Category Archives: Managing

What we can learn from talent shows

As most of us aren’t in the entertainment industry selecting staff isn’t quite like the razzle dazzle of TV talent shows. But it’s X factor that sets people apart. Simon Cowell and Rachel Hunter know this, and I believe everyone needs some staff who have that something special.

We’re always going to need a range of staff, and for many jobs the X factor may not be so vital, but when it’s there seize it with both hands. Brining onboard someone a little less conventional, a little more outgoing, a lot more into people can really add to the EQ of your team, company and its reputation.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great people, and many didn’t have that X factor but those that did raised the bar for everyone.

Two examples stand out for me. One was a young woman who had a support role. Rocky (Rochelle) was her name, and she was hungry for work, to learn and to live. Her personality was pervasive and her ‘no problem’ attitude was a winner for everyone. She had the X factor plus.

The other example is a forecourt attendant who has motorists wanting to stop to fill up even when the tank isn’t half empty. Tony, was at a smaller Z service station, before the company moved him to one of the larger more high profile sites. They recognised the value he could bring to their brand that no marketing budget could match. Tony’s attitude and positivity welcomed customers time and time again no matter what.

Both of these individuals raised the collective at the organisations they worked for. Don’t get me wrong, they had a great team around them and no star makes a team. But these two are examples of how adding people with the right personality can leverage all the good work that’s done across the rest of the team.

So how to you find these people? When recruiting ask for people with the X factor, look out for them and approach them, ask others in the team for recommendations, keep looking. Also be a little more open minded with the CVs. It’s often easy to recruit someone who can do the job. Recruiting someone who has that something extra can take a bit more effort but it’s so worth it.

Go 2 Market principle: every organisation needs a Rocky or a Tony! Yes, everyone. Simon and Rachel have to find them, and so should you. Make sure you’re open to adding that special someone that will enhance your organisation’s overall performance.

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The three M’s for a pleasurable journey

I like the challenge of a good bike ride but not one that’s full of surprises and no end in sight. So if you’re like me, and in business, here are some thoughts on making the journey manageable.

All businesses need to monitor, measure and manage what they are doing. Frankly the order of these isn’t that important as it’s a circular process anyway. The three actions feed onto each other naturally enough, with the goal to optimise performance:

  • Monitor what you are doing, be it through daily, weekly or monthly reporting
  • Measure the outcome so you know how results fare relative to expectations
  • Manage the performance so you improve the efficiency and effectiveness (costs and results).

Here is a practical example of what I shared with a distributor using both bricks and mortar retail stores and also selling online:

  • split sales by channel
  • sales this month compared to last month (month on month sales)
  • sales for YTD this year vs last year (year on year sales)
  • actual vs budgeted sales.

A few other things:

  • monitor these results at least weekly
  • the results should ideally be broken down by product
  • and measured by unit sales, turnover, and margin
  • ideally you would want to be able to analyse sales by region or area to find the hot and cold spots in your sales
  • and know your top customers results for these metrics.

If you monitor and measure these results you’ll have a lot of valuable information. You’ll have a very good feel for how your business is going before the end of the month’s results. You’ll have plenty of quality information to feed back into the team, and most importantly the information to manage the business rather than the other way around.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea to monitor and measure so give responsibility to someone in your team that has the diligence and interest in it that it deserves. Ensure though that you don’t abdicate accountability for managing, as this is where another set of skills are likely to be required.

There’s no end to the cycle of monitoring, measuring and managing, but it can be a pleasant ride if you get involved. If not it’ll be like going downhill, blindfolded, over rocky terrain with no suspension.

Go 2 Market principle: get these reports created so that you can monitor and measure your sales, then manage them to success.

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