Leading Value to Your Target Customer

Leading Technology

Leadership metrics are almost always visible from an organization’s bottom-line. And nowhere is this more clear than in sales and growth figures.

But how does a leader retain existing customers and grow with new ones?

Reeling in a new customer and getting them to commit to buying a product or service takes time and money, and it can be kind of tricky since customers can be forgetful, finicky and often have no loyalty to a business.

It is really up to an entrepreneur or business employees to create that loyalty and make sure a great long-term relationship with the customer.

Re-Targeting Your Target Customer

If you’re looking to do this, make sure to re-target any potential customers in a tactful, inexpensive and efficient manner. Of course, this is easier said than done as it is not that easy to do without the possibility of causing some strife with the customer.

With this in mind, here is a quick guide on re-targeting a customer.

Follow-Up Phone Call or Email

When selling a product or service, a business should not stop at this point. No, instead, an employee should call the client and ask them if they have any questions, need any help or want to buy any more products. Now, when doing this, it is important to make it sound genuine and not like a sales call.

Customers will catch on and will grow frustrated with a sales call in the middle of the day.

However, when making it about the customers’ needs and wants, a business will go a long way in closing another sale and creating a better relationship with the customer. There are massive amounts of data available on when to do a follow-up call or email.

Mail

With a simple postcard, flyer or letter, a company can reach out to a current satisfied customer. With a target direct mail list, an entrepreneur will be a step ahead of the competition who is lost when looking for clients. In the postcard or letter, a company should send a coupon discount code for the current client.

At the same time, it is wise to stay cordial, respectful and informative.

To do so without spending a lot of money or using much effort, one should also keep it personal and put the first and last name of the customer on the letterhead. Otherwise, with an informal and indirect approach, one will possibly anger the receiver of a letter. Remember, a wise customer will sniff out a promotional flyer, and a business that can fly under the radar will enjoy a higher conversion rate when using direct mail.

Email

In this day and age, email is popular and most people will have an address or two. For this reason, this is a cost-effective and easy medium for one to communicate with clients. Now, it is important to avoid sending out spam messages as people will quickly tire of sales pitches or marketing material. Instead, when sending out emails, a business should opt for a calm approach and try to give value to the client.

The easiest way to do so is to offer free shipping or a coupon code for a discount on a future purchase.

By doing this, and complying with all spam regulations, a company can reach out to clients without spending much money or time. At the same time, customers will appreciate freebies or discounts as most people love a good bargain.

Social Media

Now, more than ever, one should use social media to communicate with current and potential customers. Just like with email, it is wise to avoid annoying or otherwise bothering customers. However, when offering true value or support to a client, one can go a long way in securing another sale.

Since social media is relatively new, most people will not have a problem receiving marketing messages as it is a cool and unique way to communicate. Of course, a company should keep it tactful and avoid sending out too many messages to followers.

When running an organization, it is crucial to re-target old customers. Without this step, a business will have to spend too much money on marketing and will likely have a hard time finding success in its niche.

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Robert Cordray

Robert Cordray is a freelance writer with over 20 years of business experience
He does the occasional business consult to help increase employee morale
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On Leadership, Feedback and the Fuel of Achievement

“True intuitive expertise is learned from prolonged experience with good feedback on mistakes.” ~ Daniel Kahneman

The experience of giving and receiving feedback at best is a wonderful and enlivening experience, and at its worst can de-motivate and drive wedges between managers and their reports.

As Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman said “People join companies but leave managers.

So is it the sole responsibility of managers to look after feedback? This theme invites you as a leader to take a more global view of feedback by fundamentally re-framing why it is needed, how it is done, what might be the overall benefits, consequences which can arise and what is everyone going to do about it?

Leaders cannot work in a vacuum. They may take on larger, seemingly more important roles in an organization, but this does not exclude them from asking for and using feedback. In fact, a leader arguably needs feedback more so than anyone else. It’s what helps a leader respond appropriately to events in pursuit of successful outcomes.” ~ Jack Canfield

Feedback Gone Wrong

A major Achilles heel of typical feedback is that it is only viewed as an interaction between a manager and an individual report or possibly a team. It’s often one-way traffic and an unpleasant experience for those receiving feedback. Reasons for this may arise from poor manager awareness, poor training, pressure, etc. but perhaps the most pernicious is patchiness in the quality and quantity of feedback.

