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April 10, 2006

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Dina Beach Lynch, Esq.

As usual, Michelle, I couldn't agree more! The same concept holds true for creating and maintaining a meaningful, healthy work environment.

Most employees can't clearly articulate the core values of their firm or give specifics on how those values are integrated into their daily routines. That failure rests largely on the shoulders of the firm leaders, who are responsible for making climate as well as making rain.

One of the first things I study when designing a new Ombuds program for a firm is their climate, i.e. what do these people care about most and what is the experience of working at this firm like?

Why is that important? Because, studies suggest that professionals who work in thoughtful environments with clearly articulated values are 200% more likely to feel energized by their work and deliver better customer service. Implementing an Ombuds program helps everyone understand and live firm principles and signals that a commitment to fairness is one of those principles.

Keep up the great work, Michelle.

Dina Beach Lynch, Ombuds
www.WorkWellTogether.com
Resolving Internal and Systemic
Issues for Small Businesses

Ellen Weber

You build a great case for leaders who encourage others to know and be known here, Michelle, thanks! I work with "interpersonal intelligence" development and was wondering what you think would motivate all leaders to see the winning benefits to their bottom line, in what you suggest for viewing the customer in new ways?

Michelle

I've pondered Ellen's question awhile and I think the answer was unclear to me until last week when I saw and heard Steve Erickson speak on recruiting at Association for Accounting Administration. I posted about it the other day on my blog (here: http://goldenmarketing.typepad.com/weblog/2006/06/steve_erickson_.html) and now realize that in it lies my answer to Ellen's question. Erickson said:

Leadership is a quality, not a position.

Ellen asked what would "motivate all leaders" and I'm not sure that is possible to motivate all leaders to be truly customer-centric. For the sake of answering the question, let's say that "all leaders" would mean all those in "lead positions" and not necessarily those blessed with leadership traits but not in lead positions.

I do think that in an organization, both "lead position" people and people with strong leadership traits, regardless of their title, have influence--good or bad--over the behaviors of others in the company.

Secondly, I believe that to truly demonstrate appreciation of the customer, when someone isn't prone to doing so naturally, requires a fundamental shift in beliefs--much more than just a realization of a personal gain type of benefit.

I am unconvinced that "viewing the customer in new ways" can be pulled-off when it's insincere, at least not for very long. If someone in a lead position touts customer-centricity while they don't believe in it at the core of their being, it will be apparent in their action somewhere along the line therefore they won't role-model in correlation with their espoused message.

The result is the classic mixed-message where lead persons do not practice what they preach. This is, in effect, the opposite of leadership.

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