Category Archives: News
You often find yourself working so much harder than those around you and they just don’t seem to be as interested in pushing themselves.
Every job advert you read is looking for people who are self-starters and can work on their initiative yet you can never seem to find them.
Business owners often say to me that they wish they could just get another one of them and it always brings a smile to my face.
Would you like to know how to find that amazing person?
It doesn’t matter if you are managing a professional firm, business enterprise or even a sports team, you want people who are motivated for their own intrinsic reasons. You want people who are driven by their own desire to succeed and be the best they can be.
The best place to start is by examining what your own motivation has been to succeed in business. In my experience working with the most exceptional people is that contrary to popular opinion they are rarely driven by the desire to make money. It’s one of the outcomes or benefits from owning a profitable company but it’s very seldom the prime motivation.
One of the key questions I ask my clients is:
“Apart from making money what’s the purpose of your organisation?”
The reality is for most business owners it’s much more about recognition and achievement. The most successful professionals and business owners are usually driven by the relentless pursuit of excellence and with providing great solutions to their clients. They are fully committed to delivering first class service to their clients and don’t need any external motivators. They are focussed on being the best at what they do.
If you look at any organisation where volunteers are giving their time free of charge (e.g. GAA, Rugby etc) you will see that these people like a challenge, they are aligned to the purpose of the group. They are driven to achieve something significant for a purpose they believe in that is greater than themselves.
Purpose drives every organisation and it’s why people commit to it. It’s more about meaning than money.
If you apply that principle to the people who work in your company perhaps you can start to see why their motivation is not as strong as it might be.
“Motivation is the art of getting people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower.
If you want some further tips on understanding what drives and motivates your people why not email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I read somewhere recently that only 5% of companies ever carry out a detailed SWOT analysis on their business. This is quite a frightening statistic and perhaps your own company is included in the majority bracket.
Can you imagine a general going to war or a sports team manager taking the field without spending time to consider what his army’s strength and weaknesses are before they engage with the opposition?
Sun Tzu the famous Chinese Philosopher who wrote the book “Art of War” famously stated:
“Know yourself and you will win all battles”
Working with a Professional Management Consultant is a great starting point for a company who wants to get a snapshot of where they are now with their business. When I work with clients one of my first tasks is to determine where the owner wants to go with the business and the next piece of the jigsaw is to determine where the business is actually starting from.
One of the biggest benefits of the SWOT approach is that it drives the business owner to take an explicit look at what could harm, or kill, their business, beyond the usual fears of not having enough clients. It takes a helicopter view of their business model and works “on” the business rather than “in” the business.
What’s the benefit of SWOT for your business?
Carrying out a professional detailed SWOT analysis on your business is a simple but powerful business consulting framework for assessing your business Strengths and Weaknesses, and the Opportunities and Threats you face.
The SWOT analysis helps you to focus on your strengths, minimize threats, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
A lot of management consultants are inclined to focus a lot of their time on the weaknesses and threats. I prefer to focus on the items we can control – seeing how the company can maximise their existing strengths in order to avail of the external opportunities.
A business strength is something that really sets you apart from competitors. Quite often I find that many business owners don’t really know what clients value most about working with them.
Failure to recognise one’s own strengths and market those is one of the most common factors I find that’s holding professional firms back from growing their business.
When I present a detailed SWOT analysis to business owners they usually find this very illuminating – both in terms of pointing out what needs to be done, putting problems into perspective and targeting the opportunities for growth.
“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.” ~ Sun Tzu
If you would like to consider a SWOT analysis for your business I can offer you a free template to get the process started. For a free copy just email me: email@example.com
Delivering world class customer service if done properly increases revenue and decreases costs. Unfortunately many businesses owners think they can fool clients by paying lip service to the concept of service. However as people travel more and experience superb 5 star service they will no longer tolerate poor standards – it simply won’t cut the mustard.
So how do you go about delivering a superb experience for your clients? As a Management Consultant & Business Coach I have studied how the most successful companies throughout the world came to understand the huge potential in delivering customer experience in the right way. These industry thought leaders who I have studied include Disney, The Ritz Carlton, Harrods, Nordstrom and Apple.
If you are serious about significantly improving your client experience then see how your business measure up against these standards:
The first thing they do is to put the client at the heart of everything they do. Serving their clients is actually more important than achieving their business goals or profits. They start by looking at what the client needs and then work backwards.
The culture in these companies is about being of service to others – as if they were a guest in your home. Client experience is never a separate unit or department in the business. Everything is geared towards fulfilling the client’s needs – it’s a spirit of hospitality.
Clients are human beings and they need to be treated as people with needs. To put it simply they are Ladies and Gentlemen being served by Ladies and Gentleman. Every client has an invisible sign hanging around their neck which reads “make me feel important”. Psychology teaches us that people are ego centric which means they are most interested in “What’s In It For Me” (they only tuned in to their own station “WII-FM”).
The secret to success in your business is to subjugate your own ego to serve others. The ability to connect with people on a deeper level depends on a power inverse; understanding the other person’s perspective, getting inside their head and seeing the world through their eyes. That is the basis for real empathy – making people feel felt.
Building rapport starts by being likable and attuning yourself to other people’s needs. When we build rapport we open the door to emotional connection. The more connected people feel to you the more comfortable they feel about sharing information with you. Clients can always sense your emotional energy and they pick up on how genuine your intentions are.
Asking good questions is the key to uncovering what’s actually going on in your clients mind. When you are curious about your client’s needs you drive to the core of what they are thinking. After all what is in your client’s mind is far more important than what you are thinking. The only proven way to ascertain your client’s needs is to them questions and listen to their answers. Successful people ask better questions and as a result they get better answers.
