Tag Archives: Business

Objections to Change

 

Change is a funny thing.  When things are changing that are out of our control we often struggle against it, yet when nothing is changing we kick against that too.  Then there is the change that we enable, that we own.

What normally happens when we look to implement change and come up against resistance?  We fend our corner whilst the opposing party fends theirs, until someone eventually pulls rank.  Then, not surprisingly, the change is implemented in an often-painful manner that causes disruption and misalignment amongst teams or individuals.

What if?

What if we were to take the time to allow those whom the change effects to feed back on our proposed changes and give objections?  What if we then took the time to consider those objections and responded accordingly?  Sometimes the objections are because those affected don’t have the full picture, but sometimes those objections are valid and could save you a lot of grief later on down the line.

How many times have you come out of a train wreck of a situation only to have someone say ‘I knew that was going to happen’?  Although not particularly helpful at that stage, that feedback could have been a lifesaver if sought earlier on.

Often we avoid the objections, as we just want to get on with the changes and don’t want the delays caused by considering objections and doing the legwork involved in considering opinions.  I would argue this time would more often than not be less than the time wasted when a change is executed, only to fail.

In taking this route of considering objections, although more lengthy in the planning, you also gain buy-in from those being effected by the change, as well as their support.  In my experience, leading people through change is a whole lot more pleasant than forcing them.

 

 

Failing To Plan

 

 

Planning.  At one stage of my life I was the avid planner, enjoying the planning and dreaming for whatever expedition I was off on next nearly as much as the journey itself.  It used to drive my ex-husband crazy.  To him, planning felt rigid and controlling.  To me, it was dreaming of what could be.

Maybe it was because I realised over time that things never go to plan that I stopped planning.  Maybe it was because ‘winging it’ was always way more fun.  If you wing it for long enough you build a confidence that you can pull anything off, without planning.  That place, is a dangerous place.

I’ve been learning a lot of lessons lately in and around the value in planning.  Really planning.  Thought through, documented, challenged, agreed planning.  The painful kind that takes way too long and is laboriously painful when all you want to do is Get Going.  In capitals.

Yet the planning stage is the time in which you find out if your plan will work, before it costs you time, resource, money, friends, or whatever your half-cocked plan ends up robbing you of.  The planning stage is how you get to the end of the project and everyone has built the same thing.  And completed at the same time.  And they’re still speaking.

Most recently I’ve been spending my time delving in to the Theory of Constraints and Critical Chain philosophies.  Simple, clear cut methods of ensuring that The Goal is always in sight, with each and every member of your team confident in their role in achieving the goal.

In practicing what I preach, I have only just emerged from 2 weeks of project plan hell.  Mainly hell because I skipped the first couple steps around really confirming and documenting scope before beginning to plan, and so began the 47 versions of Microsoft Project plans.  But once we had at last an agreed plan, this past week has been a week of successful execution.  We still have a lot to learn about just what level of detail works best for us, but we’re getting there.   And this is only the beginning.

 

Creativity Vacuums

I have not blogged for a long, long time.

Currently in a move to distance myself from all blame of procrastination, I am blaming my inability to write on the fact that my job is consuming all of my creative thought.  I have a theory around creativity and seasons… this season, according to my theory, is not good for music or blogging, apparently.

That said – I’m back with tons to blog on as a result of all the creativity that has gone in to the business I’m a part of.   New business theories, lessons, screw-ups, genius moments and other insights to impart.

But for now – Happy New Year!!  Today also marks my one year anniversary of being married to the best thing since sliced bread.  Lots of lessons there too… mainly in how not to be a pain in the ass.

Watch this space…

 

The Trouble with Trouble

The trouble with blogging about trouble in love and business is that it’s rather close to home.  If not left long enough it’s rather obvious what one is referring to.

The past few weeks have been full of all sorts of trouble, which will rightfully take its place in the coming weeks in this blog as the obligatory time passes.

In the the meantime, here’s one I wrote earlier:

 http://whatnottodoinloveandbusiness.com/the-5-love-languages/

Love languages.  In the run-up to Christmas might be worth it to brush up on these as a little reminder in to why a present won’t always cut it….

 

The Trouble With “Yes”

 

 

 

Sometimes in life saying ‘yes’ to everything that comes your way can take you to incredible places.  Alternatively, sometimes in life saying ‘yes’ to everything results in you never really doing anything well.

It’s the same in business.  Particularly when you’re new on the scene and wanting to go the extra mile to win the first deal, appease the first client, turn the first leaver around.  ‘Yes’ to everything can take you to incredible places in business.  It can also take you places that your business can in no possible way sustain.

Knowing in business what you won’t do is every bit as valuable as knowing what you will.  Understanding the boundaries of where you want to explore as a team and as a business leaves you free to really exceed in the areas you’ve decided to own.  Remember, the goal is to build the right business for you, not to appease all the requests of all the customers.

Just say ‘no’ nicely and explain why.  Some if not most will even appreciate that your decisions are all to make their product or service that much more of value, for them.

