(Time to read this Blog is about 3 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking or smiling:

  1. My Biz Quote of the week:  
    “it’s amazing how many businesses spend big money to attract new customers while treating the customers they already have so badly!  Calculate the lifetime value of a loyal customer who also tells 10 other people about you, and see if that changes your perspective! ”   
    …Donald Cooper.
  2. Quick Biz Tip:
    Encourage candid comments and respectful debate in your business:
    Your staff knows stuff and they hate it when you don’t ask.  When you don’t ask them what they think, they assume that you don’t care.  And if you don’t care, why should they, so they stop caring.  Your best people leave in frustration and the not-so-good-ones take  “I don’t give a damn pills” and hope you won’t notice.There’s so much talk these days about ‘employee engagement’ and one of the simplest and most effective ways to achieve this is by asking your Team what they think. Encourage candid comments and respectful debate.  When we listen to our people, three wonderful things happen:

    1. We learn from them,
    2. We honor them…and,
    3. We engage and energize them.
    But, it’s important that all comments and debates be respectful on all sides.  That should be a key part of your business culture.  So, what can you do to encourage more candid comments and respectful debate in everyday conversation, in memos and in meetings?  It will start with you realizing that you’re not always the expert on everything and your way isn’t the only way.

  3. Twitter backlash. 100 million people, worldwide, signed up to join Meta’s ‘Threads’ social media app in the first 5 days.  That’s a lot of people who are fed up with Twitter and Elon Musk.
  4. Some shocking numbers on employee engagement. In a 2022, Gallup, a consulting firm, asked thousands of workers around the world if they were engaged in their work, quiet quitting or ‘loud quitting’. Gallup defines ‘quiet quitting’ as putting in the minimum effort required and being psychologically disconnected from their employer.  ‘Loud quitting’ is defined as proactively taking action to harm the organization, undercut its goals and oppose its leaders. 

    a) 59% of global respondents said they were quiet quitting.
    b) 18% admitted to loud quitting…and,
    c) only 23% said they were fully engaged in their work.

    Canadian numbers were slightly worse.  66% of workers said they were quiet quitting and 21% said they were fully engaged.  13% admitted to ‘loud quitting’.

    What might these numbers look like in your business?  Who’s engaged and performing, who’s not and who is intentionally trying to damage your business?  Are you measuring individual and Team output (productivity) in your business…or are you just measuring ‘attendance’?  Just because they’re ‘there’ doesn’t mean they’re productive. And who’s downright toxic?

    If you’d like to improve engagement, productivity, urgency and accountability in your business, perhaps we should talk.  I’m easy to find at donald@donaldcooper.com.

  5. ‘Spud Facts’. Potatoes are the third most important food crop globally in terms of human consumption, after rice and wheat. They’re grown in 125 countries and eaten by more than a billion people worldwide.
    China, India, Ukraine, USA and Russia are the top 5 growers.  Canada is in 13th place, right behind Peru.


Now, to this week’s important topic:

 Are you asking the right question when something  goes wrong in your business?

When something goes wrong in your business or department, there are three questions that you can ask.  Two of them aren’t useful because they’re designed to lay blame, but almost never fix the problem, or prevent it from happening again? 

The 1st question is, “Who screwed up?”  This is the automatic default question in many businesses when something goes wrong.  We love looking for someone to point the finger at.  Someone who isn’t ‘us’.  

The other ‘wrong question’ that deflects responsibility from us is, “Who did this to us?”  which often means, ’which competitor did this to us?’  This is playing the victim game and it distracts us from taking corrective action.  

A much more useful question would be, “What did we not do well enough that caused this…and how do we fix it so this doesn’t happen again?”  Digging in to find the real cause of the problem and then improving the employee screening, onboarding, training process; creating clear standards and expectations; committing to effective and consistent communication;  implementing better systems or processes or creating and delivering the compelling customer value and experiences required to be the clear ‘wise choice’ for our target customers.  This approach requires more effort, but it’s almost always the right way to go. 

Certainly, you’ll have situations where the right training, communication and process were in place and extraordinary value and experiences are being delivered but something still goes wrong.  In this case, there are two possibilities….

  1. Simple human error or accidental circumstance caused something to go wrong. ‘Stuff happens’…get over it and move on.  If you over-react in these situations, you run the risk of paralyzing your staff and your business with fear of taking any action at all. 
  2. The second possibility is that you have an employee, or group of employees, who simply don’t give a damn or, even worse, are actively trying to hurt or embarrass the company, for some reason. They’re toxic ‘bad apples’. Invite them to move on before they do any more damage.

So, except for the genuinely ‘bad apples’ that you need to deal with, stop playing the ‘blame game’ when something goes wrong.  Ask the right question and, through it, empower your staff to help you fix what needs fixing.  You’ll be amazed at the results!


That’s it for this week…

Live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 


Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

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