Monday, October 10, 2011

Change, Why Change?

Change is tough! Let's face it, we find it difficult to change things that need to be changed, that we really want to change. I have my list and I'm sure you have yours.

When people are asked, even encouraged, or strongly encouraged to make changes, most of the effort is typically focused on "What to change" or "How to Change." While both are important, the most critical area to address is "Why the change."

This is not a sure-fire solution to bring about the change. However, absent the Why Change, it's all about the head and we leave out the heart. Real and lasting change begins in the heart. Change, Why Change?

Let the Customer Invest Your Money

Do you really want to know what your customers find most valuable to their business? Really?

My co-author, Jerry Alderman - Founder and CEO of Valkre Solutions, developed a novel and impactful way to get to the heart of this matter. Give your customers the next bit of investment ($$$) you plan to make in your business. Let your customers invest in the area(s) of your business that will translate into the greatest increase in THEIR operating margin...a novel idea!

Where your customers invest in your business to get the biggest impact may shock you. Ask the question, listen and learn. You may achieve the competitive advantage and customer engagement you've been seeking.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Is the Customer at the Center?

You may think this is a crazy question to ask. Well, I have been asking it regularly. The results are pretty amazing.

Well, I am here to tell you that most people (by self admission) agree that their customers are NOT at the center of their business. I ask, if not the customer, who?

The overwhelming majority of people have admitted that they themselves are at the center of the business. In fact, some of them even readily admit that the reason for being in business was not about the customer from the outset. The business was and is yet another monument to be adored, not a commitment to serve others in ways that meter to the their success.

Here’s the problem: If customers are not at the center of your business, you can find many less demanding and less costly ways to make yourself feel good and important.

Invest Now.

I have grown really tired of hearing people talk endlessly about what they really want to do, but are unwilling to make the necessary investments to pursue. To live your passion or dream requires an investment of time, resources, commitment and action!

Make a commitment to only talk about your passion or dream after you have done something about it. Let your words serve as reinforcement for the actions you’ve already taken, not excuses for what you have not done.

Begin investing in your passion and dream now with actions. Success in this area is like successful financial investing – it requires time and consistency. Take action now and you may be surprised with the rate of return.

They just want to be heard and valued.

Something unfortunate happens when some are given the title Leader – they begin doing a lot of talking and not enough listening. One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to motivate and inspire those he or she leads. It’s difficult to create an environment for motivation and inspiration to take place when you have no idea what motivates or inspires the members of the team.

I’ll let you in on a little secret: EVERYONE wants to be heard and valued. The leader has to be intentional about listening to the members of the team – discovering what they care about (personally and professionally). If you show me a leader who understands what’s on the minds and in the hearts of people in the organization, I’ll show you a leader who has a chance to really lead. Show me a leader who is preoccupied with talking (stuck in the leader knows best trap), and I’ll show you a leader whose failure is right around the corner. Be careful not to hang on too tightly to this leader. His or her fall will take you for a long ride – downward.

No time to play it safe.

The prolonged downturn in the global market is having a profound impact on careers. Many are plagued by fear and spending lots of time hiding – that’s right hiding. Those who once leaped at an opportunity for the truly challenging and invigorating assignment are now keeping their heads down and trying to hang on ‘til the war (the economic war that is) is over.

Hey! The best opportunity to make your mark is when others shrink back and the competition is less intense. Find the new and exciting opportunity. Go find it if it hasn’t found you and keep growing and expanding your skills. This is no time to play it safe. The time out is over…Let me in coach!