When Integrity and Trust Outshine Winning Your Point

If you haven’t encountered it already in your career, you will do at some point…I promise you!

There will be times when your personal values will take priority over ‘being right’ or ‘proving him/her wrong’, and you’ll speak transparently in a timely manner, and ultimately, do the right thing. Not the right thing just for you, but for the wider community – and by community, I mean your organisation, the people within it, and even (especially) for those folk you don’t particularly care for, want to be around, but have to!

Watch this short clip and observe the wonderful integrity demonstrated by tennis player Jack Sock in his game with Lleyton Hewitt. It’s a real trust building demonstration that perhaps you might want to remember for when you have a dilemma about ‘being right’ or ‘doing the right thing’.

Thoughts you wish to share on this? Please do.

Do You Help or Hurt Your Organisation?

As a Manager, do you help or do you hurt your organisation? Do you help or do you hurt your team’s ability to perform optimally?

You may do both at certain times in certain situations each and every day. Perhaps even without thinking about it! A little focus will enable you to focus on undertaking and delivering the few things that really matter, rather than getting caught up in the many things that don’t.

How To Develop Emotionally Intelligent Managers

Emotional Intelligence training for managers can be well intentioned, but fall flat on its face when the ‘learning’ focuses mainly on the theory rather than practical application of emotional intelligence skills in the real-world of organisations.

As an aspiring or existing manager, the importance of developing Emotional Intelligence skills and competencies cannot be overstated. In this 4 minute video clip, Emotional Intelligence expert and presenter Scott Watson shares a few thoughts on how traditional management styles and practises deserve to be complemented with a set of unique and deeply human skills.

When ‘Please Proceed’ Digs Your Counterpart A Deep Hole…

If you haven’t encountered such a situation already, no doubt you will at some point during your management career.

There will come a time when one of your colleagues is so connected to getting their point across to an audience (which could be your boss, peers and/or stakeholders), that they unwittingly shoot themselves in the foot..and boost your own personal credibility in the process.

This brief clip from the U.S. presidential debates between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama is one such instance of how keeping quiet, not being drawn in to validating the counterpart’s claim, and using two very powerful yet simple words ‘Please proceed’ can uncover inaccuracies, demonstrate good manners, and, instil fear and uncertainty in the individual making the allegation.

The title of the clip includes ‘lying’, an emotive word in itself. Perhaps Senator Romney just got his facts wrong on this occasion. But observe what happens when Obama declines to be drawn into any kind of defensive response, and instead simply responds ‘Please proceed governor’. Romney’s confidence suddenly heads South. His credibility and standing is further brought in to question when the moderator of the debate quietly states that Obama did not actually say what Romney claims. And once again, Obama politely and calmly requests that the moderator repeat more loudly what she just said to Romney….that Obama did not say what Romney is claiming.

How does this example relate to you and your credibility and standing in your organisation? Have there been occasions when you have been accused of something and even though you knew the claim to be false or inaccurate, you immediately defended yourself and your position on the matter? If you have, it’s completely understandable. Perhaps next time, do what Obama did so elegantly, and invite the accuser to continue with their tirade. But remember, this should be done where the facts are verifiable rather than simply with opinions.

Emotional Intelligence Training – Trainers and Coaches Need It Too!

Emotional Intelligence Training and coaching is often reserved for managers and leaders. Why?

Largely because managers and leaders are responsible for, and expected to, enable and engage team members to perform at, or near, their best each and every day. As you may know, this can be quite a challenge, even when the Manager or leader is technically brilliant!

But one audience overlooked all too easily is Emotional Intelligence Training for in-house Trainers and Coaches. The very people who are charged and trusted with educating, equipping and enabling your employees to undertake their role effectively, and connect with your customers, internal and external, in a professional manner.


Have you ever participated in a training course, perhaps a management training course or team building course where the person at the front of the room, hoping for your attention and involvement, knew the process, systems or procedures inside-out, upside-down and back to front, but didn’t perhaps appear to enable your learning?

Instead, s/he was more ‘spouting information’ and getting through their course syllabus rather than stepping in to your world and beginning the learning journey from where you were, rather than expecting you to join them where they thought you were? How Frustrating is that? VERY!


