Showing posts with label Excellence. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Excellence. Show all posts

July 24, 2019

Excellence Vs. Mediocrity

So we all know how hard it can be to get ahead.  

The long hours, hard work, and grueling repetition to try to reach near-perfection. 

Even then, of course, we need G-d's mercy and blessings and a measure of good luck to succeed. 

Also, by definition, not everyone can be "the best" at everything. 

I suppose the expectation for most people is that they try at least to excel at the things that they need to do or are most important to them, as well as maintain work-life balance. 

In this light, it was interesting to hear a story recently about mediocrity (and not excellence). 

When asked to step up on the job, one person responded in the negative saying:
C's get degrees (too)!

Of course, this must have sounded pretty shocking and off-putting. 

In other words, they weren't going for the "A" or even a "B".  A "C" grade was fine for them--as long as they didn't completely fail with a big "F".

Who knows what circumstances may have led this person to settle for mediocrity--just wanting to pass.

Perhaps they had serious personal or family issues--and had good reason to be taking a step back (for a while). 

But I think there could also be more tactful ways to say it too--like explaining if there were mitigating or challenging circumstances in their life right now. 

If there really wasn't mitigating circumstances and the person was just "slacking off" or didn't care, one has to wonder why--are they just "milking the system" or is there something more fundamentally wrong?

C's get degrees, but to me the real question is: Are you doing your best given your particular life circumstances?  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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November 29, 2018

Say YES!

Really liked this sign on my colleague's desk.

It says:
Start With Yes

I remember an old boss who used to say:
Don't make me get through no to get to yes. 

The idea as another colleague put it is to:
Keep a smile on your face and your focus on the customer; everything else takes care of itself. 

Basically, it's all our jobs to make sure that the customer's needs are being met. 

That doesn't mean that we don't need to differentiate between requirements and desirements or that we need to deliver the yacht in the first go around.

As a 4th colleague put it:
The customer is in the water. They want the yacht. But I can give them a boat. It gets them to where they want to go, and they no longer need to swim. We can work our way up to a yacht.

Good analogy analogy and good things to keep in mind for customer service excellence! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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September 19, 2017

Customer Service NO-NOs

So if you're in customer service...

The answer is easy. 

It's always got to be YES. 

- Any less is a big No-No!

The customer's needs are paramount.

Their satisfaction is your goal. 

So your job is to figure out how to get from no to yes!

You've got to problem-solve and figure it out. 

And it's not enough to come up with any old solution.

When I said to my colleagues the other day:
"There's a solution to every problem."

Someone joked and answered back:
"It's just that the customer may not like it."

And I responded:
"Well then that's not the solution you are looking for!"

You've got to go back to the drawing board and get to a legitimate yes. 

Of course, it can difficult, especially when at times you deal with some challenging customers and problems.

But listen, this is the customer service field and in the end, the customer experience should be WOW fantastic!

It's the customer that is depending on you to come through for them and their mission. 

Doing your job isn't just a matter of reading off of some cue card or playbook. 

This is real life with real consequences. 

If you can deliver, the customer will be able to do their jobs, and they may even sing your wildest praises--wouldn't that be rewarding? 

Customer service means getting to YES from the earliest possible moment in the interaction, meaning it, and legitimately delivering on it--no other questions asked.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 12, 2017

Getting To Yes

I thought this was a good and important customer service principle:
"Don't make me go through NO
To get to YES."

When it comes to customer service, the default for reasonable requests from good customers should always be YES!

We can either make the experience miserable for the customer and leave them fuming, never coming back, and bad-mouthing us or we can make it fair, easy, accommodating, and a WOW experience!

Why not build your customer base and reputation for excellence rather than erode it? 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 29, 2016

I Like Working Here

I got some bad news and really good news from a colleague at work this week. 

The bad news was that he was concerned that he hadn't gotten the raise that he wanted from his company for the last number of years.

The good news was that he said that despite that, "I and everyone else on the team really like working here--it is a special group."

It was funny, because recently someone else from a different office stopped me on the elevator when I was getting off on my floor, and she points and says "everyone says that is one of the best groups to work in!"

I can't tell you how happy I was to hear this feedback.

And while I certainly know that "you can't satisfy all of the people all of the time," it was especially meaningful to me to hear this on such a fast-paced and high performance team--where people routinely seem to not only pull their weight (and more), but also pull together. 

