Much of business success is not just about strategy, it's being able to implement well. In this article we provide insight to a great new business program tool we are now using with clients - Mindshop Mobile.
In this fast-paced mobile world, working smarter is imperative. Business leaders need quick and easy access to advice, tools and courses to improve efficiency and effectiveness. That’s why we’ve delivered an easy way to have all this in the palm of your hand using the Mindshop Mobile program.
Designed to be easy to use day-to-day, key features are now accessible via a mobile device, giving the agility and responsiveness to drive success. Importantly, the efficiency of the day can be maximised, saving time by completing actions and accessing hundreds of business improvement tools while on the go.
Here are just four ways Mindshop Mobile can help you work smarter in 2016...
1. Strategies and actions in your pocket
When out of the office, you can now have instant access to all your own confidential strategies and actions. Plus you can immediately interact with your advisor, review the solutions suggested and post new responses quickly.
2. Access to 120+ business tools
Your next internal meeting might include reviewing how to improve efficiency in a particular area of your business, you are able to quickly prepare by searching the toolbox, finding a tool such as the Toyota Seven Wastes Process, watching the demonstration video and reading the step-by-step guide. Great preparation means you have the confidence to tackle any challenge or opportunity.
3. Tap into the power of the global community
The advice of hundreds of experienced business leaders from around the world is now a tap away on a mobile device via the Mindshop discussion forum. You can quickly ask a question, seek guidance and collaborate, all from the palm of your hand.
4. Work smarter
You can embed Mindshop into your everyday work practices, you can can capture photos of whiteboard brainstorming session or post a tool directly into your strategy and action area to get comments and insights from your advisor quickly. Setting actions with due dates means staying accountable and capturing all work immediately, eliminating the need for follow up emails and time consuming writing up of notes, a huge time saver.
Want to know more?
Please send me an email, call or discuss when we next meet as to how you can further leverage the power of Mindshop Mobile. You can also watch a short video of Mindshop Mobile here.
Key Steps to give up control but not influence
Richard Branson said, “Success in business is all about people, people, people. Whatever industry a company is in, its employees are its biggest competitive advantage “
But, why is having motivated and connected people in your business sometimes so hard to achieve? The process of creating a meeting of minds between leader and employee can be an enormously frustrating experience, from both perspectives.
Think about it...
From an employee’s point of view, if the leader requires something to be done but it just doesn’t feel particularly motivating or clear, well they’ll do what they have to do, but wouldn’t put discretionary effort or feel particularly great and fulfilled about doing it.
From a leader’s point of view, you are trying to articulate a strategy, a vision, and a pathway, and the people that you need to help you do it just don’t seem to quite understand what you’re trying to say or why and there’s a bit of inertia and negativity about the whole thing.
Of course you are the boss, it might even be your business, you give the orders, you tell people, you give strategy, and you give vision. But really how frequently is your vision or your requirement carried out to the full? So, it’s probably worth a quick checklist. Is this really you?
Leaders have to delegate. But sometimes, just simply delegating isn't enough. And so, here are 5 keys ways to effectively give up control but not influence: I.e. ENTRUST...where tasks are not simply delegated to employees but entrusted to them to carry out with a level of faith and respect.
Step 1. Create A Strategy On One Page
Do we have a clear strategy, vision, and a plan? And in order to articulate and share that plan it needs to be understood by and be meaningful for others. One way to think about that is to create the plan on ONE page, i.e. to be able to summarize specifically what the objectives and the strategies of the business
or the activity are so that it fits on one page and is meaningful. But critically, that plan needs to have actions, timelines, and owners.
So a simple way to construct a strategy, whether it be a business or a product or an activity strategy, is to use the 3 steps of NOW, WHERE, AND HOW.
NOW: This is a short but concise description of where your business or activity is today, and that can be both qualitative and quantitative measures. But a good way to think about the NOW, if you were describing to someone you asked outside your business ‘where does your business stand today?’ you’d be using these key points to describe that.
