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Power Your Team to Success

Power Your Team to Success

Power Your Team to Success

Success in your retail business comes down to how well you have empowered your team. First, you make sure you have fueled them with the most powerful expertise for representing your products and services. Next, you need to sharpen their skills for high-performance communication that drive recommendations.

Regardless of what business sector you serve, sales and service teams often hit a wall when they are faced with questions or concerns from customers. To put customer’s minds at ease, build rapport and validate the business’ product or solution, we recommend managers introduce teams to this simple, four-step process for resolving concerns:

Step 1 Acknowledge. Acknowledging the customer’s questions or concern is a way of validating their concern and letting them know that it is an important question or concern. You do not want to discount that people might simply need more information or additional clarification before committing to a product or solution.
Step 2 Clarify. By clarifying the question or concern, you will be 100% certain that you understand it. Be sure to paraphrase the customer’s question back to them to make sure you fully understand what their asking.
Step 3 Address the Issue. Once you know why the customer is hesitating, you will know the best way to address members’ concerns. If we do not ask what concerns a customer has before purchasing or committing to something we’re offering, we don’t know how to help them overcome those. You want to make sure that the customer is comfortable with the solution and ready to move forward.
Step 4 Check for Satisfaction. The final step is to confirm that the customer is satisfied and ready to take the next step. Try using questions like, “Have I answered all of your questions?” or “What additional concerns do you have?” These are good ways to make sure you’ve addressed any and all concerns before moving onto the next steps and securing their agreement.

By asking clarifying questions and addressing concerns up front you will establish trust and confidence in your customers. You will be on your way to consistently achieving more sales and new customers.

For a sample training worksheet on Asking Clarifying Questions from our Relationship Management Workshop, email krisr@cf-pm.com.

Formula for Success: Consistent Collaboration

Formula for Success: Consistent Collaboration

Formula for Success: Consistent Collaboration


The new year holds high hopes for your organization’s financial performance, and the role of managers and supervisors has never been more important to achieving this goal. One of the best ways that managers can do this is to keep team meetings on your calendar, regardless of everything else happening in your organization’s orbit.

Returning to your routine Team Touchbases (aka Team Meeting) is impactful to the productivity and efficiency of your team(s). Not only does it provide a designated time and space for thoughtful conversation and organization updates, it also can be a useful learning tool to develop employee’s skills.

Try these coaching and development tips to fully engage your employees and inspire consistent collaboration on your team:

Calendar Blocking. Consistency and punctuality will increase morale and respect on your team.

Preparation. Create an agenda for distribution, if possible. This keeps the meeting on task and employees can prepare in advance for discussion points they would like to comment on.

Committed Focus. Devote your full attention to your staff during these meetings. Put your devices away. Staff view distracted multi-tasking as disrespectful.

Positivity. Try starting a meeting with everyone sharing a positive moment of the week. Or, highlight successes of individuals or the organization to start the meeting on a high note. Always express appreciation at the close to thank everyone for time and participation.

Problem Solve. Team meetings are a great way to problem solve and brainstorm solutions. Actively facilitate discussions that engage all employees equally by asking questions and listening to contributed insights.

Practice Activity. The best way to reinforce a behavior, process, activity, or new product is with interaction. You can assign activity leaders to help engage all team members. Be sure to summarize key takeaways.

Managers and supervisors need specific skills and consistent reinforcement to excel in their role as team leader. 

Credit Union 1

Client Story | Credit Union 1

Credit Union 1

July 2020 – In 2017, then president of Credit Union 1 received results of an employee engagement survey. This caused many sleepless nights. Could it be true that half of the employees are disengaged? How many of them, through their actions, might be sabotaging the organization? Something had to be done and done fast. That’s when Credit Union 1 partnered with Center for Practical Management to invest in coaching and people development that would lead to real and lasting change.

Leadership Development was focused on effective performance management and for emerging leaders to enhance their communication skills and create a culture of accountability

Relationship Management equipped client-facing staff with practical tools and frequent role playing to increase their confidence to deepen member relationships in every interaction

Service Excellence set the stage for exceeding service expectations to internal members

Executive Planning Sessions resulted in brainstorming sessions (Shark Tank) and strategic planning activities (StrengthsFinder) to support the credit union’s vision, mission and values

Mentoring Program Development provided guidelines for a mentorship program that matters. It created access to talent across the organization; helping team members grow skills and develop a career path

Facilitation Skills Training for New Employee Onboarding allowed Credit Union 1 to “own” the development of new employees going forward, creating consistency across the organization

“We quickly (and daily) saw the results of Practical Management training in our organization.”

“Managers were excited to use the tools we were provided; they were one page, customized for us and allowed us to put theory from the classroom into action with our teams.”

