“What We’ve Got Here Is A Failure To Communicate.”

Last night Mike and I dined at a local restaurant and listened in as a customer was trying to give his order to the waiter… who was just NOT understanding what he was trying to say.  Both the customer and the waiter got frustrated, and sadly when the order came out – and was wrong – instead of sending it back, we over heard the customer say “No, it is fine, we just will not come back.”

Communication is such a critical part in Leadership, that it can truly be a defining factor on whether a company succeeds or fails.  Misunderstandings, Assumptions, and simply LACK of Communication are all detrimental to even the best of businesses.  In fact, I think it may be THE #1 thing that could make a difference of whether a company succeeds or fails.

In the last few months I have seen many Party Plan Consultants walk away from their businesses stating reasons like “I never knew what was going on,”  “I felt all alone,”  “I never heard from anyone,” “I was only talked to when I was producing big numbers,”  “I only felt important when I had big sales.”  In the case of the restaurant, it is a customer who was unhappy and will probably not only not visit the establishment again, but share with his friends the poor experience that he had.  In Leadership, you simply can not afford to have this barrier.

So how do you overcome this?  How do you communicate effectively to ensure the success of your business?

Do it well.

One misconception about effective communication is that there needs to be a lot of “fluff” and “pizazz.”   With all of the junk and distractions we are presented with each day, effective communication now is more about getting the point across in a clear, concise manner as quickly and effectively as possible.   Do not try to jazz up your communications with a bunch of fancy words or phrases in an attempt to sound more professional.  Research shows that the best communication is at about a 4th grade reading level, there fore everyone understands it.  Get to the point so everyone can get on with their day.

Do it often.

In my opinion you can not OVER communicate something important to your team.  In fact I think a lot of times it is not even WHAT you are communicating as much as it is showing that you ARE communicating and keeping people “in the loop.”  People want to feel informed, they want to feel included -  the sense of unknowing leads to fear, upset, and eventually giving up.  By “touching base” often, even with small updates, you are showing that their time matters, and that you care about them enough to want to keep them informed.

Do it together.

Collaboration is the new business model in 2011.   People not only want to be in the know, they also want to be seen and heard with their opinions.   Tools such as YahooGroups, Google+ Circles, Facebook Groups, etc allow for you to not only get your message sent, but also for everyone in the “group” to be able to discuss and weigh in as well.   It gives your team a feeling of belonging, and that their feelings truly matter.

Do it now.

My pastor said this week “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago… the second best time is right now.”   Whether you are a brand new Leader, or whether you have been leading a team for years, the best time to begin great communication is right now.  Stop what you are doing right now, and send an email out to your team.  Or create a Facebook Group and then announce it to your team.  Let them know that you care, that you are there to help them, and that you will be working to keep them as informed as possible to help them succeed in their business – no matter how high or low their sales are this week.   Send a note to them that effectively communicates that you will be communicating more effectively :)

Keeping your team connected and informed is one of the first steps to building a remarkable team.  It is one of the easiest, and most effective things you can do to ensure the success of your business.

A Gift Card, Raw Fish, And A Great Lesson

Every Thursday night is “Date Night” for Mike and I.  It is a night to relax, no cooking, no cleaning, just spending time together.   We use our iPhones to select random restaurants, and spend just a few hours “unplugged” from work.  I had been presented with a Gift Card  few weeks ago at a Speaking Engagement, so we chose to go there for dinner to unwind.

I chose a seafood dish and Mike chose a “mixed grill.”  When our plates arrived I cut into mine… and my fish was raw.  Not “undercooked” – RAW.  I motioned to the waitress and showed her just how raw my fish was.  She was very apologetic (and a little grossed out) and said she would get me a new one “right away.”  Well, cooking fish is no “quick” task, so Mike was completely finished with his meal by the time I received my new one.  (I insisted he go ahead and eat – no sense in letting his get cold while mine cooked.) 

While we waited the Manager came by, overly apologetic and offering us everything under the sun – from cocktails to salad bars to appetizers.  The waitress also stopped by a few times to check on us, and see if there was anything she could do for us while we waited.