The next step is the WHERE. It’s where you want to get to. That timeline can be a week, months, or years. But the key thing to remember is that you need to define what the ‘WHERE’ looks like, i.e. where it is that you want to get to. Too often, we jump this step. We understand where we are today as a business, and we go straight into solutions and actions to try and get somewhere. But unless we are very clear what success looks like and where we want to end up, then we’re going to lose focus and waste energy. Most importantly the WHERE should also highlight where the employee fits into the process as a valued contributor to the strategy.
An important facet to the ‘WHERE’ is also the vision, and that sets up a very nice description of where the business or the actions needs to get to by a particular point in time.
The third step is HOW. The HOW is a bridge between where we are today and where we want to get to tomorrow . It’s made up of your key strategies (probably no more than 3) and then your actions that are used to determine your timeline, who owns it, and when it’s got to be delivered by.
So now we have the ‘Now’, ‘Where’, and ‘How’ tools that really construct your one- page plan.
Step 2. Build Motivation
Motivation is clearly critical and it is really simply about having people do stuff because THEY want to. People don’t do things unless there is something in it for them, i.e. ‘What’s in it for me?’ But also it‘s about understanding motivations. The old favorite, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is a helpful tool. Motivation has impact both on self motivation and the motivation of others. Maslow stated that an individual requires lower level needs in the hierarchy be met before the individual moves to the next level. So you need to identify where things are currently so you can use appropriate strategies. If a person is currently at Safety and Security then using encouragement to reach one’s potential, i.e. self- fulfillment is wasted.
What is their ‘potential? And do they have a vision of where they’ll be in 5 years time, and what will motivate them to get there?
Motivation does not just happen. It’s not just something that you run into. You have to create it. Firstly in themselves and then in others. So as a leader what’s the benefit to you of being a motivator? How would it change your life? And what impact it will have on your relationships with your employees.
Psychological, food, air and water; these are the basic elements that need to be met to sustain life. Depriving a person of these will create a high level of motivation to satisfy the needs.
Safety and security, protection and peace of mind in the next needs. So job security, for example, would fit in here.
Love and belonging. To be part of a group or a team is the next highest need.
Esteem, includes both self-esteem and the esteem of others. Self-fulfillment, (or Self Actualization) the ultimate need is to use all of one’s talent. On the ground, this means if people feel they have a level of responsibility to carry out a task then this will build up their self-worth and they in turn want to be contribute more to the team.
A factor to consider however is when motivators from a higher level are used when needs at a lower level have not been met. For example if a person is worried about job security, and the leaders is talking about esteem that the person can gain, it will only have a minimal motivation impact. A person says ‘don’t tell me how good I am unless it means my job is safe!’
You can link an organization into the triangle. Where is the organization on the hierarchy? What would motivate the organization?
Step 3. Make Mistakes, think like a Start-Up
Making mistakes for many of us is not a comfortable thing. We are very aware of the organization around us our peers, our team, and significant others that we think may have a poor opinion of us making mistakes. However, to learn and to develop, we do have to build confidence in making mistakes and create a culture around us to make those mistakes. So it helps to think like a start-up.
To be prepared to make those mistakes and learn from them, create a way where they can be measured and fed back with a continual learning loop. In the book ‘The Lean Startup’, Eric Ries describes the importance of listening to customers, creating quick, validated learning so that when mistakes are made the learning is recorded and implemented in the next stage. This avoids spending excess time and money trying to make something perfect before launch. So a culture of being free to make mistakes, increases energy and reduces concern within employees because they know they have the freedom to experiment. Making mistakes is a skill and one that should be encouraged early in the process. If employees are on the look out for learnings then these serve as valuable inputs to improve and guide refinements. For example if a product or service needed improvement and adaptation in the early stages of its life using feedback from user groups and customers, is that a mistake or a gift? We say gift!
Step 4. Clarify Decision Making
So who makes what decisions in what different circumstances? As the leader, you probably want to make all the decisions you possibly can. But depending on the size and issue of the problem, if all decisions wrap up to you, then delegation doesn’t occur and you get overloaded. So it’s really important to understand what sort of decisions you need to be making and what decisions your team can make. But within that decision making environment, it’s also important to understand what some roles of decision-making look like.
