Archive for the ‘Customer Orientation’ Category

How would you rate your IT Dept? Are they

Really up to date – surfing on the waves of the latest tech?
Are they “pretty good” at answering demands?
Are they passive, not listening to your needs?
Are they defendant, explaini g why it can’t be done?

Today, no business development is possible unless your IT Dept is really on their toes. To make this happen, a basic demand is the CIO should be part of the Management Team, and at least one IT/Internet expert on your board.

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Wow! Only about an hour after I released part 1 there was a request for part 2. OK, let’s live this in full:

* Make sure top manangement REALLY got it! Unless you have top management support – don’t do it. You are in every detail extremely dependant on support from upper management. Action: Ask for “mentality to match the methods”, if this doesn’t work you MAY go for second best: An Agile mentality and methodology on your own level. This refers to the “Greenhouse Model” – creating a local culture that lasts as long as you are allowed to.

* Make sure everybody else got it! My most common question when I meet for training/consulting sessions with my customers is “Why are we doing this? WHY LEAN?” Since the coaching mentality is key in my LUCK concept, I need to live, sleep, eat and use that mentality, basically meaning “I am not gonna tell you – you will tell me”. And I’m not looking for a rehearsed story – I want everyone to be transparent. If there’s resistance, let’s meet it. If they hate “Lean” then lets look for what details don’t work in this workplace. One very common misstake is believing it’s a “one size fits all” model. It’s not – it needs refining on the level of work. Dialogue, and often referring to goals, means to reach them and, if needed cash flow and other key numbers of leadership. We are all here to create results!

* VOC – Listen to the “voice of the customer” Haven’t we heard it just tooo often? “Customer is king”, “let’s put the customer first”. Yeah RIGHT! You know what often happened… In Lean in general – and in LUCK in particular – let’s make our processes transparent enough to be on the David Letterman show! Most renowned restaurants have an open wall policy allowing all customers to watch all processes in detail. Now, that didn’t happen without resistance! Some chefs vigourusly fought this. “We can’t do that!!! Customers just don’t wanna see our filthy….” So. No Blame. Clean it up. Tear down the wall. Even SMILE! Tell your customers of your secrets. And what happened to chefs standards, average salary, even media? Transparency is here to stay. Don’t fight it – embrace it!

End of part two.

What’s your take on this?

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That is – if you want to be innovative. I get in touch with a lot of organisations. Many of them are approached by bureaus offering a service called “Story Telling”. I suppose they mean well by doing so. And there may be internal effects achievable and even desirable. But if we’re into creating a dialogue with your customers – are they REALLY interested in a story delivered from YOU about YOURSELF? Thought so. And, what’s even more funny about the whole situation – the story’s already out there. Listen closely, if you REALLY listen – you will hear the Story. Told by others.

Now, if you’re a customer in ANY area – which would YOU prefer: the story told by the company – or the one created by the crowd of customers? Even a story by a very critical and negative customer may help me. Simply because we make different conclusions – and have different demands.

The future is not in telling – it’s in listening. That goes for managers and leaders as well. You know this. I know this. Let’s stop fooling ourselves. And let’s start listening!

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Ja, vi har sett det förut. En bransch som är under förändring. Villkoren förändras snabbt. Den nya tekniken skapar nya förutsättningar som påverkar allt från tempo till affärsmodell. Och många in0m organisationen har svårt att hänga med. Inte sällan (faktiskt nästan mer en grundregel) leder det till reptilreflexer: anfall, flykt eller försvar. Vi har sett det i musikbranschen. Jag tycker vi ser det nu i mediebranschen. För öppenheten leder inte bara till ros i kommentarerna. Tvärsom översållas vissa nättidningar av hat och hot. Men hur blev det så här – och framför allt: finns det något att göra? Och vad kan vi andra lära?

