Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A fresh perspective needs a time-out and detachment



In medium to large organizations there is a need to standardize procedures and to have habits. Here are some examples of habits: every monday morning there is a team meeting; R&D is done in-house; managers are senior men; we focus on addressing faults, mistakes and individual weaknesses.
Most leaders are not even consciously aware of these practices. They are so ingrained in the the 'way things get done here' (the 'culture'), that they are neither questioned nor improved.

While some of these habits are quite beneficial, like having regular team meetings, others do often block innovation. Let's have a look at R&D which is done only internally. This certainly will create a kind of arrogance, 'we know it better'. And also the focus is entirely on satisfying the internal customers, rather than the external stakeholders. Also it is impossible to keep up to date on all new developments in the market and therefor there is a huge risk of missing out on new customer needs. An example id Digital Equipment Corporation which missed the importance of the pc. Now you see that still many organizations are dismissing social media.
Procter & Gamble has decided that more than 50% of its R&D should be crowd-sourced. In this way they are making sure not to miss out on crucial developments.

This time between Christmas and New Year is an excellent time to detach and to assess whether some of these habits are still supporting your goals. Be courageous and dare to let go of these old habits which block your progress.

What is your new perspective?


GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Are you really being customer-centric?



Yesterday I had to accompany my mother to the doctor. The roles reverse, as she did go with me while I was young and now it is the other way around. She had to perform a lung test. The outcome was that she has to use a certain medicine for six weeks.

Why is this relevant in the context of innovation? Well, the medicine has to be inhaled via a complicated tool. So, we went to the pharmacist and ordered the product. Then he set up a meeting in a separate room with us to 'demonstrate' the product. In other words, how to use it. This is all very good, but........ he had problems showing it correctly. As a matter of fact he made some mistakes, as I did find out reading the manual. The product is not easy to use and because of that it will not be used properly.

While the medicine and the tool might be very advanced, the results still depends on whether your customer CAN use it. The product was clearly not designed in a user-centric way. It still was designed form a product-centric point of view. Many companies say that their main strategy is to move from being product-centric to being customer-centric. It is evident that they still have to learn quite a lot to putting the user first in all their work.

How are you being customer-centric in all your activities?


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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Your story is your differentiator




It is very hard to distinguish your products and services, if you only focus on the features and/or the price. Even if you have a differentiator it will not last very long, as your competitors will catch up very soon.
One way to differentiate yourself in a sustainable way is to have a compelling story about your company, your self and your product/service. Here is an example from TOMS' Blake Mycoskie:

We make great shoes and give away a pair to a child in need for every pair we sell.”

Recently I also did hear the story from method by Adam Lowry. He mentioned that while cleaning his apartment he started reading the label of the cleaning product and did find out that many ingredients were toxic. Toxic for his own health as well as for the environment. So he started method: environmental friendly cleaning products.

Both stories give a personal touch and makes them easy to remember and to share with others.
The story has to be personal, either a personal experience (like with Blake who has met a charity which donated shoes) or a personal problem (like with Adam and cleaning his apartment).
In all my services I have coaching included. Ten years ago I did feel the powerful influence of coaching myself. I had missed this coaching, both personally (when I grew up) as well as professionally (in my career). So, now I want to offer it to everyone, as it is THE tool for personal growth - in a positive way.

So, what is your story?


GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

YOUR BEST ASSETS ARE UNDER-UTILIZED




In my last post I did mention the need to (regularly) look outside of the walls of your organization.
In addition to that , there is another very obvious area which is very often neglected, YOUR PEOPLE!

In these challenging times the focus is on survival and mostly on cutting costs. This means that people are laid off, trainings are skipped and hours worked are increasing towards a very unhealthy level. Recently I have coached some very senior managers who are on the verge of a burn-out. They just work too many hours, which has a negative impact on their effectivity, their health and their families.

However, if you want to survive and grow, the only way to do that is to make better use of your people. They are there, but their talents and qualities are not being used. They are not engaged (2011 Towers Perrin) and not happy (Conference Board 2010: only 45% of workers are happy). And both employee engagement and happiness makes us more motivated, resilient, creative, and productive, which drives performance upward.

How can you do that? Well, the most easy start is to have regular progress meetings with your people, let's say 30 minutes per week. That attention in itself will do wonders. Also it is crucial to ask for their ideas and suggestions upfront. Talk about the challenges that your group is facing and ask for their input. And then, of course, use that input. It should be real!
You will be amazed by the increase in productivity and the better atmosphere.

