Friday, February 25, 2011

Why developing your people is at the heart of service excellence

Existing staff need to be developed so that they have the capacity to implement your Service Strategy. This will result in them having the capacity to understand the expectations of their customers and being able to develop appropriate service standards from that understanding.

New staff need to be recruited through processes that identify their alignment with your Service Strategy. This means that the organisation’s recruitment processes must reflect a process that is seeking the best possible people that it can find so that its Service Strategy can be implemented.


Quote from a research participant
Our recruitment policy used to be, “Do you know anyone who has a heartbeat and is available?”. Me, I’d been here 20 years and had never been on any training. I never realised how bad we were until I honestly thought about whether I’d like to be a customer of my own team. My answer was no!

How are staff recruited and developed in your organisation?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Leadership Insights Series - Michael Josem, Senior Manager, Game Security Team, PokerStars.com Webinar Recording

This is a recording of the first of our 'Leadership Insights Series' Webinars for 2011. Gary Ryan interviewed Michael Josem, a successful young professional who has created a highly successful career as a result of playing games!

Michael shares a series of turning points and decisions that enabled him to 'out' an online gaming fraud, which created a series of events that resulted in him being offered a job in the field of work associated with playing online poker, a passion of Michael's that had developed while he was at university. One of these events resulted in Michael being interviewed on the USA 60 Minutes program for his role as an internet security expert in discovering the online fraud which result in over $20Million being returned to players.

With a strong sense of personal values Michael's role involves ensuring that 'fraud' is kept out of the system and that online poker players all have a fair chance for success.

Michael shares how his practices of service excdllence, personal development and getting things done were shaped in his days as an elected student representative at university. If you have wondered how jobs such as Michael's are discovered, or how online poker can be driven by an organisation with a strong sense of fairness and integrity, then view this 40 minute webinar, I'm sure you will find it intriguing.

Michael, in his late 20s shares his story and how his passion has him setting sail to work in the United Kingdom's Isle of Man.



Length: 41:11

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Success lessons from comic Marty Wilson

Marty Wilson interviewed over 400 inspirational people to write his best selling What I Wish I Knew series of books. As an author and stand up comic, three of the key lessons that Marty discovered from his research were:

1. Take risks
Successful people take risks. They don't die wondering. Marty explains that risk taking is not about jumping out of aeroplanes. It could be as simple as being yourself at work and not following the crowd.

2. Recruit mentors
This is no suprise to me but successful people actively seek mentors and learn from them, both their successes and failures. Do you have a mentor?

3. Lighten up
Yes Marty is a comic, but the it was his interviewees who told him that laughter and the capacity to see the lighter side of life was critical to success. Sometimes, on the rough road of life, laughing is the only way to survive.

If you would like to read the full article by Dale Beaumont in his Business Blueprint online magazine, please read it here...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Service standards exist to enhance your capacity to meet and exceed customer expectations

Service standards are the in-house systems and processes, policies and procedures that your organisation has created to give it every possible chance of meeting and exceeding the expectations of its customers. They create the possibility of consistency while allowing the people in your organisation to make decisions that lead to improved service outcomes. It is not always necessary to create new service standards; many of them already exist in operating manuals, rules, procedures and policies.

The challenge is to determine whether they support or hinder great service. The ‘bureaucracy busting’ of the GE Workout program (Ashkenas, Ulrich, Jick, & Kerr, 1995) is an example of a process that at its very heart was about ensuring the company’s systems and processes remained aligned to serving people and achieving the organisation’s goals.

Quote from a research participant
We think that it is great when a new person starts work here. We encourage them to ask questions. So they do. “Why does this policy and that policy exist?” That’s what they ask. And if we haven’t got a genuine answer, then we seriously look at the policy or procedure and change it if it is no longer helping us to serve our customers.

How do your systems, policies and procedures enhance your capacity to meet and exceed the expectations of your customers?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Are your actions undermining what you have asked your team to do?

One of my coaching clients is a coach of a semi-professional sporting team in Melbourne, Australia.

We were having a conversation about the excuses that he is receiving from players regarding their inability to make it to training. He was planning to 'have a go at them for their lame excuses' at their next training session.

He provided an example that one player had told him that he couldn't attend training because he would be attending his niece's birthday party.

My client was frustrated. He felt that such excuses were pretty lame. "I would never have missed training for my niece's birthday party. How lame!"

Just as I asked him if it was possible that this player did in fact place his niece's birthday party as a higher priority than training, at least for this one day in the year, my client's phone rang. It was one of his assistant coaches so I encouraged him to take the call.

After a few minutes he came back.

