8-Words

If you can’t explain your position in eight words or less, you don’t have a positionSeth Godin; Speaker, Entrepreneur, Blogger.

I am the only person who does what I do! This may seem like a really grand and big claim but just stop and think about it a moment or two. Who else does what I do? Got it, nobody. A lot of people do something similar I’m willing to agree, but nobody does what I do.

I have the power to make a dramatic difference to the experience my team have and consequently our customers have. For those who say that we’re engineers, we’re operatives, we’re managers, we just answer the phone and pass the call on; for those who say these things I have one single suggestion;

FIRE THEM!

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If for any reason you do not believe you have the ability to make a difference, a positive difference, to the experience of those around you then stop immediately what you’re doing because you are not doing it right. You need to figure out what you are doing, who for and who is going to benefit from your excellent service and then provide that service.

We must all seek out the opportunity to deliver dramatically excellent service for our team and customers. We are the only ones who can by the way. Nobody else does what we do so we should always do it as well as we possibly can. Absolutely no exceptions.

Excellence is the key, it’s a game-changer for sure. Providing outstandingly awesome service will bring customers back for more, will keep your team really happy to be doing what they are doing. Your aim should be to change your bit of the world each and every day, to improve it beyond where you found it at the start of the day.

Look for the client who is demanding, look for the client who is small or medium sized, look for the client who needs just that bit extra or special service. It is these clients that make you and your team so excellent, it is these clients that make you stretch and get used to being stretched, it is these clients that will make you unfailingly aim for change and for better.

But those clients who are just plain hard work, don’t want change, just a lower cost, those clients who will keep coming back even when they say they won’t. Then these clients are not worth having, get rid of them, life is just too short to be working with or for idiots.

Your # 1 tool is communication and you do this at every contact you have with your team and customers. This is marketing at its most basic. Communicating with your team and customers means that information is flowing, normally in both directions. Those who believe that marketing is useless, is a needless expense, has become a commodity, Fire Them on the Spot!

FINNA says of this principal of seeking out challenges that you must be radical in your opinion, in your actions and in your results. The idea of being radical can seem a bit scary but just think about those moments in your life when you came across outstanding new products or services. How did you feel? The first iPhone you owned, the first Tablet computer, the first flat screen TV, the first time you did your banking or grocery shopping on-line. These were big changes to the way you experienced your life and they made you feel better.

FINNA is clear that you can replicate this sensation each and every time you deliver your product or service.

So what about those eight words? What does FINNA stand for in eight words or less?

Contentment, Success, Achievement, Leadership, Advice, Freedom, Happiness

There you go 7 words, still got 1 to spare!

Thanks for reading.

Philip

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1-HOUR CHALLENGE!

The 1-Hour Challenge

I often get asked the question by otherwise successful leaders why they can’t seem to move any further forward. Almost inevitably I find that they’ve been in the same position, doing essentially the same job for at least 5-Years, usually more. They may even have started the business they’re in and so are enormously emotionally attached to the business or project that they find it difficult (impossible) to let go.

These are smart people but somehow strategically lost, how does this happen? And more importantly what can they do about finding themselves again?

It’s really not difficult to see how they find themselves lost. They’ve become engrossed in their organisation or project, they are perpetually distracted by e.mail, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr… the list is almost endless. They are not alone, and they never will be. I’m even willing to bet that some of them dream about their phones!

So I’m faced with a stressed, distracted but non-the-less very capable person in need of help to find their strategic focus.

It’s a fact that if you take someone away from visual reference points and dim the lights then ask them to walk in a straight line that they walk in a circle. They naturally pull to their stronger side be that left or right. This is a physical phenomenon and we will all do it without knowing that actually we are going in meaningless circles. The same is true in our business lives, our social lives and in our family life; if of course we allow it to happen by not having a point of focus.

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FINNA is clear, stay focused on the point at which we would like to reach, keep a light shining on your path and you will reach your goal eventually.

But… you must exercise urgency. It’s no good trying at a slow pace, the 5-years will come and go and you won’t have moved much further forward. 5-Years is just about as long as you should remain in any one position (apply this to your work and career only, this is not advice for marriage or parenting, they need the long-term commitment only emotional ties can bring). You’ll probably have used-up all your good ideas in those first 5-Years and so you should make way for the new. In doing so seek out the fresh and new challenges whilst keeping your goals in mind, these are not for negotiation.

