Roy's Blog: January 2019

January 28, 2019

5 myths of how to be an effective leader

I feel for those young people who are thirsting for advice on how improve their leadership skills. Where do you turn for trusted information? Who’s leadership narrative do you believe?

It’s overwhelming to say the least. Google “leadership” and you are presented with way too many sources that can reasonably be consumed — that is, if you can actually find a source that sounds good to you.

Myths

These are 5 myths about leadership that are promulgated by most pundits of the craft.

You don’t need charisma

There is a view that a good leader must possess the aura of charisma; that quality that they have to WOW! the person they are engaging with.
I would characterize the common view of charisma as “communications on steroids” and a classic case of style over substance.

If you’re wanting to build your leadership skills, DO NOT put “I need to be more charismatic” on your list of things to improve on.
What worked for me was honest emotion (to be genuinely passionate about what you are talking about), simplicity (to talk about things in simple terms that people can understand) and informality (to be real — NOT SLICK — in what you say and how you say it).
Charisma is for showmanship, it’s not for leadership. I didn’t think Steve Jobs was charismatic, did you?

You don’t need vision

Great leaders possess the almost indescribable talent of being able to “see” into the future and “know” what the success ingredient for their organization is. Right?
Well, there are perhaps a few individuals who (in retrospect) had this gift — Jobs is the only one that comes to mind — but for most of us common leaders the vision thing is a non-starter.

At the time Jobs was spouting off about carrying music around on a device, did anyone say “WOW! This guy has vision”? No! It only became apparent later (and after a series of other device innovations) that his view of what customers would desire was extraordinary — and I would suggest that if Apple hadn’t executed on his plan, his “vision” label might never have been gifted to him.

Having vision is NOT a leadership requisite because it is only realized in retrospect. You can’t learn this skill; other competencies provide the opportunity to earn the vision label after you have achieved amazing things.

Delegate

You don’t need to delegate

Leadership school teaches you that you must be good at delegating tasks to others. In my view I see leaders delegating too much.
Be careful, there is a significant difference between constructive delegation and abdication.

Appropriate delegation occurs when the leader hands off tasks that better fit the competencies of the people that report to them, but the outcomes are carefully monitored and managed by the leader.
Delegatory abdication, on the other hand, occurs when the leader hands something off and quickly dismisses any accountability for the results.

I have seen many leaders in my time abdicate their responsibility under the name of delegation.
Is delegation an appropriate skill of an effective leader? YES, but it comes with staying involved with what is handed off and holding the person accountable.

You don’t need to command

Maybe it’s a General Patton infatuation , but it’s common to portray an amazing leader as being a tough commander dude.

This is the person who takes charge almost with brute force and singlehandedly orchestrates the outcome everyone is delighted with; they are at the top of the pyramid and there’s no question about who’s in charge.
This is the leader who acts, disposes instructions and who spends little time asking for input and suggestions — one who stands alone and is almost divinity-possessed in the face of crisis.

The commander leader is old school; who rose to adulation in wartime not in the conduct of “normality”.

Today, the commander should be Number 2 in identity, with servant-ship in the light. You don’t have to be great commander to be a standout leader; focus on asking people “How can I help?” rather than commanding them to “Do this!”

Clarity

You don’t need clarity

This myth deals with the notion that a great leader needs to provide precise direction in terms of the organization’s future; they need to provide absolute focus on what the end of the journey looks like.

Well, it’s not required; in fact it’s a negative. Searching for clarity is a time consuming activity with a purpose that can never be achieved. In an environment of chaotic, rapid and unpredictable change, how can any future be perfectly clear?

The standout leader is ok with a fuzzy idea of where they should go. They understand the importance of executing on a chosen path and learning on the run whether it was the right choice; that making adjustments to a “just about right” plan is more important than wasting time searching for a clear path that doesn’t exist.

