I addressed a group of young people in their early twenties and in their first jobs, on building their careers.
During the conversations, when asked about how they were contributing to the company’s success, most said they were not aware of the management team’s plans, and that I should ask their super bosses.
The same week, I met a few more mid-level managers who had decent experience and were reasonably good in their functions and jobs. I curiously asked them again how they were contributing to the company’s success. Again, the answer was almost similar to what the rookies in the first jobs said.
In both cases, this is what I shared with them, and I thought it would be worthwhile to share in this post –
All businesses need three things.
Everything and anything that you do as a business or in your job will fall under one of these things. All functions – sales, marketing, finance, technology, operations, customer support, or human resources – focus on one more of the above three. That is the purpose of their existence.
So, if you are the CEO, a rookie, or a mid-level manager, when you wake up every morning, you can ask yourself these questions (or similar) and work towards them during the day.
The questions you may ask each morning?
What are my revenue sources?
How can I increase my sets?
How can I add more customers?
How can I go into new markets?
How can I increase my profits?
How can I reduce the costs of my operations?
How can I do more with less?
How can I build efficiency when to all the things that I do?
How can I build effectiveness into all the things that I do? Can I do something better or find a new way to begin things that can help me become faster, cheaper, or better.
How can I get closer to my customer?
How can I address my customer’s unsolved problem?
How can I get move share out of the customer’s wallet?
How can I increase the sales?
How can I get into new markets?
How can I get new customers’ questions?
What can I do to cut costs?
What can I do to increase profits?
What can I do to play better with the pricing?
How much should I increase the product’s price to bring in 25% more in absolute profits?
How much will a decrease of 5% in the selling price affect my profits in absolute terms?
How can I build efficiency and effectiveness in the system?
How can I hire better people?
How can I write a more efficient code?
What technology or framework should I deploy to give better response time to my users?
How can I motivate people so that they deliver their best every day?
What can I do play build a culture of continuous improvement in the organization?
What can I do to improvise on a current way of doing things so that I can increase more sales or get into new markets?
Are your customers jettisoning you by the hordes? Or are they leaving you in a trickle? Is your product revenue becoming a sinking ship or a leaky bucket?
Customers will soon turn too busy for your product only when your product manager becomes too busy for the customer.”
A product manager is responsible not just for building a product that works, but more importantly, one that sells and sticks.
1. Building the nuts and bolts of a product that works is probably the easier part (oops! engineers, no offence). That is engineering.
2. To make sure a product indeed meets the needs and aspirations of customers is challenging.
3. Creating an ecosystem of product+experience (support and service) is where the magic is created. That is where the rubber hits the road.
And this activity cannot be 100% outsourced to Marketing, Sales, Support or Service functions.
When customers decide to swear by your product, it is crucial to understand the why
When those customers decided that your product is not worth their wallet, it is vital to understand the why.
When those key prospects are still undecided, to test your product, it is still essential to understand their why too.
Listening to customers and users is a vital part of product management. Much to the chagrin of many organisations, l product managers tend to be internally focused on product engineering only. Product engineering is a ‘part role’ of a product manager. What is core is to listen, to meet and to interact with the product’s long time users, customers and, (more importantly), the ones that dumped the product after the first few uses.
This is what good product managers do. Understanding the customer, listening to them, and bringing in the right features functionalities in the product they are building is the key. And these cannot be done by being internally focused.
Meeting customers is a part of the day job of a product manager. It is just as important or more than looking at the spreadsheets for sales and profitability or those slides for marketing or the PRD for engineering. I would add first-hand interaction and information collection with the customer gives life and purpose to the product.
And product manager who becomes too busy for a customer will soon see customers who become too busy for the product. #LawOfKarma or #CommonSense
Leadership differs from management in a very fundamental way. Management doesn’t have to involve inspiring or motivating others. Situational leadership is a specific style of leadership, where your leadership style is dependent on the situation. You could be leading b either delegating, supporting, coaching o directing depending on the team and complexity of the task. Which essentially makes you practice one or more of the 4 popular leadership styles. The image here is self-explanatory.
