Power On

Teamwork in the office

Power On

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

 “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, or the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change. ” ~Charles Darwin

 

Flash! Crack! Pop!

Darkness engulfs us. Silence, too, but for the pelting of rain and hail on the house and windows.

A neighbor’s tree has just split in two and taken out the power to the neighborhood as it fell on the power lines across the street, pulling the wires from her house in the process. A few of us neighbors gather in the storm to check on our neighbor and her ninety-nine year old mother. We assign ourselves various tasks of calling the town about the tree, the power company about the wires, and vacationing neighbors about windows left open and the severity of the storm. We also call our neighbor’s son a State Trooper, to make sure his Mum and grandmother have the help they need during this frightening time in the middle of the night. All the while, we take turns staying with our neighbor and bringing her updates as new developments occur.

Change is hard enough to deal with when one has time to see its approach and adjust. There is so much emotionally to come to terms with during times of change that often goes unnoticed under the best of circumstances. When change takes us by surprise and places us in a state of complete upheaval, we feel the lack of control and the effects of all our emotions on a highly magnified scale. Without someone to keep us grounded and to guide us through the change, we, like my neighbor in the storm, fall to pieces in some fashion, unable to think clearly and take the necessary steps to deal with the change.

Recently in New England, the news was full of accounts of a particular company in the throes of sudden upheaval after decades of rumblings from within the beast of an acrimonious family struggle for control of the business. In the early stages of this most recent installment of a public struggle, it was easy to see the ulterior motives of some of the participants in spite of the veils with which they covered these motives.

This brings me to the point of my comparing two seemingly dissimilar situations.  Change will happen. It’s inevitable. Whether it happens at its natural pace or thrusts itself upon us is irrelevant. How we handle the change matters. Whether our handling of it produces three-dimensional, positive results is determined by the motives involved in the change. Our motives may be pure or they may not be pure. The motives of the other parties involved in the change also may be pure or they may not be pure. Whatever goes into the change, will have an impact on the results. “Garbage in. Garbage out.” as the saying goes.

Conversely, if you put good stuff into the change, it will produce results that are good for everyone. Here are a few things to consider the next time you are facing change:

  • If you are the instrument of change, ask yourself what your motives are in instigating the change. Be honest or there is no point in reading any further. If your motives are self-centered, admit it. Then, decide what you are going to do next. You can continue on your original path, or you can decide to care about the people left in your wake by asking yourself if there is another way to get what you want while helping others in the process. In the corporate situation above, the motives behind the change were the best-kept secret everybody knew yet the offending parties would not acknowledge, thinking instead that they were hiding them. Mid-way through the ordeal, it reached the following point:

“Any reasonable person would begin to put into question whether or not this is going to happen, whether [the defendant] will be able to put this together,” said Richard Nicolazzo of the communications firm Nicolazzo & Associates, which has advised companies such as MetLife and Nortek in acquisition deals. “If past is prologue, I’m not optimistic. I think that this has been a situation where it’s no longer a rational or economic discussion. It’s about, ‘You’re not going to win at any cost,’ even if it means putting this company into some kind of reorganization.’”

  • Do not be shortsighted in your quest for big profits. My thirty-plus years in the corporate world have allowed me to witness well-planned change strategies that made the companies stronger on paper and at their core because the companies took into consideration all the aspects of what the changes would mean to everyone involved. I have also witnessed hastily made changes designed to boost the Bottom Line for the upcoming shareholders meeting that ultimately produced devastating results.

The advice that my grandfather gave me when buying my first car holds true for all of Life’s decisions:

“I you are pressured into buying the car without being allowed to step back and consider the deal from all angles, walk away because the deal’s no good. If it were good, it would stand on its own.”

  • If your goal is not simply to survive the change but to thrive throughout the change process, be certain to include solid change management practices into your strategy. By helping your employees to deal with the emotional aspects of change throughout each stage of the technical/physical change process, you will have a workforce fully able to support the change from beginning to end, becoming advocates as opposed to adversaries.

Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

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Sit. Stay. Fetch. Making Clients Beg for Treats

Dog in Meadow

Sit. Stay. Fetch. Making Clients Beg for Treats

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

“It is a truism to say that the dog is largely what his master makes of him: he can be savage and dangerous, untrustworthy, cringing and fearful; or he can be faithful and loyal, courageous and the best of companions and allies.” – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

The day finally arrived. You know, the one you wait for with the anticipation of Santa for December 26th. What is this most anticipated day?  It is the day I can finally claim my free birthday item. Yours might be from an accessories store, a hardware store, a local restaurant. Mine is from my beloved coffee shop and I had all I could do not to camp out overnight to make certain that I started my birthday off on the right foot.

As the line slalomed its polite yet frenetic way through the designated course to the counter, I double-checked the e-mail on my phone to be certain that I followed the instructions.

“Bring your registered card or mobile app to the store to redeem your reward”.

Registered card in hand? Check!

Balance on card? Low, but check!

Desired Birthday Coffee memorized and ready to order? Check!

Card handed to cashier? Check!

Imagine my surprise when the cashier requested further payment for my free Birthday Beverage. My card balance was now $0.00 and I was being charged for a gift my coffee shop said they gave me. When I asked the cashier about it, showing her the e-mail, she said that I should have told her beforehand, then moved me along and took the next person in line.

The e-mail informing me of the birthday gift made no mention of my need to inform the cashier. In fact, the e-mail implied that the only way to receive my gift was to use my card and that because my card was registered, all I had to do was present my card at the counter and everything would be taken care of. Eventually, I straightened it out and received my birthday gift, though not after having to jump through hoops and beg for my treat.

What started out as a nice surprise, turned into an ordeal that tainted my day and my relationship with a business I have been loyal to thus far. The next time you offer your clients a gift, keep the following things in mind:

  1. Be clear as to the details of your offer.
  2. Test and review your offer until you are certain that your message will be understood as intended.
  3. Train your staff thoroughly on the details of the offer/gift and empower them to correct misunderstandings as they happen.
  4. Make your offer/gift easy to redeem. The less your clients have to do to receive the gift you’re giving them, the happier they will be. To keep things in perspective, imagine how your family or best friend would react and feel if you made them do what you are making your clients do to receive a wedding present, birthday, or anniversary gift.

In the rush and the struggle to find new ways to reach out to your clients, thank them, and reward them for their loyalty, it is easy to lose sight of the basics enumerated above. Of course, there are also the technical aspects of sales tracking and other business considerations that have a say in the final offer and how you administer it. To create the most effective promotions, you need to find the right balance between your business needs or restrictions and treating your clients like the Human Beings they are. Remember, your clients are not dogs. Do not make them beg for treats. If you treat your clients well, they will reflect that treatment back to you and your company.

Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Feeble, Foolish, Wise, or Skillful

“Feeble, Foolish, Wise, or Skillful”

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

 

“The feeble tremble before opinion, the foolish defy it, the wise judge it, the skillful direct it.”

– Mme. Jeanne Roland –

 

Today’s issue of The Rossiter Report is simple and straightforward – a meditation for the week. Take this week and gauge your reactions to other’s opinions (clients’, coworkers’, everyone’s) in comparison to the quote above. Once you see where you stand, determine if there is some other place in the spectrum you would rather fit, then work towards that goal. If you seek, truly, to build a team that has a great, positive impact on your company,  your success in this endeavor will be directly related to where you fall, ultimately, in the line-up.

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Copyright © 2014 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Multi-tasking Musings

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“Multi-tasking Musings”

By Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

 

“One’s action ought to come out of an achieved stillness; not to be a mere rushing on.” – D. H. Lawrence

It’s really quite lovely. Aquamarine bordered in navy with an inner border of swirling peacock feathers. A beautiful repository for the twenty or so tasks I must accomplish this morning, my To Do List sits patiently on my desk waiting for me to reduce it to nothing.

