One Question That Can Change Everything

Image result for helpI talk a lot about choosing to be helpful. But, what does helpful mean, what messages does it send, and what’s necessary to be genuinely helpful?

WHAT IS HELPFULNESS?

Helpfulness is being of service. It is doing useful things for people, such as things they cannot do for themselves, things they do not have time to do, or just helping them get access to things they would have a hard time accessing by themselves.

Helpfulness means trying to make life a little easier for other people. If we are paying attention, we notice times when people could use a helping hand – opening a door when hands are full, giving directions to a lost soul or assisting in the completion of a hard task. Helpfulness is simply that instinctive desire to ease the struggle of others.

WHAT ARE THE MESSAGES?

When we genuinely, proactively help others it sends a message; it tells people that our intentions are fair and noble because we are working in their best interests. Put simply, when we are freely being helpful, it makes it clear that it’s not all about us and that others’ needs and concerns matter. When we help others without asking for anything in return, it shows a willingness to sacrifice time and effort for no other reason than you see another human being who could benefit from having a weight lifted from their shoulders, even if it’s a small weight.

WHAT’S NECESSARY TO BE TRULY HELPFUL?

You have to want to do it for it to be genuine. If your boss has to tell you to smile, it’s going to be fake, and like a smile, helpfulness has to be something you want to do rather than something you have to do. It is something others can feel, they know it when they see it.

You have to be willing to be flexible and accommodating. Without flexibility, helpfulness isn’t really so helpful, it’s just doing what we want under the guise of doing for others. Accommodation is a real sign of the selfless nature of true helpfulness.

You have to be observant. Awareness is the first step to being helpful. We have to see struggle and the human in need and then step in to lift the burden if we can, thus, we need to be alert and looking for opportunities to serve.

You have to listen without judgement or assumptions so you can truly understand. Understanding is sometimes as helpful as assisting with a task.

WHAT’S HELPFUL AND WHAT’S NOT?

You are being helpful when you…

  • Notice when someone needs help.
  • Offer a service without being asked.
  • Offer guidance when something looks like it could have negative results.
  • Listen to someone who needs to talk.

 

Your helpfulness isn’t so helpful when you…

  • Take action without thinking about what others need.
  • Do whatever anyone asks even if it isn’t good for them.
  • Ignore others when they ask for help.
  • Fail to really listen because you’re making assumptions or looking for hidden agendas.
  • Never offer to help.

Helpfulness is a choice we make. It isn’t a natural part of our wiring, think of young children, they constantly want and rarely help unless prodded. We have to teach them to make the choice. So, with that in mind, helpfulness takes conscious effort and practice. It may be something we never perfect, but the effort can affect change, great change, a change in the world. It’s worth it, your teammates, customers, friends, and family need it, so make practicing it a priority. Right now, look around you and seize the opportunity to ask someone one simple question, “Can I help?”

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Karen Martin’s Clarity First: a book review

Image result for clarity first bookWhen I first received Karen Martin’s book, Clarity First, I thumbed through it and thought it was going to be a chore to get through. My cursory thumbing only seemed to reveal what, on first appearances, looked like a very technical, overly business-y tome. Boy was I wrong. This book proved to be one of the better ones I have read all year.

The key theme of the book is the critical importance to organizational success of getting clear, really clear, 6-year-old uncomplicated clear about why you do what you do and the actions necessary to achieve it. Martin proposes that one of biggest roadblocks to success, if not the biggest, is ambiguity, the opposite of clarity. When things are ambiguous, people just don’t know why their organization does what it does and exactly how they connect to it, and this results in mediocrity, inconsistency, and general unrest at best.

The book is built around five Ps: Purpose, Priorities, Process, Performance, and Problem Solving with a couple of concluding chapters on you as an individual and how you influence clarity, and then a final summary of the key points in the book.