What You Can Do About Situational Leadership Starting in the Next 11 Minutes
Leadership programs are appropriate for supervisors, managers, entrepreneurs and company executives. A leadership development program can help the company leaders in receiving new capabilities. This is a good 10-minute video on Hershey Blanchard situational leadership that you must watch
Now that you’ve understood, it’s vital that you take one of the critical projects that you are heading and see what amongst these leadership team would require at this point in the current situation.
The Number One Question You Must Ask for Situational Leadership
Leadership is more than only a word, it’s the action of leading. It can also cause a company’s demise. Situational leadership or the one size doesn’t fit all method is all about adapting your style to the particular circumstance.
“Knowing all that I know about this team and this project, what is the leadership that is required to help the project move to the next level, project right now?
Leaders help ordinary folks achieve extraordinary outcomes. They should be sent to various countries and allowed to learn that way. Superior leaders identify great talent, give them direction, then escape the manner.
The Hidden Truth About Situational Leadership
Leaders will need to function as a catalyst for change. Thus, a situational leader should have the needed aptitude in order to adjust their actions in order that they may fit with the present situation as a way to assist and meet the requirements of the faculty. Today, the leader with one principal leadership style can’t survive.
1. Entrepreneurs Are
The New Black – $100bn In VC Investments
Despite all the uncertainties in the global
markets, entrepreneurship continues to be much sought after even in 2019. And
it is not without a reason. Globally,
the U.S Venture Capitalist Investments are on the steady rise from 2009(US$ 20+ billion) to over $100 billion by the end- 2018. Investments into India alone have tripled from
just over US$ $4b in 2015 has grown to a massive
12.65 billion in 2018, a record of sorts.
However, on further analysis, you will note that late
stage start-ups with a proven record of success took the lion’s share of
funding raised, even as the industry welcomed new ‘unicorns. What this means is that if you get to have success
at every stage of your start-up, money is not a big issue for scaling.
2. The Age Of Garage Entrepreneur Is Dead
Entrepreneurs are no longer just folks starting out
of a garage. You will find that the new
age entrepreneurs are well educated, are either freshers or those with experience
of working in the industry, have a few skill, capabilities, and competencies up
their sleeve. And they are aware of that too. You will find that they come with
a passion of Garage Entrepreneurs and have ring-fenced
that passion with a lot more practicality in combining strengths. They will
usually partner with like-minded co-founders who fill the gap their own skill
gaps required for business. This age of entrepreneurs has their feet firmly on the
ground in understanding the real problem
that they are trying to solve. Yet are dreamers with their own idols like Elon
Musk or Sachin Bansal or a Jack Ma.
3. Lifelong Employment Is A Myth Busted, Forever.
I said this in 2016, and this holds truer in 2019 than before. The age of lifelong employment is dead – and buried. With the security of lifelong employment and associated pensions gone, more people are looking to get into the driver’s seat and take control of their destiny. They may not be quitting their day-jobs to start off but are cranking their start-ups with the luxury of income from the day jobs funding their passion in part or in full. If you are contemplating, don’t spend the rest of your life contemplating, no do you need to take that leap by quitting the day job when you will face revenue pressures to even sustain yourself. You can well do both, by spending a few more hours on weekdays and dedicate weekends to get the start-up off ground. Once you are confident of taking of jettisoning the mother-ship you can.
I said this in 2016, and this holds truer in 2019 than before. The age of lifelong employment is dead – and buried. With the security of lifelong employment and associated pensions gone, more people are looking to get into the driver’s seat and take control of their destiny. They may not be quitting their day-jobs yet, but are cranking their start-ups with the comfort of regular income from the day job, that funds their passion in part or in full. If you are contemplating, don’t spend the rest of your life contemplating. Nor should you that day job, when you now that will face income pressures to sustain yourself.
A blended approach could be that you can do both, by spending a few more hours on weekdays and dedicate weekends to get the start-up off ground. Once you are confident of taking off, jettison that mother-ship and raise your sails to the headwind.
