Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I would see that it is part of our cultural heritage that we focus on things, which are wrong, things, which are not working. This already starts in your upbringing and is strengthened in school. The teacher says: “you made 3 mistakes” and he didn’t tell you “ 7 answers were right”!
This attitude extrapolates into the workplace. The focus is on what is broken, defect and not working appropriately. This all creates a culture of fear and employees will be afraid to make any mistakes.

Let’s start one day a week in which you focus on what is working well. On your successes, on what the customer really appreciates. That will have two benefits.
  1. it will make you aware of opportunities to multiply successful services and
  2. it will boost the morale of your people.

It easy to implement, so what day of the week is your day of positive focus??


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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Most Important: The Ability To Learn, Fast

In these times of rapid changes it is crucial to look in front of you (instead of in the rearview mirror), to digest the relevant info, to learn and to (re)act. FAST!

However, many large corporations are still managing with a focus on data from the past. That is why they have installed all these huge ERP-systems. It is a management-style, which is dominated by control and an inward focus.

This is also the way they look at their (prospective) employees. The main driver whether you qualify for a job is your resume/cv. And this provides a view of and in the past.

This approach is no longer working. The market is changing so fast that ‘results from the past are no guarantee for the future’ anymore. This notification is even a legal requirement for financial services.
Market savviness and the ability to learn – fast - is much more crucial now.

With respect to learning there is a difference between the willingness to learn and the ‘should’ learning. Again the practice in most companies is that employees should/must learn. They send them to courses etc for this. But if there is no budget, the trainings are the first items that get cancelled. This entails a view on learning as something, which should happen occasionally.

Clearly this is no longer the way to go. One of the real differentiators is to learn, to learn fast and to learn ongoing. And of course act on what you have learned. Therefore you need a willingness to learn, an enthusiasm about learning particular topics. This can only be achieved when you work from your passion, only if you are passionate you will have this natural willingness and eagerness to learn.

So, do you already know what the passion is of your employees?


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Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Last Saturday I did visit an optician (Bellavista in Baarn). I was curious as they offered a design service for glasses. I am interested in design and I am wearing glasses since I was a young child, so that is why I did go. I had never seen this ‘bespoke’ service from Tom Davies (the manufacturer) before.

I wanted to find out how it works. As I made no appointment I had to wait some time until the female owner approached me. She took all the time I needed and explained the concept very well. She even had me try on some of the glasses, even while there were other customers waiting.

Her partner overheard the conversation and told me about his experience with this bespoke service. What struck me was his honesty. He told me that most customers are hesitant because you don’t know the end result as you order. It will be a bit of a surprise, although you have defined the specifications yourself. He said that this ‘fear’ prohibits a large interest in the service.

Isn’t this great when you are honestly told what the risks are and why not many people are interested in the service? This personal and open communication certainly strengthened my interest.
The combination of a design product/service with personal service is really a differentiator!

How can you be more personal in your customer relationships?


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Tuesday, November 2, 2010


The autumn has started and especially car dealers and tire providers are very active.

The car dealers are offering ‘free’ winter check-ups. You can come and they will check whether your car is winter-ready. And of course they hope to find something, which needs to be taken care of. Well, it could be beneficial for you, but mainly it is for them.
There are two ‘buts’:
  1. Most of the car dealers are offering the same type of winter check. So, customers perceive it as nothing special. This me-too strategy has as a consequence that customers just expect this service and don’t value it all.
  2. If I let my car have its regular, planned maintenance then why should I go to the garage an extra time? Did they miss something? Is there something, which they did not check there? This is confusing.

The tire providers are now offering to put some winter tires under your car. This means that you as a customer are supposed to have two sets of tires, one for the winter and one for the rest of the year.
There is also a ‘but’ here.
I have never heard tire manufacturers tell me that their regular set of tires is NOT suitable for driving in the winter. They always made me belief that these tires were a perfect choice for the entire year.
So, who is wrong? Are the winter tires not necessary or are the regular tires not suited for driving in the winter?
In any case they better give me the right information, because they just now confuse me. And this doesn’t increase my trust in their business practices.

So, before you start your marketing, consider whether you are addressing a real customer need. Also know that especially now honesty is still the best policy.


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