DISC: Better teams > Better results

Picture your business as a school bus, a really important school bus, and you have taken great care to be sure that the people who sit in the seats on your bus are the right people for the seat. Your Vice-President, CFO, maybe even your HR director and Sales & Marketing directors all have a seat at the front of your bus. Seats further back are filled with managers, supervisors, and others in your business. In normal day-to-day operations, you can comfortably drive your bus down the road you’reIs this your bus? following and avoid the bumps, potholes, and deer in the road.

But what happens if you face a detour? You may find out that the bus you are driving looks like the one on the right. Your detour could be:

  • a fantastic project or contract, the likes of which you’ve been working on for quite a while now;
  • an unexpected loss of business, and you need to make internal adjustments FAST.

You are now lost and you need to get back on the right track ASAP. 
Start by identifying your process issues.

  • Where are your problem areas?
  • Where do you need to allocate personnel in order to manage the problems you’ve uncovered?
  • What are you missing?

Your key to revealing your way through the detour: your people! Those very same people sitting on your bus understand your business from their unique perspective and talents. This knowledge is invaluable to you, and it’s what’s really been moving your bus down the road. But how do you harness this and put it to use?

DISC is your key to revealing the talents of  your people. In order to switch your bus to an updated model, my clients use DISC because it shows you the talents ofMove up to a new bus! the people who work for you. You may use a very different configuration of people for specific topics. Having your DISC results readily available in a spreadsheet format like you get with KITE DISCtest24/7 gives you the ability to quickly assemble the people to remodel your bus.

Detour done and back on the road to success. You may choose to continue along the detour, or you may choose to return to your original route. My points are that:

  • your choice needs to be informed,
  • your people hold the key to your being informed, and
  • one of the tools you use to become informed is DISC.

As you’re driving your bus down the road today, why not stop for a minute and visit with me to see how I can help you? I’ve been using DISC with businesses just like yours for many years. Happy trails!

DISC: The Analytic Tool that can do so much for You

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Better teams > better project management

Better teams > better project management

Pick your situation:

  • You are a business owner and you are hiring an employee or employees
  • You have an important project and you need to assemble the best team and you’re not sure how to do that
  • You are an HR professional, and the people you are hiring are not working out, and you need to know why

These are a few we’ve thought of, and we are pretty sure there are more ways you’ll discover where you can and should use DISC to understand someone’s style and how the person will fit with your business.

The use of analytics like the KITE DISCtest24/7 has grown in recent years as the world recovers from economic turmoil. Why? Because the cost to make a mistake is just too high. Misfits cost us money. We need a tool that will help us spot a misfit BEFORE we hire them or add them to a team.

I am working with a client who made a mistake in hiring a few months ago. My client thought the new hire was a good match for the business. He had sales experience in a number of industries. My client had a gut feeling the new hire was a good fit and spent many hours training the new hire in the product and introducing the new hire to existing clients. In other words, setting the new hire up for success.

My client was super surprised when complaints about the new hire started rolling in rather than orders for the products. Another shocker was when the new hire failed to show up at appointments. A little over 90 days from hiring, the new hire was out the door. That amounted to thousands of dollars in payroll, the value of my client’s time, stressed out co-workers, and other expenses.  It was a disappointment for my client!

Needless to say, we are going to use analytics and the KITE DISCtest24/7 to understand the top three applicants as my client takes steps to replace the misfit.

The complexity that is an integral part of humanity can be understood when we use readily available tools. We’ve all had to work with a misfit at some point in our lives. When we avoid the misfit situation, we are all happier and our business runs more smoothly. Isn’t peace of mind worth it to you?

Business Growth: Brand Development

Your brand is your reputation

In the fall of 2011, we bought a Kenmore washer. We didn’t hesitate because we knew from many years of experience that Kenmore is a reliable brand and we would get many years of laundry done with that washer.

Wrong! That Kenmore is now dead 2 years later, almost to the day. We’re replacing it with a GE we purchased from another retailer, and we won’t go near a Kenmore again. For us, the entire Kenmore brand is now off limits.

In the steps of brand development, the decision makers at Kenmore have made a mistake. They’ve trashed the brand they spent decades developing, and they are going to have a very difficult time re-establishing the brand in the future (assuming they get the chance to rebuild it).