4. Unemployment And Underemployment Continue To Be Triggers For New Ideas Take Shape
Student unemployment combined with gross unemployment and underemployment seems to be the first ‘triggers,’ though not necessarily the reason for success of many entrepreneurs. The education industry is churning out graduates and postgraduates at alarming rates and the number of big corporations that can absorb such talent is far too less. Education has become expensive, with student loans mounting, yet with no assurance of campus placement, entrepreneurship seems to be the only recourse if you have that fire in the belly.
Since supply far outstrips demand, it is logical that more students are seeking out entrepreneurial experiences with self-funding from friends and family to start with – many with aspirations to build the next Facebook, Uber, or Tesla. The others go through basic education simply to better equip themselves or in anticipation of one day taking that big leap from a cushy corporate job on to an entrepreneurial journey.
5. Disruptive Innovation Seldom Happens In Large Companies.
A lot more disruption and innovation happen today
than ever before. And yet, most such disruptions have started with the new
entrepreneurs and not the big corporates.
The very fact that the big companies went on to acquire the smaller players at high valuations goes on to prove the value created by new entrepreneurs. When was the last time a Google disrupted the industry? YouTube was an acquisition. Facebook acquired WhatsApp, Instagram, and Oculus. Microsoft did that with Skype and LinkedIn.
The pace of disruptive innovation has been accelerating since 2005. The new biggies are barely teenagers, the 100-year legends are far and few. New disruptors are disrupting previous disruptors.
6. Failure Is The New Badge Of Honour
The Silicon Valley’s adage on entrepreneurial spirit, ‘Failure is a Badge of Honour,’ is no more restricted to the Valley. In the past, Asian economies like India, China and Indonesia that constitute over half of the world’s population rewarded formal employment and had a social stigma attached to failure.
This new decade had changed all that. Today, you
have the wealth created by entrepreneurs from India and China. It is more like this
generation of Asians are getting back vigorously and challenging the tenets.
Even as the likes of Jack Ma (Alibaba), Sachin
Bansal, Binny Bansal (Flipkart), Aggarwal (Ola) have either diluted their stake
to move into philanthropy or the next big
thing, there is a new generation like Rashmi Daga (Fresh Menu), Ritesh Agarwal (Oyo),
Nandan Reddy and Rahul Jasimini (Swiggy),
Deepinder Goyal (Zomato) that have filled in those spaces with fairly big
shoes. The spirit of failure does not seem to perturb them, and they are reinventing,
realigning from their mistakes along the way.
7. Freemiums Break The Jinx Of Entry Barriers
business is hard and one needs to be systematic and
efficient. Hiring external resources cost money. On the other hand,
buying software which you may not use or may find limited use at exorbitant
prices is a big deterrent to productivity. A lot has changed in the last few
years. I have compiled some of the world’s best software and tools that makes
it easier for any entrepreneur– Analytics
(Google Analytics) , Collaboration (Slack, Trello) , Communication (Skype) Design Tools
Document Storage (Dropbox/
One Drive/ Google Drive) , Email Marketing (MailChimp)
, Invoices And Billing (Zoho), Social Media
Schedulers (Buffer, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck), Spreadsheets (Google Sheets), Survey Tool (Survey Monkey) , Word Processing (Grammarly, Google Docs).
components of your business that requires software tools are available for free
to start off and then ‘pay as you grow.’ This is a great boost for entrepreneurs
and start-ups who can use world-class tools with zero spending.
8. New Marketing Models Shackle Traditional Stongholds
Acquiring new customers and ‘spreading the message’
is no more limited to expensive newspaper
advertisements and television spots. The online marketing channels are all
about creating inbound leads and low-cost outbound reach, to targeted audience
at extremely optimised and affordable costs. Imagine reaching out to your new prospects
at budgets as low as low as $10 (Marketing on Google Facebook, Twitter and Facebook
and LinkedIn) for advertising each day.
The new marketing models with digital marketing and
content creation techniques using some of the tools mentioned above, have
spawned the imagination and amplified the
marketing capability of every entrepreneur.