Waiting…waiting…waiting…

For someone who is decisive, organized, industrious, the To Do List is both friend and foe. More often than not, a friend who keeps me on track, helps me to focus, and allows me to accomplish many tasks in a given time frame. Some days, like today, my To Do List is a foe, a swarm of butterflies fluttering before my eyes, impossible to catch.

As I sat here struggling to corral the butterflies, exhorting myself to end the procrastination, I couldn’t help but remember me in college. Back then I had a tremendous capacity for concentration, prioritization, and quickly completing whatever needed to be done in the allotted time. I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to that version of myself over the years.

The only explanation I could come up with is that my decades spent in the corporate atmosphere, with its expectation of constant multi-tasking has trained me to flitter from task to task as each one presents itself. Particularly in a call center or customer service departmental scenario, new crises present themselves constantly.

I recall the substance of an article I read a few years ago (yet sadly am unable to find the article to share it with you here) that stated that multi-tasking is not a natural Human trait. The article states that multi-tasking was invented for computers to be able to perform calculations and function properly.  It makes sense that as employees are continually asked to do more, to be more productive, put in longer hours – essentially to be more machine-like – that we would develop machine-like traits.

Yet, how good is the work that is produced under these conditions? Certainly it is good enough to get the job done. In order to rise to the level of Superlative in our businesses (specifically in relation to the service we provide) we must strive to produce work that is better than Good Enough. One way I have found to produce superlative work in a limited timeframe is to follow these steps:

  1. Compile a working Master List of the tasks you need to complete, categorizing them as Complete Today, Complete This Week, Complete This Month.

  2. Within each list, prioritize each task or project.

  3. Gather everything you need in order to complete each task in one place (my favorites are the plastic, Velcro-closure, expandable project folders), label it, and store the folders in order of priority. Sticky-tabs with the priority number are a good visual aide.

  4. When it comes time to work on the next item on the list, take out only that project folder and get to work. Oftentimes, the visual clutter of more than one project is a distraction.

  5. If you have conflicting priorities, give each top priority a specific, set amount of time to work on it. This helps keep you focused and moving forward.

  6. Re-prioritize as necessary.

  7. Keep a status sheet at the beginning of each file to make it easy for you (or anyone filling in for you) to not waste time figuring out what has been done already and where to start. Update the sheet at the end of your time limit. File. Then start on your next task.

This method has produced consistent results for me over the years. It replicates the productivity of multi-tasking while dramatically improving the quality of the final product , reducing stress, and conserving your energy for when you really need it.

 

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The Rossiter Report – V2;N2 – “Breaking Out of the Chicken Farm”

The Rossiter Report – Volume 2;Number 2

by Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

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“Breaking Out of the Chicken Farm”

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Ginger: So laying eggs all your life and then getting plucked, stuffed and roasted is good enough for you, is it?

Babs: It’s a livin’.

Recently, I have been hearing a great many business owners expressing the dire need for employees who “think on their feet” regarding the jobs they were hired to do. These business owners are dumbfounded and frustrated at the fact that their employees (most of whom are long since out of high school) take no initiative and will not think beyond the immediate task at hand, as if they are working from a script and have no thoughts or words beyond that.

More and more, business owners are faced with a workforce who is looking to be told what to do at every turn. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the generations of children that have grown up being shuffled from one scheduled activity to another, constantly told what happens next, what to do, and how to do it are becoming the bulk of the people in the workforce at large. Perhaps it has to do with the way the corporate world has functioned for the past several decades – where employees are told that their input matters and are encouraged to contribute, yet penalized in a variety of ways when they do contribute. This experience leaves the workforce to interpret this message as proof that the only way to move forward is to put one’s head down and wait for the next instruction.

