Twelve Tips to Make ‘Moments of Truth” Count
If you care about your image in the marketplace, this article is for you. I dont mean graphic image I mean the impressions and perceptions people hold about you and your organization, based on how theyve been treated or what theyve heard about you from others. Building sustainable relationships with your target market is as much about actively attending to the markets experience of your firm, as it is about other parts of marketing that are more obvious.
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Peoples impressions are a result of accumulated experiences or moments of truth that the world has with your organization over time. Everything you (and those you manage) do sends a message, impacts your brand image, and is PR for better or worse. These moments of truth include things like how you
Handle the recruitment and hiring process, including unsolicited resumes and employment inquiries
Welcome new staff into your organization
Ramp-up, manage, and treat subcontractors
Treat vendors, suppliers, someone elses support staff and any receptionist or answering service
Use voicemail and email what you actually say and write
Respond (or dont) to voice or e-messages
Manage client expectations about what you can do and when you can deliver
Communicate bad news, handle conflict, or hold your ground on an unpopular policy
Ask for what you need from a client, employee or vendor
Take ownership for your role in a conflict, problem or mistake
This gets especially tricky when youre managing others. Whether its staff, vendors, subcontractors, your boss or peers its one thing to manage your own behavior, quite another to manage moments of truth created by others.
I recently ran across the following tough-love tips from Kelly Harman, CEO of The Harman Group (http://www.theharmangroup.com). Kelly takes an active approach to clearly define what she expects from contractors, staff and colleagues, and it pays off.
Her feisty marketing firm is growing by leaps and bounds, fueled by happy clients and lots of good buzz about her firm.
Here are Kellys tips (direct from the source!) for making sure you get the most from the people responsible for creating moments of truth for your organization:
1. Disagree with me. I come up with ideas all the time; some are better than others and some are perfectly awful. When I run one by you, and you dont think it will work, tell me why. I may not have looked at the idea from all angles, and I value your input. I may not agree with you, but Ill respect your opinion.
2. Question my decisions. If I make a decision that you dont agree with or dont understand, then ask me why I made it. Ill take the time to explain my logic. You might still disagree with me, but at least youll understand why I made the decision.
3. Dont come to me with problems. Dont run to me with a problem and expect me to fix it for you. Come to me with a problem and then tell me how you want to fix it. If it makes sense, well implement it. If I dont agree, Ill tell you why and then well work together to figure out a better solution.
4. Tell me you want my job. Its great to be ambitious. I want you to covet my job. There is nothing wrong with clearly stating your goals. How else will anyone know how to help you? Ill give you more responsibility if I know what you want and if that means you want my job (or a position similar to mine someday) then my job is to help you get there.
5. Tell me you dont want your job. You wont have fun unless you do something youre passionate about. Who wants to spend their working hours in a state of resignation or boredom? If you want to go to night school and study for a completely different career, Ill support you. Ill still expect 110% from you when you are here, but when I make my long-term plans; Ill take into consideration the fact that you may not be here to help me execute them. But Ill respect your dreams and your goals and I will do everything I can to help you achieve them.
6. Tell me when you dont know something. Dont try and fake your way through something you dont know. It will only make me angry. If youre honest with me, Ill make the investment to educate you. After all, I hired you because I thought you could learn, not because I thought you knew everything already.
7. Make bad decisions. Congratulations! At least you made one. Id rather see you make decisions that turn out wrong and learn from them than have you expect me to make every decision for you. I dont have time. A mistake isnt stupid unless you do it twice.
8. Act like you own the company. Before making a decision, spending a dime, talking to a customer – you get the idea pretend you own the company. As the owner, how would you behave? What would you spend? Knowing it would impact your own bottom line or the success of your company, would you act the same way or make the same decision? If the answer is yes, then you are on the right track.
9. Dont expect me to pay for everything. I will pay for certain classes, but you need to have some skin in the game too. Read books, take classes, listen to tapes, what ever it takes. And dont just learn what you need to know to do your job today learn for the future. Just because you arent a manager now doesnt mean you shouldnt take management classes. Dont assume that you dont need accounting courses because youre not in the accounting department. Believe me, accounting and budgets are a big part of any managers job. If you want advice, come to me and Ill help you. Ill suggest classes, magazines to subscribe to, and books to buy. And – Ill remember.
10. Confess. When you make a mistake, tell me immediately. The sooner I know, the sooner we can deal with it. Ive gone to my boss with my heart pounding, my palms sweating, and my voice shaky to confess a mistake I made. Its natural to be scared. What will save you is the fact that I immediately heard about it from you instead of someone else.
11. Take responsibility when it isnt your fault. If you are in charge of a project then ultimate responsibility belongs to you. I dont want to hear a long litany of excuses and explanations of how someone that reports to you failed to do something. I expect you to take full responsibility for the project. I know a lot more about whats going on than you think. And believe me, it works all the way up the management chain. If a project Im in charge of fails because you didnt do your job, do you think my client cares? The bottom line is that I am in charge, so Im the one who has to take responsibility, and you should too.
12. Quit your job. If you think of what youre doing here as just a job, then quit. Come in on Monday and start your career.
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