Posts Tagged ‘leadership coaching’

Tone Deaf Executive Leadership Ignores What Customers Value

Once again corporate executive leadership demonstrates how truly tone deaf it really is.  The recent Tweet war between Delta Airlines and Ann Coulter reveals that Delta leadership does not know what their customers value.  Hint for those in leadership roles – It is not the money.

When customer pay for something, they expect what they pay for.  Pretty simple.  In the case of Ms. Coulter she expected to receive additional leg room given she pre-booked and paid for a seat to give her that extra comfort.  Given her financial status, I am sure she would have paid more, but $30 was the going rate.

Tone Deaf Executive Leadership Thinks Only About the Money

Someone in an executive leadership role who offered her the $30 as a refund and then went on to defend the removal of her from her paid and pre-booked seat was beyond tone deaf.  I do not know the reason for her removal outside of the presumed fact she was not creating a problems with her fellow passengers.

Today, social media sites such as Twitter allow individual customers to have the power of the ink without any cost.  Possibly they have forgotten this quote attributed to Mark Twain as well as to Former Congressman Charles Brownson, Indianapolis Republican:

“I never quarrel with a man who buys ink by the barrel.”

When executive leadership or even management believes customer service is all about the dollars and they forget customer loyalty is about how they treat people. To say Delta’s customer service was horrendous is an understatement. 

Being tone deaf now has disrupted customer loyalty. Loyal customers may think twice about the obvious disconnect between what they value and what Delta believes they value.

Sales and Leadership Coaching Tip:

Value is unique to each buyer (customer).

The tone deafness demonstrated by Delta Airlines executive leadership also reveals the total lack of emotional intelligence.  These leaders failed to recognize and understand a paid customer’s emotions, but only recognized their own emotions.  This is why they failed to manage both.

Want to know how your own emotional intelligence?  Schedule a short free call with Leanne by CLICKING HERE.

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The Cheap and Easy Quick Fix Is Not Cheap, Easy or Quick

How often do sales managers to SMB owners to even sales professionals seek the cheap and easy quick fix to increase sales?  Then how often do companies create viable tools, but those tools are abused and misused because of this ongoing desire for the quick fix?

What usually happens is disappointment sets in and those in charge seek another cheap and easy solution to what ails their businesses and specifically their sales.  Einstein’s definition of insanity is alive and well not only in these SMBs, but all other organizations.

As an elected school board trustee and public educator, I saw this behavior through the application of grants.  Most grants have a three year funding cycle and then the school must fund the solution of their own.  Instead, they seek another grant because this was a viable way to get money and money drove the decision making process, not results. There was a constant turnover of programs that only diminished student engagement and effective instruction.

For profit businesses and other not for profit organizations also seek the easiest solution in the quickest time frame.  Investing in long term solutions is rarely considered.

We know this to be true because of the lack of return on investment for the majority of sales training and development programs. There is and remains a quick fix mentality by executive leadership because they have not engaged in any strategic planning nor understand how people learn and what keeps the application of newly learned sales skills on the back burner.

Today I submitted my 40th article to Worldwide Coaching Magazine.   The subject of this article looked to artificial intelligence (AI) and executive coaching.  Possibly the future will be “Coach Data.”  Unfortunately, even two entrepreneurs who have built AI into at their AI executive coaching program recognize this solution should never replace face to face interactions.

Executive coaching is a skill set that is often confused with consulting or worse yet traditional training and development programs. The first significant difference between executive coaching and traditional training and development quick fix is return on investment.  ROI is a demonstrated and measurable result.

Time is the next significant difference. Changing behaviors does not happen overnight.

Reflection of application of newly learned skills is the third significant difference. Executive coaches continually ask for their clients to share what has happened since the last coaching interaction. They also request application of new behaviors between sessions.

Beliefs probably are the fourth and probably the greatest difference.  Our beliefs, our attitudes drive our behaviors. Traditional sales training and development to leadership development to customer service training looks to the behaviors first instead of looking to the beliefs.

All of these differences demonstrate that executive coaching, sales coaching, leadership coaching or business coaching is not cheap, easy or quick.  If you are seeking the quick fix to your people problems, save your money until you can afford to do it right.

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The Breakfast Guest of Organizational Culture

Every morning businesses open and their leaders look to execute specific strategies based either upon their predetermined and strategic business growth goals or their Captain Wing It flight plan. They have their breakfast meetings with their other executive leaders and managers to plan this new day of business growth. Unfortunately, they fail to recognize the ever present guest of culture.

organizational-cultureThis silent, unseen guest as Peter Drucker quoted “eats strategy over breakfast.” And organizational culture continues to eat strategy during lunch, dinner and all the snacks in between. (Leadership Coaching Tip:  Strategy is thought, thinking and planning. Execution is the tactics, actions to implement the strategy.)

Probably the main reason business growth strategy fails is the organizational culture is ignored. The best example of this is within any merger and acquisition(M&A) where it is estimated 50% of all mergers fail.  One of the key reasons for this failure is the culture is not adequately assessed specific to the compatibility of the acquiring culture. (Leadership Coaching Tip: Culture is the sum total of all conscious and unconscious beliefs and behaviors.)