You are already mentioning (in your reports) that humans are your most important assets. It is now the time to use those assets in a positive way!

What are you doing to humanize the organization?

GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Market savviness requires the use of social media



Recently I have visited a couple of large, traditional Corporations. This means that they are used to doing business in a certain way and that it is very difficult to have them change that way. Change for change sake is of course not good.  Globalization and the Internet Business demand that you are on top of your game, rather than a laggard.  But these big companies are not used to looking structurally and regularly over the big wall, which they have put around their organization.

This means that they have a low level of market savviness. E.g. nobody has heard about Zappos, the power of customer service or the fact that young people want to use their own tools.
They see social media as a threat. The only thing what they are doing is to prepare how to react to some negative messages. This is what they are good at, damage control.

They have never thought about the use of social media for learning. Learning what is going on in their market (e.g. consumer electronics), what their customers are saying and what new developments there are in their area of expertise (sales, marketing, service). This really opens their eyes. Social media is such a powerful tool to keep yourself and your organization up to date on the latest developments.

How are you using social media as a learning tool?



GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Friday, November 11, 2011

How to address the status quo




This week I have read two excellent articles about obstacles for change (http://huff.to/w1QHev) and obstacles for innovation (http://bit.ly/uU3OvQ).

They clearly indicate that - as an innovator- you also have to be creative how to deal with the status quo. You can’t just give all your time and energy to the new idea; you also have to design a strategy to address the status quo. And the longer this status quo exists, the more powerful it is and the more resistant to change it will be.

Innovators see immediately the benefits of new products/services/business models etc. But most other people have a different perspective. So, we need to help them to see the world as we see it. Therefore you have to put in a lot of effort to describe the changed market conditions. And why they will impact the business very soon. And why the existing portfolio is not suitable to address these new challenges. Then they can start to see the new world (outside of the Corporate gates) and understand the business case for innovation.

What are you doing to build a convincing business case?


GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

HOW TO KILL A GOOD IDEA



In order to assess the viability and feasibility of a new idea, it is crucial to be a detached observer. What is a detached observer?

Let me start with what an attached observer is. That is a person who looks at new ideas, wearing the glasses of the past. He or she thinks that his/her ideas are always better and that their experience is more relevant. So, they have a prejudiced perspective. This baggage of the past prevents them to have an open-minded view. They also immediately can tell you why your idea won’t work. That is because they have had an experience in the past, which didn’t work out.
This is highly frustrating for the person with the new idea. They feel like they haven’t received a fair chance of pitching their idea. The ‘assessor’ also looses as he might wrongly criticise a perfect idea and this miss out on an opportunity.

A detached observer has an open-mind and looks ‘from a distance’ at the idea. This person is not influenced by the past and can easily see the opportunity in its wider perspective (from the past and into the future). This detached perspective is crucial, because the circumstances are changing so fast, it is simply impossible to judge the merits of an idea based upon solely the past. A detached observer is capable of silencing his inner critic and this have an impartial view.

So, which ‘glasses’ will you wear the next time you are asked to assess a new idea?



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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

ANALYSE WHAT IS NOT WORKING




There is a fine line between perseverance and choosing another approach. Let me explain.
If something (e.g. your marketing campaign; your sales calls; your partnerships) is not working, you should not stop after having tried it just a couple of times. You really need to give it some time and analyse the various reactions and perspectives. It is good to not give up and persevere.
But there comes a time when you have to reflect on your approach if there are no results. If you have the feeling that you have given your (old) approach a fair chance, then it is time to change the course. Develop a new approach and go for that. The timing is crucial. If you stick too long to a not-working approach then you become stubborn and frustrated.

However, you need to get the juices flowing again! So, stop when you are starting to feel frustrated and cynical. There are multiple roads which lead to Rome.

What is your new road?




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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

CHEAP TOOLS FOR BETTER INSIGHTS



Do you want ………?

-       To have new ideas
-       To see new perspectives
-       To solve problems
-       To cope with huge amounts of work
-       To be kind to ‘difficult’ people
-       To have more energy


Well, yes that would be very good, wouldn’t it!
There is a simple method, which you can apply regularly. It doesn’t cost much and you can do it all by yourself.

The solution:
  • Have a good night sleep (min 7 hours) and when you are awake, go do some exercise (walk, bike, run).

When you have showered and eaten a good breakfast, you will feel reenergized and enthusiastic. Your clear mind will make sure that you work fast and focussed and that new insight is abundantly available.

