The Expertise – Teachability Model

November 27, 2019 4:51 pm

At a recent workshop on Adaptable Leadership, I presented a four-quadrant model (below) that I developed to capture the relationship between an employee’s expertise—associated to their job-related ability—and then the degree to which they are teachable.

The vertical axis is the degree to which someone is personally teachable with the horizontal axis highlighting the degree to which someone has job-related expertise or competence in their job

Expertise - Teachability Model v3

 

Quadrant 1. The Poor Fit

If this employee has been with the organisation for some time and has shown little or no progress in job competence, teachability and enthusiasm for the job are the most likely cause.  Current lack of job expertise combined with little or no desire to learn makes forward progress challenging and time-consuming for management. It does not mean there is anything wrong with the person; it’s more likely to be explained by their place within the organisation, or that the organisation itself isn’t a naturally good-fit to inspire them to learn and grow. This type of person would probably be better placed elsewhere  (perhaps in someone else’s business). The arrows in this quadrant indicate training and coaching are required in both job-related expertise and personal teachability. The red arrow suggests helping them depart could be the most mutually agreeable outcome.

Quadrant 2. The Know-it-all

This team member (actually individual player) is: highly competent in their work but their lack of teachability is reflected in resistance to change. Mostly, they simply don’t see the need for a personal or professional shift; they live in a zone somewhere between the ostrich – with its head in the sand – and God himself.  They generally reject the notion that they could possibly improve; believing the organisation revolves around them. I’ve even heard the Know It All say that the boss would never sack them because they are too valuable. The vertical arrow represents coaching is required in teachability.

People in this quadrant may change in the direction of teachability if they are fortunate enough to experience a perspective enhancing  “moment of truth” to shift them out of the potential complacency that makes them vulnerable to changes in the organisation, technology, context, legislation and customer preferences.

Quadrant 3. The Fast Mover

This person may not have fully developed expertise in their role but because they are naturally higher on teachability they approach each day as an opportunity to develop new skills that will make them proficient in their job. This person is a “gift” within the organisation and is the perfect recruit whether early or later in their career. Nurturing such an employee along the horizontal arrow via mentoring /training will foster even faster growth and promote loyalty.

Quadrant 4. The Autonomous

The combination of teachability and technical skill means this employee will meet and exceed the demands of their specific job requirements. People in this quadrant are likely to be innovators within the business, blessed with the insight and foresight needed to perceive and respond to change.  This type of person can function autonomously; with the horizontal arrow recommending further growth tailored to the individual’s personal and professional goals. To retain employees of this calibre, managers/business owners need to work with the person to identify meaningful ways to reward and sustain exceptional performance, noting that providing financial or promotional opportunities are only two of many ways to reward outstanding contributions made by employees.

A Note On Teachability

In over thirty years of coaching people, teaching people to be teachable is plain hard work. On developing this model I did a web search on “how to teach people teachability.” Zero results. Every entry on the first few pages spoke to the individual of how to cultivate teachability within themselves. The issue for the manager is when you have someone that doesn’t demonstrate teachability, how do you teach it when they don’t want to be taught?

Someone early in their career—apprentices come to mind—can sometimes reflect this unteachable attitude. Being patient with them, praising them for even the smallest task completed well, explaining that because they listened and did what was asked of them resulted in a great outcome, can sometimes inspire them to begin opening up to further instruction.

Others I have coached who I would have deemed to be unteachable at the start demonstrated a growing enthusiasm and teachability when I helped them connect their daily responsibilities to what motivated them personally. Others I have noticed to be unteachable in one particular environment or role, but when shifted elsewhere, began to learn and shine.

Get it Right in Recruitment 

The best place to ascertain the degree of personal teachability is at the recruitment stage. Here are some questions you might like to consider integrating into your initial interview process.

