Roy's Blog: March 2016

March 28, 2016

A leader should focus Friday time on this

This is the bookend of the stand-out leader’s week.

Friday is “change the conversation” day.

Language expresses what people view as “what’s important around here.” Vocabulary paints the picture of the journey that employees see the organization taking.

This day is focused on changing the conversation in the organization.

Moving away from discussing what needs to be done to improve; to incrementally change the organization. Muting the conversation about the practices of “best in class” organizations and what is required to copy them.

Today is all about introducing the conversation around how to BE DiFFERENT; how to move away from others in the market.

“What do we have to do to leave the herd; to distance ourselves from the common crowd?” “How can we stand-out not blend in; be contrarian and take the opposite direction to everyone else?” These are the questions this day is about.

This day involves meeting with team leaders throughout the organization; across all responsibility areas.

BIG NOTE: this applies if you have 1,000 employees, 10 or 3. The point is to engage with people who represent the various functions of the organization.

This day the leader declares that the BE DiFFERENT conversation will define the new communications in the organization.

This day the leader has a simple agenda when meeting with team leaders. Look introspectively. Dissect the conversations that are common. What topics do they most engage in? What words are used? What questions are asked?

Then disrupt the conversation with questions around divergence not compliance.

“What are we doing to create space between our organization and others?” “What breakaway projects with new innovative thinking are we pursuing?” “What NEW boxes are we building to play in?” “What contrarian opportunities have we identified that will take us in the opposite direction to the rest of the market?”

Far too many organizations and people think success is fitting in; conforming; being the same as others; going in the direction of the industry. Going with the flow.

This is lazy thinking.

Success has been and always will be a function of being different in some way.

The next time a proposal is brought to you, ask “How does this make us DiFFERENT?” Avoid asking what others are doing and how the proposal conforms with best practices.

Call your head of Marketing and ask what they are doing to move away from flogging products and services meeting the needs of “me” markets?

What is Sales doing to build a unique brand in the market based on building deep and intimate relationships with their clients?

What is Collections doing to distance yourself from virtually all other organizations that impose unfriendly and inhumane credit and collections rules and policies on their customers? The collections experience in most organizations is generally one level above pain and suffering. Copying best practices here is nothing more than replicating a painful experience.

What is Internal Audit doing to simplify processes that touch the customer? Yes, control is important but it must be balanced with serving the customer in a hassle-free caring way.

And follow through to ensure that this theme gets driven into the strategic planning process and becomes a critical beacon to follow. If your strategy doesn’t enable you to be different, you will fail.

Check out my book “Weekly calendar for leaders”

Other articles you might like
Best of breed is still a member of the herd
Copying is for losers
Do you want to be better, best or #DiFFERENT?

  • Posted 3.28.16 at 06:07 am by Roy Osing
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March 21, 2016

The reason why making tries is the right thing to do

Here’s the thing. We live in a world of uncertainty and unpredictability. No sooner have we put our strategic game plan to bed, an unforeseen event blindsides us and we are forced back to the drawing board to shift our strategy.

This is not a temporary phenomenon; this is organizational life that will only intensify in terms of the number of random forces that will impact us and the weight that each will impose.

Traditional strategic planning can’t successfully play out in this scenario.

The application of the standard analytical tool set won’t help thwart the unexpected missiles that will strike us; hours of debate over SWOTS won’t decrease the probability that we will likely have to take a random punch at some point. And the quest for a “perfect” plan is time consuming, costly and is doomed to fail.

So what’s the answer? How do we prepare our organization to succeed in the face of current market dynamics?

If the original strategy can’t be depended on to deliver intended results, we need to loosen up on the process employed to create the strategy; get the strategy “just about right” and focus our efforts on plan execution, learning from execution and on trying new things implied by the chaos that surrounds us.

Survival and success depends on the willingness to try new things constantly; if you’re feet aren’t moving you’re dead.

Progress = f(number of tries). The more tries; the more successes; the more progress.

Make “tries” a key success factor on your balanced performance scorecard. Set 30-day “tries”‘targets; track and monitor your results to ensure the trend is growing. Keep your “tries funnel”.

Ask “Why don’t we…?” at every opportunity.

But don’t make the same try twice; each try must be different in some way.

A try repeated indicates nothing was learned from the initial one, and you can’t afford to not learn from your tries.

Every new try has to include the learnings from previous tries. This will at least improve your odds of hitting a winner sooner rather than later.

Making tries is a core competency of successful organizations.

Try harder.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other articles you might like
Ship lots of imperfect stuff, imperfectly
Permission granted. Do nothing!
Execute don’t pontificate!

  • Posted 3.21.16 at 05:53 am by Roy Osing
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March 14, 2016

10 simple things amazing leaders do everyday

Leadership doesn’t have to be complicated; it doesn’t have to conform to doctrine advocated by leadership gurus (many of whom have little demonstrated experience in the art in any event).

I have learned that leadership boils down to how well you practice a few basic human acts.

1. Help others. It’s a basic human instinct to come to the aid of someone in need. When refugees from Syria needed help, the world responded. In an organization, it doesn’t happen as much. When someone is down we seem to pounce on the opportunity to use their misfortune as our own opportunity.

2. Walk in their footsteps. It’s not all about the business; it’s more about the people IN the business. Decisions get implemented only if people are on board with them. Consider how individuals will be before moving forward.

3. Practice what you preach. ALWAYS be in a position to show that you only ask others to do what you do yourself. Loyal followers are created when they see you act on your own words.

4. Keep your promises. If you say you will do something make sure you DO it. When you open your mouth others watch your follow up to see if your intent was honest.

5. Leave the glory to others. Your glory comes only through the success of your employees. Lavish them with praise. Your ego will understand.

6. Show your emotional side. Real people express their feelings; plastic people hide them. “Expose” yourself and watch the magic you create.

7. Look in their eyes and take notes. Paying attention to and showing interest in what people have to say will ignite their passion. A simple act; an amazing impact.

8. Say “thank you” a lot. It makes their hard work and “pain” endured worth it. And it provides fuel for them to do it again.

9. Share your status in the hierarchy. Everyone understands the organizational pecking order, but if you spread some of your special privileges around, THEY get to feel important and will engage on a higher level.

10. Call someone… everyday. It’s really important to connect and engage with people in your organization. Make a point of reaching out to a different person daily and have a conversation about what’s going on with them. You will gain incredible insights into what is going on in your organization, and THEY will transformed into a loyal follower.

Leadership is about convincing others that you are a “real” person by demonstrating basic human acts consistently.

It’s not about practicing textbook theory leadership dogma.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Other leadership articles you might like
If you were hit by a bus and killed…
A person’s strengths say nothing about being a #GreatLeader
6 actions stand-out leaders take when “shit happens”


  • Posted 3.14.16 at 02:05 am by Roy Osing
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March 7, 2016

What remarkable leaders do the first day of every week

My recent book, “A Weekly Calendar for Leaders” provides a view on how stand-out leaders should spent their time each week.

This is kick-off day.

Monday is “love” a customer day.

The first day of your week should be about getting in the face of your customers.

The idea is to strategically choose customers who have been loyal to you. And who generate significant economic value for you today and/or have a high upside for you over the near to medium term.

This is a learning day not a show and tell day. This day is to listen, learn and act on what you hear.

It’s not about presenting who you are and what you do. Nor is it about pitching your products and services .

It’s about opening yourself up to engage and get honest feedback. This day you are in a receive mode NOT a transmit mode.

It’s also a day to honor the people and organizations that have put their trust and faith in you over the years. To thank them for taking the journey with you when there are so many other alternatives available to them.

This day is anything but a meet and greet day. Today knows no superficiality. No “grinning” allowed.

This day is honestly connecting with a customer to get a more intimate understanding of them; to discover their secrets and earn their trust. Their decision to continue to do business with you is at stake. You have to earn their business this day and every day.

Leave your entourage at home. No bagmen should be with you to do the work and make you feel important. It’s just you, your customer and your notebook.

Take copious number of notes. It shows that you think what they have to say is important. Hang on their every word.

Make this an informal event. Don’t make it slick. Have a conversation. Your prime objectives are to deepen relationships, build trust, and learn what you should be doing to serve them better.

Review your ONLY Statement with them. Do they know that you are trying to be remarkable and unique; to be the ONLY ones that do what you do?

Does your ONLY statement address a burning need that they have? Do they believe you live it all day every day?

This day is also about getting feedback from previous meetings you may have had with them. Review your notes from these meetings. Discuss your take-a-ways. Describe the action you took and the results achieved.

Ask for their feedback on your performance.

If you allege that customers are your most valuable asset, shouldn’t you start your week with them?


Check out my book “Weekly calendar for leaders”


  • Posted 3.7.16 at 04:37 am by Roy Osing
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