1. What does your organisation do well?

    July 9, 2012 by admin
    Every organisation is good at something…every organisation has strengths and weaknesses.What we want to know is what does your organization do well?  Is it communication, teamwork, response time, customer service, marketing, branding, social responsibility, attention to detail, systems, leadership, governance, strategic planning, performance measurement, information technology, product development, innovation,  employee retention or supplier relationships? What is helping your organization to succeed and why?

    Get your colleagues together to think about this and enter your organisation into the BEST PRACTICE COMPETITION to be held at the World Business Capability Congress, Auckland, 5-7 December 2012.

    Make sure you submit an on-line entry, by 5.00pm, 10 September 2012.   The best entries will be invited to give an 8 minute presentation at the Congress. Prizes will be given for the following categories:

    • SME (less than 20 employees) – Best Practice Gold Award
    • Large organization (more than 20 employees) – Best Practice Gold Award
    • International (for teams/organizations based outside NZ) – Best Practice Gold Award.

    In addition, to the Best Practice Competition, there will be a special GLOBAL BENCHMARKING AWARD for organizations that have used benchmarking as a means to identify and implement best practices. This Award is the premier award in benchmarking and is administered by the Global Benchmarking Network (GBN).

    The World Business Capability Congress aims to make a real impact on helping organisations raise their business capability through ‘Driving Excellence> Innovation> Productivity> Export Growth‘. This will be a knowledge packed event which incorporates the 27th NZOQ Conference and the GBN’s 7th International Benchmarking Conference. It will have over 100 presentations, 14 keynotes speeches, the hosting of the New Zealand Business Excellence Awards, Global Benchmarking Award, and New Zealand’s Best Practice Competition with 20 or more organisations sharing their best practices.

    The Congress offers a unique opportunity to network with local and international companies, and like-minded people to discuss and create growth opportunities, to improve business performance and deliver better outcomes for all stakeholders  so that the economy and society benefits. It is in effect a one stop shop for gaining the latest knowledge on all business areas from Leadership to Strategy to Customer Focus to Measurement to Knowledge Management to Human Resource Focus and Process Management.

    The organisers are the Centre for Organisational Excellence Research , New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation and New Zealand Organisation for Quality. Platinum Sponsors are Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development and the Ministry of Economic Development. Partners assisting in the event include:  Asian Association of Management Organisations, Asian Network for Quality, Asia Pacific Quality Organization, BPIR.com, Business NZ, Economic Development Agencies New Zealand (EDANZ), Global Benchmarking Network, Idealog, Institute of Management Consultants New Zealand, Kea New Zealand, Ministry of Science and Innovation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, New Zealand Institute of Management, and University of Auckland Business School.
    This is an event not to be missed!

    Venue – University of Auckland Business School        Auckland at night (©Chema Santiago)
    For more information go to www.worldbusinesscapabilitycongress.com

  2. What’s an Entrepreneur? The Best Answer Ever

    by admin
    According to dictionary.com an Entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk. Wikipedia defines an entrepreneur as a person who is willing to help launch a new venture or enterprise and accept full responsibility for the outcome.But what does being an entrepreneur really mean? A risk taker? An innovative person? Or something else? If someone wants to be an entrepreneur, it’s very important to know the right ingredients of entrepreneurship in order to apply them to be a successful entrepreneur.

    When searching the internet you will find that the most commonly known characteristics of an entrepreneur are:

    • Risk takers: an entrepreneur has to be willing to accept pretty big risks, with some level of comfort.
    • Sacrifice: entrepreneurs also are willing to sacrifice. They give up family time and other personal time, they gave up the comfort and security that working for other people can give. A willingness to make decisions in the absence of solid data.
    • Creative: entrepreneurs are able to make connections between unrelated events or situations. Entrepreneurs often come up with new and simple solutions.
    • Determination: successful entrepreneurs do not believe that something cannot be done, they try again and again till success.

    There are a lot of articles on the internet on entrepreneurship and its definition and how to be an entrepreneur, one of the highly recommended to read is “What’s an Entrepreneur? The Best Answer Ever ” on Inc.com. The article suggests another definition to an entrepreneurship.

    “Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”

    By focusing on entrepreneurship as a process instead of personal characteristics, the definition opens the term to all kinds of people to adopt.