  • Tell me about what you have been learning, reading etc?
  • What areas do you feel you need to grow most in?
  • What are some of the things in life that you love doing? How have you personally developed in these areas?
  • If you were to be successful with this application, what areas would have the most challenge with? How would you deal with those challenges?
  • Tell me about a time how you handled criticism or a constructive critique from your boss?
  • Tell me about a time how you handled criticism or a constructive critique from your peers? What did you learn from this? What did you do about this?
  • Tell me about a time where you were allocated a task that you didn’t know how to do?
  • How do you stay up to date with this industry?
Summary

This model seeks to help employers and managers understand where a person sits on the two scales and corresponding quadrants and is useful for determining: someone’s current role placement; the type of coaching/training required; what leadership style to adopt along with being a useful recruitment model.

If you would like to discuss how this might enhance your organisation or to have an assessment completed of your key personnel please feel free to reply here or call direct on 0403 341 105.

Comment on this post

The Tough and Tender Of Leadership

June 6, 2018 8:57 am

The Tough and Tender Of Leadership

I have always found that improving a business process is relatively easy i.e. find the waste or the input issues, make the necessary changes and you can with some certainty predict the outputs. When it comes to improving our people, the equation, unfortunately, isn’t quite that simple.

In this past weekend’s Herald Sun, Matthew Lloyd (previous AFL Essendon footballer) wrote a piece about new Hall of Fame legend Kevin Sheedy titled “How Kevin Sheedy Influenced My Career From Day One – Tough and Tender.”

Here are a few insights into Sheeds, that are pertinent to anyone involved in the leadership of people.

“It would take a lot for him to give up on someone, much to the frustration of those around him.

When others’ patience had been tested once too often, Sheeds would always look deeper than just the problem that had surfaced at the time. It was his greatest strength but also a weakness, because it did test relationships…

Building genuine relationships with players and gaining their trust and respect is the greatest challenge of any coach. Sheeds had this amazing ability to hit you between the eyes with what you needed to be told, but still have you believing you could be best on the ground the following week.

His ability to understand, accept and relate to the different personalities of his players was brilliant. Tactics will always be secondary to relationships when it comes to separating the great coaches from the rest. “

Tough and tender

Believing in our people; understanding how long we endure with someone; looking beyond surface problems; being tough when we need to, tender when required; relating to, and coaching the myriad of different personalities in our workplaces on a daily basis…while it can be tough, it can be incredibly rewarding.

Comment on this post

Releasing Control. If it is to be, it’s up to me and THEM.

March 25, 2018 7:33 pm

You’ve probably heard the saying “if it is to be it’s up to me.” While the quote holds water on some levels it’s quite leaky in others.

For a variety of reasons, business owners, managers and leaders find it hard to let go. “No one can do it as well as me” is one of those ‘reasons’ and an oft-repeated phrase I hear.

Businesses often hit this challenge when they reach growth ceilings. The organisation has grown to the extent where the owner or managers can’t effectively be involved in everything, yet work excessively long hours and weeks in an attempt to maintain control.

The challenge at this point is to reconfigure the above saying to “if it is to be, it’s up to me and THEM.”

Moving from a small enterprise mindset to a larger enterprise mindset; to move from the current operating level to the next; to move through those inhibiting ceilings of growth prevention, we have to release control.

We move from:

  • me doing it, to training
  • others to do it and then,
  • releasing them to do it.

As we release others to take over our previous tasks we then establish checks and balances along with key data reports to ensure the just in time reporting of quality, timeliness, customer satisfaction, financial results etc.

We move from maintaining control through doing it all ourselves to controlling the organisation through effective planning, the utilisation and management of others and progress reporting.

Yes, there will be the pain in the process and yes, others will falter along the way. But if we want to progress upwards, making the shift from me to them is well worth acting upon.

Comment on this post

Employees: A Reflection Of Management

February 6, 2018 5:58 am

Grapes

I visited the Curlewis Winery on the Bellarine Peninsula this past weekend in Victoria. Their wine was the definite go back for more variety. As I drove into the property I could see immediately the high care that was given to the vines. Their website says that the owner “wraps each cordon himself by hand in a process that takes up to three months. This hands-on, detailed approach is applied to every step of growing, nurturing, protecting and eventually picking the fruit.”

And as for the vine so for our people.

Talking to an employee recently they said, “I have learned to just do my job – nothing more, nothing less.” Digging a little deeper it was obvious that this was a case of diminished care of the vine by management resulted in lacklustre fruit.

