Roy's Blog: April 2014

April 28, 2014

Effective leaders hate problems; they expect solutions

My best boss and mentor declared this whenever someone tried to pass a problem to him; he would have nothing of it.

He was different from many of his peers who felt obligated to be the problem solver and therefore “force” his direct reports to depend on him.

As a direct report, I wanted to learn about the business and solving problems was THE best way to do it. Having my boss provide all the answers didn’t help teach me the business and it certainly didn’t enable me to grow.

This was his approach.

1. He would insist that our problem discussion was focused on the SOLUTION I thought would work.

2. He insisted that I identify a number of potential options with pros and cons of each.

3. He expected I did my homework in terms of the CUSTOMER VALUE each option would create. This was the number one criteria he used to judge the ranking of the options I presented.

4. He probed each option; asked me tons of questions; took a copious amount of notes.

5. He asked me to consider our discussion for 24 hours before deciding on the solution I thought was best.

6, He directed me to advise him of the direction I was taking.

7. I was held accountable for the impact of my decision. I had to report back to him in 30-60 days on the results.

That was it. I defined the problem; outlined a range of potential solutions with the pros and cons of each; he added value through his questions; I made the call and was held accountable.

I learned, felt respected; developed leadership skills and mentored others on the same approach.

Cheers, Roy

BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 4.28.14 at 03:13 am by Roy Osing
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April 21, 2014

Great leaders look for the pony that created the crap

The best leaders I knew in my 30+ years running businesses always looked for opportunity in the face of adversity.

When looking down the barrel of a gun, many traditional leaders respond in one of the following ways.
- throw up their hands and claim unfair
- make excuses due to a lack of resources and budget
- shout foul play due to a competitor’a price reduction
- blame the inability to execute for the mis-step
- denigrate the economy for the unplanned turn of events
- blame sudden environmental changes

Great leaders don’t spend much time whining about the fact the target was missed. They are more concerned about learning from the result and recovering from it.

Their energy is spent into finding the “pony” that created the excrement they are buried in.

Failure teaches the leader that:
- virtually nothing happens as planned
- a thoughtful response to the unexpected is a real competitive advantage
- “Plan B” is more important than Plan A
- the dynamics around execution are critical to success
- customers haven’t been satisfied in some way; a deeper understanding of what’s going on with them is vital to finding the pony.

Find the pony buried in your failure and act FAST to recover and build value.

The market will remember how you found and leveraged the pony, not that you underachieved.

Cheers, Roy

BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 4.21.14 at 03:55 am by Roy Osing
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April 14, 2014

8 proven ways to keep your fantastic customers from leaving

Music provides business lessons.

The Grateful Dead informed us on how to create a unique competitive claim. “You don’t want merely to be the best of the best. You want to be the ONLY ones who do what you do.” was proclaimed by Jerry Garcia in the day.

The title one-liner from The Eagles’ Hotel California tune shouts out the imperative to keep customers “in your hotel”.

The message is cool. It’s mysterious. It’s haunting. It’s foreboding. It’s dramatic. It’s scary. It’s suggestive of a clandestine move.

Here are 8 actions you can take to prevent customers from “leaving your hotel”.

1. Don’t be concerned about what the competition is doing; focus on the action that YOU need to take to enrich the stickiness of your products or services.

2. Action to prevent leaving must be taken FAST. The time it takes to get to check-out and leave the building is short; rapid innovation of offerings your customers love is mandatory.

3. Abandon the conventional; take risks with “out there” solutions.

4. Give ‘em something more. Move ‘em to “another room” with added value. Transform them into another world where a new reality intrigues them to stay.

5. Intercept them as they make their way to check-out. Don’t follow up AFTER they have left. Know they intend to leave and disrupt their intentions.

6. Give them a NEW experience that makes them want to stay. Give them something so dramatic that it will take their emotions to a new level.

7. Make it personal. Speak to THEM specifically. What works for Mr. Smith won’t work for Mr. Jones.

8. SURPRISE; SHOCK; JOLT; AMAZE; FRIGHTEN them to stay. Do whatever it takes.

Too much attention is given to the threat of others taking guests from our hotel; what are we doing to prevent them from leaving?

Cheers, Roy

BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 4.14.14 at 01:39 am by Roy Osing
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April 6, 2014

5 ways to get your customers addicted to you

Addiction isn’t a casual interest or a take-it-or-leave it attitude.

When customers are addicted to a particular organization they are “all in”. They have a habit of dealing with the organization through thick and thin. It is that tough to kick. It’s like looking both ways before crossing the street. They just do it without consciously thinking about doing business with someone else.

Every organization covets the customer who will habitually buy from them.

The issue is, they aren’t just out there to be taken. There isn’t a tribe of addicts for the taking.

They have to be created.

And the problem today is that most organizations are so driven to make the sale, they don’t focus on doing what is necessary to turn the casual buyer into the raving fan with the habit.

Here are 5 things you can do to help your customers develop the habit for you:

1. Don’t focus on the sale. If you do things right you will not only make the immediate transaction, you will earn a revenue annuity stream for a long time to come.
This is all about changing the culture of the organization away from short term gratification to building the capability to earn in the long term. As long as quarterly earnings drive behaviour, the need to create addicts will take the back seat.

2. Recruit relationship-building sales people. Look for demonstrated accomplishments of this competency. If you don’t have frontline folks leaning the right way, habits will not be formed.

3. Look at your front end systems. Is it easy for a customer to enter your realm and get what they want? Is your web site easy to navigate? Can they reach a human being if they need to?
Do you force people through an IVR with a dozen questions to answer? SIMPLIFY your processes. Make them human friendly. People don’t give a damn about your internal issues!

4. Have a strategy when you screw a customer over (and you will). Recovering from a service OOPS! has amazing implications when it comes to creating addictive behaviour from your customers. Fix it + SURPRISE ‘em is the formula that will turn a postal customer into an addict.
If you do it right they will forget that you screwed them over in the first place.

5. Declare a policy: we don’t care about our competitors! We care about our customers and believe that if we do a great job at serving them, we won’t have to worry about the hordes at our door.
The fact is, when you are worrying about what “the bad guys” are up to, you are nor concentrating on the experiences you have to create for your customers to turn them into addicts.


BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

  • Posted 4.6.14 at 03:10 am by Roy Osing
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