Big is not better

Here’s an extract from Knowledge@Wharton, an online magazine from The Wharton School of Business that I subscribe to.

After losing $60 billion in the last decade — and billions more recently when a cloud of volcanic ash grounded flights across Europe — airlines are looking to consolidate as a way to return to profitability amid continued struggles with high fuel prices, competition from low-cost carriers, and a limited customer pool that shriveled even more during the recession. But experts are skeptical about the “bigger is better” strategy. Many observers say the carriers have proved downright flighty at following through on making changes that improve operations and put the customer first.

Continue reading “Big is not better”

We need to get our act together before expecting others to get their’s together

From his book Winning with People, John Maxwell (who I think is one of a small handful of people who really understand leadership) takes a look at some principles that address victory over self. Here’s one that I think is a gem:

Who we are determines how we see others. This principle says once we get our own act together, we will be able to help others get their acts together. It’s impossible, if I am an unhealthy leader, to have healthy followers. I have to fix myself. We don’t see others as they are; we see others as we are, because each of us has his or her own bent and that colors our view of everything. What is around us doesn’t determine what we see. What is within us does. For example, if I am an untrusting person, how you think I will see you? I will see you as untrustworthy. So anything that is unhealthy about me is going to spill onto you. That is what leaders have to understand. But as a leader, if I can get victory over myself, if I can fix John Maxwell, the odds are high I can help and fix others.

Are all your clients profitable to service?

As I have discussed in a previous blog posting, time and billing systems that are in general use masquerade as practice management systems but even those that have the potential to provide useful management information are not generally used for that purpose.  The only “management” support they give is to monitor time charged by people for billing purposes. Continue reading “Are all your clients profitable to service?”

Is your product return policy customer-centric?

Back in February, 2010 I posted some thoughts called Moments of Truth (MOT).  Here’s another one that you might want to share with your clients and ask them whether their “Returns Policy” is working to their advantage.

I’m in Australia at the moment and I just returned from a visit to the Ballina’s Big W store owned by Woolworths (for the benefit of our readers abroad, one of Australia’s “leading” retailers.)  The experience I had was less than great.

Let me explain. Continue reading “Is your product return policy customer-centric?”

Some Thoughts on Networking

I do lots of presentations each year that might be best described as networking events. Given that professional service firms rely very heavily on referrals and given that your network of contacts is a potentially rich source of referrals I thought I’d share some thoughts on how to make the most of networking opportunities. Here goes:

  1. Before you attend a networking event find out as much as you can about what the theme of the event is, who is likely to be there, give thought to who you would like to meet and what you would like to discover by attending. Do your research on the people (and their organization) who you expect to be there – when you get to meet them you will seem well-informed an on the ball. What better credential could you have as a representative of a professional service firm in the knowledge industry?
  2. Never be late for the event. If necessary get up 30 minutes earlier that day! When you’re early you can scope out the room, learn the names of people, get comfortable with the group and decide where you want to sit and who you want to get to know.
  3. Do NOT try to use the occasion to sell anything. Your purpose in being there is to meet people and to establish rapport through learning as much about them and their needs as you can. That means take your business cards by all means but do not take your brochures – if someone wants to learn more about you and your services, set up a later meeting (perhaps over a meal) and talk shop there.
  4. Take a small pocket notebook to make a note of things your discover, people you meet, promises you made etc. On this point take note of Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit – seek first to understand before being understood: develop your listening skills rather than your talking skills. You’ll be amazed at how fruitful this turns out to be for developing strong relationships.
  5. Never sit next to one of your associates. The purpose of attending the event is to meet people, why on earth would you want to sit next to someone you already know?
  6. Dress appropriately for the event. What is appropriate should have been determined as part of your discovery process that I discussed in point 1 above. Need I add, comb your hair, brush your teeth, polish your shoes, change your shirt if necessary – sorry, am I sounding like your mother?
  7. Follow up the people you met who you would like to form a relationship with.