After an opening chapter that acts as a kind of introduction and overview, the Purpose chapter focuses on why an organization exists and how that is communicated to all team members. This discussion stays true to the theme of the book by getting clear on the purpose of purpose. A good example is this quote, “having a clear purpose ensures that no one is off doing their best at something that does not matter to the organization.” As with all of the chapters, Martin includes a step-by-step methodology, and in this case, it’s for determining your organization’s purpose and how to get your team on board.

In Priorities, Martin connects purpose to determining critical priorities for the organization. She gives us a road map for how to define priorities, get agreement from key stakeholders, and then track performance related to them. Martin creates a very straightforward how-to guide all the way through this section that any organization can follow and implement.  If you are a fan of Franklin Covey’s Four Disciplines of Execution, you will enjoy this chapter.

The Process chapter addresses getting systems aligned to the purpose and priorities to ensure they bring appropriate and relevant value. Martin gives us a methodology for streamlining and uncomplicating processes so that employees can get the work done as excellently, efficiently, and easily as possible. As I see it, this chapter speaks to a critical need that, if implemented, would increase employee happiness in organizations everywhere. Many business leaders would do well to read and re-read this chapter.

In Performance, the author speaks to continuously improving. Here we get a primer on the methods and approaches necessary to drive excellence. In quotes like this, “all team members need to understand what the KPIs mean, what the targets are, and how the organization references those targets,” Martin hammers home the need to track progress with balanced performance indicators and goals, and then communicate very openly and transparently with visible scorecards.

The last of the five Ps is Problem Solving. Here Martin clarifies the need to make problem solving part of everyone’s responsibility and gives us some training in finding root causes and developing solutions, or, as she calls them, countermeasures. In this chapter, she also presents us with a coaching model to help infuse her problem-solving process in an organization.

The last two chapters give us first, as stated above, some thoughts about the importance of leadership in this total effort and how individuals need to operate with clarity in thought, word, and deed if the whole thing is going to work, and second, an overall summary of the whole book.

Karen Martin’s Clarity First is chock full of take-aways that are well worth diving into. Any leader, whether of a large corporation, non-profit, small startup, or even church or club, would do well to pick up a copy of this book, read it, and implement many, if not all, of the methods and approaches outlined.

Ten ways to create a more civil workplace.

Image result for civilityAccording to Christine Porath in a Georgetown University study, in 2016, 62% of employees were treated rudely at work at least once a month, a tendency that has grown steadily since the study began in 1998 where the number was 49%. What this means to business is this – if the trend continues unabated, every year, you can expect your leaders and employees to treat each other with more and more dismissive, demeaning, uncivil behavior.

The impact of this is significant. Inside organizations, 78% of employees experiencing rude behavior report being less committed, 66% show a decline in performance, and 47% find ways to intentionally spend less time at work. In addition, the impact spreads outside the organization as 25% of employees report that rude behavior in the workplace causes them to take out their frustrations and behave in like manner with customers.

So how can we change things and make our workplaces more civil and less rude? I’ve been reading the great book Choosing Civility by P.M. Forni who cofounded the Johns Hopkins University Civility Project. In this book, Forni lists 25 rules of considerate conduct, and while all of them are worthy of anyone’s time to study and incorporate in their day-to-day behavior, I have pulled out 10 of these as key behaviors for leaders in the workplace.