You DO need to micro-manage

Effective leaders are supposed to deal with the BIG issues in an organization. Building strategy, overseeing financing, negotiating mergers and acquisition and managing the board of directors would qualify as key roles in their job description.

But what about the so-called “little things” that require their personal fingerprint to get done the right way? Nope, they get delegated because the book on leaders says don’t micromanage.

Leaders are encouraged to not dabble in the details because they can be more effectively dealt with by the more junior crowd of manager.
That’s a myth. There are some (not all) matters that require the leader’s active involvement in order to produce the exact outcome needed. For example, articulating exactly what “the customer moment” looks like for employees is something great leaders do regularly.

They spend time with customer contact people on the frontline describing the behaviours necessary to WOW! a customer; they choose not to allow this very crucial element of their organization’s strategy to be handled by junior managers. They know that the right consistent outcome of a customer moment of truth needs the view from the top, and they dive in and provide the direction themselves.

If you want to step up your leadership game, be careful to avoid these 5 myths propagated by the pundit crowd; which can stultify your efforts to take your skills to the next level.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 1.28.19 at 03:11 am by Roy Osing
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January 25, 2019

The one thing you can do to get your dream job — guest post

Dream job

Do you find it suspicious that there’s one critical thing you can do to succeed in work and life?
Well, if so, you haven’t been taking your education seriously.

That’s correct – while things such as knowing the right people, or being in the right place at the right time can help you advance your career, there’s one factor that trumps them all and is the basis without which you can never get where you genuinely want to — education.

It can be underestimated these days, but the truth is, it’s an essential step you need to take to build a career, reach your career goals and develop as a person.

If you feel you lack education, please don’t! It’s never late to learn!

Nowadays, especially in countries such as Australia or the U.S., and not to mention the online world, we have the resources to never to stop learning and growing.

Develop your mind and devote the next year to education — here’s why.

To get knowledge

This one is fairly obvious. One of the main reasons why people get an education is the knowledge it offers them.
This knowledge can be both practical and factual – so not only will you know the why and the how, it will also enable you to work better in your current role and any roles you hope to get in the future.

This reason is strong enough to apply whether you are looking into a career change and starting in a new field from scratch, or just strengthening your skill set.

Always be aware of it, and never stop learning. The world is developing at such an intense pace today, and there’s always more to learn.

Keep up, and you’ll reach the top easier, and stay there as well.

Dream 1

To boost your confidence

Frankly, apart from the actual knowledge, a degree or certificate is another important tangible outcome we get when we enrol in any studies at any level.

And while the “piece of paper” is important evidence of completing your educational goals, the sense of accomplishment you get when you’re done is just as important.

Maybe you worked really hard to get it, or you never really thought you would succeed in getting one in this particular field, but seeing it with your name on it will prove you that all the work was worth it.

A degree is just a symbol of everything education will give you: knowledge, skills, experience, additional skills in communication.

No wonder getting a degree will work wonders for your confidence. Late nights of studying and doing poorly on a test will test it, but actually finishing what you started will make you feel like you’re on top of the world.

To invest in yourself

There’s no better investment than an investment you make in yourself. What you will get in material terms is temporary – one day it can be there, the next it can disappear.

We’ve witnessed economic crises and natural disasters, so one can never be too sure about your belongings. But what you add to your mind stays with you forever, and yes, it can always be a tool to make something material.

Whatever stage you are at life, if you’re not too happy about where you’re heading professionally, make a turn. Enrol a master’s course in a field you’re passionate about, even part-time if it’s easier.

It can also be a great opportunity to travel and meet new people, so maybe think about taking a course at Perth College of Beauty Therapy, or any other institution that accepts international students. Or find a class online if no university near you offers one on a topic you’re interested in.

The world really is your oyster, and whatever you get in terms of knowledge, will stay with you forever.

Dream 2

To grow your social network

Remember how easy it was to make friends and have lots of acquaintances when we were in school? It’s only partially because we were young and didn’t have elaborate criteria for friends.

