My Post Office box is at the back of the Post Office, and I need to drive around the back to their car park to access the box. Directly next to the Post Office car park are the car bays of an architectural practice, leading to their back door.
One morning, as I was parked in the Post Office car park, opening mail I had just retrieved from my Post Office box, I witnessed an incident that showed me that client service starts, not only at the back door, but out in the car park.
As I sat in my car opening mail, I noticed a well-dressed middle aged man smoking just outside the back door of the architectural practice. It was clearly a professional and well-branded practice as the corporate colours and logo were not only at the front, but also splashed all over the back walls and above the back door.
A car drove up and parked in one of their bays. There are about 16 bays and at 8 am half of them were empty. As the driver got out and locked his car, the smoking man walked up to him and said "No parking here".
Clearly surprised, the driver asked if there...Read more
There are many small business owners reading this, and they have probably read my earlier posts on business improvement and said "that's not for me, I'm just a grinder, grinding away day to day in my small business".
I'm thinking of Dave the floor sander who did the new floorboards at my house. I'm also thinking of Adam the housepainter who did such a good job on my house and Brad the electrician who comes over anytime I call him. These are all hard working small business owners who employ anything from none to 5 people, organising their work procedures, their finances and their people as best as they can, where every day is a busy day just "doing the stuff".
If you are one of them you are probably thinking that all this "strategy advice stuff" is not for you. And yet, every time I talk to Dave, and Adam and Brad, they are always willing to talk about their latest ideas, about how they improved sales by getting a telephone answering service, about how once a year they take their staff inter-state to watch a football game as a reward and to build team spirit, about how they sit down together to...Read more
Here's something that just happened to me, which I think is a branding opportunity gone amiss, and only somewhat recovered. I am doing home renovations and have to have 2 sensors of the home alarm disconnected, and booked a technician for today (the last day before work starts). I'm waiting and no technician arrives, so I phone the alarm company. I explain the situation.
Alarm: I rang and left a message saying the tech couldn't come today....
Me: Where did you call?
Harvard Business School change management guru John Kotter outlines the fundamental differences between Leadership and Management as follows:- - Establishing direction vs Planning & Budgeting - Aligning people vs Organising and staffing... - Motivating & inspiring vs Controlling & Problem-solving. In Kotter's view, while management produces an order of predictability, order, and the capacity to attain desired short term targets, the qualities of Leadership prodeuces change, often to a dramatic degree and often potentially useful change to create a future vision. In my consulting, I use my own process called vision-driven planning, first creating a vision for the group (in great detail, to the degree that it is internally viable and credible) which is then quantified through a Balanced Scorecard approach ("If we were to achieve our vision, how must we look and behave in the area of..."). The quantification of the vision is converted into Performance Measures, and then these are redirected as Strategies. It works exceptionally well for SME's in creating what I call a "POP" or Plan On a Page. However the obstruction I usually see is lack of "Leadership" in that often the SME owners and managers are extremely concerned with the now...Read more