November 9, 2016
The gap between school teachings and what is REALLY needed for organizations to thrive and survive in the new markets that are unfolding is approaching CHASM proportions.
For the most part academics in business are following the same-old, same-old approach and NOT creating “people products” who will lead our organizations to be remarkable, compelling, indispensable and unforgettable.
They don’t teach that:
1. A business plan without flawless execution is worthless. Execution skills outrank planning in the real world.
2. Learning everything you can about someone “on the run”; is more effective than periodic research.
3. It’s critical to understand customer “secrets”; their wants and desires. What they NEED is no longer helpful to standout in the competitive crowd.
4. Value packages that address the holistic requirements of a customer (lifestyle or business) should be the focus of marketing. Individual products and services should play a lesser role as their contribution to competitive advantage is limited.
5. Customers should be served NOT “serviced”. Computers are serviced, not people. Put your organization in their control.
6. Individual customers need to be treated differently. The same treatment for all doesn’t work.
7. The “perfect” solution doesn’t exist - the business world is too complex to be formularized. Flawed solutions that excite people beats the theoretically pristine.
8. Imperfection rules - be imperfect fast. The more failures with a heathy dose of learning from them = more successes. Punish failure ONLY if you want compliance, policy-pushers and order takers.
9. The frontline is the boss - people who control the customer experience are the really important ones, not the executives. Build your hierarchy to serve them.
10. Screw-ups create loyalty - a successful WOW! service recovery from an OOPS! results in a more loyal customer than if the screw-up never happened.
11. The competition should receive less attention. Barriers to customer exit - preventing customers from leaving should be the focus. If you create loyal fans, you won’t have to worry about the hordes entering.
12. THE most strategic phrase ever is “I’m sorry”. The apology is at the heart of any mind-blowing service recovery.
13. Internal service measurement is just as important as measuring customer perception. If you can’t dazzle your colleagues, chances are that you won’t be able to dazzle your customers.
14. Losing the sale is sometimes required to keep the customer relationship. Its not about the transaction, its about the long term relationship. If you can’t deal with a short term need your client has, suck it up. YOU find the solution elsewhere.
15. Storytelling breathes life into a vision or strategy. It fuels execution and should be considered an essential requisite of leadership.
- Posted 11.9.16 at 11:19 am by Roy Osing
November 5, 2016
Unfortunately team dysfunction is a plague that affects many - in fact I would say most - organizations.
And much has been written on how to build effective teams. But it’s much more than simply getting people to work well together.
After three decades of leadership, here’s my take on how to build remarkably productive teams.
1. Appoint a team leader who is emotionally invested in the challenge the team is addressing. There may be a temptation to assign the role to an individual who is deemed internally (by HR in particular) to possess “expert” leadership skills, but don’t do it!
Results are produced when a crazy amount of emotional energy expended on solving the problem at hand not when sophisticated leadership skills are present.
Find someone to lead the team who is first and foremost THE internal champion of “the cause”, and second, who has demonstrated experience in leading teams successfully in their past.
2. Provide the strategic framework for the team to work within. The team needs to know what is “within limits” and what is not. This is NOT an issue of containing creativity, rather it is a guidance mechanism to point creativity in the strategic direction of the organization. Unclear and vague strategic focus for the team’s work generally results in unusable output; an interesting answer to the wrong problem.
Test the team’s understanding of their terms of reference. Keep the conversation going until they have demonstrated an intimate understanding of what they are being asked to do and how their expected results relate to the strategic game plan of the organization.
3. Have the team present an update on their progress to the team executive sponsor at least monthly. This will ensure the team stays on track and gives an opportunity to recognize team members on the points of their progress.
4. Build the team objectives into performance plan of each team member. Regardless of whether the team is full time or part time, shared accountability for results must be assigned.
If members are not personally liable, the pressure is off and you can expected casual rather than focused attention on the team’s activity and results.
Develop functional teams by concentrating your efforts on making them effective - achieving strategic goals - rather than efficient - achieving internal harmony and busyness.
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series
- Posted 11.5.16 at 09:56 am by Roy Osing
October 31, 2016
“Customer Appreciation Days” don’t cut it. In fact they add nothing to thank loyal customers for their business.