An audience of teachers recently didn’t take too kindly to my comment that ‘Just because you are teaching, it doesn’t necessarily mean your students are learning‘. I doubt I’ll be invited back, but, my comment did strike a chord with the HR Manager at the school who told me that she had never thought about the quality of learning in this way before. After all, where do teachers, busy managers, under pressure HR and Training team members get the chance to plan ahead? Plan ahead to focus on ‘What does my audience need and value most?’ rather than ‘What do I think I should tell them?’ The latter approach lacks empathy, and people do tend to enjoy a healthy dose of empathy (bedside manner) when they’re not feeling comfortable, competent or confident about learning something new.


Emotional Intelligence Training can help you and your colleagues to learn some proven, easy to use ‘soft skills’ that can deliver ‘hard’ results, and it doesn’t matter whether you are a private, public or charitable organisation. These Emotional Intelligence skills and competencies are as relevant and effective in virtually any environment.

Some of the specific benefits of Emotional Intelligence Training for Trainers include:

  1. How to develop empathy to engage learners (including reluctant learners) in their self-development. Promoting more personal ownership of performance is rarely achieved by imposing – it’s achieved by collaborating.
  2. Developing emotional resilience and greater ability to bounce back from learning ‘failures’ more quickly and easily. Everybody will fail at some point and helping colleagues recover more quickly and get back on track is very powerful.
  3. Boosting collaboration in the learning environment through improved facilitation competence rather than the ‘Chalk and Talk‘ approach. Remember, just because you are presenting does not mean that your audience members are learning!
  4. Promoting the opportunity to ‘fail safely’ in a genuinely supportive learning environment can do wonders for self-confidence in a learner. This is rarely achieved if the learner believes that the Trainer or Coach has more focus on getting through their content, rather than supporting them.
  5. Think of it this way. You’re not well and you visit your local doctor’s surgery for an appointment. You have the choice of an appointment with one of two doctors. Both are technically proficient, suitably qualified and with lots of experience.Doctor 1’s focus is on ‘processing you‘. To obtain the relevant information and prescribe some form of treatment.

    Doctor 2’s focus is on ‘understanding you‘. To obtain the relevant information and prescribe some form of treatment having understood where you’re at and what your outcome is. The bedside manner is authentic and empathic. Their communication, collaborative.

Who would you choose to treat you? Now relate your decision to your in-house training, coaching and HR team. External partners too. The same principle applies. Are your employees really gaining the best possible benefit from your investment in their training, whether it be emotional intelligence training, management training, customer service training or technical training of some kind?

FIFA And Greetland Academy School Governance – Same Problem, Different Arena?

Dear Ms Morgan

The ongoing FIFA scandal has alerted me to the fact that many of the standards, behaviours and attitudes being demonstrated by Mr Blatter are worryingly similar to those I experienced when, as an elected parent governor at a Halifax Academy school, I raised serious concerns regarding the conduct of the then Principal, and several ‘senior’ governors including the Chair of the Academy’s governing body.

As you will notice when you read the email below which was sent to the new Principal at the Academy, the concerns I raised are not simply personal opinion. I actually sought what can be reasonably deemed expert input from specific professionals.

As appears to be the case with FIFA, the door was quickly closed on transparent dialogue, efforts to force my compliance with ‘group think’ (which was by no means supported by specialist input), was the rule of the day, and even now, the email to the new Principal, Mr Paul Dixon, which was sent to him on 16th April 2015, has not received a response of any kind.

Ms Morgan, I welcome your thoughts and comments on how a (now former) school governor can pursue such serious concerns when the governing body, or rather specific members of it, makes every effort to avoid transparent dialogue, when OFSTED cannot intervene or investigate as the matter falls outside of their legal remit, and the order of the day is ‘Be quiet and toe the line’.

Ms Morgan, within your remit as Education Secretary, I welcome your response on this matter.

Email of 16th April 2015 to The Greetland Academy Principal

Dear Mr Dixon

I was informed yesterday by my wife that you had this week become the Principal of The Greetland Academy.

As you may be aware, prior to my resignation as an elected parent governor, I raised a raft of serious concerns regarding the behaviour, actions, quality, and indeed possible legality, of some of decisions made and actions taken by your predecessor, Chair of Governors, and Chair of Curriculum and Staffing Committee.

Rather than simply providing my own professional HR opinion on the concerns I raised, professional advice that can be reasonably considered ‘expert’ advice was sought from:-

*The Principal and Chair of governors of a school rated ‘Outstanding’ by OFSTED.

