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"Nothing can stop a person with the right attitude; nothing can help a person with the wrong attitude"
As the winds of change blow harder than ever and the challenges we face become greater, it's easy for attitudes to waver. It happens to the best of us.
Many of the organisations whose performance we've helped to transform, have asked if we could provide some additional support, help, tips and advice on how to keep a positive attitude - no matter what challenges the competition, the economy, the boss or the kids throw at us!
We want to share with you some real practical strategies and vital information that Chief Executives, Senior Managers, Managers, Team Leaders – anyone in the organisation can benefit from in order to transform business improvement.
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We need leadership today in organisations more than ever.
There are many leaders, but there are few who truly lead.
Those who lead do so by example not words, deeds not promises, decisiveness not evasiveness, clarity not confusion, inspiration not manipulation.
They don’t wait for titles, they act now. They work at all levels within an organisation and have had the “I always wondered why someone would do something like that, then I realised I was someone” moment.
They then decided to take responsibility for more than just their own work.
They are the real stars in organisations because they:-
uncover opportunities and issues without being told
don’t let the organisation get in the way. Organisational structures frequently hinder progress and those who lead skilfully work around the organisation charts in order to make things happen
say “I’m going to do something” … and then do
inspire others to “do something” constantly and consistently
There are leaders and there are those who lead.
Here at Sewells, we know the difference, and it’s subtle, but staggering.
Do you know what the difference is?
“How many times do we have to explain why this change is necessary? Everyone tells me they understand … but as soon as my back is turned, they continue like nothing has happened”.
It is really worrying how many organisations we’ve met within recent months who are really struggling to get business critical changes embedded into day to day operations.
We’ve observed the same basic school boy/girl errors being made that make change too difficult to implement.
1) Having a tendency to ‘jump to action’
- Impatience leads to looking at ways to execute before making sure people get the ‘why’ the change is needed.
2) The focus is all on the relatively simple ‘hard’ side of change (i.e. structure, systems and processes).
- The more difficult ‘soft’ side of change (i.e. getting people aligned) is left for later, or ignored.
3) Under-estimating what it takes to reach alignment of and between people
- Based on authentic leadership generating complete trust, total openness and mutual respect.
Please remember the fundamentals:-
- Change happens quickly
- Habits change slowly
- Human nature never changes
Most organisations try and create change through manipulation rather than inspiration – and when the change doesn’t happen quickly enough … more manipulation is the outcome.
Our customers rate us as the best at helping them embed critical culture change: the kind that shows through in results:-
• Customer enquiries down over 39% - yet we helped increase sales by 50% year on year – and maintain margin
• In a market down 33% - sales up 27% and margins up 45%
• In an automotive market down by 7% - with Sewells help, sales are up 36.5% and Customer satisfaction moved from mid table to top 10%
• £10 million per year saved in one division and employee engagement scores significantly increased.
• Reduced absenteeism to zero
When the behaviours that you require are not being exhibited on a day to day basis, that’s when you’re at most risk. You may find you need someone who will help you brilliantly execute any significant change in a tried and tested, sustainable, risk free, fully aligned way.
That’s what Sewells does with EVERY organisation we touch ... Sewells doesn’t do failure and neither should you!
Quarter one of 2011 is already behind us – are you where you needed to be in order to exceed your business plan numbers? Or is your head on the block?
After George Osborne’s budget at the end of March it doesn’t look like there is going to be a huge recovery any time soon.
However, there is always hope. Even with the crowd baying for your blood, with the right help and guidance, and accepting you’ll need to take some brave pills, you can turn round your results.
Sometimes winning in business is like winning in sport. Look at the England Rugby team. Ok, so losing to Ireland on the last day of the Six Nations took some of the gloss off what they had done, but 18 months ago it was much, much worse.
Defence coach Mike Ford revealed that at that time he and Manager Martin Johnson didn’t trust the players. They were demanding they stick to a prescribed game plan, one which didn’t allow for any creativity or autonomy.
This eroded the players’ confidence and created an environment where the players lived in fear of being dropped.
