Southwest Airlines is known as the company that loves its employees – and their customers. But, how is this achieved? How can they have such happy people working for them and flying with them? It starts with their mission statement

Mission:

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.

To Our Employees:

We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. Creativity and innovation are encouraged for improving the effectiveness of Southwest Airlines. Above all, Employees will be provided the same concern, respect, and caring attitude within the organization that they are expected to share externally with every Southwest Customer.

Recently, one of my clients, the CEO of a service provider in the healthcare industry, made a realization about his staff. He came to the conclusion that employing people who like what they do will help him become more profitable. He understood that miserable employees who don’t really want to be at work may cost him money in the form of dissatisfied customers who have been mistreated by employees who would rather be in the dentist’s chair than at work.  About 9 months ago, when I first started working with my client, he would often say to his employees, “you want a fun job? I hear Disney is hiring”.  He was under the impression that work environments are supposed to be tough and stressful  with little room for “niceness”.

What prompted the turnaround? My guess is that he was mistreated by a Customer Service Representative. He may have realized that once a customer is mistreated or ignored he will not return to do business with your company again if he has a choice. Eventually, most customers have a choice. Many CEO’s create mission statements and post them up in the company lobby. However, how many truly internalize the values implicit in most mission statements? My guess is not many.

I’ve also attached a video of former President, Colleen Barrett of Southwest Airlines:

In 2007, Guy Kawasaki did a great article on the top 10 reasons why you need to be on LinkedIn, Here are two of the reasons he stated why you need to care (and remember, this was way back in 2007, but the reasons are even stronger now!):

-        People with more than twenty connections are thirty-four times more likely to be approached with a job opportunity than people with less than five.

-        All 500 of the Fortune 500 are represented in LinkedIn. In fact, 499 of them are represented by director-level and above employees.

Search LinkedIn

It’s important to know who’s on LinkedIn, so take few minutes to search LinkedIn and see whom of your contacts of current and prior employers, clients, vendors, and schools are there. Without connections, your LinkedIn profile will be pretty pointless. So, be sure to connect with all those that could help you in your job search.

Job Search

Did you know there’s a Job section in LinkedIn? You can easily search the Job section in LinkedIn by keyword, location, or employer. You can also search for more specific criteria by using the Advanced Search option.

How to Use LinkedIn to Find a Job – Or Have a Job Find You

Follow these easy steps to get started on LinkedIn:

* Create a Profile. Create a detailed profile on LinkedIn, including employment (current and past), education, industry, and web sites. If you don’t have a personal website, use a service like http://visualcv.com/ or get a blog with http://wordpress.com/

* Photo.  No, not a photo with your kids (unless you work with kids), and not a group photo (we don’t want to guess who you are), nor one of a random picture. Your professional photo should be a nice headshot in your professional attire. Imagine that your LinkedIn profile is the first impression your future employer may have of you – because it very well may be!

* Keywords and Skills. Future employers may be using the search function on LinkedIn to find people with your particular expertise or skills, so make sure those keywords are included in the title, summary and work experience of your LinkedIn profile.

* Build Your Network. Connect with other members and build your network. The more connections you have, the more opportunities you have.

* Get Recommendations. Recommendations from people you have worked with carry a lot of weight.

* Search Jobs. Remember the above recommendations to search for jobs in the Job section.

* Use Answers. The Question/Answer area is a great way for you to show that you’re an expert. Not only can you answer questions in a concise, clear way, but you can be ‘voted’ as the best answer by the person that asked the question. When this happens, a little green star appears next to your profile and states that you’re an expert in the field that the question was asked in. Quick note: not everyone knows that they can vote for the best answer, so in the ‘note to questioner’ section, state something like: “Thank you for the opportunity to help you! If you liked my answer, I would appreciate you voting for me by going to the ‘Vote’ section of your Question/Answer area.”

* Stay Connected. Use LinkedIn Mobile (m.linkedin.com) to view profiles, invite new connections, and access to LinkedIn Answers from your phone.

LinkedIn is a great tool when looking for the job of your dreams – use it well!

Follow me on twitter for more insight on your career: http://twitter.com/ysidd

Most of us go to a restaurant for a transcendental experience. That is transcendental with a small “t”. We want a pleasant experience. Yes, good food is an essential ingredient of the experience. However, the chemistry between the waiter and the customer determines if the experience will be transactional or transcendental.

I believe that by far the biggest determinant in a waiter’s ability to create the right environment for his customer is the waiter’s ability to exude pride and confidence in his work. This is exemplified in his ability to service customers from A to Z. Imagine how many times you have been to a restaurant where something has gone wrong; the food was cold or the order was botched up. Usually, there are two scenarios:

1. The waiter goes and tells the manager, in which case you need to recount your disappointment again, they take your food, bring you a fresh plate and maybe comp you a dessert. The waiter is embarrassed, and although he apologizes, his service may not be full-hearted for having swallowed his pride.

2. The waiter apologizes for the food, brings you a fresh plate, and takes a percentage off of the bill or offers you desert. The waiter gushes over you to make sure the rest of your experience is a pleasant one, and thus you feel satisfaction.

The second scenario is indicative of a waiter who is empowered. He is able to own the “customer experience” giving him more of an opportunity to exude pride and confidence in his work. Many employers miss out on giving their employers the ability to exude pride and confidence.