I have met and worked with other team members over my time who are constantly improving, taking ownership of their roles, attempting new things, suggesting better ways of operating to their managers and so forth. When I see these employees in action  (and particularly a team made up of these types) I don’t have to look far to see that the leader is one that nurtures his vines (people) for greatness.

If you desire to increase both the quality and yield of your organisation, don’t forget that the vines need attention. Take care of them and they will take care of you.

 

Comment on this post

Love Languages In The Workplace

January 11, 2018 9:39 am

I remember reading Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages many years ago. The one thing I took with me and have sought to implement over the years (sometimes successfully and at other times dismally) is that each of us hears love, value and appreciation in our own particular way.

If someone speaks to you in Chinese and you understand only English, there is little, if any chance, that you will have any clue as to what they are communicating. It makes sense therefore that if we are to communicate to someone, in order for them to understand us, it has to be in their language – one that they comprehend.

Some people understand our value and appreciation of them verbally and others don’t. The key here is taking the time to understand what the other person’s particular language (or languages) are.

Gary Chapman lists the following languages:

  1. Gift Giving
  2. Words of affirmation
  3. Quality time
  4. Acts of service
  5. Physical touch

How do these play out in the expression of value and appreciation to those who work for you and with you? And note, I always advocate saying ‘thank you’ with each of these.

  1. Gift Giving
    Simply put, these people appreciate the smallest of things. It might be a cup of coffee that you buy for them through to a holiday in the Bahama’s for outstanding performance.
  2. Words of affirmation
    The words ‘thank you’ are powerful words. As I posted in my blog a few weeks back, “Gratitude, particularly expressed in the two words thank you to all in our relational sphere, though taking but a second to express, can reverberate through the receivers psyche for a lifetime – making the journey all the more richer.” This can be expressed both verbally and written.
  3. Quality time
    This obviously is a tricky one for business owners and managers but it might mean instead of having coffee or lunch on your own, you take one of your people with you.  You could include an employee in helping you accomplish a task. If you have a long drive to do or a flight to catch you take them with you. The key here is quality time whereby you are expressing interest in who they and how they are travelling.
  4. Acts of Service
    Your manager’s car broke down on the way to work…you make the call and arrange the towing service for him, paying for it in the process. An employee is struggling with his paperwork and you stay back and help him get up to date. One of the female team members expresses how her yard is overgrown and you organise some of the staff to head over on a Saturday morning for a working bee.
  5. Physical Touch.
    Ahh… where angels fear to tread. This obviously is a tricky one and I’m not referring to the types of sexual touch that the media moguls are currently being called out for. From personal experience here, I have found that when some people talk they automatically touch me on the arm. This has proven to be a good indicator that one of their languages is touch. In turn, when I say thank you to them or express my gratitude for who they are or the work they do, I simply touch them on the arm in the process.

The place to start is to understand what your personal love language is and also those closest to you. Then, in the workplace, start observing and trying a few different languages as you express gratitude and value to your team. Some will hit the mark, others will miss and if all else fails, the fact that you are trying to express appreciation and saying those magical words ‘thank you’ will in themselves, move your workplace culture and team members engagement forward.

Comment on this post

Street Lessons

September 20, 2017 4:59 pm

Travis

I’d like to introduce you to my street friend Travis.

I met this man (through my daughter’s introduction) twelve months ago on the streets of Melbourne and sit with him most Saturday nights. He was homeless, raising money through begging and sleeping in a local car park. He has since been provided with a home and still comes out weekly to ask for money to cover his costs.

Recently at 2 am on a bone-chilling Melbourne morning,  I sat with him on the footpath talking more about his life.  The thing that struck me was his gratitude.  He is no longer a heroin addict, he has a roof over his head and loves his daughter dearly. He is incredibly grateful for his life and for the smallest amount of money or food that people provide him. He is also a very gentle man; always interested in my world, his face lighting up every time he sees me.

When I asked him about why he chooses to come to the street to beg for money instead of working for it (part of my personal quest to deal with my own judgements around this issue) his response blew me away. The workplace is where he got his earlier heroin addiction from and now that he is clean he is extremely hesitant to go back to that situation again. Travis sees a counsellor on a regular basis, is bettering himself through educational courses and is looking at doing voluntary work to help others live better lives.