You can now, target, reach out and engage your
audience for the right demographics and geo-focus. This translates for you into
a theoretically unlimited market size with
hyper-local targeting. Since markets have democratised and entry barriers for distribution
busted, you have infinite opportunities as a new player that offer value to your
9. You Don’t Even Need That Permission To Start
This is the best part. The world has changed and
has changed forever in the last decade. Governments across the world are waking
up to the new reality of changing demographics and have opened ‘Start Up’ and
Incubation Centres in every part of the world to encourage and give a boost to
the new entrepreneurs. The painfully expensive permissions from the Government
and regulators are long outdated for most new set-ups.
Social structures have changed, sources of funding
have changed and most of them are an advantage for the new entrepreneur
10. There Is No Better Time To Start
The Internet has flattened the world for 2 decades now. That the advances in mobile
telecommunication, increased bandwidths and broadband penetration have led to a
convergence of idea centres a decade ago.
Together, they have unleashed a potential that is available today for you- in
all its magnificence – for you to start. If you must start, there is no better
time to start than now. A journey of a thousand miles – starts with the first
step, they say.
The question today then is not: “Can we build this?” but rather, “Should we build this?”
Please do share your thoughts and feedback and I
will be glad to learn from you.
**The author is an entrepreneur with two decades of
senior leadership experience in India and Asia-Pacific and now runs Futureshift,
a boutique consulting outfit that helps businesses chart their digital
marketing strategy with the @ZMOTly framework to achieve impactful outcomes. He
is available at firstname.lastname@example.org **
This rule is some what counter-intuitive. Most aspirants to the top jobs, usually jump at the opportunity to travel with the superiors. They think that travelling with bosses gives them that extra time to shine. Don’t do it. Good senior executives judge on results, not on clever conversations.
Good top managers are also busy and unless you are working ion their projects, in less than ten minutes they get back to what they are working on. You must spend your travel time working . Airplane time is work time, so you may want to fly by yourself and gain those extra few hours. If you travel with a top executive and end up working on the flight, they would think you are doing it to impress them. Worse still, they want to read a book, relax, take a nap or may be watch a movie and they will be unsettled by your industriousness. Even if you have to fly the same plane, sit in a different section. Hotel time is also work time. If you travel with superiors they may be obligated to ask you for dinner. If they don’t you will feel hurt. Either ways your valuable time is wasted.
Hi, it’s an important day for us. Finally after many years on the web as aspire2be, we have moved to a domain peoplefriday.xyz
Almost all of us have aspirations. Aspirations make us, us. And we are all people. People First.
Aspirations energise people, and we aim to achieving those aspirations. It does not matter when we begin, we want to get ‘there’ fast. So much like Fridays. As soon as the week begins, we look forward to a Friday.
Aspirations are for most part like Fridays. We love them, we slog to get there and there we are at it again – for our next Friday.
People’s aspirations and thus PeopleFriday. Oh Boy! it is a Friday, today.
Over the last couple of months, I have struggled with this. Carrying years of negative energy, anger at people who I once trusted, and who let me down- all that affected me all these years. It has started again now- and I am trying my level best to move on.
Steve W. Martin Steve W. Martin teaches sales strategy at the USC Marshall School of Business. His latest book on sales linguistics is Heavy Hitter Sales Psychology: How to Penetrate the C-level Executive Suite and Convince Company Leaders to Buy. If you ask an extremely successful salesperson, “What makes you different from the average sales rep?” you will most likely get a less-than-accurate answer, if any answer at all. Frankly, the person may not even know the real answer because most successful salespeople are simply doing what comes naturally. Over the past decade, I have had the privilege of interviewing thousands of top business-to-business salespeople who sell for some of the world’s leading companies. I’ve also administered personality tests to 1,000 of them. My goal was to measure their five main personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and negative emotionality) to better understand the characteristics that separate them their peers. The personality tests were given to high technology and business services salespeople as part of sales strategy workshops I was conducting. In addition, tests were administered at Presidents Club meetings (the incentive trip that top salespeople are awarded by their company for their outstanding performance). The responses were then categorized by percentage of annual quota attainment and classified into top performers, average performers, and below average performers categories. The test results from top performers were then compared against average and below average performers. The findings indicate that key personality traits directly influence top performers’ selling style and ultimately their success. Below, you will find the main key personality attributes of top salespeople and the impact of the trait on their selling style.
