Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Customer Comes Second

is the title of a book about dealing with your employees. It makes the point that if you treat your employees badly, how can you possibly expect them to turn around and provide "knock your socks off" customer service?

The Washington Business Journal is part of a network of similar publications across the country, and is linked to a master BizJournals website. The WBJ doesn't run many of the "syndicated" columns that are available on the website, which is unfortunate.

Last week's "Consultant's Unlimited" section has three particularly excellent columns about how to work with employees...

Bob Nelson's "Return on People" column, "Written Praise Goes a Long Way," discusses how a hospital in Michigan refocused their efforts on successful employees, and became recognized as one of the best places to work in the U.S.-:

"When it comes to recognizing employees, most companies have trouble holding their managers accountable. After all, how can you force someone to be nice to their employees? Plus, if you do make them do something they don't want to do, won't they resent it and undermine your effort anyway?

They didn't think so at Bronson Healthcare Group in Kalamazoo, Mich., currently ranked as one of the "Best Places to Work in America" by Fortune magazine. Six to seven years ago, the organization decided to stop focusing on the small number of people who do not conform to their expectations and to start focusing, recognizing, and rewarding the 95 percent who are doing good work. It took some four years to ingrain this philosophy, but a systematic focus on their recognition practices has clearly made them an employer of choice.

Jeff Gitomer's "Sales Move" column is about sales managers, but the points are universal. In "Sales Managers, First Put Yourself to the Test," he writes: "If you're a sales manager, it means you have three primary responsibilities: Lead your people, teach your people and coach your people. Your people want to be led, taught and coached. But no one wants to be managed. If you want to manage somebody, manage yourself. If your turnover rate is high, it may not be your people...".

Laura Laaman's "Sell More" column "Shaking things up can bring unexpected results" is about employee motivation as she says: "Name a company or manager who doesn't struggle with keeping employees motivated and loyal. Whether the wages you pay are more or less than other businesses competing for the same employees, smart businesses are always looking for ways to keep the job fresh and motivate employees" and writes about a particularly interesting company.
These columnists, and others, are archived on the BizJournals website. Click on Entrepreneur and select "Consultants Unlimited." If reading these writers doesn't unleash your creative juices, well....


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