Travis has reminded me of two critical things in the time I have known him.

  1. Gratitude.
    No matter whether we live in a mansion or a car park, we have much to be grateful for and it’s the practice of gratitude that is the key as opposed to what we have or don’t have.
  2. Acceptance.
    He’s reminded me (and as I wrote last week) that everybody is doing the best they can and how easy I judge a book by its cover, or in this case, a homeless person by their situation. The act of acceptance, with or without words, communicates love powerfully.

The name Travis comes from the Old French traverse – meaning to pass through or cross over a bridge/boundary.

My street friend is traversing his own streets, rivers and bridges as best he can and doing so with grace, gratitude and a big heart. A good reminder from the street for our own life traversal.

Comment on this post

They’re Doing The Best They Can

September 8, 2017 11:37 am

They’re Doing the Best They Can

Over my years of consulting, business owners or managers, in describing their people have sometimes said “this person is hopeless” or “they just don’t get it”. The most memorable was “I work with a bunch of dickheads.”

Brené Brown in her book Rising Strong mentions a concept that I’ve really taken hold of in my own personal journey and in my coaching work with others. That concept is that everyone is doing the best they can. The understanding that people are generally doing the best they can,  given their history, emotional and physical health, current skill set, strengths and weaknesses, habits, life circumstances and so forth.

She says, “It can be painful for organisation leaders to answer this question (are people doing the best that they can?) because…what often comes up is the realisation that instead of prodding and pushing someone, they need to move on to the difficult task of helping them, reassigning them, or letting them go.” [Bracket insert mine]

Brené goes on to say “This doesn’t mean that we stop helping people set goals or that we stop expecting people to grow and change. It means that we stop respecting and evaluating people based on what we think they should accomplish, and start respecting them for who they are and holding them accountable for what they’re actually doing. It means that we stop loving people for who they could be and start loving them for who they are. It means that sometimes when we’re beating ourselves up we need to stop and say to that harassing voice inside, “Man, I’m doing the very best I can right now.” [Italics mine]

A large part of my consulting and coaching work over the years has been to help employees and leaders within organisations to become more productive. The approach I’ve taken is, go slow to go fast.  I take time to get to know who the person is as per the areas I mentioned in the first paragraph. Once I know who I am working with I can steer them appropriately. For some it can happen within the hour, for others, it can take numbers of meetings – dependant on the person. From this approach I get to know:

  • if they have the potential to be a star player
  • if they have reached their capacity in their current role or within the organisation
  • if they need to be demoted or promoted
  • if they need to be released to work elsewhere that is more suited to them.

Once I know the above about a person, having built trust with them along the way and when they know I have their best interests at heart, the process of getting them where they need to be can be rapid. It’s a win for the organisation and a win for the employee. Both parties come out on top.

For you as an influencer and leader of people, taking this empathetic leadership, they are doing the best they can approach, means that you start with where the person is; accept that who that person is now is what you have to work with and then to work alongside them from the ground up as opposed to from the top down.

Everyone is doing the best they can. I am doing the best I can. It has the potential to revolutionise your organisation and your own life.

Watch The Video

 

Comment on this post

The Fresh Breath Of Inspiration

August 25, 2017 10:59 am

Video transcript below…

I’ve just come out to the country and this place is amazing. I always find the country one of those activities and places that deeply refreshes my soul. I’ve been reflecting on this whole concept of refreshment and inspiration. I had a look back at the original Latin of where the word inspire originated from and it comes in two parts. The first part means into. The second part means breathe. Effectively, inspire means to breathe into. I’ve been researching this and thinking through how I can live more consistently in an inspired state and how my clients, those I coach, consult, mentor, how they can do the same because life has a way of sucking the life out of us, leaving us anything but inspired.

I’ve found that there are various connections with people that breathe life into me. Some people are so valuable in my world. There are different forms of spirituality for different people that breathe life into them. There are different activities that also have that work and the converse is true. There are things and relationships that suck the life out of us and it’s really for us, it pays to look at what are the things that breathe life into us, the connections, the activities and what are the things that rob our joy, rob our life, and to start filling our world with breath, with life-giving activities.