Modesty. Contrary to conventional stereotypes that successful salespeople are pushy and egotistical, 91 per cent of top salespeople had medium to high scores of modesty and humility. Furthermore, the results suggest that ostentatious salespeople who are full of bravado alienate far more customers than they win over.
Selling Style Impact: Team Orientation. As opposed to establishing themselves as the focal point of the purchase decision, top salespeople position the team (presales technical engineers, consulting, and management) that will help them win the account as the centrepiece.
Conscientiousness. Eighty-five per cent of top salespeople had high levels of conscientiousness, whereby they could be described as having a strong sense of duty and being responsible and reliable. These salespeople take their jobs very seriously and feel deeply responsible for the results.
Selling Style Impact: Account Control. The worst position for salespeople to be in is to have relinquished account control and to be operating at the direction of the customer, or worse yet, a competitor. Conversely, top salespeople take command of the sales cycle process in order to control their own destiny.
Achievement Orientation. Eighty-four per cent of the top performers tested scored very high in achievement orientation. They are fixated on achieving goals and continuously measure their performance in comparison to their goals.
Selling Style Impact: Political Orientation. During sales cycles, top sales, performers seek to understand the politics of customer decision-making. Their goal orientation instinctively drives them to meet with key decision-makers. Therefore, they strategize about the people they are selling to and how the products they’re selling fit into the organization instead of focusing on the functionality of the products themselves.
Curiosity. Curiosity can be described as a person’s hunger for knowledge and information. Eighty-two per cent of top salespeople scored extremely high curiosity levels. Top salespeople are naturally more curious than their lesser performing counterparts.
Selling Style Impact: Inquisitiveness. A high level of inquisitiveness correlates to an active presence during sales calls. An active presence drives the salesperson to ask customers difficult and uncomfortable questions in order to close gaps in information. Top salespeople want to know if they can win the business, and they want to know the truth as soon as possible.
Lack of Gregariousness. One of the most surprising differences between top salespeople and those ranking in the bottom one-third of performance is their level of gregariousness (preference for being with people and friendliness). Overall, top performers averaged 30 per cent lower gregariousness than below average performers.
Selling Style Impact: Dominance. Dominance is the ability to gain the willing obedience of customers such that the salesperson’s recommendations and advice are followed. The results indicate that overly friendly salespeople are too close to their customers and have difficulty establishing dominance.
Lack of Discouragement. Less than 10 per cent of top salespeople were classified as having high levels of discouragement and being frequently overwhelmed with sadness. Conversely, 90 per cent were categorized as experiencing infrequent or only occasional sadness.
Selling Style Impact: Competitiveness. In casual surveys I have conducted throughout the years, I have found that a very high percentage of top performers played organized sports in high school. There seems to be a correlation between sports and sales success as top performers are able to handle emotional disappointments, bounce back from losses, and mentally prepare themselves for the next opportunity to compete.
Lack of Self-Consciousness. Self-consciousness is the measurement of how easily someone is embarrassed. The by-product of a high level of self-consciousness is bashfulness and inhibition. Less than five per cent of top performers had high levels of self-consciousness.
Selling Style Impact: Aggressiveness. Top salespeople are comfortable fighting for their cause and are not afraid of rankling customers in the process. They are action-oriented and unafraid to call high in their accounts or courageously cold call new prospects.
Not all salespeople are successful. Given the same sales tools, level of education, and propensity to work, why do some salespeople succeed where others fail? Is one better suited to sell the product because of his or her background? Is one more charming or just luckier? The evidence suggests that the personalities of these truly great salespeople play a critical role in determining their success.
