I’m Sorry!

That phrase, “I’m Sorry!” is not said enough.

Scenario #1

You are waiting for your coffee; there are people ahead of you and only one barista. The barista finally hands you your coffee after 4 minutes (having worked at a coffee shop for many years your drink should be done in 90 seconds) but that’s fine, 4 minutes it is. The barista says your name, and hands you the drink with no eye contact. Well now you are upset that no one said sorry for the wait and now you are contemplating if you’ll ever go back to that place.

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Scenario #2

You are waiting for your coffee; there are people ahead of you and only one barista. While the barista is making a drink he looks up and says, I am going to work as fast as I can, but it will be a little wait, I’m sorry about that. You are instantly ok with waiting. Your drink is ready, the barista knows you are there (cuz he already acknowledged you), he hands your drink and says, ‘thank you for waiting patiently, and again I’m sorry about that. I really hope this didn’t ruin your day.’ (he threw in a little joke to lighten the situation) It made you laugh and you are walking away with a smile on your face and going to talk about this place in a positive way to all of your friends.

barista

Why don’t people want to say sorry?

– We don’t like to own up to mistakes and we don’t like to be wrong. But it ultimately comes down to pride. It’s a vulnerable thing to admit when you are wrong. When a toddler hits their younger sibling, the parents don’t disown the toddler; you discipline, make sure they know they did something wrong, they apologize, and learn from their mistakes. Toddlers shouldn’t be the only ones saying sorry. We need to make sure we still say sorry, learn from our mistakes and grow.

People working in customer service deal with having to apologize all day long. They (personally) didn’t do anything wrong, but because of their job, they take ownership of where they work and create solutions for their customers.

Create Solutions! Say Sorry! Acknowledge People!

Here are a few phrases we need to add to our vocabulary:

-I’m sorry I messed up.

-Thank you for waiting.

-Thank you for being patient.

-I see you and will work as fast as I can to get you on your way.

-Welcome to…

-Hello

-Goodbye

-Is there anything I can get you?

-Do you need anything?

Be someone who says sorry, who acknowledges other people. Be someone who possesses compassion.

Why Great Customer Service is Crucial!

“How may I serve you?”

Doesn’t that phrase just make you happy? I hope that all of you have had the pleasure of experiencing the incredible customer service at Chick-fil-a. Every employee that works there has to go through intense customer service training, and their main focus in the training is having everyone understand that serving is what makes them different and stand out. It’s no wonder that they out perform KFC and still can close their doors one day a week.

Let me list a few reasons why you should consider training your staff to be amazing at customer service.

  1. Your employees will have purpose
    • Remind your employees of the why! Why are they coming to work each day? What impact are they making? This is a great tool to give to your people daily. You will have less burn out and give your employees purpose and drive to be great at what they do.
  2. Your customers will be happy and return
    • I walked into DSW today and within 30 seconds I was greeted with a hello and welcome. They saw me, and noticed me. I also like getting acknowledgement when I go to the gym. We want to be noticed. Make sure your staff is noticing your customers fast, that they have a big smile on their face, and that they are in the moment and not thinking about how badly they want to be done with their shift.

      People don’t follow companies, they follow brands, they follow experiences, and they always remember the way you made them feel. -Dale Partridge

  3. Your employees and customers will be your best referrals
    • To build followers you need to make sure you are creating a positive experience. The way that my husband makes others feel is truly a reflection of the type of servant leader that he is. He could be talking to a client, employee, friend or family member and he always makes sure to have that personal connection!
    • Connecting, serving and caring will make people come back and want more. When you elevate others and serve them, they feel it, and will be your biggest referrals! 
  4. Your focus will be on people and not profit (thank you Dale Partridge – read ‘People Over Profit’)
    • I’m reading the book ‘People Over Profit’ by Dale Partridge and ‘Dare to Serve’ by Cheryl Bachelder; both books have amazing tools in how to focus on people and not the profit. You know when that shoe salesman comes up to you and all they see are dollar signs. But there is a huge difference when a salesman comes up to me and starts asking questions instead of telling me about their product.
    • Get to know your people. Think about what’s best for them and not what’s best for you. People can easily sniff out the used car salesman. 
  5. You will have better sleep
    • When your team is trained well, when they know their purpose, and when they like coming to work…you can sleep easy. Putting time and effort into training your staff will help with your stress level, you will have less burn out, and your customers will be happier. You will find that focusing on others instead of yourself was the key all along.

