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What Really Matters Volume 2, Number 2, 2010


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These are the key personal and professional development articles published on the OTM Academy online community between April 1st - June 30th 2010.
Author - Gary Ryan

Published in: Career, Business, Education
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What Really Matters Volume 2, Number 2, 2010

  1. 1. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 By Gary Ryan
  2. 2. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 – is a compilation of selected articles from The Organisations That Matter Learning Network from April 1st 2010 until June 30th 2010 By Gary Ryan Published by Publishing That Matters c/- Organisations That Matter Level 8, 350 Collins Street Melbourne, Victoria 3166 AUSTRALIA Phone +61 3 8676 0637 E-mail: Copyright © 2010 Gary Ryan, Organisations That Matter® All effort was made to render this ebook free from error and omission. However, the author, publisher, editor, their employees or agents shall not accept responsibility for injury, loss or damage to any person or body or organisation acting or refraining from such action as a result of material in this book, whether or not such injury, loss or damage is in any way due to any negligent act or omission, breach of duty, or default on the part of the author, publisher, editor or their employees or agents. A note about ebooks Ebooks provide a special function that traditional books cannot provide. The links in this ebook are ‘live’, so if you read the ebook while online, you can immediately access the reference material.                      
  3. 3. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 1, 2010 Who should read this ebook? This ebook is for people who are interested in personal and professional development, specifically as it relates to achieving career aspirations and enabling the organisations within which we work to be better places for human beings. This ebook represents articles from the second quarter of 2010 from The Organisations That Matter Learning Network. To join The Organisations That Matter Learning Network please follow this link. Thank You! Thank you to all our members of The Organisations That Matter Learning Network. We hope that you will receive great value from this collection of articles compiled in the second quarter of 2010. Please respect our copyright. This means that if you are a member of The Organisations That Matter Learning Network you have our permission to share this ebook with your friends and to invite them to join our community so that they too can enjoy this book. Best wishes! Gary Ryan
  4. 4. Table of contents What are the fundamentals in your business that you cannot afford to get wrong? 1 If “Everybody is doing it”, does that make it okay? 3 Storm Damage - Why leading with integrity matters 5 Discover the secret to motivating your team members 7 Step One 7 Step Two 7 Step Three Part A 7 Step Three Part B 8 Step Three Part C 8 Gen Y - we are in safe hands! 9 Service excellence comes in many forms 10 Couple On The Run Blog - Abbott frenzy misses the point 11 Seeking Inspiration - Yes Iʼm asking for help! 14 So, how can you provide inspiration? 15 Seeking Inspiration - The Result! 17 What sayings guide you on a day to day basis? 19 Great service comes in many forms 20 Quote from a participant in one of our research programs. 20 Great service connects customers to your business 21 Discover the five service gaps 22 Gap 1 The Management Perception Gap 22 Gap 2 The Quality Service Standards Gap 23 Gap 3 The Service Delivery Gap 24
  5. 5. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 1, 2010 Gap 4 The Market Communication Gap 24 Gap 5 The Perceived Service Quality Gap 25 Powerful questions for mentors 26 How ʻ2 Starsʼ and ʻ5 Starsʼ can both be examples of great service 27 How the power of Team Talk can help the Australian Socceroos 29 Do you listen with your ʻAnswer runningʼ? 31 Service excellence involves exceeding expectations 33 Being told, “Youʼre Crazy!” is a good thing! 34 Online Courses 37 Webinars 37 37 Desired Futures 38 Accelerating Careers 38 What Really Matters For Young Professionals! 39 Online Checklist 39 This product is both for Young Professionals and/or their employers 39 Printed Book Due For Release July 30th 2010 (Purchase directly from us or ask for it at all good book stores) 40
  6. 6. What are the fundamentals in your business that you cannot afford to get wrong? I have spent the last couple of days in hospital having had my appendix removed. My experience of the hospital was fantastic with a high level of care shown by all the staff with whom I came into contact. Last evening I witnessed an event that displayed integrity and courage, while also highlighting that serious mistakes can be made even in a well run hospital. At about 8:30pm a senior nurse came in to speak with an elderly gentleman with whom I was sharing my ward. She informed him that he had been given someone else's medicine an hour earlier. She told him that she had checked with his doctor and that there weren't any issues regarding side effects with the incorrect medicines that he had taken. She also apologised profusely for the error. From my perspective the nurse showed courage and integrity by admitting the mistake, initiative by checking with the patient's doctor before informing him of the mistake and she also provided a genuine apology. This experience got me thinking. In a hospital it would seem that giving the wrong medicine to the wrong patient is a fundamental error that shouldn't occur. It would appear that human error was involved. Six Sigma was a system that was introduced at Motorola as a way of creating a culture that minimises such fundamental mistakes. Six Sigma officially translates to 3.4 mistakes every 1 million efforts. I'd like to think that, at the hospital where I have just spent the last few days, the mistake that I experienced was one of the 3.4 in one million! 1
  7. 7. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 1, 2010 So, the question for you is, "What are the fundamental errors that you should be minimising? What systems do you have in place to ensure that human error is minimised?" Even a short stay in hospital can provide opportunities for reflection and improvement. I'm certainly reviewing our systems and processes in the context of this experience. Please feel free to comment on this article. 2