I just finished reading the book Tuesdays with Morrie. Great read. Mitch said when he came away from being with Morrie, he felt like he had been rinsed with kindness. My friends, that is inspiration and the more we are topped up and filled with breath, with life, the more we can be an inspiration to others.

My name is Ray Hodge. You can connect with me at rayhodge.com.au and thanks for watching.

Comment on this post

Melbourne Heartbreak. A Personal Reflection

January 30, 2017 6:39 pm

IMG_3276 (1)

For those of us who live in Melbourne Australia and no doubt for many across the world, the recent senseless killing of five innocent victims by a man speeding up the footpath into lunch time crowds is simply judged as abhorrent.

Last week, I went to dine and work in the RACV Club of which I am a member. Outside were two separate memorials made up of flowers, teddy bears, cards, photos and notes. Those passing slowed their walk, sometimes stopping – quietly absorbing the scene confronting them. They shared in the grief of loved ones who for most, the victims are personally unknown. It was apparent that many walked away with heavy hearts and falling tears.

My primary reflection as I moved between the two memorials was two-fold.

The first was that relationships matter. It often takes events like this to drive home the importance and appreciation of those we have in our lives.
To hold each other a bit longer
To encourage each other a little more
To express appreciation more often
To give of ourselves and our resources more freely

Secondly, I was mindful that none of us knows when our last day might finally arrive. Those who died were aged from three months to their early thirties – all non-deserving of a premature earthly departure. Both they and their loved ones never suspected that this particular Friday would be that day – the day that would cause them to sleep in the blankets of death rather than returning to the warm beds of home. It served to remind me that while we have breath it is a life to be lived fully with gratitude, with purpose and intent. To enjoy what we have and those around us. To make a meaningful contribution to the lives of others, to the society we live in – just as those Melburnians exemplified for us in assisting the injured and dying – some in their last moments. It served to remind me how often I find myself complaining and getting worked up over things that in light of this tragedy count for absolutely nothing.

Loving wholeheartedly with gratitude; living a thankful purposeful life that contributes to the betterment of all those in our relational circle, our organisations and our broader world is I think, at the heart of humanity.

Comment on this post

Introducing My Acquaintance, Depression

November 28, 2016 9:28 am

During the last couple of years I met a person called Depression of whom I’d like to introduce you to.

Our initial introduction was at a time of significant personal loss when, quite unexpectedly, he dropped in and offered his quiet consoling presence in order to remove me from my present pain into a numbing darkness. It was in some ways attractive – that removal from the confusing world I knew at the time. He anaesthetised my brain and my soul, painting my world a comforting dark grey. When the pain persisted he would recommend other numbing activities such as loveless sex and the sedation of alcohol. I know others experienced various recommendations that were unique to them however, these were my tailor made remedies. I followed his advice and while he was right (in that these things helped for a short period of time), the after effects pushed me further into reliance upon him. It was a bottomless downward spiral – from grey to black. While he promised comfort it turned out he was a liar and a thief, seeking only companionship for himself and not giving a shit about my personal well being.

That was some time ago.

Occasionally to this day he still visits me, particularly in times of vulnerability. I have got to know his particular insistent rapping on my door and sometimes, in these times of weakness, I am persuaded to walk through that door and take his hand – all the while knowing this will lead to nowhere good. He reminds me to not hope for a better day because this is as good as it gets. He encourages me to not share my pain with my life giving friends; to not dance, not read, not laugh, to procrastinate, not attempt to love again, not go to work, not go out, not eat, not seek new enlightening experiences. Sometimes he even suggests that life is really not worth living at all. And if I follow him out that door… instead of leading me into the open sunshine (which he indeeds promises every single time) he guides me back into that dark and dank cave that I know only too well. And once I get there I realise I have yet again been fooled once more.

If you have Depression in your circle of acquaintances, you might at present be arm in arm with him and if not, one day in the future you may experience as I do, his unannounced visit or that quiet yet insistent tapping on your door. As I have got to know him I have come to understand that he is deaf. Despite me telling him I never want him to revisit he doesn’t seem to hear. He just keeps dropping in from time to time. I have come to accept this and now have strategies in place for when he does. Simply hoping he would never visit never kept him away.

