The Common Sense Blog

16
Apr

Empathy and Smart Decision Making

Like most people, I have become wary of the customer service in most establishments these days. Maybe it’s because of our impersonal communication. Perhaps it’s because so many people feel overwhelmed with their own worries. Maybe it’s due to a lack of effective hiring and training. Whatever the reason, customer service has become more of an adventure. That’s why I

Read more

2
Apr

What Do You Do with Decision-Deficit Disorder?

I have grown fond of coming up with self-explanatory alliterations that describe some of the behaviors employers are now dealing with in today’s workplace. These include menu-driven thinking, safe-decision syndrome and now decision-deficit disorder. This week’s inspiration was inspired during a conversation I had with a colleague who was lamenting the reluctance of many young people to take initiative and

Read more

25
Mar

Let’s Make a $60,000 Decision in Twenty Minutes

My daughter, Erin, is about to graduate with a master’s degree in student personnel administration. She applied for a job at a Midwest university that will pay about $45,000 per year. With benefits and so on, it will probably cost the taxpayers in that state $60,000. If she remains in the position for three years, those making the selection are

Read more

20
Mar

Empower Your People to Make Common Sense Decisions

One recent Sunday, my wife and I went out for breakfast at a chain restaurant that specializes in pancakes. Tammy, the young woman at the front counter, seemed to be doing everything – seating guests, cashing out checks, refilling coffee cups and clearing tables. It was obvious that more than one server had not shown up for the shift.  

Read more

5
Mar

How You Ask for Payment is a Matter of Trust

When it comes to professional services, how you ask for payment can have a tremendous impact on the trust between the client and the provider. Three separate experiences in the past ten days have brought this to mind. Two weeks ago, I met with a colleague and asked her to conduct some keyword research for our social media efforts. After

Read more

26
Feb

The Cumulative Impact of Apathy

Dear Fast-food Franchise Owner: I want to thank you. I teach employers how to improve workplace decision-making and my experience this morning was a perfect example of how even small decisions can have a cumulative impact on profitability. I stopped by your restaurant at Belleview and Kipling at about 7:45AM for a small decaf coffee with two creams. The young

Read more

5
Feb

Balancing the Tension Between Rules and Reason

What would you do if one of your employees tackled someone on company property? That was the decision facing Best Buy recently. Tyler, a security guard for one of the company’s stores in the Sacramento area, witnessed a police officer get knocked down by a fleeing suspect in the store’s parking lot. Tyler ran across the lot and tackled the

Read more

29
Jan

If You Don’t Want Them to Think – Don’t Blame Them If They Don’t

I was grabbing lunch in Bismarck, ND, at one of those large chains that has touch-screen ordering kiosks. When I had completed and paid for my order, the system offered me three options – no receipt, a paper receipt or an electronic receipt. I chose paper since I would need it for reimbursement. But then nothing happened. No receipt emerged

Read more

4
Dec

Stretch Your Decision-Making – Reap the Rewards

“How often do you solve a problem that is almost beyond your capabilities?” A mentor posed this question to me 25 years ago and it has inspired me ever since. When I initially reflected on what he had asked, I was a bit flummoxed. My business was going well. I had the respect of my colleagues. I seemed to have

Read more

28
Nov

Parents – Let them Go!

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal explained the phenomenon of “Bring Your Parents to Work Day,” in which employees’ parents spend the day wandering around the office watching their offspring and colleagues write memos, answer e-mails and the other tasks required of their jobs. The enthusiasm for this, of course, is not shared by everyone. “It’s almost like

Read more