  1. Acknowledge Others. No one should feel invisible. Make eye contact. Greet people with “good morning”, “good afternoon”, etc. Use people’s names. Make people feel welcome in your presence.
  2. Think the Best. Most people are not trying to intentionally ruin things or do harm, try to assume positive intent. Until proven wrong, give the benefit of the doubt that people are trying to do the best they can with the resources and tools available to them.
  3. Listen. Stop focusing on yourself and your needs; instead, focus on other people. Don’t assume you need to solve anything, just hear and try to understand clearly what they are saying. Respect what others think and honor their right to see things differently than you do. It doesn’t mean you have to agree, just hear them.
  4. Speak Kindly. Be respectful in word and tone, particularly when delivering critical feedback. In addition, never gossip or speak unkindly of people when they are not present.
  5. Accept and Give Praise. It is said that one of the greatest things you can give someone else is a sense of their own worth. Praising the accomplishments of others and showing appreciation cost you nothing but deliver tremendous value. And when you are praised, a kind thank you is all that’s necessary. Gracious humility is a virtue.
  6. Be Agreeable. Be open to and look for opportunities where you can accommodate others, compromise, or simply allow someone else’s ideas to be implemented. Your way isn’t the only way.
  7. Respect Other People’s Time. Be punctual, end things on time, wait your turn to speak, show up to everything you’ve promised, and every time you fail to do so, apologize.
  8. Apologize Earnestly. Be clear about the error you’ve made and do not make excuses. Let others know that what you did was wrong and that you understand and regret the negative impact you’ve made.
  9. Accept and Give Constructive Criticism. Be clear about your intentions. If your intention is to help, then be helpful, however, if your intent is revenge or to manipulate things to your benefit, re-evaluate and walk away. When receiving criticism, assume the positive intentions of others. Be grateful ,not defensive.
  10. Don’t Shift Responsibility and Blame. If you are part of the problem, own it, apologize if necessary, and help in finding a solution. Trying to place blame rather than working to find a solution makes you an obstacle. Don’t be that person.

More civility in the workplace can benefit you, your teammates, and your customers and it begins one person, one interaction, one relationship at a time. Be the spark who lights the flame of change and lead your organization to be an environment of more kindness, consideration, and respect.

Here are more resources for this important subject…

More on P.M Forni and the JHU Civility Project:

http://krieger2.jhu.edu/civility/

More on Christine Porath:

http://www.christineporath.com/

Finally, get more perspective on your own level of civility by taking Porath’s civility assessment. Once complete, you will learn about your strengths and weaknesses and get actionable steps you can take to improve:

http://www.christineporath.com/assess-yourself/

 

 

Are You Fast Or Half-Assed? Why You Need to Know.

Image result for fast or half-assed

Fast is better than half-assed. I am such a geek, I always laugh at that phrase. And while it is a funny play on words, it has relevance for us.

In one way of thinking, it speaks to integrity and doing more than what’s required versus doing the minimum and only what’s absolutely necessary. And this is a big problem in the workplace. There are those employees and some entire businesses that are, like the “half-assed” latter, following fake scripts in an attempt to sound pro-customer while others, like the “fast” former, are genuinely focusing on customers as the humans they are.

For example, think about the times when you’ve been in a quick-service restaurant and gotten that greeting, “Good morning, welcome to ABC, how can I help you?”, they take your order, give you a receipt, and tell you your order will come up at the end of the counter. As soon as you walk away, you hear it again, “Good morning, welcome to ABC, how can I help you?” It’s a fast-food factory, a treadmill of sorts where the customer is moved down a conveyor belt. Customers are nothing more than a part of a process. This is fake and half-assed, and customers deserve and want real.

Contrast that to my last experience at Chick-fil-A. When I went to the counter, I got “Good morning, welcome to Chick-fil-A, can I take your order?” much like other quick-service places but from there things changed, I became a person because the employee at the counter asked me how I was doing. When I said I was having a good day but it was awfully hot outside they mentioned that they were getting off soon and would soon be out in it too. From there, we carried on for a couple of minutes while I dug some change out of my pockets. This interacting was, to my way of thinking, doing more, this was “fast” as opposed to “half-assed,” and it made me human in only a few moments. No script, no training-class role playing, just human-to-human contact that was real.

What made this happen? Why is it that one place was fake and scripted while the other went from the script to human without a blink?

Part of Chick-fil-A’s stated purpose is to make a positive influence on all who come in contact. This is easy and actionable. If I am an employee, I know, very simply, what to do, just make a positive influence on others. That’s easy, just make others feel good. No script, no fake smile, just be real and make a positive influence on others.

