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February 2006
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April 2006

Firing your customers? How to put your team members first

Yesterday I spent $2,000 with a company called and I'm going to give them more of my business because the purchasing experience was great. 

The president of the company David Durovy signed up for my newsletter (I'm not sure how he got the link) and when I saw his email come across my screen I sent him a quick note.  He sent me a thoughtful response along with a link to a news article describing how his company treats his team. 

As you'll read in the article David puts his team first and if a customer is difficult to deal with (read rude or mean) then they fire the customer! 

David says "That was kind of a bold step, but it set a precedent and it gave our people here the confidence that we really cared about how they were being treated."

The reps now have a referral list at their desks, and if they feel uncomfortable dealing with a customer they politely give the name and number of a competitor.

The way to get your team to give outstanding customer service is to treat everyone on your team with respect and admiration.  Put your team members first and then watch how your team members put the customer first.

David may not know it but it sounds like he is a natural Coach Manager.

Make Magazine and Creativity

I just discovered MAKE Magazine at my local magazine rack.  Now this is a magazine I can sink my teeth into!

Rolling Stone magazine says about MAKE Magazine:  "If you're the type who views the warnings not to pry open your computer as more a challenge than admonition, MAKE is for you."Tha

The San Francisco Chronicle says "The kind of magazine that would impress MacGyver."

In Vol. 05 (on news stands now) you can learn how to make a backyard zip line, water rocket, ultimate treehouse, electric wind turbine and more!

I've invented some useful things and not so useful things.  You can see some of my useful things here.

All the highly effective leaders I've known are creative. How do you nurture your creativity?

Have you heard of the company called PLAY ?  This is a company that helps other companies learn how to leverage the creativity of their team to get ahead in the marketplace AND have  fun doing it.  I had the opporutunity to visit Play for 2 days and I'm absolutely impressed with the people there.  And I'm not the only one, Fast Company magazine wrote a glowing article about Play.

Astefanovich_1 Not long ago, I interviewed Andy Stefanovich (pictured) who is the president of Play.  Listen to the audio interview and learn why you should be leveraging the creativity of your team and how to do it.   

Icon_audio_17 Click the link below to listen to the audio interview:
Download andy_stefanovich_mp3_sm.mp3

Dr. Dan Garvey -- President of Prescott College Interviewed

  • Why do we "do" experiential education at all?
  • What is the ultimate goal of teaching through experiential education?
  • Whats the difference between a "seasoned" experiential educator and an inexperienced/new facilitator"?

Dangarvey If ever there was someone qualified to answer these questions it is Dr. Dan Garvey who is the president of prestigious Prescott College.  Dan is the former president and executive director of the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) and is the recipient of the 1997 Kurt Hahn Award. He has authored more than 25 books and articles dealing with the broad topic of experiential education.

I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Garvey recently and we discussed these topics and more including:

  • Education follows culture
  • The unique demands of an experiential educator
  • Personal development and the path to becoming a top facilitator
  • Trust

Icon_audio_16 Click on the link below to listen to the interview
Download dr. Dan Garvey sm.mp3

Cdaudio1 Do you like to learn by listening?  I've developed three CDs for you - - each one is filled with audio interviews  designed to help you become more effective at teaching team and leadership skills.  Learn more here.

One of My Team Members Revealed

Curtain The secret to success is building a great team.

I want to reveal one of my most important team members to you.  This man has helped me more than I can say (in this post anyway).  He's been on my team since day one of

His name is John Miles and he and his company have been instrumental in helping me realize my vision of providing team and leadership training 24/7 around the world. 

John is a remarkable web developer and a remarkable person and he has surrounded himself with  remarkable people (his team). 

John and I share a love of lacrosse, having met while playing for the Asheville Men's Lacrosse Club. John and I also share a great passion for all things spiritual.  He is a student of Vipasana meditation and meditates two hours each day.  John is the only web developer I've ever met who I can talk to about creating an "enlightened web presence" AND really get what I'm talking about while also understanding the application of critical web-based business principles.  John understands and delivers simplicity, functionality, beauty and outstanding customer service.