The next time he pops in on you, instead of opening the door and instead of allowing the falsely comforting numbness to take hold – take a step the other way and reach out to a true friend to let them know what you are feeling and experiencing, as I did this morning to my friend Jo. Not all my friends are aware of my acquaintance Depression and that’s okay. They’ve never been introduced to him and some even deny his existence. I am happy for them (as I wish I had never met him either); so these friends never get to know of his presence in my life. I am very selective in this process.

Reaching out to others in these times, in order to bounce into the light  is counter intuitive as the easy route is take our acquaintances hand and progress into the counterfeit comfort of darkness.

But reach out we must.

Cultivate friends who care for you, who have your best interests at heart. Build a life giving circle of a few that might include a therapist as I have had in my circle at times. Create and live a life where your soul is regularly refreshed and happy, for Depression detests healthy joyful people. And finally, create a simple strategy so that if Depression does happen to knock on your door, you know exactly what to do and who to call in order to ward off his advances.

Copyright 2016 Ray Hodge
Illustration by Bekky Halls. 
http://saintdamascus.blogspot.com.au/ 
Used with permission

Note to the reader.
If you are currently struggling with depression or you’ve realised that you’ve lost your happiness and life is mundane, may I encourage you to reach out to a trusted friend and/or seek professional help. As my beautiful daughter keeps reminding me, we are only as sick as our darkest secret – thus the light of admission and open conversation helps reduce the power of soul darkness and assists us in moving forward one step at a time.

Feel free to also get in touch with me. A large part of my daily work is with business owners, executives and employees – assisting them to be happy and productive in their work and personal lives. I can be contacted directly on +61 403 341105 or at ray@rayhodge.com.au

Comment on this post

Gaining Favour

November 11, 2014 11:27 am

If you want to gain favour and be treated well, remember peoples names and then use it when you connect with them. Hopeless at remembering names? I use the notes app in my phone to record peoples names after I’ve met them. Then, prior to staying at a hotel, visiting a cafe etc, I review the list, recall their name and end up with a free glass of wine.

Whether customers, suppliers, restaurant owners, hotel managers, retail staff and the like, if you make the effort to remember someone, take an interest in them and engage with them, favour will definitely come your way.

Comment on this post

It’s Not Rocket Science

October 30, 2014 8:50 am

In our attempts to promote growth, expanding our brand and presence, some of the basics of business get neglected. Take these for example:

  • Treating our people purely as workers not as valuable assets
  • Not returning phone calls in a timely manner (as per the customers sense of timeliness)
  • Communicating when you will complete a service or have delivery of a product and then not communicating when there is a delay
  • Not keeping the customer in the progress loop
  • Consistent lateness or cancellations of appointments

If you have happy staff, that happiness factor will overflow to customers. If you then keep your current customers and key prospects at the centre of your attention, doing what you say you will do and communicating when things change you will find your business will more likely grow intrinsically and word of mouth business will come your way.

Doing the basics well is not rocket science

Comment on this post

Efficiency tip #7

June 26, 2014 1:46 am

To increase employee efficiency ensure:
– each person knows exactly what’s expected of them
– that for each role/responsibility there is a related performance measure
– you meet with them regularly to review their progress
– they are in the right role according to their strengths
– a training track is created for them for both personal and technical development
– that they aren’t promoted outside of their core strengths
– you take an interest in them personally
Efficient personnel are a foundational asset to any efficient business or organisation

Comment on this post

Exceptional Service Doesn’t Just Happen

June 17, 2014 7:22 am

I was recently involved in giving an Exceptional Service award at the Dalby Chamber of Commerce. A great initiative of the chamber and one which is much needed in this day and age of very low service in many organisations. With the ongoing focus of outsourcing, streamlining, cost slashing and electronic automation, the whole area of customer service has taken a very low priority on the agenda of many businesses. What if ALL hotels attempted five star service and kept a record of our preferences; if tradesman showed up on time or called to advise they were running late; if large companies kept the customer in mind when considering outsourcing to different countries; if banks didn’t schedule their teller lunch breaks when a million others are on lunch and in long queues; if the receptionist was taught to smile when they answered the phone. Exceptional service starts with the intention of management. When customers feel and experience that they are the centre of your attention the organisation then grows by word of mouth reducing advertising costs. Exceptional Service doesn’t just happen.