*The Department for Education’s independent Governorline service.

*A specialist governance lawyer who also serves as Chair of Governors at a UK university.

*Two highly credible human resources leaders with extensive experience in, and knowledge of recruitment, bullying and harassment and organisational governance.

*A lawyer specialising in data protection and freedom of information legislation.

I share with you the range of specialists I sought guidance from to not only demonstrate to you that I took my role as an elected governor seriously, but also to demonstrate the fact that a range of suitably qualified human resources, education and legal professionals have all stated that the individuals mentioned above, have behaved at the very least unprofessionally, and at worst, possibly illegally – under the guise of The Greetland Academy.

When advised of the facts relating to the serious concerns I raised with your predecessor and Chair of Governors, within their areas of specialism, each of the above individuals advised me that The Greetland Academy, or more to the point, specific members of its staff and governing body, had either breached even the most basic of professional standards, or, rather worryingly, may have even breached relevant governance and employment legislation. Bullying and Harassment of one former, and one current employee, comes immediately to mind Mr Dixon.

Rather than produce an extensive list in this email, my question to you Mr Dixon is this.

As the Principal of The Greetland Academy, and as a professional who holds not just a leadership position, but also a trusted position within the Greetland community, are you open to entering into a candid and transparent dialogue with me to review the facts of the issues I raised with those individuals previously mentioned (rather than hearsay and/or personal opinions), and, commit to taking appropriate retrospective action where right and proper to do so, in relation to the individuals I have previously named in my email correspondence to the Governing Body of The Greetland Academy?

Following my Freedom of Information Act request, one of your colleagues delivered a rather slim envelope to my home address. The contents were apparently the only information The Greetland Academy deemed appropriate to include. It was no surprise to receive such a limited and restricted information pack. Whichever member/s of The Greetland Academy management or governing body authorised and approved the contents chose to use the blanket “Protected by legal privilege” statement with great ease. So restricted was the contents of the envelope that s/he/they didn’t even feel it appropriate or relevant to include information relating to the drumming event I sponsored and organised during my time as an elected governor. Surely Mr Dixon, a drumming event for Year 6 students cannot reasonably be covered by The Greetland Academy’s “Protected by legal privilege” clause and excluded from the envelope, can it, really? It does make me wonder what other information may have been either hidden or buried, and as my schedule will soon allow the opportunity for me to request a public interest request for information from the Information Commissioner’s Office, I fully intend to pursue this line of action as per legal recommendation.

The above, alongside the unfounded and unproven allegations against my wife for allegedly breaching confidentiality, and the manner in which the ‘reprimand’ was delivered (some 200 days following my meeting with your predecessor and Chair of curriculum and staffing committee, and just 30 minutes prior to the end of school term), are simply very real, and extremely worrying examples of what might be reasonably deemed toxic leadership, inept governance and, quite possibly, illegal activity by specific individuals, and on behalf of The Greetland Academy. An organisation that you are now trusted to lead.

Mr Dixon, by no means is it my intention to dampen your spirits or divert your focus from your priorities as you settle into your new role. It is though my intention to honour the very clear commitment I made to the parents who elected me to serve as a parent governor at The Greetland Academy to support the community that I reside in, and you hold a trusted position in. My intention is to hold those individuals involved in these unsavoury matters accountable for their decisions and actions in the specific areas I have raised.

This correspondence is addressed directly to you rather the the Academy’s governing body Mr Dixon. My experience of the governing body’s technical competence, credibility and knowledge in relation to the specific areas I raised do not fill me with faith that they will choose to do anything other than simply comply with the senior, and supposedly competent individuals who hold ‘power’ within the governing body. The reason I did not submit a complaint to the Academy’s governing body was that the Academy’s governing body would be investigating itself, and under the leadership of specific members whom I have raised concerns, and made serious allegations about. You may or may not agree that this would lack any form of independence, and would ultimately be akin to students marking their own homework. Hardly professional, hardly objective, definitely not transparent.

The media is currently littered with examples of groups in organisations which quickly jump in to automatic compliance mode simply because a ‘senior’ or ‘authority’ figure instructs them to. The media is also packed with examples of independent investigations undertaken after the event establishing that group think and auto-compliance were fundamentally flawed and extremely dangerous. This Mr Dixon, may or indeed may not be such an occasion. Alongside my own professional knowledge and expertise in the human resources and leadership arena, those highly qualified professionals I sought independent counsel from do share my view.

