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Breakthrough Coach and Social Catalyst launch Rhapsody Strategies

Posted by on 10:50 pm in Leadership, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Breakthrough Coach and Social Catalyst launch Rhapsody Strategies

On June 26, 2014 Breakthrough Coach and Social Catalyst launched a new venture called Rhapsody Strategies. The mission of this new company is to build the most sophisticated leaders who change the face of business. The goal is to help leaders build their epic story and become the industry influencers and game-changers they are destined to be. We are very excited about this new chapter in the Breakthrough Coach story. Find out more about this exciting venture in this blog post, “Why Breakthrough Coach and Social Catalyst joined forces to form Rhapsody Strategies!” What are you waiting for? Isn’t it time you wrote your epic story?   Eric Deschamps | Ottawa Business...

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What Would You Do? Workplace Policies

Posted by on 8:30 am in Business Coaching, Business Systems, Human Resources, Leadership, Uncategorized | Comments Off on What Would You Do? Workplace Policies

What Would You Do? Workplace Policies

Over the past week a well known Ottawa company has been embroiled in controversy with some employees. The battle has made it to the local headlines and has caused debate around water coolers across the city. The issue is over tattoos and whether or not employees must keep them hidden from public view. The employees argue that it’s unfair to ask them to wear long-sleeved shirts during the hot summer weather. The company argues that their workplace policy clearly states that tattoos must be covered at all times and the employees agreed to do so when they were hired. It’s easy to argue both sides. In fact, when I ask entrepreneurs what they think, I hear support for both the company and the workers. Many business owners are at a loss as to how they would respond if faced with a similar issue. The conversation usually turns to workplace policies and how they should be implemented within a company’s culture. Do you have an employee manual? Does it clearly detail all workplace policies? I’m continually amazed at how many companies do not have anything written down in this area. All our employees understand what’s expected of them. Do they? What happens when someone does something that runs contrary to how you feel your employees should conduct themselves? What if their appearance and actions don’t line up with the values your company adheres to? If it’s not written down, it’s not real. It’s simply not enough to assume that all of your employees understand the expectations of your business. You need to write them down. Include your workplace policies in the employee handbook that every worker is given (you do give your employees a manual, right?) Written Policies Are Not Enough However, it’s not enough to write down all of your company’s workplace policies. As the owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure that every employee understands and agrees to the policies you’ve established. Here are a few suggestions to help with that process: 1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. You don’t want your workplace policies debated in the local media. No one wins when that happens. Instead, make sure that you are constantly reminding your employees of the values that drive your company. Demonstrate how your workplace policies are in place to support the values. Invite your employees – especially your long-standing, proven employees – to provide input into the policies on a regular basis. You’ll be amazed at the insight many of your best employees will provide. Who knows? They might even cause you to change your mind on some of the policies you’ve implemented. 2. Introduce Workplace Policies into the hiring process. Many owners will quickly explain certain policies, such as dress code, while interviewing someone. But that’s usually as far as it goes. Of course, most people being interviewed happily nod in agreement at the suggestion that they should “dress professionally” even if no one really knows what that means. It would be far more effective to print out the workplace policies and invite the candidate to read them in the interview. Ask them to explain to you how they interpret some of the policies. “We expect our employees to dress professionally. What do you think it means to dress professionally?“ 3. Keep Workplace Policies “top of mind” during staff...

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Are YOU the People-Problem in Your Business?

Posted by on 7:00 am in Business Coaching, Human Resources, Leadership, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Are YOU the People-Problem in Your Business?

Are YOU the People-Problem in Your Business?

Let’s be very clear.  Your business is much more than bricks and mortar.  The business is not just the systems and tools you use to get things done.  Your business is not just the products you have or the services you offer. The biggest success factor of any business is the people, doing the right job at the right time. Assuming this is true, (and I am writing the blog post so we will assume that for now) “WHY do we allow people-problems to go unaddressed?” At this point I can almost feel you squirming in your seat through the screen. You might be tempted to “stick your head back in the sand” and stop reading this post, but stay with me here.  People-problems do not have to be as uncomfortable as first imagined. Take a deep breath and let’s look at the situation.  Some of the most common people problems I have run into are: A salesperson that doesn’t bring in new business. The staff member that likes to bring personal drama to work every day. Someone with a poor work ethic. The employee that makes a lot of mistakes. Someone that resists change. The once fabulous team member that has slipped into mediocrity. These are just a handful of people-problems I have run into over the years. You and I both know this list could extend into eternity.  People-problems happen; that is just the reality of the situation. As a business owner it is your job, responsibility and duty to handle them no matter what shape or form they come in. Let’s now step back and take a look at some of the reasons business owners refuse to deal with people-problems.  This list is a select few of what I hear most often I’m too busy. The person may quit; besides, nobody’s perfect. I don’t like conflict. He/she will only make excuses and be offended and it won’t work anyway. This person has a lot of great traits. I don’t want to be too critical. If I ask that person to improve, he/she will want me to improve on my weaknesses too. Do any of these sound familiar to you? If so, let me be frank.  You are making crappy, wussy excuses to not deal with the issues head-on. You know better than that. You have built a business.  You have overcome huge obstacles to get where you are today. When you were struggling for your first client, did you make up excuses?  NO! YOU GOT IT DONE! My intent here isn’t to hurt your feelings; I am trying to be constructive. I want to help you help yourself, which in turn will allow you to help your own business. If you are still here, you probably recognize the value in handling your people-problems. You are probably waiting for me to tell you what to do about it.  So here is the simple solution to your problem. (Not that you don’t already know how to do this!) WHY do we allow people-problems to go unaddressed? Schedule a meeting with the employee that has an unresolved people-problem. Right at the onset of this meeting, let them know you are going to have a candid, adult conversation with him or her.  Let the person know your intention is not to hurt their feelings but rather give constructive feedback...

