Wednesday, February 17, 2010

36 Creative ways to get your Ideas and Values across

The Olympics showed us that the athletes with the best plan for the race often gain the performance edge that makes all the difference. In this Innovative Idea, you'll see how this same approach to planning can make a big difference in the performance of your team. Even if you have a team of world-class talent, the process outlined in this article can help ensure you come out with gold medal performances!

1. Look at your business card. Does it have anything distinctive about it?

Is there anything that represents you as a unique human being? If not, turn it over and add something on the human level such as a quotation, a sticker, a motto, or a graphic or picture of something you love.

2. Have a contest with employees—"If my company/department were a T-shirt, this is what it would say..." Then have them actually design the shirt. Photograph or videotape the results.

3. Send a handwritten note to at least one customer a day.

4. Keep a bulletin board in your office of pictures of regular customers and their families. Send birthday cards to them on their special day.

5. Put a specially wrapped package of M&M’s (or any other candy which might represent your company) in every package you ship out with a note saying, "We’re glad you’re our customer."

6. Once a month encourage the senior managers to do something creative for all employees or for employees in their divisions: cook them breakfast, bring around an ice cream cart, serve them doughnuts and coffee, or wash the windshields of their cars as they arrive at work.

7. Have a company poster party for all frustrated/aspiring artists to create signs and posters that demonstrate the company’s values. Display them in clear plastic frames throughout the building and move them once a week so that everyone can see all of them.

8. Add a quotation, graphic, cartoon, or seasonal reminder to memos and fax cover sheets. Make them fun and interesting!

9. Create a company mascot which goes along with the spirit of the company. For example, Rosenbluth Travel uses a salmon because they’re always “swimming upstream!”

10. Have a “Laugh a Day” bulletin board where you display appropriate cartoons and humorous writings.

11. Designate one room as the company “Whine Cellar,” the place for anyone to go who is having a bad day or wants to gripe. Put a sign on the door and have fun decorating it (in black?).

12. Take a look at your office—what does it say about your human level? Always display in your office one or two reminders of things you really love.

13. Create a service guarantee for your work unit. For example, a suburban hospital says, “If you’re not seen in our emergency room by a professional in 15 minutes, your visit is free!”

14. Have a Four A’s jar (Acknowledge, Appreciate, Affirm, Assure). Keep it filled with wonderful, uplifting thoughts for anyone who needs one.

15. Purchase pieces of clear acrylic for blotters on each employee’s desk. Have the employee create a collage under the blotter which contains creative reminders and examples of the company’s values, such as photos, quotations, cartoons, mission statements, customer service models, slogans or signs.

16. Post “Street” signs to name hallways in your building. Choose names which communicate your company’s mission or values.

17. Plan a “Bring your family to work” day for your organization.

18. Think of something creative you could offer your customers as a “free” sample. The Savings Bank of Rockford, CT, gives its customers a dime taped on a foldover card that says, “Who says we don’t give free samples?”

19. Invite your customers to a party planned by employees.

20. Find out at least one personal thing about each of your customers. Then acknowledge that in some way as you work with them. (Stamps from places you visit, a Cubs baseball hat for their children, a message of condolence when their favorite sports team loses, a book for a new baby, articles clipped about their hobbies and interests, etc.).

21. Provide a sick room (or several) for employees' children. Equip them with a bed, T.V., and perhaps some books and toys.

22. Encourage employees to sign up for an individual or small group lunch with the president or CEO of the company just to talk. Hold these “lunches with management” on a regular basis.

23. Hold “grapevine” meetings of all employees at least once a month to enhance communication and get worries and concerns out in the open.

24. Sponsor community service projects with employee participation—clean up litter, help feed the homeless, build houses with Habitat for Humanity, or hold educational fairs for the community.

25. Hold spontaneous celebrations. Bring in jugs of apple cider and doughnuts, or cookies and milk, or Coke and chips just to boost everyone’s spirits.

26. Make sure there is a human level in your company newsletter. Include customer service stories, company legends, pictures of employees, personal and family events and successes, customer feedback, ideas and resources for personal growth, cartoons, graphics, and quotes.

27. Create a personal motto to represent what your mission is or what you “stand for.” (Mine is “Spreading Contagious Enthusiasm.”)

28. Collect favorite employee recipes for a company cookbook.

29. Think of creative enhancements you can add to your product or service. Zanos Hair Designs gives complimentary neck and shoulder massages and one of the employees brings you your car when you get your nails done. Some bakeries give a free cookie to customers children.

30. At least once a year let each employee change jobs with someone else in the company for a half day.

31. Send a calendar of quotations that exemplify your company’s values (one for each day or week of the year) to all your customers as a gift.

32. Encourage departments or divisions within the company to hold theme parties during lunch to appreciate their internal customers.

33. Appoint someone in the organization as Manager of Creativity, Vision, and Values. Give them the responsibility for checking activities of every department to ensure they are in line with the company’s vision and values.

34. Humanize your voice mail message. (Mine ends with “I hope your day is filled with peace and joy.”)

35. Ask each employee to make a list of the best recognitions (things that cost little or nothing) and rewards (things that cost some money) that anyone could give to them. Keep these in their employee file and USE these ideas when the employee excels in some way.

36. Have a cartoon or joke box in a central location. Encourage employees to contribute to it when they are having a good day and to take from it when they are having a bad one.

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