Tag Archives: business

NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS

I am not sure as to how many of you have made New Year resolutions in the past, I certainly have. Did you stick to them? Did they work out for you? Invariably they don’t as time goes by they somehow seem to lose their importance to you.

To have a true resolution you have to think about it, and get it sorted in your head before you even start to commit to it. It is like setting an outcome or a milestone in your life – are these outcomes really what you want? How will you maintain your determination to achieve them? What will you do when you have achieved it?

I have heard people say that they wanted to lose some weight, as they want to look good on their beach holiday. They then set themselves a target to aim to lose 14lbs or 6.35kg. They then start to eat better, cut out certain foods, take more exercise. After a week or so they jump on the weighing scales and deflate themselves as they are nowhere near losing those 14lbs. They are setting themselves up for not reaching their goal – as self doubt creeps in and de-motivates them.

If you look at it in another way, 14lbs or 6.35kg is the target, when do they want to achieve that weight loss? Let’s say they start it on 1st of Jan 2017 and I want to be 14lbs/6.35kg lighter by the 30th of June – which is 6 months. So by doing the math 14lb over 6 months is 2.3lb or 1.06kg’s every month. Here in the UK a standard bag of white sugar is 2.2lb or 1kg, to some they will see an image of the bag of sugar and then start to think this task is not achievable.

A change of Mind Set is key at this point:-

Target by Month (6) = 14lbs is 2.2lbs or 1.06kg to lose per month

Target by Weeks (26) = 0.54lbs or 0.24kg to lose per week

Target by Days (181) = 0.08lbs per day or 0.04kg to lose per day

When looked at in this way, it is very achievable.

So by changing your Mind Set around your Outcome – makes your Outcome a very real possibility. 

Have a Great Day

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TRUST IS THE NEW CURRENCY

trust

When you meet someone for the first time, you may think that you have met them before and/or you just get on so well. The conversation flows, you give each other ‘room to talk’ through a new found sense of respect for this new person. You exchange business cards and you know that you will speak to this person again.

This arises from creating rapport, at what is called a deep structure. Forming this deep rapport can be challenging with someone who does not come across as credible or trustworthy. They may know their market backwards, and yet there is something about them that stops you from fully engaging with them. This is your sub conscious mind protecting you, as it is saying check this person out further!

A recent study published by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has found that Chimps also have the ability to form a deep trusting relationship with another Chimp based on Trust. Their research found that certain Chimps only shared tasty food with other Chimps that they had a trusted relationship with. As they knew that trusted friend would reciprocate by sharing their tasty food. In the case where there was not a trust based relationship each Chimp decided to dine alone. This has confirmed that these trusting Chimp relationships resemble Human ones.

In the business world you also need this level of trust to form a relationship between buyer and seller. By gaining this ‘New Currency’ relationships and growth will become stronger. As you read this, you will start to remember your business relationships and how they formed. I believe you will find they are based on this ‘new Currency’ of trust right from the start.

If you are keen to understand that other person in your business relationship, then you may consider contacting me, the benefit of this, is that I can give you some solutions on how to achieve your Outcome.

Have a great day.

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DEALING WITH STRESS

suspicion
Since my last post on recognising stress. I have been asked if I have any more tips on dealing with stress. Here are a few more of my thoughts, They may not tick the box for all of you reading this. However it might help you to create your own strategy – after all if you ‘own’ the strategy, then you will have more change of success. If these do tick the box for you, then start that change process – NOW!

If you look at my previous blog, the main thrust of it, is that someone has a need to recognise the symptoms that are actually stressed. This in turn will then enable that individual to make two choices. Address the stress or simply get on with it. Remember me saying, that we all need a bit of stress to make us function as Humans, to create and achieve our goals for ourselves and our loved ones.

There are some simple things you can do to de-stress yourself:-

1.) Exercise.
This might take the form of joining a gym. When you do go, work at your own pace, do what you want to do. Be yourself and work to your needs not the people around you. Or simply put on your coat and go for a walk – whatever the weather.

2.) Take a snap shot of your life.
Simply look at some of those things that could be causing your stress. A sudden shift by you will not be sustained, as you will revert back to type in time. A small shift on a regular basis is all you need. Remember that phrase “If you do what you have always done, you will get the same result.” Therefore if you don’t tackle stress – you will still end up feeling stressed.

