The best companies recognize customer expectations, manage customer expectations, and exceed customer expectations. And these companies are rewarded with a loyal, zealous customer base. Their customers become their biggest advocates. They offer word-of-mouth advertising, testimonials, and reviews on social media, Google, and product sales sites. But the majority of companies promise more than they deliver. And while most customers will forgive you for one failure, you will be held accountable for routine failures. As in, customers will find someone else to do business with. Because ultimately, regardless of the industry you are in, you cannot maintain respect with your customers if you do not keep the promises that you make. Great companies know the importance of delivery. They meet the expectations set at the beginning of a contract. Most importantly, if their contract terms are not competitive, they make internal adjustments. They do not make promises they cannot keep.
Ever been guilty of saying too much? I think we all are guilty of saying too much at some time or another. Whether you are interviewing a potential employee or terminating a long-term employee, whether you are selling services to a new customer or introducing new services to an existing customer, whatever the given situation may be, people tend to say too much. Over-promising and over-committing are never habits of successful people. Success requires disciplined action, including restraint with your words. No successful person tells everything they know. And they certainly do not promise more than they are prepared to deliver. Most would rather under-promise and lose a business deal than to over-promise and lose respect. In EntreLeadership, Dave Ramsey says, “Even a fish can’t be caught if he keeps his mouth shut.” So when you find yourself talking too much, be wise. Be quiet and listen.
You must develop an environment of open communication with your team. The size of your team does not matter. If your team consists of more than one person, then you must have effective communication to be an effective team. Nothing destroys communication quite like having a jerk on your team. Really, the only thing worse than having a jerk for a team member is having a jerk for a team leader. Either way, an argumentative, quarrelsome individual will naturally shut down communication from most of your other team members. In this environment, company issues will not be fully discussed, if they are brought up at all. Always be mindful of the chemistry of your team. If someone is a jerk, you must deal with it. If you are the jerk, you must change. Because no matter how brilliant the jerk is, eventually they will have to mellow or leave.
Without effective and intentional communication, your team is nothing more than a group of employees. Communication is what binds the team together. It keeps the team heading in the same direction, marching to the beat of the same drum. You will never achieve your dreams and vision unless you communicate your dream and vision to the members of your team. Too many times, team leaders are unwilling to actively communicate with their team. Poor communication results in rumors, frustration, fear, anger, and distrust. Your team will not stay under these conditions. Your team will not go the extra mile for you under these conditions. Your team will only do the bare minimum to remain employed. Instead, overcommunicate. Show your team that you trust them. That you are willing to treat them as a team member instead of an employee. And watch your team strive to achieve your vision.
We live in a world where civil discourse is not highly valued. People just do not seem to be able to talk to each other and work together. It makes me wonder what Franklin would think of our country today. Because from my perspective, things are spiraling out of control. We reach new depths daily. We cannot have leaders and public figures whose primary form of communication is yelling insults at each other and expect to have any civility at any level of our society. What can you do? Decide today that you can make a difference. Be courteous. Be honest. Be sincere. Live a life worth living.
Building relationships is a crucial part of becoming a successful individual. In fact, one big reason that so many do not achieve the success that they desire is their lack of good people skills. Remember, the ability to get along with other people and relate to them is vital to your success. If you are not a good listener, if you lack empathy with others, if you cannot take positive criticism, then you have some work to do. A lot of work. Because you cannot fake it until you make it. You must be genuine if other people are going to want to do business with you.