Let me ask those of you who are Chairpersons, Directors and CEO's of Indigenous organisations: "Do you really know what your vision statement means?" Do you know what your organisation will look like when you have got there? How will your people behave in the future - do they behave as the vision statement imagines they might? I have been helping Indigenous organisations prepare strategic and business plans for decades. All too often, I see organisations with a Vision Statement that is printed in plans, brochures, documents and written on the "About Us" page of their websites. And yet, when I ask those questions, although people might say "sure, we do," they can rarely translate their vision into concrete steps and goals to help them actually work towards their vision. All too often the published Vision Statement is a nice set of words that don't mean anything in their work. I have to ask, why don't people make more of their Vision Statement? Why isn't their Vision Statement the ultimate goal of all planning and operational management? How do you make it so? (more…)...Read more
So, this is going to be a controversial posting. I wonder what you think about the morality of your behaviour when you choose to change professional advisors? I don't mean the professional ethical rules, but the morals of how you do it. And how should the professional advisor react? Here is a story of how a client of mine decided they wanted to change accountants. Read through the circumstances, and then tell me what you would have done. (more…)...Read more
I had a meeting with a client yesterday. Amongst other issues we discussed the fact that even as her company grew, she had to continually look over people's shoulders, tell them not only what to do, but also how to do it in a satisfactory way. When I asked her what was a "satisfactory way" she explained that it was the way she would have done it, the way her customers had come to expect how her company would do it. She gave me an example where her version of "satisfactory" included a hand-written note to the customer the next day to see if the product met his needs and if she needed to explain any aspect of it to him. In other words quality was not a fixed value but a set of behaviours that had come to represent what the customer wanted. Only, she seemed to be the only one in the growing company who seemed to understand that, despite her experienced (and expensive) new hires. Readers will tell me this is not uncommon. When you start a small business, often you and your key team members know exactly what to do, and how to "do it satisfactorily" because you...Read more
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