Take your web presence to an entirely new level.  Contact John.

Conscious Leadership - An Interview with Dr. Lance Secretan

Lancesecretan Dr. Lance Secretan is the author of the new book entitled ONE: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership.

In this recent audio interview I did with Dr. Secretan he reveals how how the conscious leader practices the CASTLE Principles

CASTLE is an acronym for six attributes: 

  1. Courage
  2. Authenticity
  3. Service
  4. Truthfulness
  5. Love
  6. Effectiveness

One Like all fundamental, life-changing concepts, these are simple ideas - well known to us all, yet easier to talk about than to live.  In this interview Dr. Secretan shares how to LIVE these principles.

I love this book because it gives leaders a clear and practical approach to leading consciously and thus, building teams consciously.  And this is a guy who knows what he's talking about.  Dr. Secretan is a former CEO of a global corporation, former business school professor, best selling author of 13 books, and consultant to large organizations world wide. 

Icon_audio_15 Click on the link below to download the interview
Download lance_secretan_mp3sm.mp3

View a detailed descriptioin of the CASTLE Principles

6 Key Principles For Facilitating A Team During a Period of Change

Frog I received an email recently from a facilitator who wanted to know how best to help a diverse team gracefully move through some significant changes.  I thought I'd share part of my response...

Here are a few key principles (not necessarily in order of importance) to think about as you facilitate a team (or an individual) through a period of change:

1. No one is broken (no team is broken).  Everyone (every team) is in the perfect place.  The perfection ALSO extends to the desire to make a change.  It's all perfect.

2. We get more of what we consistently FEEL.  Feelings are very powerful.  Most people could stand to become more connected to their feelings.  Help your group become aware of what they feel on a regular basis.  Some people (some teams) have conflicting feelings about success and this creates a block.

3. Trust is THE foundational skill for all team (and personal) growth.  Most teams/people believe they are functioning at a high enough level of trust.  Every team I've ever worked with needs to take a look at and strengthen/deepen the level of trust they are currently playing at.  I'm not talking about doing more trust falls and the like.  I'm talking about the need for deep conversations as a group that help build trust.  Activities can create the opening but deep trust happens through dialogue.  Ask people to rate themselves on a scale from 1 to 10 where 10 is the absolute deepest level of trust - - where do they rate their own level of trust with the team as a whole?  Where do people rate individuals within the team?  Why?  At what level to people trust themselves?  Your skill as a facilitator will be paramount in this conversation.

4. What does the team tolerate?  Tolerations are a huge energy drain.  Do people tolerate gossip?  Do people tolerate others being late?  Do people tolerate team members who don't play full out?  Deal with the tolerations.  Clean them up and the team gains more energy.

5. To what degree is the team (ALL aspects of the team) transparent?  If there are any aspects of the team that are "shady" or not clear, this will be an energy drain.  Transparency at all levels requires letting go of fear and ego.  Transparency requires the creation of impeccable systems.  Improve transparency.

6. Deciding is not doing.  Creating high performing teams is not rocket science though some will make it out to be.  What is hard about creating high performing teams is actually DOING the work.  Here's a metaphor for you: 
Five frogs are sitting on a fence. 
Two decide to jump off the fence.
How many frogs are left on the fence?
Answer:  Five frogs are still on the fence.
The explanation:  Deciding to do something is not the same as doing it. "Deciding" is about the head.  "Doing" is about the heart. Get out of your head and into your heart.

You had to be patient to understand why I put that frog photo in!  :-)

Would you like to learn these lessons at a deep level and begin applying them in a conscious way with your team?  If yes, I'd like to work with you through my one-on-one coaching program.

Irresistible Fun

Eightirresistible My colleague Michael Bungay Stanier wrote a wonderful book entiteld Get Unstuck And Get Going which I wrote about in an earlier post. 

Now Michael has created a very cool movie entitled "The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun".

I love fun.  I love fun team building games.  What would happen if you made your next team training event "irresistibly fun"?  Watch the movie and learn the 8 principles of fun and apply them in your next training design.