The major reason is simple: we were with people every day! They were all at our disposal every day for 5-6 hours.

So if you feel that you’ve ended up in a rut because you only see your 3 colleagues every day and the occasional person in the gym, furthering your education will also help you meet new people.

They don’t have to turn into best friends for life (though it’s possible), but you have at least one thing in common already: an interest in the topic you’re studying!

Growing your social network is never a bad thing – who knows who you might meet through your new colleagues and how that might shape your prospective career!

If you’re looking for a career change or want to push your existing career in the right direction, find a course that might help you. It may be hard at times, but overall, it can be the best decision you will make for yourself.

Good luck!

Leila Dorari is an entrepreneur, self-development ambassador and an avid dog lover. She believes all people are born equal but only those dedicated and brave enough to work on themselves reach their full potential.

Leila Dorari

  • Posted 1.25.19 at 04:42 am by Roy Osing
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January 21, 2019

How to make your retail business successful

It’s shocking to see the number of retailers that have not survived over the past year. These were established businesses with a history of loyal customers and decent profitability.

But they simply ran out of steam and couldn’t keep pace with the changes taking place in the industry. Buyer demographics and buying behaviours quickly change and retailers incapable of keeping pace die a slow and agonizing death — store by store by store…

Death of retail

There is no silver bullet — a single strategy — that will save a retailer in the current chaotic and unpredictable business environment, but there are some actions retailers can take to at least increase their chances of survival.

Renew your business strategy

It’s very tempting to take action and employ tactics that you think will help, but you need to start with redefining a strategy that you think will successfully meet the new dynamic.
The critical piece of thinking here is that you cannot assume what worked for you in the past will work in the future. I believe the main reason so many retailers fail is they almost religiously hold on to their past business model, expecting it to work in an environment where literally every customer — competitor — technology variable has changed.

In addition don’t get sucked into believing that cost cutting will save you. The retail death spiral is not a cost issue, it’s a demand issue. Cutting costs with the hope of salvaging the company has a perilous and inescapable outcome.
Did you really think that by closing over 1,400 stores Radio Shack would survive? Not unless they change their business strategy and figure out how to do a better job at serving customers and providing unmatched value in the marketplace.

Deliver value; don’t sell products

Look at your business as an instrument to deliver unique value, not as an agent to sell products and services. Think about being in the “benefit creation” business where what people want and desire drives the innovation process. The model of stacking the shelves — be it in a bricks and mortar environments or online — and having customers excitedly buy is wishful thinking.

Provide value

And your retail value must be different that your competition because if you’re not different, you will fall victim to the commodity space where the value proposition for any retailer is reduced to price.
Commodity market players “race to the bottom” with their prices much to the delight of the customers but to the detriment of the business as margins are squeezed and profits plummet.

As the telecommunications space was heating up with competition, we morphed our phone stores from outlets that offered telephones and accessories to residential customers to a solutions selling vehicle for both residential and small business customers. Product sales took care of themselves with this new focus.

Redefine who you want to serve

Change your target market. Demographics and psychographics are changing. Millennials are growing in number and will soon be the largest segment of the population. Continuing to target the older population, for example, because it has worked up to now is a choice with no long term future.
The question to ask is “Which customer group represents the greatest growth potential for our business?” Focus your energy on that group. Build capacity and competencies in your retail organization to satisfy the wants and desires of that group.

And say goodbye to customers who are no longer relevant to your renewed strategy. You can’t afford to hold on to your old base while pursuing a new one.
Deselecting customers is a difficult issue for most organizations as it means carefully shifting focus and investment away from customers who have traditionally been in the center of attention to a new breed who are unproven in terms of revenue generation.

Look for order of magnitude not incremental change

Minor changes to what you do and the way you do them won’t work; explore new completely different ways to completely morph your business. And consider outrageous ideas like the Heart Attack Grill in Las Vegas as well because the “traditional tried and true” approaches simply will not work anymore.
If your new retail idea doesn’t scare the hell out of you, chances are it’s too modest. 