The key to a fruitful life is finding ways to serve others daily. -Nikki Udicki

Smell the Bread!

A baker said to me recently: “I’ve lost the romance and can’t smell bread anymore.”

That is my worst nightmare! I am so glad I can smell freshly baked bread, even though I shouldn’t eat it as much.

Let’s analyze why this baker made that comment.

  1. He didn’t want to sound crazy by telling me his true feelings about bread, so he underplayed it.
  2. He has simply lost sight of how amazing bread is because of his daily dealings with it.
  3. His only motivation for making bread is to make money and pay his bills.
  4. He was having an off day and still has a fondness for bread.

Whatever his reason behind his bread comment, it got me thinking about why we lose who you are or why we hold back. 

Hesitation and fear. You can also call it procrastination. But when you let hesitation and fear make the decisions in your life, than each day you are becoming less and less of you.

  • We hesitate in telling our spouse that they are cute, funny or smart, out of fear that they may not receive it well or that they don’t think the same about you.
  • We hesitate in speaking up in meetings because we have a fear that our idea is stupid or not in line with what they are really asking.
  • We hesitate in paying our bills on time because what if we are short on money and we haven’t created a plan for where our money goes (I could really go on and on with this point because I am a major Dave Ramsey advocate). Quick quote: Don’t let your money run you, you run it!
  • We hesitate in sharing our goals and dreams, because others may not understand.
  • We hesitate in getting healthy, out of fear that we may fail and that we may have to be kept accountable.
  • We hesitate in putting others first, out of fear that we won’t get it in return.

A lot of fear and hesitation keeps us from being incredible people!

What if the baker said this instead, “To deal with bread everyday is the most wonderful thing in the world! Not only does it smell good and taste great, it brings people together! The act of breaking bread is my favorite thing in the world!!!” 

I would then say, “I”m sold! I will buy all the bread that you have!”

I also believe we hesitate in sharing our true selves because we will get opposition.

THAT’S OK!! Not everyone likes bread. I have family members that have actually said, “I don’t get the big deal with bread.”

I often hesitate in sharing the things that I love out of fear that I will fail, that people will make fun of me, not understand, and that it may sound stupid. But here it is:

I love to serve others! I love to connect with people and help them see their gifts and talents! I want people to wake up every day and chose to serve others, remind themselves daily of the things that they love, and go after it. 

Being vulnerable is hard. But when you align yourself with God’s will for your life and how He created you, then you can be confident in your daily decisions! Each day wake up and align yourself with Him! You will mess up, but don’t stay there, just make it apart of your dance and learn from it.

Fight hesitation and fear by remembering who you are and why you were created!

Great Leaders bestow Grace and Truth!

Recall the last time that you gave!

Well Nikki,

  • I gave the driver on the road a piece of my mind!
  • I gave a mean look to the lady with all of her kids going crazy at the grocery store and made sure she felt even more alone.
  • I gave my husband a guilt trip when he said he had to work late, even though I know he works so hard for the family.
  • I gave my employee a hard time about not meeting the deadline, even though they are swamped and made every other deadline.
  • I gave myself a big pat on the back for not being like everyone else and having my stuff together!

Every single day we are faced with opportunities to give, opportunities to be selfless, and opportunities to show others they care and matter. Our first knee-jerk reaction is to make sure that we are the first in line, that no one cuts me off, that people get the judgment they deserve, and that leading in fear and guilt is the way to improve our respect.

When people are given grace and truth they are happier and more productive. These two have to be paired with one another because if you have a leader that is all grace, then no one can do wrong and everyone deserves a second, third, forth, fifth chance. And a leader that is only truth can be taken as someone who gives harsh critique and gives their people anxiety every time they encounter that leader. So to be a dynamic and great leader you need to bestow grace and truth!