Go ahead, try it, it works!



GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Innovation demands faster adaptation (and change)



Yesterday I had a conversation with some ‘traditional’ business people. They see that there is a need for change and even for systemic change (like in the banking system). But,,,,,,,, yes, there was a but. They said that this kind of change requires a lot of time and can’t be done overnight.

That is of course the situation. However in most cases this prevents people from starting to work on this systemic change in the first place. There is only a lot of talk and not much doing.

They still look at this diffusion of innovation as a process, which will take (many) years.





The reality is that the speed of innovation is measured in months now, rather than in years.  This means that there is less time to adapt and to adopt. Your ability to respond quickly is crucial.

Do you have a special team which monitors the market and who is authorized to respond quickly?


GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

HUGE OPPORTUNITY: INCREASE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT



In Fast Company of September 2011 there were some shocking statistics about the (dis)engagement of the workforce.


United States
Japan
France
Germany
Engaged
29%
3%
12%
17%
Disengaged
6%
16%
12%
8%


While disengaged workers are not productive at all and harming your organization, the huge opportunity is to raise the level of engagement of all other employees.
An engaged employee is more productive, creative, loyal, resilient and happy.

An increase in employee engagement has a direct (positive) influence on the bottom line. There are many actions, which you can take to increase employee engagement.
One of the most important ones is to start listening to your employees. And I mean real non-judgemental listening. It is key to plan an hour for that every two weeks. In that way the employee feels values and taken seriously and the manager can learn what is happening out there.

Do you have a schedule to listen to your employees?




GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

KEEP ON STRETCHING, YOURSELF AND YOUR ORGANIZATION



It looks like that we are always looking for a situation where we are at ease, where there is no stress, in other words where we can be in our comfort zone. We want to have a break from all the changes and just focus on continuing the status quo.

While it is good to be at peace and to be calm at all times, there is a danger in staying in this comfort zone for too long. If you (and your organization) stay too long in your comfort zone, conformity becomes the standard and complacency kicks in. The daily operations require so much of our time and effort, that we pay less and less attention to what is happening in the market and we loose the contact with our customers.

This is why it is crucial to have some people in your organization who keep you stretched, who make sure that you are on the tip of your toes and don’t miss any major opportunities. These people are not the most loved, because they play that role of the disruptor. They are pulling us out of our comfort zone. That doesn’t make them the most popular kid on the block.

These trailblazers and quartermasters are crucial to stay in business, not only today but also next year. They play a crucial role in staying relevant. More than a year ago, I had a talk with Zappos about entering the European market. They said that they were not focussing on it yet. Now there are some very active local competitors (Zalando, Brandos) which have a similar offering and business model as Zappos. If Zappos now wants to be serious about the European market, it will be much more difficult then 1,5 years ago. Even, this highly innovative and admired company has become complacent in some form.

It is therefore vital to have these ‘scouts’ on board  AND to listen to them.
Who are your scouts?




GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Everything is connected



I have just finished reading The Bond from Lynne McTaggart, a highly recommended book.  The Bond shows that the essential impulse of all life is a will to connect rather than a drive to compete! The latest evidence from many disciplines – from neuroscience and biology to quantum physics – suggests that nature’s most basic drive is not competition, as classic evolutionary theory maintains, but wholeness.

In fact we are inescapably connected, hardwired to each other at our most elemental level – from cells to whole societies. The desire to help others is so necessary that we experience it as one of our chief pleasures, as essential as eating, and we succeed and prosper only when we see ourselves as part of a greater whole. It is recommended to help foster more holistic thinking, more cooperative relationships, and more unified social groups.


“… the dance of life is not a solo, but a duet – that every part of you connects to an essential and irreducible Bond.”

This impulse to seek connection has four signatories in any society: a need to belong, a need to agree, a need to give, and a need to take turns.

“ We now require nothing less than a revolution in our thinking. We must abandon the path of atomization in the way we relate to people, in the way we create our neighbourhoods, in the way we view our world. It is time for all of us to embrace the new scientific discoveries across all the disciplines, which are proving that we have maintained a false and dangerous view of ourselves. It’s time to begin a new Age of Enlightenment, one that recognizes and honours wholeness, and abhors the polarization of one people, one religion or even one political party against another. Like Nipun Mehta, we must all begin our individual efforts to make the Bond our superordinate goal.”



This means that employee as well as customer engagement is crucial to our business. We should focus on building alliances, rather than competitive strategies. It is also necessary to be connected with the scientific community, to stay up to date on the latest research.

