June 20, 2016
I had a bold audacious goal very early in my career.
It was to be the VP Marketing before I was 40 years old.
You may not think this was bold, for today there many CEO’s and executives much younger, but in the day working for a monopoly telephone company with the executive ranks replete with mainly “mature” engineering professionals it was very ambitious.
Marketing was, at that time, thought to be a “fluffy” discipline. The company decided what it was going to provide its “subscribers” and the prices that were to be charged and that was it. Very little market research; no competitive pressures to worry about.
Therefore the Marketing VP position was not viewed as one of great strategic value to the organization and was typically filled by one of the engineering brethren.
So my BHAG was not only a stretch, it was “impossible” given the circumstances of the day.
But that’s what I wanted, so I declared it (to myself) without any idea of how I would achieve it.
I had no plan. I just “put it out in the universe” and went about my duties as Group Product Manager.
I knew, however, that if I were to be successful in achieving my objective I would have to consciously deviate from what I had been doing in the past.
I had to step up my game if I were to successfully break through the engineering glass ceiling, be noticed and win the prize.
That was my plan. Step up. Step out. Raise my game. Be a force to be reckoned with.
Make my move to VP so compelling to the executive leadership team that when the opportunity availed itself there would be no other logical conclusion that I would be the ideal candidate.
My BHAG drove the strategy that was necessary. A HUGE challenge demanded a revolutionary approach. An incremental more modest approach would not yield the outcome I coveted.
I looked for opportunities to be different. To do things differently than others. I did more of what was required. I did the unexpected. I went in the opposite direction to the thinking and trends of the time.
I voraciously learned what had to be done to make the move from a monopoly telephone company to a highly competitive enterprise.
And I talked up internally the moves we had to make in marketing new services that would enable us to stand out from other competitive suppliers and in customer service where we had to lose the tag of treating customers with a monopolist’s attitude derived from being the only game in town.
I stuck to my game plan.
The regulatory rules changed and competition arrived.
Marketing and customer service became key components of our competitive strategy.
A new marketing VP was required.
I competed against many external candidates.
I was 39. I beat my BHAG.
My message to young professionals is to declare what you want.
Let the audaciousness of your goal be your guide to achieving it.
Keep it in your consciousness. Do BIG things.
Do different things.
- Posted 6.20.16 at 05:34 am by Roy Osing
June 13, 2016
Much has been written about how to build a business strategy that is effective in today’s height volatile and competitive world.
Here are some snippets of wisdom that capture the essence of what requires attention.
“The granddaddy of all mistakes is competing to be the best, going down the same path as everybody else and thinking that somehow you can achieve better results.”—Michael Porter
“Everyone in the industry follows the same advice. Companies benchmark each other’s practices and products. Customers, lacking meaningful choice, buy on price alone. Profitability deteriorates…... Nothing is more absurd — and yet more widespread — than the belief that somehow you can do exactly what everyone else is doing and yet end up with superior results.”—Joan Magretta, Stop Competing To Be The Best
“I saw that leaders placed too much emphasis on what some call high-level strategy, on intellectualizing and philosophizing, and not enough on implementation. People would agree on a project or initiative, and then nothing would come of it.”—Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan/Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
“The extraordinary—and accurate, as I see it—hypothesis is that we inordinately pay attention to strategy, customers, innovation, and the like, but not the true discriminator between success and failure—implementation!”—Ram Charan, Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done
“Abandoning activities is not as sexy as acquiring them or building them up, but it’s just as important – and the most overlooked aspect of leadership. Yesterday’s star product may produce profits now, but it soon becomes a barrier to the introduction and success of tomorrow’s breadwinner. One should, therefore, abandon yesterday’s breadwinner before one really wants to, let alone before one has to. Of course innovation is risky. But defending yesterday is far more risky than creating tomorrow.”—Peter Drucker on Purposeful Abandonment
“If you want to grow your business; before you decide where and how to grow - the first thing you need to do is stop doing what’s not working and get rid of the outgrown, the obsolete, and the unproductive.”—Peter Drucker on Purposeful Abandonment
1. A strategy based on copying others isn’t a strategy.
2. A strategy without execution isn’t a strategy.
3. A strategy built on a base of irrelevant activity isn’t a strategy.
- Posted 6.13.16 at 04:50 am by Roy Osing
June 6, 2016
You’ve heard it a million times. Building extraordinary value in an organization requires amazing people.