Interpersonal feedback functions best as an integral component of an organisation’s overall multidimensional communications system. The intention is to establish an atmosphere where senior management elicits information, opinion and perceptions from their staff, acts on them and reports back on their actions.

6-Stage Process for Feedback

Jack Stahl’s (Revlon’s CEO) 6-stage process for feedback aligns organisational conversations and manager – report feedback.

 

  Individual & Organisational Feedback
Stage 1 Value the person/people
Stage 2 Identify personal/organisational challenges
Stage 3 Provide targeted meaningful feedback
Stage 4 Identify and agree areas for improvement/development
Stage 5 Identify and agree benefits and consequences of improvement options
Stage 6 Commit your support and reaffirm person/staffs effort and value

 

Feedback is generally most effective when considered as part of staff engagement efforts as described by Gruman and Sacs in their research published in Human Resource management Review.

Setting the Tone

It’s vital for leaders to set the tone by encouraging an overall culture of open information exchange to develop (supported by robust and accessible HR & IT systems) making it possible to:

  1. Provide safe environments to build trust based on knowledge and rapport.
  2. Exchange authentic criticism and affirmative feedback
  3. Establish a cultural norm based on accepted feedback behaviours.
  4. Create feedback based on personal and organisational accountability

Steve Jobs says it all in his interview on managing people and the Apple ideas-based ethos.

He said, ideas always beat hierarchy.”

Re-framing Our Perceptions

If we re-frame our perception of and intention for feedback to mean honest, authentic, empathic, creative, effective  and productive conversation across an entire organisation then great things will follow.

Your Actions Today

  • Does your organisation have a communication system aligned with interpersonal feedback practices?
  • Do your reports get to provide feedback on you do you listen and do you act on it?
  • On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 most effective) do you know how effective your feedback to reports actually is?
  • Does your organisation act upon synthesised from all staff feedback?

Recommended Reading

Feedback Revolution: -From Water Cooler Conversations To Annual Reviews — HOW TO GIVE AND RECEIVE EFFECTIVE FEEDBACK – Peter McLaughlin

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——————– 
Gary Coulton

Dr Gary R Coulton is CEO of Adaptive Intelligence Consulting Limited
He empowers leaders to release their Adaptive Intelligence
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On Leadership, Lying and Breaking The Honor Code

When a large, trusted and well-established institution gets caught in a public lie, the entire code of honor is at risk of failure. Leading like this is poisonous to the entire entity and everything for which it stands. 

When honor is broken, what comes next?

How Emory University Failed Its Own Honor Code

The revelation (see related article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution) by leaders at Emory University that a former Dean of Admissions had been supplying false data (lying) when reporting the SAT scores and Class Ranking of  incoming students has been a great disappointment to the city of Atlanta, and a revelation throughout the country.

If high-level leaders at a university renown for quality education and ethical values are violating the very basic rule of honor–tell the truth–then what must be going on elsewhere?

In fact, this is not the first revelation of such false reporting by a university trying to gain an edge in competing for annual rankings in sources like US News & World Report.

As in other professions, it appears that for some leaders, any means can be justified when the end goal has implications of gaining power, money, and influence or protecting their prestige or position.

Widespread Leadership Issue

We have become accustomed to seeing dishonorable leaders in politics–after all, they thrive on publicity and when they get in trouble, their high profile role makes them magnets for media attention.

But, when we learn that administrators from a highly regarded university are playing just as dirty as many back room politicians or businesspeople, we must conclude that the problem is deep and wide, transcending every profession at every level.

We should not be surprised; after all, we are all cut from the same cloth—we are fallible and flawed human beings.

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Living By Your Words

The Emory University honor code, as posted online, has as its very first point, “…the University community assumes high standards of courtesy, integrity and responsibility in all of its members.”  But we make a great mistake when we assume integrity, even our own.  Events such as this provide a reminder that we must know ourselves and regularly check our own moral compass.

“Trying to take the easy way based on fear is taking out good men and women at a rapid pace.  We all suffer each time one falls. We tend to become more cynical, and at the same time our cultural standards of right and wrong drop another notch.”

