Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Leadership , goal setting and NLP

Goal Setting with NLP – Handy for work objectives or personal development

An effective leader delivers results so I thought it worth sharing a technique from Neuro-Linguistic Programming that is useful for both personal and business outcomes. So just imagine yourself being even more successful by..

1. Ensure your outcome is positively stated
As there is a tendency to get what you focus on ensure that your focus is a positive one !
Answer the question what do you want ?

2. Specify the context for your outcome
Does the outcome apply everywhere, under all conditions?
Answer the question where , when , with whom will you want this?

3. Express outcome in sensory specific form
How will you know it when it happens ?
Answer the questions what will you see/hear/feel/experience when you achieve this?

4. Check this is within YOUR capability
The outcome should be formed so that its achievement is down to you!
Answer the questions what resources have you got/can activate/can gain to get this?

5. Preserving your other outcomes/desires
How will this impact on other aspects of your life?
Answer the question will you lose anything you have now by achieving this outcome?

6. Check this is worthwhile
Does the outcome match your values and beliefs?
Answer the question is the outcome worth what it will take to get it?

7. What are the positive future consequences
Check the impact on yourself and those around you
Answer the question how will your life ( and others ) be different?

8. Do it!!
What is the first step and when will you start?

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Customer Service - the way to our heart

According to a recent survey of 10963 retail customers by uk consumer group Which? Customers are “ willing to pay extra for quality service and an enjoyable shopping experience “ and our favourite aspect is “ friendly , knowledgeable staff “
In 1960 Theodore Levitt famously said “the purpose of a business is to create and keep customers “and in 1984 W. Edwards Deming said “Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your product and service, and that bring friends with them”
The surveys highest scoring companies ( judged on convenience, customer service, experience, pricing and product ) were Waitrose ( 87% ), John Lewis ( 78 %) and local independent stores ( 77% ) whilst at the bottom of the table were Woolworths and JJB Sports ( 39% ) and JD Sports ( 33% ).
Interestingly discount supermarkets Lidl (69 %) and Aldi (68%) did relatively well reflecting that customers “don’t mind sacrificing service “ IF “ the price is right and the products acceptable “ . This is consistent with the well known approach to competitive advantage espoused by Michael Porter of either “low cost” or “differentiation” focus
So how do we ensure that our company is top of the table?
Consider some approaches via this self evaluation questionnaire
1. Do you survey your customers to find out how satisfied they are and ask for their suggestions for improvement.
2. Do you survey your staff to find out how satisfied they are with their working environment and ask for their suggestions
3. Do you have a mission statement or specific goals that focus on providing the customer with quality products or services
4. Do you collect information on what poor customer service costs you in terms of lost customers, wasted time and reduced morale
5. Do you train all your staff in telephone and face to face customer relationship skills
6. Do you train your managers in skills needed to support customer service ( team building, coaching etc )
7. Do you put new staff through an induction process that highlights the importance of the customer
8. Do you have an IT system that supports staff in providing effective customer service
9. Do you make changes to policies and procedures because customers or staff have given feedback
10. Do you reward and recognise staff for their efforts on behalf of customers

Nobody is perfect so grab the opportunity to improve one small thing today ... and another tomorrow ! Treat customers how you would like to be treated.

Continuous change or ??????

Dying or Transforming – what stage is your company at ??

It is widely believed that businesses go through distinct life stages over time. Success can be said to be as simple as understanding where you are now and taking the appropriate actions ....
Although each business is unique there are seven general stages that can be identified
Stage ONE – is a brand new start-up. An Infant
Key questions are: what is your vision, purpose , reality & resources
Stage TWO – is small and fast growing. A Pioneer
Key questions are: do you want to get bigger and new systems, people, style will you need
Stage THREE – is independent and complex. A Rational business
Key questions are: how do you ensure consistency and fairness within and across specialist functions
Stage FOUR – traditionally recognised as “scientific management “ model. Established business
Key questions are: how do we encourage entrepreneurship, risk-taking and motivation
Stage FIVE – has lost its way and out of touch with customers. In the Wilderness
Key questions are: how do we change our relationship with customers , employees, stakeholders
Stage SIX – failing. Dying
Key questions are: should we make a good end or create new life ( merger, MBO etc )
Stage SEVEN – a new purpose & identity. Transforming
Key questions are: what is our new vision , who are our new customers and how do we ensure ongoing organisational learning

.. and for an additional bonus !! Compare your perception to that of colleagues, MD and customers !
Happy Transforming

Monday, 28 January 2008

Leadership - is it simply what we believe ?

Leadership is Deeper than That

Over the years there have been many definitions of what we mean by leadership. Various traits and characteristics have come and gone with fashion. Below I will highlight how leadership goes deeper than simply how we behave.

Leadership has been variously defined as

“personal mastery “ and “ shared vision “ by Peter Senge ( The Fifth Discipline )

operating at the four levels of “personal, interpersonal, managerial and organisational” by Stephen Covey ( Principle-Centred Leadership )

a question of style matching situation via “ directing , coaching , supporting or delegating “ by Kenneth Blanchard ( Leadership & the One Minute Manager )

These begin to hint at what lies beneath a clearer understanding of what drives leadership behaviours.

I would ask you to imagine for a moment that our behaviours are a result our past experiences, our emotions and our beliefs. HOW we behave is an effect of WHO we are!

If you had the belief system that

- Everyone is out to get you
- Its not your fault
- No one cares about what you do
Then consider how this would effect your behaviour. You are hardly likely to come bounding into work, full of energy and inspiration!

Alternatively imagine if you could choose to believe that

- You have unique inner resources
- You know what you want
- Focusing on a result moves you closer to it!

Roger Harrop (Staying in the Helicopter ) believes that the 3 attributes of leadership are belief, passion and courage. I believe that we are remarkable creatures with an incredible capacity to develop.

What is your belief system? How does it effect how you behave? What could you imagine yourself changing today?

Paul Maisey