You can have the most innovative technology and the coolest products and services, but without the people layer to transform these capabilities into value, they are worthless.
How do you recruit people who will deliver unbelievable performance for your organization?
What do you look for?
The profile of the person you recruit must fit the challenges that organizations face in today’s markets. Intense competition, highly empowered customers, and unpredictability describe the barriers to success and survival.
Recruit these 5 traits to build a team that will stand out from the crowd and raise your performance to unbelievable levels.
1. Human being lover. They have a genuine affection for people; they care for others. This makes them extreme team players who will actually do whatever it takes to help their fellow employees to move the collective forward.
2. Goosebumps story teller. They love telling a story and they have a million of them. They tell their story with such richness and emotion, they take your breath away. They are particularly good at telling stories that illustrate their desire and commitment to have credit go to others.
3. Anti-rhetorician. They focus on what they’ve DONE rather than attempt to persuade and impress through high fog factor language. Results speak louder than intent; they get it and they can prove that they’ve done it.
4. Driver. An intense sense of urgency fuels everything they do. It’s more than “action orientation”, it’s more a natural element of their personal DNA. They don’t tolerate discussing the theoretical benefits of an idea; they want to get on with trying it out to see if it has any practical value.
5. Un-perfectionist. They are satisfied with getting it “just about right” and are prepared to change course in the face of unexpected events. They are “learn as you go” individuals who see value in making progress, learning from execution and delivering results.
The pedigree isn’t a helpful predictor of an individual’s contribution to organizational performance. It shows what you KNOW not what you will likely DO.
And “doing it” is what is needed for success.
“Knowing it” alone is worthless.
Recruit people with these 5 competencies and you will be able to “do it”.
- Posted 6.6.16 at 04:30 am by Roy Osing
May 30, 2016
People would rather have a root canal than have to deal with a customer who has been screwed over.
It’s always amazed me that organizations don’t have a strategy in place to recover from a customer screw-up.
It’s not like screw-ups won’t happen; unfortunately they happen with regularity and for a variety of reasons.
And they are certainly not viewed as a source of opportunity; the intent is to get it over with as soon as possible. Endure the pain and move on without looking back.
We spend literally all of our time trying to prevent screw-ups. New fulfillment systems are implemented, employee training programs are created; anything to deliver service flawlessly and prevent bad stuff happening.
Nothing wrong with this except it denies the reality of screw-ups happening; virtually no time is dedicated to building a recovery capability.
Ironically we EXPECT things to go as promised when we transact with an organization and give them a “C” on their service report card when they do.
Successful recovery has two significant benefits.
One, customer loyalty actually increases compared to the OOPS! never having occurred at all!
Customers are impressed with what you did to make things better and tend not to be bent out of shape about the mistake made in the first place. They go WOW! give you an “A”, tell others about their experience; their loyalty deepens.
Two, effective recovery creates a competitive advantage for the organization because others don’t see the need and continue to pour all of their resources into service breakdown prevention (and continue to get “C’s”).
Focus on these things to turn a screw-up into a competitive opportunity…
1. It is critical to build a Service Recovery Strategy to give recovery activity a strategic context in the organization.
2. Hire people who love chaos and who welcome diving into a mess and sorting it out. They need a high pain tolerance and they need to be amazing problem solvers.
3. Give power and authority to the “owner” of the screw up (who has the ranting customer in their face) to do whatever it takes to resolve it. Ignore job descriptions.
4. Fix it fast. You have literally 24 hours to recover and reap the rewards of enhanced customer loyalty. After that, you’ve blown it and all you get is misery and a brand rap as they everyone about your crummy service.
5. Surprise them with what they don’t expect. Know the customer you’ve screwed over and personalize the experience for them rather than use a boilerplate solution applied to everyone. If you knew I loved Pinot Noir you could use this knowledge in how you recovered with ME.
6. Take responsibility for the OOPS! whether or not you were directly at fault. Lose your ego. Don’t quote policy. Don’t make it out that it was the customer’s fault (happens all the time). Customers want you to show some empathy then launch into solution mode.
7. Recognize “recovery addicts”; those individuals who exhibit greatness in mending broken promises and who are natural loyalty builders.
Measure how effective you are at making up with a customer after a fight.
Get their feedback immediately after the scuffle.
Improve as you move on.
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- Posted 5.30.16 at 05:28 am by Roy Osing