Tag Archive: engaged employees

Big Customer Promises

August 25th, 2016

supply chain

Last week, I met with my marketing team on several topics. One of the key areas, stemming from the strategy session with my international advisory board in Sydney is “what is my unique differentiation and value proposition”. I have always been passionate about providing exceptional service which ONLY can occur if you have empowered and engaged employees. Thus, we decided upon “I work with manufacturers and distributors (with deep expertise in aerospace, building products and food industries) to make and KEEP bold customer promises by empowering people with profit-driven strategies. From my point-of-view, the promises and profit have to go hand in hand.

As we developed this statement, my marketing guru asked me about my bold customer promise. I thought that was a great question (and I had never thought about it for me) yet it was easy to answer — my clients will get results.

So, what does this have to do with pancakes?!? The weekend prior I went on a food tour of La Jolla — quite amazing! We went to Richard Walker’s Pancake House on the tour, and returned the next day for a pancake spread. Richard Walker is known for gourmet pancakes, and they refuse to expand beyond the capabilities in San Diego and IL (their flagship store is in Schaumburg, IL, which coincidentally is where I grew up!) because they want to maintain their bold customer promise of high quality gourmet pancakes and breakfasts. Although I am definitely a wheat pancake with nuts, chocolate chips and bananas person, we tried several and this German pancake is simply amazing (see below).

customer promises

One tip to implement this week:

So, what is your bold customer promise? We ALL have customers, whether our customers are other departments within our company, our boss or traditional customers for product and services.

For this week, don’t get too worked up trying to think about your bold customer promise. Start by thinking about your view of your customers. Do you know what they want? A fantastic-sounding bold customer promise does nothing for them if they don’t care about it! If you get to know what your customers want and need to be successful, it will go a long way.

For example, my customers typically want growth, improved customer service levels, increased profit, quicker cash cycles and engaged employees. However, each customer is different. Making these assumptions will be useless if I meet a customer who just wants to improve repute.

Looking for more ideas to keep your supply chain connected? Access more tips and resources on my blog. And keep connected by subscribing to my newsletter and email feed of “I’ve Been Thinking…”

Daily People Priorities

February 1st, 2016
people priorities

A daily check in with employees will help you stay informed and keep them engaged.

I often state that people are our #1 asset – more important than any multi-million-dollar machine, ERP system, bank loan or the like. How are we treating our #1 asset on a daily basis? Have you thought about this lately?

One way to ensure people remain top of mind (instead of in last place after all urgent customer needs, Board requests, bank requirements, etc.) is to follow these people priorities:

  • Check in with your people every day – find out what is going on and how they are doing.
  • Ask for ideas – get their minds stirring.
  • Ask them who has gone “over and beyond” lately that you could recognize – gets positive momentum flowing.
  • Ask them if they see any potential bottlenecks or have any concerns – and listen.
  • Ask them for ideas to delight the customer – creating customer loyalty won’t occur without a focused effort.

If you follow these people priorities, results will follow – and, more importantly, your people are much more likely to be engaged employees.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit Through People:

Employees: Your #1 Asset

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Do You Have Engaged Employees?

November 25th, 2014
engaged employees

Having engaged employees improves everything about the work experience from job satisfaction to elevated performance levels.

According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged.  What a startling statistic!  Through observation of clients, trade association members, and colleagues, I’d agree with that statistic.

During my presentation at APICS 2014 on “Empowering and Engaging Employees”, we broke into small groups to discuss strategies for achieving these objectives.  A few of the top tips to keep in mind include:

1. Vision: Clarify the vision. Where are you and the company headed? Everyone wants to understand their destination.

2. Top Goals: Help your employees come up with 3 key goals for the next quarter. If you are the employee, take 3 key goals to your manager to review. You’ll see how what you’re doing fits in with the vision.

3. Provide the freedom to experiment: Employees want to know that they can have an effect on their work and that their ideas are heard. Provide opportunities for employees to test new ideas. Accept that failure is a part of the process.

4. Encourage collaboration: Who doesn’t enjoy a good brainstorming session and coming up with ideas that can make a difference?

5. Celebrate success: Appreciate the seemingly small stuff that plays a pivotal role in achieving success.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on how to Profit through People: 

Are You Ready for Year-End?

How to Effectively Engage Employees and Achieve Results


How Empowered and Engaged Employees Can Fill the Skills Gap

September 30th, 2014
Playing on the strengths of high performing employees can lessen skills gaps within your organization while motivating everyone to perform at a higher level.

Playing on the strengths of high performing employees can lessen skills gaps within your organization while motivating everyone to perform at a higher level.

Not a day goes by when an employee, volunteer, Board member or colleague doesn’t retire, get promoted, move companies, change roles within the company or at least think about any one of these. For the vast majority of my clients, they run lean and are challenged to source projects even when fully staffed; thus, a skills gap is left in its wake.

I’ve found a key strategy for success in this environment is to simply KEEP your high performers. It seems much easier than it is to execute unfortunately. Pay is simply not enough. Pay is not a motivator; however, the lack of pay is a demotivator. Certainly if you do not pay within comparable salary ranges, you aren’t even in the game. On the other hand, you could be in the high end of the range and you’ll still lose top performers if you do not retain top talent.

My firm’s research study on this topic found that retention must become a critical priority. In my experience, the single largest key to retention is leadership.  Leaders create an environment for empowered and engaged employees. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Thus, it requires the rare leader who will make the tough call and who will support his/her people when the going gets tough. Who will behave as an empowered employee if they fear getting beat up?

To learn more about the key strategies to successfully empower and engage employees, join me at APICS 2014 for my education session “Cultivating Empowered and Engaged Employees” in New Orleans on October 19th. Go to educational sessions, and look under the category for Professional Development.