My question to you is this, are you empowering employees with simple actionable guidance to humanize customers or are you trying to control things with scripts and rules? Ultimately, is your service strategy fast or half-assed?

There’s power in purpose. Here’s how you can use it.

Image result for purposeThere’s a lot of talk about purpose these days and for good reason. For too long people have worked for companies whose purpose was either not clear or a facade. And by facade I mean they had a grand mission in words but everyone knew by their actions that all they really wanted was to profit, period. Products and services were only a vehicle, a means to the end of bettering self, not a way to improve the lives of others.

Now we’re in the 21st century and thanks to Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why, Lisa Earle Mcleod’s Selling With Noble Purpose, and Jim Stengel’s Grow, businesses in all corners are abuzz about their purpose. They’re asking themselves, “Why do we exist? What do we do that matters? How do we benefit others?” Don’t get me wrong, this is a very good thing, I am all for people believing in and feeling strongly about the work they do. We all want what we do to make what Steve Jobs called “a dent in the universe.” But the employee out there on the factory floor or in the shop or sitting in their cubicle rolls their eyes thinking “we’re not curing cancer, we make widgets that end up in swag bags at conferences, what’s the purpose in that, how is that noble?”

But we need to be clear about purpose, purpose doesn’t mean it has to change the lives of everyone on the planet, it doesn’t have to be some lofty, idealistic, heroic thing, it’s really just about doing things that matter … to someone. It’s about doing things that help others. And helping can mean a lot of things. Maybe you help people do something they can’t do themselves. Maybe you help people do things they don’t know how to do. Maybe you help them do something they don’t want to do. Maybe you simply provide something that makes people smile or thrills them or entertains them. No matter what your business does, if it helps someone somewhere, if it makes someone’s life just a little better and they value it, even if it’s momentary, you are doing something that matters. No, it’s not curing the ills of the world but it matters to someone and if you didn’t do it, who would?

When I first started my work life, I was 15 and worked in a Tupperware distribution warehouse for my uncle. You remember Tupperware, those plastic bowls and things for storing food et al, it was a pretty big thing back before you could get plastic bowls and things in the supermarket for next to nothing. The way Tupperware worked, the sales was done through parties that were held in homes where products were shown off and sold. The sales people were for the most part, remember, this was the 70s, housewives making extra income. Orders would come in to distributors who would fill them and either ship them out or deliver them to the ladies personally when they had their weekly “sales celebrations” at the distributor’s meeting room.

Anyway, when I think back, at the time I could only see the drudgery of filling those boxes with product and loading trucks. I really had no sense of purpose. However, now that I look back with more experience (and more gray hair), I can see how Tupperware was changing and making lives better. I remember hearing stories of how some of the ladies were making more money to help their families make ends meet. Others made enough to buy a second car, or take their family on a much needed vacation, or save for sending kids to college. All of these things were making lives better … with Tupperware. In addition, Tupperware was helping the environment as they were one of the first companies promoting recycling. In the warehouse, we would regularly take old Tupperware products, grind them into bits and send those bits off to be recycled into more Tupperware. Lots of meaningful purpose behind working there but I was totally unaware of it at the time, which is unfortunate, because that awareness could have impacted how I thought about the work and made it better and more meaningful.

So, given all of that, and thinking of the impact purpose can make, the bigger question is, how are you sharing purpose, how your company benefits others, with your team members? Do your employees know that what they do touches someone out there and it matters to them? Have they ever heard a story that communicates how meaningful the widget in that swag bag was and how it came at a moment in time where it caused a change? I know it may sound crazy but somewhere out there is a customer whose life has been moved by what you do and your employees need to know about it. It makes a big difference to come to work knowing that what you do matters to someone rather than just coming in to make sure your tasks are completed so you can get your paycheck.

