Stay in Touch! Sign up for:

Our Blog: Daily Dairy

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

 "Fresh Milk"
our free Leadership and Employee Engagement newsletter
 Sign Up Now
 Delivered by Constant Contact

Daily Dairy from Contented Cows

Monday, 21 March 2016 22:25

Customer Indifference is a Real Biz Kill

Written by

What’s more toxic than incompetence? Deadlier than old technology? More surely fatal than being slow to market? It’s the remarkable indifference to customers that we all still see from some service providers, those who were nodding off during the part where the rest of us learned that that just won’t cut it anymore. Remember Eastern Airlines, anybody? In a few years, we’ll be asking the same question about K-Mart. And AOL.

Don’t look now, but next year, Generation X turns 50.

You may need a moment to process that. But it’s true. Following immediately on the heels of the boomers (those of us born between 1946 and 1964), the eldest members of the first alphabetically labeled generation are already receiving mailbox stuffing solicitations from the AARP.

With the advent of cell phones, sophisticated voice messaging systems, scheduling software, and widespread word processing capability, the footprint of administrative assistants (AA’s) in the workplace has shrunk considerably over the last dozen or so years. This has been aided and abetted by the desire to cut every last dime of assailable cost from the corporate budget.

Monday, 21 March 2016 22:18

Go Ask Your People

Written by

One of the traps that newly appointed managers at any level commonly fall into is in believing that, to be worthy of their job title and pay check, they must have at the ready the solution to every problem, and the answer to every question. I’m speaking from experience. I’ve been there. As a young, 20-something manager, I spent a couple of years choking on the self-imposed burden of instantly and unilaterally producing the correct response to every issue that arose. Fortunately for me, that was in an era when the pace of the game was about one-tenth what it is today.

Monday, 21 March 2016 22:17

Feed the Opportunities, Starve the Problems

Written by

Life is short, the game is often fast, and each of us makes choices daily about the things we should devote time and attention to. I try to live by a simple, six word motto that tends to keep me focused on higher yielding activities… Feed the Opportunities, Starve the Problems.

Monday, 21 March 2016 22:17

On Broken Glass, Apologies, and Obamacare

Written by

When I was fourteen, I took over a friend’s paper route for the summer. I don’t quite remember how that came to pass (I doubt that I was jumping for joy at the notion of getting up every morning at 4AM), but here’s something I do remember from that experience.

Monday, 21 March 2016 22:16

Sometimes It IS About the Money

Written by

Few issues in the domain of business are thornier, more complex, and emotion-packed than that of how much money to pay someone for the work they do. Employee compensation thrusts its tendrils into considerations no less substantial than motivation, employment law, labor unions, production, and the very profitability of the enterprise. Oh, yeah. That.

Monday, 21 March 2016 22:15

Why Contingent Telecommuting is a Good Idea

Written by

Telecommuting isn’t for everyone. It may, however, be the best way to get to work for thousands of workers where I live,  Jacksonville, Florida, for at least the next month or so.

Monday, 21 March 2016 22:14

Discretionary Effort Is a Big, Dot Deal

Written by

Since commencing research on what ultimately became our first book, I have taken a rather steely-eyed approach to the subject of employee relations. A data-driven sort, I suspect that, had that research not produced clear linkage between worker attitudes and corporate performance, I would have found something very different to do for a living. But it did, and thus work at the intersection of people and profit has been the main event around here for better than fifteen years.

Guest Post by Robert Cordray
There’s an old expression, “He who expects little is seldom disappointed.” That’s not a great catchphrase for the customer service department, but it does bring up the topic of managing the expectations of customers and others by “under promising and over delivering”. The premise is simple. Don’t make overblown claims that get a person’s hopes up, only to disappoint them when you can’t deliver.

Monday, 21 March 2016 22:12

Hans Tanzler: A Born Leader

Written by

We’re often asked, “Can leadership be learned? Or is it hardwired at birth?”

Our answer: Yes.

Monday, 21 March 2016 22:11

Goal Sharing Leads to Goal Reaching

Written by

I’m a big proponent of personal growth. But when, a few months ago, my own person had grown too much, I decided to drop about 12-15 pounds, or about a stone in my wife’s British parlance.

Monday, 21 March 2016 22:11

CSX: One of the Best Places to Work in I.T.

Written by

Growing up in Jacksonville, Florida, virtually every one of my friends’ fathers worked for either “the phone comp’ny” (as we pronounced it), or “the railroad”. That “railroad” was what is today known as CSX, whose riverfront headquarters building occupies a prominent place in the Jacksonville skyline, and which occupies perhaps an even more prominent place in the life and economy of the city. And now, the company’s Information Technology function occupies the number 19 slot on Computerworld magazine’s List of 100 Best Places to Work in I.T. (See the full article here).

A good friend of mine took the picture you see here, with his smartphone, from his backyard on the banks of the St. Johns River, directly across from downtown Jacksonville. The photograph’s elements include a construction crane, the Isaiah D. Hart Bridge, Everbank Stadium (home of the Jaguars), and a particularly brilliant star that they tell us sits suspended in the atmosphere, 93 million miles away, unaided by any earthbound mechanical apparatus.

Monday, 21 March 2016 22:08

Six Steps for Climbing the Management Ladder

Written by

A few days ago I received a short note containing the following question from one of our readers: “I am just a simple, low-level manager, so I do not always have the chance to put all of your techniques into place.  I have read your first book and I actually believe and try to internalize what you put forth.  How do I use your tools to make the jump to the next level of management?”