Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 28MAR11

March 28, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: innovation

The 1969 rock opera “Tommy” by The Who was a smash hit that continues to dazzle listeners to this today. On the original album, the character Tommy (performed by Roger Daltry) sings a song called “See me, feel me, touch me.” I’m reminded of this haunting melody as I think about the U.S. launch of Podio, a Copenhagen-based technology company in San Francisco this past week.

Podio created multiple opportunities to “see me, feel me, touch me” as I wrote in this Fast Company blog post and, in the process, created a lot of buzz. Tommy Ahlers, CEO, and his team created a pop-up retail store in the SOMA (south of market street) area in San Francisco. They invited people to a number of different events leading up to their official launch this past Thursday evening.

Podio’s innovative technology and launch is helping them thrive. What innovation is going to help your company thrive?

Thought for the week:

“We must not confuse leadership with status. Even in large corporations and government agencies, the top-ranking person may simply be bureaucrat 1. We have all occasionally encountered top persons who couldn’t lead a squad of seven-year-olds to the ice cream counter.” – John Gardner, On Leadership

What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

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Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 21MAR11

March 21, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

Wei Yen, a well-known and highly-respected Silicon Valley software architect and entrepreneur, offered the following insight back when he was with Silicon Graphics about resolving business process issues:

“Sometimes, when things are a bit broken, they need to become a little bit more broken before they can get fixed.”

Here’s a great example illustrating Wei’s insight from a FastCompany.com article:

Groupon Client Goes Public With Beef at SXSW, Staffers Scramble

Sunday’s Groupon panel on the Fast Company and PepsiCo stage took an unexpected turn when Travis Kalanick, a longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur who runs online car service Uber, spoke frankly about his negative experiences as a client of Groupon–and several Groupon staffers in the audience took issue with the story he told.

The panel was framed as a post-game discussion of Groupon’s own panel on its creative, quality-based approaches to marketing and copywriting, which are helping the company keep market share in the face of an army of clones. But it quickly got real.

“In marketing, in the stories you tell, you guys are nothing but winning,” Kalanick said. “But there is such a disconnect with operations.” He said that Groupon representatives had promised him primary placement and not delivered, didn’t run the offer on the dates he wanted, handed him a data dump in a clunky Excel spreadsheet, and gave him an initial estimate of proceeds from the offer that was ten times higher than what the group deal actually delivered. “That’s money I spent to put cars on the road that we didn’t need.”

Darren Schwartz, Groupon’s SVP of sales, above, grabbed a mike in the middle of the panel to respond that Groupon’s hiring a team of merchant managers to improve the oversight process from sales to the completion of an offer.

“The reality is that Travis has identified the same stuff we have,” Schwartz told Fast Company afterward. “We need to merge our marketing excellence with our operations excellence and get it all to the same level.” They’re rolling out new tools to help local businesses better track their ROI from each offer.

Groupon’s business execution is undermining relationships with customers. The gap in operational excellence is undermining customer relationships—and, in a very public forum.

Customer pain doesn’t have to be a catalyst to moving forward with solutions that are, often, all too obvious. Bad customer experiences open the door to the competition and market share loss. Proactively taking action to eliminate bad customer experiences will ensure your company thrives.

Thought for the week:

“I think it’s a shame that we teach children everything about the world, but, we don’t teach them how to take part in the world, how to realize an idea, how to measure the consequences of their actions, how to take a knock, and how to share their success. What kind of world have we built, that people can use the phrase, ‘it’s just business’ without challenge or contradiction?” – Sir Richard Branson, Business Stripped Bare

Note: What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 14MAR11

March 14, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: business execution

One of my consulting colleagues in Australia, Andrew Hollo, recently asked whether all organizations naturally experience growth, maturity and, eventually, decline.

The answer is “yes” unless of course your company continually evolves to ensure relevancy in the marketplace. There aren’t many buggy whip manufacturers today—the demand has dropped precipitously.