If you’re a leader in your business, whether a senior executive or a line manager or a group leader, you owe it to your employees to help them understand how they matter. There is no greater gift you can give someone than a sense of their value and why what they do makes a difference.

Go find that story. Go find a customer that’s been touched by your company’s work, and when you do, come back and tell that story to everyone in your workplace. Make work matter. Make your employees matter. That’s the power of purpose.

 

Are you upping your customer experience game for you or for customers? The difference matters.

Image result for giving simon sinekSo many businesses have jumped on the bandwagon to improve their customers’ experience. While I applaud it and truly believe that it’s about time, there is one concerning question, are they doing it to truly serve customers or in hopes of potential gain?

What I mean is are these companies only using what I call faux customer focus as a means for increasing their financial results or is it to really get back to the true roots of business, namely, helping people accomplish objectives?

Selling With Noble Purpose author Lisa Earle McLeod says so eloquently, “When the majority of employees believe the primary purpose of the organization is to make money, the organization is destined for mediocrity. Meaningful competitive differentiation requires an outward focus on the people who actually drive your business, customers.” To illustrate, think about this example. Imagine being invited to a party by a friend only to find out it is a sales pitch for some kitchenware. How would you feel? Would it make you question whether you are a friend or a money-making opportunity? You still got to go to a party and you may have enjoyed it but the intentions behind the invitation took away a lot of the joy and made you feel a little used.

Focusing on customers for your gain versus their gain will ultimately come to light and it will damage you. Make sure you are serving for the right reasons, customer success not your success. When it is truly from a generous heart, good will come back from it. Call it karma if you like but it never fails.

Don’t fall for shiny and new, get the basics right. Here’s where to start.

Related imageI saw this quote in a post on Adrian Swinscoe’s website, “Try not to fall into the trap of the shiny and pretty and make sure you get the basics right.” I couldn’t agree more. So many customer experience professionals are out there on a trek to find the holy grail of CX and it is a journey where the shiny and new is often alluring, however, that route often fails though because so many businesses are not getting the most basic things right. So, what are those basics and how can we improve?

Three things come to mind as basic elements of a great experience, 1) easy processes, 2) enjoyable people, and 3) effective products.

EASY PROCESSES

Have you ever made a call as a customer trying to get something accomplished only to find it trying or difficult? If so, you know how important ease of systems is. Being able to get things done without tremendous effort is the essence of service. I mean, we pay others to do the work for us, that’s what businesses are for, that’s what service is. And if it’s difficult, do you begin wondering what you’re paying for? Here are some questions to ask of your business to see if it’s making things easy or not:

  1. How many calls does the average customer have to make to get a problem solved?
  2. How many different people or departments do customers have to speak with to get a problem solved?
  3. How many times does a customer have to repeat their story, their account number, or anything else?
  4. How many hoops does the customer have to jump through (forms to fill, research to do, wait time for answers, etc.)?

Take a hard look. Is your operation easy or difficult?

ENJOYABLE PEOPLE

One of the biggest reasons customers list for dissatisfaction is indifference of the staff. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had a provider roll their eyes at a request or sigh when asked to do something like we’ve asked them to scale Everest. And that’s not all, I am sure you’ve experienced flat out rudeness or lack of courtesy as if customers are obstacles rather than the reason the business exists. All of these things stand in direct opposition to a good experience and must be improved if any real progress is to be made in the customer experience realm. Here are some questions to ask of your employees to see if they are making things enjoyable or not:

  1. Do your employees make customers feel welcome? Do customers get a smile and a warm greeting, even if it’s on the phone?
  2. Do your employees ask questions to learn exactly what customers need, want, or are struggling with? Are customers invited to provide input and share their story?
  3. Do employees listen with full attention? Do they paraphrase key points back so that customers know they were heard?
  4. Do employees gladly share information that clearly explains things? Do customers leave knowing exactly what to expect, what’s happening next, what they need to do, etc.?
  5. Do employees leave interactions by showing genuine appreciation to customers? Do customers leave feeling they are valued?

