Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Change Your Entire Business - it takes just a day

The 25-person accounting firm, we’ll call it ABC, had an unremarkable track record.

Predictable. Grey. Uninspiring.

The offices were spookily quiet: no laughter, none!

One meeting lasting one hour in the boardroom changed the business forever.

It was agreed that everyone was bored and not working to the best of their potential.

The business had become a dowdy factory, knocking out the same old tired and jaded service with little excitement or challenge.

So, what did they decide to do on that fateful morning?

  • Decision #1: Only do challenging, interesting work with interesting people.
  • Decision #2: Put the customer experience at the forefront of the business.
  • Decision #3: Become a business: create a marketing machine that focuses on customer wants and needs and responds with a compelling and exciting offer.
As soon as these three decisions were made, the wall of doubt and self-loathing came crumbling down.

It became obvious to stop charging by the hour and charge fixed price agreements, and to offer money-back guarantees.

‘Fun’ and ‘energy’ had become taboo and everyone had had enough of the dull, boring mediocrity this had created.

It was not all plain sailing. Two of the original four partners became hostile to the New World. They demanded a “financial reward” for their past service; the New World team offered to walk out and take the whole of the ‘A’ team with them.

The Old Guard left quietly to enter the dreary greyness of an accountant’s early retirement.
18 months on and ABC is in a happy place - highly profitable.

The business has sacked customers (the dull and unprofitable ones), put prices up (which means it can offer more value and return on investment to its clients), removed under-performing staff and created a positive, exciting business. It now gets an open flow of referrals from clients.
Symbolically, ABC redecorated.

And all it took was one morning to make the tough decisions required to make it happen.

First published in Growing Business Magazine - November 2010

Monday, 24 January 2011

Thought for the Day - Peter Drucker

"There is nothing quite so meaningless as doing well that which need not be done at all."

Peter Drucker

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

How To Massively Increase Results For Delegates Attending Workshops

A quick rant.

Just done a quick rough and ready survey of some 200 repeat attendees at some recent events I have had the privilege to work on. The key word is ‘repeat’. They attended and then they returned.
And most had paid to attend!

In 80% of cases the Question/Answer discussion went as follows.

Q1: “Why did you attend?"
A: “To find out how to grow the business/sales/profits, new ideas, time out, networking...”

Q2: “Would you attend again?”
A: “Yes.”

Q3: “Did the material/content give you what you wanted/needed (see Q1: tools to grow the business/sales/profits)?”
A: “Yes.”

Q4: “What had to happen for you to get the desired results (see Q1) after the event?”
A: “I had to make some decisions and get on and do stuff.”

Q5: “Did you take the necessary action to implement the actions to get the desired results?”

A: “Um, er, well, we’re just getting around to it but..."
Some feeble series of excuses is presented at this point.

Only some 20% of the entire sample
1) heard the message and
2) understood what had to be done...

I repeat, only 20% WENT AWAY AND IMPLEMENTED THE ACTIONS and got the desired results.

So my frustration:

The materials work and people understand what needs to be done BUT they don’t take the action.

For most, assuming they do want the desired results (see Q1), attending is not enough... writing action plans is not enough... agreeing to report their results to each other is not enough. No, they need more.

If they are serious about wanting the results then they need help with the actions!

The training and business support industries are short-changing their delegates if they are not helping or challenging attendees to transform intentions into actions.