In the interests of transparency Mr Dixon, my wife is not aware that I am contacting you. Of course she will know at some point as a broadcast news organisation has expressed an interest in covering the story in the lead up to the general election when education becomes the topic of the day. Copied in on this message is Chris Shaw, the public relations professional who has attracted that interest, and this message will also be sent to the relevant lawyer following their return from holiday.

Please excuse the formality of this correspondence Mr Dixon. Whilst from my experience of collaborating with you resulted in an genuine level of trust and respect, from my perspective, you may understand why an element of formality is required.

I would be grateful if you would advise me by Wednesday morning of next week whether you are open to a meaningful and transparent dialogue regarding these matters. You are welcome to email me or call me or indeed call me on (telephone number removed) if you wish. The risk with the latter is that my wife may be in earshot of any conversation we hold.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely

Scott Watson signature


5 Ways To Boost Your Performance As A Manager

Would you like to learn 5 quick and easy tips that can boost your effectiveness as a Manager?

Here are 5 top tips on how you can boost your personal effectiveness as a manager without attending a management training course. When you consistently apply these tips for ten consecutive days, you’ll soon begin to notice very positive changes and improvements.


time management trainingToo many managers are so focused on the process of getting the job done that they often overlook, or completely forget, about the need to support their people in delivering the outputs required in a structured, (and hopefully) stress free manner. I do hope that this isn’t you?

Finding and taking time to effectively brief your team members on what you expect from them, why you expect it, how you will support them to achieve their targets and goals, and being genuinely supportive, will boost clarity, develop shared responsibility for the delivery of outputs and achievement of goals, and, develop high trust collaborative relationships along the way too.

If you’re thinking that doing this is a little ‘touchy feely’ and not worth investing a little time and focus in, put yourself in your team members shoes. Would you prefer a Manager who tells you what to do, and then doesn’t offer support, or would you prefer a Manager who is more like the example above?

How you support your team (or not) will define whether your team members work with you or against you. It’s quite an easy choice when you think about it, isn’t it?


Many managers wrongly believe that if they haven’t got multiple projects, with conflicting deadlines and a hundred or more emails to deal with, something is wrong. Thinking time, reflection time, planning time, can be viewed as a little strange, even uncomfortable.

In reality, there are just a few things that you need to do that really matter and add value to your organisation. They are preparing, planning, delegating, collaborating and focusing on achieving specific, value adding outputs. I recommend Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people programme to you for more on this subject.

Consider this. How many meetings do you attend through habit or duty, rather than because you add value? Too many I expect. How many times each day is your attention diverted from what you are doing, because your email ‘pings‘ or you simply check it anyway because you’re either bored, or not wanting to feel vulnerable by potentially missing out on something ‘important‘ landing in your inbox?

Switch your email alert to silent and remove any on screen notification too. They are worthless, wasteful distractions that top performing managers learn to ignore and place little value on. Politely decline to attend those meetings where you don’t need to be, but to which you currently go anyway.

Invest a little more in quiet time at, or away from your desk so that you can develop real clarity on what is really important (and why), and what activities are deserving and in positive need of your attention each and every day.

Top performing managers proactively manage their emotional and mental focus and time rather than having time manage them. Will you do it too and begin moving towards the top 1% of managers in your organisation?


emotional intelligence coursesBeing technically competent is a very positive start in your management career. At the very least, if you’re not yet technically competent as a manager, you should consider having a structured personal development plan in place to become competent and confident in your role. This includes the people aspects of management as well as processes and systems.

In the rush to deliver tough targets, many managers unwittingly stop asking their team members how they can support them. The top 1% of managers do exactly the opposite. They continually ask team members ‘What are two things I can do to help you do an even better job?’ and ‘If there were two ways I could support you more effectively, what would they be?’

Simple questions right? But very powerful questions which boost communication, collaboration and trust between you the Manager, and your team members.

If you want to develop and maintain an emotionally engaged, committed and highly motivated team, you need to go first. You need to consistently demonstrate the behaviours, attitudes and standards you want your team members to demonstrate, collectively and individually. It’s not as hard a task as it might sound. In fact, with a little practice, it becomes less awkward and uncomfortable, and develops in to a low maintenance habit with a very positive up-side. Try it for ten days and notice the difference.


