Roy's Blog: November 2017

November 27, 2017

This is what happens when you transplant a successful culture

In an unpredictable and intensely competitive environment every business faces a challenge to grow.

They generally apply one of two strategies to achieve this end.

The first is to grow organically; focusing the organization’s resources primarily on their existing customers with current and new products and they rely on obtaining new customers by winning them away from their competitors.

The second is to expand their customer base by acquiring another company and essentially importing the customer base that they hold. Apart from anticipated synergies such as reduced operating costs the purchaser “buys” an existing revenue stream.

There are mixed views on which approach is the most effective.

Organic growth can be slower than desired; acquisition growth can “on paper” be fast and effective, but often results in organizational integration issues (for example cultural and leadership differences) that prevent growth objectives from being achieved.

Shared values

There is a third growth approach, however, which is a kluge of organic growth and acquisition strategies; I rarely see this option used by any organization.

This involves building a brand or culture “@home” and transplanting it in the business acquired. If an organization has been successful in creating a culture around serving customers, for example, they would look to buy a company with significant growth potential and transfer their customer focused culture to it.
They would treat other common core competencies such as technological and strategic fit as secondary considerations.

Richard Branson is a good example of a leader who has been successful doing this. He developed a customer centric culture @home and then applied it to new businesses he bought but had no prior experience in.
For example his music business spawned his customer focus competency which he then applied subsequently to the many different businesses he acquired.

It makes sense.

Any business requires a strong customer bias to be successful. Incubate it in your own (semi-controlled) environment and then replicate it in the businesses you acquire.

There are three huge benefits of this “culture transplant” approach.

1. Your competitive advantage is scaled and multiplied across all businesses you buy.

2. Business integration risks are reduced as cultural differences are less of a factor.

3. The time to realize acquisition synergies is shortened as critical barriers to execution such as structure and employee engagement are minimized.

If you’re in the hunt for an acquisition as a means to grow, look for a company who first has a culture leaning in your direction and then has opportunities for synergy and growth.

Cheers, Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 11.27.17 at 04:20 am by Roy Osing
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November 20, 2017

Successful business people do these 10 things best

Successful business people focus on ten things that others don’t.

They:

1. Understand that the way to serve customers in an exemplary way is to serve employees in the same manner. If employees don’t provide exceptional service to one another in their daily roles, they are unlikely to provide customers with caring service that goes above and beyond what they expect.

2. Have a strategic game plan for themselves and use it as THE context for everything they do. They are guided by strategy, not tactics. They avoid chasing anything that doesn’t have direct line of sight to their strategy.

Successful

3. Don’t over-analyze everything. The degree of study depends on the risk associated with the decision to be made. They don’t get mesmerized with the tools of analysis; they use them appropriate to the level and risk inherent in the decision to be made.

4. Don’t look for perfection. The quest for the perfect solution (which doesn’t exist in any event) only takes valuable time away from execution. They understand that success is a function of making tries, and doing lots of imperfect stuff fast.

5. Are the champions of change in their organization which gives them currency among their peers and colleagues and the ability to garner the resources required to get things done. They get nervous with the status quo and always look for opportunities to create a discontinuity to force the organization out of its comfort zone.

6. Are crazy about execution. They are comfortable with loosening up on the development of their plan and not trying to make it perfect. They believe in getting the plan “just about right”, and focusing on execution. They understand that performance depends on how well they execute, not on the brilliance of the plan and strategy.

7. Spend copious amounts of time with the frontline; people in the organization who deal directly with customers. This is the way to find out what’s really going on. They want to discover the issues personally to make meaningful change, and not be jaded by what others want them to believe. They don’t have a stay in the office mentally.

8. Have a contrarian belief system by nature. They believe that the source of opportunity lies not in copying what others are doing, but rather charting a course that no one else is on. They are true 180 degree thinkers who look to go in the opposite direction to others.

9. Place a priority on meeting with customers regularly. There is no substitute for getting feedback on performance directly from a customer. They make it a priority and schedule it weekly on their calendar. And if faced with a conflict between attending an internal meeting or keeping a customer commitment, the customer wins.

10. Are relentless and voracious learners. Standing still intellectually isn’t an option in a world changing every instant. Value added to the organization depends on business people keeping up. They are “learning leaders” who believe staying ahead of the learning curve is essential to success.

The smart generation of business people know that success doesn’t come from an academic pedigree.

They know that brilliant performance is the result of practising the fundamentals of being different than the competition, staying close to customers, serving employees and executing strategy in the trenches.

Cheers, Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 11.20.17 at 01:06 am by Roy Osing
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November 13, 2017

How important is the product really?

Organizations take products too seriously.

They think products convey value and stress features, cool technology and price as the reasons why people should buy.

I think the product - centric strategy is severely flawed.

Products don’t make companies great. In a marketplace where benchmarking and best practices are relied on as the main vehicle of innovation, virtually every company in a given product space offers similar products.

