The Sticky Customer Trap

January 28, 2013

By  via Inc.   Article

“Most people tend to think revenue is good, and growing revenue is even better–a completely understandable mindset. Revenue is probably the most objective measure in any business, because it tells you how much customers are paying for your products or services. Therefore, it’s easy to equate revenue growth to creating customer value.

There’s one instance, however, that can lull an organization into complacency. We call it the sticky customer trap. …

How the Trap is Set

How does this happen? … There’s an ongoing need for the service, so the customer continues to ask for support and continues to pay its bills. No problem, right? You are creating customer value.

The problem is that these services are sticky. Once the customer chooses you as their vendor, there is a high cost for them switching to another vendor. They may become unhappy with your service, but in order to switch they need to find someone else, believe someone else is not as bad as you, and go through the cost and effort of moving to the new vendor.

As the vendor, your organization tends to gravitate in the other direction. You see revenue coming in month after month and praise the team for their great work. The feeling of comfort at that customer causes your organization to shift focus toward new customers, which can further degrade existing customer value. …

How to Avoid the Trap ….”

The most dangerous word

January 28, 2013

By Brad Hoover via Fortune   Article

The most dangerous word to use at work

“After fraud, theft, flood, and fire, the most dangerous word to use in the workplace today is short, sweet, and fraught with peril: try. …

Whether in a job interview, on a resume, or in the office, try simply shows a lack of belief, passion, commitment, and confidence — all the qualities you need to succeed in today’s tight job market. Grammarly’s contextual thesaurus has a whopping 66 different synonyms for try, yet none of them are as convincing as words like do, believe, act, tackle, accomplish, or succeed. While try might get you 10%, or even halfway there, employers are looking for strong problem solving skills and unwavering dedication.

I cringe when I hear, “I’ll give it a try,” because the phrase suggests failure. “I’ll do it” inspires confidence every time. …

So don’t try, do; don’t doubt, believe; and don’t wonder, act.”

A skeptic

January 28, 2013

 By  via CEB Blogs   Article

How the Innovation Process is Poised to Change

“I’m probably best-described as a skeptic on most new technologies. Partially because the benefits are usually wildly overstated, and partially because I’m just curmudgeonly like that. But I am very enthused about one thing in particular: the rise of the 3D printer.

… as we’ve seen, the development of new modes of computing has the occasional quality of disrupting incumbent experts on a topic who served as gatekeepers to it. A slightly wordy way of saying, in other words, that computers make things that were once available only to insiders available to all. Publishing was once restricted to those capable of buying a printing press, a few barrels of ink, and giant rolls of paper; now anyone can publish anything they want. Retailing was once restricted to those capable of buying or building a physical facility (and some warehouses to boot), now anyone can set up a store on Etsy or Amazon and sell to their heart’s content.

Similarly, I’d expect that the widespread ability of 3D printing will democratize access to the design and prototyping of products. Design is computerized now, obviously – but applications like AutoCAD have steep learning curves and are officially for professionals only. And to actually create a prototype requires some sort of engineering or artistic skill. But when creation is made as simple as touching a button, I’d expect design tools to follow suit.”

The Three Cultures

January 28, 2013

By Art Kleiner via strategy+business   Article

The Cult of Three Cultures

“there are at least three separate professions creating their own cultures … the “operational,” “executive,” and “engineering” cultures. … Members of each culture consistently misunderstand each other, even when they earnestly desire to work together. …

The first, the operational culture, is the culture of day-to-day line managers — the people who get products and services out, procure supplies, process bills, and make delivery trucks run on time. Operations people appreciate teams; they understand, as nobody else does, how to get a bunch of disparate individuals to pull together. … Leaders in this culture are often connoisseurs of human “character.” They expect good people to be loyal, candid, and trustworthy, and they do their best to shut out those who do not fit in. …

If you want to find facility with deals, leverage, and capital flow, you have to look to the second corporate culture, the executive culture. Members of this culture typically include the CEO, the board, the business-unit leaders, and the finance-oriented staff. … They are the only ones directly accountable for the organization’s obligation to return money and value to outsiders, both to shareholders and to society at large. … they tend to see themselves as lone heroes, embattled and competitive. …

The third corporate culture, the engineering culture, is personified by engineers and technical specialists, particularly in information technology and process engineering. They are stimulated by puzzles and problems, and by the design challenge of creating an ideal world of elegant machines that operate in harmony. The only thing they’re impatient with is the other people. This culture … is preoccupied with “designing humans out of the systems rather than into them.””

The Influence Peddlers

January 28, 2013

Via Face the Facts USA   Article

Influence Peddlers

“Which organization do you think spends the most to gain influence? And what industry overall outspends all others to shape legislation? It’s all at our website.  See more


“What You Manage Is What You Get”

January 28, 2013

By Tim Brown via Design Thinking Blog   Article

In Service Cultures, “What You Manage Is What You Get”

“How often have you experienced unfriendly or grumpy service on an airline, in a restaurant, or in another service environment? Quite a few times, I imagine. In the vast majority of cases, I would take a bet that this is not so much a result of poor hiring or training, but a reflection of a poor internal culture.

Service brands often use the vocabulary of theater to describe what good service looks like. They talk about “performance,” “scripts,” and “stages” when instructing their staff. However, they forget one crucial difference between acting and working as a service provider. On the stage, the performer has a chance to prepare, and can treat the moment as a separate experience. A sales clerk in a retail environment has to cope with unpredictable customers and shifting levels of demand — never having the opportunity to distinguish the “performance” from the rest of the job.

When brands attempt to script their service performance, but do not give equal attention to their internal culture, it should be no wonder that these organizations inevitably fail to meet consistent service standards. Companies that have combative relationships with their employees, or fail to engage staff in a respectful way, risk seeing these same negative attitudes filter into staff interactions with customers.”

Feedback vs. feedforward

January 21, 2013

By Merit Gest via coloradobiz   Article

“When I worked in corporate America I got lots of feedback.  Sometimes I was in the frame of mind to hear it in the spirit in which it was intended, but most of the time I was left feeling defeated, defensive and deflated . . . far from the intended outcome of inspired.

Even as the provider of my own feedback I was harsh on myself.  ”You could have put more effort into that presentation,” “Why did you wait until the last minute to call them back?” “Why did you do that all by yourself and not ask for help?”  The questions made me defensive with myself! …

Feedback feels judgmental and critical.  Feedback focuses on the past and what went wrong.  It emphasizes problems and leaves people feeling defensive. … feedforward is about encouragement because it focuses on solutions and what can go right in the future.  When done right, feedforward is highly motivational and gets people into positive action.

Let’s look at two ways a manager can talk with a direct report: ….”