That Awkward Moment When You Learn…

August 30, 2013
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…Microsoft stock rose 7% on the news that the CEO, Steve Ballmer, will retire in the next 12 months

…a series of car bombings and other attacks across Baghdad on Wednesday, August 29th, killed 86 people and wounded 263, police and medical sources said, extending the worst wave of sectarian bloodshed in Iraq for at least five years. Imagine how big a story this would be in any G20 country and what kind of round-the-clock news coverage it would garner? As it is, this is but a footnote in the news.

…the food ingredient MSG (which has 14 different names and is added to all processed foods) doesn’t make the food taste better–it makes your brain think the food tastes better

…the $1000 stolen bike you’re looking to replace via Craigslist ads has your actual bike for sale for $300

…Miley Cyrus has replaced her Disney career with raunchiness and depravity at the Video Music Awards (VMA) show

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

© 2013 Dave Gardner
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jopoe/

Make It Easy And Simple

August 26, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: make it easy and simple

One of the lines in my “why” I’m in business statement is:

ease and simplicity replace frustration and complexity

If something in your business is frustrating and has far more complexity than it should, the one question you have to ask yourself is when are you going to tackle that issue so you can create ease and simplicity for everyone impacted?

I helped a client with a front-end sales process for a highly-configurable product. It would take 1-3 hours on the phone to configure, price and quote a customized product. The CEO said they’d been living with this issue for 20 years. The pain wasn’t just on the customer side. It would take months to train new sales people to handle those calls.

Which areas should you consider for making it simple? Any customer facing area that has either more frustration or complexity than it should. Where are customers experiencing pain dealing with your company?

  • Getting quotations
  • Booking orders
  • Executing orders correctly and on time
  • Post-sales customer service and support
  • Ensuring that any and all customer expectations are properly set and met

If you take action to eliminate important areas of frustration and complexity with ease and simplicity, this will accelerate your company’s growth.

Thought for the week:

“The project that most scares you is the project you should do first.”  – Robin Sharma
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 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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That Awkward Moment When You Learn…

August 23, 2013

Awkward

…a Utah beauty pageant winner who faced criminal charges for throwing homemade bottle bombs outside her car window as she drove around town with friends turned in her crown.

…ABC News actually used this headline: “Teen Added to Heart Transplant List After Hospital’s Change of Heart, Family Says.”

…amongst ER patients who’d been drinking, Budweiser was the number one beer brand consumed.

…the massive Texas police and SWAT team raid for marijuana cultivation yielded nothing more than an organic okra farm.

…Microsoft’s Windows 8 Simplified  book is 272 pages long.

…29% of Louisiana Republicans believe President Obama was responsible for the federal government’s dreadful Hurricane Katrina response

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

© 2013 Dave Gardner
Photo credit:  Flickr, Greg Burkett

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Proactively seeking new thinking at HP

August 21, 2013

Seeking Alpha had a very interesting bullet point in an update about HP this morning:

  • Sources add Meg Whitman is “seeking new thinking at the top of her executive ranks.”

This is what all people in executive leadership should be seeking and encouraging–new thinking.  But, is that the expectation set by the leaders? Do leaders want people who fit in? Or, do they want people willing to make waves?

Sadly, corporations–intentionally and unintentionally–encourage what I call “stock responses” to issues.  “Stock responses” are little more than a reflex. The responses are intended to preserve one’s role, ensure the response introduces no risk to their employment, and largely are about preserving and protecting the status quo.

In working with a client recently, I observed that the person who stepped into a leadership role seemed to be more of an administrator of the status quo that someone fully engaged and actively looking for ways to “move the needle” in terms of contributed value.  It was as though this person was manning a desk they inherited who seemed to be  too comfortable with a less than satisfactory status quo. There were no signs this person:

  • Knew what was working and what was not
  • Had engaged fully with the stakeholders
  • Acknowledged and was taking action on opportunities for increasing the value add

It’s simply not possible to accelerate growth by preserving and protecting the status quo.  As Marshall Goldsmith offers, “What got you here, won’t get you there.”

What happens to an organization that fails to proactively seek new thinking?  As my mentor, Alan Weiss, offers, the leadership team ends up “breathing it’s own exhaust.” That’s not a formula for accelerating growth–it’s the formula for deepening a death spiral.

I applaud Meg Whitman for telling the world she “gets it”–she needs new thinking at the top.  This is an opportunity for senior leaders to either speak up and advocate for change they know in their hearts and minds is needed or be left in the dust.

Either way, this is a good indicator that the status quo at HP is unacceptable.

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

© 2013 Dave Gardner

Great Customer Focus Accelerates Sales

August 19, 2013

bikefridaybadgeNote: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: customer focus

One of my consulting colleagues, Ed Poll, is an avid bicycle enthusiast and a serious bike rider. He’s on vacation in Oregon with his wife, dog and his renovated Airstream trailer.

I encouraged him to stop and meet Alan and Hanna Scholz at Bike Friday in Eugene, Oregon. Bike Friday is a manufacturer of custom-fitted, high-performance bicycles that also fold for travel. I wanted Ed to see first-hand how these bikes are made and learn about the thought and quality that incorporated in the designs. And, of course, I had hoped he might become interested enough to buy one or more bikes for himself.

Thanks to the time, attention and understanding Ed received, Ed told me that multiple bike sales are in the works. That’s exciting! This illustrates that when you closely align your products and services with your prospect’s needs, sales can happen with amazing speed.

So, to a great manufacturer and client in Eugene, Oregon–Bike Friday–thanks for taking care of Ed and his fellow travelers so well. I knew you would. And, that’s why your business will continue to thrive.

Thought for the week:

“Life is like riding a bicycle.To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” – Albert Einstein

Recent Blog Post That May Interest You:

That Awkward Moment When You Learn…

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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

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

© 2013 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.

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Egypt August 14, 2013

August 14, 2013

I don’t profess to know a lot about Egypt.  I agree with the idea that the last head of state, Morsi, was not the right leader for the country. He wanted to ignore his countrymen in aggregate to cater to his followers who took advantage of “the other side” with every opportunity they had.

He did not provide the economic leadership needed to take the country to the next level. And, he exposed himself to the takeover that ultimately occurred.

Was the military right to intervene?  I think so.

Today, however, the military lost quite a bit of moral authority when some 250 600+ Morsi supporters were killed. The killing of Morsi supporters was unnecessary, wrong and unhelpful. And, this action unfortunately, represents a significant setback for Egypt at a time when it is presumably attempting to build a democratic state.

The military must provide leadership and show restraint if it is to help the country move in a different direction. If it can’t do that, the next step is outright civil war which will weaken Egypt further and only serve to create more instability in the region.

Dave Gardner

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That Awkward Moment When You Learn…

August 13, 2013

awkward moment photo

crime does pay! Halliburton was fined $200,000 for destroying evidence related to the British Petroleum (BP) Gulf of Mexico oil spill and that settles the matter. For Halliburton, $200,000 is chump change. No one goes to jail. They aren’t restricted from future government contracting. Must be nice.

the Nairobi Kenya airport has its own fire department and is supported by the local firefighters who have one working fire engine and 100 firefighters for a city of 4 million people.

when the Wizard of the Cloud, Marc Benioff, pulled back the curtain and got into bed with Oracle, the mystery and intrigue of the cloud dissipated quickly. The “cloud” is really just an off-premise I.T. factory with an Internet pipe, servers, storage, network, applications, security and a database.

coming up with strategy is easy. It’s strategy implementation and execution that trips everybody up!

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

© 2013 Dave Gardner

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeltelling/

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