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Regardless of how we got this way, it is critical for us to break out of this prison, taking the initiative to risk change. With the economy in the state it is currently, people are afraid to make waves and risk losing their jobs. Believe me when I say, “I’ve been there. I understand”. The problem that arises because everyone takes this point of view is that things never stay the way they are, they only get worse. We simply get used to the new norm and tell ourselves that things are the same. This is what Ginger the chicken in the movie Chicken Run is trying to get her fellow inmates to see. The quote referenced at the beginning of this article was prompted by Ginger recognizing the signs that something much worse was on the horizon for them.

For those of you who have never seen the movie, I not only recommend you watch it (if only for the pure entertainment value), but I will summarize the plot for you. Ginger is a chicken living on a chicken farm that is run like a prison camp (think Stalag 17 meets Hogan’s Heroes). Ginger’s only thought is to break free of the tyranny and live a free life, beyond the hills – with grass and sunshine; with the freedom to live the life she decides, the freedom from fear, boredom, and abuse. Her difficulty, and challenge, is in trying to convince the other chickens on the farm that the way things are is not how they were meant to be – that there is a better, happier way of living. Ginger could easily escape on her own, she had done it many times, but she cares enough about the other chickens that she will not escape unless they all can.

In the quote above, Ginger is asking her fellow chicken inmates to think beyond the mechanical routine that leads to, in their case actual death. In the case of so many people in the working world/Corporate America, this life leads to a broken spirit and emotional death. Ginger is trying to connect with the thinking part of her fellow chickens to open them up to their reality as well as the possibilities that are available to them if they would only think about events as they unfold and take the risks necessary to obtain this new life of freedom.

So too the contemporary business owner.

This begs the question, “How does one get beyond this mentality in order to create happy, thinking individuals who take in the whole scenario, process it according to what is right to do in the situation, and take the initiative to go ahead and DO what needs to be done?”

Consciousness is the key.

As an employer, you have to be conscious of your own work habits and the example you are setting. I once worked for a woman who hounded her underlings (yes, that is how she thought of us) to be productive and would publicly scold and berate us if she walked by and we happened to be taking a breath because, in her eyes, we were slacking. Her behavior created extreme resentment in her staff because her workday consisted of nothing but slacking (i.e.; complaining about all of the e-mails she had to go through and that she had no time to deal with them. In the meantime she would spend 90% of the time she was not in meetings texting or telephoning her friends and family).  This same woman would consistently change the essence of the tasks she delegated without telling us, then berate us for failing at the task. The behavior that she was modeling was creating an atmosphere of insecurity and instability which resulted in our running to her for every detail and instruction so that she couldn’t say we didn’t do what she wanted. We stopped thinking for ourselves because, our manager’s behavior told us to, regardless of what words she used.

You also, as an employer, need to be conscious of the reason you are passionate about your business. Recently I spoke with a business owner who could not do this. He could not tell me why he devoted his life, sacrificing time with his family, to doing what he does (which he clearly loves doing). In order to be able to project your passion to your employees or colleagues, you must be able to express the Why behind the What. Oftentimes, employees do not care about their work because they cannot see the point to it. They interpret their boss’ passion as obsessiveness or inability to be satisfied. The result is that employees give up trying to satisfy their employers because their efforts will be wasted since their employers will let them know that the work should have been done better.

Another area employers need to be conscious of is the effectiveness of the training system in place. One business owner I spoke with recently had nothing in place beyond the functional aspects of the job. The new hires were essentially thrown to the wolves on the first day to be trained “on the fly” with all of their mistakes quite public. Additionally, since they were not trained in how to work with their customers, they had an overwhelming feeling of inadequacy and humiliation so they, again, ran to the owner for instructions on the minutest task. The employees are afraid to remember anything because, “What if I get it wrong in front of everyone?” This business owner does not realize that he has created a system of failure for his employees because he has not given any thought to the type and style of the training he is providing to his staff. This business owner does not realize the effect that not caring about the training program he puts in place has on

  1. the morale of his employees (“He doesn’t give a hoot ‘n a holler about us so why should we care about him or his stupid job?”),
  2. the way they treat his clients,
  3. the cost of continually replacing employees (monetary cost as well as time and effort), or
  4. his Bottom Line.

As employees, you need to be conscious of not falling into the prison of numbing your mind and stifling your abilities. You need to be conscious of taking risks to make change happen. You need to be conscious of the most effective ways to communicate your needs to your employer or manager in order to clear away the barbed wire surrounding your workplace chicken farm.

Again, I know from whence I speak. I have been a culprit of each of these errors in thinking and have learned the hard way that staying silent, trying to adjust to a new level of abuse or dysfunction does not change any circumstance for the better. It allows, and in fact encourages, circumstances to get worse. Therefore, if you are unhappy in your job, ask yourself why. When you arrive at an answer, ask yourself why you feel that way. Continue asking yourself why until you reach the core of the problem. If there is anything you are at fault with and can improve on, do so. Once you know the core of the problem, you will be able to find a way to properly address the situation.

For example, if you find that the core of your dissatisfaction at work is that you feel that you are afraid to try or to think on your own because you have gotten the message that you will surely fail in the eyes of your employer/Manager(as in the case of the business owner above who was passionate about his work yet came across as impossible to please), then talk with your employer/Manager about this. By stating your case in terms that do not blame your employer/Manager, yet bring out the fact that you feel you are not able to perform to your best because of how you are made to feel and that you simply want to clear up any misunderstandings and expectations, you will go far in effecting the necessary changes that will allow you to do your best and love what you do.

If each person begins to make small changes, sooner or later great changes are made. I think you will find that sooner is sooner than you think.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Copyright © 2012 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS 

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Motivational Monday – V2:N3 – Leading By Example

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

– Albert Schweitzer –

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Until the next time, I wish you all my best.

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Copyright, 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Focus Friday – V2:N2 – Effective Relationship Development with Local Business Owners

Welcome to “Focus Friday”. You are here because you are looking to dramatically improve your Client Relationship skills and are looking for focus for the upcoming week.

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As we reflect upon the week just past, and look to the week ahead, focus on where your relationships stand with other business owners in your area (or other department heads, etc.). Are your dealings with them cordial, frigid, or warm and friendly?  REMEMBER: How you interact with your colleagues and compatriots has a tremendous effect on your ability to do your job and move forward in your business. Keeping your relationships well maintained will catapult you to the success you desire.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Copyright © 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Motivational Monday – V2:N2 – Power

Official_Presidential_portrait_of_John_Adams_(by_John_Trumbull,_circa_1792)

Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak.

 

In honor of Presidents’ Day, today think about the quote above from our 2nd President, John Adams, and review (with honesty) how your leadership style stands up against such a measure. Remember, no matter what your position or title, everyone is an example of leadership to someone.

Until the next time, I wish you all my best.

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Copyright, 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Focus Friday – Volume 2;Number 1 – Passion

I hope this first Focus Friday edition of the New Year finds that you are well. In the wake of St. Valentine’s Day, our focus is on our passion for the work we do.

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Whether or not you are in your Dream Job/Career, take some time between now and Monday to look closely at the work you do and write out the areas that you truly love working at, then write out why you feel this way. By doing this every day for the next week, you will begin to see your job in a different light and you will begin to reflect this change in the work you do.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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Copyright, 2013 – Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS

All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.

Thank You Thursday

Candy Hearts

I hope this issue of Thank You Thursday finds that you are well. Happy St. Valentine’s Day. Today, let’s take the time to let our colleagues know the one thing we love about working with him or her. Perhaps you will make it a habit that goes beyond the confines of a single day, thereby changing the environment in which you spend the majority of our time.

Until the next time, I send you all my best wishes.

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All rights reserved. It is strictly prohibited to copy, redistribute, republish or modify any materials or software contained on the cerossiterpcs.com website or in subsequent support without the prior written consent of Cathleen E. Rossiter, PCS.