Captivate

The Science of Succeeding with People

The book review for this week is Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards.

Van Edwards takes the reader through a detailed study of the art and the science of networking. She explains the power and benefits of building your network and covers many of the aspects of starting and building genuine relationships.

My takeaway from this book is the fact that anyone can be a great networker. You do not have to be an extrovert. In fact, Van Edwards herself is an introvert and provides quite a few humorous examples to prove this!

Follow her 14 networking hacks (below) and your skills will improve dramatically!

The 30 Things Your Customers Value Most

It is no secret that the value you create for your customers with your products and services will either make or break your business.

But did you know that “universal building blocks” of value exist and you can leverage these to create, bolster, and propel your business forward?

In the August 2018 issue of Rotman Management, Eric Almquist and Jamie Cleghorn presented “The Elements of Value” models for consumers and for business to business. These models are based on their extensive research and fit nicely into the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs framework. This post provides the basics for their Business to Consumer model.

The Consumer Value Pyramid

According to the authors and their research, there are 30 fundamental building blocks of value in the business to consumer model. These 30 elements organize nicely into a four level Hierarchy of Needs pyramid. They are shown in the diagram below and, for the most part, the model is self explanatory.

Do You Have a Customer Service Chasm?

In a 2005 Bain and Company survey of 362 companies, a huge gap was identified between what customers experience versus what companies thought they were delivering.

The gap was not just huge, it was staggering! Only 8% of customers in this survey described their service experience as “superior” while 80% of the companies described the service they provide as “superior.”

Tom Peters calls this the 8/80 chasm!

I have experienced this 8/80 chasm on a few engineering projects over the years.

An engineering contract typically has a ton of detail built into it. Because of this, it is really easy to fall into the trap of “working to fulfill the contract” instead of working to understand exactly what the customer needs before you are too far down the design road to make adjustments.

When a project manager falls into this trap of managing to the contract, it is inevitable that they will encounter a customer who is not happy with the finished product. Usually, when this happens, the project is so far down the design path that the effort to get realigned with the customer’s expectations is extremely painful for both the project manager and the customer!

So what can businesses do to bridge this chasm or avoid it altogether?

How To Create A Powerful Newsletter And Why You Should Care

If your business does not issue a monthly newsletter, you are missing out on one of the easiest and most powerful ways to communicate to your employees!

A properly written newsletter can deliver timely and valuable information to employees in a consistent way that is hard to match with other types of media.

I have seen many examples of company newsletters over the years, from large oil companies to small engineering firms . . . from simple one pagers to monstrous 20+ pagers!

My favorite newsletter was one I received at a small employee owned organization. Although this one was not monthly, it did provide a great update on the company health, the money we were making, and where the business leaders thought we were headed.

What does a great newsletter look like and what are the benefits?

The Most Hated Business Tool Ever!

The Dreaded Performance Assessment

The original intent of a performance assessment was sincere, inspiring, and productive. Unfortunately, over the years, the performance assessment has singlehandedly become one of the most hated tools ever created! It is discouraging if not damaging for employees and is the bane of existence for most people managers.

As leaders, we must strive to implement tools and processes into our businesses that boost personal development, productivity, and profitability rather than the opposite!

My Experience

I have seen many different versions of performance assessments over the years. Some were effective, some were not, and some were simply demoralizing!  I have seen some years where: