Being In The Moment Accelerates Growth

October 28, 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:  being in the moment

As I watched an American League Champion Series (ALCS) game to determine whether the Boston Red Sox or the Detroit Tigers would go on to compete in the World Series, I was struck by 2 things:

  • The Red Sox pitcher gave up 5 runs before he was pulled from the game. This seemed to me to be at least 2 more runs than needed to be given up before the Red Sox manager pulled the pitcher. Why, during this critical game, did the manager allow a guy who was ineffective to continue? Why was the bullpen not ready for a change? What was the manager thinking?
  • Later in the same game, the Detroit Tigers were up 5-1. Their pitcher loaded the bases. David Ortiz (Big Papi) was at bat and, rather than walk him and allow 1 run to score, they decided to pitch to him and, not entirely unexpectedly, Ortiz hit a grand slam home run tying the game. What was the manager thinking?

Over the course of 162 games, it seems it is easy to become complacent by about the 170th game of the season. But, when the stakes are so high, why didn’t the team managers behave differently? Were they running on autopilot? Why weren’t they in the moment doing something different to respond immediately to the threat?

When business conditions change, a stock response may not do the trick. The Red Sox ultimately prevailed in the game though they made it much tougher on themselves than they had to. While I’m grateful to see Big Papi hit a grand slam home run, I think it was managerial malpractice to pitch to Ortiz at such a critical moment.

What’s important is recognizing that each moment is different and a robotic response may not be appropriate. That is how you thrive.

Thought for the week:

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”  – Teddy Roosevelt
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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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Uncertainty Is A Huge Detractor

October 21, 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: uncertainty

People and financial markets eschew uncertainty. For those of us in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ve been dealing with:

  • Uncertainties around the government shutdown and its reopening
  • Uncertainties around whether the U.S. would default on our debt and what might ensue from that
  • The uncertainty of a BART strike–the transit system that moves nearly 400,000 people a day to/from work
  • An AC Transit strike that might coincide with the BART strike further crippling another mission-critical transit system

With respect to the government shutdown and debt ceiling, we dodged a bullet but for only a short time. We’ll be back here again after the holidays. The BART strike will come to an end after much pain is inflicted on all commuters (BART riders, drivers, etc.) simply trying to get to work.

The drama and trauma of all this isn’t good yet it’s in our faces every day. The best we can do is not get too caught up in the news and remind ourselves that these storm clouds will pass.

What swords of Damocles are omnipresent in your business, taking a toll on your team, your employees and/or your customers? What are you doing to rid yourself of issues that foster uncertainty? Certainly these issues can’t accelerate growth!

Thought for the week:

My father, Robert Gardner, is getting special recognition at his alma mater–Stanford University–for having earned his B.S. in Electrical Engineering 65 years ago.

All Stanford undergraduate alumni who graduated more than 65 years ago are members of the Cardinal Society, a distinguished group honoring Stanford’s earliest classes. His sister, also a Stanford graduate, joined the Cardinal Society 4 years earlier and is joining him in this multi-day celebration.

Congratulations, Dad!

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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.

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

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How Leadership Can Undermine Culture

October 14, 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: leadership and culture

I didn’t expect to awaken this past Thursday to seeing Santa Clara University on the front page of the San Jose Mercury News.

Father Engh, University President, made headlines by announcing his decision to drop elective abortion coverage for all University employees. Some would say, “C’mon, Dave–this is a private Jesuit university of practicing Roman Catholics–Father Engh is correct in adopting this position.” And, “some” would be right.

Here’s the problem. The decision was made unilaterally without consulting with the employees. The announcement came as a shock to the University’s 1,600 employees. Does Father Engh really want to shock the institution and culture of the University? One faculty member offered:

“Santa Clara has a stated commitment to shared governance, inclusiveness, openness and so forth,” said history professor Nancy Unger. “This is such a powerful violation of all that Santa Clara says that it stands for.”

Apparently, there will be discussions with the stakeholders about this change after the fact. Too late.

As is often the case, it’s often not the policy change that offends as much as it is the way in which the decision is communicated.

Father Engh is clearly seizing the opportunity to align the University’s position with the Affordable Care Act. The ACA requires that birth control be made available. It doesn’t require that an employer offer abortion coverage. The University is complying with the both the law and teachings of the church.

While it works logically, as a practical matter, the manner in which this change was announced has undermined the University’s culture.

It doesn’t take much for leadership to undermine the culture of any organization–it only requires taking action that is inconsistent with cultural norms. Trust can be made very fragile very quickly. And, that is what has happened here.

[Full Disclosure: I’m a member of the Leadership Board for Santa Clara University’s College of Arts and Sciences. My views are my own.]

Thought for the week:

“I am in awe every day of the power of words. The ones we say, the ones we omit, the ability of elegantly assembled ones to move us.” – Amber Naslund via Twitter
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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.

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


Properly Setting Customer Expectations

October 7, 2013

Turkey Yacht

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

This week’s focus: customer experience

There is nothing more maddening than inappropriately setting customer expectations.

  • A year ago, I learned I actually needed double the miles I had been quoted and needed to pay nearly $700 (not mentioned during my inquiry call) to book an upgrade on an international flight. I found this out days after calling to confirm what I needed in preparation for booking a flight.
  • You ask about a policy and get different responses as you move through the process. And, while the responses may have significant material impact, the best you get for prior responses is, “I’m sorry.” As I’ve written before, “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut it.
  • Yesterday, I called a financial services company for a fourth time and learned the first and second agents I spoke with had advised me correctly while the third agent was flat out wrong. The fourth person’s response aligned with the responses of the first two agents and I am now proceeding as previously discussed. The third agent’s response was both a deal and relationship killer had I not made the fourth call.

Are agents who respond incorrectly held accountable for their misinformation? I’d be willing to wager they aren’t.

Make no mistake: agents who get it wrong undermine relationships with customers and negatively impact the lifetime value of the customer relationship.

What are you doing to ensure your employees are properly setting customer expectations? Is there friction being created in the relationships with your customers, dealers and channel partners? If so, that’s no way to accelerate growth.

Thought for the week:

“Your outer life is the mirror of your inner life.” – Robin Sharma
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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.