Roy's Blog

March 12, 2018

What should you do when you want to change jobs?

The first thing you do is STOP and PAUSE!

And take a look at the reasons behind why you want a move.


What’s driving the need you have to move on?
— a boss that’s making everyday a crummy day for you?
— a bad recent experience on a project that’s left you questioning your future in the organization?
— the sudden realization that there is no fit between your personal needs and the organization’s value system?
— your conclusion that the future opportunities from your current employer are limited and your long term career plan is in jeopardy if you stay?

Whatever the reason, it’s critical to get your thinking straight on why you want to change before you jump.

You should take action if moving out the only way to achieve your long term goals.

Once you go you’re gone and the likelihood of returning is slim to none.

At one point in my career I was demoted from the executive leadership team due to a company merger and I felt intense pressure by many people around me (including family) to leave the company because of the way the new leadership treated me.

Even though I was emotionally driven to leave this organization that didn’t “recognize my worth”, I decided to stay because I felt that, notwithstanding the short term hit I received by being demoted, in the the long run hanging in would present opportunities to regain my position in the hierarchy and continue my rewarding career.

Burning bridges

It was the right call; it paid off.

I didn’t particular enjoy being removed from the executive leadership team and told to report to an individual who previously was my peer. But within a year of hard work and keeping my head down, I was appointed to the position of president of our exciting data and internet business and rejoined the executive leadership team.

Looking back, the easy thing would have been to pack it all in; to escape the emotionally ego draining experience I was buried in.

But, fortunately, I gave the matter considerable thought because it was a huge decision I had to make; I couldn’t afford to react to my plight and make a quick decision.

Be thoughtful when thinking about making a job change; do it for the right reasons.

Once you’ve decided to go, create a “moving-on” action plan.

Define the things you need to do to not only get you out of your current situation but also leave with your currency strong and your head high.

Burning bridges when you leave a job is not in your long term interests; it’s dumb. Leave on the winds of elegance.

Your moving-on plan should include these five elements.

Dust off your career game plan and revise it based on your current circumstances.
Look specifically at the organizations you are interested in and wish to target, the position you would like to get and the “foxes” you should connect with to help you. Always consider your career plan a work in progress;  constantly update it because you never know when you might have to revisit it to make a move.

Revise your resume to reflect any changes you made to your career game plan.
As your career game plan changes, your must your CV change to reflect the latest conditions. And keep morphing it to try and make it different from the thousands of résumés out there that all look the same. The way your career story will be noticed by prospective employers is to make it unique and have it standout from others in some meaningful way.


Meet with each of the top 5 in your personal network.
Start the conversation on what opportunities exist in other organizations and get their views on how you should move forward.
Actually, engaging with your network should be an ongoing priority even when you are not looking to move — be in a constant job hunting mode; it will prepare you if and when you decide to pursue other opportunities.

Contact close colleagues in your present organization and explain why you are intending to leave.
This includes bosses that you have had that you respect. It is extremely important that you leave with strong currency and personal integrity, as you never know when you might need their support in the future. NEVER close the door on the possibility of returning to the organization at some point.

Thank the people in your current organization who supported you and ask if there is anything you can do for THEM.
A little recognition for the people who helped you out goes a long way. They will often give you valuable advice and will recommend you to people in their network.
When you decide to close the pages on the current chapter of your career, make sure your champions and allies know they each played an important and valuable role in your life.

The decision to leave your present job is one thing, but doing it in the right way is another.

Don’t fall victim to a knee-jerk reaction and an emotional exit.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 3.12.18 at 04:15 am by Roy Osing
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March 5, 2018

Why do people on the frontline make you successful?

Fast forward — because successful strategies involve doing stuff for people WITH people (technology can support, but will never be the complete solution).

Ok. Now the narrative.

Every organization is looking for the ingredient that will give them a competitive advantage; make them standout among their competitors.

Frontline defenders

In my experience most organizations turn to what the prevailing strategy development theory says, which often promulgates these types of ways to outpace “the bad guys”:
— introduce a disruptive technology
— achieve cost leadership
— lead in product or service quality
— differentiate products or services
— form an alliance with another company
— leadership in new product development
— expand markets
— offer low prices
— achieve economies of scale and scope
— focus on a product or market sector

These are all valid ways of looking at competitive advantage, but beating the competition in the long term isn’t about the brilliance of a strategy; it’s not about whether or not a strategic plan conforms to strategic planning methodology as espoused by the experts.

Competitive advantage is derived largely from not from WHAT you aspire to achieve but HOW you actually achieve it in the real world where organizations are challenged by unpredictability, uncertainly and constantly changing conditions.

If, for example, your strategic intent is to outdo the bad dudes by providing excellent service quality, your success will be determined by HOW you execute on this goal. Actions such as providing customer-friendly rules and policies, recruiting people who have an innate desire to serve others, empowering employees to make decisions in favour of a customer and compensating teams on the level of customer service provided will enable the service quality goal to be achieved.

