Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quote to Live By

You must be quick to hear, slow to speak and even slower to anger.
(James 1:19)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Integration is the Name of the Game

For companies that care about the customer experience (and who doesn't these days?), integration is a must. Choreograph all your customer touch points so the customer has a seamless experience whether he walks into your store, reaches your call center, or uses your website. Be sure the systems and processes that support this coordination are in sync. Often, companies have channel-specific silos that are culturally and logistically at odds. Create incentives that encourage your people to coordinate across those channels. Look out for those who serve as barriers to a harmonized customer experience. If they can't learn to coordinate, it may be time for them to make room for their integration-minded colleagues.

Today's Management Tip was adapted from "How Integrated Are Your Customer Experiences?" by Peter Merholz.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Laying the Groundwork for Growth

Executives surveyed by McKinsey in late July expect their companies to remain financially cautious over the next 12 months, yet they also indicated they are actively seeking growth — and doing so in more ways than they were just six months earlier. Among specific actions companies might take in response to the crisis but haven't yet, many more plan to introduce new products or services or to search for M&A opportunities than plan to start cost cutting or other defensive actions. This finding indicates both that most companies have cut costs already and that more are seeing opportunities.

Source: Economic Conditions Snapshot, August 2009: McKinsey Global Survey Results

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to Innovate with Less

Even large corporations need to innovate like start-ups when resources and time become scarce. Here are four tips for innovating in a tough economy:

Forget the big budget. Innovation doesn't have to cost a lot. Rely on open-source software, online market research tools, and virtual prototypes to test ideas cheaply.

Test in the real market. Don't waste time endlessly perfecting ideas before you launch. Get a "good enough" design out there, then test and refine in the market.

Skip the business plan. Focus on making the idea happen, not planning every detail.

Make decisions and move on. Tough times require quick decision making. Don't be afraid to wind down ideas when they start to fail. You'll free up scarce resources for the next good idea.

Today's Management Tip was adapted from "Four Lessons from Y-Combinator's Fresh Approach to Innovation" by Scott Anthony.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Using Your Faith to Cope with Change

1. Keep a positive attitude toward change. Although not all changes are good, we do have the freedom to choose our attitude. Change, even when it is negative, can be an ally if you take advantage of it and use it for good: “Now your attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better” (Ephesians 4:23 LB)
.2. Never stop learning. Never think you know it all. Stay humble and you’ll be surprised who you can learn from—friends, neighbors, kids, employees, clients, and business competitors, etc. “The intelligent man is always open to new ideas. In fact, he looks for them” (Proverbs 18:15 LB).
3. Stay flexible! Before glass bottles were invented, wine was kept in canteens made of animal skins. As they aged, they’d become brittle and crack from new wine that was still fermenting. Jesus once said, “You can’t put new wine in old wineskins” (Luke 5:37–39). Here was his point: When faced with change, we must adjust or we’ll explode!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Great Sales Adviced on Any Level

Three things you need to know before you can sell anything

1. What is their pain and if they have more then one what is the order of importance.
2. Have them define what the dollar consequences of those problems on their job and the company
3. Have them define the impact of the pain on their current business and the future.

If you can start with these three things you will be more successful in your sales process.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Need to Build Trust in Your Team?.....Give Them Your Trust First

Although skepticism has its merits, trust is crucial to team effectiveness. To cultivate trust among your team members, place your trust in them first. Show them you believe they are competent and up to the job at hand. Value their contributions by trusting them with increasingly challenging tasks and give them the autonomy they need to shine. Leaders who "test" employees can do serious harm to the overall well-being of the team. Trust is a two-way street and the sooner you start down your side, the sooner your employees will accelerate down theirs.

Today's Management Tip was adapted from "6 Questions to Help You Build Trust on Your Team" by Lieutenant Colonel Diane Ryan.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Setting Expectations

You can set people up for success or failure by your expectations.People tend to become what they think we expect them to be. If you communicate to the people around you that you expect them to be lazy, uncreative, and negative, that’s probably how they will respond to you. On the other hand, if you treat people like winners, they’re likely to become winners. Psychologists call it “The Pygmalion Effect.”
The best salesmen expect customers to buy their product.
The best executives expect employees to have creative ideas.
The best speakers expect audiences to be interested.
The best leaders expect people to want to follow.
The best teachers expect students to learn.
Would you like to bring out the best in those around you? Here's the key: Treat them the way they could be! Don’t just “tell it like it is.” Tell it like it could be.