Grace: undeserved favor; an attractively polite manner of behaving; courteous goodwill.(Webster dictionary)

Truth: that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality; a fact. (Webster dictionary)

  • I recently heard a story about this young girl who had been in an accident and had major burns on her face. She was beginning to heal, but the burns were still noticeable and wouldn’t go away. This young girl and her mother decided to get out of the house and go to the mall. You can imagine that her mother was very protective of her daughter, but knew that this was their new reality so she had to face other people. They went from shop to shop and people would stop and stare but eventually move on. They found themselves at the food court and had some ice cream. While they were sitting there people would walk by, glance over and keep going. This one older man sat down, close to them, looked up and saw the young girl. He stared (like most people), but didn’t look away. He kept staring and staring to the point where it was making another bystander uncomfortable and almost told him to stop. The older man interrupted them and said to the young girl, “I am so sorry for staring, but you have the most beautiful eyes.” After that the three of them started talking and ended up laughing and having a great time. I believe that this man portrayed grace and truth!

We see peoples marks so much faster than we see their beauty. img_1393

My challenge for you, as a leader and as a person, is to live your life with grace and truth. I know that people who error on the side of grace might be thinking, “I rock at this,” when you may need to show more truth and honesty. And those who error on the side of truth may think, “I’m not harsh with my words, people are just too sensitive,” and that might be the case sometimes, but reflect on your tone and purpose when you become critical. “The way truth is said is just as important as truth itself!” -Al Lopus

Some people may need to hear that they mess up, and some may need to hear that they rock. Just remember that with both statements, come at it honestly and graciously!

When there is both grace and truth, then you have the recipe for a safe, inviting, efficient, and a caring workplace! Recognize those situations where you may be heavier on the grace or heavier on the truth, and shift your words and actions.

Christ is the ultimate example of a servant leader. Follow in His footsteps.

John 1:14″And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

What Motivates You?

  •  New Year
  • Getting in shape for your wedding
  • A New Job
  • Losing the baby weight
  • That promotion
  • Volunteering at a specific place because your “special someone” volunteers there too
  • Studying for a final
  • Getting projects done around the house before family comes into town (that’s a personal one of mine)

We are motivated by rewards and results.

So why do we procrastinate? Research has found that the act of procrastination happens because the feelings aren’t invested in the end goal. Once your feelings are aligned with the goal and purpose, then your motivation kicks in and procrastination goes out the window.

So how do we get our feelings aligned with the end goal and reward?

  1. Get Positive! (Post inspirational quotes, wake up and list what you are grateful for.)
    • We let the procrastination bug seep into our lives when our mood is low and when we’re “not feeling it.”
    • Research shows that happiness increases productivity and makes people more successful. “Smiling’s my favorite.” -Buddy the Elf        smilings-my-favorite
    • Optimistic salespeople outsell their pessimistic counterparts by 56%.
    • What this all means is that we need to think more about managing our moods which will help us manage our work, because you will actually want to do work!
  2. Get things done and Get rewarded!
    • Studies show that rewards are responsible for 3/4 of why we do things.
    • Treat yourself when you have completed something, or have penalties when you don’t.(When my husband and I finished a round of whole 30 we would go out to a nice dinner; that was only once a month, but it sure tasted good and was worth it)
  3. Get Accountability
    • Share your goals, don’t be silent about them. When you have accountability and pressure, you will be more inclined to follow through and get things done!  (Year after year I told my husband I would sign up for a half marathon, but didn’t. Then my sister in law asked me to do one with her, we signed up, had a schedule, kept each other accountable, and then kicked that half marathons booty!) img_9693
  4. Routines Rule!
    • Having a routine builds good habits, creates efficiency, and builds momentum (objects that are in motion stay in motion).
      • Good habits: Your routine might not be a healthy routine, so change it! (ex. I use to go and get a bagel every morning before work (bad habit). Now I go to the gym in the morning and have my coffee and eggs (good habit).
      • Creates efficiency: I make the same breakfast for my husband every day! When I first started I thought, man this is a process, now it is so automatic for me that I bust it out!
      • Builds momentum: Getting things done in the morning creates small wins and motivates us to keep the wins going. It also helps with tackling the problems when they arise.
      • Sidenote: Make sure you aren’t so stuck to your routine that anything new that enters in it will throw you way of kilter. There will be days where your routine will be upside down, handle it, know it’s only one day, and rock that day to the best of your ability.
  5. Make your To Do list the night before
    • Prep for meetings, make a list with your top priorities for the next day
    • It is inevitable that there will be something added to your day, so when you have a plan, you will know exactly how to respond to added “urgencies” screenshot-2017-01-25-11-57-09

 

This whole list can be summed up with one word (intentionality).

Live a life with intention!

Have a purpose behind what you do!

My friend once told me, make sure you know the reason behind why we do things, because you will be asked and instead of giving the answer “because that’s just what we do,” give answers that matter and will get people to see the end goal of the reason behind everything we do.

And if we don’t know the reason, then get rid of it!

Don’t be afraid of change. Changing bad habits into good ones should happen more often in this culture.

Questions for the leader in you:

  • How are you motivating your team?
  • How are you staying motivated with your own life?
  • Are you being an example to others?

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something you accept no excuses – only results.” -Ken Blanchard

Boost Your Staff’s Morale TODAY!

How to boost your staff’s morale TODAY!

Sitting at a desk all day will physically slow down your endorphins, which will in turn slow down your productivity and motivation! The likelihood that the view from your workplace is of a beautiful mountain or ocean is pretty slim. So how do you boost your teams morale towards being motivated, productive and ready to serve your people with greatness? Well go no further because I am here to tell you!!

I love steps so here are 5 practical steps for you and your team.

1. Stand up and walk over to each persons desk and ask, “How’s your day going?”

Simple and effective. This may seem like it will take up a lot of your time but once it becomes apart of your routine you will see how effective it is. Having that interaction with your people will amount to knowing them, seeing their challenges, brainstorming with them, and a more productive team.

2.  Finish this phrase for each staff member and share it with them. “I noticed that…” 

My goal here is that you remember something that they may be stressed about, need help with, or simply to brainstorm with. This phrase can go far…”I noticed that you came in late because your son is sick, how is everything at home, do you need to leave early?” Wow, you listened, stopped whatever you were doing to talk with them, and then acted. “I noticed that you said you felt overwhelmed with that project, how can I help?” “I noticed that you had to come up with a solution for ___, do you need to brainstorm about it?” You don’t have to ask this to everyone everyday, but this should be often enough and then it will just become natural. Your staff will feel heard, cared for, and you will find that communication will go through the roof!

(1 & 2 can be done at the same time, if you didn’t catch that)

3. Know how to serve them. I am the type of person that loves little texts, notes or cards with words of affirmation or appreciation, my husband is the type of person who loves it when things get done without him asking. If he got a card he would appreciate it, but that didn’t necessarily serve him the way that he feels served. What you need to do is simply ask your people. How do you feel best appreciated?

Here are a few questions you can send out: (circle the ones you like)

A) I feel appreciated with a gift card

B) I feel appreciated with acknowledgment

C) I feel appreciated with acts of service

D) I feel appreciated with food! (Food one may surprise you)

4. One-on-one meetings are necessary. Every time I met with my boss or leader, it always was so helpful because it was a time to hear expectations again and I was able to voice my opinion just to them. Be aware of the time and make it short, but when people are actually kept accountable and cared for, they will keep coming back with great work.

5. Inspire them. Your team will notice how you treat others, how you work, and how you respond to stressful situations. Be great, remember to always keep learning, share your knowledge, and lift those up around you.

David Witt from The Ken Blanchard Companies said, “Look back at your own experience and you’ll probably discover that your best boss brought out the best in you because he or she expected a lot and also supported your growth and development. That’s the one-two punch that creates high levels of engagement and performance!”

People need leaders who know them, care for them, and speak truth to them!