Help desk

The common element to most of these tactics is people.

Successful strategies typically get executed on the frontline at “the coal face” between the customer and the company — the territory normally occupied by employees in sales, banking, coffee bistros, call centers, repair service centers, retail outlets and on receptionist desks. The people who control every customer moment of truth.

Frontline people live your brand. They invest their emotional energy to keep customers loyal.

It’s one thing to send prospective customers to your website to learn about new products and buy them; but it’s quite another to make the engagement process so enjoyable and painless that the new product flows off the shelf and continues to provide value to the customer over the life of their purchase.

The frontline fills a critical void in business today.

Organizations are morphing to an operations topology devoid of humans. Online research, purchase, chat and warranty claim tasks are more and more being performed by the customer themselves. And new self checkout technologies are being tested to further remove people from the cost equation and provide consumers more speed and convenience of DIY.


But even in the face of a migration to DIY, successful organizations keep a strong people element in their sales and service operations to simply be there to help a customer when they don’t get satisfaction from a technology face.
Let’s face it, precise and accurate algorithms for every customer need can’t be formulated so if a “backup” person isn’t there to deal with hiccups and follow up questions, the customer is not only pissed, they leave telling their friends and family how crummy your service is.

My experience is that the frontline is rarely viewed as a critical element of strategy.

The focus and attention always seems to be on the brilliance and cleverness of the grand plan and the importance of execution is given second shrift and is taken for granted.
In fact most organizations assume that the people piece will naturally understand what needs to be done (rarely happens without the leader’s translation of what it means to various functions) and will willingly devote themselves to executing it effectively (never happens without leadership convincing them of its importance and supporting them to get it done).

The frontline of any organization is THE key to a successful strategy and yet they “get no respect”.

Don’t be a member of the herd that doesn’t get it; honour them, help them and reap the rewards of long lasting competitive advantage.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 3.5.18 at 03:07 am by Roy Osing
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February 26, 2018

8 guaranteed ways marketing leaders can be remarkable

Marketing’s role in any organization is critical; its leaders must be extraordinary.

Unfortunately, I don’t think marketing generally has stepped up to the challenge of doing remarkable things; in fact I think the craft is currently quite boring and unimaginative.
I offer this perspective as a guy who spent at least 80% of his 33+ year career leading marketing organizations and fulfilling the role of CMO.

Sure, the internet has spawned a plethora of new tools to engage with and sell to people, but the essence of the marketing strategy employed by most organizations hasn’t changed much. There is still a relentless focus on price, mass advertising, product and service flogging and applying traditional marketing tools introduced years ago and pushed by academics and consultants alike.

Marketing leaders

Marketing leaders must take responsibility for this state of affairs; for the apathy they have accepted from their marketing teams. They must be held accountable to move the marketing discipline from an approach that was practiced in the past, and is now underperforming given the dramatic changes that have occurred in the market.
They must take responsibility to PERSONALLY lead their teams to a new relevant place, and not accept the inertia caused by their junior teams of marketing
practitioners who have been taught principles of the past.

If marketing leaders accept how their team performs its role, they can’t be surprised when lacklustre results are produced.

Parochial leaders get mediocrity.

Organizations need marketing leaders to take control; people who will not stop until their team produces unheard-of results by practising the new relevant art.

Here are eight actions marketing leaders can take if they want to stand-out and turn their marketing teams into achievers of remarkability.

Set short-term revenue goals
Focus on the next 24 months rather than be a victim of the 5-year plan. This shorter term view will force an execution and results focus and avoid the “hockey stick” phenomenon where sales are supposed to miraculously show up at the end of the planning period.
Set revenue targets monthly and review performance to ensure you are on track.

Short term

Make revenue targets bold enough that you don’t know exactly how to achieve them
Discomfort and “I don’t know” is an effective way to drive innovation and creativity. If you know how to deliver your expected revenue, there is little or no incentive to do different things.
If you follow yesterday’s path, nothing remarkable happens.

Eliminate benchmarking as a tool for marketers to use
Copying won’t step your organization up to a higher level; it simply keeps you in the competitive herd. Ask, “How can we be different?”. Apply this question to every proposal you review. 
If a proposal from one of your marketers doesn’t move your organization towards standing out from your competitors to being a “different breed,” reject the proposal out-of-hand. And fire any marketer who makes the same mistake twice.

Stop new customer acquisition programs
Insist on seeing proposals that generate more revenue from your existing customer base as opposed to providing special deals or promotions to prospective customers who you want to attract from your competition. The truth is that customers who join you from the competition can’t be counted on for any loyalty or added revenue over the long term.
Offer any special promotions or deals to your existing customers first; reward their loyalty.