3.) Me Time.
When do you ever have ‘Me Time’? This is very important as you can give yourself some quality ‘Me Time”. By the very fact you are assigning yourself this time – will give to yourself a huge feel good factor. ‘Me Time’ can simply mean listening to music, going out with friends and/or socialising, or doing a bit of mediation or reading.

4.) Give yourself a Challenge.
You might decide to enrol at College and do a basic language course 1 evening a week. If this challenge is a physical one – this will tick this Challenge Section – the ‘Me Time’ Section and the Exercise Section. A win – win – win.

5.) Accept the things you cannot change.
This might be the most challenging aspect. Some things are completely out of our control, there is nothing we can do about them. So why stress about it? Accept the fact and work with it.

These are just some ideas to ‘kick start’ your thinking. If you want me to help you think through your new way of thinking – simply contact me via this blog.

This is your life – your body – your mind. You owe it to yourself to ‘own it’.

Have a great stress free day.
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Do Your Work Colleagues Work And/Or Think In Silo’s?

I visited a potential client the other day, who was a manufacturer. Had a tour round the plant by one of the Directors. Very clean, very organised – no out of date memos on the notice boards – you know the thing I mean.

I was collected by this Director in their reception area. We started our factory tour by putting on our high visibility vest, safety hat and ear plugs. I was shown one area near to the reception, where some goods are delivered. All quite neat and tidy.

We then went into another part of the factory, which in fact was another part of their manufacturing process – a storage area. There was a difference, still tidy – the notice boards were still organised – and it had information only about that area of the business – nothing else. I would go so far as to say, that the staff had a different attitude to the ones I had previously experienced.

My factory tour continued into the main production hall. The noise level here was higher than the other two areas – not surprising as this was the main hub of the whole plant. I noticed that the floor and corners of this area were not as clean or tidy, when compared with the previous department. There was a lot of shouting, and quite ‘robust’ language, people being quite aggressive with each other. They were not arguing or fighting – just a bunch of guys constantly in each others faces.

The final part of my tour was the distribution area. Once again there was a marked difference to the production area. I went with my host to the boardroom for a coffee. He asked me what I thought about his plant. I said that my first impressions were that there seemed to the four businesses under one roof. The delivery area, the storage area, the production area and the logistics side of the business.

The Director was interested and asked me to give to him more detail about what we were discussing. The main point that I made was that each area was so different to the other. Yes – we must have some differences. What I was alluding to was the attitude of the work force in those areas – the way they came across as I walked passed them.
This Director thought about what I had said and after some discussion he realised that the four areas reflected the Manager that ran them. In essence the guy running the production area was a former military man before he came to industry. His department reflected his management style, as did the other three departments.

These four Managers had created their own Silo’s or how that part of the business worked for them, It is important to have individuals who are what they are and not clones of each other. So that they are different as I am different to my host Director.

He then told me that they were having ‘communication problems’ between departments. That is why he contacted me and gave me the factory tour. He knew there was something not right, yet, could not put his finger on it.
I devised a plan to ‘De-Silo’ the Managers – the benefit will be that communication will be better. Thus ensuring that the needs of the external customer are put first – not the internal Silo’s. Quite a challenge – however, I will achieve a result for him.

If you need silo’s removing – then I can help you.

Have a great day.

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Customer Service – How is Yours?

I came across an article by Pat Lencioni of The Table Group about customer service. I thought I would share this with you as I it highlights what a Companys perception of Customer Service is compared to what it actually is.

The Dangers of Dishonest Marketing
Summer involves a lot of air travel for me, and so I suppose I get inspired, or provoked, to address my airline frustrations and relate them to leadership and management. But the purpose here is not to complain about bad service.

That’s not to say that the flight that stimulated this essay featured good service. It didn’t. It was one of the big, legacy air carriers, and even as we were boarding the flight attendants made it clear that they were not looking forward to our disruptive presence in their workplace. But I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to that, so I wasn’t particularly upset by the situation.

What made this experience particularly frustrating was something that happened even before the plane took off. Just before the safety briefing, a video was shown featuring the CEO of the airline, who warmly greeted passengers and proudly announced that customer service was the hallmark of the airline, and that it always has been.

Really?