Once my meal was ready both the Manager and Waitress served me, and asked for me to cut into it to make sure it was satisfactory before they walked away.  Of course it was perfect – honestly, probably the best that meal has ever tasted – and I thanked them as they continued to apologize and let us know that they would be comping the meal off the ticket.   Since Mike had already finished and now had to wait on me to eat, they brought him a dessert to enjoy as well. Until the moment we left they took care of us, apologizing almost to the point of annoying  ;)  They had removed my meal, salad and dessert off of the bill, leaving only Mike’s meal to be paid.

The amount they removed from our check was over $25… which is the exact amount I left for the TIP.  Those two ladies went over and above to take care of me, after a very simple mistake – WHICH neither of them had any part in making.  My reward was a tip greater even than the final bill that was owed.

How do you handle mistakes when they happen in your business?

Do you “avoid the phone” and let upset callers go to voicemail?  Do you respond via email, so you can avoid the conflict?  Do you blame others – corporate, shipping, manufacturers?

Or do you go over and above to right the situation, even if it means you *may* lose out in the end?

One of my best Consultants of all time came to me first as an unhappy customer.  She had ordered from another Consultant in my town who would not answer her calls, would not return emails, blocked her from MySpace – you name it, the Consultant was avoiding the conflict.  I worked with the Customer, worked with my Corporate Office, paid out of my own pocket to right the wrong, and told her I would “take care of her any time she ever needed anything.”  Within 6 months she was a Leader on my team making me ten times more money than what I had paid out to right the other Consultant’s mistake.   I am also happy to say she is still one of my very best friends.

An upset customer is a remarkable opportunity for you to show your fantastic Customer Service skills.  By “making it right” and doing what is right by the customer – EVEN if you have to spend some money in order to do so – can come back to reward you ten fold.   Tonight I was reminded of just how true this really is.

If you have an unhappy customer – make it right.  Call and ask her HOW you can make it right.  Be apologetic – even if the mistake was not your own – and be willing to do what is needed to make your CUSTOMER happy.  Show her that you have the integrity and the commitment to your business to run it ethically and professionally.  It WILL come back in your favor.

Diva Holiday Vendor Event 2011

On October 15, 2011, hundreds of Divas around the Globe will be kicking off the Holiday Selling Season of 2011 with our First Annual Diva Holiday Event! This Shopping Event will help all participating Party Plan Consultants to meet new customers, book Holiday Parties, and maybe event find new team members looking to start their business this season!

DETAILS:

What: Diva Holiday Event
When: October 15, 2011
Who: Party Plan Consultants, Local Crafters, Businesses, etc
Where: Locations all over the World! Sign up now to Coordinate one in your town!
Why: Kick Off your Holiday Selling Season with the Diva Holiday Event!

FAQ’s:

Do I have to be a Party Plan Divas Member to coordinate/participate? NO. This event is open to literally everyone! Meet other Divas and business owners in your neighborhood and support each other this season!

What is my responsibility as a Coordinator? As a local coordinator you will be the “go to” person for local vendors, consultants, and media personnel. You will work with your location to organize the vendors, and help spread the word about the event.

Is there a cost for this event? As the coordinator you will be in charge of setting the Vendor Cost to cover the location fee, plus a suggested $10 to cover the cost of expenses -flyers, advertising, etc. Ex: If the event room costs $250 for the day, and you have 10 vendors, the vendor fee will be $35. ($25 for location, $10 to expenses)

What about the donations? Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we ask that each vendor agrees to donate 5% of their sales from the event to the Susan G Komen Foundation. We will make a donation after the event with all of our names.

Will I have help? I am here for you every step of the way. Once you have secured your location, I will provide you with all of the tools that you need to have a successful Vendor Event. I also recommend you “team up” with other Vendors and Coordinators to share ideas and support each other.

Please fill out the Coordinator Application here.

10 Ways To Simplify Your Life And Make Room For Success

10 WAYS TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE AND MAKE ROOM FOR SUCCESS


Excerpted from I Love My Life: A Mom’s Guide to Working from Home.

As a work at home mom, you are really a one-person shop. By yourself, you carry the responsibility of doing sales, order fulfillment, accounting, and move onto scrubbing the floor and the evening dishes. It’s no wonder that many work-at-home moms feel overwhelmed.

Here are 10 tips to lighten your workload:

1) Say No! Say no to clients who aren’t your “ideal” clients. You don’t have to attend every social function. Say =“no” to things that don’t honor your personal needs and agenda.