What are you doing to be connected?



GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Change needs a young mindset



The pace of change is very fast and everyone is talking about it. Talking about the need to adapt quickly to all the changes. On the other hand, most change efforts are not successful. The intended results are rarely achieved.

One of the reasons is the lack of a young mindset. What do I mean by that?

Most elderly people (baby boomers) have a lot of possessions (house, position, status, stuff) and commitments (partner, children, mortgage), which they are trying to keep. They put in a lot of effort to protect what they ‘have’. That also creates a fear of loosing it.

Most young people (Millenials) start with a blank slate or even with a debt (college fees). So, they are looking for ways to create and build up something. They are willing to take more risks, as they have nothing to loose. They have an enthusiasm for gaining and winning.

Real change requires this positive, risk-taking, and creative mindset. That is why you should have young people in your change team as well as ‘old’ people with a young mindset.

How does your change team look like?



GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Friday, August 26, 2011

Do your intentions match your daily practice?




Last week I placed an order with Bol.com, one of the largest ecommerce sites here. Everything was fine and they mentioned that my order (which contains several items) would be shipped in 4-6 weeks. The distribution costs are € 1,95 for the complete package.

However, to my surprise they are sending these loose items, as and when they are available. Within one week’s time I have already received 5 individual shipments. Obviously this is good for me as a customer, as I do receive my items earlier than predicted.

For Bol,com this is not  good. Their distributions as well as their packaging costs are significantly higher than if they would have shipped the order in one go. So, it is crucial to check regularly whether your plans and commitments are being met, both positively as well as negatively.

Customer satisfaction is good, but you have to keep the eye on the bottom line as well.

Do you regularly check how your are meeting customer expectations?




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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

LESS WASTE MEANS MORE MONEY



Last week I had a flight from Amsterdam to London. This is a very short trip (approx. 1 hour).
What really surprised me was the lack of attention for the environment. I am not talking about big issues here, like flying on biofuels etc. No, often the opportunities are (relatively) small and right under our noses.

Even in this short trip they offered drinks. The drinks were all in very small cans (25cl). So, half a plastic glass of coke and look at the waste: a can and a plastic glass and a napkin per passenger. A lot of waste can be eliminated by having the coke, sprite, juice etc being poured straight into the glasses from large 2 liter bottles.

They also offered a snack, either chips or cookies in a very small packet. Again the packaging remains and creates waste and (some) weight. Wouldn’t it be easier if they didn’t offer these tiny snacks at all? I wouldn’t miss it.

Being green is not only about big solar installations and biofuelled engines. There is so much opportunity in the small things, in diminishing waste and thus saving money and the environment.

How can you have less waste?




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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

HAPPY EMPLOYEES HAVE HAPPY CUSTOMERS



It seems like an open door, but it isn’t. Most companies have the conviction that happiness is not suited for the workplace. In the workplace you have to work hard, do your job and only when you are successful you are allowed to be happy. Success first, happiness second.
The only problem is that this formula is broken. More than a decade of groundbreaking research in the fields of positive psychology and neuroscience has proven that the relationship between success and happiness works the other way around. Happiness is the precursor to success. Cultivating positive brains makes us more motivated, efficient, resilient, creative, and productive, which drives performance upward (Source: The happiness advantage by Shawn Achor).

So, as a leader you first have to make sure that your employees are happy, When they are happy they will serve your customers much better. And the customers are happy as well, Simple, isn’t it?

What are you doing to make your employees feel happy?




GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

USE THE STRENGTHS OF YOUR TEAM



Many managers are delegating to members of their team for three reasons:

-       Time (they don’t have enough time to do the job/task themselves)
-       Skill (they lack the skill to perform the task themselves)
-       Like (they don’t want to do the task themselves)

While the first two reasons can be quite acceptable, the last one clearly is not. The employees will soon notice why you have asked them to do the task. This will negatively impact their motivation as well. You could say that this is a form of delegation from weakness.

Bearing in mind the fast pace of change, it is critical that you continuously innovate with a high-performance team. This is normal in sports. The coach looks at the strengths of the individuals first and then sees how this person best fits into the team. In every position you will find the player with the best capabilities, both individually and as a team player.

The need for a continuously high performing and innovative team requires to delegate from strengths.

What are the strengths of your teams and the respective individuals?




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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

LEARN TO MAKE AN APOLOGY



You all know the power of word of mouth. So, here is what happened.
Some of my friends stayed to have dinner at the golf course. They ordered a simple meal. After waiting for an hour they did ask the waiter why it was taking them so long. The waiter went back to check with the kitchen. After waiting another ten minutes my friends did check with the waiter again. She told them that the order wasn’t communicated to the kitchen in the first place, so they just started with the preparation ten minutes ago.

This infuriated the customer. He told the waitress that mistakes could happen. But he didn’t accept the fact that the waiters didn’t inform him of the mistake, nor that they didn’t made an apology for the mistake. S, they did immediately leave the restaurant.

As, they are well known members, this experience quickly disseminated in the entire club. The damage is therefore much bigger than the two meals, which were being prepared in vain. Many members will think twice whether they want to eat in this restaurant again.

What are the two main lessons, from a customer service point of view?
-       Inform the customer immediately if you make a mistake.
-       Master the art of genuinely apologizing.




GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

SUBCONTRACTING DOESN’T RELIEVE YOU FROM BEING RESPONSIBLE.



Many organizations are focused on their core activities and the rest they outsource or subcontract to third parties.
When I contact the customer service department from my service provider, than they are still responsible for solving my issue.
This is not clearly understood by some of them.

After an accident I did call my insurance. They told me that the next day the expert would come to assess the damage. The next day the expert didn’t show up. So, I called the insurance again. They said that they subcontracted the activity of the expert to another company. They said “ we can’t influence that and it is not our responsibility”.

This is clearly a mistake. The service provider (the insurance company) remains responsible at all times. The performance of the subcontractor is their responsibility and has a direct impact on my customer experience.

So, they have to design the service (including the subcontracting) in such away that they always remain in control.

How is subcontracting embedded in your service delivery?




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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

PERSONAL INTERACTION IS NEEDED FOR INNOVATION



Last two week I did attend the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.
While walking around in and observing both the halls, the lounge and the various meeting rooms, it becomes clear why there is not much progress.

Most people are continuously looking at screens (from pc’s, smartphones, tablets) and are not communicating with each other, with other human beings who are sitting next to them. In this way you don’t build a relationship and you depend on the written language to bring your message across. In those international meetings many people have to use a language, which is not their mother tongue. This creates an extra complication.

Only when you have real face-to-face contact, you can also rely on the impressions from your senses. E.g. you can see whether someone understands you or you can hear his tone of voice.
This is especially important when you are innovating or creating a huge change. (as is both the case with respect to climate change) It is people who will make things happen and not screens. Of course screens are necessary, but you also have to make sure that there is plenty of time for a real personal interaction.



GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CUSTOMER SERVICE: BE HAPPY TO HELP


This is a follow up to my earlier post (http://bit.ly/ld68wW) about my experience with the ING Bank.
The last time there was a person who was mistakenly ‘authorized’ for my mother’s account. So, we had to send in a form to have that person removed.

Yesterday I did go to the bank and I was in for a big surprise....... I was no longer authorized myself. Mistakenly they had removed me as well!
The person at this local branche had no explanation for this. The only suggestion was to restart up the whole authorization process from the beginning. Needless to say that I also couldn’t perform the transaction that I was supposed to do.

This is really an incredible experience. They can add and remove people who are authorized to your account, without your consent! I do think that trust is a very important cornerstone of the financial system. I told them that my trust was damaged and they totally understood. But they said that they could do nothing about it.

The message of empowering your employees to help customers wasn’t being heard in the ING HQ. Also there were no quality processes in place to check the actions.

I did ask whether I could use social media to complain about this, but the answer was ‘no’. I did find out that there was only one account (@ING_news) which they only use to broadcast their news. Clearly they had decided not to use social media to listen to customers.
Then I said that I wanted to file a formal complaint. The only way to do this was via the system, which the CSR used. So, he had to type in the complaint.

I would say that there is a structural disrespect for customers as well as for their own employees. Their employees were totally not empowered to satisfy customers or to help solve any issues. Everything is centralized and set up in a ‘broadcast’ only mode. ‘If we make it difficult to complain, customers will not complain.’ It looks like they have missed the profound market shift and that they are still living in the Stone Age. That attitude makes it very difficult to survive.

The only companies who will thrive are companies who are happy to help customers and who empower their employees to act accordingly.

Are you convinced that only happy employees can create happy customers?



GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ACCESS TO THE MARKET IS VITAL FOR YOUR GROWTH



A friend told me about a meeting with people from a multinational (Cargill). Out of the 40 HR people present, only 2 were on LinkedIn and Twitter was blocked for internal usage.

This ‘policy’ proves a couple of things:
-       their leaders don’t trust their employees
-       they see social media as a waste of time
-       they shut of their capacity to learn from the outside world
-       the NIH (not invented here) syndrome is still very active

Of course they can block this access internally, but more and more employees are using their own tools (gmail, chatting, social networks) anyway to do their work. This is because the IT department cannot meet their needs with its legacy environment.
And the job must be done, so they use any tool that they deem to be appropriate for that.
Research has also proven that people who have a break to e.g. check-in with their friends are more productive.
When they go home every day. They started using those media immediately.

It is interesting that those companies have a strong opinion about dictators and censorship in other countries, whereas they apply the same methods. They can see in the Mediterranean that this isn’t working any more and that people are resisting.

If you want to grow as an organization, both Professionally and Personally (ProPer), you need to be open to what is happening in the market.

Are you building or destroying barriers for market savviness?


GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Thursday, May 5, 2011

IS YOUR CUSTOMER THE STARTING POINT AND THE END OF YOUR PROCESSES?



This week I had a revealing experience with the ING Bank.
At the moment I am (formally) authorized to do financial transactions for my mother. I have been doing this for many years now. My mother has no computer, so the transactions have to be done via paper or via the phone. Many banks seem to forget though that elderly people are a significant segment of their customers.

I will not bother you with all the ‘bloody’ details, but here are some experiences:

-       I did sell some shares on a Wednesday and they confirmed me that the money would be in her account the next Monday.
-       When I called on Monday, the money wasn’t there. She said that this was impossible and that her colleague did something wrong.
-       Previously I could transfer money to for a rush order, by phone.
-       Now I had to visit a local branch to make that happen.
-       The computer system in the branch indicated that I wasn’t authorized to do this. There was another person ‘authorized’ which we don’t know at all.
-       Etc

What is clear is that this bank .....
-       has never given any serious thought to create special processes for the elderly
-       has not synchronized the local and the central computer systems
-       has no controls in place to check authorizations
-       has typically designed processes from the inside-out


Wouldn’t it be great if they designed their services from the customer’s point of view? A Customer Journey Map could do some wonders in this respect!

So, how are you designing your processes?



GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

STOP CRITICIZING, IT KILLS INNOVATION



Whether with performance reviews or any other feedback, most managers are trained to look for weaknesses and deficiencies. Even if they are hard to find. In the conversations the focus is on what is not good (in the eyes of the manager).

This creates an atmosphere of fear. The employee is afraid that he/she doesn’t perform well and that it might even have an influence on their salary. There is hardly any time left to discuss the strengths and talents.
There are never ideas generated in a culture of fear and a focus on weaknesses. Rather the opposite, as people try to limit their exposure.

If you want to create an atmosphere of opportunity, then you need to focus on:

-       what are the strengths
-       what has worked well
-       how to improve  strengths
-       what they need to have a bigger impact
-       what support you can give

With that focus, people become enthusiastic and motivated to come up with ideas and make innovation happen.

So, what are your strengths?




GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

BE YOUNG (AGAIN)!

It is no coincidence that most start-ups are initiated by young people. Why?
Young people don’t have so many limited beliefs ( “I can’t do this’; I don’t have enough knowledge/experience’) as older people. Their neural pathways are not so deep and fixed into their system. Also the comfort level is not so high yet. Young people don’t own big houses (and mortgages) and they are not ‘chained’ by relational commitments (spouse, children) either. That makes it easier to dive into the deep without a safety belt on.

Nevertheless, you can also make the jump when you are at an older age. The main key is to make sure that your thinking, your mind remains young, or becomes young again. If you really are fed up with your current job/career/business/project, than you can escape it and create your own life, consciously and sustainably. Downshifting provides the means and the space to start up something new.

It is crucial to keep your mind young, to keep it  focused on newness and not on the past. In order to do that that you have to ongoing feed the mind with new information and also meet new people. New information is not reading the traditional newspapers and consuming all the negative news they report (wars, accidents, gossip etc). You have to carefully curate the information which you will allow to entry your system. Social media is ideal for this purpose. You can read blogs, listen to podcasts and connect with interesting, challenging and like-minded people.
it is also very fulfilling to collaborate with young people. In that way you stimulate each other and you can learn from each other.

So, be young again!




GROW YOUR PEOPLE, GROW YOUR BUSINESS!


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