Ford admitted that at that time they needed to score at least 20 points to beat a Six Nations team and, to beat Australia or New Zealand, it was more like 27 … a figure they were nowhere near being able to achieve.
Are you starting to see any parallels with the business world? Even more so, are you starting to see any similarities with your business?
18 months ago Smith & Co (fictional business) were on the verge of going out of existence. John Smith didn’t trust any of his team so he demanded they work to his plans, following all his ideas. If they went off track they were quickly brought back into line with a few harsh words!
The staff had no confidence in the direction of the company and they lived in fear of being sacked if they did something wrong, and you could forget about coming up with your own ideas.
To break even, Smith & Co had to make £2 million per annum. They were nowhere near that figure.
The dictionary lists two meanings for “confrontation.” They are: “a face-to-face meeting” and “the clashing of forces or ideas”. Both are part of being a boss, but hardly anyone tells that to a new manager in advance.
You could say that a large part of managing others successfully is the art of “controlled confrontation”. If you want to be a great boss, you must learn to do it well.
When was the last time you had to deal with confrontation in your organisation? How did you manage the situation?
A large part of your job is accomplishing key objectives through your team. Sometimes that means asking your people to do things they’d rather not do. Sometimes it means getting them to stop doing things that will impact on team performance and make individuals uncomfortable for a while.
You do most of that face-to-face. You need to communicate how things should be done and why it matters. Your team members may have different ideas. That’s where confrontation happens.
Another large part of your job is to care for your people. Not in the ‘pink and fluffy’ way most people think, but in a way that means helping them succeed, which often involves getting them to do things differently. Confrontation can happen there as well. Even when you’re trying to help them, it may be seen as ‘interfering’.
The bottom line is that being a boss requires you to get people to change their behaviour, or improve their performance. Since nobody likes to be told that what they’re doing is wrong, confrontation will be an inevitable part of your job. But how do you expect to change behaviours if you don’t talk to your team about their behaviours?
No one we know relishes confrontation. For nearly 50 years we’ve asked delegates in our management workshops, or coaching sessions, what part of the job they hate the most. They say one of them is “talking to team members about poor performance”.
Being the boss, you don’t really have a choice whether you do it or not. Where you do have a choice is … how you do it.
So, what kind of boss are you?
A shouter? A Gordon Ramsay, or a Sir Alex Ferguson? Or will you take a different approach, someone like Richard Branson?
All of them are successful in their own right, but which one’s teams are inspired and motivated because they know their manager wants to encourage them to do things differently and progress to be the best they can be?
We like to challenge the norm and everything we do, we do differently. As we’ve said, ‘Controlled Confrontation’ is what you’re after.
Controlled confrontation is a key part of being an effective boss. Following the advice outlined will improve your odds of successful ‘Controlled Confrontation’. Your objective is for your team members to leave your meeting thinking about what will change and not how you treated them. Give it a go today and let us know how you get on.
To be brilliant at Customer Service you and everyone in your organisation needs to be obsessed by it – and not, as often is the case, pay lip-service to it. Delivering extraordinary levels of customer service is not about doing extra-ordinary things, but doing a few simple things extraordinarily well!
It needs to be in the DNA of everyone in the organisation.
You know this, right? So how are you doing on your journey? The race for excellence in customer service is one with no finishing line so are you winning? Or at least in the leading pack?
Most organisations (80%) think that their customer service is good or very good – only 8% of their customers agree!
The ultimate judge of how well your business is doing isn’t you or your shareholders, (shock, horror!), it’s your customers.
Make a customer happy and they’ll tell one, maybe two people. Annoy a customer and they’ll tell eight people and, if they’re on Facebook and Twitter, they can potentially (and probably will) tell a lot more. In fact, a recent survey revealed 20% of people now take to social media to moan to family and friends about bad customer service.
What would it mean to your organisation to up your customer service delivery?
For one of our customers, sales increased by 36.5% and customer satisfaction went from mid-table to top 10% within their sector.
