Monday, July 16, 2012

When Your Hard Work Pays Off

A long post, but worth the read!

It is really fulfilling when the hard work invested by you and your collaborators pays off -- when it is utilized and endorsed by the leaders of industry.  Case in point:  Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO of GE, referenced the DVP (Differential Value Proposition) from our book (Winning With Customers: A Playbook for B2B, Pigues and Alderman, Wiley & Sons 2012) and how GE is using the DVP to improve customer value.  His comments, which follow, are included in GE's Annual Company Outlook 12/2011.  "One of the things we've been doing for the last couple years is really, I would say, reformulating some of the process and best practice-sharing inside the company and what we call GE Advantage. It's being led by Charlene Begley. We've got about 1,000 resources in this space. And what (we've really done) is (ad)just our focus on the key processes.... So we picked about 40 processes, and we're using a combination of old tools, things like Lean and Six Sigma; and new tools, something called differentiated value proposition, where you really try to sit with customers and assess and value what they value in the relationship and where you can take costs down and grow margins at the same time."  A blessing indeed!  Now, it doesn't get much better than this.

For more on Winning With Customers and the DVP...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What About the Resolutions We Keep?

Many of us commit to start or stop, do more or do less of something in the upcoming year. Yes, the old dreaded New Year's Resolutions - the ones that most of us don't keep for more than 36 hours (or 36 minutes) into the new year. A lot will be written and spoken over the next few weeks about the new year and the many resolutions most of us will not keep. Well, what about the commitments that will be kept into the next year. Are they really worth keeping? Will our lives or the lives of others REALLY be better off as a result of keeping these resolutions?

As we move into the year 2012, maybe we should make a different kind of commitment. What if each of us commits to TRULY finding and living our purpose? What if we commit to spending the best hours of each day, best days of each week, best weeks of each month, and best years of our lives, doing more and more of what we have been called to do? Imagine how much better the lives of the recipients of our commitments would be. Imagine how much more fulfilled we would be.

As an additional benefit, when your life purpose is clear and you are living it more and more, there is no need to find a different New Year's resolution every year. You only need to ask one simple question, "How can I live my purpose more during next year?" Think about it.... What will you commit to do in 2012?

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Ladder and the Wall

While the economic downturn has had many varied affects on people around the world, one of the most amazing results of this challenging period is the number of people that have revisited their career focus - some by choice and others by force. Whether voluntarily or involuntarily, as I speak with coaching clients, travelers on airplanes or shoppers in the grocery store, there is one recurring theme: My ladder has been leaning on the wrong wall. You may have heard the saying (not sure of the originator): I climbed the ladder to success only to learn that my ladder was leaning on the wrong wall. This is a realization of many a would-be business person, attorney, physician, educator, government official, etc.

We all were born with a passion for something - that thing that we just love to do and are good at. That thing that we would not really consider work...the activity we prefer when we are not doing the things we HAVE to do. A layoff, extended working hours, workplace stress, meaningless work, or other affects of the prolonged downturn have resulted in people turning to what they love and what is meaningful to devote their best years, treasured gifts and most precious time. Why? Because they were awakened by the current environment and decided to move the ladder to the other wall - from success to fulfillment. And, it is quite amazing how much more fun these people are to be around. There is no substitute for fulfillment in life. No substitute.

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.