Friday, 12 December 2008

Newsletter Issue 158, December 2008

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 158, December 2008
Hi guys,
Are you killing yourself at work? Then read Personal Energy Management below & learn how not to.
If you think price drives customers to change suppliers, then you need to read Service is Key for Customer Retention
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Personal Energy Management

The American Management Association ran an article by Karlin Sloan of Karlin Sloan & Company ( on keeping balance in the workplace. Karin has kindly allowed me to share her article with you all.
The term “energy management” was coined by Nina Merer, a corporate trainer and coach practicing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Merer took traditional time management concepts and reframed them to prioritise people’s energy resources.
Current work habits of 90 hour weeks, being the last to leave, never being out of contact beg a conversation about energy management—versus time management—and why it’s an increasingly relevant concept in a global, technology-fueled work environment.
Energy management is both an art and a science. To better manage your energy, you need an equal amount of input to output. Deplete your energy stores without “recharging” them and you jeopardize your ability to work efficiently and effectively.
It’s great to demonstrate commitment and competence to your company, but how do you know when “above and beyond” becomes overkill and puts your energy at risk? Ask yourself:
  1. Is what I’m doing sustainable over time?
  2. Is what I’m doing something that really adds value?
  3. If what I’m doing isn’t sustainable and doesn’t add value, am I gaining something important from it?
If you can’t answer “yes” to any of these questions, it’s time to set some boundaries.

Setting Boundaries: Rules of the Road
Follow these three simple yet powerful rules, and you can avoid sacrificing your “ROEI”—return on energy investment.
  1. Value your Time. Understand that your time and energy are valuable. If you don’t protect your energy, who will? Unless you are superhuman, you need to set up some parameters about when you will—and won’t—jump to the rescue or go beyond the call of duty.
    • Everything feels important—your boss, your customers, and your short- and long-term deliverables—so how do you balance it all? Prioritise the time that most feeds your energy—versus simply doing or reacting—and set clear expectations of what you can and cannot do.
    • A coach on my team recently told this story: Two principals in a mid-sized organisation hired Ken, an outside consultant, to facilitate an upcoming team meeting. When the principals expressed concern about holding the meeting in the company conference room—a space they had custom designed and built for their new offices—Ken asked them why. “Because we always get interrupted when we’re there versus offsite, and it makes it impossible to get anything done.” The interesting assumption here is that the executives can’t set appropriate boundaries when they’re in the office, but they can when they’re at a remote location. It’s not that other things don’t crop up when they’re offsite, it’s that they just don’t know about them. Their challenge was to set clear boundaries at the office—absolutely no interruptions—and, to be able to use their new conference room to do productive work, as intended.
  2. You don’t have to kiss up to look good. I agree with Dr. Wayne Dyer, well-known self-development author and speaker, who says, “We teach others how to treat us.” At work, you teach others to respect you by respecting your own time and energy—and refusing to be at others’ beck and call. Stan, one of my executive coaching clients, is a key account director for a big-name global consulting firm. One of his clients is very demanding and frequently calls Stan at night and on weekends. Instead of “redirecting” his client to reserve these calls for business hours, Stan makes himself available 24/7 and works hard to meet every request. Unfortunately, this behaviour is not sustainable, nor does it add any value. Stan’s core belief, that the client always comes first, is admirable, but what happens when that belief ceases to serve the client? Stan is often so physically and mentally exhausted that he can’t do his best work. With good intentions, he has created a dynamic in which his client expects him to go above and beyond at all times and at all costs. Stan’s challenge is to create a new dynamic, set limits, and show his client that he delivers his best work when he preserves his time and energy.
  3. You have a choice—sustainability or burnout. To perform at the top of your game, it’s critical to work in ways that stave off fatigue and burnout. Sustainable work practices support your ongoing role and responsibilities over time—not just in the heat of the moment. Vow to stop blaming others for your overwork and start taking responsibility for setting your own boundaries. Doc Childre, an expert on human performance optimisation and personal effectiveness, teaches that blame is one of the biggest contributors to low or lost energy. Sure, there are those “human” moments when you point a finger or complain about something or someone. In the end, however, you do have a choice. You can choose when to go above and beyond, when to set and stick to your boundaries, and when to adapt to a certain work environment—or to leave that environment if what you’re doing isn’t sustainable or adding value, or you’re not gaining something important from it.
Author Bio: Karlin Sloan is founder and CEO of Karlin Sloan & Company. She is an executive coach and leadership consultant and the author of Smarter, Faster, Better: Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilling Leadership (Jossey-Bass). Contact:

