Strategic Teams Achieving Results


Being an Effective Leader by Building Trust

Posted on August 6th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in Blog. No Comments

In the workplace, we as workers, managers, and supervisors interact in more than just a business sense. In order to work together, we need to brew a good chemistry; in order for that to occur, we have to know each other. We spend time getting to know each other’s thought patterns, speech patterns, work and play habits, interests and pet peeves. This is especially true for managers and supervisors – the leaders of the workplace.

How do we get to know these things? After all, it’s never as simple as merely spending time around a person; after all, hundreds of couples get divorced every year, saying after it’s all over, “I was married to Jane for twenty-five years and never knew she loved Frankie Valli!”

No, we can’t simply absorb these pieces of knowledge through osmosis. Our co-workers must allow us to … Read More »

Wash, Rinse, Repeat – Driving Continuous Improvement

Posted on July 19th, by Edward Gagnon in 2013, Blog. No Comments

When organizations talk about Strategic Planning, they usually talk about some kind of a long-range plan that will be implemented over 3 to 5 years. While it’s important to know where you’re going long-term and have plans to accomplish the goals, it’s equally important to make sure that you create an organization that is focused on continuous improvement.  In order to develop an organization that is focused on accepting, wanting, and planning for change, create an efficient 90-day planning process.

Set the Target; Approach it Quickly

If you have a customer retention goal, create a plan to design and implement activities over a 90-day period to increase renewal rates.  If you’re trying to improve customer service, identify some of the key tactics you can implement impacting processes or education or people that will drive up customer satisfaction over the next 90 days.  … Read More »

“Team Building”

Posted on June 24th, by Sue Hansen in 2013, Blog, Team Building. No Comments

Team Building. These words immediately conjure up cynical images of icebreaker and bonding exercises, interpersonal and sometimes intimate (and risky) disclosure, highly paid management consultants, group hugs and heartfelt commitments to be a cohesive team. Sure it’s beneficial and if done well, can lead to euphoria. Problem is that “feeling” is short lived.

Truth is, when it comes to people working well together, it is a miracle that it happens as well as it does. The simple act of putting people together without proper tools can lead to disharmony. The cause of the conflict could be a difference in methodology, objectives, lack of clear direction or even personality. Most of the time, we manage these disagreements by crossing our fingers and hoping that despite the clash, the team will be productive, solve problems, get along and be nice to each other.  … Read More »

From Front Line to Back Office

Posted on June 18th, by Edward Gagnon in Blog. No Comments

Front-line customer service training too often views the “customer” only as being the person who gives you money.  They view the skills taught as being those used by individuals on the “front line,” those that have to know how to communicate well.

But so much of these skills (e.g., having appropriate body language and tone, diffusing the upset customer, call handling, using/avoiding specific phrases, asking the right questions and conveying appreciation) apply to the back office personnel in companies as well.  Keep in mind that typical back office functions are those that most directly impact co-workers.  Those functions could include purchasing, information technology, finance, warehousing/materials management, human resources, etc.

Although employees with the titles that include the words “sales” or “service” or “customer” or “representative” often are “facing” the customer that spends the money, employees in these back office positions also face … Read More »

Help Customers Navigate Process Changes

Posted on May 29th, by Edward Gagnon in Blog. 2 comments

I was giving a speech recently to a group of managers who were dealing with some major organizational change impacting processes, technology, and staff roles – it ran the gamut. The focus of one part of our talk was how to deal with these kinds of change in how managers address staff. However, many of these technology and process changes were viewed negatively by the customers as well, since the customer waits were increasing, their use of technology was increasing, and the overall processes were changing.

Here are a few tips we discussed on how to help customers navigate through system and process changes.

First, Convey Empathy. If people are upset or frustrated, and you show empathy with what you say and the tone and body language used, they’ll feel you’re listening. Listening conveys that you’re an understanding person who cares about them, … Read More »

Self Promotion, Getting Picked and “The One Thing”

Posted on May 28th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in Ask Your Team and Leadership Coach, Blog. 2 comments

Ken Bator and I were recently at the 10th Annual Police Officers’ Credit Union Conference when he asked the audience what the “one thing” is that they would like to get out of the day; what’s the major takeaway that will resonate after weeks, months, or even years later?

A couple days later I was catching up on Seth Godin’s blog and found a post about “getting picked” – which essentially talked about waiting for people to pick you to advance your career versus creating your own path for success. Thinking this was an excellent discussion topic I posted it in a couple LinkedIn Groups and some wonderful conversations began taking place. Read the LinkedIn Discussion.

What’s the link between the “one thing” and “getting picked”, you ask? Well, creating your own path to success has much to do with self-promotion, and … Read More »

RESET Your Thoughts “On Purpose”

Posted on May 18th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in Blog, Reset Your Buttons Blog. 3 comments

Thinking of the phrase “on purpose” may conjure up negative thoughts. As a child, and even as an adult, you may have heard yourself saying “you did that on purpose.” While you may have been programmed to think this phrase was bad, it’s time to “RESET” your thoughts on this phrase and learn it is key to your success.  When you RESET your thoughts “on purpose” it is because you want to know that what you are doing has purpose and that it is “on purpose.” Your efforts should have meaning, count for something and matter. Ask yourself these questions to transform your negative message, feelings and attitude about “on purpose” and to achieve the following goals: 

Getting Through the Day: What deliberate action(s) can I take to move through my day “on purpose,” instead of because I have to, … Read More »

Turning Curveballs Into Leadership Home Runs

Posted on May 11th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in 2012, Ask Your Team and Leadership Coach, Blog. No Comments

Sometimes situations and team members at work throw us curveballs. What causes this and how to you handle it? No one expects a curveball. But when they hit, they can cause you to feel blindsided, stunned and moreover, disappointed.

While you may feel a particular situation or employee let you down or impacted your leadership, the reality is that disappointment arises from a lack of possibility to meet expectations. It breeds where there is no opportunity for success.

Surviving a curveball comes down to the difference between a self-directed and an other-directed person. If you allow a situation at work to let you down, if you believe that a project itself is controlling whether you’re happy or miserable, then you will spend a good deal of your time at work being miserable. If, however, you are able to turn misfortune into opportunity, … Read More »

Help, My Saboteur is Running Amok!

Posted on May 10th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in 2010, Blog, Weekend Attitude Adjustment. 1 Comment

remember who you are and all that you have accomplished in your life. Remember that even if you have “failed” at something – that does not make you a failure. Collect evidence and remind yourself of all that you have accomplished and when you were successful. … and begin to build from that RESET Mindset

Are You Reacting From Fear?

Posted on May 9th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in Ask Your Team and Leadership Coach, Blog. No Comments

How does fear affect your life and your decisions? Does it limit you?  Does it keep you safe?  My good friend and longtime client, Mike, introduced me to this quick video on YouTube – take a look:



It is believed that these Amazon Indians are from one of the world’s last uncontacted tribes.  These striking images, made public recently by, show the Indians painted bright red or black, hurling bows and arrows at the photographer’s helicopter.

Can you put yourself in their place?  Are you already there?  How do you measure whether something new is a threat or a brave new world?

What do you think?  Are there opportunities in your life you attacked, out of fear?  Was that instinct a good one?  What will you do differently next time?  I’d like to hear your story.