Eric Jacobson

Archive for the ‘Corporate Culture’ Category

Seven Elements Of A Good Culture

In Company Culture, Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership on July 25, 2015 at 6:22 am

You’ll learn a lot about marketing from the new book, Does it Work?, by Shane Atchison and Jason Burby. Most important, you’ll discover their 10 principles for getting digital marketing right.

What also really caught my attention was the book’s discussion about the elements of good culture. Culture created from as high up in the organization as possible. A culture particularly well suited for digital.

Those seven elements are:

  1. Stay Flexible –  create a continuous learning environment with flexibility and a certain disdain for roles.
  2. Hire Learners – individuals who are curious and willing to learn on their own.
  3. Empower People to Share – cultivate an environment where people feel comfortable bringing up bold ideas and are encouraged to speak up.
  4. Encourage Thinking Outside Roles – to help you capture every perspective from all your team members.
  5. Make Sure Problems Come with Solutions – don’t just point out what’s wrong. Find solutions.
  6. Make it OK to Fail – failure promotes learning, and the faster you can fail, the better. If you don’t accept failure you make it difficult to shift gears and come up with new ideas that work.
  7. Foster a Culture of Achievement – make it easy for employees to know they’ve made a difference through proof of measurable results.

The Moments That Shape Your Company’s Culture

In Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership on February 20, 2015 at 10:22 am

responsible leader

In his new book, The Responsible Leader, Tim Richardson explains that to create a high-performance culture, you need to plan and prepare for the following moments to ensure the conversations surrounding them are both meaningful and intentional:

  • recruitment and induction of new team members
  • performance management discussions
  • promotion interviews and talent management discussions
  • coaching discussions
  • customer sales presentations
  • handling customer complaints and problems
  • briefings to the press, analysts and wider market
  • senior leaders’ contact with, and briefings to, teams across the organization
  • internal presentations with executive committees
  • team meetings and management meetings

Richardson’s advice to improve the quality of these conversations is to consider:

  • How clear is the principal message for the conversation?
  • How can you ensure that the content of the discussion is focused on the key message(s)?
  • How can you ensure the quality of the listening by all parties?
  • How can you set a pace that is both focused and allows for real thinking?
  • What can you do to make the conversation a generative one that moves things forward?
  • How can you be responsible for holding parties accountable for responses and actions?
  • How will you ensure that decisions taken are mindful of the wider system and longer term as well as short term?
  • How will the organization’s values be demonstrated openly and authentically in the conversation?

Richardson is a Director of Waverly Learning and Director of Its Original Ltd. Previously Head of Leadership Development and Talent Management at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, he has worked with corporate clients, such as HSBC, BBC, BOC, Zurich, Centrica, Llloyds TSB, Barclays and Uniliver amongst others.

Thanks to the book’s publisher for sending me an advance copy of the book.

Encourage Peer Coaching

In Coaching, Company Culture, Corporate Culture, Employee Retention, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Peer Coaching on November 1, 2013 at 5:46 am

Do you create an environment at your business/organization that allows peer coaching?

Hopefully you do. If you don’t, encourage peer coaching among the members of your team. Peer coaching can be formal, informal or a combination of both.

You’ll likely find that everyone on your team has a skill, technique, behavior that they can teach a fellow team member. That coaching is rewarding for both parties, and it helps everyone to learn an important skill for being a successful leader — coaching.

Culture Is Every Employee’s Responsibility At SWA

In Company Culture, Corporate Culture, Employee Retention, Employee Satisfaction, Engaging Customers, Engaging Employees, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership on May 27, 2013 at 10:20 am

Eric Jacobson Leadership

If you’ve flown Southwest Airlines you know they’re tops in airline customer service, driven by a leadership style that creates a company-wide culture where all employees own that culture.

According to SWA Chairman, President and CEO Gary Kelly, as reported in the company’s in-flight magazine, “every company has a culture, whether that culture is supportive or stifling, active or passive, fun or discouraging.”

“One way we do culture differently is by making Southwest’s culture everyone’s responsibility. In fact, we ask everyone to ‘own it,'” says Kelly.

