Monthly Archives: November 2011

Be Aware

The no-cost trick to gain more customers, more engaged colleagues and a more fulfilled life.
How often have you travelled an oft-used route in your car, or on the train, and arrived safely at the other end with no recollection of your journey?  It’s not that you were asleep; simply that nothing caught your attention.  Perhaps your mind was elsewhere, musing on the pressing issues of your day.
Have you ever been in a shop, selected a magazine or sandwich, and have no recollection of the experience you just had as a customer? Amazingly, you were willing and able to spend your hard earned cash in their shop, but they made no attempt to make a connection with you.
Would your colleagues ever say you had missed an opportunity to notice a great piece of work they had done for you?  Maybe they made a special effort to hit a deadline, or had to overcome complications to help you out. I know if I asked you, your response would be that you always praise people, at every opportunity. We always like to thinkwe do.
Now, let’s consider another perspective.
You completed a piece of work to the best of your ability; hit the deadline by some miracle, after having all sorts of problems.  Ticked that box, now move on.  Did anyone thank you to show they valued what you did for them? Has anyone recognised the effort you made?  Did you notice the acknowledgement and thanks your colleague lavished upon you for doing a great job and saving their day? Maybe it didn’t register.
Your customers came and went.  They seemed happy with the service you gave them.  Or at least didn’t say otherwise.  There were some regular faces, but many you might see only once or twice and then never again. They didn’t make any attempt to make a connection; they’re in a world of their own.  Never to be seen again.
Beware. There is a great deal to lose when we take awareness for granted.
Perhaps if we make a conscious effort to be more aware, we might connect with more customers turning them into regular visitors, engage with our colleagues more, and ourselves feel more valued.  All this at no cost… What more can there be?
See how we’ve helped other organisations to become more aware and build engagement with their customers by viewing the short case study links below:

Pandora’s Box – Creating new Opportunities

Pandora was given a box by the Greek God Zeus and forbidden from ever opening it.  Of course, curiosity eventually overcame her. As she prised off the lid, to her horror she released all the ‘evils’ into our world.  This means that while the root cause of our current economic and organisational dilemmas can therefore be attributed to Pandora, so can the cure. As Pandora stared into the vessel, luckily, at the very bottom, one thing remained.
At every meeting I attend, and training programme I deliver, the crowd without fail utter the mantra, ‘more for less, more for less, more for less’.  As if saying this over and over will somehow open up Elysium, the Greek land of plenty. It won’t. The predominant thinking I witness is; ‘preserve as much as we can, this is the way we do things, less is more!’
How can you unlock this mindset? The great breakthrough will come from thinking differently about what you are doing. Ask, ‘what more can there be?’ Better solutions with great possibilities do exist for those who look from a different perspective.
A technique to help realise possibilities and great opportunity is called ‘flip-flop’.  Start with a list of the characteristics of your business, your issue or service.  Then ‘flip’ your ‘flop’ to create a new perspective.  Let me help you with an example: let’s see how this thinking changed the air travel industry for ever:
Characteristics of 1970s air travel
·         National carriers
·         Expensive
·         Luxury travel available to a few
·         From major city airports
·         All the frills
·         Food and drink included
…. Now, Flip the flop

The Budget Airlines’ new thinking created in the 1990s

·         Small agile carriers
·         Inexpensive
·         Available to almost anyone
·         From regional airports
·         Pay for what you want
·         Buy a sandwich and coffee on board

A highly profitable new market was born.

Flip–Flop, try it. Unlock your thinking. Open minds to new opportunities.  Release the one thing left in Pandora’s box …

Hope.

How Do We Disengage People?

It’s great to visit an organisation and hear the leadership team express the desire to improve morale, to have everyone in the workforce engaged and to keep their people motivated during a time of uncertainty.  Why?  Simply because the answer to the question is so easy to find.

How quickly we forget those times when we were starting our careers, when we were on the front line, or in the back office, learning the ropes.  Did you ever gather around the water cooler with your work chums to practice low morale, disengagement and general can’t-be-botheredness?   How often were you lured from your positive state to joining in with your more disaffected colleagues?  What pushed you onto the slippery slope?

1.       The classic reason cited by nearly every piece of research into the matter is a lack of trust in leaders.  The problem here is that this means different things to different people. Is it determined by your actual or perceived experiences, or is it fuelled by the experience or perceived experiences of others?

2.       Not surprisingly a lack of communication will also be high on the list.  So often leaders report that ’we told them’.  Did you tell ‘them’ in the way they wanted to be told, so that they perceived they were being communicated with effectively?

3.       ‘We don’t feel valued’ ranks highly.  This is an emotional response. You may value your people very highly but what have you done that would reinforce this?

4.       Uncertainty is usually a root cause of people leaping onto the bandwagon of disquiet.  At least we can be certain that everyone we talk to on this vehicle to despair will share, or at least sympathise with our views.  When leaders tell us that the only thing we are sure about is that things are currently uncertain is hardly reassuring.

5.       Other stuff which seems trivial but isn’t.  My child has mumps, I’ve got a bad back, I’m going out tonight and I haven’t got enough money. These are all the things that leaders cannotcontrol yet they have great pertinence to the individual rehydrating for the third time this morning. 

This (more or less) means that the answer is very simple.

Go and stand by the water cooler.  Hear what ‘they’ hear, see what ‘they’ see, feel what ‘they’ feel.  Remember when you were standing here with your chums and what made you want to join in these conversations.  Now, ask what would I have wanted my leader at the time to say to me, to reassure me that everything will be ok?

To find out more about how Paradigmantics can help your UK organisation to engage with its workforce contact andy@paradigmantics.com for a brochure or further information.