Good Enough Never Is

I am re-reading “Built To Last” the 2002 book with the subtitle of “Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras.  In Chapter 9, entitled Good Enough Never Is (I borrowed it as the title of this blog), the authors make the following key points:
  • The critical question asked within many of the visionary companies cited in the book is “How can we do better tomorrow than we did today?”
  • The companies in the book institutionalized the asking of that critical question as a way of life.
  • The visionary companies attained their extraordinary position because they were very demanding of themselves, never content to cease building and improving.
  • The author’s research clearly supports a strong correlation between the success of the visionary companies and the concept of “continuous improvement (CI)”, in some cases going back more than 100 years (way before CI became a management catchphrase in the 1980s).
  • Visionary companies put mechanisms of discomfort in place as a defense against complacency.
  • While taking the long-term view, the visionary companies did not back away from pushing for current growth at the same time they pushed for growth in the future. In other words, they didn’t plan for lower sales this year to fund higher sales next year.
  • The visionary companies consistently invested for the future.
These key points and several others were nailed down in the book with specific examples from the author’s research of both the visionary companies and the lower performing “comparison companies.”  For instance, in the case of Marriott (the visionary company) and Howard Johnson (the comparison company) they point out that in 1960 Howard Johnson was one of the best-known American companies.  J. W. Marriott, Jr. said at the time that he hoped that the company he had inherited from his father could one day be as successful as Howard Johnson.  By 1985, Marriott was seven times the size of Howard Johnson.  The book credits this to “Marriott’s relentless self-discipline as a continuous improvement machine versus Howard Johnson’s complacency.”  Marriott instituted mechanisms to stimulate improvement, including:
  • “Guest Service Index” reports – a major KPI based upon customer comment cards and surveys.
  • Annual performance reviews for every employee – EVERY EMPLOYEE.
  • Incentive bonuses.
  • Investment in extensive interviewing and screening of potential new hires.
  • Management and employee development programs.
  • Investment in a corporate “Learning Center.”
  • Employing “Phantom Shoppers.”
In comparing Motorola with Zenith, the author’s point out that Zenith squandered its reputation for quality by becoming complacent.  Zenith was the last company in their industry to invest in solid-state electronics, printed circuit boards and was late to get into color TV.  As an aside, I was in Chicago last month and noticed that the former Zenith headquarters building was being demolished. So, considering this, the questions I want you to ask yourself are:
  • What “mechanisms of discomfort” can you create to defeat complacency in your company?
  • What are you doing to invest in the future of your company? Leadership development? R&D? Enhanced recruiting & training? Technology?  Before your competitors do.
  • When business takes a dip, does your company continue to invest for the future?
  • Does your company’s culture not accept “comfort”, or do you constantly work to do better tomorrow?
You may be thinking that your company is not nearly as big as Marriott or Motorola (now part of Zebra Technologies).  They all started as small companies but adopted these concepts very early in their history.  You can too. Both the good news and the bad news from the author’s is “Good old-fashioned hard work, dedication to improvement, and continually building for the future will take you a long way.”  There are not shortcuts, magic potions or work-arounds. “Success is never final.” My colleagues and I at ActionCOACH are ready to assist you to build your company to last.

Growth vs Culture In A Time of “Full Employment”

I am currently re-reading “Built to Last” the great book by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.  In Chapter 6, entitled “Cult-Like Cultures” the authors discuss their finding of almost religious adherence to a company’s culture within the companies they have labeled as visionary. Following a section describing one person’s experience at Nordstrom, they revealed that contrary to their initial expectation, they found that many of the visionary companies were not great places to work unless team members completely bought the company’s culture. “We learned that you don’t need to create a “soft” or “comfortable” environment to build a visionary company. We found that the visionary companies tend to be more demanding of their people than other companies, both in terms of performance and congruence with the ideology.”  ““VISIONARY,” we learned, does not mean soft and undisciplined. Quite the contrary. Because the visionary companies have such clarity about who they are, what they’re all about, and what they’re trying to achieve, they tend to not have much room for people unwilling or unsuited to their demanding standards.” My coaching clients have taught me that Mission, Vision and Culture (MVC) are extremely important toward consistently delivering long-term value and success, both to the community, the company and the team.  This brings me to a major set of questions:
  • If a demanding MVC reduces the number of people who will be happy working at your company, and if there is virtually full-employment in your area, how will you be able to bring value to a growing number of customers, clients, patients (CCPs) if you cannot recruit team members who will embrace your MVC? GROWTH
  • If due to a lack of viable candidates, you lower the bar and begin to hire team member who are not totally committed your MVC, will your business’ MVC deteriorate? Will you lose your competitive advantage?  CULTURE
  • Finally, does all of this remain completely relevant as the pool of candidates shifts toward millennials?
I admit to not having complete answers to these questions.  However, I do think that businesses that deliver value to the world will be much more attractive to potential team members, regardless of their age group, than companies that exist simply to make money.  What do you think?