Service is Key for Customer Retention

According to a survey by Marketing Sherpa (, service is more important than price for retaining customers.

And interestingly, companies and customers think there are different primary reasons for customers parting company with a a company. Companies think it is a decision based on price; customers say it's poor service that made them decide to go.
The key thing to remember: customers don't think price is a major reason for customer retention; service is.
Kenn Butler wrote in his Leadership article Week 95: Reaping the Rewards of Listening "have you ever wondered what would happen if you invited your customers in to give you & your staff direct performance feedback?
"If there is one thing I have learned in my journey over 35 years, it is this: Your customers will tell you everything you need to know to succeed. Consequently I am often encouraging managers I mentor to set aside an hour regularly (like six monthly), & invite three customers to come & talk to all their staff about what the organisation does well & how that helps them, what the organisation does poorly & the problems that causes them, & what they expect & need from the organisation. It particularly works best if you bring in customers who are quite demanding & not afraid to speak their minds. It is also a great way to strengthen relationships with customers who, I have to say, are always chuffed they have been invited to express their views & impressed the organisation would allow them to come & talk directly to staff.
"Sadly, I am also quite sure that whenever I suggest such events, very few people act on the idea. From what I understand, the biggest obstacle is the fear about what the customers will say. Managers in particular feel threatened because they would not only take any negative observation of personally; they would feel embarrassed in front of their staff.
"...Imagine having so little confidence in your organisation's performance that you are too scared to invite customers to come & talk to your staff. Additionally, imagine having such low self-esteem that you could not handle any criticism personally. I wonder how well the All Blacks would do if they were too frightened to look at the video of their last game. But the saddest part of not holding customer-staff meetings is everyone misses out on the opportunity to hear what they need to do to become, or continue to be, successful. In my experience, customers not only provide positive & negative feedback, they clearly outline what they need, want & expect from the company.
"It is really like being given a recipe for success."
Ah, customer service, eh.

Word Page Setup Shortcut

Debbie Mayo Smith had a great Word shortcut in her latest newsletter (
When you have a Word document open in Print Layout view, double-click in the blued out upper or side margin to pop up the Page Setup dialogue box. A very handy & quick shortcut indeed!

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you:
  • ARE, “acronym-rich environment” - that's a good one!

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
Over the next few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do with Alt and letters. This time it's U:
  • Word "Update Auto Format" Alt & Ctrl & U
  • Word "Update Fields" Alt & Shift & U
  • PowerPoint "Chose AutoShape on the Drawing toolbar." Alt & U
  • IE "Change paper, headers and footers, orientation, and margins for this page. " Alt & U

Hot Linx
A new idea from a Kiwi company is Pago - you can shop online without a credit card, send or receive money by txt or web and not disclose your personal bank details using a Pago wallet. Check it out at
Have you heard about EZCodes? The concept has been around for a while, but does not appear to have been widely adopted yet. Check out the articles at
When you are next feeling like you need a blast from your chemistry past, cruise by and check out all the elements of the periodic table. Clicking through on all the elements is very enlightening!
Blinkbox is a service coming to you soon; they've got thousands of classics, new releases & trailers. Some movies are free, some you can rent or buy; just download to your PC. Check out

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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