New promo video

Howdy friends!

Wanted to share a new promo video I recently added to my website.  If you like it, feel free to “like” it, link it, share it, or tweet it!

If you don’t like it, at least is was only 1 minute and 48 seconds!

Big thanks to Charlie with the North American Farm Direct Marketers Association for providing the footage!

Thanks for watching!



Learning How To Drive

As I was driving around town the other day, I noticed a car trying to make a left-hand turn across oncoming traffic. It struck me (the idea, not the car) that the driver had to develop good judgement in order to time the turn just right to avoid a collision.

Not sure where the synapse collision happened in my head, but it made me think of the judgement a leader must develop, and just how long it takes to develop “good judgement”.

Think about when you learned to drive… there was some classroom or online instruction, practical application behind the wheel, and probably more than one very stressful episode with a parent or older sibling trying to enlighten you on the finer points to vehicle manipulation.  You then took a test and got your license.  Even with this certification, it doesn’t mean that you learned everything there was to know about driving, or that you would consistently apply what you do know (turn signals, anyone?).

In many ways, the judgement you need to be successful as a leader is similar to that of driving a car – and it takes just as long (if not longer) to develop even a remedial level of “good judgement”.  You need to know the hazards, the capabilities of your resources, and what your overall role is in the process.

Also like driving, good judgement in leadership comes from experience.  And experience takes time.  No matter where you are on your leadership journey, it is your previous experiences that determine how you judge future situations.  When it comes to developing other leaders, we have to remember that teaching the tasks of what to do is only part of the equation… we also have to give them the opportunity to gain experience, make some mistakes, and develop good judgement.

Here are some lessons we can take from drivers ed…

  • Vary the teaching method: give some theory, allow time for practical application, and provide feedback the progress
  • Allow mistakes (to a point): In the special drivers ed car, the instructor has an emergency brake, but other than that the student is in control.  Allow your leaders to take the wheel, so-to-speak, but be there to assist if they really get into a jam.
  • Give it time: drivers need to practice parallel parking, much like leaders need practice providing feedback to their teams.
  • There will be tears: learning to drive and developing leadership skills are life-changing processes, both with their share of bumps along the way. Know that these will make you stronger.

Please lead, and drive, carefully.

Thanks for reading!


About the author: Matt’s first car was a 1977 Buick LaSabre.  Her name was “Bessie”.

The best service recovery is providing good service!

I had the pleasure of speaking with my good friend Sheryl Bindelglass recently, and we got to talking about customer service (big surprise!).  She was telling me about some horrible experiences she had lately and how they were eventually resolved.

The first was a multi-faceted airline mishap that compounded one bad experience upon another.  One flight was late, the next flight closed its door early, no one in the terminal seemed willing or able to help, and when it was all said and done (after Sheryl’s 24-hour cool down period), she called and was on hold for 2 hours and still was never connected to a person she could talk to.

So, she sent a tweet.  Within 22 minutes there was a response on Twitter, stating how sorry they were and inquiring if there was anything they could do.

Sheryl tweet

Now, don’t get me wrong… I applaud the quick response and offer to assist.  I just wonder if so much effort would be needed on service recovery if their regular customer service… um… didn’t suck.

Along the same lines, Sheryl told me about an experience at a restaurant where the manager came over to remedy a situation and handed them his business card.  Not only was it his card, but it was also a $20 voucher for a future visit.  How much time, effort and energy went into the process of making that card that could have been spent fixing the service issues they had so the card wouldn’t be necessary?

We all know that people make mistakes and we won’t be able to eliminate ALL of the need for service recovery, but as leaders we can (and should) be looking at the situations that cause people to complain so we can try to eliminate THOSE.  As an example:

When hearing this story about the airline, I asked Sheryl why they would close the cabin door early?  She said that it states on your ticket that they reserve the right to do that.  Okay, but why?  Are they trying to make up time?  Especially when you have people that are not on board yet, wouldn’t you give them until the advertised time to get to the gate to board the plane?  Maybe there are legitimate reasons, but look at the cavalcade of frustration it causes.  This wasn’t a mistake by a well-intentioned employee, it was a willful act made possible by a policy.  Somewhere there has to be a leader in that organization that can connect the dots and see what sort of havoc this caused.

If you are worried about the rash of negative publicity that is possible on social media enough to have someone monitor those outlets 24/7, then you should also be worried about eliminating the conditions that created a need to complain in the first place.

Here’s the kicker… even with all of the shenanigans and bad service happening, if ANY of the employees that Sheryl interacted with (before the tweet) had simply said “I’m sorry”, that tweet would have never been sent and you wouldn’t be reading this post right now.

Sometimes the best defense IS a good offense.

Thanks for reading!


Prepare your teams to play great offense this year!  Give them the training, coaching and guidance that they need to succeed!

Employees Also Want Fairness

In response to my last post, What Employees Want From Their Leaders, my friend Judy Kolk from Kayben Farms shared with me some of the things that she has uncovered over the years about what people feel an employer “owes” their employees.  She graciously agreed that I could re-post them here for all of you.  It’s great insight.

“In interviews I always ask people what they think an employer “owes” their employees.  The most common answer is “fairness”, so I go on to ask them what that means to them.

The responses I get sound like this:

  • A good place to work – this includes fun
  • Training – they don’t want to be set up for failure because of improper training
  • Communication – they feel like they can do better when they know what the expectations are
  • Respect – so many of them are concerned about not being respected, both personally and for their skills
  • Recognition – when they have done something exemplary, they want to be acknowledged
  • A chance to shine – they may have a particular skill never get’s “discovered”, but would have been happy to use in a previous job.”

See any similarities to our last list?

What I find interesting is that they say things like being set up for success, having the tools and training to do their job well and being recognized for their talents and accomplishments. They are essentially giving us a blueprint for success in terms of keeping our employees happy.

It also means that they WANT to succeed, they WANT to do a good job, and they WANT to be able to show they can contribute.

That’s the good news.  Now we just have to follow the blueprint.

Thanks for reading!


Bonus Fun: Kayben Farms has a pretty cool employment page where they do a great job of setting the stage for the employee experience.  Check it out!