable.  They enjoy celebrating their successes, and the outstanding results of others.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Break ‘Through’ Performance

  • Do you make changes due to boredom?
  • Out-talk others to get your own way?
  • Focus solely on the facts or your feelings to make decisions? 

Many will say, “Of course, everybody does.” These are the normal methods to handle people, systems and issues.  But the same old habits limit your job satisfaction and your ability to achieve outstanding business results.

The world of work is changing.  It requires a new level of performance to recognize new opportunities that meet the needs and business goals of your customers. 

Recognize old habits. They have become your blind spots and are getting in your way.  When you move out of your comfort zone and take the appropriate action(s), new habits will be formed.  Work with a coach to customize solutions that work for you!

Take focused action now.  Busy work is simply your excuse to avoid doing what you know you need to do to achieve the results you say you want.  Work your plan.  Include others and their ideas. Handle the details and make those hard decisions.  Want results? Take focused action.  Now.

Hire a coach.  Many business professionals want to be top performers and enjoy peak performance.  Yet, they hit a wall and slug it out alone. A coach helps you recognize blind spots and stop recycling the same old information in a mental monologue. These insights, when put into action, make you easier to work with, keep you in focused action and have you elicit the best in others.

Break through performance requires out-of-the-box thinking via the synergy of you and your coach.  Recommit to your own success.  Hire a coach and enjoy your new results.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

#1 Energy Zapper!

Our excuses!  It takes the same amount of energy to entertain the chatter about why you shouldn’t need to do something, as it does to simply get it done.  It’s amazing how much time we waste looking for excuses.

Want to be more effective?

  • Schedule
     Use a calendar or Outlook, schedule time to get the task done, and honor it as an appointment with someone important. 
  • Do or Delegate
    Just because you don’t want to do it, doesn’t mean others may not welcome the opportunity.
  • 20 minutes
    If you’re still finding excuses, set a timer for 20 minutes. Focus on the task during that time and see how far you progress.

 © Jeannette L. Seibly, 2010

Does perfectionism get in the way of results?

Perfectionism is a relative term depending upon your viewpoint. Innovative types don’t like to follow the rules. They view others as perfectionists when they ask too many questions or are unable to see the potential success of the venture in the same way they see it. Conversely, the “dot every I and cross every T” type of person looks at others as being irresponsible and unable to plan appropriately — not perfect enough in their thought processes. They simply squash any ideas that don’t match their stringent point of view.

We are all perfectionists at some level! We love to make things harder than they are. We wait for the perfect time in our lives when the economy is good, life circumstances are stable. We wait to be working for the right company, with the right boss and co-workers. In the meantime, we postpone fulfilling our goals and dreams. People stop listening to our ideas. We are upset when others “take our ideas” and are successful!

Attitude The “perfect time” is an attitude. Fulfillment of any business venture or project requires that we focus and follow through. Declare goals. Write-down specific action steps. There is no perfect plan that will prevent inevitable challenges.  Many of us love to make systems harder than they are.  We, make working with others more difficult than it needs to be.  Hiring a coach will provide invaluable simple and strategic insights.

Integrity and ethical behaviors required.  Breakdowns are to be expected, regardless of the “perfect” plan design.  Short-cuts will normally get you in trouble in the long run. Ignoring key issues now may hurt your future reputation, financial solvency, and the ability to attract and retain top performers.  Instead of relying upon your own internal monologue of what is right or wrong, talk through challenges with your business mentor.  Use the opportunity to clarify your perspective and the required action needed to avoid further pitfalls.

Learn when to quickly move forward, and when to strategically wait.  Many people self-sabotage when the results don’t fit their “perfect” view of how they should look. Instead of dealing with the facts, they play spider-solitaire or spend a lot of time surfing the Internet. They blame their lack of focused action upon not having enough: information, time, money, or opportunities. Honor your plan, even if it seems like you’re taking baby-steps. You’ll get there!

Enjoy your achievements and the accomplishments of others, now.  Too often we excuse the importance of acknowledgement due to our ambivalent feelings about being in the spot-light, even for a moment. Appreciate others’ successes and accept their congratulatory wishes. Building upon success keeps you moving forward, and encourages the right people to work with you.

 ©Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Are your employees on the same page with you?

