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Archive for the ‘Excellence’ Category

From Stephen Hyken:

 

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We need to define both holistic and design first. To design is to thinkDesign is the ability to be able to broaden our perception of the world around, to see the unseen, and make it appear as a new purposeful addition to the real world.

Holistic design is to see and think of the world in two broad dimensions – as interconnectedand evolving systems. Holistic design is formed by and leads to interconnected systems. Evolving nature of holistic design is when the design leads to the evolution of the interconnected systems.

A good example of holistic design is the design of fire for it’s one of the oldest designs we can trace back to. Designed over 2 million years ago, fire was supposedly discovered by rubbing two stones over a heap of dry leaves. Never did the world perceive a connection between dried leaves and stones before the design of fire.

The design of fire led to the evolution of the human race from Homo Erectus to Homo Sapiens as it led to the design of cooking and much more.

 

– Karthik Vijayakumar, Founder and Principal, DYT Studios & Host of The Design Your Thinking Podcast

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Source: theblog.adobe.com/ask-an-uxpert-what-does-holistic-ux-design-mean-to-you/

 

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words matter more than you would know, says Jack Dean – he should know from his extensive experience over the years, sitting on both sides of the table.

NightingaleCXO

Though he talks about B2B marketers, obviously it applies to other segments too. Excerpts from his article appearing here:

Have you ever noticed that the words and phrases used by CXO Buyers are somehow different? Their language is different. Their conversations are different. More formal, more direct, more reserved.

I don’t have studies or survey data to support what I’m about to say, but I know with certainty, having been a CXO Buyer influenced by them, that WORDS MATTER. When I was sitting on the other side of the desk as a CXO Buyer (and now during role play conversations in sales training workshops), I used the word choices of B2B marketers as a reliable predictor of their character and professionalism.

Of course, there are other aspects of personal character that are continuously being observed by CXO Buyers (e.g. like how you are dressed, how you treat your colleagues, what you say about your competition, how you control your emotions), but your word choices are, in my opinion, the most important predictor of character and professionalism…

If you believe that you have good-to-great “business-appropriate” language skills, recognize that that capability is a potential competitive selling advantage. My best recommendation is to actively seek out opportunities to CONVERSE with customers, especially CXO Buyers. Phone calls are better than emails. Face-to-face conversations are better than PowerPoint PDFs.

You get the idea … “professionally” flaunt your communication capabilities in order to differentiate from your B2B marketing peers.

My advice is simply an extension of the quote, “Deal with the world the way it is, not the way you wish it to be”. Use your business language skills to your advantage.

 

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Source: Image from aircomfortchairs.com

 

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An opportunity seen in an adverse situation to win customer heart-share! Kit-Kat-kitkat-26578047-800-500

 JWT Brazil created an airport vending machine at Sao Paulo airport that handed out free Kit Kat’s – but only to those with delayed flights. The machine scans their boarding passes, then recognizes if their flight is on the delayed list and delivers the candy bar.

It’s a great creative use of data and frankly, anything that brings a smile to the face of delayed passengers is bound to be a winner. Now, if only airlines could learn from this approach.

See a short clip here.

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Source: creativity-online.com, adsoftheworld.com and fanpop.com

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M is your guy to grab…not many around like him.

Read on to know what I meant:

Episode 1: When he stopped ‘it’ in its tracks…unbelievable!

He was visiting Hyderabad (Begumpet airport, Secunderabad) from Chennai, in by the morning and scheduled to return by the evening flight 6.30 pm, flying both ways on propeller-driven Avro.  Till 5.30 he was checking up regularly on flight departure and he was told it was uncertain due to unfavorable weather conditions at Chennai. And then they said the flight was cancelled for the day. M happened to be nearby and hence rushed to Indian Airlines office to check on alternatives available – booking wasn’t online then.

He was in their office by 6 pm when he learnt the Avro flight was after all leaving on time! He blew his top for the  misinformation and insisted on taking that flight as he would be able to reach the airport in the next 10 minutes. It wasn’t possible, he was told. Not one DNA’ed to take a ‘no’, M insisted they inform the duty-officer (DO) at the airport about his coming in regardless. Disconnecting without waiting for a response, he rushed to airport and was at the counter by 6.25. The staff quite expectedly refused to check him in. He rushed to the DO who also regretted his inability to help, pointing out to the aircraft all ready to move with the ground staff closing the formalities and giving thumbs-up to the pilot. He threatened the DO he’ll rush out and stop the aircraft which is what exactly M did next! He jumped the security; chased by all including DO, he outran all of them reaching the aircraft just then beginning to move.

Fearing worse, the DO did what he could to keep M out of his hair: the aircraft was halted, the ladder expressly brought in, a boarding-pass printed…was he happy to see M’s back as the door closed!!