2018 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of the Obvious Part 2

While reviewing my notes for this blog, I noticed that I omitted two Elizabeth McCormick BFOs from Part 1
  • When thingsimg_1523-for-blog get hard, ask yourself “Do I Want This?”
  • CAN
    • Communicate – Positive & Proactive
    • Aviate – Take Action
    • Navigate – Clarity
  Elizabeth McCormick was followed by Chris Voss, CEO of The Black Swan Group, LTD and co-author of Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It.  He spent 24 years working in the FBI Crisis Negotiation Unit and was the FBI’s chief international hostage and kidnapping negotiator from 2003 to 2007.  There were only a few BFOs from Mr. Voss, however they were MAJOR.  During negotiations:
  • Banish “I Understand” from your vocabulary. It is condescending.
  • Build confidence & trustworthiness – “Will you listen to what I have to say?”
  • Open by asking a question or making a statement with the expected answer or response of NO. For example: “It looks like there is no way to get the hostages released safely.”  Going for the NO gets the other side to tell you what they are really after.  Chris gave several sales-oriented examples: “It looks like you are not interested saving money for payroll processing while getting quicker service.”
  • Never say “you’re right” only say “That’s right” and then shut up!
  • Perceived EMPATHY is a Truth Serum
Our next speaker was Dr. Tony Alessandra, CEO of Assessments 24×7, LLC.  Dr. Alessandra is a prolific author with 30 books translated into over 50 foreign language editions, including the newly revised, best-selling The NEW Art of Managing PeopleCharismaThe Platinum RuleCollaborative Selling; and Communicating at Work.  ActionCOACH has a strategic partnership with Assessments 24×7 that enables my colleagues and I to offer a variety of online assessments, including the widely used DISC profile, the Hartman HVPMotivators (Values/PIAV) assessment, and several 360º effectiveness assessments.  BFOs from Dr. Alessandra include:
  • “Prescription before diagnosis is malpractice.” This represents a prime reason we at ActionCOACH offer a complementary diagnostic coaching session before suggesting a coaching program to prospective clients.
  • Establishing a competitive advantage is founded on an understanding of customer needs (not wants) and the ability of competitors to meet those needs. Understanding your competitive advantage allows you to sell value, not price.
    • Understand your Uniqueness’s, Advantages & Disadvantages
    • To dig deeper and to differentiate your offering from your competition in a given situation use this tool
Your Advantages compared to competitor Your Disadvantages compared to competitor
Competitor A ? ?
Competitor B ? ?
Competitor C ? ?
Competitor D ? ?
  • Feedback Questions
  • How well does our solution address the needs and goals you expressed earlier?
  • What other advantages do you see in our solution?
  • How closely does this solution fit your budget & timeline?
  • How will you determine the success of our solution?
  • What needs do you see that I might have missed?
  • Alessandra presented three case studies on the effectiveness of using various combinations assessments during recruiting and hiring. As the saying goes, “your results may vary.”  Nonetheless, using assessments before offering a position to a candidate increases the likelihood of a successful hire.
This concludes the major BFOs from the first day of the Business Excellence Forum.  Stay tuned for day 2’s BFOs, coming soon.