De-emphasize price and establish value creation as your raison d’être
Ask what value is being created for your loyal customers, not, “How can we lower our prices?”. Everyone plays the price game and it leads not to competitive advantage but rather financial ruin.
Declare the marketing rule “There will be NO price incentives offered around here!” as the way to disrupt the momentum of using boring prices as a marketing tool.
And replace the product manager position with the product value position and reward those who are prolific at creating value solutions.

Weird people

Recruit weird people
Marketing success today is all about finding what small specialty groups desire or want (satisfying what they need is passé) and proving them with unmatched value.
Start to populate your marketing teams with these types of people who can relate better to these curious customer segments. Look for contrarians. People who have bizarre ideas and question the common ways of doing things. People who hate fitting in.
You need a team of weirdos to carry your mandate breakaway from traditional marketing ways.

Expand your marketing team to include the frontline
The new marketing excellence is produced by understanding the deep innermost secrets of people you want to serve. The customer-facing frontline in any organization is THE most effective receptacle for customer learning; what customer’s desire. Recruit these people even if they don’t meet your “minimum education standards” — which are largely irrelevant in most cases anyways.
Get their ideas and implement them. And tell the rest of the organization what you are up to; hopefully they also will recognize the value of the human face to the customer.

Develop a competitive claim that is more than just hot air
The new marketing leader is not guided by aspiration. They are practical people who covet granularity, clarity and precision when it comes to defining why people should buy from their organization and none other.
Be clear and specific that the value you deliver to your customers is distinct from your competition.
They focus their attention on answering the killer question, “Why should I do business with you and not your competitors?” and purge comparative notions like “best”, “number one” and “leader” as ways of describing their market value proposition.

Marketing leaders must step up their game and take personal ownership of the changes needed to stay relevant and survive. Their organizations depend on it.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 2.26.18 at 04:18 am by Roy Osing
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February 19, 2018

How do great leaders get people marching together?

One of the biggest issues in any organization is the lack of congruency between what the strategy says and what people do on a day-to-day basis.

The strategy says one thing and not only do people do another, they do different things out of sync with the strategy.

Massive inconsistency and dysfunction results.

This is a failure of leadership.

Leadership tends to place more focus on direction-setting rather than on determining how the strategy will be executed. Precision is applied to “getting the strategy right” and not how it will be implemented in the trenches where the real work gets done.

The gap between strategic intent and actual results is due to this skewed attention. If only 20% of leadership’s attention is placed on the details of how the strategy will be implemented, the strategy will likely be hit and miss as employees find it necessary to execute the plan the way THEY believe it should.

March in step

Effective strategy execution occurs when there is clarity between the functional roles that employees play in the organization and its strategy. If direct “line of sight” is defined for every role, flawless execution results whereas indirect line of sight, results in people having a clouded understanding of what action the strategy demands.

Most leaders absolve themselves of ensuring activity and strategy are aligned. It generally gets relegated to functional heads to sort out by declaring their priorities that THEY contend are homeomorphic with strategic imperatives.

The problem with this process is that subjectivity is introduced at a very high level in the organization and is magnified again and again as teams are asked to do the same thing through middle and junior management levels.

And the tipping point, of course, is that leadership doesn’t approve detailed functional plans which would at least show whether they were bordering on out-of-alignment or not.

Any inconsistencies between activity and strategy at the highest level in an organization are multiplied by an order of magnitude factor before it reaches the frontline people.

Under these conditions it’s not difficult to see why strategy and organizational activity diverge and not converge.


What can leadership do about this problem?

First, ease the precision around the strategy creation and tighten it up around execution. Get comfortable with getting the plan “just about right” and applying rigour to implementation and adjusting the plan on the run.

Next, take ownership of aligning organizational activity to strategy.

Institutionalize “Alignment Plans” with functional heads; ask for sufficient granularity to the determination of whether or not a team has direct line of sight to the strategy or not. Make them work at it until they get it right and your leadership team approves.

Alignment Plans submitted to the leader should…

Define the key elements of the strategy that everyone in the organization must align with.

There are many dimensions to any strategy but it is critical to prioritize and focus on the critical ones. Greater alignment success will occur by focusing on a handful of the critical strategic imperatives rather than trying to “herd the cats” around a dozen.
Define “what needs to change” in every functional team with an action plan to achieve it.

If the organization is pursuing a new or revised strategic direction, there will most certainly be projects, company values, people skills and technology that will have to be re-vectored to enable the execution of the new plan. Details of everything that needs to change must be defined in detail.


Identify activities, projects and behaviours that have to be dropped in order to take on new activities required for alignment.

Leadership is just as much about what has to be stopped as it is about what has to be started. If out-of-alignment activity is not stopped, additional unnecessary resources will be most certainly requested. All non-strategic activity must be isolated and resources removed and redeployed to new challenges that must be undertaken.

Aligning employees to march together to achieve the organization’s strategic plan is critical to ensure strategic objectives are achieved and higher levels of performance delivered.

Leadership’s active engagement in the process is THE vital ingredient to make it happen.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 2.19.18 at 04:19 am by Roy Osing
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