So the FINNA 1-HOUR CHALLENGE is…

  1. Find a place of peace; go for a walk in the country, get away from the frenetic pace of life or learn to meditate, find a quiet place that’s private
  2. Ask yourself; if you just had 1-Month left to live what would I do? Wright the answer down
  3. Same question for 1-Year
  4. Same question for 5-Years
  5. The final question you ask yourself is what if I had only 1-Life to live, what then would I do with it?
  6. The final part of this exercise is to then (re)design your life and daily routines that meet the demands that fall out of the answers of these questions.

The whole process should take no more than 1-Hour.

Opportunity is around every corner, the thing is that we have to find the right opportunities to take, the right ones to say yes to.

FINNA says design your life to take best advantage of these opportunities, to decide what is essential, what really matters.

Thanks for reading.

Philip

The 6-Part process is adapted from ideas by Greg McKeown

SLEEP & REST

SLEEP

Tyrell; “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long – and you have burned so very, very brightly, Roy. Look at you: you’re the Prodigal Son; you’re quite a prize!

Roy; “I’ve done… questionable things.

Tyrell; “Also extraordinary things; revel in your time.

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Sleep, rest, time-off, a change is as good as a rest, relaxation, holiday, vacation, a short break…

The above phrases and words all amount to one thing and all of us will think of them as in relation to work activity as time not spent working.

As the quote goes Roy (an android in the film) has lived a life that’s full and bright but it is shortened. Roy is coming to the end of his time. And so it is in our life, those of us who seek out challenges, seek out the extreme, seek out the opportunity for success at each and every turn will burn out, we have to appreciate our bodies.

Our bodies are our primary asset and so the most important thing to look after in our search for contentment and success. Sleep is the restorative process we should all experience at the end of each day. Time-off is what we should schedule to give ourselves the longer break we all need from time to time.

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The two most important things you can do to remain healthy and focused is exercise and sleep, this is a fact!

Benefits of Sleep;

  1. You will be happier, even on those days when you’ve got an impossibly tight dead-line to keep to you will be happier and consequently more likely to achieve.
  2. You will build more muscle mass. Through the night your body uses the time to heal damaged tissue, during the early part of your sleep and during the slow-wave part of your sleep pattern the body release growth hormones. Lack of sleep by contrast is linked to muscle atrophy.
  3. You will find learning easier, short-term memory is improved when rested. Sleep in children is proven to give at least a 2% improvement on academic performance. Doesn’t sound so much? Well add all those 2%’s up over several years and just see where that one goes, Yr 1; 2%, Yr 2; 4%, Yr 3; 6%… and so it goes.
  4. Your driving will be better, this is to do with response times.
  5. Staying within your allotted calorie intake is easier when you get enough sleep. Sleep acts to suppress appetite and so you will stay at a healthier weight much easier.
  6. Your mental wellbeing is more assured. Those people who sleep enough are less likely to suffer depression and anxiety issues.
  7. Your financial decision making skills are much keener when rested properly.
  8. People who get enough sleep find it easier to speak more clearly and so find themselves understood better.
  9. You are better at coping with distractions if well rested meaning you’ll be more productive.
  10. You will have better reactions if you rest well.

There are of course many more benefits to sleep, too many to list here but these are just some of the known benefits.

Longer term rest or vacations also provide for long-term health benefits including stress relief, improved mental agility and skills, improved physical health and improved social and family ties. These are very similar to sleep but non-the-less important to state as separate benefits to sleep.

Those who honestly think that success is linked in some way to constant, persistent and prolonged work with short hours of sleep and no vacations are kidding themselves that they will be able to keep it up. They will fail, it’s a simple fact. You have to plan to sleep, you have to plan for time off, away from the job.

If you are so central to the success of your project or job then you are a single point of failure just waiting to happen. Just imagine you were to win big on the lottery (it could happen) or a serious illness befell you and in either case you couldn’t or wouldn’t go back to work. Disaster. You have got to plan for your absence, be it long term or just a short holiday. You should never be indispensable, if you do find yourself in that position, do something about it.

In addition to this if you are then not allowing in your planning for time off or rest time generally and you are frequently finding yourself in work mode unable to detach then you are almost inevitably heading towards burn-out. You may well be shining but this will be shot-lived. It may last for a few years, and you may not believe it will happen to you but it will. And it will at time when it’s most inconvenient.

FINNA logic; take stock, build-in redundancy to your job role by encouraging others to do what you do, make sure you sleep (without the aid of chemicals or alcohol) and take a break from time to time.

You will benefit.

Your organisation will benefit.

Your colleagues will benefit.

Your family will benefit.

Your social life will benefit.