Heart attack grill

We completely reengineered our phone store network by closing almost half of them and reconfiguring the survivors geographically through our operating territory. This was anything but a modest change for which we took considerable criticism. But it was necessary in order to place our new “customer serving centers” closer to the customers we decided to target.

Recruit a new team

if your current retail strategy won’t get you where you need to go, probably your existing team won’t as well. Be prepared to change the composition of your teams and recruit new blood with the skills and competencies necessary to deliver your new direction. Look for disrupters who hate the status quo; people who will push for change.

HR must constantly be on the lookout for the new breed; they should constantly be in the recruitment mode regardless of whether you have immediate opportunities available or not.
Sooner or later positions will open up, and you need a stream of people immediately at hand to draw on.

As the telecom business was changing from a monopoly to a highly competitive model, we had to purge much of the organization in terms of the skill sets and competencies in our people. We had to import a cadre of folks who had proven experience in the retail world and let go many who were effective order takers but not able to sell competitively.

Provide personalized service

As a critical element of your renewed strategy set your sights on providing more personalized service rather than the traditional one-size-fits-all doctrine. Retail success comes from engaging with and serving customers on THEIR terms, not on what the business deems appropriate given their internal constraints. If retail isn’t prepared to meet their customers on their turf, the game will be swiftly over.

We moved from a subscriber model in our phone stores to the strategy of creating more personal customer experiences for every person who came to our stores. One tactic we chose was to “make the inside mirror the outside”; in other words recruit employees that were integral to the mosaic of ethnic populations we served.

So in an area where we had a significant Asian community, we hired frontline people and leaders who were also Asian and who could relate better to this customer group and serve them better than people with other ethnic backgrounds.
Service levels increased with productivity and we quickly outpaced our competition.

Build a leadership team of servers

Hand in hand with establishing a service culture is the need to move leaders from a traditional command and control bias to a serve and coach paradigm where “How can I help?” supplants “Do this!”.

Servant leaders

Critical to providing a personal experience for customers, retail operations must do the same for employees. An employee who experiences a servant leader who is there to help solve problems and eliminate job barriers will naturally apply the same behaviour to a customer. They learn to be helpful to customers because they receive the same treatment from their colleagues and bosses.

In the same way we had to move away from customers we had traditionally targeted, we had as well to exit traditional command and control style managers to make way for people who were natural servant leaders.

Eliminate commission salespeople

Having commission salespeople is the anathema of the concept of serving customers and providing personalized solutions to their problems.
Employees who are paid to push retail product will flog their wares to, not serve, customers. They will push for the sale as opposed to taking whatever time it takes to problem solve with the customer.

They will have zero motivation to create memorable experiences for their customer because it takes too much time, requires too much energy, and because they’re not getting paid to do it. Be prepared for an exodus of salespeople when you do this; they will look for opportunities to continue their flogging ways with other retailers. So let them.

Retail businesses can survive; all is not lost. But it will require retailers to put the past to rest and take action to break away from “the way they have always done things”.

Those that have the guts to do it have a chance of surviving; those that don’t will die.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
6 mammoth barriers to being successful
7 reasons most call centers are absolutely shameful
The one deadly mistake leaders make

  • Posted 1.21.19 at 04:05 am by Roy Osing
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January 14, 2019

6 mammoth barriers to being successful

What’s preventing you from reaching your career goals?

I’ve completed more than three decades of leadership. I’ve seen many people achieve beyond their wildest expectations and I’ve witnessed individuals fall short of realizing their dreams.

Why are some successful and others are not?

My conclusions are not based on science, but rather on observing over many years that individuals who are blocked by the following barriers tend to underachieve while those who avoid them perform better and realize greater success.

Barrier

Not enough contacts

Some people simply don’t have enough contacts; their network is too small to effectively exploit the potential opportunities that are out there.

A broad network exposes more possibilities; a narrow network is more restrictive and is likely to present chances in fewer disciplines to choose from.

