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Posts Tagged ‘Excellence’

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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Recruitment

DM is the CEO of Sandler Training and the author of  THE ROAD TO EXCELLENCE: 6 Leadership Strategies To Build A Bulletproof Business.

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Source: skipprichard.com

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Part 1

An edited extract from an interesting article in here on brand messages (for that matter, any message sent out) getting thru to or lost on the audience:

“…

So why do we say we hate so much advertising, and yet there are clearly ads that inspire us? Is it just a quality thing, or is there more to it than that? Partially I believe social media and the ready availability of news, views and entertainment has shifted how we categorize what we are seeing. Increasingly we consciously or otherwise and mercilessly sift the streams of all the content that presents itself to us into two categories: noise and signal.

SkipAd

Noise is the stuff that clutters up our day, that interrupts and annoys and where we see little worth. The ads…loud, imposing, uninteresting selling. It has many of us reaching for the mute button within seconds, or hitting Skip Ad as soon as we can on the videos we watch online…

Much is made these days of our shortened attention spans, and that our ability to concentrate is now 0.5 seconds shorter than that of a pet goldfish. That, some commentators rush to explain, is why marketing increasingly doesn’t work…

Signal is different. It’s the stuff, from a range of sources, that we choose to form an opinion over. It does more than inform us. It entertains or provokes us. It makes us proud or angry…increasingly it’s this content that forms our talking points on a daily basis through sharing, commenting or liking …examples: two babies bouncing on a Powerfit machine, Jean-Claude Van Damme straddling a Volvo truck, the latest Air New Zealand safety video, TED talks, box sets of our favorite TV series and so much more…Signals are what people share, because they’re made up of items that are conversation drivers, because we agree with them or not, because they’re trending, because they amuse us or they bring us together in some way. And the format of that content is becoming less and less important. It may be an ad. It may be an interview. It may be gossip…

Jonah Berger, in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On, argues that we are drawn to what affects us and to ideas that we remember and that we believe others will be interested in. He suggests six factors: 1) Social Currency – we’re fascinated by things that are remarkable, literally, in the sense of worthy of being remarked on…They are only as interesting as their ability to rise above the surrounding noise 2) Triggers – this one will be no surprise at all to marketers. We like things that we can remember easily and where the associations are well known, because they act as shortcuts (acronyms) for life. You say “Kit Kat”. Everyone around you gets “have a break”…3) Emotion – similar to social currency, in that we’re drawn to things that affect us…The emotions that a group share around an idea—for or against—can be a powerful cohesive factor 4) Public – these are the ideas that are easily replicable and that gain strength as they are adopted. Think of the Ice Bucket Challenge. They work because they enable people to share in an activity and at the same time provide their own interpretation 5) Practical Value – this, says Berger, is the news that makes living easier. It’s why YouTube is so popular – simple, visual, practical and 6) Stories – again, no surprise to marketers. The power of shareable narrative is now well established. Increasingly brands are looking to stories rather than just “spots” to weave a longer more intricate view of why they matter and the value they add.

We all look at Berger’s list, and, four years on, I don’t think there are any surprises here. And yet turn on the television and in your average commercial break, it’s getting harder and harder to find advertising that has any of these qualities…There are very few good stories. It feels to me that brand owners have failed to see that they are competing in a new context, and that media presence is, by default, noise—unless a brand makes specific effort to make it more than that…

Part 2

Here’s a success story (in an edited extract) from our own backyard appearing in here:

Ever witnessed a television brand not talking about any impressive features – such as high-definition picture quality, surround sound audio system, movie theatre-like attributes – in its ad film?

Have you ever seen an ad campaign for a television brand where the protagonist is a visually challenged person?

Well, chances are you haven’t!

