Saturday, 18 May 2013

“Unless to thought is added will, Apollo is an imbecile.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

When a Japanese businessman was asked why he was happy to talk freely about his company’s quality management system, I took a note of his reply,

“By the time the competition figures it out, we will have moved our commercial advantage on.  You see, many western companies see planning as an isolated activity and only share with those impacted when they communicate the action plan.  They lose the opportunity to gain fresh perspective and buy-in.   This results in misunderstanding, discord and rejection.  They are, of course, then very good at hero management; correcting a problem they are the architects of.  This saps a team’s energy and confidence.  

Our planning culture is inclusive.  We gather input from everyone.  We deal with beliefs, assumptions, concerns and aspirations early on.  Acceptance is gained before action starts, leading to greater role clarity and a shared desire to achieve objectives. 

In your cultures you leap to action without including others in your planning activity.  The planner assumes, wrongly, that everyone will implement tasks the same way, whereas each individual’s experience determines how they interpret information and choose to behave.  To align thinking and action, you need to achieve buy-in while you plan, not just when you implement.

It will take Western companies too long to learn this lesson and adopt inclusive communication throughout their planning process.”

Over the intervening years I have seen this prophecy cause many to stumble.   This is why we introduce “Future Conference” as an energising event to quickly gain buy-in from board members, management, staff, customers and suppliers.  It saves time and money by avoiding costly mistakes.  Apollo would be glad to know that this also heals. 


Thursday, 7 February 2013

The Power of Love and LinkedIn

Experience of a personal marketing campaign – the sequel
… 41% response rate from my LinkedIn network in January…

Of these, 72% have contributed positively with names of individuals, companies or ideas on different channels to navigate. 
Here are the three positives so far:

1.       The feedback from past colleagues, clients and suppliers is affirming.
2.       Positive conversations generate personal energy.
3.       Maintaining a prospects database & action plan is critical.
It is a marketing campaign, except the product is “me”. 

Here are the three issues I am having to work around:
1.       The Executive Search market is, of course, largely client and sector focused.
2.       The value of multi-sector experience is discounted by recruiters.
3.       Consultant to corporate is a tough sell, even with a great turnaround MD record.
What are the next steps?

1.       Analyse the feedback & generate a prioritised list of 10-20 companies.
2.       Make calls to research these businesses.
3.       Identify the “hook” and call the CEO.
To align to my skill-set, what will these companies have in common?
1.       The need to grow revenue, market share or EBITDA.
2.       Those involved perceive that the business is under performing.
3.       There is an immediate market challenge that translates internally into a strategy-staff issue.
The owners of these businesses are typically looking for a leader to:

1.       Energise a business, site or division to increase their ROI.
2.       Positively influence strategic implementation, staff morale and customer satisfaction.
3.       Keen to win new business, enter new markets and compete successfully.
If you are in the middle of your own search then I hope this helps.

It is all about creating great communication, action and results in a competitive world.
Does this describe a business you love?