Eschew the status quo to ensure your company thrives!

Thought for the week:

“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” – Steve Jobs

I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 07MAR11

March 7, 2011

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: leadership

My mentor—Alan Weiss—advises me to approach the world from the following mindset:

“I offer tremendous value which improves people’s performance and lives. I am remiss if I don’t assertively attempt to bring that value to everyone who might benefit from it.”

What if all people shared that belief about their contributions and value-add?  Wouldn’t that help them and their businesses thrive?

Thought for the week:

“We are rewarded in life to the extent we add value to other people’s lives.” – Paul Dunn

I welcome your blog comments!

___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2011 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Top 10 Leadership Tips for Succeeding All Around

March 1, 2011

The following guest blog post is by friend and colleague Roberta Chinsky Matuson, President of Human Resource Solutions:

Top 10 Leadership Tips for Succeeding All Around

Popular leadership books often use the phrase, “born leader,” to describe those who possess a natural ability to lead others. What many fail to mention is the number of “natural” leaders who had help along the way.

It can take years to become an overnight success. If you are willing to do the work and follow this advice, you can certainly cut that time in half. Here are ten leadership tips for succeeding all around.

1.      Move forward by looking backwards-Have you been successful because of your leadership or in spite of it? I’ve watched time and time again, companies and leaders succeed in spite of poor management skills. Now imagine the levels of success they could have achieved if those who were in charge had great leadership skills? Or even good leadership skills. Gather feedback about your management style and adjust accordingly.

2.      Lead by example-Behave, as you would want your employees to behave, but also understand that your role is different from that of your employees.

3.      Surround yourself with the right people-Hire for fit, train for skill and if the opportunity presents itself, hire people who are better than you. Be prepared for the arrival of new hires so they immediately feel connected to the organization.

4.      Stop the blame game-It’s always someone or something that is at fault. But in the end, the buck stops with you. Sure, you may not have inherited a stellar team, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for mediocrity. You have the power to inspire people to exceed expectations. You also have the power to release people who aren’t making the grade. What you don’t get to do is blame everyone else for your team’s failure to perform.

5. Cut your losses early-Mismatches happen, no matter how good you are at interviewing. Take action quickly to avoid having the rest of the team distracted by a poor hire.

6.      Invest in yourself and your people-Can you name one organization that has cut their way to exceptional customer service? I can’t. It’s time to put your money where your mouth is. If your firm prides itself on customer service then invest in more people to reduce the wait times, especially during peak calling hours. And while you are at it, give your employees the tools and training they need to provide exceptional service.

7.      Build on Strengths-Everyone focuses on improving weaknesses. You can distinguish yourself by paying particular attention to areas of strength, as this is where you’ll receive the most return for your investment.

8. It’s better to be respected than loved-As human beings, we have a natural tendency to want to be loved. But what happens when your desire to be loved interferes with your ability to lead? Effective leaders recognize it is more important to be respected by their people than adored. They make the tough decisions that are needed to secure the future of those around them, including their direct reports.

9. Your success depends on the success of others-To succeed as a manager, you will need to shift your focus from “me” to “we.” Going forward, your success will no longer be measured by your individual contribution. Instead, you will be evaluated on your ability to create and maintain a highly engaged team that is willing to give it their all.

10. Find a coach or a mentor-You are ultimately responsible for your own success. If you are lucky, you may get approval to attend a training session this year. It’s a start, however training isn’t going to ultimately get you where you want to go. Find a coach or a mentor who can swiftly guide you through the landmines that exist in every organization.

It’s time to try something new if what you’ve been doing all along isn’t getting you the results you are seeking. Choose one or two of the above tips and move those items forward. Then select a few more. Before long, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a natural leader who is succeeding all around.

© 2011 Human Resource Solutions. All rights reserved.

Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions (www.yourhrexperts.com) and author of the highly acclaimed book Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta’s monthly newsletter, HR Matters.