Roy's Blog: August 2016

August 29, 2016

What I didn’t learn in school about leadership

Standout leadership is not discovered in any textbook. It is born in the trenches where results are achieved, conflict occurs, people engage and pain is experienced.

Every day is different. Each day teaches you something new.

My schooling as a leader covered more than 12,000 days; here are five key lessons they taught me.

1. Imperfection explains most success - Unfortunately, school teaches us that problems have “right” answers. This belief is a non-starter in business, where workable and remarkable solutions are often inelegant and messy. But they are effective because they capture the hearts of the people implementing them.
Business is fluid. It can’t be explained by trend analysis. “Plan A” rarely works. If you are doing lots of imperfect stuff fast, you are on the right track.

2. Losing is a better teacher than success - Success encourages you to stay with the playbook that has worked so far and doesn’t force you to deviate. Losing, on the other hand, forces you to get out of your comfort zone, to try a different approach and create a new box to play in.
When you lose, study your failure from every possible angle. Your “post-loss analysis” will guide you effectively as you encounter future situations.

3. What got you here is irrelevant - It won’t get you to where you need to go. It’s all about “What have you done for me lately?” Every new challenge requires something different of you.
Have the discipline to ask “What do I have to do differently now that I have new responsibilities?” And keep your feet moving. Every day should be a new day in terms of doing something startling.

4. Outrageous demands sometimes get met - People who are known for unique skills and have strong currency within an organization earn the right to be bold, to stick out their chins and blatantly ask for what they want even though it may be “ridiculous.”
But leverage is vital (the organization needs you to perform a vital role) and timing is critical (they need you now). If you have both, you will be surprised with what you can accomplish. Make yourself invaluable; watch for the opening and ask.

5. Suck it up when you think you’ve been screwed over - You will always have setbacks; that’s the way it is. What really matters is how you deal with an outcome that doesn’t go as you would like.The key thing to understand in these circumstances is that it’s done. You have zero ability to change the decision that has been made.
The only thing you have any degree of control over is what you do next. So, take the punch; congratulate the winner; muzzle your ego and move on.

Another day, another leader learning opportunity.

Take advantage of it.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
A screw-up can produce your greatest speech
5 ways to get dignity and respect as a customer
8 ways you can build #marketing muscle

  • Posted 8.29.16 at 05:00 am by Roy Osing
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August 22, 2016

Your best speech happens when you screw-up

It’s counterintuitive, but your best speech can be given when you screw up.

I’ve had all the nightmares happen to me. Slides come up out of order, I suddenly forget the point I’m trying to make in the middle of a sentence, power is interrupted and slides disappear and the room goes dark, my iPhone goes off while I am speaking and a heckler chooses to be a co-speaker and tries to dominate the airspace.

These unpredictable events are opportunities; time to pump it up not shut down.

The psychology is quite simple.

People like the unpolished, un-slick and informal.

They like real.

And real is having the unexpected happen in a presentation. 

The key is what you do when it happens.

And if you recover well that’s what the audience will remember and talk about; the screwup contributes to the experience they had with you.

They forget that the microphone went out and remember what you said and did when you were silenced by technology.

Don’t deny the event.

It happened and everyone knows it.

Use it as a catalyst to send you in an unplanned direction.

Use it as a force to do something different.

Use it as an opportunity which may not otherwise have presented itself to surprise people and blow them away with your ability to go with the flow.

Acknowledge the heckler, thank them for the interruption (yes thank them!) and use their point to strengthen your own. Never put them down; honour their right to disagree with you.

When you forget your point, make a joke about yourself - “An unexpected senior moment highly unusual at the age of 30”. People love it when you make yourself the butt of a joke.

My formula…

Screwup success = stay on form (keep your momentum going) + SURPRISE ‘em with something they don’t expect.

Think about what you will do before it happens.

Be prepared for “Murphy”.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
“The Weird” must inherit the earth
5 ways to get dignity and respect as a customer
8 ways you can build #marketing muscle
Your competitive claim must be more than just hot air

  • Posted 8.22.16 at 06:06 am by Roy Osing
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August 15, 2016

5 ways to get dignity and respect as a customer

I have seen people attract nightmare service and I have seen others attract caring, respectful and dazzling service.

From the same organization.

From the same server or customer service rep.

Despite the fact that an organization has a strong customer service culture and employees are recruited and trained to deliver amazing service, the customer controls much of “the moment” and it’s outcome.