In this post, I want to share with you a few key characteristics of successful sales people and how they differ from the normal sales people. You would probably agree the majority view that successful sales people meet their quotas, are happy with their profession and are enthusiastic about their customer satisfaction. On the contrary, those struggling to meet quotas (quarter on quarter), that are stressed and worried each day and have a habit of constant complaints about their customers are possibly unsuccessful sales persons. Having seen thousands of sales people and managed and coached hundreds of them, I thought it would worthwhile to share my experience in a simplistic six-point format. I share these based on my observations on what happens when the sales person meets their customer – where the rubber hits the road. A successful seller has a distinct approach to selling. He/ She
concentrates on buyer’s need and solving their pain
is focused on customer satisfaction; The purchase order for them, is means to an end.
always, converts features into benefit statements for the prospect
is an active listener; asks questions to clarify his own understanding
cooperates with the prospect in making the buying decision
congratulates prospect on making the right choice
A normal salesperson is very unlike the above and usually demonstrates the following traits –
is focused on the product
is only interested in getting the order
can rattle out product features tirelessly
talks endlessly, never missing a beat
pushes for the sale, oblivious of what is running in his prospect’s mind
thanks prospect for the order
These fundamental differences almost always do sift between the rice and husk. Happy Selling!
One of those big myths about business decision making is about the inherent admiration of a aggressive, super-sure, quick decision maker. This strategy may be great in certain situations – not so good in others.
Some decisions in haste can be reversed, altered or has little impact. These haste decisions are necessary if there is a fire in a factory. Decisions made for the sake of speed is a little different from decisions that require swiftness. Understanding the difference is critical. There are two kinds of decisions – revocable and irrevocable. Revocable decisions are changeable decisions that can be made relatively fast and if it is wrong or needs to be altered, can be changed again relatively fast wit comparatively minimal impact. Examples would be – Office layouts, Advertising schedules, Not making a decision, Pricing, Phone service provider, Choosing an insurance company, even hiring a contract staff or a tier 2 reseller. Irrevocable decisions such as brand name, acquisitions, executive hires, buildings, IT architecture are usually not easily irrevocable. Exercise caution while taking irrevocable decisions. Even if you need to take these decisions under time pressure, then you need to read fast, assimilate information fast, analyse fast, think fast and then decide. The decision may seem fast – but as a manager – you know you have done your due diligence. Sounds easy! The essence of understanding the difference is the situations under which you operate in a particular mode that will make you successful. Tim to decide! Merry Christmas!
Is it a coincidence that majority of corporate Presidents started as a salesman or were sales people at some point in their career? Selling is a super critical function. Selling possibly is the only function that gets up close and personal to your customer. A sales person starts to understanding customer’s likes, dislikes and idiosyncrasies. They get to know the precise reason why a product or company clicks or why it ticks. And as the salesperson grows in the organization to increased responsibilities, they start shaping products, teams and organization structures to address their customer’s need. They have first hand experience and the conviction required to fix things that generates revenue for the company. Over time and not surprisingly, the successful salesman becomes an star within the company. He is well recognized, for the sales man knows their customers the best. When management wants to hire for a position on the management team,
who do you think would be on their A-list – A star salesman.
Secondly, since organization exist because of their customers, management would prefer some one who has been with the customers for senior positions.
Thirdly, in all probability the current CEO and the executive team were salespersons themselves in the career. It is only natural for biases towards star salespersons.
Whatever be the case if you are a salesman you are in good hands. You have the inherent advantage to get to the top. If not, get a role in sales to fill up that gaping hole in your otherwise impeccable record.
Making an impact is a good thing. To leave a mark is a good thing. However in this destructive goal pursuit of ‘leaving a mark’ and ‘making an impact’ managers often reverse their predecessors decision and change things just to ‘leave a mark’ and ‘make an impact’. Successful CEOs from Jack Welch to Lou Gerstener, did change a zillion things. They did make an impact. But they did retain one characteristic – they encouraged good things. If you find good things – however dull, old or tried – just add fuel to it. catalyse more of it. Not every success is about solving a problem, or doing a turnaround. The sole financial objective of a company is to give significant returns to its shareholders. You do this by finding and filling your customers needs. If you customers love it – do not change it. Do not change the labels, the ingredients, the name, price, advertising or anything else. IBM understood the power of its eight bar logo and its brand name. Coke understood the power of its ingredients. The Disney company understands the value of Mickey Mouse. P&G is never tired of telling people that Ivory soap is “99 and 44/100 per cent pure”. And they did it for fifty, seventy, hundred years. Don’t change the formula for success – Add fuel to the fire!