Again, take a hard look. Is working with your team members enjoyable?

EFFECTIVE PRODUCTS

Ultimately, this is the biggest test because this is fundamentally what customers come to you for in the first place. They have a need and you fulfill it. That’s what businesses do, they help people accomplish things and if you’re not doing it effectively, your days are numbered. Here are some more questions to ask yourself to evaluate the effectiveness of your products/solutions:

  1. Do you truly know what it is your customers want to accomplish? Is this a question asked of everyone? Are you looking for innovative options to help them achieve more?
  2. Are your customers successful in accomplishing their objectives? Do you follow up to find out?
  3. What are you offering before purchase to help them? What about after purchase, what ongoing support is there?
  4. How responsive are you to their problems? Do customers feel they are a priority or are they a number on a list? How are you ensuring that their problems will be solved and not pushed under the rug?

Go out and observe, ask customers for their thoughts, get to know what’s really happening no matter how painful the truth might be. Are you really providing effective products/solutions?

Here’s the final word. If your business isn’t easy to work with, if interactions are worse than a trip to an oral surgeon, and your products and services don’t genuinely help people achieve success, start updating your resume because your company will be out of business soon. But you can improve, you can take action, you can engage your employees in finding ways to make it all better. Believe me, they know the problems and they have answers. Ask them what they think, ask them for their ideas, and then help them implement change. The shiny, pretty new ideas are floating around everywhere, and they can be as inviting as the sirens on the seas, but don’t fall into the trap, fix the basics first and you will see rewards.

Ten Questions for Removing Complexity at Work

Related imageHave you ever had times when you went into a store to return something and the clerk helping you made it difficult? I’ve often wondered why something so simple could be made so problematic. I often think that one major possibility is that the process the clerk has to go through is so challenging that they want nothing more than to get you out of the way so they can avoid the complexity. I say this because I experienced it when I worked in retail many long years ago. The particular place had a return policy and procedure that was so cumbersome that it was easier to disappoint a customer than it was to perform the procedure. So, we, the employees, often did it, we pissed off a customer rather than having to go the through return-process hell.

Do you see this in your workplace? How many systems are simply out of alignment with employee and customer ease?

Some of you might be grumbling to yourself that work isn’t meant to be easy, it is work after all, but as our friends at FranklinCovey tell us, effective leaders create systems that make it easier to achieve results. When you make things easy for employees, you make it easier for customers as the product-return example illustrates, and if that’s not enough, making employees’ lives easier allows for more efficiency and less errors which means lower costs. You see, ease and lower complexity can make life better – for everyone including the boss.

So, when’s the last time you reviewed your systems and processes? Here are ten questions to help in this review.

  1. What are the key objectives of your team or work group?
  2. What are the systems necessary to reach those objectives?
  3. What are the steps necessary for each system to be successful?
  4. Are all those who touch each system necessary?
  5. Are there any unnecessary steps in any of the systems?
  6. Are there any redundant steps any of the systems?
  7. Is the sequence of steps in each system logical and uncomplicated?
  8. Is any training needed?
  9. Are any additional resources needed?
  10. How will changes to any of these systems improve the lives of those who use and are served by them?

Now, armed with answers and ideas, go and make change. Tear down the old and bring in the new so that employees’ and customers’ lives are improved.

Ask these questions regularly. Never stop getting better. Work doesn’t have to be hard, in fact, it should be as easy as possible for everyone involved. Why you ask? The better question is why not?

Three ways to see people differently and be a better leader.

Image result for see people As a leader, in each and every interaction with our team members, we all have opportunities to see them in one of two ways,  as people who have value or as things to try and control or dismiss. This distinction and the choice you make in how to see them has immense implications for the way you engage and work with them as well as to the culture of your workplace.