Now, what would it mean for your organisation if you could increase your customer retention by just 5%? I can tell you what it would mean … a 25% - 85% increase in profit! That is a fact.
When money is tight, how can you make sure the customer £’s are landing in your bank account and not in your competitors.
1. Do a “secret shopper” exercise on your own organisation (or if you can’t, let us do it for you).
What sort of experience would you get if you were the customer? Think about whether you would come back. If not, think about why not, and fix it.
2. Listen to customer facing staff in action.
Do this first thing in the morning, last thing at night … and any time in between. Is the level of courtesy and attention consistent? Is it what your written ‘service personality’ says it should be? What? You don’t have a defined ‘service personality’ Oh! You could be in trouble then!!
“How many times do I have to explain to people that strategic change is necessary for us? They clearly told me and their managers they understood, but when we turn our backs they continue like nothing has happened!”
Is this situation familiar to you?
It’s a real life example of the biggest barrier that we, as a company, have experienced over the years in working with organisations that were dealing with change. The situation where leaders thought their people where aligned ... only to find out later that actually they were not! This lack of alignment caused serious obstacles for reaching the desired outcomes and for good strategies to ‘crash and burn’.
We all know it, change is a constant factor for organisations however, speed is the variable. It is almost unnecessary to say that crucial for achieving change is the ability to make people (managers and employee/leaders and followers) pull and act together successfully in making the desired change happen.
So why is it then that, in the organisation where enormous effort, energy and time was put into engaging each other, empowering people and giving them motivating responsibilities … despite this, people did not show the expected behaviour, drive, teamwork and results?
The list of reasons can be quite long because every organisation, its people and change process have their own specifics, but what we’ve found over the past 40+ years, is that the following recurring root causes are the important ones.
We’re discovering a worrying trend in businesses as they are fighting hard to increase sales, profits, and the quality of the customer experience and employee engagement in a tough – very tough – post recessionary world.
There seems to be a new generation of leaders and senior managers who are overcomplicating the new strategy and direction, who are comfortable using heavy-weight terminologies to describe how they should be executed and they set up overly complex processes and try to impress by using pretentious jargon when trying to communicate.
Their objective is to align and engage people; the reality is they manage to confuse them. People fail to connect, they fail to comprehend, they fail to be inspired, they fail to take action and a good strategy crashes and burns.
There are a few key reasons as to why simplicity is the key to brilliant leadership and strategic execution, and we’d love to share with you what they are.
In the 20th Century, when Mahatma Gandhi, who was a brilliant leader, motivated an entire nation to fight for independence, simplicity worked. He was a simple man, with a simple message … put across in a simple way. Millions were motivated to take action … independence was won on the back of it.
In the last few years, we have seen, and are still seeing, the results of over-complexifying things.
The message is clear … simplify ... or die.
We hope your 2011 has got off to a great start. Even though there are still 11 months to go, you’ll already have some good indicators as to how the year will pan out, results-wise.
A recent survey we’ve completed across many business sectors has indicated that the biggest challenge to profitable growth, retaining customers, successful change initiatives etc … is not what you’d think.
Most people would say it’s the economy, the marketplace, the austerity measures or something big like that which scuppers the ability to achieve or exceed the business objectives for 2011.
But our survey shows managers and workers agree on something for once … and that is the fact that, the biggest challenge in 2011 is ... the ‘negativity and lack of motivation’ in the workplace – especially after all the cost cutting and restructuring that has taken place.
Since the credit crunch started, negativity and lack of motivation has spiralled downwards out of control in most organisations and, given yesterdays speech by the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, in which he said there should be a freeze on pay rises for the foreseeable future it’s sure to get even worse.
Managers and workers, whose formative years were spent in “times of plenty,” developed mindsets and habits for those times. Now the working landscape is so very different they’re being asked to change and they’re, not surprisingly, struggling to do so.
Managers and workers have gone beyond being in shock … they’re now in trauma! Hence the negativity and poor motivation as they hold on for dear life to their old mindsets and habits.