Every day we face decisions that have honor implications and we must regularly re-examine our commitments and behaviors.  Additionally, we need to regularly seek counsel from close comrades who have very high standards who will give us counsel on our questionable decisions.

The bottom line is that we can’t assume that we (or others) are above dishonorable behavior.

We are most at risk when we become afraid about what could happen. Trying to take the easy way based on fear is taking out good men and women at a rapid pace.  We all suffer each time one falls. We tend to become more cynical, and at the same time our cultural standards of right and wrong drop another notch.

Going Back to Our Foundation as Leaders

The foundation for living and leading with honor is courage.  Every day we will be faced with fears and temptations to take the easy way out.  Only with a commitment to a code of honor will we have the courage to choose to do the right thing, because the right thing is usually the hard way.

Remember, all discipline in the moment seems difficult, but in the end brings peace and true success.

Do you assume your integrity?  What are you doing to make this assumption a reality in your life?  Do you have someone with whom you discuss difficult decisions, someone who can give counsel based on high standards and an objective viewpoint?

I hope you will join in this discussion and share your experiences.  Do you agree that it’s dangerous to assume your integrity?  How do you manage this key area of your life?

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——————–
Lee Ellis


Lee Ellis is Founder & President of Leadership Freedom LLC & FreedomStar Media.
He is a leadership consultant and expert in teambuilding, executive development & assessments
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | Book | Facebook | Twitter

His latest book is called Leading with Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton.

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You, Me, and Our Relationship Makes Three

Business Relationships

A previous post introduced the characteristics of relationship building, which is the foundation to public relations education and practice, and (ideally!) organizational relationships. 

Without a clear focus on people and its human aspects, organizations are doomed to remain stagnant, or even die.

On Relationships

As a refresher, the components of relationship-building are this:

  • Control Mutuality (allowing another party the power to influence you)
  • Trust
  • Satisfaction
  • Commitment

These components contribute to an exchange relationship, one in which one party in the relationship does something for the other party as reciprocation for a past or future service; or a communal relationship, in which both parties provide benefits to each other out of concern rather than payback and seek no additional recompense.

This post will look more closely at the four initial characteristics, and the final post in this series will focus on the outcomes of an exchange or communal relationship.

Not surprisingly, control mutuality, trust, satisfaction, and commitment are all characteristics that we seek in our interpersonal relationships, whether it is between family members, spouses, partners, or friends.

But how often do we consider these components as criteria for our business-related activities?

For example, during an interview process the idea of commitment may be an issue of concern for the interviewer, and possibly the interviewee. But once we are established within an organization, how often do we stop to think about how all of these characteristics influence our relationships on an ongoing basis?

The 4 Key Characteristics of Relationship Building

The relevance and impact of these characteristics on organizational well-being can be better understood in the context of both enduring and distinctive workplace challenges:

Control Mutuality

Interactions with most organizations require some level of control mutuality. In a retail environment, or when attending a sales pitch we allow, or perhaps even encourage sales representatives to “wow” us with the benefits of their product or service. The control then shifts as we decide whether or not we were moved enough to commit or take our business elsewhere.

This back-and-forth exchange of control can be seen in any number of scenarios across industries – hiring new employees, starting a new product line or creating a stronger team, as examples  – and the way in which each party contributes, as well as the value they place on the outcome strongly influences their role in the relationship.

Trust

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been under close scrutiny for the past several months as a result of accusations of delayed medical treatment to veterans, allegedly resulting in several deaths. Unquestionably a tragedy, and regardless of the outcome resulting from hearings and policy changes, damage to the VA has and will continue to be significant.

Already then-Secretary Eric Shinseki, himself a veteran and former Army general, was pressured to resign, negatively affecting both his and the VA’s reputation. From the perspective of multiple stakeholders as well as the general public, the VA did not do what it said it would do for its members– the cornerstones of creating trust!

Regaining the trust of these key constituents will be slow and costly, not just financially, but in terms of re-establishing and maintaining the much needed support for a mission that has been called into question.