    What do think? Do you agree with this definition?


    PS. Two great videos on what is an entrepreneur can be accessed here:

  3. 7 Keys to Creating a Culture of Customer Centricity

    July 8, 2012 by admin
    As a way to deal with the rising cost of doing business, some organisation outsource their call centre operations to specialised third-party call centre. While replacing an in-house call centre staff with an outsourced vendor can often save money, there are also a number of disadvantages associated with call centre outsourcing.

    One of the disadvantages of outsourcing the call centre process is the possible decline in quality of service due to the fact that the outsourcing company will not be driven by the same standards and mission that drives the organisation. They will be driven to make a profit from the services that they are providing to their client  and other businesses.

    Also if the outsourcer is operating from a different site (and even different country), with employees that are motivated by a different set of standards, then the organisation do not have any managerial presence within that operation which could lead to a loss of control of the customer experience. And for any company that values the importance its customers, this disadvantage of outsourcing may outweigh any potential advantages.

    To overcome such issue and to create a culture of customer centricity, Ramon Lcasiano of Zynga Inc. shared 7 key guidelines for creating a cultural alignment between customer service partners.

    If both the organisation and vendor collaboratively move towards these seven guidelines, they will allow for the creation of a seamless customer experience culture that pays dividends in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    1. Align on Core Values: A culturally-driven customer experience is about believing more than it is doing. Customer service partners want their paychecks and will step up when asked, but if they are not fundamentally committed to the same priorities and objectives as the brand they represent, they will always fall short in uniting to delight the customer.
    2. Reinvent Partner Engagement: Partnerships cannot be predicated on “us and them” mentalities, let alone “us versus them” mentalities. The “seamless” experience offered to customers must be rooted in a truly seamless internal experience that makes agents from the outsourcing provider feel dialled into the brand and brand staff feel dialled into the vendor.  Cultural exchange programs and agent swapping are among the practices that will actualize this concept.
    3. Unite on the Guiding Principle, the “Moment of Truth”: Did you delight the customer?  Check yes or no! In addition to sharing core values, the partners must share in recognition of a clear result that occurs at the “moment of truth” when the customer evaluates the experience he had with the brand. Contrasting views of success are unworkable here; if both brand and vendor are not united in their interpretation of that ultimate “moment,” they will struggle to create truly successful customer engagements.
    4. Magnify the Voice of the Customer: Customer service is ultimately about the customer. Excitement about organizational culture often manifests itself as “Kumbaya” initiatives that are nice on the surface but ultimately meaningless for the customer experience. True cultural revolution is about assuring that the service organizations are uniting to create the experience the customer wants, and that means basing call language, metrics, CRM programs, promotions and upsell opportunities on their ability to bridge a real gap for buyers.
    5. Motivate Agents to Excel: Excel is the key word when it comes to agent engagement strategies. Anyone can throw pizza parties or offer up half-hearted cries of, “Good job, sport!” but truly-connected, customer-centric managers know how pivotal agent happiness is to customer satisfaction. Rewards should be meaningful, substantial (think, more than a free cup of coffee) and in the spirit of the organization’s culture. Rewards are only worthwhile if they help make agents want to succeed as brand ambassadors.
    6. Shore Does Not Matter: Focus on Customers at Every Touch Point – As long as customers are at the center of support efforts, shore need not be a concern. Some businesses prefer to keep their processes in-house. Others see value in outsourcing their workloads.  But neither is inherently better than the other; the differentiator is a customer focus. The office’s location does not matter if your brand can consistently be there for the customer. Successful agents identify themselves by their role in delivering customer satisfaction rather than by their native accent or office location.
    7. Stand for Something Bigger: Research continues to show that customers gravitate towards brands that stand for something. It might not be wise to vocally support a polarizing political candidate, but showing evidence of morality and support for the community is a clear key to the customer’s heart. It is also a great means of engaging agents, who want to feel a fundamental attachment to the brand they represent. Believing in what the brand believes them will make them infinitely more confident and comfortable representing that organization to customers.
    This blog is credited to Brian Cantor – see his full blog for further information.