Today, of course, a mere attempt in the direction or even an expression of such intent would get him arrested!

Episode 2: Just the man for the herd

The Air-India flight from Dubai to Mumbai was for some reason diverted to Delhi. Obviously there was total commotion and clamor for seats to make the onward journey. The staff at AI counter were simply unable to handle the onslaught. Just the scene cut out for our man to jump in. M managed to push himself to the front – his lean frame lets him move edge-ways! – climbed onto the counter and raised his voice to cow down the belligerent passengers to some order. He then asked them to make up different queues: one for families with small children, another for senior citizens and, lastly, others. Further M declared seats shall be allotted in the same order of the queues i.e. beginning with the families with small children. Some in the third lot were not happy with it, pressing on their needs as urgent over others. He got the duty-officer (DO) also to make a concurring announcement and stick with it.

M made his wife and children (not small) to stand aside, not wanting to be seen as self-seeking. Thence it was smooth-going: the first lot and the second were accommodated in full. About a third of the rest could also be pushed through before the flight was full up. The remaining, including his family, had to perforce wait for another flight. He arranged with the DO to authorize priority seating for them on the next flight. Finally when the counters opened for their flight, our man duly queued up with others. That’s when he was called to meet up with the DO. The DO thanked M heartily for helping them manage a chaotic scene and gave him the glad tidings of an upgrade for his family and him to first-class – a fine gesture from AI!

These two episodes – it wasn’t easy to choose from the many on hand – give you a flavor of what M was and is.

It may just be possible yet to tempt M with a challenge, to come out of his peaceful retirement in a community off the city of Mysore. A word of caution however: liaising, lobbying, scratching people’s back…are not M’s cup of coffee as also underhand dealings of any kind. A square-shooter of the old school, that’s what Mani is and what you get, dealing with him.

 

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Suveer Madapravan is feeling happy.

April 25 at 7:35pm ·

Today at Hyderabad airport…..

I was at the internet center using the (free) net service,

Spotted this lady with a kid in panic.

You guessed it right: she had missed a connecting flight, coming from Delhi to Hyderabad, proceeding onwards to Cochin. Wife of a navy officer based in Cochin, she used my phone and spoke to her husband as she didn’t have a mobile phone. I tried booking tickets and the price was Rs. 14,700 per ticket just then I saw Mr. Gavin, customer service officer from indigo and elaborated her story; in fact, he too was searching for her. I asked him if he could accommodate her in the next flight for which he said he would try and took her out of the boarding area to the Indigo ticket counter. I asked her if she required some money – she declined.

Then, I got back to the internet center, her husband calling me almost continuously and asking me to buy a ticket with the assurance he would transfer the amount to me without delay. But, I couldn’t connect with her as she had gone outside the boarding area. Was just upset I couldn’t do much and mentally stressed thinking what would have happened And started using the internet.

Just then I saw this lady coming back and thanking me…she gave me desi ghee laddoo and mixture.

indigo 1

I was so happy to see them settled and asked her how much did she pay for the tickets.

She said, ‘NOTHING.’

I was pleasantly surprised and happy that INDIGO recognized her as a navy officer’s wife and did the realignment free of cost.

I have heard people share a lot of bad experiences with Indigo executives…but, here is a HERO…Mr. Gavin, customer service officer who took all the responsibility and ensured a smooth arrangement.

Kudos to Indigo and Mr. Gavin. As I see it, Suveer too has been no less a hero either.

indigo 2

This incident brings up a key question not confined to Indigo:  Why can’t all – may be not all, but most – customer-facing employees be like Mr. Gavin?

I see a few factors responsible for this magic to (not) happen: a) Firstly s strong conviction from the top to do the right thing by the customer and not hesitate to walk an extra mile if situation demands b) strong communication, stretched to the point of indoctrination, of what the org stands for with frequent reinforcement, preferably practiced very visibly in live action,  and c) empowerment at the service end-points for showing sensitivity backed up by quick action

While on the subject of indoctrination, so well managed by the MNC’s, I’m reminded of a specific instance that serves to exemplify the point being made. Years ago, I think late seventies or early eighties, Hewlett-Packard was lagging behind everyone else in the field in announcing a 32-bit computer, something the Indian market clamored for. We faced stiff resistance wherever we went to talk about HP’s computers, the ones with 16-bit word-length. We had folks coming in from Palo Alto (International Sales), Hong Kong (Fare East HQ) to tell us and our prospects, thumping the table, how word-length did not matter at all in commercial data processing where data is basically 8 bits. In fact, shorter word-lengths yielded better results at times! Neither did we buy the argument, our customers, even less. Since there was no 32-bit product in HP’s stable, we were forced to push ahead in the field whatever we had, on the back of those arguments we didn’t believe in. Needless to add we were completely disheartened with so few wins.