To avoid this barrier, develop a game plan to expand your personal network. Remember to target quality contacts rather than trying to acquire arbitrary social media connections.

You will get a higher return (measured by the potential to supply you with job opportunities) from 100 quality LinkedIn connections, for example, than 1,000 Twitter followers or FB friends.

Too much reliance on education

Of course education is vital to success but don’t count on it to make you successful.

I look at an academic pedigree as the ante to play the career game. You need the piece of paper to play the game but it won’t guarantee you’ll win it.

Too many young professionals enter the work world expecting to be treated favourably because they have toiled for 8 years to graduate with status in a specific discipline. They feel entitled to get the opportunities that come available because of the knowledge they’ve gained.

But that’s not the way it works. Success depends on what you DO with what you know; how you leverage your knowledge into amazing results for who you work for.
So take your piece of paper, suck everything you can out of it you can, and DO stuff with it.
The more clever you are at getting stuff done, the more successful you’ll be.

The other barrier associated with education is the tendency for everyone to approach problem solving the same way. They were taught a specific way to do things at school and they relentlessly comply with the academic rules leaving no room to be different.
Compliance leaves you like everyone else; approaching things differently will make you standout and more successful.

Copying others

There is too much emphasis on copying others under the guise of innovation.

Copying

Copying best practices and doing what best in class organizations do runs rampant.
When faced with a “How should we do this?” challenge, the first response by most professionals is to find a best practise and try to copy and implement it.

Successful people don’t automatically turn to a solution that someone else has thought of and used; they search for a unique approach that stands out from the crowd of best practices to become THE best practice.
The successful aspire to BE the benchmark for others to copy.

Copying is the antithesis of creativity; don’t be lured into believing that emulation is the route to anything else but what the crowd does.

The wrong kind of mentor

Someone who is intellectually brilliant but has never DONE much to successfully implement a worthy solution in the real world unfortunately attracts mentees.

Young people looking for a mentor are infatuated by the number of letters behind a person’s name as opposed to the list of things they have successfully implemented in the face of chaotic market forces.

This is a huge barrier to success because it assumes high performance comes from the intellect and it doesn’t. It comes from the passion and “fire in the belly” of individuals who are driven to achieve.

Find a mentor who has a rich history of accomplishments; someone who has demonstrated they are unafraid of getting dirty to deliver. Listen to THAT person rather than the IQ ladened one.

Not staying on the learning path

Some people fall victim to believing that there are limits to what you have to learn to achieve success; that once you have amassed a certain amount of knowledge you can stop the learning process.

Learning

It’s almost like they believe the momentum created by what they’ve learned up to now will carry them into the future.
Wrong! Success is achieved not by a “one hit wonder” but by a continuous stream of awesome accomplishments over the long term. It’s a function of performing consistently at a high level.

And the only way long term a high level of consistency can be attained is by learning 24X7X365 because the world keeps changing and the only way to keep up and adapt is to stream new knowledge into your head constantly.

Reliance on what worked yesterday

What got you here will surely get you to where you need to go, right?

After all, you’ve been successful doing certain things well and it paid off, so why wouldn’t it continue to pay off in the future?

The truth is, if your new challenge had all the properties of the past challenges you successfully defeated, then maybe you could get by with sticking to the practices that worked for you then.

But that’s not the real world. Things change and there’s no such thing as a challenge that “looks” the same as yesterday. The world changes. New competitors enter. Technology disruption happens. Customer demands change.

NOTHING stays the same.

So if you really think sticking to your tried and true strategy and approach to your job will keep working into an environment of constant change and unpredictability, good luck with that.

It won’t. Successful people always ask themselves what they have to do differently with each new experience.

6 barriers to success, but all can be overcome with just a little bit of a different attitude.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead book series

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7 reasons most call centers are absolutely shameful
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  • Posted 1.14.19 at 03:18 am by Roy Osing
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