  8. 8. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 If “Everybody is doing it”, does that make it okay? The revelations of the systematic cheating by the Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club raises issues that extend far beyond Rugby League and the club itself. Assuming that the reported statement by the Melbourne Storm Chairman Dr Rob Moodie that Brian Waldron, the accused architect of the cheating strategy, told him that he had done what he had done because, "Everybody's doing it!" is accurate, it raises an issue for all of us. (Please keep in mind that at the point in time of writing this article there is no evidence that Brian Waldron's statement that everybody else is doing it is accurate.) As appalling an excuse as this excuse sounds, my view is that many people do use this excuse for their behaviour. Whether it be taking illegal drugs, drinking too much alcohol, backstabbing another person behind their back, not telling your manager or direct reports the truth, people claim that their behaviour is okay because other people are doing it. To me, leadership starts with yourself. If you can't lead yourself, then you are going to struggle to lead other people. As we have seen with Brian Waldron many people would have considered him successful up until Thursday afternoon. After all he had guided the Melbourne Storm through a period of apparent on-field and off-field success. This story highlights that there are consequences for not taking a stand for doing what is right. It may be true that if Melbourne Storm had played according to the rules then they may not have won their (now lost) premierships. We will never know. We do know that their brand has been damaged and two major sponsors have already cancelled their arrangements with the club due to the clash of values that has come to the surface as a result of this exposure. If you have ever wondered whether there is a financial cost for lacking integrity in business, here is your proof! 3
  9. 9. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 This is why I always laugh when people talk about developing the 'soft skills' of management. To me, the so called 'soft skills', which include acting with integrity, are the hardest skills to master, which is why so many people struggle to properly develop them. The term 'soft' somehow suggests that they are easy. Nothing could be farther from the truth. To me leadership starts with doing what is right from a personal point of view. This means that many people will never know when you have shown true leadership, because the vast amount of leadership takes place when no one is looking. I suspect that there are a lot of good people at the Melbourne Storm who possess high integrity. While this must be an extraordinarily difficult time for them I suspect that many will stay to rebuild the club's integrity. In many ways, providing the people running the club at all levels honestly embrace the opportunity that they have before them, they could use this terrible event to create an organisation of the highest order. On many levels I hope that they can. The final message for each of us from this story is to challenge ourselves not to do any behaviour just because we believe that other people are doing it. If our moral compass tells us that something is wrong, then we should listen and take action that is guided by that compass. It is far better to be able to look in the mirror and be happy with the quality of the person staring back at you, rather than seeing a smug person who is hoping they never get caught for doing what they know is wrong. Please feel free to comment on this article. 4
  10. 10. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Storm Damage - Why leading with integrity matters While this article focusses upon the revelations of the systematic cheating by administrators within the Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club, the article is about organisational leadership and not sport. The Melbourne Storm is a multi-million dollar business. It is in the business of elite- sport, television and entertainment. The deception not just a sporting deception, it is a business deception and legal investigations may result in charges being laid. Time will tell. Today many thousands of people will wake up feeling betrayed and disgusted by the behaviour of a small number of people. Michelle Hunt from suggests that leadership involves a serious meddling in other people's lives. Many people will have their reputations tarnished simply because they work for the Melbourne Storm. If that doesn't highlight the serious impact that poor leadership can have on other people, then I'm not sure what does! On the morning of Thursday 22nd April 2010 I was compelled to add a comment to an article posted on the The Age website. I was unaware of the Melbourne Storm issue that was to unfold later in the day. The article was titled, "Congratulations you're a what?". I was drawn to the article because it mentioned a series of tips for first time managers. However, one of the sentences in the article's introduction caused me some concern. The sentence was, "Is honesty always the best policy when managing up?". I thought to myself, "Why wouldn't it be?". If you are honest when managing up and you got into trouble for that, then my view is your organisation is not worthy of your commitment and you have a choice to make. The 'war for talent' still exists so if you have a strong and clear sense of your values and a good work ethic, then my view is that you have choice regarding where you work. Working for organisations that aren't worthy of your commitment is therefore a choice. To me preparation to become a leader starts well before a formal leadership role in an organisation is offered to you. It starts with becoming clear about your values and practicing them every day in all your life's roles. Vision without an understanding of your values can lead to behaviour, such as systematic cheating, 5