All kinds of new systems, processes, procedures and ways of operating and behaving are being requested of them. Help and support is at hand. But, unless you get the right help and support, it’s like painting over the rust.
These people need to be (gently) stripped down to their core … and … professionally and positively re-built in order to thrive in this modern, chaotic working world.
There is no other organisation which can do this for you better than us at Sewells. It’s our bag. It’s our area of expertise and our specialist subject.
It’s what we’ve built our world class reputation on.
Sir Richard Branson, in his blog, recently wrote about what makes great customer service and how it is a constant challenge and something to be constantly worked at. Now if someone like Branson is still working at it, doesn’t that mean we all should be too?
He, like us at Sewells, believes a successful business should never lose its focus on its customers and standards. This need is heightened by the internet as the reaction to a badly handled situation in one part of the country can quickly be communicated to other cities, counties and countries in a matter of seconds!
Amazingly though, some organisations still see Customer Service training as a cost. They don’t understand the returns they get on their investment and it’s not seen as a very prestigious area in which to work. All nonsense!!
Here are some insights from Virgin you may find useful when it comes to Customer Service:-
1. Do it right all the time, not just when things go wrong:- Whilst it’s good to respond to extraordinary circumstances, like Virgin America Chief Executive David Cush did when he called passengers on a stranded flight in New York to offer them apologies and vouchers, don’t make it a one off. Keeping up a regular dialogue with customers can give you an early warning if your business starts to go off track.
2. Do see it as a means of keeping customers coming back. Don’t see it as a cost:- In most sectors, excellent customer service is a key factor that will set your company apart from your competitors. Make dedication to service the bedrock of the corporate culture.
3. Do encourage your staff to be involved:- Staff at a Virgin Active Health Club in South Africa are challenged to think of 10 improvements for every new club built. One of the favourites has been to add 6 rungs to the ladders in the swimming pool instead of three or four, making it easier for swimmers to get out of the pool.
4. Do go all the way:- Going the extra mile and surprising your customers with the level of service can make a massive difference. At another Virgin gym, the general manager noticed as a regular customer drove away that the brake light on his car was out. The next time that member arrived there was a brake light waiting for him. Do you think that customer will be looking for another gym any time soon?
5. Do recognise great staff achievements with initiatives:- To build this kind of corporate culture Richard Branson says you have to reward customer service heroes and heroines by celebrating their achievements.
6. Make your business a fun place to be:- Customers shouldn’t just think of your business as a place to buy or do something – it should be a welcoming, fun place to be. By making customer service a priority your employees will be motivated and your customers happy, meaning loyalty and business success.
The six steps above all fall within the Sewells tried and tested Customer Service Excellence Programme: ACE (x4) Amazing Customer Experience – Every time, by Everyone, Everywhere. ACE (x4) is just one of the programmes we deliver.
If you want to attract more customers and keep them, but don’t quite know how to implement the steps above, Sewells can help.
To take away the worry about customer service, call the experts. We have over 40 years experience in delivering ACE (x4) and we know we can make a difference to your business.
Here’s the proof from two of our customers…
“People are focused on the customer and making a difference and we have a common language, openness and teamwork”.
K.McC, Chief Executive Officer
“Our enquiries may be down by nearly 50%, but our sales are up over 150% because of the Sewells ACE (x4) programme”.
S.B, Training Manager
P.S. 80% of companies believe they deliver superior customer experiences, but only 8% of their customers agree. Source: Bain & Company.
Did you achieve the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of 2010? Did you make any progress at all? Was it more like one step forward, two steps back?
As you look forward toward 2011, what’s your plan to keep yourself growing, learning and achieving – personally and professionally – throughout the year?
Well, the good news is that you’ve already got everything you need to achieve anything you desire without limit! Yes you have! You already possess the right ingredients to succeed.
The only thing you’ll be lacking is the recipe of how to mix them all together in the right order to achieve your own personal version of greatness in life. Greatness in the work you do, the relationships you have, the health and happiness you enjoy, the financial security you deserve, the peace of mind and feeling of fulfilment you crave etc.