Dalby COC

Comment on this post

The Good and the Bad of BMW Selling Techniques

May 15, 2014 11:41 pm

Over the last number of years I have encountered sales staff from BMW that has left me thinking that the societal ill feelings toward the current day car salesperson was justified – pushy, disinterested if they perceived you didn’t look the part, all about their commission and so on.
Having an early morning wander through one of their Brisbane car yards Paul Maddern (sales consultant) approached me. These were the things that impressed me about his sales approach that might be of help when you or your staff are talking to potential customers in your business:
  • his body language and vocal tone matched mine
  • his sales approach was in sync with my needs and wants, not the standard lineal approach encountered with other high pressure types
  • relaxed
  • interested in ME
  • didn’t try to sell me
  • when I told him I wasn’t ready to buy today he didn’t switch off, walk to the next customer, show disappointment or attempt to drag me over the line
  • didn’t hold back on fully answering my questions giving me quality information and value
  • relationship was more important than an immediate sale
All this built instant rapport making me trust him instantly. Subsequently he was the first car sales person from memory I have ever requested a business card from .
Given that BMW is my favourite vehicle, Paul will do very well from me over the coming years as well as the referrals (one immediate) I send his way. BMW would also do well from insisting that all their sales people emulate his approach.
Comment on this post

Virgin Australia and Consistency

November 28, 2013 8:53 pm

I have flown Virgin Australia frequently for a number of years and one thing that strikes me about the company is their incredible consistency in doing things well. I can never recall dealing with a grumpy attendant whether on the ground or in the air; a few though could be reassigned back office roles due to not being overtly people oriented but they at least maintain courteous service. There is a consistent energy and vibrancy about the look, feel and dealings with Virgin both in person or via phone and their website is designed for the customer. Their rivals in my opinion (on the occasions I have flown with them) don’t capture the essence of this energetic and consistent culture.

I think every company would do well to emulate Virgin Australia in the aspects of creating and maintaining a culture of consistent excellence.

Comment on this post

Keeping Good Staff – from an Italian ‘mama’ restaurateur

September 10, 2012 5:54 pm

Dining at the Sorrento Italian Restaurant in Northbridge, Perth is always on the travel agenda. While the food is great, the service is exceptional. I asked mama what her secret was to keeping good staff. Her response was really quite simple…

1. Communication

‘We meet at the end of every night and we communicate what went well, what could have done better’.

2. Incentivise personal performance

The staff are exceptional at making sure you don’t leave without getting all the extras and they do it in a way that you don’t know you are being sold to.

3. Put your smile on

‘When my staff walk through the front door I tell them to take the smile out of their pocket and put it on’. (They are some of the happiest I’ve encountered).

4. Work with them

‘I lead by example, doing what they do with them. I’m often called a workaholic’.

Comment on this post

Interview questions to ascertain Enthusiasm and Teachability

June 1, 2012 10:38 pm

I recently posted the following post on my facebook page

Recruit enthusiasm and teachability not just technical skills’

This raised the question by one reader –  ‘What are some questions you would recommend asking prospective employees in an interview Ray?’

Enthusiasm  
What’s your dream job?
Why are you applying for this position?
What do love to do?
What do you dislike?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Tell me about a time in your current or previous work where you were intensely motivated? Where you were bored?
What things in life do you do where you lose track of time?
Why have you chosen this industry to work in? (​Do they show an interest in your industry and company?)

​What research have they done on your company?

Do they display general enthusiasm and eagerness to learn and try new things?

The key here is to watch  where the person lights up/comes to life which is often indicated by faster speech, eyes and body language etc. Also when they over talk, it can indicate a subject they are passionate about. If you are dealing with more of an ‘analytic’ as opposed to a more ‘expressive’ person this can be a little harder to gauge.

