Business Management Information

Why Saying Well Done Works

Encouraged by the recognition, Sarah Lewsiton went home from work that day, full of self-belief and wonder that she had made the leap at last. In her last job, she had always felt that she was unsuitable, in fact below par, for the place. On her very first day at this new job, it was different. On the very first day, her supervisor had recognised her in a way that no-one had done before. At 17, she had gone into the workplace ready to conquer the world. A positive girl, she had never understood that her hard work, unstoppable enthusiasm and keen willingness might not be enough. At the last place, where she had worked for nearly two years, they had, subtly, yet consistently, knocked that out of her, through criticising, embarrassing and slighting her. So much so, that she had changed to be cynical, sceptical and sarcastic. In the end they had to part, badly, and it had taken a few weeks for Sarah to build the courage to go for another job.Yet on the very first day in the new place, someone had made her day, just by saying two little words - 'Well done'.In life, especially in our busy workplaces, there is sometimes, no time, to say, 'Well done'. Yet we all know how it feels when we are on the receiving end, just as Sarah did. It costs nothing, except a few moments and a bit of focus - but it makes the world of difference.For Sarah Lewsiton, tomorrow would be another good day, because the culture was naturally supportive, encouraging and enlightened. And her place of work would come to benefit over the years she would stay. She would contribute more, become a great team player, work well when delegated to and have simple, yet constructive ideas about how to take the business forward.Two little words - that's all it takes.

Customer Focus - Just 5 SimpleThings You Need to Think About

You can boil down the difference between successful businesses and the rest in how they work with their customers, in just five areas.So, what does this mean? What They WantSelling what your customers really want is just critical. Being on good enough terms with your customers to research, (hey maybe just by chatting with them - radical idea, huh?), helps you find out how you can best serve their needs. Price is RightBy balancing the kind of pricing you want to offer with exceptional service levels, there is a fascinating calculation to be made. Prices rock-bottom with inadequate attention to item 5 are not likely to bring profitable consumers rushing to your door. Providers have an ongoing dance between price and service - be aware of it. It is not possible to sustain your business with lowest prices and poor service. When They Want ItIn the internet world, availability of your goods and services is measured critically far more than ever before. You may not need to be 24/7, but you certainly need to be aware of it. More traditional customers are also becoming more demanding. So businesses need to be especially sensitive to the hours they trade, whether they sell goods or services, by stores and/or phone. Easy To BuyWith the advent of the internet, making it easy to purchase is vital. Why not make purchases from the comfort of your home study or workplace office? So having your people who are available, exactly when your customer wants them, to make payment for goods and services relly easy is a serious point worth considering. Even in shops, the sensitivity of simply having staff focused on delivering the very best of attention is critical. Every day there may be threats to different shopping channels, so the adage that you 'only have one chance to make a first impression' is becoming ever more important. Trusted Follow UpBy ensuring that you have all your ducks in a row so far, sustainably building whatever business you are in, is vitally dependent on how you handle ongoing customer service. Indeed if you are only focusing on a one-time purchase, then, frankly, you are not going to have much of a future. Repeat business is very inexpensive for you, so an investment of post-purchase excellence is very worthwhile.By focusing on these five elements, teasing out the consequences with your management teams, you will have a great chance of making business progress. If you choose not to take the time to analyse what you truly need to do, there will be a jeopardy for you in the not to distant future.

Performance Management - By Assuming Nothing

Unhappy as Jenny undoubtedly was, she held on very tightly to her job. After all, she had worked her way up over the years to the supervisory role she was in - and she wasn't going to let go. Yet it was clear that she was unhappy, under pressure and unsure of what she could do to make things better. For her business and more so, for herself. For me, she was letting me down in a number of ways and my inability to resolve her performance had, for a while, been my Achilles heel in the view of my boss too.

Solve Problems Permanently - Ask WHY

As Albert Einstein said:-

Agendas Make Meetings Productive

Having an agenda template that works well for you, week in, week out, creates a consistency which gets your people bought into the process. Delivering an efficiency and effectiveness which makes the most of the valuable time you have together. Key points to note are:-

Top Ten Tips for Outstanding Customer Service

Remember the 80:20 rule? You may not get everything perfectly right, but getting most right will be much, much better than the majority of your competition. These Top Ten Tips for Customer Service will get you well on the way.

Resolving Needs - What Your Employees Wish For!

For your people, they want to do a great job - no, really, despite your experiences, they do. And what might seem to 'the management' the important things, just don't stack in the day-to-day reality of the workplace. Here's why.

Prioritise Your Day - Keep Focus - Win!