Here are some of the ways that SWA keeps its winning culture in the forefront that you can also do to keep employees motivated and to drive great customer service:

1.  Form a corporate culture committee and a local culture committee that organizes low-cost employee events throughout the year.

2.  Include a section related to culture on each employee’s annual performance appraisal.  This goes for every employee in your company, including the entire management team.

3.  Explain your company’s culture on the first day of each new hire’s orientation and training.

4.  Foster a culture that encourages celebration.

USAA’s 10 Guiding Business Principles

In Company Culture, Corporate Culture, Customer Service, General Leadership Skills, Guiding Business Principles, Leadership, Management on May 14, 2013 at 5:48 am

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I really like these 10 guiding business principles that San Antonio, TX headquartered insurance company USAA lives by:

  • Exceed customer expectations
  • Live the Golden Rule (treat others with courtesy and respect)
  • Be a leader
  • Participate and contribute
  • Pursue excellence
  • Work as a team
  • Share knowledge
  • Keep it simple (make it easy for customers to do business with us and for us to work together)
  • Listen and communicate
  • Have fun

Too many companies don’t make it simple for their customers to do business with them.  Is it easy for your customers to:

  • Buy from you?
  • Make returns?
  • Get pricing and terms?
  • Receive timely responses to their e-mails?
  • Quickly get answers when phoning your company?

You can find more examples of companies with impressive guiding principles in the book, 1001 Ways To Energize Employees.

Seven Ways To Define Meaningful Work

In Company Culture, Corporate Culture, Employee Engagement, Employee Retention, Employee Satisfaction, Engaging Employees, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Skills, Management, Meaningful Work, Motivating Employees on March 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm

Eric Jacobson Leadership

There are so many good things to learn in the book, Helping People Win At Work, by Ken Blanchard and Garry Ridge. Among those is the section about how to define meaningful work.

Their definition consists of these seven attributes.  Work is meaningful when it:

  1. It is conducted in a manner that is “good and proper” in all respects.
  2. It positively affects our company and our communities, giving our work an impact that extends beyond ourselves.
  3. It provides learning and growth, offers challenges, requires creativity, pushes us to surpass limits, and creates exciting results.
  4. It provides recognition and rewards for our achievements.
  5. It allows us to succeed as a team while excelling as individuals.
  6. It allows us to enjoy the ride, bringing humor and fun into our work.
  7. It fuels passion!

The Power And Value Of Saying “Nice Bike”

In Corporate Culture, Effective Communications, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Management on February 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

Have you said “Nice Bike” to someone today?

Perhaps I was just in the mood for an uplifting, motivating and humorous presentation when I heard Emmy award winning author and speaker Mark Scharenbroich at a conference awhile back.

Yes, I was in that mood. But, more importantly, Mark delivered a vitally important message and shared the power of making meaningful connections in one’s personal and professional life.

He also totally hit it out of the park with his presentation in which he shared stories from his book, Nice Bike – Making Meaningful Connections on the Road of Life. He explained the power of saying “Nice Bike” to someone – the engine that is fueled with:

  • acknowledging
  • honoring
  • connecting

…with that person.

You can read the book, each chapter a personal story/lesson of Mark’s, in an afternoon. And, without revealing those stories, my top two takeaways from the book and the presentation are:

  • Focused listening is one of the biggest honors we can bestow on others.
  • It is more important to be interested than interesting (as stated by former United States House of Representatives Barbara Jordan)

Mark is also the author of:

  • The Fred Factor
  • You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader
  • The Encore Effect

At the end of Mark’s presentation I immediately sent a Tweet on what a great job he had done.

“Nice Bike” Mark.

Be A Leader Who Teaches

In Corporate Culture, Effective Communications, Engaging Employees, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Management, Mentoring, Motivating Employees on February 17, 2013 at 10:47 am

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Take the opportunity today to teach an employee something new. Nearly everyone likes to learn and is capable of tackling a new challenge.