Teachability

Tell me about what you have been learning, reading etc?
What areas do you feel you need to grow most in?
If you were to be successful in this application, what areas would you see you would have the most challenge with?
How would you deal with those challenges?
Tell me about a time how you handled criticism or a constructive critique from your boss?
​Tell me about a time how you handled criticism or a constructive critique from your  peers?
What did you learn from this?
What did you do about this?
How do you stay up to date with this industry?

Summary

I find that many employers interview based on skills assessment (90%) and the
remaining 10% on other matters. It is much more important to spend the appropriate time upfront in your interviews to understand the motivation of a person, not just their skills because if you sacrifice here you will pay the price down the track if you employ the wrong person.
Good luck!

Comment on this post

Does more money equal more motivation?

May 24, 2012 10:34 pm

A question I frequently get asked is “should we be incentivising our staff by way of financial bonuses and rewards?”

This is a challenge for companies of all sizes – trying to keep good staff performing at optimal levels and also from being poached by larger companies with bigger wage budgets. I have heard story after story in my travels and especially in my work with mining related businesses, of people being sweetened with big pay packets to lure them away from their current employment. How do we as employers strike the balance of not allowing wages to blow out and at the same time keep our people happy and performing at the highest levels?

Intrinsic verses extrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation is best described as that motivation that comes from within a person whereas extrinsic motivation is that which comes from external sources. Intrinsic motivation is all about doing that which we find enjoyable and are passionate about, that which relates to what we value highly and where we gain a personal sense of satisfaction. Extrinsic motivation is about external factors that create stimulus to achieve or perform certain tasks such as when a child is obedient due to potential consequences.

In the workplace, the starting point is the hiring process. Identifying keenness and passion for ones work should be primary, skill levels secondary. Much easier to train someone in the technical aspects of their job than teaching them to love their work. The latter akin to trying to make a slow horse speed up – just plain hard work. Many employers bypass this stage. Due to labour shortages (and not really understanding the ‘whole person’), we tend to hire anyone that is somewhere near the mark technically, rather than considering the person themselves.

One of the key observations to consider when both hiring and working with people is that all of us are motivated by what is most important to us. If we value money highly then money it is. If satisfaction from a job well done, then that is reward enough. If it is time with the family, then that is what drives us. Our workers are no different. Different factors drive different individuals according to what is most important for them. Tap into these internal drivers, adapt the workplace around these and you will have employees more inclined to be intrinsically motivated in their work with both themselves and the company reaping the rewards. Their work then relates to their higher values. Incentivise everyone with financial rewards and you potentially will miss the mark much of the time. As Edward L Deci observed:

“If a person who is intrinsically motivated to perform an activity begins to receive external reinforcement for the activity, what will happen to his intrinsic motivation? Previous studies and the present study indicate that money decreases intrinsic motivation, while verbal reinforcements tend to enhance intrinsic motivation. ”
Edward L Deci – Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1972, Vol. 22, No. 1, 113-120

And if you do head down the path of financial rewards, look at incentives based on team performance as opposed to rewarding individual effort.
Good luck!

Comment on this post

The attentive cleaner

May 7, 2012 7:52 am

I was staying at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth again recently and went to slurp some water out of the bathroom (as the bar wasn’t open). One of the staff was doing the cleaning and watched my very undignified drinking manner (some things are never lost from growing up in the country). Thirst satisfied I went back to working in the bar and about 10 minutes later this employee returned with a bottle of water for me. A small thing I know but when a cleaner or any of your staff for that matter, notice an opportunity to make a difference and take personal initiative to do so, you know you are doing something right. This is what creates both word of mouth and repeat business. Whether it is a city five star hotel or a tradie in the country, attentive staff with enthusiasm and initiative are one your most valuable assets.

Comment on this post

Cigarette butts and the most important employee

April 17, 2012 3:49 am

I recently stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth. One of the employees was picking up cigarette butts out of the garden and I commented on what a wonderful job he had!!! His comment back surprised me. “My job helps keep our hotel its five star rating.” Helping workers see the bigger picture, the importance of our work in the context of customers and our standards, increases both employee and ultimately customer satisfaction. My final comment to him was “that would make you one of the most important people on the team”. He responded with a smile and said “I guess it would.”

Comment on this post