A very good tool introduced by Bain & Co. is called RAPID®.
RAPID stands for Recommend, Agree, Perform, Input, and Decide.
Recommend: The recommender is the person who literally makes a recommendation to the decision maker about what should be done. Now that recommender would need to work with many people in the business to gain inputs, data, justification and the business case to make an informed recommendation so that the decision maker finds it easy to say yes or no.
Agree: This box doesn’t have to be filled, but if it is, Agree rights give that individual who has Agree rights the right of veto, the right to say ‘I am blocking this decision’.
Perform: This is the individual or individuals who actually implement the decision that is made by the decision-maker. So these are the people that get on with stuff. Some of these perform rights or recommend rights can overlap, but the more separate they are, the better. It makes for better project structures.
Input: This often is the hardest one to understand. Input means literally that you provide input to the recommendation and NOT decision-making rights. Input rights simply allow context and additional input to enable the decision maker to decide.
Decide: Who has Decide rights, Or D rights?
This is a single decision maker, senior enough for the issue to make the final decision. And there should only be one person in this box, you cannot have decision making across more than one individual. As a leader may feel that you need to have decide rights for particular projects. Or you could delegate decide rights to a member of your team, in which case you may choose to adopt an input status for yourself or perhaps an agree status in what you veto but the end decision you are delegating to a member of your
team. It is a hugely effectively tool, and we encourage you to try it in working through programs and projects in your business.
Step 5. Introduce The 8 Week Work Cycle
Now the 8 week work cycle utilizes 8 steps across 8 weeks. So why 8 weeks? Well, it has been proven that 8 weeks is an optimal period of time for teams to progress on programs but not get bogged down, and certainly allows time for leaders to change teams they working on in that particular 8 week project in case things aren’t working or the dynamics are wrong.
The basic steps of the 8 week work cycle are:
So we have covered a few things. We’ve helped you understand why sometimes progress with others is so difficult. We’ve looked at the different simple ways to take the pressure off yourself, to release the reigns of leadership control and help stimulate your company’s performance. We’ve also introduced tools such as the one-page plan, motivation theory, entrusted employees and the 8 week work cycle to allow your staff the freedom to succeed within the boundaries that you set.
People can do amazing things if we just let them.
Jim Parry, Owner and Principal Advisor, So-Brand
Jim is the Owner and Principle Advisor of So-Brand. So-Brand helps leaders and business owners create, articulate and implement strategy for growth, creating strong connections with staff and customers. www.so-brand.co.au
Dr Mark Glazebrook, Chief Purpose Officer, On Purpose
Mark is Chief Purpose Officer at On Purpose, a niche consultancy that helps organisations get to the heart of why they exist, enabling leaders to best harness untapped energies of their people to align around a greater good. www.on-purpose.com.au
Each year the pressure grows on all areas of a business including its people, cash-flow, leadership, innovation, business models, technologies and ability to implementation strategies successfully. This pressure can lead to issues arising across the business that ultimately impact its overall growth and profit potential.
Standing back from all the specific issues stemming from this 'high pace' of doing business most can quickly be related back to the in-ability to implement 'change' successfully.
So what does a business leader or owner do? What are the strategies that should be implemented to 'adjust' the business and its people to this NEW normal environment for doing business?
Here are three strategies that can assist businesses and teams cope with the high pace of doing business:
Strategy 1 - Focus on Micro tasks
Think back to the last planning session you had or project team you were involved in. What was the nature of the strategies and actions that were set? Were they quite broad or were they very specific outlining the steps that need to be taken. Too often planning sessions lead to broad statements such as: 'Do a marketing plan', 'Refine our sales process' or 'Fix that problem' but rarely outline HOW to achieve those outcomes or the micro steps / tasks required. This leads to teams either heading down the wrong paths or not starting to change at all. The simple solution when you see this occurring is to keep breaking down the broad task into micro tasks that highlight the HOW and the steps required to reach the desired outcome. Try this simple strategy in your next planning session and you instantly see the benefits.