Listening is always the most overlooked skill in communication. We are blessed with two ears and one mouth but somehow we manage to get this ratio the wrong way around. We talk too much and listen too little. The more you listen to another person the more they will trust you. People are always looking for evidence to see if you can be trusted. It’s better to be interested rather than interesting. That how you build trust over time. The secret fast track to building trust with clients is through active listening.
It’s a well known psychological fact that people make decisions emotionally and then justify rationally. People need to like you, feel comfortable with you and then trust you. Decisions to return to your business are based on feelings, needs and emotions. That’s why it’s so important to understand the reasons why they choose your business and want to keeping coming back. Do you know what your client’s emotional hot buttons are and what do they value most in your business?
Business owners are usually terrible about confronting the truth because they prefer not to face the harsh reality about what is not working well. Acknowledging a problem can be very painful because it exposes our vulnerabilities which can be hard on the ego. However if we don’t commit to exposing the problems we can’t start to find the solutions.
Every face to face interaction with your clients is a moment of truth for your business. If there are 20 moments of truth in your business today and just 1 of them is bad, which do you think your customer will remember? That’s why you need to ask real questions to expose the truth about how your client really feels. Listen to your clients because they are always trying to tell you something if they can trust you enough to listen. We simply can’t improve our business unless we seek moments of truth.
The front line is your bottom line. The employees in your front of house are are possibly the people that that your client interacts most with. That’s why you have to treat your employees just like your clients. Client satisfaction and employee recognition are mutually connected. There is nothing more important for your business than hiring the right team. You want people with personalities to fit your culture of caring and helping others. Personality is the key – I am a great believer in the maxim of “hire character and train skill.”
There are many types of clients but only one type of service – outstanding. Make no excuse for setting the highest standards and expectations for your team. Pay attention to every aspect of your client journey so that your people can deliver exceptional service at every touching point.
In summary here are some of my key principles which sum up how your people can interact with your valued clients and deliver a great experience:
- A warm and sincere greeting, using the clients name
- Recognise that each client has different needs, so your goal is to anticipate and personalise your service to exceed their expectations
- Be responsive to their expressed and unexpressed wishes
- Build a long term personal relationships by creating a unique and memorable experience
- Give a fond farewell with a warm goodbye, using the clients name and a genuine invitation to return
And here is a final take away on why your clients experience is the key to your business success.
“Pay attention to your competitors but obsess about your clients.”
Drucker maintains that in order for any organisation to be successful they must have clear and thoughtful answers to these questions;
Q1: What is the mission for your organisation? (What do you stand for?)
Q2: Who are your ideal clients? (Who are the people you want to invest in a relationship with?)
Q3: What does your client value most? (What understanding do you have of your clients values?)
Q4: What results do you expect from your business? (Do you actually know what you expect?)
Q5: What is your plan to achieve your result? (What are the short, medium and long term actions that will get you what you want?)
These are very difficult questions to ask of yourself and even more difficult to keep yourself accountable for with the actions.
If you think that you might benefit from working with an accountability partner please email me today – firstname.lastname@example.org
The aim is always to put a successful strategy in place to achieve a serious competitive advantage. Here are some key principles which I suggest for your own Strategic Planning:
1. A strategy should be so simple that it can be implemented to an ever changing market place
2. A strategy should be quick, and should not take an exhausting time to develop, let alone execute
3. A strategy should be capable of producing very immediate, visible and measurable results. (How soon and how much?)
While most of you will be familiar with the SWOT analysis for strategic planning, I would like to share with you a different model with four separate phases to develop your strategy;
Phase One – Focus; define your measurements, goals and objectives
Phase Two – Analysis; identify all of the critical questions and information that will be essential in keeping your strategy on track
Phase Three – Planning; outline every critical element that can help influence your targeted success. There should be limits placed on your financial budgets at this stage so just list all the resources you need by thinking outside of the box
Phase Four – Intensity; this is the point where the mission is to execute the planning of the previous stages, as precisely and rapidly as possible.
If you require some help with developing a strategic plan for your business I can help facilitate this process.
That means asking basic questions about what your business is all about and who it is there to serve. The most basic question of all is “What is the purpose of my business?
If you listen to your customers they will actually give you the road map to success. They will also tell you the truth about your company and where it fails to fulfill their needs. That is why your customers are the reliable guide to your business.
Putting the customer at the core of everything you do may sound blatantly obvious – but how many companies truly listen to what their customers really think of the services or products they provide? And if they listen how many of them actually act on what they hear?
If you don’t know what your customers think of your company then maybe its time to start asking them….
Companies are terrible at confronting the truth. It is so much easier to define your version of reality, and judge success and failure according to that. But in my experience as a management consultant, funding the truth is crucial both to create and sustain success.
Because confronting the truth is painful, business owners are usually terrible at confronting the truth in their business. Management screens and filters out what it doesn’t want to hear. To acknowledge a problem would mean having to face an unpleasant meeting that would make you unloved or unpopular, and who wants that?
Exposing the truth can expose the f-word feared by everyone – failure. We also find that our ego finds it very hard to deal with the truth because we don’t want our vulnerabilities exposed as a business owner. But if we don’t commit to finding where the problems are in our business then we can never seek to find the solutions.
So do you really want to find the truth about your company or take the easy option and let things drag on as they are?
If you want to find the truth seek the help of a trusted advisor who will ask the questions that are most difficult to answer.