Back again with 3 talking points from my monthly leadership meetings. To start at the beginning and get the full context click here. Manage to trends, not incidents. I mean this in reference to negative performance, not positive. Instances of positive performance should be celebrated shamelessly. Unfortunately, for many managers the easy route is to catch people making mistakes, and then instantly trying to correct it. Or maybe an offense occurs, and then the manager overreacts by reprimanding the employee or wrapping a new rule around it. There are several issues with this approach: You are generally responding emotionally, which means you'll probably mishandle the situation. You are making management decisions based on … [Read more...] about Leadership Talking Points #3
This is the second month where I'll cover some leadership principles that are good to keep in mind and discuss on a regular basis. For the full context and the first post in this series click here. We discussed these points at my office and I hope you can benefit from them too! Catch employees doing something right. This one is pretty cliche but it's also true. It's very easy to only step in when things went wrong and correction is needed, but it's much harder to point out the good things people are doing on a general basis. Pointing these things out not only encourages the behavior to continue, but it also shows the employee that you're paying attention and are appreciative of the work they are putting in. Being unnoticed and … [Read more...] about Leadership Talking Points #2
I've worked with many business owners that really couldn't care less about the titles they give their employees. I can totally understand this sentiment from an entrepreneur's perspective, what difference does a title make? The only thing that matters is what you can do, not what you're called. For a long time I shared this sentiment, but over time I've become convinced that titles are actually very important and should not be taken lightly. I've summarized the three main reasons I've changed my mind below. The title will affect how they are perceived by others. Nothing will frustrate your employee more than asking them to take on a task that assumes a level of authority that their title doesn't suggest. Trust me, I know from experience. … [Read more...] about Why Titles Matter
It recently occurred to me that although we have a leader of some sort working on making every department better in our company, we have no one explicitly working on making those leaders better. At first I shrugged it off because I couldn't imagine the hubris of someone who is instructing others on leadership that was not near retirement age with many battle scars to show for it, or maybe some amazingly accomplished wunderkind with a billion dollar company, but then I recalled that the abuse does not take away from the use, and that even if I'm a youngish leader that still has a ton to learn, we could all benefit from talking about the ideals of good leadership. Plus, I read like 2-3 leadership books a month and my wife is tired of hearing … [Read more...] about Leadership Talking Points #1
This week I'll be speaking at the Dallas Ecommerce Meetup. If you're local come by and say hi! The name of the talk is "My Top 15 Ecommerce Tools" and I wanted to create a resource for everyone at the talk to access the links. It would be too long to write the whole thing up, especially since I've already gone in depth on many of these tools on this blog, but here are 15 links to great tools I've used over the years and frequently recommend. (Rankings are random, I love them all) Excellent office IT support in Dallas - www.strategic-support.com Simple & cheap VOIP phones - www.vonagebusiness.com (I reviewed this in depth here) Ecommerce marketing and analytics tools - www.addshoppers.com (I reviewed this in depth … [Read more...] about My Top 15 Ecommerce Tools
It's been an exciting few months here at JM Bullion! We've accomplished a few notable things, so I wanted to take a minute to brag on the company a bit in this brief post. JM Bullion was awarded bronze for the Customer Service Department of the Year Stevie Award! This award was in recognition of the monstrous growth the department has been able to absorb in the last year. All the while virtually every metric has been substantially improved during this growth period. Pretty exciting stuff! JM Bullion is certified as a Great Place to Work! After surveying the whole company we had excellent ratings which allowed us to be certified. We're in the running for the national ranking as well but that does not get … [Read more...] about Company Bragging
I mentioned a while back that I went to the Genesys G-Force conference in Miami. It was a great conference, and one of the best parts of it was the discovery of a software company called ProcedureFlow. ProcedureFlow is a web based application that allows you to easily chart out, you guessed it, procedures in a logical and easy to follow manner. It seemed quick and easy to set up so I decided to sign up for the trial. It turned out to be an excellent find. In a growing company, or a new company, there is always going to be inconsistency in what people believe is the correct procedure for just about anything. Even when you have a manual, how many people are actually regularly referring to it? Having a way to standardize tasks online where … [Read more...] about ProcedureFlow Reviewed
Abusus Non Tollit Usum - latin for "The abuse doesn't take away from the use", was an eye opening phrase I learned from my father while taking one of his history courses in college. As an American living in Austria during the Iraq war I spent a lot of time trying to defend the basic goodness of the idea of America, and as a Catholic living in one of the most atheist countries in the world I also spent a lot of time defending my religion at the pub. So when I first heard this phrase it was at a time where it suddenly neatly packaged many of my arguments and feelings into one tidy sentence. That doesn't happen often! So from that time on this phrase became on of the mantras in my life. In this post I won't be trying to defend countries or … [Read more...] about Abusus Non Tollit Usum – What Information Are You Willfully Ignoring?
I was recently promoted from Director of Ecommerce to Vice President of Operations, which has been very exciting for me. Along with that promotion though came 2 more departments with sophisticated tasks that I had no clue about. So you could say I'm busy! There's a lot to learn and I'm still responsible for the various departments I was already heading up, so any down time I had left or time spent ineffectively needs to be flushed out if I want to still be able to see my son at the end of the day before he goes to bed. So with that in mind I thought I'd take an inventory of all the books I've read that have actually produced a lasting memory that cover time management. It's funny because I used to read so many more of these time management … [Read more...] about What Are The Best Time Management Books?
I've mentioned a couple times in recent posts that I've been working on rolling out a new phone system for our call center. I've tried several at this point and just haven't been able to get it right so far. I've done so many demos and they all seem to run together at this point. I finally went over to InternetRetailer.com and looked around in their vendor directory. It was there that I was introduced to this concept of a "customer experience platform". Since my title at the time was Director of Customer Experience I figured I should probably know what that is, so I went ahead and arranged a demo. Genesys Premiere, the light version for companies with less than 250 agents, sets itself apart from all the other systems phone systems in one … [Read more...] about Genesys Call Center Software Reviewed