Jag tycker Anders Mildner (läs här!)  på sitt som vanligt lågmälda sätt mejslar ut en av grundvalarna för respekt: Själva DIALOGEN. Detta är inget nytt. “Redan de gamla grekerna” myntade ordet “dia-logos”: I Wikipedia läser vi att ordet betyder “genom samtal”. Att bara skriva en artikel och lämna den åt sitt öde är väl knappast ett samtal? Hat och hot som förekommer idag riskerar att göra samma sak med kommentatorsfälten som med fotbollen och hockey – de skötsamma håller sig borta, eller man stånger läktarna/kommentatorsfälten. Visst är det HELT fel väg att gå? Som Martin Luther King lär ha sagt: “Problemet är inte fiendens angrepp – utan den stora massans tystnad”

Förutom flykten från kommentatorsfälten tror jag dessa tidningar riskerar något på längre sikt genom att inte ta dialogen – de mister hela relationen. Och då är de illa ute. Precis som musikindustrin. Tidnignarna har fortfarande chansen – men då måste de visa att de vill ha dialogen.

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Nokia and Microsoft today announced the alliance on Windows Portable 7. Link here. The strategy and investors briefing is at 12 am/Noon UK time.

In the Q&A, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop, took into areas I haven’t yet heard him talk about. The question on the amount of “the huge staff of Vice Presidents and how the cuts in staff will influence this”. I got the impression this took the lid off the bucket. “We are in a position where we need to increase speed to market, develop our processes, work smarter, co-operate more”. Nokia are in my eyes showing the same signs of  “fat and happy diesease” soo many others have shown in history.

Transitions aren’t easy – but look at Caterpillar, IBM, Ericsson and others. Once organisations grow, they will soon get into elephantiasis – growing out of proportions, establishing more people in the top, increasing bonuses, meanwhile forgetting the core business, slowing down, losing the drive and eventually time to market, quality.

I’m re-reading the book “Leading Change” by Paul Kotter. Read it and I think you’ll agree it could actually be about Nokia.

My outside view is a ship with too slow speed, carrying goods the market is turning away from, moving at too low speed with lots of staff around the captain. Solution? Clearing the map, sort out necessary staff and products, delegate change to staff who gets it, fire “hot air managers”, use both top–down and bottom — up approach to get to the “strategic to tactic” transition of leadership, change awareness – and responsibility. Coach on all that supports the new direction, follow up on ALL that doesn’t. Be present from top level at start – to ensure all staff understands this is for real and see you act. Then fast delegate, trust, followup and use challenging/championing.

Lots to take in from the LUCK concept, actually! 🙂

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I promised to follow up on this post on the proposal to work more on Change Leadership than Change Management. So, here it is:
Is it just a matter of words – or is there a deeper meaning? I believe the word “management” in this case draws our attention to actions performed by the leader rather than leading your colleagues to ensure long term change. Actions by the leader in itself of course are often needed – but if change and long term change is our target – then we will find leadership to be path to chose.
If you or your boss belongs to the more controlling tribe of managers, they may feel not managing means loss of control. In the old paradigm, information is key to postion, hence managers limit information to a “need to know” basis. Problem beeing our world of today has exploded in complexity. Where a manager 15 years ago knew every tiny bit of a base station in a cellular network, no-one can claim this today. The information managing paradigm is dead. And it’s not ever coming back. And let’s be grateful for that. What’s lefter – and what’s next? Well, controlling your staff and limiting access of information creates a deadly vulnerable system with managers adding bottle necks rather than their excellent role as facilitators. And that’s exactly what I try to accomplish with the LUCK concept.
Today, to my suprise lots of managers claim their employees are rather on a decline than a growth in productivity and excellence. Now, based on the assumption most organisations hire the best of their applicants, we really need to know what happens once they enter your office. Most sociological studies claim the vast majority of employees really want to do their very best at work. A lot of them find this is not possible.
L – Lean: your staff are the experts. As they say in lean companies “the know where the shoe pinches – hence the should see the shoe maker.” Managers run and plan strategy work and are great facilitators
U – Unified communications – and today not only communications as we used to see them! Communication tools of today often bring transparency. Of course, extremely challenging for managers of the old rules…
C – Coaching philosophy – supporting your team with enhancing and empowering means. This means a ubiquitous understanding of driving forces and key factors of success
K – Kognition – the way our brain perceives and processes our outer world and contextualize it with the inner world and belief system. (And yes, I know it’s spelled “Cognition” but that would ruin the concept *smile* – and it originated in Swedish)
Any questions or suggestions so far? Opponents?
(to be continued…)

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One of my gurus and thought if not leaders at least great inspirors, Jeff Jarvis coined the expression “What would Google do?” in his book with the same title. The idea being, if your company was Google – how would you do what you are currently up to? To copy the business strategy of a winner, a strategy of openness – often releasing services in beta minus status, for us to try – and improve. Signs of a brave leadership – amitting “we don’t know everything, you are the experts!” (and of course they are right – all development is done by co-ooperation with your customers. Believing something else (or – worse: acting it!) often leads to stagnation, loss of focus and customer orientation.

