This is the time of the year when the apples are ripe at the orchard near us. I always like to get there early in the season because there are still plenty of apples down low on the branches that are easy to reach and pick. That is so much easier than later in the season when you have to climb a ladder or pick less than the best fruit that others have skipped over.
This is of course where the business term “low-hanging fruit” came from. Most companies have customers and markets that are easy to exploit without a lot of effort, if you know where to look. That’s where Jeremy Eden and Terri Long come in.
Eden and Long have made a business out of helping companies find and harvest their low-hanging fruit, and they recently published a book by this name. We’ve invited the authors to join us for our Soundview Live webinar Eye-Opening Ways to Improve Productivity & Profits, where they will reveal some of their 77 ways to boost productivity and profits. Among the ways they will explain are:
• Put a price tag on everything to stop the waste.
• Value engineer your products to eliminate what your customers won’t pay for.
• Ask, “But do we know that is true?”
• Brainstorm in a new way, to find problems not solutions.
• Stop ignoring your introverts.
• Push work down to the lowest-paid person capable of doing it.
• Take simple and low-tech over sexy and high-tech.
• If you want the money, spend the time.
Join us to hear more about these harvesting methods and many more, and bring your questions for Eden and Long to answer during the webinar. As always, our weekly Soundview Live webinars are free for subscribers. If you subscribe for $99 you’ll have your money back after just two webinars.
Effective leadership is all about strategy. Leaders need thought-out strategies to connect with their employees and customers to develop a unique culture within your organization. Soundview has three new Soundview Executive Book Summaries that help you approach your management or leadership role with valuable strategies.
by Greg Bustin
Accountability by Greg Bustin Greg Bustin, business and leadership consultant, offers insightful concepts and practical examples from real-life experiences that will increase accountability and drive success for any type of organization in Accountability. He introduces the Seven Pillars of Accountability: character, unity, learning, tracking, urgency, reputation and evolution, and how to sustain a high-performance culture for a thriving business.
by Aaron Hurst
The Purpose Economy by Aaron Hurst The Purpose Economy describes the shifts in American economy and set of ways in which people and organizations are focused on creating value. Globally recognized entrepreneur Aaron Hurst examines three types of purpose that are transforming the economy: personal, social, and societal. Based on his own personal experiences and interviews with other entrepreneurs, The Purpose Economy is a guide on how to transform your company and career to better serve the world.
by Rich Horwath
Elevate by Rich Horwath Elevate offers leaders and executives with an outline for developing advanced strategic thinking approach. Strategy expert Rich Horwath focuses on advanced strategic thinking that will drive results in the short-and long-term. His three-discipline approach breaks strategy down into its fundamentals: Coalesce, Compete and Champion and how to apply it to your day-to-day tasks.
Fable Unfolds ICARE Essentials
Written with two veteran consultants of the Ken Blanchard Companies, Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halsey, management guru Ken Blanchard’s latest fable offering is Legendary Service, which focuses on customer service. The story focuses on an employee working in the Home and Office section of a large discount store who strives to apply the lessons she is learning in a customer service class she is taking at a local university. In those classes her professor lays out the ICARE customer service model.
The five elements of the authors’ ICARE model are:
• Ideal Service. The focus here is on consistent dayto- day service, which the authors describe as employees striving to meet customer needs because they truly believe that service is important. In the fable, the heroine of the story, Kelsey, exemplifies Ideal Service by jeopardizing a sure sale for the benefit of the customer: she confirms to that customer that the vacuum cleaner he’s decided to purchase for his wife’s birthday is not a great present.
• Culture of Service. Going beyond individualized day-to-day service, write the authors, a culture of service creates the environment in which employees are inspired to focus on the customer and are held accountable for carrying out the company’s service vision. While Kelsey’s employer displays a complete lack of service culture, various businesses that cross Kelsey’s path, including the physical therapy practice rehabilitating her grandmother’s injury, illustrate the hallmarks of a service culture, including a posted service vision for the company.
• Attentiveness. This element of the model involves knowing customers and their preferences well. Kelsey is led through the exercise of creating a customer profile: the various categories of customers she serves and their respective needs and preferences.
• Responsiveness. Knowing your customers is a first step; the next step is knowing how to respond to their needs. In the story, Kelsey’s colleague deals with a customer who is unhappy that the store no longer matches competitors’ prices, in this case for a lamp. The colleague notes that the competitor charges extra for the lamp shade, thus making his store’s lamp actually less expensive. “Kelsey was impressed,” the authors write, “not only with the way Rob had listened to his customer and solved the problem to her satisfaction but also with his knowledge of the other store’s pricing policy.”
• Empowerment. The final letter in the book’s customer service model is for empowerment: employees having the freedom to take the initiative to implement their company’s service vision. Both Kelsey and her manager want to turn around the store’s poor customer service reputation and yet are continuously hampered by a leadership that focuses only on the bottom line.
Legendary Service is successful because most readers will be able to relate the fictional characters and events to actual people and situations: the people-oriented small business owner represented by the physical therapy practice owner; the small business that dresses up its facilities but offers terrible customer service, such as the fancy hair salon Kelsey walks out of; the stores that offer the same products but with completely different customer service cultures, illustrated by the two competing discount stores at the heart of the fable. The situations are authentic, and the conflict that moves the story forward – will Kelsey quit and join the competitor as her own store goes from bad to worse? – will keep readers engaged. And if there is a bit of a deus ex machina ending, why not? It worked for Jane Austen.
Turning around floundering companies requires effective management at all levels of the organization. But how is this achieved? What must management do to be effective?
Jim Burkett knows something about making the right things happen. He has turned around twenty-eight underperforming and troubled companies, from Fortune 500 companies to smaller public and private companies, throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.
Burkett has come up with a tool kit for turning around companies that includes:
If you are facing the daunting task of helping to turn around your company, then you’ll want to join us for our Soundview Live webinar The Learned Disciplines of Management, coming up on July 29th. You’ll hear more about his tool kit along with practical examples of how turnarounds can happen.
Join us and invite your whole management team. And make sure to bring your questions to post for Jim to answer during the webinar.
Challenges frequently arise during the work week. To tackle these challenges, “strategy meetings” are put in place. These meetings are familiar to employees in the corporate world. You sit around and bounce ideas back and forth until you hopefully have that “ah-ha” moment. But there may be a more effective way. According to Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon, there is a simple, creative process for both leaders and their teams to come to solutions for their challenges. In their book Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change, the authors describe the five core principles for designing strategic conversations. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.
Ertel and Solomon spell out how to make the most of your meetings in Moment of Impact. They present a powerful tool by focusing on the challenge at hand and focusing your meeting around it. “Designing a strategic conversation,” they write, “means creating a shared experience where the most pressing strategic issues facing an organization are openly explored from a variety of angles.” The authors then further discuss the core principles of a well-designed strategic conversation. The principle include defining the purpose, engaging multiple perspectives, framing the issues, setting the scene, and making it an experience.
Moments of Impact offers insight on how you can have more effective meetings with strategic conversations through the five core principles. The ultimate goal is to get solutions to the challenges that arise through a more structured process using these key practices, instead of brainstorming sessions that may not lead to any conclusion. With a concrete process that can be implemented at any meeting, Moments of Impact, will help any meeting-goer make the most of their moment.