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Welcome to the October 2016 edition of ‘Terrific Tips’ delivered to your desktop free each month. The focus this month is on workplace feedback and what it takes to be an effective manager of people. Many of the points and much of the research is equally important for being an effective parent, an effective coach and an effective team member.

If you subscribe to the Retail edition of this newsletter, prior to the end of October you will receive a special mailing to help you maximise opportunities in the lead up to Christmas.

The secret to giving effective feedback

How can you ensure that you are being listened to when you give feedback to your employees and others you are responsible for?

Writing for Inc. magazine Daniel Coyle, author of ‘The Talent Code’, draws on recent research by US academics to reveal the key phrase leaders and managers should use when giving feedback.

The study by psychologists at Stanford University found that one type of feedback resonated with middle school students more than other types.  Students who received this specifically worded form of feedback demonstrated at least a 40% jump in productivity and achievement far outpacing students who received every other form of feedback. 

The “magical” phrase which encouraged students to revise their efforts contains 19 words:

“I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations, and I know that you can reach them.”

This simple phrase, according to Coyle, creates a sense of belonging and connection. He also believes the phrase gives three distinct signals:

  1. You are part of this group.
  2. This group is special; we have higher standards here; and
  3. I believe you can reach these standards.

According to Coyle, feedback is a vital cue to any relationship and leaders can learn some clear lessons from this research.

One is that connection and a sense of belonging is essential. “People can’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” says Coyle.

It’s also important that leaders don’t downplay the difficulty of a task, with Coyle suggesting you do the opposite. “Emphasise the toughness of the task, and your belief that the person has what it takes,” he says.

Source: SmartCompany  

Happy staff = happy customers = happy finances

Your September Terrific Tips featured a couple of articles on Tom O’Toole’s Beechworth Bakery. Tom’s success is a classic example of something that doesn’t get talked about much relating to customer service – the capacity of managers to energise people to be able to provide superb service day after day. 

Is it worth this unrelenting focus? 

Intuitively, you know it is. Do what you say you are going to do, model the right behaviour, treat staff with respect and they will do the same with your customers.

Ex Harvard Professor David Maister, provides evidence of this in his book, ‘Practice What You Preach’. In professional services firms, improvement in the ratings of staff satisfaction by between 10% and 15% led to a 42% improvement in financial performance in those firms. 

A 42% improvement in financial performance – You’d take that wouldn’t you?

Who was your best ever boss?

Following on from the previous article, think back to your best ever boss.

  1. What would you need to do differently to make your staff feel as good as this boss made you feel?
  2. What else do you reckon you would have to do to be the best ever boss for each of your team members?
  3. Is it worth the effort?

 If your answer isn’t, “Yes” to Question Three go back and read the previous article.

Top 10 manager behaviours

Cartoon spotted in Shopper Anonymous UK newsletter

The UK based CIPD in their Spring 2015 Employee Outlook report identify the behaviours considered important for the respondents' immediate supervisor, manager or boss.  

The top 10 in order of importance are: 

  1. Treats me fairly
  2. Is open and honest
  3. Makes sure I have the resources to do my job
  4. Is supportive if I have a problem
  5. Makes clear what is expected of me
  6. Recognises when I have done a good job
  7. Does what they say they will do
  8. Makes good decisions
  9. Makes me feel my work counts
  10. Keeps me in touch with what's going on

 Now compare this to the next survey, this time of employees in the USA.

Why do employees stay?

What's the Number One reason people continue working for their current employer? 

Is it the pay? The benefits? A lack of better options? 

Bill Marvin reports that the American Psychological Association commissioned a survey of 1,240 full-time and part-time workers, age 18 or older, asking them to rate nine common reasons for staying in their current job. Here are the results, based on the percentage who "agreed" or "strongly agreed" with a statement:  

  • I enjoy the work I do (67%)
  • My job fits well with the other areas of my life (67%)
  • The benefits (60%)
  • The pay (59%)
  • I feel connected to the organisation (56%)
  • My co-workers (51%)
  • My job gives me the opportunity to make a difference (51%)
  • My manager (40%)
  • There aren't any other job opportunities for me (39%) 

Interestingly, when employees are asked why they left a company, in many surveys their immediate manager comes up as the Number One reason confirming the maxim, “People don’t leave companies they leave managers.”

A moderately infectious virus?

Bunnings is a household name in Australia and New Zealand but in Britain apparently only about one in 10 people are aware that it is a hardware retailer.

According to Morgan Stanley Research, the same proportion think it is either a town in New Zealand, a yoga position, a diet or a moderately infectious virus.

The rest simply have no idea.

Does this matter? Read on and draw your own conclusions.

Earlier this year Bunnings parent company Wesfarmers, which also owns Coles Supermarkets, Target and K-Mart in Australia, purchased the ailing UK hardware chain, Homebase for £340m.

Wesfarmers plans to rebrand the stores as Bunnings with the first pilot store opening this month, potentially followed by another one or two of the 260 Homebase sites in the UK before Christmas. These will be tested before Bunnings splashes out a planned £500m investment to convert the whole chain.

Retail analysts have questioned why Wesfarmers is rebranding the Homebase chain Bunnings, introducing a brand with no history in the competitive UK market. Bunnings CEO John Gilliam is adamant it's the right approach despite the 10,000 square metre difference between the average Homebase store in the UK and the big-box Bunnings warehouse outlets in Australia and New Zealand.

British retail trade magazine, ‘Retail Week’ described the Homebase takeover and rebranding as “either a stroke of genius or a rash arrogant manoeuvre”.

Bunnings are certainly not short of confidence in their own abilities having sacked the entire Homebase executive staff the week they took over. Wesfarmers managing director Richard Goyder defended this decision claiming the plan had always involved taking a handful of people from Bunnings, “a world-class business” into Homebase which “frankly isn’t world-class at the moment.”

Now why would Retail Week use the word arrogant as a possible description of Bunnings?

Sources: The Australian newspaper, The Guardian and an article by Kim Macdonald in The West Australian business supplement

Effective subject lines

Here's a short list of effective subject lines from sales trainer Jim Meisenheimer. You may want to try them in your emails.

  • A subject line that is "results driven."
  • A subject line that emphasizes the word "easy."
  • A subject line that hints you're going to share a "secret."
  • A subject line that is focused on "an advantage."

Pay particular attention to the subject line if it's really important to you to have your email open and read.

Read the sign

The purpose of signage is to get noticed and this one from an Australian garden centre does this with a clever twist.

It says, ‘OMG Spring!!! I’m so excited I could wet my plants.’

Thanks to Marty Wilson for sharing this sign.

Terrific Quotes

“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the TV, I go into the other room and read a book.” Groucho Marx

“There is little I can do to provide for the customer who walks into our store in Peterhead while I sit behind a desk in Manchester. But I can do something. I can give our branch staff freedom to do what they believe will amaze each customer.” John Timpson, Timpson Ltd UK shoe and watch repairs and locksmiths

“Remember, your job is not to run the joint ... it's to teach your staff how to run the joint!” Bill Marvin

Thank You

My goal is to double the circulation of this newsletter within 12 months. To do this I need your help.  If you find these ‘Terrific Tips’ a useful read, PLEASE do pass them on and suggest to your colleagues and friends that they subscribe or email us. Any friend of yours is welcome. 

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