- Have you ever told a customer “No”?
- Have you fired a customer?
- Have you successfully communicated to your employees your honest assessment of their performance?
- Have you told employees what you really think they are capable of accomplishing?
When it comes to customers, we often hear the phrase, “Under promise and over deliver.” While the concept is strong, that phrase always strikes me the wrong way to approach things because any time you test the limits of honesty, you have more to keep track of.
What if you had candid conversations with your customers ahead of time and promised honestly and intelligently (challenging their expectations as necessary), delivered as promised, and left room in your time and budget to pleasantly surprise your customers by meeting their special requests, unusual concerns and unspoken needs?
With employees, candid conversations about their performance are crucial. If you honestly believe they are incapable of doing the job, fire them now, and edit your hiring practice to not hire the wrong person next time.
If you believe they can do the job, tell them that and push them to succeed with routine and candid conversations about the goals they need to accomplish (14-30 days into the future – not only yearly goals), their obstacles and how they will overcome them, and your confidence in their ability to proceed. Simple cheerleading never works if you do not help them to uncover their own solutions to the obstacles to progress that they face.
If you see a problem, address it with a candid conversation. Sometimes that means standing up for an employee in their interactions with customers or supervisors, albeit strategically; or standing up for your customers if your employees have not delivered well.
When you think about candid conversations, you may think about the toughest conversation you have had or need to have this week or month. But candid conversations do not occur only once in a blue moon. In reality, they are conversations that build over time, are punctuated by activity and are matured by reality.