The smartphone sector, for example, has a number of participants whose products, give or take, are essentially the same in terms of functionality and price.

All the same

Market participants claim that they have different features and that their prices are more attractive than others, but essentially they are all the same.

If products are relatively equal across all competitors, why are some companies awesome and others not so much?

It has little to do with products.

Rather it has everything to do with the company; the culture an organization wraps around it’s products and services; the context it provides for customers to engage with them.

These 12 uncomplicated moves enable organizations to provide the WOW! cushion to sell their products.

1. They recruit sensitive and caring people who have an innate desire to help others rather than place all the emphasis on their academic qualifications and related experience.

2. They have “friendly” technology dumbed down to express the value it creates for people rather than emphasizing the coolness of what it does. Technology intimidates some; they get that and try to remove the mystique.

3. They create policies and rules created to make it easy for customers to do business with them, not control the terms of engagement. They never use the words “It’s not our policy.”

4. They offer special promotions and deals first to their existing loyal customers rather than use them as an incentive to attract potential new customers. They look at special deals as a reward for customer loyalty not as a tool to entice new customers away from their current supplier.

Special promotion

5. They make substantial investments in the local communities where they operate, and emphasize their employees and the amount of personal time they give to the volunteering effort.

6. They routinely communicate with customers keeping them abreast of what’s new and available to them. They don’t believe in mass communications; they personalize each message to make it as meaningful and relevant as possible to each recipient.

7. They proactively reach out to their customers with lower cost product and service alternatives which could save them money over what they are currently using. Their priority is to ensure each customer has the most cost effective solution.

8. They have a fun esprit de corps culture where employees are allowed to be casual with customers. Informality puts customer engagement at ease and has them leaning in rather than leaning out.

9. They empower their service personnel to make decisions to resolve customer issues fast without the need to escalate the matter to their supervisor. They trust that their frontline will make balanced decisions that represent the needs of both the customer and the organization.

10. They are willing to provide advice to a customer to seek another organization’s product when they are unable to satisfy the customer’s need.

11. They have people available to take the customers call as an alternative to being managed by call answer technology. Their customer contact strategy is to make it easy for people to engage with them, not to force customers into using a tool of technology.

12. They treat their call centers as “loyalty centers” with the emphasis on taking care of the customer rather than processing their call quickly. Maintaining customer loyalty is the focus, not managing costs.

People don’t buy products.

They buy the instruments of organizations they admire, respect and are comfortable with; whose ideals match their own.

Organizations that want to stimulate product sales should build the right culture and sales will take care of themselves.

Cheers, Roy

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  • Posted 11.13.17 at 03:59 am by Roy Osing
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November 6, 2017

The one simple thing remarkable leaders do

What defines a remarkable leader; what single thing separates the average leader from the standout leader?

There is no silver bullet to becoming a remarkable leader; rather it is the result of practicing a number of “little things” consistently, with unrelenting commitment and passion.

But there IS one role, however, if performed well, enhances leadership effectiveness and also enables a leader to stand apart from the crowd who practice their art from theory and textbooks.

How can I help

Strategy execution is THE key role that brilliant leaders apply most of their energy on.

Great leaders are defined by their accomplishments not by their intellectual prowess alone.

A great idea that dies on paper and can’t successfully implemented defines failure regardless how clever the idea is.

How does a leader build the competence to execute that others view with awe?

They spend their time in the frontline trenches where individuals serve customers and deliver, maintain and support the organization’s products and services.

And their message to the troops isn’t a declaration of lofty intent; it’s a down-to-earth question they ask of each team member constantly: “How can I help?”.

“How can I help?” releases superlative execution because it leads to the removal of the barriers that prevent individuals from performing their roles effectively.

When there is pervasive smooth and seamless role performance, systems and procedures function well, promises to customers are consistently kept, product and service breakdowns are minimized, customer service perception is high, mistakes are reduced and rework costs are avoided.

In addition to enabling effective execution, “How can I help?” offers other key strategic benefits.

1. It promotes quality improvement and cost reduction. Front-liners know how things should be done right the first time as well as what needs fixing.

2. It drives innovation by pulling up and shining a light on the creative ideas of every employee and particularly frontline employees closest to the customer.

3. It stimulates employee engagement by reaching out to people and using their ideas to make the “internal world” of the organization easier and more productive.

4. It facilitates competitive advantage by out hustling others who are plagued with ineffective procedures and systems, “dumb rules” and dysfunctional execution.

5. It leads to a reduction in employee turnover. People are less inclined to switch employers when they feel they are making a positive contribution and are valued for doing so.

One simple question.

Numerous strategic benefits.

If you’re looking for the ONE action to take to become an amazing leader like no other, start with asking the question.

Cheers, Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 11.6.17 at 04:19 am by Roy Osing
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