2018 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of the Obvious Part 1

For the third year in a row I must say, the Business Excellence Forum (BEF) gets better each year, and the 2018 event was no exception.  This year there were more than 700 business owners, executives, team members and business coaches in attendance in San Diego, California.  With that many attendees, there was an abundance of formal and informal exchanges of ideas, strategies, success stories and best practices. This year’s forum had an extensive list of keynote speakers whose presentations yielded many Blinding Flashes of the Obvious (BFOs) and new ways of looking at things.  The following are some of the BFOs that struck a chord with me, most of which will enhance the value I bring to my clients.  I am sure that some of these will have a similar effect on you. During the opening session, Brad Sugars, founder, and Chairman of ActionCOACH shared the following during a presentation of the 21 Biggest Mistakes in Marketing:
  • Mistake #4 – No Numbers / At ActionCOACH we have the concept of Measure & Test. For example, in creating marketing materials, such as advertisements, we coach our clients to test multiple headlines and measure the level of response, rather than simply using one headline.  After measuring response, our clients can hone in on an effective headline.  Brad suggested that Google or Facebook are perfect venues to test marketing headlines.
  • Mistake #9 – Going for 1 sale vs. 100 / The concept of marketing for multiple sales, rather than going for one sale. This involves targeting out-bound message, while calling for in-bound response.
  • Mistake #12 – Wrong Words/Pictures / Marketing materials must address your target’s values, not your company’s values. I will be blogging and tweeting more of the 21 Biggest Mistakes during the next few weeks.
Our first Keynote speaker was Elizabeth McCormick, an amazing lady.  Ms. McCormick was the first female helicopter pilot in the US Army.  In addition to teaching the entire audience how to fly a helicopter, she laid out many gems, here are a few:
  • “If you believe that something is hard, it will be hard. If you believe something is easy, it will be easy not as hard
  • She demonstrated the “Can you exercise.” She asked a volunteer to the stage.  The volunteer extended their arm out to the side with their thumb down.  Elizabeth then:
    • Pushed down on the volunteer’s arm while the subject was resisting to establish a benchmark of the amount of force needed to overcome the resistance
    • Next, she had the subject say “I can’t” three times. When she pushed the volunteer’s arm down this time she was able to easily overcome the resistance.
    • Finally, she had the subject say “I can” three times. This time she had to apply much more force to overcome the volunteer’s resistance. Just in case we thought she was faking, the entire audience paired off, did the exercise and came up with the same result.
    • The purpose was to move us from our comfort zone to our Potential Zone.
  • “We all have a responsibility to lead from where we are.”
Stay tuned for the next installment of BFOs from the 2018 BEF.

2017 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of The Obvious Part 4

Paul Dunn continued with his presentation by switching gears to speak about the concept of price anchoring. He presented a case study based upon the fact that most people remember the last thing they see or hear.  The case study involved adding eight words at the end of a price quotation for a product or service img_9693-small img_9696-small Result: 30% conversion rate for price alone, 90% conversion rate with the addition of those 8 words! Paul finished up by returning to his original concept by saying “The shortcut to more is to MATTER more.” img_9713-small img_9714-smallimg_9716-small And a quote by Richard Branson img_9720-small   A very impactful speaker who spoke briefly the afternoon of the first day and then returned to speak to the coach’s conference (day 3) was Trav Bell, the Bucket List Guy (http://www.thebucketlistguy.com/).
  • After saying that a bucket list is about what you learn about yourself during the journey, he had the entire audience participate in two hands-on exercises:
  1. We were given 10 minutes to begin writing our “reverse” bucket list – a list of things, adventures, accomplishments, and people we had already met or achieved that we were proud about. We then shared items from our list with a partner.  This was a great exercise, one which I completed on my return flight to NY.
  2. After presenting his acronym MYBUCKETLIST as a framework for our bucket lists:

Meet a personal hero Your proud achievements Buy that special something Ultimate challenges Conquer a fear Kind acts for others Express yourself Take lessons Leave a legacy Idiotic stuff Satisfy a curiosity Travel adventures

Trav gave us 15 minutes to select a letter, add an item to our list and then act on that item.  Many in the audience signed up for guitar lessons or made pledges to their favorite charity.

Both exercises were empowering and great examples of coaching.  I highly recommend you seek out a partner, or coach to create both bucket lists.