2) Clear the clutter. Keep your work area neat, plan your day, and keep a good calendar. It’s easier to stay focused and productive when you know where everything is.

3) Prioritize. After you make your to do list, put a star beside the top three priorities for the day for yourself and your business. Promise yourself if you get these things done, that the rest can “wait.”

4) Uphold your personal boundaries. Say “no” to things that don’t feel good.

5) Eliminate energy drains. Is there a friend or client who drives you nuts? Are you doing overkill with housework? Is there an unresolved problem in your life?

6) Give yourself ample time to do everything. When you try to accomplish too many things in too little time you set yourself up for catastrophe.

7) Don’t over-promise yourself. If you need two days to work on a project, say it will take three and then pleasantly surprise the client.

8 ) Learn to delegate. Identify only those tasks that you NEED to perform and hand the rest of it to an assistant. Maybe it’s time to hire a bookkeeper to help with the bills and invoicing. Is there some work you can outsource? See chapter 9 for ideas on finding consultants and other people who you can delegate to.

9) Simplify and systematize. Manage your time efficiently. Group similar tasks together.

10) Work with your body’s natural rhythms. If you are more alert early in the morning, tackle those tough tasks first. If you wake up later with the fifth cup of coffee, then read your mail or perform a no-brainer task first.

And this is MY why…

SamiTayIndi

So this week has already been quite a roller coaster, and it is only Wednesday. But this week I was also reminded of why Working From Home, and having the financial freedom of owning my own business is so important to me.

The last 3 days I have had two sick little angels at home with me all day. First was Tay, with a mild fever and deep cough. Then today Sami with a stomach bug. Thankfully Mike and I have avoided any illness *knock on wood with a TON of antibacterial hand sanitizer* but we have been able to work from home with these two right here with us, (well, three – but Indi is always here) and it has been awesome.

There was no “calling in sick”, no “fear of the boss” or “fear of losing my job” – in fact I was able to focus on work while the girls napped, and get my fill of snuggles (and Play House Disney) in between.

Tonight while we watched HalloweenTown (for the nineteenth time), I realized how lucky I am to have had these last 3 days to be with my girls, with no fear of “losing” anything. It was just another one of those moments where I was reminded why I love Coaching, and offering the guidance for women to have this same opportunities that I do.

I reflected back through the thousands of hours I have spent over the last 7 years Coaching and Inspiring women to achieve their goals. I thought of the single moms who just wanted more time with their kids, the college students with student loans leering above their heads, the empty-nesters looking for a new passion, the Corporate burnouts who wanted something more fulfilling, the newlyweds wanting to buy a new home…

No matter the situation, the circumstance, or the individual, it all boiled down to one thing. They wanted FREEDOM. The freedom that so many of us take for granted, or don’t even really realize we have. The freedom to not worry what they might “lose” if they make a wrong choice. The freedom to not have to “ask” someone for time off… more money… more hours…

So… what would your Freedom look like? Go beyond the material things, the “right now” things, the immediate stressers… and tell me what YOUR FREEDOM would look like.

Envision it…. share it… then LIVE it!

It’s Always A Good Time To Change

I received a wonderful email this week that I wanted to share. This comes from a great site that gives daily words of motivation, encouragement, and support. Read this slowly, and let it sink in!

IT’S ALWAYS A GOOD TIME TO CHANGE

The first step toward getting somewhere is to decide that you’re not going to stay where you are.

You’re a product of your environment. So choose an environment that will best develop you toward your goals.

Analyze your life in terms of your environment. Are the things around you helping you toward your success or are they holding you back?

Your world today is a living expression of how you are using and have used your mind. It’s something that you can change at any time.

You don’t have to remain a captive of your environment.

Don’t say “If I could change, I would change,” say “I can change, and I will change.”

Copyright 2008 www.yourdailymotivation.com

Spend today taking notice of your environment. Starting with your desk – can you see the top of it? Clutter and disorganization are major road blocks for business. Set a timer and spend one hour working on improving your immediate environment. Don’t worry if you do not finish – work an hour tomorrow as well. It took you a while to build that mess… it will take some time to tame it. Make it a priority to get a good work/life environment!