Many organizations measure how satisfied customers are with their products, services and with the customer-service experience. Those organizations may not do much with the data gathered, but they do have systems in place to measure customer service.

Too few organizations measure how satisfied employees are with their company, their boss, their colleagues and their work environment. The organizations that do gather this data may not do much with it, which is unfortunate.

Leaders need to place as much importance on workplace sanity and civility as they do on workplace productivity. When leaders invest time, energy, and passion in the health of their team or company’s work environment, amazing things happen. There is undeniable proof that when work environments demonstrate trust, respect, and dignity to every player in every interaction, engagement goes up, customer service goes up, and results and profits go up.

The problem is that most work environments do not demonstrate trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction. (read more…)

Getting a business off the ground is almost impossible if you don’t know where and how to get funding. You may have written a business plan, done your market research, and discovered everything you need to know to start your business, but without some cash in the bank, getting up and running can be a real challenge.

Here are six options to consider to get your business off the ground:

1. Credit card financing

Business credit cards will almost always have a personal guarantee, meaning you’ll have to put up your own assets — such as your car or house — as collateral. Ideally, try to get a true business credit card instead of a personal one. This will start you off right and help you build the good habit of not mixing business and personal expenses.

If you are working with a partner, be sure to understand the implication of having a partner join the business. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: How often are you an enabler of your team’s poor performance?

  • Never — I hold everyone accountable for their work: 14.89%
  • Sometimes — I occasionally let them get away with things: 75.84%
  • Often — I clean up their messes and they keep making them: 7.58%
  • Always — I struggle to hold them accountable for their work: 1.69%

Give them an inch… You’re the guardian of the standard. When you let your team members slide by and fix their shoddy work (or even worse – do it for them because it’s “easier for me to do it”) you’re an enabler of that bad behavior. Sure, it’s hard short-term to teach them and get them to fix their work but long term we all know it’s worth the effort. (read more…)

When Millennials Take OverThis post is an edited excerpt from “When Millennials Take Over: Preparing for the Ridiculously Optimistic Future of Business,” (Ideapress Publishing, March 2015) by Jamie Notter and Maddie Grant. The book identifies four principles that will guide successful businesses now and in the future: Digital, Clear, Fluid, and Fast. This excerpt is from the chapter on Fast.

You hear it almost daily in the business press: The pace of change has gone through the roof, and our organizations are not keeping up. A strategic window opens up, but the organization can’t pivot fast enough and loses out to that creative new startup. The development of new technology being used both by our competitors and by our customers makes it almost impossible to stay ahead of the curve, and we find ourselves scrambling to keep up. Executives stay up at night worrying about speed, or the lack thereof.

Speed, of course, is a key variable in any calculation of productivity and efficiency. (read more…)

“Because you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”Head and Shoulders dandruff shampoo commercial.

One rainy day during the Revolutionary War, George Washington rode up to a group of soldiers attempting to raise a wooden beam to a high position. The corporal in charge was shouting encouragement, but the soldiers couldn’t position it correctly. Washington asked the corporal why he didn’t join in and help, to which the corporal replied, “Don’t you realize that I am the corporal?”

Very politely, Washington replied, “I beg your pardon, Mr. Corporal, I did.” Washington dismounted his horse and went to work with the soldiers to get the oak beam in position. As they finished, Washington said “If you should need help again, call on Washington, your commander-in-chief, and I will come.”1

Imagine the first impression that Washington made on those men. Any doubt whether these soldiers gave their all on the battlefield for their commander-in-chief? (read more…)