People (culture) are what make or break a company.

Those same people make or break strategy.

Just as cooks check to see if the temperature of the food is safe to eat, so should executive leaders check to see if their organizational culture is safe to execute strategy. One fairly simple exercise is to see if any of these culture issues are present through this  Culture-Strategy-Audit-ADVSYS. If so, then leadership will face culture barriers that will derail to sidetrack any strategic execution.

Executive leadership is ultimately responsible for organizational culture. 

They either lead culture or allow the culture to lead them.

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How True Leaders Turn Conflict into Collaboration



Leaders recognize conflict exists because human beings are unique and not everyone thinks the same way, believes the same things or has the exact same experiences. True leaders are able to turn conflict into collaboration through these three words:

  1. Clarity
  2. Coaching
  3. Consideration


The first step is securing clarity around what is causing the conflict.  This initial step does require some executive coaching skills in that the leader brings the issue up in a considerate and non-threatening manner. Leadership Coaching Tip:  This step is missed by many because they think they know what is actually causing the conflict which in many cases a symptom and not the real problem. True leaders invest the time to ascertain the real real for conflict.



For example, the true leader may ask about the situation and will avoid using the actual word conflict or disagreement because both imply some judgement.  He or she will ask the person who is experiencing the conflict or who is actually accelerating the conflict to explain the situation. Leadership Coaching Tip:  Conflict is a behavior fueled by several emotions. By finding clarity specific to the emotions driving the conflict helps to get identify the true source of the conflict.


True leaders recognize conflict in the majority of circumstances is connected to what people cannot control. Through  leadership coaching, they are able to return the discussion to what the person has control over, himself or herself.  If the “coachee” wants to influence the situation more to his or her benefit, this also can be explored through a guided questioning process. Leadership Coaching Tip:  This process allows the “coachee” to discover the answer. The leadership coach does not provide the answer; that is leadership consulting.


Credit: www.gratisography


All conversation is based upon the consideration (rules of respect). Any negative remarks or disingenuous remarks are quickly identified with agreement to focus on the issue and not the other person or persons. This again returns to what the person can control, only his or her own behavior.

During these conversations, true leaders continually apply emotional intelligence by the words they use, the questions they ask and the silence they provide. Leadership Coaching Tip: Silence is calming.

The End Result

From the clarity, the coaching and the consideration, the end result is collaborative agreement. There usually is a next step or steps that have been identified through this guided leadership communication. Conflict has now been identified and steps to resolve it are in place. The good news is this guided process is consistently executed the current conflict has a greater likelihood of not being repeated.

To truly execute this type of guided communication begins by understanding with utmost clarity your own talents as a true leader. This talent assessment may quickly and affordably begin that clarity process. Leadership Coaching Tip: Leaders who are in a fog have difficulty helping others who are also in a fog.

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Facing the Fear of Firing New Hires

Why do small business owners, sales managers to C Suite executives have such a fear of firing new hires? In many cases, it comes down to this one word – Ego.


To admit to one’s ego he or she made a mistake is tantamount to laying down in front of a fast moving train or standing on the corner holding a sign “Look at me, I am stupid!”

I was reminded of this yesterday in speaking with a colleague about why there is such poor performance still happening within organizations.  We both agreed many of these challenges are because what appears to be the right people are truly the wrong people.

Sure these new hire folks aced the performance appraisal assessments and knocked the personal interview out of the ball park, yet within several days after being hired actually performing on the job, a whole new picture takes place.

Years ago the corporate firm I worked with decided to hire an in house accountant to reduce the accounting bills and to expedite internal communication. This person would also remove some of my responsibilities as Inside Sales and Purchasing Manger of checking purchase orders with invoices.

Unfortunately even though she was interviewed by the Office Manager who was also the bookkeeper, the owner along with the accountant, this was one of the worst hiring disasters this firm ever undertook and most costly.  My boss did not want to fire the new hire because of the fear of insulting the accountant as well as his own ego. Who wants to admit to making a mistake especially after all costly safeguards were in place? Leadership Coaching Tip:  Performance appraisal assessments are good tools, but are not infallible.

When this fear of firing new hires takes over, it affects the entire culture of the organization.  All the other employees know the new hire is as dumb as a box of rocks and is clueless about the business especially when the attitude of “It’s not my job” or “That’s now why I was hired” surfaces.  However any comments to management are met with looks of disbelief and “just shut up because you don’t know what you are talking about.”  Additionally, in many instances, the work the new hire was to perform returns to the original person. How’s that for efficiency and effectiveness?

Maybe it is better to remember the adage of one rotten apple spoils the barrel. For new hires who are truly not the right people for the right positions using the right talents for the right decisions to secure the right results in the right time frames and within the right environments are the quickest way to turn a high performing organizations to a culture of distrust and eventual disaster.

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People buy results or rather people buy the feelings the results deliver.

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