Satisfaction

Over the past 25-years, employees’ job satisfaction has fallen precipitously from 61% to 15%. Considering that even at its highest level more than one-third of the workforce was dissatisfied with their jobs, this statistic is even more staggering. Evidence of this dissatisfaction is seen not only in the various rankings of “worst companies”, but also in the fact that while the lists contain some overlap of identified companies, they also include many unique listings suggesting that there is a good deal of competition for this dubious title.

Unfortunately, due to external factors beyond employees’ control, such as the economy, unforeseen costs at home (including medical expenses, child care, routine expenses) or an inability to compete in the job market due to a lack of skills and the ability to develop them, employees often end up staying at a job that they would prefer to leave.

This could have a domino effect impacting the employee, colleagues and supervisors, the organization, customers, and family.

Commitment

Sticking with a relationship, personal or business, requires effort, and remaining committed to a relationship means that both parties feel the effort is worthwhile.

Turnover is one way to evaluate employees’ commitment to their jobs.

Although turnover in the United States has maintained at a steady rate of 3.1-3.2 percent, down from rates more consistent in the 3.7– 3.8 range before the current economic crisis, it would be naive to assume this decrease is due purely to job appreciation, particularly given such low overall levels of job satisfaction.

It is realistic to assume that some, perhaps even many, employees are reluctant to leave a steady job in questionable economic times. It is important for leaders to have a realistic perspective on employee’s long-term tenure and its contributing factors and not assume that longevity equals satisfaction and commitment to the organization.

Maintaining Excellence

Successful relationships require effort and maintenance. The relationship becomes its own entity and, like the individual parties involved, needs to be considered in terms of decision-making and outcomes.

So, instead of asking “How does this affect me?” or “How will this affect my client?” you must also ask “How with this affect our relationship?”

This awareness of the relationship as a “third-person”, so to speak, forces all parties involved to give it greater consideration, which adds to the depth and value of the connection.

With whom are your most important relationships? Have you been disappointed that certain relationships have not worked out? What level of effort do you put into developing and maintaining both types of relationships? How strongly to you consider the potential relationship when soliciting or accepting new clients? Has that made a difference?

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———————–
Andrea M. Pampaloni, Ph.D.

Andrea M. Pampaloni, Ph.D is AMP Consulting
She provides Organizational Communication Consulting & Research Focused on
Relationship-Building and Presentation of Image
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Creating Law and Order: Leading with Discipline

Discipline

Are you leading with discipline? Does this type of leader describe you?

  • You actually enjoy routine. In fact, if there is no structure, you create one. After all, routines promote efficiency, high productivity, and accuracy, right?
  • Starting a day without a schedule or knowing exactly what to do could potentially leave one aimless. That’s what makes it so difficult for you to work with or for someone who doesn’t create structure, for themselves or others.
  • Sure, there’s time for fun and breaks, you enjoy those too, as long as they fit into the overall scheme of things.

This outlook on your job and life can be attributed to your Discipline strength.

Your Barrier Labels

Discipline is definitely a good thing, especially when it’s self-imposed. Your bosses love that you get things done without supervision, your employees always know what’s expected and when, and your peers know they can count on you. Unfortunately, before people get to know you or your Strengths, you need to be aware of some of the labels people may tag you is a less than flattering light.

In an unsophisticated manner, Discipline can appear overbearing, mechanized, or unable to handle change. In short, a leader no one wants to come to or lean on.

A Sophisticated Leader

If you’ve ever been described using the barrier labels above, the good news is you have Discipline! That means, you have the ability to discipline yourself to become sophisticated; practicing the art of balance takes self-imposed structure, which you have plenty of.

The even better news? Once you have mastered your Discipline, you’ll be known and recognized as a great planner, highly productive and efficient, and extremely accurate. Nothing wrong with that is there?

As a sophisticated leader, your strategy for success is going to be knowing when things are too rigid, and when they aren’t rigid enough. In general, people don’t enjoy being micromanaged. However, they do like to know how to be successful, and some may even need a hint on how to get there.

By leveraging one or more of your other strengths, i.e. Relator, you will be able to adjust your style with the human factor in mind. Because some of your other strengths allow you to connect to your people, or see the bigger picture, you’ll be able to pull back on the Discipline in your leadership style when necessary, and create boundaries when and where they’re needed.