Another big myth from practicing managers is that they think that the biggest budget and the most people reporting to them is a guarantee to get them to the top. This probably was true in the days of kings not in today’s flat world. Today, it is all (only) about doing more with less. Do more – Grow revenue, profits, marketshare – with less people, money and resources. A few cardinal rules
never complain that you are expected to do more than what your budget enables
do not be that manager who is constantly hiring people
never use lack of resource as an excuse
Forget the empire. Power and promotions go to people who can do more with less. Efficient producers not resource hungry administrators.
When my nephew was seven years old, his favourite cricket team Deccan Chargers was clearly winning, with 12 runs needed off 36 balls and two wickets to spare. Convinced of the victory, he offered to bet his grandfather on the outcome of the game. His grandfather laughed and agreed. The stakes were $4.64, all they money that the seven year old had. In the next five minutes the bowler took two straight wickets and the boy lost. The kid hated to lose and as he was giving away his life’s earnings his grandfather said, “Only bet on yourself. Don’t bet on events and people you can’t control to influence. Don’t bet on what you don’t know or understand.” These golden words hold immense wisdom in business. History is galore with examples from sub-prime crisis to Wall Street crash to the dot-com burst. These events had downed hundreds of companies and rendered millions unemployed. They had one common characteristic. The executives of the failed firms had an appetite for risks. More importantly they were betting on risks beyond their control; on things they did not understand and on things that they did not believe in. Was it then a surprise disaster was in the making. The golden rule of any successful manager or entrepreneur – he would should bet only and only if he can influence and has control. Risk taking is not a great idea if you do not control the risk factors.
Business is tough and may is not joy ride. That should not stop you from emanating joy and having fun along the way. As a manager, you are expected to to keep the team focussed towards the goal. You are supposed to to lead them through the journey. You can make the journey hard, grumpy and tiring. Or you have a choice to make the joy, fun and lively. It is a common knowledge that people who enjoy their work can be more creative, more enthusiastic and more productive. Conversely, an environment that is constantly serious and matter-of-fact is stressful and inefficient. The manager who is able to maintain a sense of humour, lightens the mental load will always have a motivated happy team. A motivated less stressed team is a more productive team. They achieve things faster, better and bigger. Sense of humour is mark of intelligence and quality sought out for corporate presidents. If you see it as a rare quality – all the more reason you have a better change of being one if you possess one. Make fun@work a reality.
Big problems will always surface. Even if they are hidden unintentionally, the fall out is disastrous when they surface. The ‘hiders’ are always face a more serious censure than the ‘discoverers’. The discoverers are being safe. the ‘hiders’ were trying to cover up. the fall-out is not always nice. When you know of a big problem or a goof up, let the bosses know immediately. The delay is only going to worsen things. At least, if you shout early, you can get help. Turn the problem into opportunity. Give them a potential estimate of loss. Give possible scenarios. Give solutions to come out of the situation. Ask for help, resources, management support. At least they can strengthen your hands. It is also important that you position yourself of independent reporter in control. Describe the problem as if you were not previously involved. Watergate to Vietnam, bankruptcies to Iraq, all elephants that ere hidden and mismanaged.They grew bigger and bigger and beyond control., When they could no more be hidden, the hiders lost everything.