Whether you run your own business or manage a team, there are times when things don't go to plan. Like:-Your key people don't show up.A deadline shifts.Your boss turns up unexpectedly.You get really busy beyond expectations....and more.How do you get clear on the priority of the day?Value it - that's how!So, if you run any sort of business, consider what the most important thing would be to your business, if you were down to the barest of bones in personnel numbers, for just one day, what would you do?Here are some thoughts...Be honest with yourself, and very, very realistic - in fact, plan what you can achieve and then less! It is far better to be great at less, than poor at too much. Be honest with your people and get them on board - appeal to their emotional side, "I need your help", usually works.Think damage limitation - what would do the most harm to your business - and resolve that first (hint - think Customer).With customers, be honest and realistic with them - usually, they will be very understanding if you are clear about it being a bad day - they will not forgive inadequate information and poor performance.Plan short-term solutions on the run - by making space for thinking time (see 1 above) to resolve where your problems are today, so you move on tomorrow.Celebrate success with your people. Back to basics and succeeding against all the odds builds teams - utilise the opportunity to let it sink in - together!Learn and make changes - so that there will not be a next time. Your clients and your own staff have only so much generosity when things go wrong - so make sure it doesn't happen again. Fire-fighting happens! So, when you need to have a day doing just the top priorities for your business, let go of everything else. Have the courage to be honest with yourself, park not-necessary-now stuff and enjoy your day truly in the business. Be honest with your people and welcome them on board the firetruck! Finally, yet most importantly, be honest with your customers and clients, forging new, mutually supportive relationships with them too.If you need to do this too often for comfort, you need a rethink - then is the time for some real 'source' problem solving (see the "Solving Problems with Whys" article at - checkout 'Expert Authors, sort by name, Martin Haworth)

Future Business Success - What Does Good Look Like?

When you know you need to shift up a gear, in any area of your business (or your life for that matter), it's really important to have a vivid representation of what you are seeking.Some call these "Goals", others "Visions" and yet more describe it as a "Mission". But there is one focused way to ensure that your path is perfectly directed to where you want to get to.By asking the question:-"What does good look like?"...and applying that to where you are right now, you will easily see a path unfold.That path is about the steps you will take along the way to achieve your Good - your focal point.Struggling how to do this?Take a sheet of paper and describe the situation where you want it to be at a defined point in the future (be very specific with this). Answer the question, "What does good looks like?" using as many of your senses as you can muster.Writing it down:- Unleashes your creativity.Embeds it in your brain.andCreates a 'commitment' for the future.If you pin it up somewhere visible, you have every chance of making it happen.And once you have these great descriptions, you will find the first step, the second and onwards to make it come true.

Management - Mary Poppins Style!

Mary Poppins describes a style of management which has for too long been hidden in many businesses and organisations.Think about it.She's "Practically perfect in every way" - is that not what we want from a boss? Someone who is almost brilliant at everything - yet with a hint of not being absolutely perfect? Someone we can trust and depend on - yet who is truly human with is and falls down occasionally too?And then there's the cut to the chase with, "Bert, what utter nonsense. Why do you always complicate things that are really quite simple." How often do we, often inadvertently (especially the more senior an executive we are), make things so, so complex. Recently working with a client who already had over 125 books on systems, when all they were doing was selling things to people...And then there's all the fun, like..."Of course, you can say it backwards, which is dociousaliexpilisticfragicalirupus, but that's going a bit too far, don't you think?"...a satisfying ability to have fun and, I think perhaps just a hint of a smile at yourself, Mary, in that..., as Bert says "Indubitably.!" Not forgetting either, that if we look hard enough, with the right viewpoint..."In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and - SNAP - the job's a game!"

When Politics Prevent Innovation - Or? Still Fighting Battles and Losing Wars

The objective is to beat the competition and make money. Everything a business organization does should be focused on that simple objective, with interpretation through various Vision and Mission Statements. However if we take a survey of how our organizations spend our energy, often that objective is lost in a web of internal politics and positioning. Of course competition is normally good ? regardless of whether it is internal or external ? to the point we do not lose focus on company objectives as the ultimate outcome of our competition.

Budgets that Damage - The Downsides of Making the Numbers

In my organisational career, I had budgets from the age of 22 to 47. I lived and breathed them and many times, budgets, the gospel that they were, caused havoc, albeit within the corporate retailer framework that I worked.Here are two examples of the damage caused.

5 Questions Great Managers Ask (and they arent hard!)

However hard we try, we seem to make life more difficult for ourselves; more challenging; more complex. Yet it needn't be so. try out these five questions with a regularity; a discipline and you will reap rewards. You will certainly reap rewards.

3 Simple Things the Best Managers Do - And You Can Too!

If it's so simple, why don't managers all over the globe get this right, every time? Well, because it's so simple, it seems too easy, so busy managers squeeze a lot more in, time after time. And that makes things much more complex - just the way a manager should be. NOT. Keep it simple, deliver quality and you will not go far wrong.Here are the three things...

Time-Wasting Problems - One Question to Move You Forward

In any organisation, progress is frequently impaired by the time taken up to resolve problems that occur again and again - usually with people's performance (or not!). At a macro level, there could just seem to be 'lots of problems', which is a symptom in itself. On a micro level, managers are often frustrated by the amount of time they spend fire-fighting, whilst the more creative work of planning, developing people, marketing and more are left way behind.There just isn't time. Build onto that the lack of fairness, that having to regularly resolve problems posed by just a few demanding people in the team, can leave many others, including the manager himself, very de-motivated. Then your best people start to leave...

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