You don’t have to do everything and you don’t have to know everything either. Did you know this?

Some managers refuse to delegate tasks to team members because they believe that sharing of information is a loss of power and status. Some managers delegate, but without structure, clarity or agreed support for their colleague, and it can feel more like ‘abdication‘ rather than delegation. Either of these two positions is potentially damaging to your organisation. And they are most definitely potentially damaging to you, your reputation and your personal credibility.

Highly effective managers delegate effectively, viewing the allocation of tasks and projects to colleagues as a value-adding activity. Indeed, when done correctly, delegation can serve to be a powerful trust and team building activity. It develops and spreads skills within and across your team and, allows you, the manager, to focus on doing those few things that really matter while your colleagues feel genuinely supported in developing their skills, expertise and knowledge in specific areas.

Yes, you will be a supportive coach during the delegation process, and you will also share responsibility for the successful delivery of the required output, but you won’t be doing tasks and projects that, properly planned, others can undertake.


It’s all too easy to catch people doing things wrong and then reprimand them for their errors. After all, the human brain doesn’t enjoy having to deal with people and situations that cause it a headache!

Highly effective managers, as well as addressing inferior, poor or unacceptable performance and/or behaviour, are also adept at catching team members doing things right. They are constantly on the lookout for exemplary performance, that little extra effort, and that fantastically positive attitude that continues to shine through even when potential solutions to a seemingly insurmountable problem are being explored.

Such managers express genuine gratitude to team members who do that little extra, stay late to complete a task or resolve an issue, even though they didn’t have to and weren’t expected to. Do you? If you do, do you do it enough? Do you do it at the right time, for the right reasons, and do you do it authentically?

I am not suggesting you scour your office to provide shallow praise to your colleagues. I am though inviting you to notice the good things that your people do, and this way not only will they appreciate your attention and thanks, you’ll also develop a more loyal team who go the extra mile through personal choice, rather than obligation.

Our extensive research has identified that the top 1% of managers continuously practice the activities you have just read, and their practice pays significant dividends in terms of improved motivation, performance, quality and productivity. Why not give them a go for just ten consecutive days and see how things improve?

Free 2 Week Email Course

management training courseIf you haven’t already, why not sign up for our 2 week Introduction To The Secrets of Top Performers email course? You’ll learn how to boost your personal effectiveness, enhance team engagement, motivation and productivity and significantly improve your personal credibility.

Just enter your details to secure your spot:



Decision Making – How To Make Good Decisions

Decision Making Questions You Can Use Today

If you haven’t already encountered this, you will do at some point in your management career. Indeed, you might be doing this already – not making a decision on an important matter.
Indecision Is A Decision

Decision making trainingAt work, there is likely to be an occasion or two when you want to get a decision from someone. It could be a commitment from a person who is performing below par and needs to raise their game, or your boss who has a hundred different decisions to make, and bosses to please, so the decision you require keeps getting delayed.

Here are a few questions you can ask to help someone making a (good) decision.
What information do you require (from me or from elsewhere) to make a decision now/today?’
This question helps the person think about what they need, not what you are offering and helps them be more response-able for their thinking.If you had already made the most appropriate decision on this (subject) what information, data and other factors would you have considered to reach your decision?’
This question puts them in the position of having already made the decision and takes a different thinking position. Acting ‘AS IF‘ is a very effective thinking technique.Could you please help me understand what stops you from making a decision/approving my decision?’
This question helps to unblock thinking and may draw out sensitive information or even a blind spot.If your Manager was advising you of what decision to make that was good for all stakeholders, what would s/he recommend to you?’
This question gets the person to consider what their boss would appreciate and disapprove of. Bear in mind, people often comply with authority, so it’s essential the decision is not made purely on position in a structure chart.
What currently stops you from making a good decision now?’
how to make good decisionsYou may find that their indecision relates to an internal issue such as ‘I’m not feeling confident‘ or ‘If I get this decision wrong, my boss will go crazy‘, or it could be an external decision such as ‘The data I need to make a good decision isn’t yet available‘ or ‘The deadline is still two hours away so I’m going to wait’. When you have identified whether it’s an internal or external motivating factor, you can explore the reason/s in more detail.
What would your most trusted colleague advise you to do if s/he was aware of this situation and your indecision?
This question creates some head space for your colleague. Instead of asking ‘What are you doing to do?’, the question relates to a trusted third-party. When the trusted third-party becomes involved, your colleague will be able to view their situation or predicament more clearly, and with less emotion and fear.
Help People Think For Themselves
An unwillingness to make a decision is a decision in itself. If you are to help people make better quality decisions, and more quickly, you must provide them with the time and space to think for themselves.