Some months passed. A team, no strangers, came down from Palo Alto grinning ear-to-ear to break it to us.  This time it was a you-asked-for-it-and-here-it-is 32-bit computer, made available for sale in the Indian market! Along with it came a new set of arguments – all of it old hat to us – how a 32-bit machine out-zips machines with shorter word-lengths (never mind there was hardly any of its kind in the market), all from the same executives spoken with the same conviction! I didn’t think for a moment they were being dishonest. It was more like ‘my company says now this is an innovative product that outperforms 16-bits and it must be so.’ Some innovation, indeed!

That’s indoctrination for you. Am sure if one asked any HP employee in any of its factories or from any of its far-flung field-offices across continents, they would speak the same words! Contrast it with an Indian organization, where every employee proudly has his own views on his company, its values and its products and speaks about it freely. And that’s why not all of them can never ever be Mr. Gavin.

Indigo, not all is lost yet…indoctrinate…indoctrinate…indoctrinate thought, speech and action…the way to go.

 

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PS: HP reckoned its new product a success over its lifetime – I’m sure they had the numbers to back up. Though it did not exactly set any river on fire, no books were written about it, as far as I know. An epic  let-down for die-hard’s like me. However, it was a certainly bold step for HP, perhaps the first among its peers,  to embrace Unix over proprietary software for its mid-range and mini-computers. Staying with proprietary software was cited by many industry pundits as a reason for the downfall of the legendary Vax machines and the eventual demise of DEC.

Source: vide Gopalakrishna Sunderrajan in fb.

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A lightly edited extract from an article by John Izzo Ph.D. and Jeff Vanderwielen Ph.D, authors of their forthcoming book: The Purpose Revolution: How Leaders Create Engagement and Competitive Advantage in an Age of Social Good .:

Why are some leaders effective at truly engaging with their teams? And why do many, despite their best efforts…can’t get the whole team rowing in the same direction? We found that to create a common goal, it’s vital to ramp up your purpose as an organization…

…A recent Ernst and Young/Harvard study shows that most senior leaders and business owners see the value of being purpose driven and most likely have a set of personal values leaning toward the decent-human-being side of the equation. Yet in our experience, most businesses, small and large, have leaders who are losing at purpose – or at the very least are failing to achieve the high levels of engagement with their staff that they intend to build…(they) spend an inordinate amount of time focused on the numbers side and beating their competition, without truly embracing the balancing force of purpose…often too busy with noses to the grindstone, working in the business instead of on the business. But why spend countless hours working, if you haven’t truly figured out why you’re doing it? Your employees are asking themselves that same question every day.

…In working and speaking with hundreds of company leaders, HR representatives, and employees at all levels, we’ve found that for your company to be successful in the long run, it needs to stand for something, and that something needs to be authentic! Winning companies start with their true purpose, a higher reason for being as the foundation of their organization…

A company focused on purpose can make money, but profit can’t be the primary focus. Employees need to work for something greater, to feel like their job roles fill a larger need in society…employees care about being on a winning team, they want the company to make enough money to keep jobs secure and want opportunities to contribute to making better products and services and their organization be known in the market-place for the sameThey want to feel proud about a job well-done…

Great leaders are successful in activating this purpose.

If your company is engaged in construction, your worker’s real purpose is creating a safe home for people to live in, not fastening pieces of wood together. And a happier, more engaged worker is better for the bottom line. Research shows that companies which activate purpose are even more profitable than those that don’t. So ask yourself if profit or purpose is the main driver in your organization?

Purpose is NOT About Marketing

A reason leaders fail to engage their teams through purpose is because they treat purpose as a marketing program, just any other plan to win talent and customers. They ask, “Isn’t it OK to simply focus on the fact that employees and customers want us to have purpose and therefore we ought to pursue it like we would every other business strategy?”

The fact is that people see through the focus on purpose solely for the sake of business, instead of a greater goal. We have worked with more than 500 companies around the world, and it is obvious to us that employees can detect the difference between purpose that is genuine and purpose that is forced and purely about looking good as a business. The same is true for individual leaders. Our people can tell when we’re not into purpose and care mostly about the numbers, even if we don’t intend to communicate that.

We believe the Volkswagen emissions scandal came about because VW used purpose as a marketing strategy, not a core belief. The decision to deceive regulators on emissions from diesel cars was likely made because VW’s focus on clean vehicles was a strategy that worked for promoting and selling their vehicles as “clean alternatives.” If they actually had a purpose-focused desire to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, they would have fixed the technology instead of lying about it!

 

 

Source: The article appears here.

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