Trav concluded by saying “People are dying at 40, being buried at 80.”  Don’t be one of them.   Another presenter to the coach’s portion of BEF was Traci Diaz of Break Free Consulting.  Traci gave us many ideas, one of which stood out:

The Central Question to ask yourself several times each day is: “What choice can I make, and action can I take, in this moment, to create the greatest value?”

  The BEF was concluded by Brad Sugars.  Brad stretched everyone’s vision by challenging everyone to create their 100-year vision!  He reiterated an Owner’s/CEO’s/ Leader’s responsibility to enroll and inspire their team:
  • Vision – 100 years in the future, if the mission is accomplished
  • Mission – the value your company brings to the world
  • Culture – the rules of the game
He reminded us of the ActionCOACH formula for success Dreams X Goals X Learning X Plans X Actions = Success It is useless to lead a team that is not confident and productive Productivity comes from passion and focus Realize that the better you get at _____ the easier it becomes – tackle the difficult to make it easy. After drawing the following flipchart, Brad added that you MUST be congruent with your identity, or create MORE identity img_9728-small A case study example of expanded identity:

A doctor raised his identity from doctor to entrepreneur who happens to be in the medical business.  Result – went from one office with him as the only provider to nine offices with more than 400 providers.

We coach for break-throughs, not just learning.   After the conference, I observed a great example of communicating a Unique Value Proposition in the parking lot of my hotel: img_9772-small img_9771-small I hope you have formed your own BFOs from this blog series. The 2018 Business Excellence Forum will be in San Diego from February 18th to the 20th.  If you wish to join me and about 700 other business owners, CEOs, leaders, executives and business coaches, or if you would like to accelerate your success, please contact me or any of my ActionCOACH colleagues.  Our mission is to create

World Abundance Through Business Re-Education

2017 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of The Obvious Part 3

Day two was kicked off (no pun intended) by Tim Brown, 1987 Heisman Trophy winner, NFL Hall of Fame member, and very inspirational speaker.  Here are some of my Tim Brown BFOs:
  • Be the coach
    • Be sure of yourself & your approach
    • Emphasize team
    • Look for & guide team members to see their abilities & potential
  • Talent is not enough – you need mental strength to succeed
  • Realize that sometimes a mindset change may be required to move forward
  • img_9612-small
  • Seek mentors …
    • Who can show you something about yourself
    • See what you cannot see within you
    • Say what you need to hear, not what you want to hear
  • Don’t be adverse to using a proven system from elsewhere
  • Little things lead to big results
The next speaker was Richard Maloney, President of Engage and Grow, a strategic partner of ActionCOACH.  In the course of presenting the benefits and outline of the Engage & Grow 12-week program, Rich enlightened us about the current poor state of employee engagement, strategies to raise the level of engagement and the benefits thereof:
  • img_9637-small
across the USA only 24% of employees are highly engaged.  Another way of looking at that is img_9638-small on average two out of every ten of your team are so highly disengaged that they would sabotage your company, or jump ship.  If you think your team would score as more engaged, think again.  A survey of their clients found a 30% gap between senior management’s guess and the team’s actual level of engagement. img_9640-small The Engage & Grow program taps into the science of motivation.
  • A Deloitte survey found that companies with highly engaged teams were eight times more successful over a ten year period than industry peers with lower team engagement.
  • Our job is to change the lives in front of us.
Next up was Paul Dunn, Chairman of B1G1, a global business giving initiative on a mission to create a world full of giving.  Paul’s presentation was in keeping with this year’s BEF theme of Serve More to Earn More. Paul opened with the following quote from Sir Issacs Newton: img_9666-small Using www.internetlivestats.com in order to show that time is increasingly compressed, he displayed some live global stats for that moment: (2/21/2017):
  • 7,519 tweets / sec.
  • 2,472 Skype calls / sec.
  • 58,875 Google searches / sec.
  • 68,234 YouTube video uploads / sec.
  • 2,566,295 email / sec.
  • 42,125 gbytes / sec.
And img_9670-small He quoted Peter Diamandis: img_9674-small He urged us to EARN more to GIVE more, and vis-a-versa: img_9676-small to address these global issues There are two choices we can make: img_9678-small or img_9679-small “The challenge is not to be successful, the challenge is to matter more. – Seth Godin From Simon Sinek’s “Start With WHY” img_9684-small img_9686-small This wraps up part three of my 2017 BEFA BFOs.  There will be more Paul Dunn and Brad Sugars in part four.