  • Teach your employee something that expands his (or her) current job description.
  • Teach something that will help him to get promoted within your organization at a later date.
  • Teach him a skill that uses new technology.
  • Or, teach him something that will allow him to be a more skilled leader and manager in the future.

You can even teach something that you no longer need to be doing in your position, but that will be a rewarding challenge/task for your employee.

The benefit to your employee is obvious. The benefit to you is you’ll have a more skilled team member who is capable of handling more work that can help you to grow your business and/or make it run more efficiently.

Be a leader who teaches.

Book Review: Change-friendly Leadership

In Company Culture, Corporate Culture, Effective Communications, Employee Satisfaction, Engaging Employees, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Quotes, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Leading By Example, Management, Motivating Employees, Setting Goals, Team Building on November 18, 2012 at 10:27 am

Because Dr. Rodger Dean Duncan delivers so much timely, straight-forward and relevant wisdom in his new book, Change-friendly Leadership, reading it is like talking with your trusted best friend. Or, listening to your favorite teacher.  Or, soaking in the thoughts from your respected mentor.

That’s why you’ll want to spend plenty of time reading the book.  Reflecting on the messages.  Absorbing the discussion,  And, then likely re-reading it.  Or, at least certain sections.

Duncan demonstrates in the book how humanness, approachability, and friendliness are necessary but often overlooked elements of making change successful in an organization.

He teaches leaders the foundation for effectively engaging people’s heads, hearts and hopes — all necessary to enable effective and lasting (sustainable) change in today’s constantly changing world.  Duncan refers to this as leading the whole person.

According to Duncan:

  • Change must accommodate people’s feelings–feelings that involve trust, confidence, passion, and all those other intangible but very real things that make us human.

Duncan’s change-friendly leadership approach includes knowing how to leverage the Champions, Agents, Sponsors and Targets within your organization.  And, how to combine tough love elements into the process while always operating from a platform of respect and caring, not intimidation and contention.

Readers will appreciate the “Bonus Points” offerings at the end of each major section of the book where they learn how to access free white papers, diagnostic tools, videos and other items by going to a URL or using a QR code via their Smart phone.

You’ll also likely enjoy as I did all the great leadership quotes sprinkled throughout the book, such as these:

  • Losing good people is costly.  But the number one most expensive thing that can happen to your organization is for your best and most capable people to quit and stay.
  • It’s often the stress that people resist, not the change itself.
  • A transactional leader focuses on routine and regimented activities.  A transformational leader focuses primarily on initiating and “managing” change.
  • It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change — Charles Darwin.
  • The key to change is to let go of fear — Roseanne Cash
  • Amateurs practice until they get it right.  Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.

Thanks to Cave Henricks for sending me an advance copy of the book.

What I’ve Learned About Effective Corporate Cultures

In Company Culture, Corporate Culture, Engaging Employees, Eric Jacobson On Corporate Culture, Eric Jacobson On Leadership, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Management, Motivating Employees on September 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Fortunately, most of my career I’ve worked in effective corporate cultures. If I put together the best of each, here is what made those environments effective:

•  Leaders led by example on a consistent basis and were willing to roll up their sleeves, particularly during tight deadlines or challenging times.

•  Employees clearly understood how what they did made a difference and how their contributions made the organization either more profitable or more effective.

•  The workforce included a blend of long-term employees with a rich company, product/service and customer history, employees who had been at the company for five to seven years, and then new hires with a fresh perspective and keen sense of new technologies and techniques. That blend worked best when the mix included virtually all A-players.

•  Top managers had a clear, realistic and strategic vision for how the company would grow and compete in the marketplace.

•  Employees were challenged and rewarded through growth opportunities, education and training and pay increases.

•  Leaders provided opportunities for the company and its employees to give back to the community. Sometimes it was through company organized volunteer projects. Other times it was by encouraging (and rewarding) employees to volunteer on their own.

•  A group of employees served on an activities committee with as little top management influence as possible, to plan at least monthly team-building, networking, education and charitable activities. This grass-roots approach helped ensure that the culture was shaped and influenced by employees and not only by top management. In this way, employees owned the culture as much as the management did.

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