The recipe for success begins with your mind. Your wonderful, creative, resourceful mind.
Your mind is the most marvellous electro-bio-chemical computer ever created. When it is programmed properly, it becomes the engine that powers our lives to incredible, seemingly impossible achievements.
When used properly our mind turns us, as human beings, into a refined and sophisticated, reliable, goal achieving machine … one that is both unlimited and unstoppable.
In life “what you get is what you set.” If you want 2011 to be your best year ever, treat yourself to our World-renown three-day “Working Miracles™” Workshop.
If you reserve your place for the March 2011 workshop (7th, 8th and 9th inclusive) before Friday 21st January 2011 and you’ll be entitled to the special discounted price of just £395 per day (plus VAT).
Hundreds of people, just like you, have achieved amazing things after attending “Working Miracles™” Don’t take our word for it … see and hear what they thought about the experience by clicking here.
The first battle any leader ever won was the first one … over themselves!
Managing ourselves is probably our biggest task as a leader. How well we manage ourselves determines the kind of leader we will be and the impact – positive or negative - we will have on others.
Within everyone is a “Big Me” which is the voice of reason and a “Little Me” which is the impulsive and emotional voice. We need to learn how to help the “Big Me” manage the “Little Me” in order to behave at our best and according to our best intentions.
One of the biggest problems we face is a result of our “Little Me’s” tendency to distort reality. It’s one of the reasons we are so surprised when someone disagrees with us. Our “Little Me” judges our self and others, creates illusions and acts as our attorney, defending us and making us immune to reality.
Our “Little Me” sees things from a selfish point of view and has little empathy and consideration toward others.
It is hard to be optimistic and motivate people when your “little me” mind is critical of them.
The “Little Me” judge will also become our own worst critic – the automatic voice of blame and criticism inside your head that keeps pointing out your shortfalls and inadequacies.
How can you be an effective leader when your mind is constantly finding fault with you and everyone around you?
There are some perceptual habits of the “Little Me” that can get in the way of seeing the world accurately. Without a conscious effort to do otherwise and let the “Big Me” take control, it is easy to fall prey to Six Mental Assassins to being a great leader.
Click here to download them for FREE and keep them on your desk as a reminder.
Sewells leadership programmes can show you how to get the “Big Me” to manage the “Little Me” in order to behave and perform at your best and to better lead and motivate the team around you to the performance breakthrough you need in 2011.
We put our money where our mouth is and if you haven’t exceeded your pre-agreed objectives, as a result of running a Sewells leadership programme, we will refund 100% of your money! No questions asked!!
No doubt you’re busy finalising and signing off your budgets for 2011 in what analysts predict will be another challenging year.
With the markets still being unsettled, the competition getting tougher and the customers’ needs changing, what are you going to do differently?
Traditionally, following a recession, one of the last things to find its way back into the business plan is the training budget, but surely in order to accelerate out of the recession faster than your competitors, it should be one of the first things back in!
Many companies choose to operate that way (i.e. being the last thing to put back in the budget) because they didn’t see any significant impact from training during the good times prior to the recession.
In fact a recent example I heard from one huge organisation suggested that only 15% of 1,300 Managers transferred what they had learned on a training programme into the workplace.
The impact on performance, morale, engagement and bottom-line results was negligible.
Training, especially management training, should do at least one thing: IT SHOULD WORK!
It should be seen and felt in the performance, morale, engagement and bottom-line results.
We will guarantee our impact - and the results!
There is no risk to you or your organisation.
The areas which are going to make a big difference and to put you ahead of your competition in post-recessionary times are:-
1. Strategic Thinking and Planning
2. Change Management
3. Performance Management
4. Communication and Motivational
5. Sales and Sales Management
6. Personal Effectiveness and Self-Awareness
Sewells can help your organisation in every single one of these areas ... and it shows through in results.
