Roy's Blog: September 2010

September 19, 2010

CARING is strategic and binary


Tom Peters in his new book Little BIG Things talks about CARING and how critical it is to any organization searching for eXellence. Its one of the things that Peters does so well: take an apparently small trait and argue successfully that it is Strategic, of the utmost importance to any business and is an “Essence Dimension” of the journey to greatness.

CARING fits nicely into BE DiFFERENT or be dead as one of the factors that will set you apart from the competitive herd. Sad really. ALL organizations should at the very least CARE about people as a basic human character.

CARING is a binary concept. Either you CARE or you Don’t.

As an organization, you don’t get Loyalty Points for claiming you CARE “most of the time”, or that you “mostly CARE”, or that you “slightly CARE”. It’s like saying a woman is “slightly pregnant”. Can’t happen.

The CARE thread weaves through everything we do as an organization and is highly visible to each and every customer we have. Here are some aspects of your business that you need to examine through your CARING lens:
> (Consistent) ATTITUDE. ATTITUDE. ATTITUDE. of all employees. CARING attitude 24X7 needed. Even when they are having a bad day. Nothing else will do.
> Rules, Policies and Procedures must accommodate a customer nor drive them wild. You can’t make the CARING Claim and then put your customers through the Process Pain Mill every time they want to transact with you.
> Knowledge & Competencies of people If you CARE, you make sure your employees know what they are talking about across all aspects of your business. When is the last time you did Refresher Training for your Frontline?
> Appearance and Cleanliness of your premises. Washrooms clean? Floors swept? Old carpets replaced?
> CARE on the outside. Are you active in the community? Do you take your CARE Claim to the not-for-profit sector? You can’t CARE on the inside and turn your back on your community responsibility.
> Problem Solving. Are your people problem solvers? LISTENING, ASKING QUESTIONS, FINDING SOLUTIONS scream that you CARE. Their absence yells “We really don’t give a damn”.
> Your language. How do you refer to your customers? Do you use words such as ‘transaction’, ‘call’ or ‘committment’? Use of these types of inanimate descriptions certainly don’t position you well on the CARING scale.
> Serving Leaders shows CARING for employees. If you don’t CARE about your own people you will NEVER show honest affection to your paying customers.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other articles you might like
Customers are way too much trouble
If you want to be “customer driven” DON’T say…
You service cars; you SERVE people

  • Posted 9.19.10 at 12:00 pm by Roy Osing
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September 16, 2010

Why don’t they teach “Successful Failing”  in business schools?

Five more courses that should be added to all business teachings:

1. The ‘Right’ Solution doesn’t exist. I have a math degree and came out of university believing that there was a definitive solution to every problem. Imagine my dismay when I went into the business world. Regression analysis yielded forecasts that were flawed. Differential equations had no practical use. In business, the ‘Right’ Solution is the one that can be successfully executed. It may NOT be theoretically pristine. It’s strategic essence may lack a dimension or two of perfection. BUT people are willing and able to bring it to life. So it IS the ‘Right’ solution given the specific circumstances of the organization. What works in business is finding a solution that is just about Right and executing it flawlessly. EXECUTE. EXECUTE. EXECUTE.

2. Successful Failing is the road to success is screwing up BUT learning from it so value can be added to the intellectual property of the organization. In fact one could argue that the objective of Innovation is to Successfully Fail as often as possible thereby increasing ideation and the chances of success. Want to impede progress? Punish failing. Corollary to this teaching, however, is never fail at the same thing twice! It means you didn’t learn anything the first time you failed.

3. The “Customerized” Organization puts the CEO at the BOTTOM of the organization chart. This is the design criteria of the Serving Leadership type of structure where the underlying culture is to serve people who serve the customer. The frontline employee is at the TOP of the structure with the most critical leadership position, the Frontline Leader, right below them. Management’s role changes from Command and Control to Lead and Serve.

4. Screw-ups build Loyalty if an organization has a Dazzling Recovery Strategy. The formula: Fix the problem AND do something the customer DOESN’T expect. Its all about the WOW factor. People expect you to fix a mistake you have made - and remember the ‘I’M SORRY’ entry - but they don’t expect you do go the extra mile while doing so. If you do, they will be blown away, tell others how great you are and stay with you in spite of your screw-up. Ever had a Dazzling Recovery course?

5. Ignore the Competition and pay attention to the customer. There is too much emotional energy consumed worrying about the competitive hordes entering your markets to compete with you. Erecting Barriers to Competitive Entry is a part of every Marketing program.
Creating Barriers to Customer Exit is not. Crazy. Take your eye off your customer and you give license to your competitor to put their value proposition in front of them. Lavish your customers with love and attention and create the shield that repels the bad guys. Focus on your customer. Observe your competitor.

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Related Blog Articles
Teach Cut the Crap
Teach Customer Secrets
Teach The Apology

  • Posted 9.16.10 at 01:00 pm by Roy Osing
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September 13, 2010

Who really should be on top of your organization structure?

Results are delivered by your Frontline. PERIOD.

Customer loyalty is controlled by your Frontline. PERIOD.

Dazzling customer moments are orchestrated by your Frontline. PERIOD.

First Impressions are delivered by your Frontline. PERIOD.

