Operations – A Top 5 Success Factor

The Top 5 Success Factors of All Time
Part 4: Operations, Or What You Do All Day

teamwork300pxRecently we conducted a Customer Value & Satisfaction Survey for a small-business client. His customers told us that they were generally satisfied with the company’s people and professionalism, but they felt improvements were needed in quality control, attention to detail and follow-through. These are common operations issues, though by no means the only ones, concerning what your people do all day. In this post I’ll share with you what I’m telling my survey client, and what I’d tell you if you want to improve your operations and success.

1. Improvements must be driven from the top. Operations Read More

Customer Value – A Top 5 Success Factor

The Top 5 Success Factors of All Time
Part 3: Customer Relations and Marketing

Top5SuccessFactorsCoverThe first job for any business, as the great guru Peter Drucker once noted, is getting and keeping customers. Whether you call this marketing, selling, customer relations or external communications, this, as we like to say, is where the money comes from. This is also the area where we have had the most personal experience, and we have written more on this topic in our book, The 5 Key Success Factors. But for now we’re going to focus on the really, really important components we should all keep in mind and practice if we want to be successful.

1. Managing Customer Value. If you haven’t read the marvelous book by that name (see link below) by Bradley Gale, I highly recommend it. It has had a huge impact on the marketing profession and my practice. “Customer value” is the whole package of what customers want from you — generally some combination of quality, price and service, but always uniquely expressed by each customer or market segment.

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Managing People – A Top 5 Success Factor

Key Success Factor No. 2: People

Top5SuccessFactorsCover“People” are the key to business success, as all us people know. But “people” as a success factor is like the weather – everybody talks about it, but no one does anything about it. Since our previous post reported the impressive people-management principles of First, Break All The Rules, we will try to share with you added-value content we’ve gained from experience, as we continue our series on the 5 Key Success Factors of Business.

I recall seeing an interview of legendary GE Chairman Jack Welch on the Charlie Rose show. It was interesting that, while GE aspires to be No.1 or No. 2 in every market it competes in, Welch claims that their core competence is developing people. GE and a few other big companies have cultures that strongly encourage effective management and people development, but in the vast majority of companies, that does not happen. Here are a few key truths about people as a success factor which may be helpful for you:Read More

Strategic Focus – Key Success Factor 1

Over the years we have devoted countless hours to exploring answers to the question, “What are the most important success factors that enable one organization to succeed while others stumble or fail?” For at least the past 20 years, specifically since Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellence in the early ’80s, thousands of other authors and consultants have attempted to answer that question, too. The challenge, of course, is to identify success factors that really make a difference and that will stand the test of time – not be the fad of the moment.

Over this and the next four posts, we would like to share with you what we consider, after 33 years of experience with many organizations, to be the most important, reliable, powerful success factors of all time – at least the “current era” since World War II. These posts will run a little longer than the others, but this is very important stuff, so please bear with me.Read More

The Knowing-Doing Gap

Knowing-DoingGapWhy don’t more people do what they know they ought to do?

This is not meant as a moral question, as asked by the Apostle Paul, but a business question that challenges every manager and leader. It’s one thing to give people knowledge, and quite another to get them to turn that into action.

That question was a particular challenge to Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert Sutton, prominent professors at Stanford Business School. Together they recently completed The Knowing-Doing Gap: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge Into Action (Harvard Business School Press, 2000).

They found through extensive research that there are several main reasons why the gap persists:

*People talk about the problem but never take action. In fact they talk so much they sometimes don’t even realize that they’re not taking action.

*Memories of “the way we do things” and other traditions rooted in the past keep people from thinking of new and better ways.

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Discover Your Strengths

NowDiscoverYourStrengthsWithin days of writing about “First, Break All The Rules,” we encountered the sequel, “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton (Free Press, 2001). As Peter Drucker says on the inside flap, “Most Americans do not know what their strengths are. When you ask them, they look at you with a blank stare, or they respond in terms of subject knowledge, which is the wrong answer.”

Buckingham and Clifton have identified 34 themes from the extensive research which led to “First, Break” as well as other sources over a 25-year period. They used advanced statistical techniques to pull these themes from their enormous data pool so they, and we, could be confident of their significance. What’s really neat about their system is it was designed to be administered over the Internet. When you buy the book, you get a unique code. You log on to www.strengthsfinder.com, enter your code, and answer a series of questions. The program identifies your five top themes, in descending order, with the strongest first.

Themes include Achiever, Activator, Empathy, Futuristic, Strategic, and one I found creative, Woo (the ability to woo other people). Read More

Managing-Leading Edge Index

“The Managing-Leading Edge” was originally a series of newsletters produced by Lawrimore Inc. President Buck Lawrimore around the early 2000’s. Most of this information is indeed “leading edge” and just as relevant today as it was then. So enjoy your reading and get a quick shot of some of the best business books written in recent years!

1. What the World’s Greatest Managers Do – Results of a worldwide expert study.

MLEdge-index2. How to Discover Your Strengths as a Leader

3. How to Close Your Firm’s “Knowing-Doing Gap”

4. Top 5 Success Factors of All Time; No. 1 – Strategic Focus

5. Top 5 Success Factor No. 2 – Managing People

6. Top 5 Success Factor No. 3 – Customer Relations

7. Top 5 Success Factor No. 4 – Operations, or What You Do All DayRead More

What The World’s Best Managers Do Differently

FirstBreakAllTheRulesWhat do the world’s greatest managers do differently? That question was
recently asked by the Gallup Organization through in-depth interviews of
over 80,000 managers in over 400 companies. This is the largest study of
its kind ever undertaken, and the result is one of the top-selling books in
the nation right now: First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s
Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman
(Simon & Schuster, 1999).

The authors identified 12 questions which absolutely nail the practices of
best managers. See if you think people working for you would answer “yes”
to them:
“1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?”
“2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?”
“3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?”
“4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for
good work?”Read More