‘Boss Bitching’ is a fad. An entertaining one, at that; though not the right one to take you to the top. All of us have heard people who can just complain and complain about their bosses – just give them an opportunity and they can rattle the worst things about their twenty-seven bosses through career. They share horrifying stories about their tyrannical and incompetent bosses, that have reached the top while leaving these people in the lurch. Such sad stories are for losers. Winners do not have tyrannical bosses. They have fantastic bosses and amazing supervisors. Just as most people can vividly remember their memorable teachers and their teachings from kindergarten to Graduate school, the same applies to business. Winners do remember learning from their bosses. They know, that most people do not have a choice on hiring their bosses. But they do have a choice of learning the good qualities from them. They know, that nobody is perfect, and every body is good at something. Winners learn, study, emulate the good things from their boss – whoever they are. Great teachings from superiors are subtle, yet significant—they praise properly, they are fair goal setters, they are honest, they let people grow. There may have their idiosyncrasies and whims – but great bosses are usually hard working, smart and open minded. Seek those people early in you career. Seek people with those qualities. Work for them. Watch them closely. see how they handle problems and handle criticism. Note how they manage people and get things done. Walk their way!,
In my earlier post of Business is Social:…, I shared the size of the market was and the lovable demographics social media presents. In this second and final part, I will share with you the basic steps of getting there. Before I proceed I want to share with you a personal sorry that occurred a few days ago.
I was disappointed at mediocre internet banking infrastructure of the two banks #hdfcbank, #icicibank and the unhelpful call center of #jetairways. The numerous attempts to the call center that either put me on hold for a good 20+ minutes or were unable to understand the requests yielded no results. As their customer that lives abroad, such waits and both frustrating and costly. I did what was the next step. Vent my frustration on a tweet.
In less than 12 hours, I had ‘messages’ from two of the firms #icicibank#jetairways requesting for more details. In less than 24 hours of me providing my contact details, the representatives called me and promised to fix the issue. One bank #hdfcbank, just chose to be unheard and non-present on twitter. Needless to say thy just lost my $10K investment that I was planning to do to their competitor.
As a customer, I was delighted that a 140 character tweet could achieve what a 20min international phone call or a 300 word email could not. Harnessing its power, let’s get serious. Unfortunately, most companies are still treating social media like just another teenage fancy. When in fact, it’s so much more.
Where can Social Media help?
customer service, building loyalty
public relations, networking, thought-leadership
and yes, may be customer acquisition, too.
And because I’d hate to see it all not add up, I’ll add this tiny bit of advice. Do not assume that social media is the answer to every problem
If your product sucks, social media won’t fix it.
However, if your customer service sucks, social media can help.
If your repeat business sucks, social media can help.
If your company’s word of mouth sucks, social media can help.
Your customers are queuing there. Your resistance to social media is futile. Millions of people are creating content for the social web. Your competitors are already there. Your customers have been there for a long time. If your business isn’t putting itself out there, you are putting yourself out of business?
In my consulting assignments and workshop on social media, participants ask me the same question again and again. The top three questions are –
“Why do we as a business need to be there?”
“Facebook is for friends and Twitter is there for celebrities, not for real businesses”.
“We are a professional organization, not some startup”
In this two part series, I will share how social media can change the business dynamics and help you get closer to your prospects and customers. In part 2 of this series I will share my own personal example with an airline and a bank on how they leveraged social media to solve customer problems.
Well are businesses really social?
A few years ago when Avinash Kaushik, an Analytics Evangelist of Google quipped “social media is like teen sex. Everyone wants to do it. Nobody knows how. When it’s finally done there is surprise it’s not better”, it seemed like just that. Now 3 years later 36 months wiser, Wikipedia defines thus – “Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. Social media is the use of web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue”, Why should I care, you may ask? Well, I can give you not one but six trends that possibly can change your perspective.
Because 3 out of 4 Americans use social technology.
Because 2/3 of the global internet population visit social networks.
Because visiting social sites is now the 4th most popular online activity
Because time spent on social networks is growing at 3x the overall internet rate, accounting for
Because social media is democratizing communications. Big time.
Because social media is like word of mouth on steroids.
Because, social media is a force to be reckoned with! If facebook were a country, it would be the 3rd most populated in the world, just after China and India.
If all this is great stuff, how does it affect my business, my customers or my prospects? I will cover these in my next issue, and I leave you with this thought –
93% of social media users believe that a company should have a presence in social media.
93% of these users want a dialogue, not a monologue on social media and believe that companies should not treat social media as yet another channel for broadcasting bulls*t.
Well now that I set the grounding on the basics of Social Media, I will take up in my next issue on how businesses can leverage social media in my next issue.