It got worse. Next we watched short clips of smiling employees – flight attendants, customer service agents,
pilots – declaring that everything they do, the reason they work, is to make customers happy. It was surreal and, frankly, insulting.

As unpleasant as this was for me and the other passengers, I think the most uncomfortable people on the plane were the flight attendants who had to stand there and watch themselves portrayed in a way that did not generally reflect anything close to reality. Whether they were ashamed of themselves or disgusted by their leader, I don’t know, but either way it was awkward.

Anyway, once I got beyond my initial reaction to all this, I came to realize that there are two lessons to be learned here. First, leaders should not use marketing to address an issue that is more fundamentally related to organizational health. This only masks the problem and prevents the organization from addressing it at its core, which almost always starts at the top.

Second, leaders who do this throw gasoline on a fire, making a bad situation even worse. See, there is something far, far more maddening than experiencing poor service: being lied to about that service and having your intelligence insulted. I am not proud to admit that I had a very visceral, bitter attitude about that CEO at that moment, and I think his flight attendants did too.

Frankly, I would have preferred if he had come on the video and explained, “Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for flying our airline. Though we say you have a choice, these days you probably don’t as we may be the only airline serving this route at this time of day. And I know all too well that the service you get when you fly with us is inconsistent, if not unfriendly. Unfortunately, for a lot of reasons that I can’t go into here, it’s difficult for us to get rid of surly flight attendants, and for that matter, reward the really good ones. But I hope you’re fortunate to have a really good one today, and if not, I hope the overall experience isn’t too unpleasant. And please know that we always do our best to make the flight safe.”

I would have stood and applauded. And you know what? I think that kind of honesty would actually do more to provoke a cultural change at the airline by making the less friendly flight attendants not want to be seen that way.

Okay, just as I was finishing this essay, I arrived at my destination city and checked in at a big airport hotel. My colleague and I were greeted somewhat unenthusiastically by a young woman at the check-in desk who was wearing a ribbon emblazoned with the word “WOW” on it. We asked her what it meant and she told us, a little hesitantly, that it had to do with providing customers with great service so they would say ‘wow.’

As she explained this, another ribbon-wearing employee was standing next to her, doing nothing. She neither smiled, looked up at us, nor asked if she could help my colleague check-in. I can only imagine what must have been going through her mind as she listened to our conversation and decided not to engage.

Again, the point here is not to be harsh on these particular employees. Like flight attendants and the rest of us, they have their stories and their challenges in life, I’m sure. The point is that leaders of organizations only make their problems worse when they use gimmicks and marketing programs to convince customers that they’re good at something that anyone with eyes and ears knows they do poorly.

Of course, what these companies need to do is address the underlying cultural and operational issues at the heart of their service problem. And if they ultimately come to the conclusion that they shouldn’t or can’t invest in improving service – which might be justified – then they should focus on touting their real strengths and stop insulting their customers and employees by making preposterous and unjustified claims.

Ultimately, people want honesty, clarity, and even vulnerability from the companies that serve and employ them. And I’m convinced that they’ll reward those companies for it. Heck, maybe the woman at the hotel should have said, “Hi. We’re not the Ritz-Carlton, but the rooms are clean, we don’t have bedbugs and there’s free wi-fi. That’s all you really need for the money you paid, right?” Okay, that may be unrealistic, but I swear it would be better than the “WOW” ribbons.
Yours,
Pat Lencioni

I agree with Pat on all the points he raises here. We have all put up with this type of thing in the past. Maybe it is time for a change.

Have a great day.

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Doing Your Best In Business and Commerce

Sometimes doing you best is not good enough. You plan your sales calls, you make sure that you plan your route and get the most number of visits in the day. Your briefcase is full of literature, pens, note paper, brochures and maybe even a price list. You go about your business and at the end of the day; the potential clients had good meetings with you and did not commit to buy or even talk further – how very frustrating!

There are other days you just get out there. Meet people at networking meetings, have a coffee with them. They warm to you and the products or services you are offering. They agree to talk to you in their office about prices and specifics – why is that!

I came across a study by Latham & Yuki (1975) where a hypothesis was tested.

Which was:- ‘People who are given the hardest goal should perform best.’

They had three sets of workers who were given the task of cutting and transporting wood, working in small groups. They were called ‘Do your best group’, ‘Assigned group’ and ‘Participative group’.