It will move you closer to realising your dreams and ambitions.

Thank you for reading.

Philip

Life is Wild & Precious

Tell me what it is you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? Mary Oliver Poet

At the heart of FINNA is planning, planning for your future so that it is rewarding, it is satisfying, and brings you to a place of happiness and contentment. Of course this is an ever moving feast, what makes you happy today may not be enough tomorrow and may even bring unhappiness the day after, that’s just life and so FINNA recognises this by imploring you to make efficient, regular and frequent revisions to your plans in light of the changes that inevitably happen around you and too you and even because of you.

However, no man is an island so I’ve been told and I find that I agree with this statement although from time to time I find others just plainly overlooking this fact even when they say they agree with it so that they can achieve (very) short term goals which almost always lead to somebody (but not them) losing out. This is definitely not FINNA, this is a person who is self-serving, who knows the value that others can bring to what they are trying to achieve and is more than happy to have them do the hard work they wont do.

We all know these people, they’re the first to give themselves a pat on the back for a job well done, normally when it’s anything but. They’re the ones who are more than happy to take credit for someone else’s efforts when they have contributed little if anything at all to the end result. And they are fundamentally opposed to the concept of equal opportunity, why would they want equal opportunity when all they want is reward for themselves?

FINNA understands these people exist, there isn’t much we can do about them, they’re a fact of life. But, FINNA does encourage us to make our decisions on the basis of best effect in the long-term. So when we meet these people we are not forced and should not feel obliged to help them, even if in the short term we suffer ourselves because the long game is not best served by short term gains.

Going about our daily lives pushing and striving as we do, we make acquaintances with any number of people from many different walks of life but you will very quickly have to make a decision about how important they might be to you and those you can affect.

The long and short of it is that you must avoid working for people who don’t respect your priorities. This may sound a bit simplistic but it is truly liberating once you get into the habit of choosing not to be around these people. You will come across people who do actually share your values and the result will almost naturally be a synergy with them and if they’re offering employment or the opportunity to progress then it goes without saying that you will and should stay close to these people. They are your kind of people.

The important point here is that FINNA see’s NO as a legitimate option when considering your options. Indeed NO actually liberates you, it liberates your time and you will say YES to the right things. By saying NO you generate time to consider more, to plan more and to make more right decisions than you would do if you only said YES to everything and every opportunity.

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Don’t get me wrong here, saying No can lead to social awkwardness but don’t you think that making the right decision out-weighs this? I know I do. The difficulty and the realisation here is that you are going to have to develop the ability to separate the logic from the emotion. In most cases you will fully understand and appreciate that you actually do logically have a choice, it’s just that emotionally you feel cornered into saying YES when you should be saying NO.

As an exercise, each time you say “I have to do…” or “I have to send this work…” or something similar starting with “I have to….” Then stop and mentally change it to “I choose to…”. If you feel brave say it out loud, it sounds a bit funny and can even come across as quite awkward, especially when you’re asked why you’re using such a phrase, but mentally at least try it out. You’ll soon discover what’s important to you, what you are truly choosing to do and what you are choosing to do because you feel emotionally pressured into making the ‘right’ (wrong) decision.

Saying YES when we should be saying NO in the moment will seem such a small sacrifice but they add-up over time. An Australian Nurse who cared for people in the last 12-weeks of their lives recorded the most often stated regrets were “I wish I had been more true to myself”, “I wish hadn’t spent as much time working” and “I wish I’d had more courage to express my feelings”.

The really deep point being made by FINNA is that it is your life, nobody else’s and it is yours to plan and yours to live, your life should be wild and it is most certainly precious. Do not waste it making other peoples dreams come true or looking out for those short term gains. Living life in the moment is important and great, just make sure you have plenty of moments.

Thanks for reading.

Philip

Unintentional death of Aspiration

The unintentional killing of aspiration happens all the time. Picture the scenario; you, the boss walk into a meeting and have a nice word to say for everyone. Polite, yes, useful NO!!!!!!

When working for a company for a long time people learn how to survive the daily politics and bureaucracy; they learn how to get by without making so many waves, they don’t cause problems and actually they don’t solve them either. The result of such behaviour, especially if you’re the responsible one is that you will lose your clout, lose your ability to make changes and lose the knowledge on how to regain that power you once had.

Reminding people of how far they’ve travelled, the greatness of their achievements to date, well this is good for sure but only when it’s really needed. Those times when despair takes over and the team can only see the big picture stuff and know in their hearts that it’s just way too big to do, this is the time for encouragement and recognition of achievements to date. You then break it down again and move on, in haste I might add.