We inevitably get upset with people who are not doing things the way we would do them ourselves. We expect them to effectively learn after reading a manual or being shown once how to do something. Their lack of consistency loses us customers (both internally and externally). Rarely do we stop to see what is missing from our employees’ perspectives so that they could be on the same page with us. 

1)     Review your training, systems and procedures. What’s missing? The national reading average is 6th grade level. This reflects a person’s ability to adequately comprehend the material and put it to good use. Some people need to talk it out to ensure they understand. Some need to be shown how to do something more than once. Still others need to “try” it themselves first, and then ask for coaching to fill in the gaps.

2)     When hiring and coaching people, we don’t have fool-proof intuitive crystal balls. Use legally and scientifically validated job fit tools for hiring, coaching and managing. This helps us understand objectively why people fail to do work the way we would do it. And it creates an opportunity to provide guidance for skill development (ours and theirs).

3)     Set specific goals, and then manage the milestones to ensure the project and people are all moving forward. When people fail to deliver the necessary results, coach them by focusing on the task at hand. Sometimes you need to be very specific and other times you’ll need to help them understand the bigger picture. Trying to fix the person never works!

 (c)Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Is attracting top performers problematic?

Or, are you a top performer who is having trouble finding your next opportunity?   The first place to inspect about yourself and/or your company, is how you talk about your employees, customers, prospects, family members, neighbors and/or competition. While you may believe using colloquialisms, profanity, or slang sounds smart, entertaining, or knowledgeable, the reality is that it provides the opposite effect.

Clean up your labeling. Name-calling, regardless of your excuse, is harmful and hurtful. It sends a negative message to others, consciously or unconsciously, about your emotional intelligence. It actually will bolster business if you speak authentically about others in a positive manner, even when they’ve made a mistake.

People are a valuable resource. When you honor everyone (and your company’s Vision and Mission statements) regardless of gender, gender choices, racial, religious and/or ethical differences, you’ll be amazed by the difference it makes. Calling women and men, girls and boys, sounds demeaning after the age of 16. Pronounce people’s names correctly. Stay away using nicknames. Be sensitive to the fact that employees may be offended and uncomfortable telling you or others to stop. As a business owner or executive, you need to ensure all people are treated with respect. Harassment suits are costly.

Take charge of your own anger. Using anger as your excuse doesn’t work, since everyone deals with some level of anger due to life experiences. Get help to find a creative way to use the negative energy in a positive manner to help others. 

Take responsibility.  In your meetings, whether one-on-one or in groups, make sure that people are referred to respectfully. Ensure any name calling is stopped, immediately. Something said in jest can actually cost you a pricey lawsuit or a million dollar client!

(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2010

Would you allow 2 miles or 2 minutes to get in the way of your results?

Unfortunately, many of us do.  We are afraid to ask for help or clarification of a project.  We won’t ask for directions on how to get to a meeting.  We don’t plan or prepare for meetings, rationalizing we are too busy.  After a networking meeting, we don’t take the two minutes to connect via email or LinkedIn.  These lost opportunities cost companies millions! 

A true story!  When someone was late for a meeting due to lack of planning on where the restaurant was located, they simply gave up. They didn’t use technology (411 (directory assistant), GPS, or MapQuest).  The restaurant was only 2 miles away!

Question:  Would you work with someone who gave up so easily?  What opportunities did they lose out on? 

Answer:  We’ll never know!

1) Get in action.  Stop rationalizing why you don’t want to!  It takes the same amount of energy!  When we ask for advice, we look competent when wishing to resolve an issue, move forward to complete a stopped project, or ask for directions.  Following through sets us apart from our competition.

2) Ask the right questions up front, and then focus on those specifics.  Working smarter means asking for clarification at the beginning.  It takes less than two minutes to ask a question, and saves mega time, money and frustration in doing unnecessary work.  What needs to happen for this project to be completed on time and within budget while achieving the necessary results?  Yes, the response may take 20 minutes.  (Hint: 20 minutes now vs. 20 hours later)

3) Plan ahead for 100% success.  Plan for breakdowns and pitfalls, they are a reality.  When they do happen, do not allow them to stop you.  That is what speed dial and social media connections are for!  Don’t be afraid to use technology, ask people, meet with advisors and review your own systems for the answers.  Taking the two minutes or driving the two miles will make you unstoppable, and have you create unprecedented results!

(c)Jeannette Seibly, 2010