Strategy 2 - Provide just-in-time learning
Sending teams to two-day residential training sessions to learn new skills are slowly becoming a thing of the past. There is certainly still a need to hold those types of events in specific situation but 5-7 years ago every training event was a two-day off-site with little accountability to the new learning acquired or how it would be implemented. The retention of new learning was thus very low and too often forgotten (until a need arose and the learning had to be acquired again!).
To obtain the skills to address specific issues in this fast paced business world you need to shift the thinking of your people to 'just-in-time' learning. This means that as a need arises to address a specific issue (such as understanding the strengths and weaknesses’ of your competitors as part of a marketing strategy) the focus should be on putting time in your schedule to learn that skill in 30-60 minutes via an online learning platform or quick internal training session and then applying it in the field quickly. The retained learning is much higher with this approach as there is immediately application of the learning. Best of all a solution to the issue is provided straight away to allow momentum to continue with the desired 'change' or 'new strategy'.
Strategy 3 - Capture and track your strategies and actions using innovative technologies
How often have you gone to reflect on a strategy you development months ago and then had to spend hours searching through your emails, journals, files or go and follow-up a team member to get yourself up to speed again with the discussions that occurred and actions that were confirmed. Even if you have a good discipline of having 'One Page Plans' operating in your business (and even pasted to your office wall) it can still waste many hours in your day searching for the detailed plans you have developed or putting yourself back in the same 'head-space' you were in to reflect on the next steps you should take.
To assist this process and speed up your pace of implementing strategies it’s critical in any modern business to be using the latest cloud technologies / applications to help you track projects and tasks. What are you currently using in your business? Nothing? There are a lot of great, cost-effective options available. The time savings and productivity gains will be felt immediately and free you up to be focusing on the growth and profit of your business.
While these three strategies are not a magic bullet they do help you adapt both you and your teams approach to allow you to implement change much more effectively in this fast-paced business environment.
To assist this process I provide all my clients with access to Mindshop Online. Mindshop Online allows you to capture and track in one location all your strategies, actions and professional development that are only visible by you and me as your advisor. I can then provide confidential support and solutions drawn from hundreds of tools, courses and resources within Mindshop Online.
Mindshop Online is a fantastic way to help leaders speed up their pace of implementation to give them back valuable time to focus on the growth and profit of their business.
“Success in Business is all about people, people, people. Whatever industry a company is in, its employees are its biggest competitive advantage”. Richard Branson
We often focus on the What we do – great products, great strategy, and pay too little attention to the Why and the How. The Why being our belief in our role and the How being the way in which we conduct ourselves. I had a boss earlier in my career who was very fond of sound bites and one or her favourites was ‘If you can’t do people, you can’t do business’. I have never forgotten this easy to say, but hard to do lesson. But is it so hard? Some context around culture and a definition of Emotional Intelligence may help.
What Emotional Intelligence is and why it matters
A pretty good definition is from Peter Salovey & John D Mayer as far back as 1960. “the subset of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions".
To my mind it’s the effect you have on your self and on others – the impact of behaviour. As we know, good, indifferent or bad behaviours significantly affect those around us. Workplaces are communities of people – these people need to feel good about each other and whom they work for.
According to Salovey & Mayer there are 4 key components of emotional intelligence:
Perception: The ability to read other people’s non-verbal cues. Body language, facial expressions, reading the room. How many times have we all blasted ahead with what we are doing and failed to read subtle changes in how people are reacting?
Reasoning: Knowing yourself. What triggers your behaviour? What motivates you and grabs your attention. Knowing yourself is vital – because that has an impact on how you operate.
Understanding: The ability to see things from somebody else’s point of view. For example if somebody is angry, aggressive, unreasonable – Understanding gives us the ability to think about what’s driving that person to behave in this way, increasing likelihood for a better outcome.
Managing: Regulating your own behaviour to create the best impact and outcome for others.
Emotional Intelligence = Behaviour = Culture
Booz and Allen Change Management survey suggests that 84% of senior and middle managers say culture is critical to their organisation’s success. In addition, 60% see it as a bigger success factor than either their strategy or their operating model. So it’s big for business.