You can’t make people feel appreciated by doing an occasional tribute to their importance. And you can’t do it by holding an event; a crowded often cheesy affair with free coffee and muffins.
Customer appreciation is about making them ALWAYS feel special.. Every time they “touch” your business for whatever reason.
These 10 acts will warm your customers to you and create a customer service culture unmatched by others.
1. Recruit employees that REALLY like to serve others; who are “born” with the natural desire and ability to put the needs of others before their own. If you don’t have employees born to serve, you will never be able to express your appreciation to your customers.
2. Appreciate each of your customers differently. Applying a boiler plate approach to all assumes that everyone likes to be thanked in the same way. Not true. Everyone is different and the challenge is to find the way they, specifically, like to be recognized for their loyalty. By the way, avoid “trash and trinkets” and other gimmicks to say “thank you”; they’re cheap and impersonal.
3. Take every opportunity to thank them for their business. A simple but powerful tool to reinforce how much they are appreciated.
4. Empower your frontline people to serve your customers the way THEY want to be served. Escalations to supervisors on complaints or other issues robs your employees of the ability to have personal credibility and “flex” to the customer’s unique needs.
5. Take the problem solving role. People feel listened to and respected when someone takes an earnest concern in helping solve a problem they are encountering.
6. Institute a “loose” system of rules and policies. In fact refer to them as “guides” to indicate an openness and flexibility to engage customers in a friendly manner. Allow employees to act in favour of the customer; do whatever it takes to “say yes”.
7. Reserve special offers and deal promotions for your existing customers to thank them for their loyalty rather than as an incentive to attract new customers. Offering “3 months free service” to someone to get them to switch from their current supplier does little to make your existing customer base feel special.
8. If you can’t meet your customer’s specific needs, for whatever reason, help them find where they can go to get satisfaction EVEN A COMPETITOR. This shows you care about them and not about pushing your own agenda.
9. Have a conversation with a customer to discover what’s going on with them; don’t flog your message and products at them.
10. Surprise them with something they don’t expect. This isn’t about sending a birthday wish to them every year, it’s about discovering something more intimate about them and giving them a “gift” accordingly. Surprise gifting speaks volumes about how you really feel about them.
Treat your customers like human beings with feelings and individual desires if you want to make them feel special.
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series
- Posted 10.31.16 at 02:22 am by Roy Osing
October 24, 2016
It’s happened to all of us at one time or another in organizational life; we’ve been dealt a bad hand and have had to suffer the negative consequences of a decision that someone else has made.
A decision we had no input in; one that was not in our best interest. One that set us back and removed privileges we worked hard and long to earn.
You’re not about to change the decision; you either have to live with it or leave and find opportunities elsewhere.
Here’s how you might be able to stay and live with it.
1. Do your research on why the decision was taken. What elements of the organization’s strategic plan drove the decision? What does the overall good look like? Is the intent to increase market share? Improve profitability? Refine business processes to streamline customer service?
The strategic objective is the context to evaluate your particular concerns. It provides a higher level explanation of why you are being screwed over. It won’t necessarily make you agree with the decision taken, but at least it will enable you to understand why it was reached.
2. Always keep the long term first and foremost in mind. Short term set backs are a way of life for individuals who choose organizational life. Your immediate misfortune does not represent the end of your career.
The good news is that you will have more chances.
3. Show your resiliency. Be that person who can take the punch, move on and continue to make a valuable contribution to the goals of the organization. Stand apart from others who choose to stay in defensive retreat and be a victim.
Your immediate misfortune my be an opportunity in disguise.
4. Seek guidance from a mentor who has, no doubt, experienced similar issues in their time. Express your feelings, ask for advice and listen.
5. Keep your mouth shut! Go to your ‘cave’ and think before you go public with your opinion of the decision. It’s always tempting and hard to resist, but avoid the bitching and lamenting conversations with colleagues about how badly you’ve been treated.
Uncontrolled reaction generally results in saying things you will regret. You don’t want your personal brand to be tainted with winer and sniveler; it will hold you back once the ‘crisis’ has past (and it will pass).
Accept the fact that ‘they’ will do you an injustice sooner or later and if you treat the event as a learning opportunity it will serve you well in your career.
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series
- Posted 10.24.16 at 04:23 am by Roy Osing