Isn’t That Interesting?

When I mentioned to my assistant today that I needed to write a blog post, she replied, “Well, what is people’s pain these days? Write about that!” With a smirk, I told her that I didn’t want to get political and she and I went on to have a pretty lively discussion about the candidates. Although we didn’t come out and say it, I got the feeling that we were of the same mindset which came as a relief. Nothing like working in a small, two-person office and being at complete odds with one another. But what about the rampant disagreements that are clogging up your Facebook page? “Your candidate is an idiot!” “Your candidate sucks!” And worse. Friendships are broken, even families can splinter when the members are on opposite sides of the fence. Every year, it seems that the back biting and insults get worse when, in truth, it’s been this way for 200 years. When I was in architecture school, my fellow students and I would often question one particular professor about one building or another to elicit his opinion about said building. “What do you think of Lake Point Tower?” Tilting his head and stroking his well-trimmed beard, he’d thoughtfully and quietly reply, “It’s interesting.” Interesting? That’s it? We were stymied by his response but now, 50 years later, I’ve come to appreciate these two seemingly innocuous – and admittedly somewhat frustrating – words and I teach them to my coaching clients today. The potential uses are endless and should be a part of every-day communication skills. It can be used in business settings, family settings, one-on-one relationships and the list goes on. Use it when someone tells you something that you don’t believe in or agree with. Let’s face it: our goals in provoking an argument is to get the other person to be on your side. More often than not, it has the opposite effect. So let’s take a look at how we can incorporate “That’s interesting!” into today’s volatile political arena: Ranting person: “Idiotface candidate is a lame-brained jerkhead who would take this country into world war III!” or “Moron is a bald-faced liar!” You (rakishly tilting your head and thoughtfully stroking your chin): “Hmmmmm…. that’s interesting!” Ranting person: “YEAH! Uh………” See? You’ve managed to acknowledge ranting person’s tirade while not giving him fuel for the fire. Chances are, he’ll either keep ranting, to which you keep replying, “That’s interesting!” or he’ll walk away. In essence, he’s inviting you to an argument but you’re not accepting the invitation. When applied to business, it can enhance brainstorming sessions, make meetings more effective and inclusive, and from the receiver’s side, defuse potentially negative performance reviews. Just be sure not to overuse it or it can be construed as passive aggression. But the thoughtfulness and learning behind it just may teach you something. And isn’t that interesting?

2016 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of the Obvious Part 4

The first speaker of the afternoon on the second day was Chris Cooke of Luv4 Marketing one of the ActionCOACH strategic partners.  Luv4 has enrolled me and many of my colleagues in a social media master class.  In addition, we are able to offer a comprehensive marketing class to our clients via our strategic partnership.  My BFOs from Chris were:
  • Leads generated on the internet will not necessarily be successful if they are directed to a crappy website or landing page.
  • Internet leads will research you online, just like you research companies you are considering doing business with.
  • Your sales process must be revised to reflect the unique methods necessary to maximize your conversion rate of online leads.
Our chairman Brad Sugars wrapped up the afternoon and the BEF with mostly housekeeping announcements and one major BFO:
  • In order to improve your conversion rate, keep an Objection Log. Work answers to your most prominent objections into your sales process and materials BEFORE they arise.
The next two days were devoted to the annual North American Coach conference.  We were introduced to several new strategic alliances.  In addition, there were many speakers addressing best coaching practices and client strategies that worked for our clients.  The following are some of the highlights: In a session about KPIs, one of my colleagues showed a clip from the movie Money Ball Ball (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGf6LNWY9AI) to highlight using KPIs to overcome biases.  He then introduced the concept of subdividing KPIs into Leading, Lagging, People and Productivity KPIs, which was a BFO for me, having only thought of KPIs in general. KPI Examples Slide Balance KPIs Slide By the way, if you are not familiar with Net Promoter Score, I will cover NPS in a upcoming blog, stay tuned. In addition, he also had the audience do the following exercise: KPI Table Exercise Slide You should too. Another colleague of mine ran a great exercise based on the ActionCOACH formula for change:

(D x V) + F > R

Step 1 – write out a challenge you would like to eliminate Step 2 – write out your Vision of when the challenge has been eliminated Step 3 – rate your Vision 1-10 (btw if your vision is not a 10, rework your vision) Step 4 – rate your Dissatisfaction with the current situation 1-10 Step 5 – write the consequence of not eliminating the challenge Step 6 – R – list your top 3 resistances to the changes needed to eliminate the challenge Step 7 – write out the First Step Step 8 – Be x Do = Have – write an I Am related to the Being needed to overcome the challenge. (The I Am statement will influence your unconscious behavior related to your DISC) Step 9 – Four steps to learning – Step 7 moved you from u-i to c-i / what needs to be learned to move to c-c? 4 Steps to Learning Slide Step 10 – question how DISC is effecting behavior (both yours and your team’s) toward solving the challenge

Finally, another colleague presented a process for creating “I’ll be happy when …” and personal purpose statements.

To create your “I’ll be happy when …” statement

Write your top 2 personal goals Write your top 2 professional goals List how you will feel when those goals are achieved

Use your top goals and the above list to Create your “I’ll be happy when …” statement

To create your personal purpose statement

List your 2 most positive and unique skills and abilities For example: Experience and Insight

List how you demonstrate these skills Coaching & Mentoring

What does a perfect world look like to you?  Harmony between having positive impact on many clients and enjoying my 70s with my wife and family

Put all 3 together into 1 statement I use my experience and insight to assist my clients to build very successful businesses that create many great employment positions in their communities.

 I trust you will find some ideas in this BFO series of blogs that will accelerate your success.  My colleagues and I are available to assist you in implementing the concepts presented in these four posts.

2016 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of the Obvious Part 3

The second day of the Business Excellence Forum was kicked off by Shawn Moon Senior VP of Franklin Covey.  Shawn opened with a rapid fire bit of jokes and funny quotes, one of the best was:

“The trouble with quotes on the internet is that it’s difficult to determine whether or not they are genuine.”

– Abraham Lincoln

After that he played the famous video of classical violinist Josh Bell playing his Stradivarius in the entrance to a Washington, DC subway station. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnOPu0_YWhw) Virtually no one stopped to listen.  Shawn asked how often do we see excellence right in front of us?  How often do we engage it? Other BFOs from Shawn Moon:
  • Interdependence – a draft horse that can pull 1000 pounds alone, two can pull 4000 pounds together / to accomplish more get leverage.
  • “If you want to change your results change your habits, if you want to have massive change, change your paradigm” – Steven Covey.
  • The value of time is the value of life.
  • Clarity is simple, getting to clarity is complex!
Next he spoke about Edward Lorenz’s Butterfly Effect.  He told how:

Norman Borlaug – a Nobel Prize winner, saved more than one billion people by expanding the yield of corn, wheat and rice in arid conditions.  Borlaug was one of the first scientists to join experimental agriculture stations created in Mexico by Henry Wallace, former Secretary of Agriculture and then Vice President of the United States. But …

Henry Wallace – was influenced as a young boy growing up at Iowa State by George Washington Carver, so much so that he developed some of the first hybrid varieties of corn, doubling and tripling per acre yields. But …

George Washington Carver – who became a brilliant biologist was encouraged to study plants, rather than paint them by his art teacher, Etta May Budd.  The question Shawn Moon asked was “how far back can we go?”  And …

“How far will our (your) influence go?”