Free 2 Week Email Course

free management training courseIf you haven’t already, why not sign up for our FREE 2 week Introduction To The Secrets of Top Performers email course? You’ll learn how to boost your personal effectiveness, enhance team engagement, motivation and productivity and significantly improve your personal credibility.

Just enter your details to secure your spot:


Customers Service Training That Delivers a ‘WOW’

Forget customer service. In it’s most basic terms, it’s definition can be ‘What our organisation thinks our customers want‘. And throw aside the current buzz phrase of ‘customer satisfaction‘ too. Why? Well, because your customers WANT more and possibly DESERVE more than plain old ‘satisfaction‘. Shouldn’t ‘satisfaction‘ be an entry point for attracting and retaining customers, rather than somehow a final destination?

In this article, I’m going to share with you how you can ‘WOW’ your potential and existing customers. You can even WOW your peers, internal customers, stakeholders and other parties too by applying these straightforward approaches, tools and techniques. And, the bonus for you is…..THEY WON’T RUIN YOUR HARD EARNED BUDGET as they are all completely FREE! Worth reading on?

The postcard which accompanies this article was the nice surprise I received upon arrival at a hotel following a long and tiring journey from the UK to Bahrain in 2008. This trip was my fourth to the Radisson Diplomat Hotel and upon entering my room, Room 914, on my pillow in a Radisson BLU branded envelope.

This postcard was inside the envelope. What a wonderful, authentic welcome from the hotel’s Executive Assistant Manager, Mr Alex Willats. Alex has since gone on to run award winning hotels in Thailand and Singapore – and with his approach to communicating and serving customers, it’s easy to understand why! There’s a media article featuring Alex further down this article for you to enjoy.

Good Practice – Is It Really Good Enough These Days? 

OK, you may be thinking ‘Well a postcard welcoming you back is just ‘good practice’ if he knew you were returning.’ The key point here is…he didn’t know! I hadn’t been in contact with Alex for more than six months. My reservation was made through the hotel’s reservation team who, having spotted my previous visits asked ‘Mr Watson, you stay in room 914 a lot. Is that your favourite room, or would you like us to allocate you a different room with an even nicer view…also, without an adjoining door?’

Long story short. Someone in Reservations remembered my preferences (a pool view, ideally with a sunset, no adjoining door…as noisy neighbours can be really noisy when an adjoining door is involved) and then, thought to let the Executive Assistant Manager know of my visit. Good eh? It gets better.

Having taken a refreshing shower, I heard my room phone ringing. It’s the Restaurant Manager, a genuinely friendly Indian gentleman whose name I forget, who says excitedly, ‘Mr Watson, welcome back to your home in Bahrain. May I invite you to join us for dinner this evening, or if you are tired, I am very happy to arrange room service for you. Which would you prefer?’ Well, with an invitation so genuine, and refreshed from my shower, of course, why would I not wish to enjoy his hospitality and great food? But it didn’t stop there.

You Don’t Even Need To Speak The Same Language To WOW

The next morning, ahead of a busy day of business meetings, I decided to have a swim in the outdoor pool under the blistering sun. Within just a few seconds of my exiting the hotel building and heading towards the pool, a pool life guard named Ramu, from Kerala, quickly approached me with a big smile and in his heavy Indian accent and broken English said ‘Welcome back Mister Scott, I happy welcome you.’

Following a firm and friendly handshake, he then ushered me towards what he remembered (from 10 months previous) was my ‘favourite spot’ by the pool. And it was. Despite Ramu’s lack of English language skills, he asked me about my family, told me about his young daughter and how she was growing, and much more. Before I sat on the sun lounger, Ramu picked up the perfectly good towels which had already been placed on the lounger, jogged off to his little office, returning with what appeared to be even fluffier, bigger towels. Not at all expected or needed by me, BUT, RAMU WANTED to make my pool visit as special as he possibly could. He’s a life guard…NOT in Guest Relations…but he still ‘WOW’ed!

See, even when people don’t speak the same language, you can still have a ‘WOW’ experience.