Your brand is your reputation. Whether your business is a small one-person shop or a big corporation, your brand can be developed to bring in new business and to up-sell to existing customers.

Think of your company brand and where it ranks it in these descriptions for the group of people you do business with:

  1. Awareness: I heard of that brand
  2. Preference: I like it
  3. Desire: I need it
  4. Urgency: I have to own it
  5. Purchase: I’ll buy
  6. Evangelism: I’m glad I own it and you would be, too

The key to business growth is to nurture a group of people who are at each step in the brand awareness process.

Your goal is to develop a group of people at the Evangelism level because this is where the strongest referrals come from. This may mean that you need to take some steps to shift your focus away from the Purchase level where so many businesses stop. Business growth and brand growth take place at the Evangelism level at the highest profit levels. To take your business and your brand to the next level, contact me today so we can get started.

Customer Loyalty: Handling Complaints

At the root of it all, a complaint is a gift. Why? Because it’s feedback. We don’t often receive feedback, and more often than not, companies rely on the outdated and faulty customer satisfaction survey.

Be sure to read my post on the 3 company values that lead to emotional connections with your customers. You will need to be sure you have these values firmly in place in your business and you discuss how your business is managing these values on a regular basis (like at monthly employee meetings).

If you are tempted to either (a) hide from the customer so you don’t have to deal with their issue or (b) treat the customer like a grump who doesn’t know anything, here are some tidbits based on research that demonstrate how your management of complaints impacts not only your repeat sales, but also your chances for referral business.

  • If a customer has a minor problem and it is handled quickly, 95% will repurchase
    from your business; 82% will purchase again even if it is a major problem that has been resolved.
  • If the problem is not resolved and the problem was a major one, only 14% will
    repurchase.

A complaint is a gift and an opportunity to show the customer how
good your organization really is. It also provides important information on how
you can get better by changing a process or improving a procedure to prevent a
repeat occurrence with this customer or any others!

Keeping track of complaints therefore becomes a very important function within your company’s internal processes. You need to have your complaint management system in place now, before you have a complaint and if you are in the middle of managing a complaint. The steps you follow are these:

  • Thank the customer for bringing this to your attention
  • Offer an apology
  • THEN find out the cause of your customer’s issue

The thank you and the apology create a huge emotional shift in your customer’s
mind. It shows a great deal of empathy and sends a strong message that the most
important consideration is how the customer feels rather than who did what to
create the problem. If your customer feels someone at your company cares about them, they are less likely to blame your company for problems.

Business Growth: Make the Domino Effect Work for You

As kids, we used to set up our grandmother’s dominoes in what we thought were intricate designs and then set off the chain reaction and enjoy watching those dominoes all fall down.

A couple of thoughts come to mind as I think about this:
♦ There is no one set pattern that must be followed in order to get the dominoes to fall down. The business world is much the same. We all bring our unique talents and experiences to our business tactics. The very fact that we are different from our competitors is a huge advantage to us as individuals and to the people who choose to work with us.
♦ If we don’t get the curve quite right and the domino string stops falling, we remedy the situation by resetting the dominoes so they continue to move in the direction we want the string to flow. How do we flow this concept to our business? Metrics. Measurements. Analysis. And ultimately adjustments to our business tactics so business growth occurs.

This is true: Your dominoes are falling in the exact direction you’ve set them up to fall. If you’ve hit a point where the dominoes stop falling or you don’t like the direction your dominoes are heading, make the adjustments you need to get the dominoes headed in the right direction.

How can you change the direction your dominoes are falling? Change your beliefs. One of my clients told me that she suddenly realized all the opportunities surrounding her when she started working with me. Her business is now stronger and better positioned to grow because she is seeing and taking advantage of those opportunities that were standing in front of her all the time. In effect, her dominoes had stopped falling and she reset and restarted them in the direction she wants them to go. Her business tactics support the flow of her dominoes.

Your business tactics likewise direct the flow of your string of dominoes. If your domino effect is not headed where you want it to go, the reason is your beliefs. Do an inventory of your beliefs and admit which ones are stopping the flow of your dominoes. Then change those that are stopping you and adopt new ones in order to make the domino effect work for you.

 

Business sustainability starts today

As an executive coach and business analyst, I facilitate continuing education courses and speak to groups in order to reach out to entrepreneurs and business people to help them with issues they are facing. For some reason, we are slow to reach out for the help our business needs, so I am glad we have such a strong asset in Moore County with the Small Business Center at Sandhills Community College.

