Roy's Blog: May 2017

May 29, 2017

7 words of advice for the first time leader

You have always reported to another manager or leader. Your “life” up to now has always been doing stuff; delivering what your job description dictated and your boss demanded.

Suddenly you find that your life has changed. You have competed and won the contest to assume a leadership position.

It may be a promotion or it may not be; what’s important, however, is that the existence you have known in the organization is gone forever.

My advice to you is..

1. Don’t assume that what got you here will serve you well going forward. Proficiency in your past endeavours foreshadows very little in terms of what you will achieve going forward.

Past success is simply that - the past. Leave it there and learn what it takes to achieve today and tomorrow.

2. Ask yourself “The Magic Question” to let go of the past and focus on the things you must do to be successful in your new position.
It’s a simple question: “Now that I am in this new position, what do I have to do differently?” Being a member of a team is not very helpful in telling you what you need to do when you are a team leader.

First time leader

3. NEVER forget your roots. You are leaving a history where executing direction supplied from “on the people upstairs” played a critical role in what you were responsible for and probably consumed over 90% of your time.
As a leader, your performance will continue to be judged by what you get done, not what you plan to do - remarkable leaders execute brilliantly.

4. Find a mentor IMMEDIATELY! Yes you can figure some of it out on your own, but to increase your chances of success ask someone who has been there and done it.
When you walk through a new door, best have someone on the other side who can show you the way. And DON’T look for someone who is a friend or colleague; they are of little use to you because they are part of your past. Search for someone who you think can play a role in helping you discover your future.

5. Spend your first 100 days learning the issues of your team. Ask them “If you were me, what single action would you take to make it easier to get the job done?” Don’t accept a grocery list of items; make them think about priorities since you won’t be able to do everything.
You want to boil it down to the critical few things that concern most people in your organization.

Learning team issues

6. “Get intimate” with the strategic game plan of the organization. Learn it at the most granular level you can; translate it to what it means for your team. What EXACTLY does your team have to do in order to “serve” the strategy? The connection between what the strategy says and what your team members do MUST be clear and direct.

7. Ask your “internal customer” how your team is performing; use their input along with your team members to decide what to focus on to improve.
This builds your currency with your internal network and will prove invaluable in getting stuff done as you move forward.

The tipping point in everyone’s career is caused by motion; moving from one position to another.

Make sure you do the right NEW thing.

Let go of what defined you in the past; discover what will define you tomorrow.


Sales blogger

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 5.29.17 at 05:49 am by Roy Osing
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May 22, 2017

Marketers: 7 things to stop; 7 things to start

Success in today’s markets requires marketers to step up and leave their traditional tools behind in favor of new approaches made necessary by heightened competition and changing customer demands.

Certain practices need to stop; others need to start.



1. Don’t expect the traditional marketer’s kit bag of same-old methods to produce breakthrough results. They won’t. New times demand new techniques. Leave behind flogging products, trying to compete on product features and believing technical capabilities will make the difference.

2. Lose the obsession with mass markets. There is no such thing as an “average” customer. Every person is different in some way. Discover their differences; market to each of them.

3. Resist the temptation to use price as the vehicle to win. It won’t; it’s not a viable long-term strategy. Price moves can and will be copied by competitors. Price competition drives profit margins down and does nothing to build customer loyalty. 

4. Cut the crap – the non-strategic and no-longer-relevant marketing programs. In order to make room for “the new,” purge old practices that have limited value in the long term.
Falling in the crap category are: price promotions (produce no long-term competitive advantage), new customer acquisition programs (encourage churn and anger existing customers who are denied the same offers) and customer appreciation events (mostly satisfy lookyloos who want deals rather than rewarding existing customers).

5. Expunge “best in class” from marketing vocabulary. Benchmarking to copy another organization is a catch-up tactic and does nothing to gain strategic advantage.

6. Swing marketing focus from getting better to standing out - to be distinctive and unique from the competition. Make competitive moves that create the “wow power” to catapult the organization out of the herd.

7. Avoid making small incremental changes to products to make them appeal to a broader market. This “round-the-corners” marketing dilutes the crisp value proposition that made it attractive in the first place.
Keep products “edgy” and vibrant.



1. Looking for “step out” opportunities. The marketer’s challenge is to constantly strive to be “the one and only” in the markets served rather than on improving existing products and services.

2. Devote copious amounts of time to answering the question, “Why should I do business with you and not your competitors?” Create the “only statement” to express the organization’s uniqueness: “We are the only ones that ... .”

3. Ask the customer service team for more input on how offers are being accepted by customers, what the “pain points” in operations are, and what the competition is doing. Use customer service as a primary customer and market research source.

4. Create and market experiences for the customers served; loosen the focus on products and services.
Deliver happiness rather than flog product features. A product delivers happiness for a limited time only - a new SUV soon becomes a used car; a memorable experience stays with us forever.
Emotion marketing represents a huge opportunity. 

5. Discover the “secrets” and innermost desires of the target customers to unlock their marketing potential. Marketing to what people need (herd behaviour) is no longer sufficient to be noticed in the market and standout from the aggressive competition.

6. Establish customer learning as a core competency in your organization. Be “always on” to learn what customers desire every time they touch the organization, whether it’s a personal contact or a visit to a website.

