Roy's Blog: May 2011

May 30, 2011

This is what happens when you’re on the side of the angels

Be on the “side of the angels” during a period of volatile organizational change. You need to support and be seen to support the direction that the company has decided to take whether you are totally in agreement wish it or not.

Clearly you only have one other choice, and that is to leave the organization.

A previous boss of mine used to say: ‘You really have only two choices: one, leave the organization if you can’t support the direction the leader wants to take, or, two, dig down deep and support the boss’s “dumb idea”.

Both thoughts effectively drive home the notion that the non-supportive option is really no option at all unless you are prepared to seek other employment. The higher up the organization you go, the greater is the expectation that you will put aside your personal views and objections and support the CEO’s decision on corporate strategy.


When I was first appointed to an executive position, I was tutored that my main duty and responsibility was to support the CEO no matter what. Obviously this was not intended to be taken literally, however, the underlying theme of what was said resonated with me and served as a guide post for me over the many executive positions I held throughout my career.

Do whatever YOU can do to be supportive of the CEO and still be true to yourself: the side of the angels.

Of course this principle applies to whatever position your boss holds. It doesn’t have to be the CEO.

When a new CEO was recruited, there was the usual apprehension among the executive team about his personal style, where he would want to take the organization in the future and the role of the existing executive team.
His approach was to pull together the existing executive team to develop a new strategy for the organization supported by a new value system and organization structure.

I found the strategy building process He used very liberating. Here was a leader without any internal bias at all. His only interest was to set a future direction for the business that created growth in shareholder value.

Reasons for past decisions made were really not relevant for him and he didn’t want to spend any airtime hearing about “why things were done that way”. One of my peer executives had a great deal of difficulty with this “let’s start out with a blank sheet of paper” approach. He wanted to try and convince the CEO that certain decisions taken in the past should be honored in the new plan that we were developing.

New leaders don’t want to hear why things were done in the past; they want to get on with their own agenda.

I disagreed with my colleague’s view as did the CEO. The strategy sessions became at times acrimonious debates with this out-of-sync individual. The beginning of the end for this person was clear to me, but the situation worsened as we concluded on our strategic course and turned our attention to the really tough decision on the appropriate organization structure that would deliver the desired results. More acrimonious debate ensued with my colleague’s attempt to dominate and sway the outcome, but the final structure mirrored the CEO’s views as you would expect.

The thing was the new organization structure wasn’t new to me at all. In fact it was a model that we had years before, and with all organizational approaches it had its plusses and minuses. So, I found myself actually in the same intellectual camp as my out-of-favor colleague on this matter and the CEO felt my reluctance to jump in and immediately support his call. He handled me with a great deal of respect and patience; asked me to think about whether or not I could support the new structure and let him know.

Even though I had reservations about his structural decision, I supported it in the spirit of helping out the CEO.

The end of the story is that my colleague who fought him tooth and nail on virtually every issue left the company.

I was appointed executive vice president & chief marketing officer.

You always have a choice.

Choose for the long term.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 5.30.11 at 11:00 am by Roy Osing
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May 26, 2011

What happens when your core service is astonishing?

Clean hotel rooms. Courteous staff. IPad that works like they said it would. Financial advice that delivers what was promised. A household move across the country on time, on budget with nothing broken. An airplane that takes off and lands. Baggage that is not lost. Uninterrupted Internet service delivering speed that was promised.

Each of these is a core service that represents the fundamental building block of a business. It’s the basic output or deliverable that defines a business.

But core service is table stakes. You need to deliver it seamlessly 24X7X365 to play the game.


But it won’t necessarily win it for you.

When core service is delivered as promised, customers rate you “ok” and nothing more.

Winning the game comes not from what people get from you, but rather from how people FEEL when they get it. From the experience they get from you. Are they delighted? Are they dazzled? Are they left breathless?

It’s the context within which your core service is delivered. How do people feel between the takeoff and landing? Do they feel special or do they feel “abused” by the onboard staff?

Bottom Line: deliver your core service consistently and then get WOW’S for the service experience you create.

Table-stakes don’t go far enough to make you a long term winner.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 5.26.11 at 11:00 am by Roy Osing
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May 19, 2011

How to get a fan when you lose the sale

It always makes sense to lose a sale if it means preserving the relationship you have with your customer.

You don’t have the product she wants; you don’t have the right color or size. The right thing to do is give her a recommendation where she can go to get what she wants.

Be the most informed salesperson there can be in terms of knowing where to go to get her wants satisfied.

Lose a sale

THAT will impress her. THAT will tell her she is important and you care about taking care of her. Don’t try and force a sale. Flogging stuff that she doesn’t want will only annoy her.

Do you reward your salespeople for referring customers to others? Probably not. Consider it though as a critical loyalty building tactic.

It’s not the sale that you should be focusing on, it’s the relationship.

Do whatever it takes to deepen it and enrich it with undying trust.

P.S…. it also makes good business sense to refer your most precious gift to others.

They just might return the gesture.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 5.19.11 at 11:00 am by Roy Osing
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May 16, 2011

This is what happens when you ask the “magic question”

A simple tool that I developed that substantially helped me build my career is “The Magic Question”. It is the most powerful tool in your career game plan kit. It will guide YOU to do the right things in the face of significant change.

The magic question is: “Now that I find myself in a new position in the organization, what do I have to do differently?”

For example, these circumstances require you to ask the question.

—There has been a major corporate restructure and you have been appointed to a new position in the new organization;
—You are being moved laterally in the existing organization structure;
— You are promoted to a higher level position in the existing organization structure;
— You, unfortunately, find yourself in a lower position in the organization. Yes, you need to think this through even though it may be unpleasant for you. Consider your fate a point in time occurrence that you have the control to change if you do the right things.

There are 3 possible outcomes in terms of how you approach the question.

1. Outcome #1 occurs when you don’t ask yourself the question. You continue in your new role acting the same way that you have in the past, irrespective of the new challenges that you face.
You assume that the things that got you here will get you where you need to get to in the future. After all, you have attained success so far by practicing certain skills and competencies; why shouldn’t this work on a going forward basis? Momentum continues as you practice what you are used to. There is no change in behavior on your part. And guess what? The result is failure. New challenges require new thinking, and new ways of doing things.


2. Outcome #2 occurs when you ask the question but answer it incorrectly the first time.
In this case you are at least on the right track having asked yourself the question, and you enter the trial and error process of discovering the essential things you need to do differently to succeed in your new position.
The result of your efforts might be eventual success, but it takes awhile as you iterate among several possible answers to find the right blueprint. YOU need to get on with finding the answers FAST if you are to survive long enough to see the final result.

3. Outcome #3 occurs when you ask the question and you get the right answer the first time.
You realize immediate effectiveness in your new position and your bosses as well as others in the organization are amazed how quickly you adapt and learn in the face of a new challenge. The results of your efforts produce success not only in terms of your productivity in the new position but also in the growth of your personal currency for future advancement in the organization.

The Magic Question process is not an easy one. It requires self analysis, development of options and selecting a path that you believe will yield the success you expect. Use the results of your 360 degree feedback program to decide what has to be done differently. Be prepared to make agonizing decisions that place yourself at personal risk, but have faith that it will work out for you.

It requires dedication and discipline.

I coached my direct reports in every leadership position I held to employ this process; the ones who chose to do the work were rewarded.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 5.16.11 at 11:00 am by Roy Osing
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