I often ask myself, “am I proud of the work that I am doing for my client?” When my answer is yes, I am a different person for my clients as opposed to when the answer is no. Over the years, I have realized that this is the single most important question that I could ask myself.

The salary discussion for a job seeker can be nerve racking, but if you wait until the employer offers, you may be feel the hurt in your wallet. The interviewer may know the starting rate of a person in your industry and doesn’t know the current salaries for someone with your experience or expertise. Once the price has been stated, however, it can be difficult to restart the compensation conversation.

Before one starts the salary conversation, the savvy job seeker will have already done their homework on what the going rate is for someone in their position. Salaries may have changed with the resent economy, so it’s important to go with a resent 2010 study, such as the ones you find at http://www.salary.com/.

It’s important to feel strong and confident while stating your future salary If you don’t feel confident while stating it, why would anyone feel compelled to pay it? In order to feel confident, consider the following:

  • How will the income meet my expenses? You can demand a dollar amount, but if you don’t consider your expenses while coming up with an amount, you are setting yourself up to fail.
  • When I come home after a hard day’s work, what income will make me feel secure about my future and make the hard day worth it?
  • Which strengths that you bring to the position make you hard to replace?

Most people focus on a dollar figure without understanding why the dollar figure makes sense for them. If you want to think through your next compensation negotiation in a meaningful way, give me a call and we can have a free laser coaching session.

  • What behaviors define leaders that listen?
  • They do not cut off people in the middle of sentences.
  • They do not look at their blackberry or computer when someone is talking to them.
  • They do not ridicule people in public or private. This action almost insures that people will assume that you are not a good listener.

These are just some of the observations I have made in my experience in working with high-powered leaders. The best leaders have been able to balance these behaviors with the amount of time they spend listening to people who are not very articulate or succinct in their conversation.  Essentially, good listening is a character trait. A person must have a general respect for others if he wants to be a good listener. Leaders that look down on the people who work for them are not able to make a permanent shift from poor listener to great listener unless there is a shift in the way that they view people.

Some effective ways to make someone feel heard are:

  • Make eye contact consistently
  • Acknowledge their words by asking clarification questions to show that you are really trying to understand what they are saying
  • Use body language that demonstrates that you are not distracted. If you are distracted, tell them and have the conversation later
  • If you are on the phone, you will have to acknowledge more than you would in person by using phrases that confirm that you are attentively listening on the other line. (i.e. uh-huh, makes sense, okay)

HiringHiring a coach is a difficult decision. Many people spend time and anxious energy in deciding whether what they are hiring a coach for can be done themselves. For example, recently I thought of hiring a marketing coach. I know all the essentials that I need to accomplish to market my business. Yet, I had the opportunity to work with a coach that would help me with marketing. I had a few conversations with the coach and decided that this was something that I wanted to try out on my own. It was an intuitive feeling that led to this decision. On the other hand, I am currently using a coach to help me navigate through the fundamentals of establishing a sound coaching practice, financially, organizationally and emotionally.

trustRecently, a potential client asked me a great question. How do I know I can trust you? The client works for a financial institution that is extremely particular about what information it shares with the public. I answered the question intuitively. I told him that legally, all we can do is sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement. We agreed that most of the time, that agreement is nothing but a piece of paper.  I told him that it is not in my best interest to share information about clients with other people. What I do is based fundamentally on trust. If I violate a client’s trust by divulging information to another client or anyone else for that matter, I risk losing my client. I also risk taking on a reputation for violating peoples’ trust. The person who I divulge the information to will think twice in the future before telling me anything that is even remotely sensitive in nature. Other than the fact that I had my reputation to lose, I could not come up with any other reason for my potential client to trust me from the get go. So, I simply said to him that we would have to see after we start work together if we have the ability to establish a trusting relationship.

Recently, I created a tool called the Goal Alignment Matrix (GAM). It is a listing of company goals aligned with departmental goals aligned with a roadmap to achieve each department goal. In using the GAM with a current client, I realized that most of the managers that used the tool put down lofty goals. When they sat down to make a roadmap of how they were going to reach the goals, the goals seemed detached from the reality of what they were working on day to day. This realization prompted them to reevaluate their goals and in some instances, the activities they were engaged in on a daily basis.

finding the sweetspot

finding the sweetspot

In my career as a consultant, I have come across people who are so good at what they do that I could not imagine them doing anything else. All the variables of the “sweetspot” are apparent with these types of people. The content of the work is interesting to them. The people that they are surrounded with appreciate their personality. Their personal and financial needs are met through the job. Their bosses appreciate their work and reward them regularly. In many cases, these people were not always in their sweetspots. They had been in work situations where they failed miserable and hated their jobs. It is through observing these people that feeds my confidence in the notion that there is a sweetspot for most people. Finding this sweetspot is not only gratifying, often, it enhances one’s quality of life in invaluable ways.

people managementI have heard that managing people is more like playing chess than checkers. This is because each person that you manage comes with a distinct background, experience and motivation. However, there are many forces that push us in the direction of standardizing our approach to the people that we manage. As an organization grows larger, the CEO is distanced from most of his people. Once this happens, he is inclined to play checkers because he does not want be perceived as unfair or accused of playing favorites. However, this transition from playing chess into a an environment where playing checkers is construed as more “fair” is challenging for many leaders.