August 4, 2015

Adopting the Cluetrain Mindset

"We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings and our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it."
Cluetrain Manifesto (1999)

I’ve never endorsed or sold anything on this site but I felt compelled to share a story with you about my phone. I’ve been a BlackBerry customer since they made pagers. The culture at the company hasn't been great for years but I like the phones. I’ve been a (reasonably) satisfied customer. So far.

I live half an hour from their world headquarters. I know people who work there. I also know many who no longer work there. I realize gadgets break down but this is about much more than technical issues I had with my Z10.

Time to Switch

In my case, calls would often go straight to voicemail, the ear bud connection was temperamental, others would often say they couldn't hear me properly. I would contact my service provider and they would blame BlackBerry.

It’s disheartening when you go onto the BlackBerry site and the only people trying to solve issues are other BlackBerry owners. The company was no help and lost another customer. That’s how arrogance loses market share.

We know better

This isn't about mobile devices; it's a contrast of one company understanding that customers want choice and a good experience while the other felt they built the superior device years ago and all others should fall behind them.

The moment you think your company owns the hill, listen carefully for the sound of marching feet on the way to push you into the abyss. Being a market leader is not only about profits, it’s about appreciating what customers want.

After the cash register

Building great stuff is a minimum requirement. Building superior stuff will create loyal customers. Ignoring how you got there will give customers the choice to open their wallets to a competitor. I'm enjoying my new iPhone 6. It's pretty cool.

Celebrate the fact your users, listeners, viewers, buyers, customers, or clients have the choice and ensure you are there to provide them what they need. This is not to suggest you bend until you break but their reach exceeds your grasp.

Deal with it.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

July 31, 2015

Wave Your Magic Wand

I was on a call with a prospect this week and she asked me a great question; "If you could wave your magic wand, how would you design the program for our team?" The discussion usually drifts from my experience to their pain points to a series of calls and meetings to determine how I can help.

I said that the best scenario is when I can include all the voices in the discussion from mid-level managers to senior leaders. There are a thousand ways we can go with leadership development and talent training but without knowing the specifics, it can be a lot of activity with disappointing results.

All Voices Wanted

The best way, in my experience, to build anything is to include everyone. This isn't to suggest you take the committee approach forever, but you need to find the waterline. Here's one simple tactic you may want to try if your company or department or team are stuck. Give everyone the day off.

You read that right. Without letting important deadlines or projects drop, give the team a work day away from the office to think and gather their thoughts. Then it's time to get back together and do a brainstorming session. I love to facilitate these because it allows everyone to have a voice and ideas to be streamlined into realistic and executable chunks. So wave your magic wand and dream big. Then get to work. It will be worth it.

If you need a hand, let me know.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

July 27, 2015

Taking a Summer Attitude

We are in the middle of a heatwave in North America right now. I’m in Canada and temperatures are hovering around 30-35° celsius which is 86-95° fahrenheit. I live in a part of the world where it can dip down to minus 20-30 in the winter.

So people are out and about, enjoying the warmer climes and some well-deserved time away from work with their families and friends. Backyards are filled with the smell of barbecues and the streets are filled with people on their bikes taking in the vista.

Work Less Try Less?

I usually think about how to approach work in the summer from the perspective of taking advantage of your competition while they’re putting their feet up a bit but this year is different. I was thinking this week that perhaps I’ve had that backwards.

Maybe we need to take the summer approach throughout the year. Perhaps we are too focused on bottom lines and improved market shares when a more relaxed attitude will garner even better results. If we aren’t so grumpy all the time about profits and enjoy the work, the exact result we’ve been seeking will be realized.

Something to think about whilst you’re sipping that icy drink by the pool.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit
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