The ‘Do your best group’ was not given a specific goal to achieve.

The ‘Assigned group’ were assigned a hard goal to achieve.

The ‘Participative group’ were tasked to set their own specific hard goal.

The results were very surprising:-

The ‘Do your best group’ moved 46 cubic feet of wood an hour.

The ‘Assigned group’ moved 53 cubic feet of wood an hour.

The ‘Participative group’ moved 56 cubic feet of wood an hour.

The participative group worked as a team, were motivated as a team, were motivated by setting their own high goal, they were motivated to achieve it – as they had set it.

Working towards a goal – however high is a must for people in business and commerce. To stretch oneself and the team will forge a work ethic that will be beneficial to the business. It will keep people aware of what is needed, it will maintain output, and it will increase sales and therefore profits – ultimately leading to job security for the workforce.

So what are your goals – what are you working towards?

If you are in business, what is your long term goal?

Is your plan to sell after X years?

Is it to still remain part of the business and put a management team in place?

Are you looking to franchise what you do, or float it on the stock market?
To do your best – you need to look at that big picture. What are you doing all this for? What will you be hearing when you have achieved your goal, and how will that fell for you?

This is not ‘airy fairy’ stuff – you need to know where you are going – what you are about and what you will have achieved when you get there. Clearly a lot of hard work and planning has to be done. Key Performance Indicators have to looked at to ensure you are heading in the right direction.

Companies like mine can help business people focus their attention on what is important in setting that end goal.

OUTCOME – EFFORT – REWARD

Have a great day

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Customer Service – How Do Your Clients See Yours?

I came across this story recently about customer service. You may have read it before, so bear with me. The story itself will make you think.

The story is set in the USA, where someone purchased a new $70,000 BMW car. He chose the colour and a few other things in line with what he wanted for this vehicle. This chap was a non smoker – so he ordered a coin holder to replace the ash tray. When his car was delivered, he was disappointed that his request seemingly had been ignored – as the ash tray was still in the car – not the coin holder that he had ordered.

He called the garage and asked if they would post to him the coin holder and he would simply take out the ash tray and replace it with the coin holder – quite simple. Not according to the garage as they insisted that he called into the showroom. This was inconvenient for him as it was 60 mile round trip.

In the short term he thought – to heck with it and got on with a few jobs in the house. Which gave him time to think. Why did they not give me what he wanted? What he did then was to call Mercedes, Lexus, Rolls Royce and a few other prestige car distributors. He put his current scenario to them – they all replied that would have put the coin holder in the post as it was their mistake in the first place, and, it was only right that they put it right.

Armed with this feedback from the other car dealers. He rang the original dealership where he had bought his car from. Told them exactly what the other dealerships had said – and, gave them a piece of his mind. Once he finished the call, he put down the receiver and had a coffee. About 30 minutes later there was a knock on his door. He answered it and a young mechanic gave to him a coin holder for his car.

“It’s amazing that I had to call you and tell you what other people would do just to get BMW to take some action and get out here.”

To which the mechanic replied;

“I can understand your frustration – but, I’m not from BMW I am from Lexus.”

Which begs the question – What do you do for your clients or potential clients?

For my part in Saxton Partners as part of our Executive Coaching, Mentoring and courses – we offer:-

Resource Library – A full use of our resource library, which includes books, CD’s & DVD’s. These are loaned out to whoever needs them.

Follow Through – We follow through with them after their Executive Coaching / Mentoring sessions with appointments in the diary and action points that they have to complete.

Phone Support – I am always at the end of my mobile phone. If I am coaching when they ring – I call them back. My phone charges up overnight on my bedside cabinet. So if any of them need me – they can get hold of me. Although offered as part of our service to clients, this has never happened – however they know they can get hold of me. That is enough to put someone at ease, when they are going through some change in their lives either personally or professionally.

Action – When I say I will do something for them – I do it. Even if it just a quick phone call to see if they are ok – or to email them a paper that I have written on a subject that they are interested in.

The above are just a few things that we offer ‘over and above’ what is expected or demanded from our clients.

This ‘added value’ is very important to both current clients and prospective clients. With the latter you are giving them an experience of dealing with you – even though they have not committed yet, to doing something with you.

If you are interested in Executive Coaching, then take action; just contact me, that way we can make it happen.

Have a great day.

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