Problems & Opportunities

There are always problems – a parade of challenges that command your attention. Systems are down, people or organizations are working against you, or there’s some compelling difficulty that needs a prompt resolution. There are always opportunities – innovative ideas or new relationships waiting to be embraced. These are chances to create value, to improve something, to move faster, or to help someone progress. And there are always limits – limited time, energy, money and …

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Cross-Functional Improvement Benefits

Leaders frequently employ process improvement projects to boost long-term business performance, and to build the competency of their people. In addition to the quantifiable benefits generated by these ventures, significant qualitative rewards are also produced that subtly strengthen culture and sustainability. Since a process outcome is the result of actions taken by people, improving a process is best accomplished by those who experience the process themselves. Getting your people engaged in process improvement projects helps them discover how your …

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Connecting With Your Audience

Communication succeeds when your message is received. Experts counsel that less than 10% of the words you speak are heard and accepted. How your message is communicated accounts for about 40%, with the remaining 50% being related to what your audience observes while you’re delivering your message. Successful communications connect with the audience in 4 ways: What people see (visual connection): All communication creates an impression of the communicator that either strengthens or weakens the …

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Committing to Strategy Execution

The planning season is upon us. Visions and missions are being reconsidered. New goals and objectives are being defined. Strategies and action plans are being developed. When the planning turns to strategy execution, before finalizing action steps, success metrics, barriers, and resource allocation, consider if the company can commit to implementing the strategy. And since changing circumstances ensure that few strategies survive without adaptation, consider how that commitment may be challenged if the need arises …

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3 Moments That Shape Customer Relationships

Three decisive moments shape customer relationships. 1. The “First Contact” Moment During your first meeting with a prospective customer, keep your company’s introduction brief so more time is available to ask questions that reveal the prospect’s story, their needs, and why resolving them is important for their progress. What barriers are constraining that progress? Then, propose a couple of possible solutions to demonstrate how your company’s experience, offerings and commitment can resolve their immediate challenge, while also contributing to …

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Assessing Opportunity Risk

All progress involves risk. Nothing significant is accomplished when the objective is to minimize risk. While evaluating the expected benefits of an opportunity is key to determining if its related risk is reasonable, there’s one more consideration that should be included in your assessment. These 3 steps help weigh if an opportunity’s risk is reasonable: Value the projected benefits of the opportunity and the probability of realizing them. Is that probability low (25%), medium (50%) or high (75%)? Assign an …

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Assessing Opportunity Risk

All progress involves risk. Nothing significant is accomplished when the objective is to minimize risk. Of course, determining if the risk associated with an opportunity is reasonable requires an evaluation of its expected benefits. Risk and return. But there’s one more consideration. These 3 steps help assess if an opportunity risk is reasonable: Value the projected benefits of taking the risk and the probability of realizing them. Is that probability low (25%), medium (50%) or …

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3 Ways That Dialogue Enables Commitment

Teams cannot commit to a goal, strategy or action without understanding why it’s important to the business and to them, and why it’s the best way forward. Leaders enable this insight to emerge by fostering dialogue with their teams. To ensure that this dialogue is productive, consider these suggestions: Seek to learn rather than persuade. As leader, though your experience may convince you that the best way forward is obvious, resist the impulse to save …

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Discovery Makes a Difference

Solving problems involves two steps…a diagnostic assessment, followed by the application of a remedy. Earning a customer’s trust relies on the same formula. If the growth of your business depends on building and sustaining relationships, versus increasing the number of transactions, then conducting a rigorous diagnostic, or discovery, process is essential when a new opportunity arises. In a market that cultivates commoditization, where needed information is readily available and simplistic assessments are used to hastily …

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Change Asks What’s Possible, Not What’s Wrong

The need for change conveys urgency, but preparing for it takes time. The ground must be tilled before the seeds can be sowed. It takes time to build the trust, to develop the relationships, and to foster the shared interest of the stakeholders involved. This is the work of leadership and it relies on empathy. Empathy is not a tactic; it’s a core principle of leadership. To lead is to make a genuine emotional connection …

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