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Set Yourself Free with Strong Business Systems!

Posted by on 1:10 pm in Business Systems, Uncategorized | 1 comment

Set Yourself Free with Strong Business Systems!

Do you feel chained to your business? Are your team members performing repetitive tasks with no real consistency? Do you feel like you’re spending far too much time on trivial business issues instead of focusing on what matters most? If you answered yes to any of those questions, it is time you addressed your business systems. As business coaches, we are big fans of systems! Business systemization can be a long and sometimes difficult process however, but the end result is worth the effort as it will save you time, money and resources in the long run. Systemizing your business can free you from the tedious and often overwhelming tasks associated with the day to day operations of your business.  How? Business systemization ensures that every aspect of your business is standardized so that it can run effectively and efficiently without constant supervision and potentially even without you. What’s the big deal with business systems anyway? Business systemization operates under the premise that a business should function as if it was going to be franchised or reproduced. Think McDonalds©. No matter where in the world you are, a Big Mac© will always taste like a Big Mac©. Your experience at a McDonalds© in Ottawa and a McDonalds© in Tokyo will be almost the same. That is because all McDonalds© restaurants follow the same protocols and procedures no matter where in the world they are located. Initially, documenting your business procedures and protocols will be time consuming, but once finished it will help your business function like a well oiled machine and ensure that your clients are receiving the same great customer service at every visit.  No exceptions. How to get started creating your business systems. Start by creating a process map. There are great free tools/apps out there that you can use to map your entire business process. Walk through how your business operates from start to finish and create a visual map that shows each  process from A to Z. Get your team involved to make sure that you cover every step along the way. Once finished, you can start creating a list of the protocols and scripts that will need to be written for each process. I know, no one really likes the thought of learning scripts and your team might find it awkward at first but, think of a great movie, do you believe actors improvised the entire film? They don’t, they follow a set script and that script is what gives them the flexibility to adapt, perform and make it their own. There should be a script or protocol for virtually every task performed in your business, no matter how mundane. Scripts ensure that all staff members are performing tasks in a manner that is congruent with you and your business values and culture. To lessen your workload, delegate script writing to staff members and review them when done making any necessary changes. Document your systems in your Operations Manual. Once finished writing the scripts and protocols, you can begin creating your Operations Manual. Every franchise has an Operations Manual; it is what ensures that franchise owners operate the business in the same manner as other franchises. Whether you plan on franchising your business or not, your Operations Manual should be created so that anyone...

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Take Your Customer Experience to New Levels with Handwritten Notes

Posted by on 8:03 am in Business Effectiveness, Customer Service, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Take Your Customer Experience to New Levels with Handwritten Notes

Take Your Customer Experience to New Levels with Handwritten Notes

Every business owner believes they have great customer service. In fact, I have never had a single owner tell me that their customer service is terrible! Good – even great – customer service simply isn’t enough anymore. Your customers expect to be treated well. If they’re not, they will do business with someone who does treat them right! So, how do you stand out from the crowd of great customer service? Eric, in his excellent post, The Ultimate Question That Could Transform Your Customer Service, suggests one great idea. I highly recommend you read that post if you haven’t done so already. Allow me to suggest another simple approach that can cause your customers to take notice of your service. Send them handwritten notes. Today, most communication takes place online. We email, text, Facebook, etc. When people do send mail, it’s usually a form letter typed out on a computer and addressed using a mail merge. Think about it. How often do you get a handwritten note in your mailbox? A handwritten note shows you are focused on your customer. It’s personal. It’s special. I know people who have taken the handwritten notes we send and have placed them in a highly visible place in their office! That speaks volumes to how much some people appreciate the time and thought that goes into a handwritten note. I realize that some businesses have thousands of customers. It may not be practical to send a handwritten note to every person who does business with you. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it for anyone. Start with your key customers. Think of one or two people who did business with you this past week and focus on them. Those who don’t receive a note wont think much about it. But those who do will suddenly see you and your business from a different perspective. What should you include in the handwritten note? Make sure you keep the note short. Leslie Harpold wrote a post called How to Write a Thank-You Note and suggests this great methodology: Greet the person Express your gratitude Discuss impact Mention the past and allude to the future Say “Thank You” again Sign off with grace I would add the following suggestions: Address the envelope by hand. People take note when they see an envelope that is addressed to them by hand. They are far more likely to open it right away. Use old-fashioned snail mail. I realize this should be obvious, but I know some people who hand write a note then scan it to their computer and email it! Put a stamp on the envelope and send it in the mail. Hand write “Thank You!” on the outside of the envelope near the return address. This also increases the open rate of your note. Great customer service is the minimum that any business should strive for. Those who want customers to refer their service must focus on critical non-essentials like like handwritten notes. It will speak volumes about you and your company. Rob Dale – Business Coach Ottawa “I believe in people. In a world of mediocrity, where so many settle for average, I love seeing people breakthrough to their potential.” Every business owner starts out with a dream – a vision of where they what they want to accomplish through their business....

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