7. Develop packages for high-value customers rather than offer them individual products and services. Learn their broad holistic desires; seamlessly integrate multiple products to yield a broad value proposition that is difficult for competitors to match. 

If marketing is to continue to provide relevant and compelling value to organizations, it must refresh itself, take on a new purpose and let go of traditional methods.


Sales blogger

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 5.22.17 at 06:11 am by Roy Osing
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May 15, 2017

6 practical ways to make change easier for people

There’s always a quid pro quo to successful implementation of any new idea.

“If I accept your direction and agree to help you (execute it) what do I get in return?” is the hidden question behind any change.

“What’s in it for me?” is the question that most implementation planning rarely asks.

What's in it for me

It’s expected that the idea will sell itself.

That people in the organization will see the light and rally behind it regardless of personal consequences. That their loyalty to the organization (and receiving a regular paycheque) will trump any negative impact the change may have on them individually.

This is rubbish of course but I would say the majority of changes sought by organizations do NOT have the detailed “What’s in it for me?” work done to make them successful.

I was recently asked by a major corporation to speak to their management team on the subject of change management. Their board had decided to move the organization to a new more modern building. Period.
The problem was that in the move, people lost many benefits they had in the old facility; smaller (or no) work stations and short commute times for example.

I was asked to come in and put a good face on the decision and provide some tips on how to deal with the employee fallout that was happening.

My challenge was that they had not done the “What’s in it for me?” work as a part of the implementation planning. Or if it was considered it was assumed not to be a big deal; that employees would be persuaded that the bigger picture would outweigh any impact the move would have on them personally.

And they would buy in.

Not likely.

Employee buy-in only happens when people can see personal benefits. Hygiene factors such as a more comfortable work environment and a shorter distance to work; career factors such as greater promotion potential and salary lift all play a more important role than the “strategic benefits” of the planned change.

Negative benefits

What are your options to sell the change if it is asymmetric in favour of the organization, and the planned change removes benefits for employees?

1. Come clean. Own up to the personal negatives of the decision. Trying to “put lipstick on the pig” won’t work; trying to finesse the downside exacerbates the situation.

2. Meet with employees to get a more granular understanding of the personal negatives of the change. Ask for opinions on how they could be addressed.

3. Emphasize the personal positives even if they are few. Look to the future and explain what will be done to make up for the hit people are taking today.

4. Be available 24X7 to answer any questions individuals have. Staff the “We’re Here” support service with your most empathetic and caring people not staffers who want to push the high level strategic reasons for the change.

5. Sweeten the offer. Add some personal positives to the plan in recognition of what is being taken away. Make the extra investment; the return will be worth it.

6. Put leadership in the hot seat to defend the plan. Leaders accountable for the change decision need to feel the hot breath of angered employees to appreciate the personal negatives of the plan. Take the punch; the leadership brand is at stake.

Any planned change requires quid pro quo work if implementation is to succeed.

Don’t rely on lofty strategic reasons to persuade anyone to support change efforts.

Make it personal.


Sales blogger

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 5.15.17 at 06:17 am by Roy Osing
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May 8, 2017

Are you a leader who “lights fires”?

What does it take to be a remarkable leader; one who stands apart from the rest; who attracts attention and admiration for not just what they achieve but HOW they achieve it?

The emotional ingredient to brilliant leadership often goes missing-in-action when the pundits and other leadership “experts” describe the skills and competencies inherent in “the great ones”.

Logic emotion

The emphasis seems to be on the cognitive capability of the leader rather than the raw feelings element of the leader’s make up.

Memorable leaders “light fires” in every theatre they find themselves; fires that generate excitement for each audience member by igniting their passion and stimulating their emotions.

They stimulate interest in their company through the power of their persona. Because of the rich images they create though their communication skills, people have a natural affinity to their organization; it is viewed as a natural extension of the leader.

“Fire lighting leaders” intentionally appeal to the right brain in their audience; they PLAN to trigger an emotional response from people and “hook” them.

Their sense of humour is infectious; drawing people close to them and gaining their trust.

Because of the sheer energy they exude, this leader attracts the best and brightest with a value proposition for their organization too compelling for most career-seekers to ignore.

People are attracted to them and what their organization stands for.

Left brain right brain

With every audience, they raise eyebrows over where their organization is going and how they plan to get there.

They have the unbeatable combination of both a mesmerizing vision for their team and a way to “sell” it that makes it impossible for individuals on the career hunt to look away.

They attract the “emotionally strong” person who identifies with the leader and their modus operandi. And candidates that are attracted typically have off the chart “AQ’s” - achievement quotients - who loyally serve and enhance the performance of the organization. They are keepers.

My advice to any leader looking to make their mark and standout from the leader herd is to make the commitment to appeal to the feelings and emotions of people; that’s where the loyalty and active support emanates.

But if you want to play the “Supreme Commander” card as a leader and rest on your intellect, logic and academic pedigree to drive your success you will be sorrily disappointed.

You may ultimately be a “floating apex” - at the top of the organization with no one below who cares about what you do and who is willing to “go to war” with you to achieve your lofty goals.

Feelings are lit with fires; fires compel people to act.

Go light fires.


Sales blogger

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 5.8.17 at 06:26 am by Roy Osing
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