Next, while on the subject of personal mission statements he flashed this slide   While his presentation was about personal mission statements, it does not take a lot of work to apply this to your business’s mission statement. IMG_7962 cropped Shawn moon wrapped up with the following by Portia NelsonPortia Nelson Poem The balance of the morning of the second day was breakout sessions.  Here are some insightful BFOs from the breakouts:
  • Have a scorecard and KPIs for each box on your organization charts, both current and three or five years forward.
  • Another speaker expanded this by encouraging a look at every role within your organization, determine the biggest issue for each role and develop a KPI to measure the solution.
  • No matter the size of your business, it is essential to have a well documented on boarding or orientation process and checklist.
  • Disney gives six weeks of training to the people who take tickets at the entrances to their parks. How much training do you employ at your business?
  • One of my colleagues, a former senior HR executive with a major national retailer, said that they had two counter-balancing KPIs:
    • Average time to fill open positions
    • Six and twelve month retention of new hires.
More day two BFOs to come, stay tuned.

2016 Business Excellence Forum – Blinding Flashes of the Obvious Part 2

More BFOs from Day 1 of the 2016 BEF, Troy Hazard continued. Troy told a story about car salesman who had sold him a luxury car in Australia where he lived before moving to the USA a few years ago. The salesman asked how often he traded cars in, Troy answered about every 4 years. The salesman began contacting Troy about every 6 to 8 weeks, by mail, email, telephone, you name it – when Troy moved to USA permanently the salesman continued kept in touch.  After about 4 years the salesman called to say it’s time for a new car.  Troy told the salesman that he permanently moved to US and salesman continued to stay in touch.  On a family visit back to AU, Troy dropped into the dealer and asked the salesman why he continued to stay in touch, answer … “I sold more than 100 cars to your friends.”  The business question to ask yourself is; How is my business staying in touch with our customers, members, advocates and raving fans? (See the following section – day one BFOs from Brad Sugars – The Ladder of Customer Loyalty). Next, Troy urged us to always have absolute clarity of where the money/profit comes from.  His example was an electrician who repositioned to being a Total Energy Solution. Troy also told us about one of his companies that had five salesmen.  Following a typical bell curve, at one end of the curve was a salesman who was only doing about $60,000 in commissions and was way below quota.  In the middle were three salesmen at or slightly above quota, earning $100,000 to $125,000 in commission income.  At the other end of the bell curve was a salesman who was pulling in about $275,000 in commissions.  Troy then threw a trick question at us, asking who he fired.  Most guessed the $60K salesman.  In fact he fired the $275K salesman, explaining that he was disruptive, not a team player, stealing leads from the others, didn’t embrace the company culture, etc.  The business question here is who on your team is not fully engaged with the mission/vision/culture of your business?  By the way, he also fired the 60K salesman. The final BFO from Troy Hazard was very simple; Change or Die, one change at a time!   Our next speaker was Brad Sugars, the founder and chairman of ActionCOACH.  Brad opened with the statement that “Profit comes from REPEAT BUSINESS.” Next Brad presented the ActionCOACH Ladder of Customer Loyalty. IMG_7935 small The first rung of the ladder is Suspect – a target or an ideal customer.

Suspects are moved up the ladder to Prospect via marketing.  Prospects have taken some action; responded to an ad, visited your store, called to ask buying questions, etc.  The BFO here relates to the ActionCOACH 5 Way Formula, “if the Conversion Rate is low, the Target is WRONG!”Prospects are moved up the ladder via sales to Shopper. Shoppers have made their first purchase.  The BFO that Brad mentioned here is “the 2nd purchase is 10 times more important than subsequent purchases.”

Shoppers become Customers when they make that all important second purchase.  This is where you begin to build a relationship with your customer.  Have a consistent point of contact and establish genuine know-like-trust in the relationship.

As you develop stronger and stronger relationships with Customers they can become Members.  Members will develop a sense of belonging.  The sense of belonging must be enhanced by superior, personalized customer service and continued relationship building.  The BFO here is Great Customer Service starts with doing business with those you want to do business with (see Target above).

Continued relationship building and consistent superior customer service will result in your Members moving up to Advocates.  A major BFO here is every customer defines customer service differently, that is why building strong relationships is the KEY.  Advocates will refer their friends and network to your business.

If you consistently deliver exceptional customer service and continue to build relationships, your Advocates will become Raving Fans.  Raving fans will refer all of their friends and their networks to your business.

Whew, this wraps up my BFOs from only the first day of the 2016 BEF.  Stay tuned, there is much more to come.