But let’s move on from the Radisson in Bahrain and explore some other instances of ‘WOW’s’ and ‘Ouch’s’.


Have you ever visited a restaurant, store or hotel and been greeted with ‘Welcome‘ and you just knew the employee was saying the words, but not really feeling the love? Strangely, one supermarket has employees who officially hold a job title of ‘Greeter’. The sash worn over the shoulder may be positive in its intent, but perhaps doesn’t present the best brand image.

Have you ever visited a restaurant, ordered more than two meals for your party, and at least one meal (supposed to be a hot meal) turns up cold, or at best lukewarm? This happened to my family last weekend, and we were three of only five diners in the restaurant! At breakfast time.

When this happens, are you too polite to mention your situation to the waiter or waitress? Do you mention it and then the Manager politely offers to ‘Make another one for you, right away‘? Does the Manager offer to remove the cost of the cold meal from your bill as a ‘gesture of goodwill‘, even though goodwill disappeared as soon as your meal appeared cold, which then took the focus away from enjoying your time together, and on to the people in your group offering you some of their meal? Perhaps when this happens to you next time….and it will at some point, politely advise the Manager that ‘I’ve come here today/tonight to eat WITH my friends/family, not AFTER them‘. Then be silent. You may soon find a greater discount is soon offered.

When you call the ‘Helpline’ for your bank, does the automated voice mention to you that ‘Your call is important to us‘, but never lets you know an estimated time that you will actually speak to a human being, rather than listen to ‘the voice’ which lacks empathy, or caller focus? If MY call is so important to YOU, please pick up the phone!!

Enough of my ranting. Let’s explore how you can ensure your prospective and existing customers can experience a ‘WOW’ rather than an ‘OUCH’.

1. Do What You Say You Will Do….Consistently.

Don’t under promise and over deliver. That approach lacks integrity, is intentionally misleading, and perhaps even dishonest in some cases. Tell your customer what to expect, when to expect it, and if there’s some form of delay expected, give them a timeframe for the delivery of what they are trusting you to deliver. Customers are usually understanding and patient IF you keep them informed.

2. Stop Using Lazy Language

‘Just one minute’, ‘I’ll be with you in a moment’ or the ever popular ‘ASAP’ are lazy language and can cause conflict – and lose your organisation customers. If you want something from me ‘ASAP’, you might want it in five minutes, and not a second later. ‘ASAP’ for me in my brain may mean up to thirty minutes, or even by the end of the day, because I have other priorities to focus on…for more important people than you.

Clarify ‘What do you actually mean by ASAP? Is it five minutes, ten minutes or something else?’. Easy to do and can help avoid a big headache.

3. Be Empathic

Forget the supermarket ‘Greeter’. Just encourage your colleagues to listen first, understand second, then, and only then, provide the guidance, information or service the customer actually WANTS rather than guessing based on your own experience and personal bias. My recent experience at a supermarket checkout raised a giggle when the female checkout assistant asked the customer in front of my in the queue “May I help you with your packing?” which is of course helpful. Then when it was my turn to be served she innocently asked “Do you need some help with your packing?” Notice the difference? Is she implying I am not capable of packing bags? That I NEED help rather than, might just appreciate help?

People warm to people who, as well as being technically competent, are genuinely friendly. Try it with your team and you’ll soon notice the positive difference.

4. Give Them A Free Upgrade

OK, this isn’t giving away freebies at will. If you’re a restaurant and there’s a young child in the guests party, is a colouring picture, jigsaw or other extremely low cost offering available?

If you’re a hotel and the guest’s room isn’t yet available, even though it should be, is it too much to ask for you to offer an upgraded room and/or facilities, just on this occasion? Not as a ‘Gesture of Goodwill’, but just because you want to WOW your guests, and perhaps they’ll love you for it, return again, even write a very positive online Tripadvisor review?

5. Ask The Question ‘What more can I do for you today to help you enjoy……?

This simple question has proved powerful in helping client organisations step in to their customer’s world, rather than expecting the customer to step in to the organisation’s. It’s empathic, it’s genuine, it’s respectful and, it provides you with more opportunities to serve the very person or people who are responsible for your organisation existing. And, it leaves nothing to chance and removed potentially dangerous, guesswork.