  4. How to get what you want – painlessly

    July 1, 2012 by admin
    Communication skills are some of the most important skills that everybody needs to succeed in his workplace. Every time you communicate at work is an opportunity to make a powerful and memorable impact.In particular, presentation and public speaking skills are very useful in many aspects of work and life. Effective presentations and skills are important in business, training and teaching. Developing the confidence and capability to give good presentations, and to stand up in front of an audience and speak well, are also extremely helpful competencies for self-development too.

    Presentations and public speaking skills are not limited to certain special people, anyone can give a good presentation, or perform public speaking to a professional and impressive standard. This sounds quite simple, but have you ever been in a situation where this hasn’t happened? Misunderstanding and confusion often occur, and they can cause enormous problems. Like most things, it simply takes preparation and practice.

    One of the good resources to learn more about public presentation skills is EffectiveSpeaking.co.nz, below is their latest newsletter about how they changed the behaviour of their presentation skills trainees.

    As a special offer for World Business Capability Congress speakers Effective Speaking offers a 10% discount on fees on their next training sessions:
    Wellington – 7 August 2012  and  Auckland – 23 August, 2012.


    How to get what you want – painlesslyOlivia and I had a problem – and it was worrying us.

    People on our in-company courses weren’t putting in the work.

    After the first day of our two day in-company course we suggest that participants take some time to prepare themselves for day two. This preparation allows them to maximise the learning they achieve on the second day.

    We ask them to give up some of their time to design engaging content, create visual PowerPoint slides, and to rehearse their presentation at least two times.

    Some people do this – they turn up with interesting slides and they’ve rehearsed and are familiar with their presentation.  As a result, they really maximise the feedback, advice and coaching we give them.

    But many people do nothing until the morning of the presentation.  They throw some slides together before the course but don’t rehearse with them.

    As a result, they don’t make the most of what we teach them and that can potentially spoil their experience of the course.

    We wanted to change their behaviour.  We wanted to persuade them to put in the work.

    But these are busy people – they struggle to find the time to attend the course, let alone devote additional time for the extra work we were suggesting.

    How would we persuade them? A lecture? A stern request? Pleading or begging?

    We decided to try an experiment.  We decided to tell a story.

    We told them about Sue.  She was a participant who was giving a talk about the safety of roads.  After the first day, she searched for photographs of roads with and without safety hazards so that she could illustrate her points. She created slide animations which highlighted areas of the photographs she wanted us to notice. She even got her children to ride their bikes on a stretch of road and photographed them. She designed her content to be interactive – she used the photographs as a way to generate discussion during the presentation. And she rehearsed – she was familiar with her slides and the animations, and was able to hold our attention and stimulate our thinking during her presentation.

    She nailed it!

    Everyone was impressed with what she’d achieved, especially one of the participants who had delivered an embarrassingly clumsy and lacklustre talk.  He asked her how she’d managed to find the time.

    “I realized that on this course we were learning by doing”, she said “and that opportunities like this don’t come along everyday.  I wanted to make the most of the course and made a few sacrifices to do that.  And given the response I’ve got, I’m glad that I did.”

    That was the story.  We told it at the end of the first day and it was the only change that we made to the instructions we’d normally give participants.

    Seven days later they were back for day two and we immediately noticed an improvement.  More people had put in more work.  When we mentioned the effort that people had made, one of the participants commented:

    “You told us that we needed to put in the work.  You said it was important.  I didn’t want to embarrass myself.”

    Actually, we hadn’t said that – we had just told a story.  But what he had HEARD – what he took out of the story, was exactly what we wanted to get across.

    Stories are powerful tools of persuasion and influence.

    Why do they work?

    Audiences are less resistant to stories.  Try to convince them with logic and rational argument and you stimulate the part of the brain that judges and evaluates – the part of the brain that is skeptical and comes up with reasons why “your argument doesn’t apply to me.”

    But stories are a different pathway into the brain.

    Like a piece of art, they allow the listener to create their own meaning from what they see in front of them.  They take out of the story what is relevant for them – they’re more likely to see connections than barriers.

    So our experiment worked.

    Will storytelling work for you?  Why not try it in your next meeting or presentation or conversation.

    If you’ve been unsuccessfully trying to influence behaviour and you can measure your results, conduct your own experiment.  Tell a story.