For the first time, Samsung has dared to take an unconventional step, and stirred the emotional quotient of viewers, rather consumers, with its latest ad film ‘#SamsungService’. The home appliance major has launched an ad campaign as part of its initiative to take customer service to the doorsteps of consumers, in both urban and rural India. (In October last year, the television manufacturer launched 535 service vans to ensure timely service to customers in the remotest corners of the country) … With this, Samsung’s reach will extend to customers in over 6,000 talukas across 29 states and seven union territories.

The enormous success of the film is owed to a taut narrative with an element of surprise backed by a fine performance of the cast. The new campaign showcases the journey of a Samsung service engineer, who undaunted by rough terrain, reaches a house in a remote hilly area to repair a television. The story retains a certain freshness and induces a ‘what next?’ feeling though this theme of bridging distances has been already milked by telecom co’s (and perhaps by a few others) some years ago. The film ends with the visibly content engineer leaving the house as the voice over is played, “Rishtey nibhaney ke liye kabhi kabhi thoda door jaana padta hai. Isiliye Samsung service vans jaati hai desh ke kone kone tak” (At times one must venture a little further than usual for the sake of relationships. That’s why Samsung service vans go to every corner of the country). A simple yet stirring message that we can readily relate to even outside of its Samsung context in myriad ways in our daily lives amidst family and friends!

The four-minute-long film, neither overtly mushy nor tear-jerking, which was released on December 30, clocked in a whopping 18 million views on YouTube in the first couple of weeks and 103 million+ views till date…Yes, a 4-minute+ clip in times when companies are struggling to achieve even a 15-to-30 second stickiness!!

Watch here:

https://youtu.be/779KwjAYTeQ

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Credits: Conceptualized by Cheil India, the film directed by Anupam Mishra, and produced by Crazy Few Films. Dhruv Ghanekar composed the music, while the song played in the background sung by Mohit Chauhan.

Source: Articles from brandingstrategyinsider.com/2017/08/how-brands-can-convert-noise-to-signal.html and afaqs.com/news/story/49662_18-million-views-in-6-days-Samsungs-4-minute-film-gathers-digital-moss

 

 

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An interesting example of how a ticklish situation was turned into an opportunity to impress and gain business advantage.

Udaivilas Oberoi

From HBR March/April 2017:

M.S. Oberoi and the front-line obsession

Successful founders understand the economics of customer loyalty. In their early days they know every customer by name. Keeping that up becomes impossible as they grow, but nevertheless they remain obsessed with making sure that someone is looking out for every customer at all times.

Few business leaders have developed this attention to the front line as effectively as M.S. Oberoi, the founder of the Oberoi Group, a chain of luxury hotels in India. Oberoi obsessed about every detail in his hotels that might affect the customer experience. Even in his eighties he kept visiting his hotels to make sure employees were getting everything right, and in doing so he established a culture by which all employees shared in his obsession.

Poornima Bhambal, the assistant manager of the front office at the Oberoi Udaivilas, in Udaipur, described for us the company’s empowerment program, which encourages all employees to do what it takes to delight customers and even gives them access to small amounts of money in order to do so. “We love to surprise and delight guests with little gifts and niceties,” Bhambal said, “and the empowerment program allows this to happen.”

One example, related to us by Vikram Oberoi, a grandson of M.S. Oberoi who now serves as the group’s CEO, was what happened when the staff at one hotel discovered that an American family occupying two rooms was taking all the toiletries — twice a day. This seemed a bit much to the housekeeping staff, and the manager’s first instinct was to go to the family and politely point out that they probably had enough toiletries.

But instead, says Oberoi, after some coaching, “He created a basket of soaps and shampoos and oils used at the hotel’s spa, and wrote a note that was signed by the housekeeping staff. The note said, ‘We notice you like our toiletries and wanted to give you a supply you can take home and share with friends.’ The family loved this. They wrote us after, saying that we were the most fantastic hotel and that they would tell all their friends to visit. That’s a wonderful business result from the investment of a box of lotions!”

Image of Oberoi Udaivilas from theholidayindia.com

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Via: Skip Prichard’s (a coach, a trainer, a consultant…) blog here. Text in italics is added.

 

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