Now, there are more companies to follow. Interesting enough, that company is in many ways as far away from Google as one might come. Apple runs a completely different strategy. One of closed ….

Nevertheless – they deliver products their customers love. They’ve come so far in customer relationships and acceptance they’d get lines of followers on the release of iBike for your spring hikes or iSink for your kitchen.

You may not have the size of Apple or the resources of Google. But your brains may work the same!

Let’s analyze for a bit:

Google – open, crowd-based invention and development
Google releases half-ready services for you to co-operate to create the final solution. Would that work for you? Huge user groups of formercomputer giants were around in the 70’s – they could be re-used. Your interaction with customers holds great values – are they utilized today?
Can I follow the Google strategy?
I certainly can! I can open up and perform crowd-thinking on my services. I certainly do that on the coming book on my LUCK concept. And feedback is just SOO challenging. There’s always another perspective to capture. The cost? Courage is needed. Trust in my co-workers.

Apple – store for simplicity, credibility and integration
Apple creates happiness and pleasure each time you download great software or apps from the App Store or Mac Store. Not only the functionality builds the experience – but the simplicity and low hurdles from idea not only to action but integration in current processes. There – most of us have great things to learn.

Can I make use of the Apple strategy?
The great thing is YES I can! As says Daniel Pink in his excellent book “Free Agent Nation” (read it!). Pink makes clear the technological and sociological structures enabling large corporation services by freelancing individuals. A simple store of stuff ready for use can be provided today by anyone able to use WordPress. Customers – existing, prospects, and possible customers should all be able to access material – some free of charge – at your site. Should all be free? Not necessarily, but the free stuff is you new marketing. Moving away from telling what we stand for – we show it by deeds. This means for large corporations moving resources (read: staff, money, power of structures, power of managers) from one department to another, from marketing to core activities. The good thing being – if we focus well on our key competencies and make them obvious – we may be more focused, more customer oriented – and spamming our customer base less with pretty worn out “corporate b-s”.

The core is our new Marketing!

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My friends back home in Stockholm, Sweden (where we’ve had two really cold and snowlasting winters) are asking me with a smile:

“So there’s the chaos we used to hear about?” Simple answer is: NO. All seems to be very well planned. I even think some of the Street Management of Stockholm could learn a few things about the attitude of getting RID of the stuff, not just on the streets.

And the sun came out today. New yorkers take to the streets in this wonderful sun!

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I agree soo much with this post on how to build your arguments.

We work almost daily with this – in the LUCK concept we refer a lot to the protective parts of our
brain functionaity: Our language has tremendous impact on our brain – the choice of words may
lead to war – or peace – between countries. An argument, perceived by our evolutionary older parts
of the brain may release protective forces just as strong as when our forefathers fought mammoths.

Lower your armor, open for dialogue and your arguments will work. As we all learn, there is often
truth in the saying “The opposite is true – too!”

If you really get hooked to influence – why not try coaching style arguments. It’s in the C and K parts of

What do you think?

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Watching this video makes you think. It shows how US Air lost a customer.

Now, what can we do to retain and even make former customers return?

I claim all organizations now have a few, maybe 5 years to think – about

1. who their customer is

2. why that customer goes for your solution

3. follow and listen to those (and other, possible) customers

4. adapt internally to the needs, challenges and demands your customer may have

(The hardest is often no. 4, although it ought to be the easiest one, as we all in our organization have control over it. Life proves different – very hard to give up power and richness)

Lean offers excellent ways to examine and learn at work. Day out, day in. Keep the mood up, bring the team together. Lean leadership asks for coaching skills and basic understanding of our brain functions. They are all in the LUCK concept, as is social media for the improved and enhanced communication.

Do you agree? What changes should you be considering this very day?

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