In June 2012, the topic was Creating a Roadmap to Business Sustainability. I wanted to introduce the topic in Moore County because business sustainability is, in fact, a megatrend that is not going to go away. It will strengthen and grow in relevance as younger people enter the workforce. Those of us who are nurturing the younger generation are creating this megatrend as a natural flow of our lifestyles and the various impacts we are living through – the cost of natural resources (been to the gas pump lately?), reaction to news media (glaciars are melting), and financial pressures (do we really believe inflation is 0?).

What is a megatrend? It’s a fundamental shift in the competitive landscape that creates inescapable, game-changing opportunities and profoundly affects companies’ competitiveness and even their survival. Megatrends require businesses to adapt and change in order to survive.

What have other megatrends been? For sure, one is the quality megatrend of the 1960’s and 1970’s that focused on quality output quickly. The other one we live with every day – the information technology revolution of the 1990’s.

Business sustainability qualifies as a megatrend for these reasons:
Steadily encroaching environmental issues put pressure on us to safeguard resources that may not be renewable or easy to replace
Capacity to create value to customers, stakeholders, and shareholders leads us to analyze ways to increase profits without increasing overhead
Globalized workforces available to step in and take over work processes
Business liabilities due to supply chains and the impacts on those chains that can affect our inventory
Competition for natural resources
Investor pressure for more profit, lower costs, higher ouputs
Public and governmental concern to amend our practices and procedures to fit oversight and regulatory processes

Megatrends change the face of business forever. Can you imagine not paying attention to your thermostat in your home, not turning off lights, or not recycling newspapers or aluminum cans? Business sustainability starts with you. Adopting sustainable business practices now is how we create businesses that will be around in 10, 15, or 20 years. Contact me today to get started so your business knows how to be around tomorrow.

Profit from innovation through business sustainability

Innovation for BusinessSome of the best ideas in your business can come from your staff and customers. Knowing how to tap into the discussion and benefit from the consequences of innovation will facilitate your growth in business – both personally and financially.

One of the characteristics of an business growth is innovation: doing something no one else has done before and profiting from the venture. How can you create an atmosphere of sustainability in your business, and how can this lead to innovation?

1. Review your business’ values. Have you wandered from your initial values as you chase profits? If so, it’s time to take control of your business and focus on the core values that then lead to the products, services, outcomes and profits you are relying on to sustain your business. This exercise in turn leads you to begin your analysis of your business sustainability and developing your plan.

2. Recognize how your customers/stakeholders view your organization. This is where you can really gain some insight into the types of products and services people are anxious to receive from you so you can add these to your business’ offerings. This might be painful for you to undertake, but it’s critically important that you do this.

2. Communicate often with your staff and customers, including your prospective customers. What should you tell them? For starters, you can tell them about your business sustainability initiative because this positions your company to be successful both short and long term, gives employees long term opportunities, and makes your business an environmentally sound and rewarding place to work.

You may already have sustainability efforts in place that are producing results and you don’t acknowledge those results – yet. Your efforts towards customer service, innovation, and employee engagement disguise what could be viewed as steps towards sustainability. Uncovering these hidden results can differentiate you from the competition today and position you to realize your dreams sooner.

Tomorrow’s results start today. Let’s get you on track now for the future.
For more questions please please write me: sbarr@thebarrassociates.com

What is sustainability in business?

The term sustainability appeared in 1987 in a report by the United Nation’s World Commission on Environment and Development. In that report, sustainability is defined like this:

To meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

If you have not defined sustainability for your business, you are behind in the race. A study published by MIT showed that sustainability is a force to be reckoned with and a business practice that is here to stay.

So where do you start? Here are a few questions to get you moving forward:

  • What does sustainability really mean to our business?
  • What desired results does your business want to realize, and what is your timeframe for realizing these results?
  • How will you measure these desired results?
  • How will you communicate your sustainability plan and get your staff to buy into your effort?

Sustainability will remain a mega trend for many years to come as it assimilates into the way we do business every day. In fact, it may be developing into the price to compete. You can generate additional profits without raising prices if you take the time to examine your business processes. But the first question you need to answer is this:

Why do you want to proceed?