By following this path you and your team are on the fast track to average. As a manager and leader all you will have achieved is to kill aspiration through the prolonged and continued force of apathy, your apathy, your team’s apathy.

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It’s all about being acute or being chronic.

Being nice all the time, practicing niceness and surviving the daily grind, that’s chronic, thats the drip, drip, drip of apathy. And we all know about chronic, ask a back pain sufferer, chronic is not good, chronic is bad, very bad.

Acute on the other hand, this is painful too but gets things done. There are moments, they don’t have to be often by the way, but there are moments when a little but short lived pain is needed. The moment when you make yourself heard, you make your presence felt at the very highest level can and often does inspire those around you, and not necessarily just in your team to get on and do something. By removing the neutralising effect of niceness sometimes you can make a dramatic and good, even great, difference to your teams performance, to the performance of those on other teams and most importantly on your own performance.

You might by now be thinking this is not FINNA thinking. FINNA is about empowerment and enablement of self and others and it is. But just stop and think about it for a moment, really think hard. What better way of empowering people, including yourself, than giving them and yourself a real good kick in the pants? The emphasis on modern undermanagement techniques does nothing for those who just need to be led and there are way many more of those types of people than those who are willing and capable of showing true leadership.

Those who practice the hands-off, light touch control management, those are the managers you should and must be wary of. They may be nice, or just easy to work for but they will not help you in your aims and your career. They will stand in the way for what may seem like an eternity and you will go no further. These types of managers are toxic!

FINNA is about taking action, at its heart FINNA is about making things happen that you want to happen and that you can make happen. It is not just about empowerment, it’s about achieving and being happy about what you have achieved. It’s about defining your own success and going about making it come about.

If you ever find yourself in a team trapped by one of those nice managers, one of those managers who practice light touch then leave, leave the team and if that’s impossible leave the company, move on because it will not get any better. The drip, drip, drip of slow career death is taking place and you’re the one who’s not getting anywhere. Your aspiration will be killed by apathy and then you will be in grave danger of visiting your apathy on your team.

Don’t just develop the awareness of the problem although a starting point and of course helpful, but actually do something about it. Know in your heart where you want to be, know where you presently are and know just how you are going to take the journey, what you need with you at the start and what you can pick-up along the way. But most importantly at the beginning of the journey have a map and check-out the obstacles which when it comes to success means those people who are going to block your path. If you cannot move them choose a different path, just the same destination.

Thank you for reading.

Philip

Pragmatic Pluralism

Pluralism

The world in pluralistic, FACT!

Diverse viewpoints held by diverse stakeholders, all of which are or can be important, should be acknowledged and respected and all of which demand the attention of those who organise activities. This is pluralism.

So you’ve been asked or tasked with making a change in your organisation, or perhaps you’re the person who is the organisation owner and you want to make a change, what you gonna do about it I ask? You gonna force through your own ideas to the exclusion of all others?

No of course you won’t. At the very least you’ll consult with respected suppliers and customers and perhaps even fellow employees but maybe not all of them. So you will be very tempted to overlook some, those you see or think as not supporting your general idea, those you see as representing an obstacle to progress and change.

Right, so you’re going to miss some valuable contribution, you will be running the risk of being mediocre in results. That’s your risk to run but run it you will. Is that honestly what you want? Don’t you really want the very best outcome? Yes of course you do, who wouldn’t right? Will you if you don’t actually pay attention to all the important contributions?

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No, actually you need a system, a way of thinking and doing that brings you to the right conclusions.

First;

You need a space and time for open discussion, selecting those who are going to participate, respecting all contributions, enabling and facilitating diversity of contribution too. The aim here is to understand the forces at play, get a deep understanding of the range of options open to you, and provide a basis for structured consideration whilst getting the ground ready for those options that are going to be rejected early on.

Second;

You are going to debate the chosen range of options. Debate really means something a bit more forceful. It means explicit negotiation on the basis of benefits and features of changes being proposed. This is where preferences will be made clear and options either included or excluded. At this stage of any change process is where ways of doing things is trailed, where research takes place on the options and options are then compared.

Third;

Decision time. Make your mind-up and go for it. Action needed. You’ve closed down all the options to one, the best one you would like to think. Do it, and do it now.

Fourth;

Reflection. Right so you make the change, it’s going okay, or maybe it isnt. At this stage of the change you really should reflect on what you’ve done and who has contributed to the end result.