We’ve got the track-record with our customers to back up that claim:-
• Achieved target 18 months ahead of current four year plan
• Achieved a five year profit plan in just 23 months
• Sales up 36.5% and customer satisfaction moved from mid-table to top 10%
Our risk-free guarantee means if you haven’t exceeded your pre-agreed objectives, as a result of running a Sewells programme, we will refund 100% of your money!
You’ve made the tough decisions, budgets have been signed off and now it’s time for action. Call Matt or Margaret on: 01244 681068 to speed up the acceleration of the organisation out of the recession.
Many business leaders are shocked and amazed at the results our ‘motivational magic’ produces – especially in the area of improving customer handling and loyalty.
But what looks so much like ‘magic’ when great performers do it, can usually be duplicated if you’re willing to study the process closely enough.
Let us show you how to develop systems to help ordinary people produce extraordinary results with our “ACE (X4) Amazing Customer Experiences, Every time, by Everyone, Everywhere” Programme.
So, let’s start looking at your customer handling system with one simple question …
“Do you have a customer service strategy that ignites everyone’s passion to perform out of their skin”?
Mmmm, if the answer is “no”, then let me explain why it’s important …
1) 68% of customers defect due to poor service - not price, not better quality, not better competitors – poor service!
2) A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect on profits as cutting costs by 10%.
3) Retaining 5% more of existing customers can boost profits by anything from 25 – 125%.
4) Engagement levels and morale with staff are significantly improved (up to 15%) when customers are being looked after properly.
5) Over 40% of customer facing staff do not believe that the customer is always right.
So, if we came along with our magic wand, what would you wish for? Perhaps something along these lines …
“To have the best year ever in 2011”, or “to smash all profit targets in the first quarter of 2011” or “Retaining customers for life”, or why not all of these? Anything is possible with our motivational magic.
Let’s face it, there’s only one way you’re going to grow your sales in this economy … and that is to take sales away from someone else.
That means you have to sell better than your competition – and it probably means you need to sell better than you ever have.
You’ve no doubt seen plenty of evidence of bad practice where you think you can take advantage, but are you 100% convinced that what you are doing is best practice?
If not, or you need a health check, our “Growing sales, profits and customer satisfaction in a difficult economy,” programmes are right up your street.
• Tried and tested principles guaranteed to motivate sales people like never before
• Specific, actionable practices you can implement straight away
• Grow sales, profits and customer satisfaction
Can you afford to let your competition get out in front of you?
Call now on: 01244 681068 and speak to one of our experts … before they do!
In 1938, the year’s number one newsmaker in the USA wasn’t Neville Chamberlain, Franklin D Roosevelt, Hitler, or Mussolini. It wasn’t even a person. It was an undersized, crooked-legged racehorse called ‘Seabiscuit’.
His owner was a one-time bicycle repairman who bought him for a sale price. His trainer was a mysterious, virtually mute mustang breaker. His jockey was a failed boxer, half-crippled and blind in one eye. Together, however, they recognised the talent that was dormant in the horse, and in one another, and lifted Seabiscuit, and each other, from obscurity.
Despite the many obstacles that stood in their way, this team persisted. Surviving a four-year run of conspiracy and severe injury they lifted Seabiscuit from the lowest levels of racing and transformed him from an obstreperous, neurotic also-ran into an international sporting icon. He became the biggest horse racing prize money earner the country had ever known.
Outstanding performance (in any area) is based on persistence – and persistence is based on character (in business it’s based on millions of characters called “staff”). Character does what’s right, not what’s easy. It’s based on values, not moods. It looks for solutions, not excuses. Character is … doing what you said you were going to do, long after the mood in which you said it has passed…
To get outstanding performance often requires a degree of change … and change always begins within ourselves. Furthermore, we’ve got to keep working on ourselves, because change and growth is a race with no finish line.
Getting people to change the way they behave and perform is the key that unlocks the door to positively transforming performance and results. Without it change programmes fail … and that’s why over 80% do!
It’s not enough for your people to be open to change, just as the Seabiscuit team demonstrated … they need to believe in it, seize it and be it. Sewells know how to ignite the passion in your people for them to be able to do just that.