6. Do More Than Your Bit – Collaborate

So many issues and OUCH’s appear because one person believe s/he has done their bit, and they automatically, perhaps wrongly, expect other team members to do their bit too. If only it was that easy. Effective collaboration is such a powerful skill to possess within any organisation, that the absence of it creates, and maintains silo thinking, silo working, disjointed communication and – PROBLEMS!

Your organisation is packed full of what should be healthy, inter-dependent relationships. If it isn’t? You have some work to do. Perhaps take a leaf out of Alex’s book and Go Back To The Floor? http://bit.ly/1rl0Ynp


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Korean Airlines – What Can You Learn From This?

Korean Air executive Ms Heather Cho reportedly delayed the departure of a flight she was on due to the fact that she didn’t like or approve of the way a cabin crew member served her peanuts.

Apparently, the company’s standard (for First Class passengers at least) was that nuts should be presented to the passenger on a plate, rather than simply in a bag. Being served a bag of nuts appears to have cause so much aggravation for Ms Cho that she ordered the pilot in charge to return the aircraft to the gate so that the offending and ‘incapable‘ junior cabin crew member could be removed.

Alongside Ms Cho’s behaviour, her claim that the pilot supported her decision and subsequent action do draw out some interesting learning points in terms of leadership and impact. Those key points being:-

  • Ms Cho’s behaviour may have been well intended in terms of communicating a company standard to an employee, but the manner in which she communicated her point was both divisive and destructive.
  • The apparently junior cabin crew member perhaps shouldn’t have been exposed to First Class, high ticket price passengers so soon in to their career as, alongside the many kind, generous and understanding First Class passengers, there is often one or two who find any opportunity to kick up a fuss, or find an easy target victim to remind staff who pays their wages.
  • Ms Cho now faces legal action due to her decision and behaviour breaching international air safety standards and legislation. Ouch!

Automatic Compliance Is To Be Expected

The pilot’s apparent support for Ms Cho’s decision to return to the departure gate is to be expected, isn’t it? The company owners daughter gives you (the professional in command of the aircraft and passenger safety) an instruction, and even though she holds no jurisdiction or seniority in terms of the aircraft itself, refusing to follow her order could be a very creative way of losing your job.

It’s All Feedback

The manner in which a boss, however senior or junior, provides feedback to employees below their position in a structure chart massively impacts whether your people will work with you, or against you. Ms Cho, and possibly many other leaders and managers don’t seriously consider the impact they have on employees. The facial expressions, gestures, words and voice tone you use, all have an impact on the people around you, whether positively or negatively. In this case, the impact was anything but positive!

Bad Decisions Cost Money

Causing an 11 minute delay to the aircraft, will no doubt cost Korean Air thousands of dollars in airport fines and fuel costs. The likelihood of these costs and other day to day waste through inefficient working and toxic leadership being covered by increased passenger fares? Very likely. Plus, with the threat of legal action pending, the decision made by this executive could cost the airline millions.

Toxic Behaviour Poisons The Workforce

This very real situation just goes to show that when an ‘Executive’ demonstrates toxic behaviour towards, and in front of employees, it creates an environment where news travels fast. And in this case it did…globally. It hasn’t, and probably won’t, become clear as to whether Ms Cho, who has now resigned from her executive post, was appointed because she had demonstrated technical competence, commercial awareness and true leadership qualities, or whether she was appointed to her executive role because daddy owns the airline!

How About You?

Are you aware of the impact you have on your team members, collectively and individually? Might there be one or two that you don’t invest time in supporting as they just don’t fit with your view of the world? If there are one or two, perhaps they are deserving of your attention and support? Virtually anybody can manage ‘good’ people, but the real investment is often required in the relationships that aren’t going too well.

Are you acutely aware of how you impact your team members? The words you use, your voice tone, your facial expressions and gestures? If you think you absolutely are….I invite you to ask a few trusted colleagues who will give you some candid feedback, to give you some candid feedback. Albeit unwittingly, as you spend 24 hours each day behind your face, you don’t get to see what others see. Such feedback can really help you grow as a Manager, and move you towards achieving the elusive top 1% bracket.

Free 2 Week Email Course

management training courseIf you haven’t already, why not sign up for our 2 week Introduction To The Secrets of Top Performers email course? You’ll learn how to boost your personal effectiveness, enhance team engagement, motivation and productivity and significantly improve your personal credibility.

Just enter your details to secure your spot: