Set Up To Succeed with C3 ™

The Manager-Employee relationship is a fascinating element of our work life.  It is a relationship so critical to the success of businesses that many hours are devoted to understanding that relationship.  Recently I read an HBR article, The Set-Up-To-Fail Syndrome  by Jean-François Manzoni and Jean-Louis Barsoux that considered how crucial the manager was to the employees’ performance success, and failure.

What a great reminder of how leaders influence the success or failure of those they lead.  From the HBR article,

If the Pygmalion effect describes the dynamic in which an individual lives up to great expectations, the set-up-to-fail syndrome explains the opposite. It describes a dynamic in which employees perceived to be mediocre or weak performers live down to the low expectations their managers have for them.” 

As I consider this for my manager-coaching clients, I can see how the C3 ™of that relationship is impacted by the “Set-up-to-fail” syndrome.   The triggering event is either some event in which the employee slips up or an event in which the boss distances him/herself from the employee.  In either case the two lose the CONNECTION that is built from trust and respect, among other things.

From the lost connection, the boss feels the need to check in on the employee more often or to increase supervision in some manner.  This causes the employee to withdraw or to try too hard to regain status, fight or flight.  At this point, COMMUNICATION is strained and CONFLICT starts to rise.

How might I coach a manager to stop this cycle?

  1. Look at the situation and identify your contribution to the cycle.
  2. Increase COMMUNICATION.  If the triggering event is because you asked for a report, that might have been seen as increasing oversight due to an unknown failing.  Explain why the report is necessary.  Outlining your intention and motive stops the employee from having to make-up what you are really getting at.
  3. Engage in CONFLICT MANAGEMENT, if that is needed.  Ask questions.  Listen and seek understanding from the employee perspective.  Invite the employee to create the solution.  Accept your part of the cycle and share how you will strive to change.
  4. Rebuild the CONNECTION of trust and respect.  A key part of this cycle is the broken connection.  Extend trust even when you worry about failure.  Show respect, recognizing the employees don’t want to fail any more than you want them to fail.  Work together, sharing the burden to rebuild the performance.
  5. Be patient and document throughout the process.  If the worst case comes to pass and the employee leaves your employment, at least you will learn from the situation.

Remember, “Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” – Albert Einstein

What if you are the employee?

The steps are very similar, only do these from your view as the employee.  You might be surprised how open a manager is when you start with CONFLICT RESOLUTION, asking the boss what has happened and seeking to really understand.  Ask probing questions to get information about why it was so detrimental.  Listening always starts to rebuild the CONNECTION between you as people.  COMMUNICATING honestly about where you do need help or what your perspective is will allow you to both engage in the problem solving needed to move beyond the situation.

How can you build your C3 skills?

Either way, if you are caught in this cycle it takes concentrated work to pull through it successfully.  If your skills in the C3 ™of COMMUNICATION, CONFLICT-RESOLUTION, and CONNECTION are not strong you and your employees could suffer.  Take time to strengthen your skills today by engaging in an online training class from our partner BizLibrary. 

Get a *FREE* 30-day trial  by filling out a quick form.  Some classes (with course code) include:

  • Building Trust (pd_15_a01_bs_enus)  
  • Rebuilding Trust (pd_15_a02_bs_enus)
  • Listening and Understanding (SVL_045030)
  • The Workplace Excellence Series: Open Communication & Teamwork (SVL_066037)
  • Personal Conflict Styles (_pc_bi_pabi002)
  • Workplace Conflict: Recognizing and Responding to Conflict (comm_22_a01_bs_enus)
  • Workplace Conflict: Strategies for Resolving Conflicts (comm_22_a02_bs_enus)
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Pruning and Change

These last few weeks my world seems to be about pruning. Spring is here and the flowers are up so gardening is all around me. While not a gardener, I do enjoy the shows on gardening. Well, on a recent show I learned something about pruning. When I buy those beautiful plants that have all the blooms and repot them at home, I must prune off – CUT – those great blooms. But that is why I bought the plant!! Well, the plant must use its energy to reestablish its roots, and if the blooms are taking that energy it hurts the plant in the long run. Fair enough.

Then there are the readings from church this Sunday. “Jesus said to his disciples: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower. He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.” More indication that pruning, while painful and making the plant look pitiful is vital to helping a plant bear more fruit.

Today I went out and pruned some rose bushes. One I cut almost to the ground. The black spots on the stem seemed to say, “Take me off! I am pulling energy from this plant.” Boy the plants sure look pitiful. The roses are in a vase in the house. I hope more come. I trust they will. But today these plants look pitiful!

It is like that in business as well. Sometimes, you have a part of your business that is producing great results. The bloom is so beautiful! But, when you look at the “stem” of the organization, you see weakness or disease. You know you need to cut that part of the management-style and culture out. The change is to cut that stem, certainly damaging the blooming results. Yet, it must be done. You have to trust the resulting organization will be stronger. You have to trust the future results will be better than you hoped. To do it, you have to prune.

Do you need to prune your business?
• A manager who is toxic, getting results through fear, intimidation or other negative means
• An element of your business, that while bringing in money is not truly aligned with the core strategy or strength of the business
• A team whose results may give to the bottom line, but whose egos are out of alignment

I am thinking about my own business goals. I am pruning this summer to determine what roots I need to establish so that my business can grow. Maybe you need to do the same.

Going to do some pruning? Consider some of these online classes on change and change management. Click here and the helpful team at BizLibrary will help you find the right class for you.
• Leadership and Change (lead_01_a07_bs_enus)
• Understanding Organizational Change (pd_13_a01_bs_enus)
• Managing for Rapid Change and Uncertainty (mgmt_23_a03_bs_enus)
• Managing Change: Understanding Change (mgmt_13_a01_bs_enus)
• Embracing Organizational Change (pd_13_a03_bs_enus)
• Preparing for Organizational Change (pd_13_a02_bs_enus)
• Open to Change (SVL_072001_01)
• Leadership Essentials: Leading Change (lead_05_a07_bs_enus)
• Managing Change: Building Positive Support for Change (mgmt_13_a02_bs_enus)

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“A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” Chinese Proverb

I have been asked for service skills training from several clients, particularly in the healthcare industry.  One comment from a leader in a medical center really struck me.  “If they would only smile, we would do better.”  This is the measurable result required of the work.  WOW!  This got me to asking, what is the latest thinking and trends in customer service particulaly in healthcare?  How far are we from the ideal?  How is it defined?

We know good service when we receive it, and a smile goes a long way!  But, have you and your organization tried to define it?  When you look up a definition, you will get many different definitions for it.  True customer service is defined by how well an organization exceeds the needs, wants, and desires of the customer, both professionally through the service or product and personally by exceeding the emotional needs of the customer.  While defining customer service is unique for each organization, the good news is that you have access to a host of resources to align human performance to this core value of many organizations.  These are great starting points if you are working on some of the basics such as smiling a genuine smile.

Subsequent blog posts in March will reflect on how the customer service value and philosophy show up in talent management and training.  For now, I share some of the research I have enjoyed.


The following articles, blogs, and white papers proved very helpful in researching service issues to use in creating training programs and cases.  There are so many links from which to choose, though.  What sites do you like?

  1. On Trends: 
  2. On Service in Health Care:
  3. On the Critical Role of Employees:


Customer Service Skills Training:  Principles of Outstanding CS

The focus of this series is to teach handling service scenarios through a variety of examples. Examples are provided for many environments such as retail, face-to-face customer service, help-desk, client meetings, call center support, medical support and so on.  Modules and Objectives include:

Customer Service Principles (2 hours)

  • What are the fundamentals of customer service principles?
  • How to interact with different types of customers and different personalities?
  • What customers want and how to satisfy them?

Questioning Techniques (2 hours)

  • How to encourage a customer to give you more information by using correct questioning techniques?
  • How to use leading questions?
  • How to sequence your sentences for maximum effect?

Emotional Intelligence (2 hours)

  • How to empathize with customers and maintain rapport?
  • How to show you understand the customer and care about their problems?

Customer Service Scenarios (2 hours)

  • What does it mean to handle a customer professionally?
  • What are the common challenging customer service scenarios and how to handle them?  (Including angry customer, swearing customers, mistrustful customers, demanding customers, a developing long line)

Handling Complaints   (2 hours)

  • How to handle complaints?
  • What are the principles of handling unhappy customers?
  • How to deliver a “Soft No”?

Telephone Skills (2 hours)

  • How to handle phone calls?
  • How to put a customer on hold?
  • How to refer a customer to a colleague?
  • How to end a phone call?

Body Language (2 hours)

  • What body language signals are most critical for a great first impression?
  • What gestures put customers at ease and let you establish rapport with them?
  • How to spot the lies through body language?

Click Here to bring this training to your team!


 Customer Service Books

  • The Kindness Revolution: The Company-Wide Culture Shift That Inspires Phenomenal Customer Service
  • Customer Service for Dummies


  • The Brave New Service Strategy: Aligning Customer Relationships, Market Strategies and Business Structures

Customer Service Courses

  • HDI – Customer Support Specialist, Professionalism
  • Excelling at Customer Service


  • Excel at Customer Service
  • Customer Support Specialist

Click Here to learn how you can access these materials today!

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Tax Day Comes and Goes – Regulatory Compliance Doesn’t

 Tax day happens once a year . . .
… Regulatory compliance is a year-round headache, especially for smaller organizations. In fact, small and mid-sized companies spend on average $2,800 more per employee each year on compliance than larger companies.
What can you do to manage and control runaway compliance costs?
•Online training
•Paperless tracking and management 
•Quick and easy delivery
 Decrease Compliance Costs.   Increase Opportunities.

Building Successful Business through Human Performance
 Online Compliance Solutions Include:
1-hour e-Learning Courses:
Interviewing & Hiring
2-4 hour e-learning courses:
Sexual Harassment – AB1825
Workplace Violence
OSHA and Safety
IT Security
Streaming Video Programs:
Business Ethics
Drug-Free Workplace
HR Handbooks
Social Media Policies
Code of Conduct
Business Ethics
Conducting Interviews
Workplace Diversity
Policies & Procedures
Emotional Intelligence 
Click here to preview all of our compliance training
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Building a Stronger and More Productive Extended Enterprise

This was an interesting case study shared by BizLibrary.  You might be interested…

As training and HR professionals we understand that for a company to remain successful and competitive, it must keep its biggest assets – its people – engaged and committed for the long term. It’s a known fact that even the most lucrative compensation plan alone is not enough to keep your much-needed employees from moving on, so your organization must utilize successful strategies for retaining employees. Have you considered applying these same strategies to your extended network of partners, customers and members?

Read the entire Case Study here.

Register for the Complimentary Webinar, Driving Revenue & Collaboration Through Your Extended Network, to learn more… click here

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Talent Development Programs for Wealth Management Firms

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  You can take my business, burn up my building, but give me my people, and I’ll build  the business right back again.                                                                                  – Henry Ford Business success is driven by employee talent and engagement.  Yet, when firms review … Continue reading

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