When making changes your attention should be focused on being critical. You do this by encouraging the widest possible range of viewpoint’s and values to be heard and making sure that those potentially being suppressed are actually brought out into the open. You will also have to recognise that consensus may in fact not be possible and that you might have to go with a general consent.

But most importantly you will have to accept that the only ‘truth’ is that which is relevant to the circumstances of the moment.

Pluralism as you can see I hope is about a ‘mix and match’ of methods and going with what feels to be good at the time.

Remember, when making organisational change that on the whole what you’re doing is modifying that which is already present. You’ll use a mix of methods with emphasis on certain methodologies at different times of the change process. You will have to be adaptive in different circumstances. You may even, if you have the luxury of time be able to try out different methods of making the change happen and then pick the best one.

Once you’ve accepted the importance and need for others to contribute to your change project you’ll very quickly learn that contributions will have to take account of verbal traditions, there will always be those historical stories that inform the under tow of the organisation. You will also end up making use of visual representations to get the point over.

As a person you will have to show flexibility through being able to be adaptive to the dynamics of a situation. You will have to challenge and intervene when appropriate. You must show a real sense of purpose. And when you do this you will have to be fair and ethical.

At FINNA we call this approach Pragmatic Pluralism.

This approach does not mean ‘anything goes’, it does mean that seeking out ‘truth’ is not as simple as asking if this is the only and true way of doing something. The right questions to ask are;

How does this change feel to me and others?

Can I describe what we’re doing as fun?

Are we achieveing what we set out to achieve?

At least for the time being, is what we’re doing better than what we used to do?

Are we novel?

Am I self-critical?

FINNA = CONTENTEDNESS

Thank you for reading

Philip

Reasons to talk

Why kill time?

A well told story of one starving child will get more reaction than the account of one hundred thousand nameless victims of famine” Poffenberger 1925

The way in which products and services are offered will markedly affect how your audience perceive the value to them of what you are offering. A simple example being the glass half-full/empty scenario. What is it to be? Filled half way may be the fact but how it’s framed for the audience makes all the difference.

Parishioner 1; “I asked the Priest if I could smoke whilst praying and he said No

Parishioner 2; “that’s strange because I asked the Priest if I could pray whilst smoking and he said Yes

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Perception!

By convincing customers to see what you are offering in an unusual or different way you can disrupt the normal logic to the point where you have a product or service that has value where it previously didn’t. Seek to associate your product or service with those features and benefits that the customer sees as positive. But be very careful, by seeking to persuade a person away from a product they are committed too even if their choice is not optimal for them you can inadvertently reinforce their commitment as they seek to defend their previous choice.

Use stories to sell your product; stories are effective in many ways, they reach out to the emotions of the buyer making them memorable. Stories put facts into context. The story will generally lead people to think about the example given rather than evidence. But most importantly a story does not directly attack a person’s beliefs so meaning the mental argument for or against is much less likely to happen.

Offer credit for existing owned products. By offering a value for already owned products as part of the purchase exchange the barrier of ownership is potentially broken. Of course it’s much simpler all-round to offer a discount or a voucher system, but honestly by displacing the existing product you still give the discount and the only option for use the customer has is your product.

Good news stories; when deciding on how to pitch your product or service it is important to recognise the importance of resistance that will be met. But, and I say this loud, when pitching always give the good news first. Counter the bad news and finish with good news. If you expect to encounter resistance then you should concentrate on providing indirect conclusions to counter. Direct conclusion can cause people to feel the potential for loss of freedom of choice and they stay with the existing supplier or service provider. If on the other hand you don’t expect to encounter resistance then a direct approach is often more effective. If you don’t expect to encounter resistance then the purchaser probably doesn’t have a strong relationship to the product or service and thus this is much easier to shake off.

Right, so why the question why kill time?

The answer is not obvious I would agree but if I can explain.

This blog post is about advertising, and communicating with customers about your product or service which may in fact not be much different to your competitors. I seek to offer advice on how to combat this difficulty.

The reality is that by overlooking this fact, that you have a product or service that is not much different from the competition and you are not on your own here at all then you have to find some way of standing out. Plainly the product won’t do it for you. You will have to do it for you.

You cannot in these circumstances afford to sit back and do nothing. You don’t have enough time in the day to communicate if you don’t have a uniqueness to your product. You sit back and expect it to happen, kill time so to speak and you may as well kill your product. Your business will not survive; fact!