The imperfections of your business processes are masked by your Frontline. PERIOD.

Lasting Impressions depend on your Frontline. PERIOD.

Frontline job satisfaction depends on the Frontline leader NOT the CEO, NOT the Operations executive and NOT the EVP of Human Resources. PERIOD.

Therefore the Frontline Leader (FL) is of the utmost strategic importance to any organization and deserves a disproportionate priority by “upper management”. Furthermore, FL positions should demand a careful and rigorous recruitment process that ensures THE most skilled and competent people are awarded custodianship of the Frontline.

Does your organization:

-  have “insanely tough” credentials for FL positions?

-  engage Frontline employees themselves in team targeted interviews for a FL?

-  do Frontline people actually influence the selection decision of a FL?

-  have an incredibly detailed recruitment process for FL roles?

-  recognize the FL as a Top Notch role that requires support from the rest of the organization?

-  fill FL positions with accomplished Servers as opposed to technical experts?

-  honour a chosen FL with wide-spread internal communication?

-  include a FL assignment in the career path plan for high potential employees?

Successful organizations recognize the FL as their “Guardians of Strategy Execution” and give them the critical attention they deserve.

Do you?

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 9.13.10 at 01:00 pm by Roy Osing
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September 10, 2010

9 things it takes to be a change leader


BE DiFFERENT people are proactively adaptive who thirst for change. They drive change as opposed to letting change drive them. They enthusiastically embrace the change process and treat it as an opportunity for the organization and themselves as opposed to treating change as a threat and something that can be avoided.

They are good at anticipating how things will unfold but are brilliant reaction agents, reacting to an unforeseen event when it occurs. When Plan A is in jeopardy they move to Plan B in a heartbeat.

They are Change Leaders, as opposed to their more traditional organizational cousin, the Change Manager.

Change Managers want to perpetuate the momentum of the business, and reluctantly move into the change mode when the forces on them leave no other option. The Change Manager isn’t GREAT at reacting; they are limp reaction agents, reluctant to change and get dragged into it kicking and screaming with the real motive to keep the status quo for as long as possible.

They act from the belief that change can be affected in a controlled and organized fashion and tend to look to incremental improvements to address the challenges of the day. Change Managers are students of the softer more evolutionary methods of organizational change. Incremental thinkers drive incremental change which often falls short of what is required.

Don’t look to Change Managers to be proactive and initiate required changes in your organization. Don’t look to a Change Manager for adrenalin-rushed reaction to move in a different direction as a result of unanticipated events. They simply will not do it. And don’t look for an out of the box alternative to the current way of operating your business; they will always be governed at best by modest incremental changes to the current operating model.

Change Leaders, on the other hand, understand that real change with breakthrough benefits for the organization is the result of introducing discontinuities to the current business model.

They are proactive and are constantly on the lookout for operating models for running the business so that revolutionary break-through changes can be achieved. And in the face of unexpected events challenging the performance of their organization, expect Change Leaders to enthusiastically react with a sense of urgency to determine the appropriate life-saving course of action to take.

Change Leaders will present your organization with tough decisions because their proposals will require taking higher risks to yield greater rewards. Expect them to make your organization uncomfortable with the inherent risks associated with the order of magnitude changes they bring forward.

To BE DiFFERENT, YOU must develop a plan to be a Change Leader; it won’t happen by serendipity. You will discover that most of your colleagues will fall into the change manager category and that differentiating yourself is very achievable and will get you the kind of currency in your organization that will highlight you for future opportunities.

Here are some things YOU need to consider to build a change leadership persona:

1. Use your personal network to discover the most critical issues the organization is facing. You can’t lead change unless you have an intimate understanding of the threats and opportunities likely to impact your business future.

2. Roy’s Rule of 3: focus on the critical few things that will deliver the maximum number of benefits to the organization. Beware of the long action plan list; you have neither the time nor the energy to do ten or twelve things really well nor will they be equally important in terms of the positive impact they produce. Look for 20% of the actions - your critical few list - that will deliver 80% of the needed results and get going. The long action plan list - pursuing numerous tactics - is a symptom of sloppy strategic thinking: a lack of appreciating the few actions required to produce the greatest impact. Chasing numerous tactics may make you feel good about how busy you are, but it can be deadly in terms of achieving real progress. 

3. Be anal about executing your top priorities. Don’t get mesmerized by the brilliance of your idea; it’s worthless until you do something about it and achieve positive results.

4. Take on a let’s do it differently attitude and way of working. Avoid linear thinking. Be a lateral thinker and look for out-of-the-box solutions to problems in the organization.

5. Purge your vocabulary of words like evolutionary change and incremental change in favor of breakthrough and revolutionary change.

6. Get on the internal speaking circuit. Talk up the importance of creating discontinuity for your organization as the way to meet the challenges your organization is facing and generate economic opportunity.

7. Increase your scope of experience and expertise and be available to take on challenges in a variety of roles in your organization.

8. Read insatiably, and develop a portfolio of new concepts and ideas that could be applied to solve your pressing business problems or lead your organization in new directions.

9. Seek out others in the organization others who aspire to be Change Leaders. Encourage them. Mentor them. Support them in their day to day activities. And be seen to be doing it.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 9.10.10 at 12:00 pm by Roy Osing
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