Strategic Teams Achieving Results


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, … 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.

Rebuilding Shattered Weekend Expectations

Posted on April 29th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in 2012, Blog, Weekend Attitude Adjustment. No Comments

As you gear up for the weekend do you have expectations of how it will look? Perhaps it’s attending a sporting event, having a picnic in the park, hosting out-of-town guests or doing a home improvement project? Whatever you have planned, it is your weekend and you “expect” it to go the way you planned. So, there is nothing worse than losing your weekend to one of life’s curveballs such as a sudden illness, a rained-out picnic, or a child coming home with a case of head lice (yuck).

Essentially your “system” has been impacted. Take tackling head lice for example. Your weekend and your home have now been turned upside down. What was once a weekend of fun family activities, a few chores and some downtime now consists of cancelling your plans, spending money on lice treatment, treating your entire … Read More »

Predicting the Risk of Customer Loss

Posted on April 25th, by Edward Gagnon in Blog, Strategic Services. No Comments

Are you a retail business with hundreds of transactions a week? Maybe you’re a university wanting to increase student retention, or you’re a credit union needing to retain account holders. Possibly you’re a pro sports team wanting to keep season ticket holders. No matter who you are, you have a common goal. You want to keep your customers. We won’t go into the “why” of that in this article. Instead, let’s focus on the “how.”
Track the Transitions
For any companies that have a database of their customers with even the slightest bit of information on those clients, you already have a great tool available. Download at least the last 4 years of data on your customers, so you can note three “transitions” of one year to the next. Look at these transitions to determine which of the customers you had in … Read More »

Your Attitude Adjustment Tool Kit

Posted on April 2nd, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in 2009, Blog, Weekend Attitude Adjustment. 2 comments

So here I am in the airport and there are car seats and extra luggage and children w/back packs and games and dolls and – you get the picture. Getting myself through security these days is enough to whack out my attitude. I can’t imagine what you do when you are attempting to move 2 or 4 little ones through – that‘s a question for the Weekend Attitude Adjustment Community – what do you do? How do you keep your attitude positive when moving children through the security gates at the airport?

Make the Most of Your Weekend

Posted on March 14th, by Mary Elizabeth Murphy in 2012, Time Management, Weekend Attitude Adjustment. 2 comments

Between Daylight Savings last Sunday and the first day of spring just around the corner,what better moment to talk about time.

Do you sometimes feel you are losing control over your time – like somehow it got off course like a run-away train or instead time controls you instead of you controlling your time?

Imagine if you could have 60 minutes of unscheduled time every day. That would be seven hours in a week and 28 additional hours in a month. Expand it for the year and that would be 14 extra free days. That’s a second vacation or stay-cation!!! It may sound ridiculous, but it can be achieved.

So, how do you maximize your time? Apply these seven tips to your weekend time management:

Analyze Your Weekend – Think about Sunday night – you are sitting on the sofa or the porch sipping … Read More »