What you must do is keep in mind your aims and goals. Keep in mind what you are selling and find the uniqueness of your product and sell that. Sell the benefits and features of your product. But be very aware you are not on your own doing this. On a planet with around 7 billion people you are very unlikely to be the only person doing what you do so you have to communicate. Advertising, Marketing, Interactions… these are the facts of doing business.

Communicate, communicate well, communicate the importance of what you have to say, communicate your experience, communicate, communicate, communicate…

FINNA = contentedness = achievement = hard-work

The hard work here is the staying with it, be committed to your product and service.

Thank you for reading.

Philip

Dont Sell, Serve

RULE #1; SERVICE!

Meltdowns happen so it would seem, and you would think from the number of public meltdowns of organisations, politicians and senior people that they are inevitable.

Nonsense!

It would actually seem to me that the real reason for a meltdown is not the initiation of, or the primary cause of a problem but … the way its dealt with, the clumsy, take no responsibility, it’s not my fault kind of responses are bad enough but some are just plain unexplainably DUMB. I’m talking about the kind where the logic is ‘let’s tough it out, we’ve done nothing to be ashamed of’ those kind of responses.

Example of Wrong;

My company bought a new process oven, (we have few) it was a lot of money although the lowest cost offering at the time from a range of suppliers but we’d bought equipment from this supplier before and had no reason to think that this time it might go wrong. The oven came, was installed and leaked fume. Disaster for the health, safety and welfare of those who had to operate it and disaster from a production planning point of view. The cost of lost opportunity was massive, in fact bigger as it turned out than the cost of the new oven.

The oven eventually got fixed after several fraught meetings and we were compensated financially.

The reason it got bad was not that the oven didn’t work properly but the delay period of several weeks while the supply company tried to say that although they had designed the oven, had built the oven and installed the oven that actually it was us who were using it wrong that we were causing the oven to leak by filling it with product.

We eventually employed a specialist to assess the oven and they found a number of what turned out to be quite minor fixes that would make it work right. So the oven got fixed, we got some money back but we also lost some business and took a dent to our reputation.

The result was that I was going to order a second oven and spray booth from them but that order for nearly double the value went to an alternative supplier.

Example of Right;

I recently bought a new pair of spectacles which if you wear them you’ll know just how important they are for sight and to look good.

I went to pick them-up at the allotted time and date but they weren’t right, I just couldn’t see so well through them. No problem, they knew they’d made them wrong, had ordered-up the right lenses but wanted me to try them anyway just to be sure. I went back a couple of days later to pick-up the new correct glasses and was given not only my new glasses but a free pair of sunglasses as well with the correct lenses also.

Result, I will only ever go to that optician again, no questions about it I am a loyal customer who went on to buy a new case, some lens cleaner and tell anybody I can about my experience.

They treated me as a person, not just a customer. I’d already paid up-front so they could have just explained the problem and I’d have had to accept that. But no, they went that bit further and turned a problem into an opportunity to shine. Okay so there’s some free stuff involved, but they often run a promotion of buy one get one free and I could have just waited for the offer to come back on but I didn’t need the free pair and I’m guessing it wasn’t actually a big cost to provide them. It was the thought that counted.

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Some research data;

Acquiring a new customer will cost about 5 times more than it does to hold onto an unhappy customer and in some industries this figure could be 500 times more costly.

FINNA advice is to make the call, pick up the phone and call the customer, it might not be a nice call to make but it’ll be better than the one where they tell you they’ve moved their business to a competitor and that’s if they actually bother to tell you at all. A simple, short telephone call will often prevent that loss of business.

FINNA regards making an apology as central to the customer experience, its human, it’s a gesture sure but it’s human. You will not be an organisation you will be a person.

Okay so this sounds like FINNA is saying put your customer first, sounds like but it isn’t so. FINNA categorically says put your employees first. The logic is really not hard to follow; how you treat your employees, how we treat each other is ultimately how we will treat our customers.

The single most effective way of getting your employees to meet yours and your customers’ needs is to offer unrequested help in something they are struggling with. Build into the help given the idea that you want your employee to be positive and most importantly to appreciate your customers who your organisation is trying it’s hardest to help. Helping should be a core, fundamental business strategy.

If you are able to help, you will not influence, helping people is one of your assets, use it well and often.

Being in business should really be treated as a way of being. Make your work environment a village, people know each other’s names, doors remain unlocked, lights are on, people care.

If you’re not helping someone out in some small unexpected way each day in your place of work you are not practicing being the best person you can be. It’s the small, unexpected ways you help that pay-off the biggest of dividends. These are the ways you make the biggest impact.

Thank you for reading.

Philip