Culture, I believe is the culmination of people’s behaviour, essentially, how things are done around here. The trouble with culture being that it is a hard thing to control, develop and change. I hear people talk about the culture of an organisation or team in very reactive terms, as if ‘it is what it is’. Where culture and behaviour sets are deliberately thought through, strategically set up and managed by leaders, they become key tools for individual and organisational success.
Barriers to changing emotional intelligence
Changing behaviour is challenging. The biggest single barrier is that we are dealing with the core of who we are, what has been learned subconsciously over many years. Many of us lack the tools and insight to effectively change what we have learned since we were very young. It’s not surprising when we resist somebody looking to change who we are!
The good news is that it can change – but it needs time, thought and focus. Within an organisation, the strength of the Why or purpose of the organisation helps set the guidelines.
Value of values
Values are critical tools for the business. They help to create belief in why things are done this way – i.e. the culture. Leaders who use the values to set standards for their own behaviour will be setting expectations for others around them. If it feels right, we generally conform – we want to fit in, to be part of the tribe. Over time using value sets to support clear business strategy and vision, leaders can create the boundaries for effective and collective behaviour.
5 ways to driving business growth through Emotional Intelligence
The importance of customer culture for marketing success
Tony Hsieh from the US online shoe retailer Zappos said “Your Culture is Your Brand”. This statement embraces what is becoming increasingly important in defining a brand’s DNA, where the leadership vision and behaviours of the organisation are dedicated to delivering customer value. This is a critical success factor to sustained growth. Customer culture is where the organisation is focused and aligned on the strategic brand vision and delivering the brand promise for the customer.
Leaders need the whole value chain to be focused on the strategic priorities, to be motivated and agile enough to deliver great customer experiences every day.
These leaders who are accessible to their employees and articulate a compelling brand vision, create an effective platform from which to drive strategy and deliver great customer outcomes.
Organisational barriers that successful leaders must overcome
Day to day commercial reality can block what might be seen as the ‘softer side’ of doing business. Sue McDonald, Marketing and Communications Director Serco Global Services Australia says ‘‘Many large organisations are dealing with short term pressures; changing culture can feel too big, particularly when it needs to be effective across international geographies”.
At the same time, many employees feel they don’t have anything to do with the customer. David Bradley Senior Manager Marketing at CGU says; “The greater the distance from the customer, the bigger the challenge in getting discretionary effort for the customer”.
For CEOs, personal connection with employees and customers becomes bigger and more complex as the organization grows. “Lack of culture focus can occur at the top of the organization, growth forces this’”states Valerie Beeck General Manager, Marketing and Development of Independence Australia. Peter Zafiris, National Sales and Marketing Manager of Bluescope Steel agrees “Change is always constant, but many CEOs are in the position of saying ‘give me the voice of this organization and tell me what to do’ ”.
Chris Khor CEO of Chorus Executive, supports this notion that size can hinder the achievement of the right culture. “There has been a trend where great talent is actively seeking roles in to smaller organisations. There are a number of reasons including; greater access to leadership and decision makers, ability to make a greater impact on the business, strategy and culture, increased agility and flexibility and often a more defined company culture especially when the founder is still actively involved in the business”
How leaders can create a culture for customer
A priority is that a customer philosophy has to be owned and initiated by the leaders. This sentiment is echoed by Peter Zafiris. ‘Leaders as well as teams have to spend time in front of the customer’. “The brand promise must be demonstrated and articulated by leaders”. Zafiris adds; “Leaders must deliver on the brand values through appropriate and visible behaviours. Culture matters most when change happens.”
Chris Gilbert, Vice President, Director of Sales and Marketing IMG Australia talks about the small but effective things leaders can do to engage. “Things like creating opportunities for staff to book time slots to communicate directly with the CEO. It’s so effective and symbolic when CEO’s make themselves available to the entire organization in a one on one setting”.