 

Brands – A Follow Up

 

 

 

In what was perfect timing following my previous post, I was invited to a Chinwag event titled “When Customer Service Goes Social”

So, for those of you intrigued by my previous post “Brands – Are You Listening?” Here are some additional pieces of advice provided by Conversocial, who funded what was a fantastic evening:

Always reply
Do not be selective about which of your customers get a response and those who do not
– each ignored complaint or question reflects negatively on your brand and can easily
spread to a large audience. A policy of zero customer support is deadly on Facebook; if
you can’t manage two-way conversation, you’re in the wrong place.
Enable your wall
There is no benefit in trying to hide from complaints. Your company will waste time
seeking out reputation risks and upset your customers in the process. It is much better
to channel customer service issues on to your wall, rather than spread them to all of your
fans via updates visible in the newsfeed.

Monitor your fan page throughout the day
Give social media the same level of attention as email and phone calls. Applying tighter
SLAs for social media could give you the competitive edge in the developing space of
social customer service.
Add personality to your responses
Let your customers know who they are speaking to. This is even more important in
Facebook and Twitter than via email support, as your fans and followers expect a
different experience of your brand. This is an ideal opportunity to show your customers
what kind of company you are – ideally one with real people who care.
Use a page management tool with customer service workflow
Ensure you don’t miss comments and posts, and filter large volumes of interactions
easily. Unlike traditional service channels such as email and phone, not every message
on Facebook requires follow up action; and comments on photos or older posts are not
easily visible without searching for them. Efficiency features such as
auto-flagging and team workflow make it easy to see what needs to be dealt with and
what your colleagues have already taken care of.

Excerpt from “Who’s Ignoring Their Customers?”  – Conversocial 

If you’re interested in reading more about these topics, Chinwag’s blog is a great place for finding opinions of those not trying to also sell you something.

 

Brands – Are You Listening?

Brands – if anyone has heard about you, then people are talking about you.  Are you listening?

This week, I had a bad experience with Specsavers that they handled really well.  Whenever I am treated poorly by or rudely by a brand I will tweet a mention of the experience once to see if the brand is listening.  More often than not, no one is listening. In this case though, Specsavers was.

I received a tweet back (albeit 24 hours later) asking me to DM them my details for the customer care to look in to.   I had to respond letting them know I can’t direct message them until they are following me, but eventually we got there.  It seems listening is a newer discipline for Specsavers but I was really impressed that they were making a concerted effort.

In this day and age listening to what people are saying about your brand is not rocket science.   Whether you monitor it on a very basic level using HootSuite or a similar free tool, or whether you invest in a more intelligent tool such as Radian6, you need to be listening.  In a world of abundance and thousands of options for just about anything, if you’re not listening you can bet your competitors are.

Great Expectations

I’ve been reading recently about the Pygmalian Theory, or SFP (self fulfilling prophecy).

In short, the gist is that people rise up to what you expect of them.  It works both ways – if you expect someone to be great they actually perform better and likewise if you expect them to under-perform they are far more likely to do so.

It made me think about being a parent.  As this season is still (albeit far-off) on the horizon I’m quite keen to figure out my plan before I actually need to have one – if that makes sense.  Of course it’s all theory now so may end up being absolute rubbish come the time….  but here goes.

What if I were to tell my kids that they were the smartest, the kindest, the most athletically gifted?  Rather than expect them to get good grades, perform well, (though I would hope for this!) I would set their own expectations of themselves – that they believe they can achieve all things.

Bit like the case of Roger Bannister and the 4 minute mile – once people knew the 4 minute mile could be achieved, many others then went on to reach this goal in a short time after.

What if I were to tell new starters that they were selected because they were the cream of the crop – would this set a standard of excellence in the workplace?

What if, what if.  Worth a thought though.  By just finding the best in people and setting a standard of excellence I have an opportunity to actually change my world… even if just a little bit.

Wrong is always worse

 

 

Having seen this situation recently in both a business and a relational situation, I’ve decided to categorise this post as both ‘Love’ and ‘Business’.

So often we can have the wrong person in our lives, who we know is the wrong person, but “will do for now”.  Don’t do it.  Wrong is worse than nothing.  Wrong is delaying right.  Wrong is square none – the square before square one.

That person in that role that you know isn’t the right person but will do for now?  Funny isn’t it how long now can last sometimes.  The wrong person in the wrong role isn’t helping you or them.  It can be scary removing someone when you’ve not got a replacement, but is average really what you want for your business?  Is their substandard delivery ok for your company to be producing until Mr or Ms Right comes along?  The wrong person can prove to be costly – not only in salary but in damage to your business that can last well past their departure.

That person you’re keeping around because they’re fun, because there’s no one better at the moment, because you’re lonely…  The wrong person sends signals to the right ones to stay away.  You’re potentially sowing in to your own loneliness, busying your mind and your emotions with something you know won’t last.  Or even someone if you’re anything like me that you end up really falling for and then go through the pains of a dysfunctional relationship and a messy breakup, only to look back and and think I knew at this beginning of all this they weren’t the one.

Cutting ties can seem risky.   I would suggest it’s worth the risk.

Fire-Fighting

 

 

 

The most common fail I’ve discovered in fire-fighting is the failure to continue to plan.

It’s easy when in a season of extreme pressure or extreme workload to focus on the now, forgoing the very meetings, processes and execution that will get you out of the hole you’re in.

Regardless of how full your day is, carve out time to plan.  Carve out time to still meet with your key influencers – the conversations may save you precious time in the revelations they bring.

Draw out processes.  Emails and back-of-fag-packets aren’t enough.  Let people visualise what ‘good’ looks like, show them light at the end of the tunnel and stick to your decisions like glue.

There’s a whole world out there.  It would be a shame to miss it.