"Gee. The excuse was true. His sister is extremely unwell and her daughter is without her mum on her birthday. He's doing the right thing."

I couldn't have been more excited. The information that my client received was perfect for what I was about to ask him.
"What have you asked your players to do if they can't make training?" I asked.

"Ring or text me" he replied.

"Is that what they are doing?"

"Yes".

"So they are doing what you have asked them to do?" I re-enforced.

"Yyyeeeesssss?" He said, his brow slightly furrowed.

The penny had not yet dropped.

"It seems to me that your players are doing exactly what you have asked. They are ringing you or texting you when they cannot attend training and providing their reasons. Yet your focus has shifted to the content of their reasons. You are focussing on whether or not you think their reasons are valid. As this example with the niece has shown, clearly you thought the excuse was lame, but when you found out the whole story you found out that it made sense."

"What if," I continued, "you stopped worrying about the content of the excuses you are being provided. Why not believe whatever they tell you, even if it doesn't make sense to you. This example shows that the player involved was being honest with you. Ultimately, isn't that what you want?"

"Yes it is" he replied.

He then said, "If I had used the niece's birthday party as an example of the types of excuses for not training that I was getting, as I had planned to do, and I had ridiculed such an excuse I could have ruined my relationship with that player and shown the players that I didn't really want them to be honest with me. Maybe I could use this example to show that I will believe whatever they tell me. Ultimately, if players want to lie to me, that's about them, not me."

He continued, "I was getting pressure from the other coaches to stop accepting all the 'lame' excuses we believed we had been getting, but training attendances are actually far exceeding those of previous years. The collective data on the whole group is actually very good. I want the players to be honest with me and that is what they have been doing. I can see how easily I could have changed that behaviour and inadvertently encouraged them to tell me what they thought I wanted to hear. I'm glad we've had this chat!"

If you have ever played sport, or acted in a play or played in a band and felt the 'sweetness' of perfect timing, this is how I felt at this point in the conversation.

I see this a lot in my work. Leaders asking their people to do something, which they then do, but the leader loses focus on what they had asked their people to do and shift their focus onto something else, albeit closely related. But they effectively 'move the goalposts'. This causes confusion and triggers the "Guessing Game". Team members start guessing what the leader really wants. This is extremely destructive. Yet the leader, from my experience, has little awareness that they had in fact moved the goalposts.

One of the great challenges for leaders is to maintain behavioural alignment between what they say and what they do. Fortunately, in the above example my client was able to maintain his.

What are your examples of this challenge?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A retail MBA in an article - BRW interview with Janine Allis

Rarely is an article written that captures the essence of what it takes to be a successful business person.

This recent article in BRW is an exception.

Kate Mills is able to draw from Janine Allis, founder of Boost Juice the core principles of her success, which include:
  • Maintaining focus and not being distracted from your core products/services
  • Understanding the basic factors that exist in the industry within which you operate
  • As an owner you have to really understand your business - including the parts that may not be in your areas of strength
  • You have to have and look after the right people
  • You must be tight with your spending
  • Focus on making the customer a fan
  • Look outside your box for ideas as catalysts for innovation
  • The willingness to work cannot be underestimated
  • Allis' principles of success - her five Ps (People, Positioning, Product, Price, Promotion)

This article is well worth the five minutes it will take to read.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Leadership Insights Series - Michael Josem, Senior Manager, Game Security Team, PokerStars.com

In the first of our 'Leadership Insights Series' Webinars for 2011, Gary Ryan will interview Michael Josem, a successful young professional who has created a highly successful career as a result of playing games!

Michael will share a series of turning points and decisions that enabled him to 'out' an online gaming fraud, which created a series of events that resulted in him being offered a job in the field of work associated with playing online poker, a passion of Michael's that had developed while he was at university. One of these events resulted in Michael being interviewed on the USA 60 Minutes program for his role as an internet security expert in discovering the online fraud which result in over $20Million being returned to players.

With a strong sense of personal values Michael's role involves ensuring that 'fraud' is kept out of the system and that online poker players all have a fair chance for success.

If you have wondered how jobs such as Michael's are discovered, or how online poker can be driven by an organisation with a strong sense of fairness and integrity, then register for this 30 minute webinar, I'm sure you will find it intriguing.

Michael, in his late 20s will share his story and how his passion now has him setting sail to work from the Isle of Man.

Seats are limited for the exclusive webinar so please register now.


Seats are limited for the exclusive webinar so please register now.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

What happens to poor performers in your organisation?

Research and experience have taught me that one of the factors that contribute to staff being de-motivated is when organisations don't address poor performance.

What happens when poor performance occurs in your organisation?

What do you think should happen?