“The development of our core values – Be Great, Be Engaged, Be Open, Be Nice – was facilitated by Practical Management. It became, for our organization, more than just a slogan but rather a driving force. How we hire, who we hire, why we train, what we expect from our team members and the way we coach to performance each day are now inspired by these values.”

Over the three years of the engagement, both managers and staff have benefited from skill development programs. Every single employee in the organization received the opportunity to learn and grow by participating in engagement workshop sessions, reinforcement activities, and the use of customized tools. These programs included:

  • Leadership Development
  • Relationship Management
  • Service Excellence

Credit Union 1 is headquartered in Lombard, IL, offers 17 full-service branches and provides an average of $250 in individual member savings per year.

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavior change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Center for Practical Management is a strategic business partner with Raddon, a Fiserv Company. Learn more at www.raddon.com

The Relationship Between Adaptability and Age

The Relationship Between Adaptability and Age

The Relationship Between Adaptability and Age

​Multiple generations in your workforce can create challenges around communication, especially when communication is now remote and dependent on technology. How many generations do you have in your workforce? Have pandemic-driven changes made you curious about the relationship between adaptability and age? 

We define the generational segments, their willingness to adapt, and their comfort level of technology and communication in the following way:

  • Traditionalists: For the most part they are Foreigners in a Foreign Land when it comes to technology. They prefer communication face to face, in-person and adapting to new technology (like video conferencing) may prove overwhelming. 
  • Baby Boomers: They can be described as Digital Immigrants. They have adapted quickly to technology, albeit with some struggle. They know to keep up with younger generations, they need to be willing to adapt. Their preferred method of communicating is usually by phone or in person. 
  • Gen X: We refer to them as the Second Generation of Immigrants in the digital age. They weren’t born with the all the technology available today, but it was introduced to them at a young age and they know the language. New technology is second nature at this point. Email is their go-to communication option.
  • Millennials: Essentially, they are Digital Natives. Technology has been a part of their lives from birth and they are able to adapt to the “newest” and best when offered to them. Their preferred communication is text and instant messaging.
  • Gen Z (Zoomers): What about Gen Z? If Millennials are Digital Natives, what does that make Zoomers? Let’s call them Womb Zoomers: born with a cell phone in their hand. They prefer to communicate through social media platforms and FaceTime.

How are you acknowledging and supporting each generation as it adapts? We recommend that managers demonstrate empathy and use these questions during touchbase meetings with employees:

  • What is your preferred communication method?
  • When some or all of us are remote, what challenges do you personally experience?
  • Which of our technology solutions do you enjoy using? How did you learn to use this solution? 

Be sure to keep as many communication channels open as possible when managing remote teams.

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavioral change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com

Staying Connected While Staying at Home

Staying Connected While Staying at Home

Staying Connected While Staying at Home

Many of us are well into our second month of social distancing, which may include working remotely. While expected to complete job duties in new ways and continue to manage our teams effectively, we may now have other responsibilities on our plate. We may also be responsible for  homeschooling, meal prepping and entertainment for our family, children and pets. While working from home can be successful, it takes a skilled leader to stay connected to their team members and keep them engaged and motivated.

Understanding the benefits and pitfalls of working from home is important when communicating with our teams and supporting them remotely. Effective managers recognize everyone’s situation is different. Here are some questions to ask when gauging how productive individuals on your team may be while working from home:

  • Does the employee have the technology to work remotely? (equipment and access)
  • What distractions might hinder the employee’s ability to complete his/her job duties? 
  • What does the workspace look like?
  • How will the employee stay emotionally connected to the team?

Center for Practical Management offers the following tips for managers to engage employees and connect with them:

  1. Visual is Vital
    • If members of your team are expected to video conference with clients or peers, it’s important that their background be minimal and professional, their audio and video capabilities sufficient, and that you practice with them before they are deliver a meeting to a client or prospect.
  2. Virtual Socialization is Imperative 
    • Many of your us  have close friends at work. Encourage your team to virtually connect to these people and do this with your team also. This could be a virtual coffee break or happy hour, or lunchtime “meetup.”
  3. Preparation is Critical  
    • A virtual meeting requires better preparation and more skilled facilitation. Send out an agenda and any pre-work in advance of the call. Print your materials. Create a list of participants so that you can take a “roll call” at the beginning of the call.

Social distancing doesn’t have to lead to emotional distancing. We can keep our teams connected, engaged and productive even when we aren’t all working in the same location. We’d love to hear what you’re doing with your teams to ensure they feel supported and connected while working remotely?

Center for Practical Management helps companies achieve organizational goals and behavioral change initiatives through tailored consulting services, leadership coaching, employee skills training and marketing services. Learn more at www.cf-pm.com