As to the raises from this gentleman's company that is a separate matter, especially as I understand that we all have bills to pay, but in terms of a good work environment and inspiring team that is something that also means the world to me. ;-)

(Source Photo Andy Blumenthal)
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June 28, 2014

Service From Yourself

I was so proud this week to see some true customer service excellence from a colleague. 

Someone had run out of toner and they had put in a help desk ticket to get it replaced.  

In the meantime, there was a large order of toner on order, but it was still a day or two out from delivery.

So my colleague responsible for this area took his own toner out of his printer and gave it to the person who was out. 

I got a wonderful email thanking us for the unbelievable customer service. 

Honestly, there are other printers that the person could have used in the meantime, but this person went above and beyond to keep the customer working and happy. 

Great lesson in customer service and exemplary behavior here. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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February 16, 2014

Some Mighty Big Shoes To Fill

If you're ever feeling like a big shot--remember there are always others out there who are bigger than you. 

_________________________

We walk in the footsteps of the giants who came before us. 

We walk among colleagues who are superior to us.

We walk before future generations who will certainly humble us. 

We walk in the sight of G-d, our creator and master, who bestows all divine benevolence to us. 

_________________

Now those are some mighty big shoes! ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 7, 2012

Innovation Echtzing and Krechtzing


Make_a_difference

It used to be that either you were innovative or not. 

Either you came up with out of the box thinking, new paradigms for doing things, cool new designs, and products and services using the latest and greatest technology--or you would eventually be dead in the marketplace and life. 

Now as things seem to slow down a little on the innovators front--we're echtzing and krechtzing (hemming and hawing) about what is innovation anyway?

The Wall Street Journal (5 October 2012) wrote about "The Innovator's Enigma"--asking whether incremental innovation is real innovation. 

For example, when P&G took the sleepy, drowsy part of the medication of NyQuil and made it into it's own medicine called ZzzQuil--was that innovative or just "incremental, derivative."

The article notes that big periods of explosive upheavals in innovation are often followed by "period of consolidation and then by valuable incremental innovation involving the same product."

It's almost like a lets face it--you can't have the equivalent of the iPhone created every day--or can you?

When after the iPhone, people now ask for an iFighter (WSJ, 24 July 2012) and the real iRobot (like envisioned in the movie with Will Smith)--aren't we talking about applying real breakthrough innovation to every facet of our lives?

With Apple coming forward with the integration model of innovation bringing together hardware and software --the bar has been raised on the expectation for innovation not just being functionally excellent, but design cool. Now, Fast Company states (October 2012), "good design is good business." 

But even then innovation is questioned as to its real meaning and impact with Bloomberg BusinessWeek (2 August 2012) stating that "it's easier to copy than to innovate" and "being inspired by a good product and seeking to make even better products is called competition."

Here's another from Harvard Business Review (April 2012) called "Celebrate Innovation, No Matter Where It Occurs" that calls out "adjacencies" as bona fide innovation too, where an adjacency is exploiting "related and nearby opportunities." since inventions are often so large that "inventor's can't exploit them alone" and there are associated opportunities for other (think of new cool iPhone cases for the new cool iPhone). 

One more thing I learned recently is that innovation isn't just the great new product or service offering, but how you use it. 

With Newsweek (17 September 2012), calling into question the iPhone's "awkward invasion of the lavatory" with "not just phones, but tablets and e-readers and even our laptops" replacing the good 'ol Reader's Digest in the bathrooms around the world, then things have truly changed deep culturally and not just superficially technologically. 

This message was brought home last year, when a friend told me how they dropped their iPhone in the toilet leading to a speedy drowning death for the smartphone, now not looking too smart anymore. 

So innovation come in all shapes and sizes and can be mega big, incremental small, derivative, or even adjacent--the important thing is that we keep our thinking caps on and working towards better, faster, and cheaper all the time. 

Sometimes, I do look back and miss things or ways of doing them from the past, so innovation isn't always--just by definition--a good thing, but what we really come up with and how we apply it perhaps can make all the difference.  

The perfect example for me is carving out some genuine space and quiet time to really think about life and innovate in what has become a 24/7 now always-on society that demands innovation but that often squashes it with incessant noise. 

Turn down the noise, let innovation thrive afresh, and be sure you make a genuine difference, and whatever type it is that it is not just as they would say in Hebrew school more dreck (junk) or another narrishkeit (foolishness) in the making.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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September 11, 2012

Radiate Possibilities

Today, I had the opportunity to see one of the best leadership videos I have ever seen, called "Leadership: An Art of Possibility." 