Leading those with Discipline

If you’re a leader with more “free slowing” strengths, like Adaptability, Futuristic, or Harmony, you may find there is some friction between you and your employee with Discipline. If they are constantly seeking structure, and you are unable to provide any, they may become frustrated.

Though they can create their own routine, there will be others on your team that need a little more guidance. If you, as a leader, don’t provide it, Discipline is going to notice. Chances are, there will be someone on the team under delivering, or delivering late, which affects the whole team. Even if it’s an indirect effect, Discipline will feel it more than most and quickly become dissatisfied with you as a leader, and their job as a whole.

Now, that doesn’t mean you need to try and be just like them. It just means you need to be aware and as consistent as possible. Make sure that everyone has deadlines, and they have the guidance and resources they need to produce. You’re already an apt leader, so no major adjustments should be necessary!

If you’re a leader with Discipline, how do you balance your need for structure with the strengths of others? Do you lead someone with Discipline? Do you find them to be reliable? Do they often ask you for deadlines, schedules etc.? How do you handle that on days you might find it “overbearing?”

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———————–
Alexsys "Lexy" Thompson HCS, SWP

Alexsys “Lexy” Thompson is Managing Partner at Fokal Fusion
She helps building Strong Leaders through Strong People Strategy
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On Leadership Styles, Philosophies and Where You Live

Infographic brought to you by Brighton School of Business and Management

Leadership Congruence: Do You Walk the Talk?

walk the Talk

A foundational behavior in effective leadership requires demonstrating congruence between what one says and what one does.

Unfortunately, many times the behaviors of those in charge reflect a philosophy of “do as I say not as I do” rather than one of congruence.

Creating Distrust and Disagreement

Incongruence at both the personal and organizational level often results in distrust and disengagement by the people who have experienced or observed the incongruence. While the data on disengagement and its impact is alarming, the good news is that we are actually dealing with the behaviors that cause the issues.

And when dealing with behaviors, there is a better chance to create better outcomes.

  • We can often think of those managers who hold themselves to a different standard than they hold everyone else to.
  • These are the managers that consistently expected others to stay late but leave the office early themselves.
  • They are the managers who stress transparency. yet would not relay important information to their people. Maybe they are the managers who stressed integrity. yet are unethical in their own behaviors.

These actions often created environments of distrust and disengagement by those who see or who are the recipient of this behavior.

Talking, But Not Walking

As well, we can all recall the organizations that might have done this:

  • State their commitment to their employees or customers, yet don’t behave that way.
  • Claim that their people are their most important asset, yet they do not invest in their development.
  • Or, they are the organizations that conducts a survey on employee satisfaction, yet do nothing to address the issues that may have surfaced from the survey.

Again, these behaviors often create a sense of employee distrust toward the organization.

Creating Dissonance

In these examples, this incongruence often results in disconnection, disengagement and distrust toward the manger, the organization or both.

In the past, the social and financial impact of these negative behaviors was often overlooked.

However, today ample data exists which demonstrates the adverse impact that disengagement has on an organization as it relates to turnover, absenteeism, injuries and profitability to name a few. Much work has been done by organizations such as Gallup to expose the negative consequences of disengagement.

Changing Minds, Changing Behaviors

The good news about the high levels of disengagement the surveys have uncovered is that it can minimized, through behavior changes.

The first behavior involves acting in a congruent way.

As leaders, we must “walk the talk.” In order to create an engaged workforce, those in positions of authority and organizations themselves must become aware of the negative impact that incongruence has on people, the organization, and its customers.

This behavior involves taking inventory of your actions and asking, “Would I see my words and actions as being congruent if I observed them in someone else.”

Another suggestion would be to find someone who would be committed to providing honest feedback on your behaviors and their level of congruence.

This is the first step toward increasing engagement in those around you.

Take the challenge and regularly ask yourself: Is you approach to walk the talk or do you expect others to do as you say but not as you do? What behaviors might you be exhibiting that are incongruent? How might this behavior have caused disengagement in someone in your workplace? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Patrick Veroneau, MS Organizational Leadership

Patrick Veroneau, MS is CEO of Emery Leadership Group
He inspires Others to Develop Effective Leadership Behaviors
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