If leaders see people as things, specifically, a means to an end or an obstacle in the way, the possibility of kindness and understanding is considerably lessened because people are no longer humans with feelings, needs, and challenges, they’re just machines to complete tasks, or worse yet, objects to remove. This thinking leads to observable behavior that people feel which causes hesitation to willingly follow. This hesitation leads to not volunteering best efforts which ultimately results in people becoming dreaded clock punchers who do the very minimum to keep their jobs. Frustrated and in a quest for better performance, leaders apply more control only to see employees performing with even more mediocrity, and in some cases, active indifference. As this cycle continues all that’s really being accomplished is the creation of a have-to-go-to-work culture rather than a want-to-go-to-work culture.

However, if leaders choose to see and treat employees as people, they can get a better understanding of them. They can learn how to better accommodate their needs to maximize performance. They can learn about challenges and work with them to find solutions that may benefit not only the employee but also the business as a whole. When employees see that leaders care and have their best interest at heart, they’re inspired to use all of their potential to complete their work to the very best of their ability.

We all have the opportunity to choose the way we see others and making the choice to see them as people is sometimes difficult. Thus, this decision must become a habit if we hope to change our actions and behavior consistently. Here are three ways to help begin the seeing-people habit.

  1. Create a blank slate and don’t pass judgement: Give everyone the benefit of the doubt and don’t think of them with labels. Try to approach people with a blank slate in mind. Listen to understand, not to reply or find a reason why they are bad or any other label. Be kind to be kind, not to serve any controlling purpose.
  2. Remember you and others are alike at a fundamental level: Treat people as equals regardless of any position of authority because, at a fundamental level, we all have similar complex, messy issues, needs, wants, dreams, etc. Know that when people get angry, act up, or behave badly, they’re being human, just like you. Make your objective to make people feel comfortable and valued because you don’t see them as less than yourself.
  3. See their potential as a valuable contributor: Everyone has potential and much of it is untapped. As you listen, seek out that potential, that valuable contribution they have locked within. Ask questions and let them answer. See what you can learn, you might be surprised, they may have ideas that help solve, even in some small way, a large problem. Finally, ensure people leave you with a sense that they matter by thanking them for their thoughts no matter how big or small, remember, they contributed and more contribution leads to more success.

How are you interacting? How are you choosing to see people?

Book Review: Transform Your Company by Alex Vorobieff

Image result for transform your companyI just read Alex Vorobieff’s new book, Transform your Company, and it was definitely time well spent.

I think every business leader would agree that if you want your business to succeed, everyone in it needs to be rowing together on the same mission, and until that happens, frustration will be an ever-present partner. In Transform Your Company, Vorobieff shows leaders how to eliminate the chief behavior that keeps businesses from moving forward, and then shows how to find the right tools to reach true alignment.

Vorobieff begins by discussing the critical need for leaders to listen to feedback, both positive and negative, without bias and with humility. This is the first and possibly most important step to removing the frustration of misaligned employees, work groups, and departments going in their own directions instead of the direction of the company’s mission and purpose. Without an honest view of things, it is impossible to make real, long-lasting change. You have to know where the dark places are before you can shine a light on them.

From there, he uses a simple model of an upside down pyramid to explain exactly what alignment means and what, from the core beliefs and values of the organization to the intentions and motivations of the front-line employee, needs to be aligned. He then proceeds to help readers on this alignment journey by showing them how to define their organization’s unique place to begin, the best alignment tools for different situations, how to choose the best tool for each, when to ask for help from a business coach, and what to look for in that coach. And if that all sounds complicated, fear not, this book was an enjoyable read that got to the point and made things very practical.

Vorobieff makes it clear that this journey and process are not easy, but he gives a step-by-step framework to make it manageable. I highly recommend this book to anyone in a business leadership role particularly those starting their own business. But don’t skip it if you aren’t running your own company, any business leader would be well served by learning from this work and where it can lead to making an organization better.