It features Ben Zander, an Orchestra Conductor who is not just a leader of making music, but of driving people to excellence.

Zander's passion and energy bring out the best in people--and you can literally see them transformed as their playing comes alive, their faces shine, and they glow under coaching of this conductor extraordinaire. 

His leadership principles are:

- Speak possibility--create a shift in being (transformation) by seeing the possibility in everyone, and lead people by empowering, not commanding; help people get in touch with their inner passion, so they remember why they love what they do and why it is ultimately important.

- Quiet the inner voices--communicate that everyone can get an A and everyone has value; assume the best of everyone, eliminate the fear of judgement, barriers, and mindset of "I can't do it," so people can genuinely perform. 

- Enroll every voice in the vision--make every person feel and realize that they can contribute and make a difference on our journey together; shift from a mindset of pure individuals to that of living in a connected world; like in a symphony-- we create a "sounding together."

- Look for shining eyes and radiating faces--you know you are positively reaching people and impacting them when their eyes and face light up; and you need to ask yourself what you are missing, when you aren't getting this guttural reaction. 

- Rule #6 ("the only rule")--Don't take yourself so %@&$! seriously; mistakes happen and life goes on; really feel the joy, relief, ease, spontaneity, and community around what we do. 

The art of possibility is a paradigm shift where we move from having an external standard to live up to, and instead move to fulfilling the possibility we can live into. 

In essence, Zander's leadership philosophy is about removing the barriers that inhibit us and releasing our deep inner talents, so we can achieve our marvelous potentials--and self-actualize. 

As Zander states: the conductor actually does not make a sound, yet by empowering people, he leads them to make the most beautiful music together. 

If you get a chance to watch this video, I believe it is extremely valuable because the passion, love, and energy that Zander demonstrates turns every face into a presence radiating their own joy and excellence--it is truly leadership unleashed. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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March 20, 2008

Apple and Enterprise Architecture

In Fortune Magazine, 17 March 2008, Apple was rated in Fortune the #1 most admired companies in America and in the world and it won the highest mark for innovation too.

“In an industry that changes every nanosecond, the 32-yer old company has time and again innovated its way out of the doldrums. Rivals always seem to be playing catch-up.”

And Apple certainly knows innovation and mass appeal. “Invention is the creation of something new. [But] innovation is the creation of something new that makes money; it finds a pathway to the consumer.” Apple is great at creating consumer hits--just think iPod, iPhone, and MacBook.

“The iPod is to music what Kleenex is to tissue or Xerox is to copiers.”

“Almost everything Apple makes transcends gender, geography, and race.”

In the last five years, “sales tripled to $24 billion and profits surged to $3.5 billion.”

What is Apple’s enterprise architecture (business and IT strategy)?

  • Thinking big—with Apple, the sky’s the limit or there really isn’t any limit at all; “every endeavor is a moon shot. Sometimes the company misses, but the successes are huge.”
  • Excellence—Apple has become “a symbol of innovation” and there is a huge “degree of perfectionism. Apple hires people that are never satisfied.”
  • Passion—“Emotive is a big word here. The passion is what provides the push to overcome design and engineering obstacles, to bring projects in on time.”
  • Focus—Apple is anti-diversification. They believe that when companies make too many products, they get “mired in the mediocre. Apple’s approach is to put every resource it has behind just a few products and make them exceedingly well.”
  • Consumer orientation—“We figure out what people want…we do no market research. We just want to make great products” for the masses. At Apple, they look at everyday consumer products and ask themselves what’s awful about them and how can they make them better.
  • Democratize technology—“Apple’s approach has always been to democratize technology in the belief that if you make something ‘really great’ then everybody will want to use it.”
  • Technology synthesis—“Apple’s the only company that has everything under one roof…not only do we control the hardware, but we control the operating system.” Apple does hardware and software and operating systems and “can tweed it all together and make it work seamlessly.”
  • Design genius—As a company, Apple is the master of consumer electronics design. “This is not just engineering and science. This is art too.” At Apple, they understand that function is enhanced by form, and that the consumer wants a good-looking gadget.

One of the biggest lessons for me from Apple is to never give up. For years, Apple trailed the computer market with the Mac holding only a 4% to 5% market share. But they kept innovating, developing and designing the best working and looking products. Now they’ve captured 70% market share with the iPod and are targeting sales this year of 10 million iPhones. Apple is a super company with business and technology planning that others can only look at in sheer awe with their mouths hanging open.


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