Customers can do these 5 things to at least have a fighting chance for a memorable service experience.

(FYI, I suck at most of these but in a rare moment when I actually practice what I preach, I am amazed with the results I am able to get. I continue to try harder….)

1. Don’t bitch about the line up. I know it’s more than annoying but I guarantee that laying out your frustration on the server will get you less of what you want not what you expect. Empathy and cheerfulness will reap you the unexpected rewards.

2. Lose the righteous customer attitude. You are not superior to them. Bullying those who serve is a terrible behaviour on so many levels. Try treating them as an equal human being with feelings and watch the magic that results.

3. Smile and be light hearted in your demeanour. Happiness creates the right atmosphere for a delightful experience; gloom, doom and frowns is ominous foreshadowing and puts the server on guard rather than being open to serve.

4. Try to be gentle if there is a screw up and your expectations are not met. In fact since you are dealing with a system comprised mostly of human beings I think it’s a good idea to LOWER one’s expectations to stand a better chance of being satisfied.

5. Ask for the manager ONLY if there is no other option. Avoid the temptation to jump to this action too early. Give the server the opportunity to solve whatever problem you’re having and redeem themselves. No one likes to be disempowered from making it right with a customer.

In a perfect world, organizations with a customer centric strategy would deliver flawless service to us consistently.

But we live in an imperfect world where our outcomes in large part depend on what WE do and how WE behave in a service situation.

Give it a try.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
“The Weird” must inherit the earth
8 ways you can build #marketing muscle
Your competitive claim must be more than just hot air
15 actions that create successful competitive differentiation

  • Posted 8.15.16 at 05:14 am by Roy Osing
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August 8, 2016

8 ways you can improve your marketing effectiveness

There are organizations that are really good at marketing who they are and what value they create.

They exhibit marketing effectiveness.

They have marketing muscle.

There are others, on the other hand, who struggle to get their message across and are not contenders.

Building marketing muscle isn’t just the job of the marketing department; the entire organization must take on the responsibility and work in harmony to deliver it.

Try this muscle building routine.

1. Consistently WOW! your customers. Delivering awesome customer service is fundamental to building muscle; it’s the basic platform you need to build a strong sustaining brand. If you don’t serve your customers in an exemplary way (or at least have plans to), ignore the rest of this article.

2. Lead with innovation. Be the first ones to do something creative and “out there”. Yes, it’s risky to try something new, but if you try often enough you will have the winners that add dimension to your brand.

3. Surprise your market. Do something that people don’t expect. Muscle builders pulse surprises from time to time, creating buzz and attracting a great deal of attention. And they don’t surprise just anybody; “delight tactics” are aimed at their loyal customers. Check out Richard Branson to see how it is done.

4. Earn the customer’s business everyday. Don’t feel entitled to it just because you have it. This is all about never taking the customer for granted; assuming that since you already have them, you don’t have to do much to keep them. This is a fatal mistake! Investing in deepening your relationship with a customer and earning their trust will not only keep them spending with you, it will also motivate them to “spread your word” to others.

5. Integrate yourself in your community. People want to do business with organizations that care about the communities they are in; that give back in some meaningful way. Muscle is built with a HUGE dose of humanity, and social investing is an effective way of allowing your softer side to be seen. And target community investments to programs aligned with your strategic plan; avoid trying to support every cause out there.

6. Adopt “customer learning” as a core competency. Learn about your customers as a continuous process rather than a periodic task. Customer needs, wants and desires change and it is critical to keep up. Muscle strength grows proportionately with how knowledgeable you are about who your customer is and what their top priorities are.

7. Have fun! It’s amazing how impactful it is to shed the business formality thing and show an informal playful persona from time to time. Casual language, humour and making fun of yourself are ways to show your customers “it ain’t all about the bottom line”.

8. Think “personalized”. Shift your thinking from mass production to personalized value creation. Narrow your focus to create solutions for small groups of customers rather than trying to come up with one size that fits all (which doesn’t work anyway).

Keep in mind that muscle form isn’t developed overnight; it can take years of blood, sweat and tears before the market sees you as a contender.

However, there is no time like the present to get on with it.

Define your muscle building program.

Start executing.

Don’t look back.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
“The Weird” must inherit the earth
Your competitive claim must be more than just hot air
15 actions that create successful competitive differentiation
Old school teaching gets a failing grade; 9 subjects that should be taught business students

  • Posted 8.8.16 at 06:06 am by Roy Osing
  • Permalink