Friday, July 31, 2009

Formula for Business Success: Follow and Improve

Everyone seems to be "getting back to basics" - and, for one, I'm glad. As long as the basics include a sophisticated look at long-term success.

To that end, I've been pondering how to simplify a formula for success without getting too simplistic. So far, here's what I've come up with:

Follow your heart (your passion) +
Follow your customer (their passion) +
Improve your skills (your product/services) +
Improve your relationships (engagement with employees/customers)

To me, based on what I've experienced/seen at world-class organizations all over the world, the overlap of all those things seems to equal "Success". Interesting how best-in-class companies lead by following - and are the best because they constantly get better. Pretty simple.

Maybe if leaders would take time to really get clear on these issues, they could take action in a way that paid off with growth and profits. Having this kind of a discussion with your team and your customers will likely reveal some pretty valuable insights.

Just a thought when pondering your own success.

Think about it...but more importantly, act on it - today!

Monday, July 13, 2009

First, Last, and LastING Impressions?

Recently thinking about some "common knowledge" aspects of human relationships - both personal and professional.

We've been reminded (ad nauseum!) about how important first impressions are. Ditto for last impressions. No argument there. First impressions establish a context and expectation while last impressions provide the last thing you see/hear about the experience when leaving.

What I don't hear much about is a little different take on developing an about the importance of making a lastING impression?

The lasting impression of any interaction usually occurs somewhere in the middle - between the first and the last impression. When talking with people - friends or customers - I find it very interesting that they will have a particularly good (or bad) experience in the middle of the interaction that really sticks with them. It seems like we'd invest a little more time crafting ideas for creating lastING impressions as some people do for first or last impressions.

That focused kind of effort is what sets apart the extraordinary from the ordinary.

Here's my personal priority:

1. Lasting impression: How can I really connect with them and add value in an unexpected way?
2. First impression: How can I make them immediately feel "at home" and ready for a special experience?
3. Last impression: How can I ensure they enjoy closure while still wanting to experience the interaction again (and be an advocate sending their family/friends to me as well!)

If more corporate training programs included this in their Orientation and Training programs, (and reinforced it all on the front line operations), their businesses would exceed expectations and really make a difference in the lives of their customers - both external and internal (employees). I mean, if we're making the effort anyway, who wouldn't want to make a lasting impression as well?

In these difficult times, connecting with people and making our impressions long-lasting just makes good (long-lasting) sense.

Think about it...but more importantly, act on it - today!