Skev Ioannou Marketing Leader in Social Business and Collaboration Solutions at IBM advocates leaders facilitating staff discussions on a range of topics – these can be set up and supported by blogs and webcasts. This creates an avenue for staff to have input on new ideas, develop existing ones, with leaders measured on the outcomes. Skev says “Being part of these internal forums gives ideas internal credibility”. Staff engagement happens when employees can engage each other and with their leaders.
Chris Khor believes that leaders in business should be judged on hard measures such as business outcomes but also soft measures such as leadership
skills. “Measures may include 360 feedback measures, employee engagement and development, and KPIs that also focus on employee promotion, and employee skills enhancement, rather than just business outcomes”.
Organisations need to be agile for customer. By being clear on the brand vision and effectively engaging all staff to be passionate customer champions, the organisation is much more likely to deliver sustained and positive customer experiences. The following model illustrates the flow of the brand and customer promise through clarity of vision, focus for customer, and engaged staff.
Summary. Six key principles for leaders:
Although the barriers to achieving a lasting customer culture are not easily or quickly overcome, many companies such as Zappos are reaping the benefit of creating the customer culture for their brand. The principles around visible leadership, staff empowerment and clarity of brand are key to delivering lasting customer focus in the organization.
Articles for further reading:
‘It’s time to rethink the employee engagement issue’ Forbes.com. http://www.forbes.com
‘Ushering in the new era for customer experience’. Thunderhead.com. http://www.thunderhead.com
An excerpt from the book, Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your
Business, by Francis Frei and Anne Morriss http://www.inc.com/inc-advisor/zappos-managing-people- uncommon-service.html
Upgrade Your Company's Customer Service Culture Through Positive Peer Pressure. http://www.forbes.com
Consider this. How can you as a leader create an environment where employees are energised and passionate enough to play their role in delivering the organisation's strategy and customer goals? Sounds obvious, but employees are people, with particular points of view, some of which leaders hear, most of which they don't. Those highly customer centric and agile organisations are adept at keeping pace with and recognising employee needs for input, creativity and adding value.
The employee market is changing
It is predicted that by the year 2020 (only six years away!) as many as half of Australia’s workers will be employed on a contingent, project-based arrangement. According to research by recruitment firm Hays, 83.1 per cent of employers say up to a quarter of their workforces are made up of these workers. Lost productivity due to employee disengagement costs more than $300 billion a year in the US. However research by Amabile TM1, Kramer SJ in 2005 ‘Inner work life: understanding the subtext of business performance’. They found that the single most important differentiator for employees was their sense of being able to make progress in their work and deliver value.
What can leaders do?
Apply external brand principles internally by knowing your target audience as people. Brand decisions are about people’s lives, choices, who they are and who they aspire to be, their values. Clearly a one size approach to employee engagement and happiness does not fit all! Employees have choices, so emotional outcomes are as important for them as for customers.
Here are some key areas for leaders to help stimulate a creative and customer centric culture;
For many organisations the brand focus is largely directed externally, for all the right reasons – customers, competitors, the market. The question is, how well do people within the organisation live and deliver the brand, compared to how you want it to be? How well are the people in the organisation connected to the customer and your brand experience ambition? Quite simply, many employees are not as emotionally connected to the internal brand as they are to the products and services they buy in everyday life outside of work. When employees feel great about the brand and the importance of customer, this allows them to play their role in delivering the unique benefits of the organisation’s brand through to the customer experience.
Customer Passion at Zappos
Zappos the US online shoe retailer exemplifies the notion of employees living the brand to drive great customer experiences. Zappos successfully connects very clear, customer centric brand values to employees and this has a direct effect to their customer service quality. An excerpt from the book, Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business, by Francis Frei and Anne Morriss sets out a very neat case study of Zappos culture and the corresponding effect on staff loyalty and customer service. The key point here is staff empowerment – aligning their values with the company’s values. It’s very compelling, because it empowers people to be who they are.
The Zappos case study is a worthwhile read – it might be seen by some as quite an extreme example of culture, but consider the principles at play; leadership, staff empowerment, meaningful and purpose, authentic brand positioning and values. These principles can be applied to any organization, not just a high energy online retailer.