  11. 11. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 that is inconsistent with your vision. I don't know the motives of the senior Melbourne Storm administrators for their behaviour. I do know that conscious development and mastery of your personal values takes time and it is important for people to have mastery of their values before they commence formal leadership roles. It is my view that not enough people are clear about their values and how they are reflected in their behaviour at work. Are you clear about yours? Please feel free to comment on this article. 6
  12. 12. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Discover the secret to motivating your team members re you one of those people who prefers to keep your plans in your head? Or maybe you prefer to "just do it" and not worry about planning at all? Research by David Ingvar indicates that there is a significant and positive affect from writing down your plans. What is interesting is that your plans do not have to include detail to the 'nth' degree to be effective. What you do have to do, however, is to write them! A simple, yet effective process for creating effective plans for anything is outlined below. The process can work for achieving a certain grade for an assignment at university, for drafting a high level plan for a complex business project (that would then be used to create a more detailed plan using tools such as Microsoft Project) or a training session for the local U12s basketball team that you coach. Heck, I use this process all the time for planning my workshops and seminars! In addition, this process can be used for creating a plan for an individual or a team. Step One Describe using dot points, what a successful outcome looks like. Provide as much detail as possible to enable you to clearly see the success that you desire. Step Two Identify your current experience and skills as they relate to achieving your goals. Be honest. Include both your good and not-so-good experiences. Step Three Part A Brainstorm everything that you will need to do to take you from your description in Step Two through to achieving the outcomes you have described in Step One. 7
  13. 13. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Include any research or training & development that you may need to acquire along the journey. Step Three Part B Having brainstormed your possible tasks, consider their relationship to each other and their level of importance. What tasks stand out as critical steps for success? These need to be treated as priorities (keeping in mind, of course, that even the 'little things' matter for true success). Step Three Part C If more than one person will be involved in actioning this plan, assign appropriate tasks to everyone on your team. Plans for individuals and teams can be completed in under ten minutes and under 30 minutes respectively following this three step process. The challenge for most people isn't following the process, it's deciding to do it in the first place! Give it a go, you will be pleasantly surprised at how simple and effective it is! Please feel free to comment on this article. 8
  14. 14. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Gen Y - we are in safe hands! Over the past few weeks I have been conducting programs for university students. Amongst other themes, these programs have included the identification and launching of community based projects. No less than 75 students have been involved in these workshops, and this week will see another 40 students involved in a similar program. All these students are in their low 20s and gave up their holiday time to participate in the programs. For all of them, their academic performance will not be affected by not attending the programs. Yet they have not only turned up but have enthusiastically committed themselves to creating projects that will benefit their university and/or the broader community. Sometimes I hear people of my generation (Generation X) or from the Baby Boomers complain about Generation Y. "They aren't like us", they bemoan. "They simply aren't committed to anything other than themselves!" they complain. Well, Gen Y aren't like us. That is okay because they shouldn't be. Otherwise we'd be stuck in some sort of time vortex. However, Gen Y are committed, very committed to helping to create a better world. Just like the older generations, there are sufficient numbers of committed Gen Ys who are there 'having a crack' at creating a better world. And they are doing it right now. I have the evidence of this because I am lucky enough to be able to work with them and the student projects that I have described above are practical examples of Gen Y hard at work. So, Gen X and Baby Boomers, don't worry, our future is in safe hands! Please feel free to share your experiences of the positive work that Gen Y are doing to create a better world. 9
  15. 15. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Service excellence comes in many forms Service is not just a traditional retail experience. Examples of service include the willingness to allow direct reports to make mistakes so that they can learn (even though you could have done the task faster and to a higher quality yourself). Cleaning up after yourself in the lunch room. Picking up rubbish in the foyer and placing it in the bin. Letting others go first through a doorway. Offering your seat to someone not as healthy as yourself when riding public transport. Listening to a colleague when they just need another human’s ear. These are all simple examples of service. Service can be everywhere and it can be nowhere. How present is service in your life? Please feel free to ask questions and/or to make a comment on this article. 10
  16. 16. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Couple On The Run Blog - Abbott frenzy misses the point Today I refer you to one of my favourite blogs, Couple On The Run. Andrew's article Abbott Frenzy Missess The Point focusses on the media and political peressure directed toward Australian Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Politically I am not a fan of Abbott, but he has every right to stand for what he believes, just as I do. He also has every right to exercise 10 hours per week and compete in and complete an Ironman Triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2km run). The suggestion that he has not focussed on his job to be able to do this is absurd. The article, from Sue and Andrew O’Brien is included below. Politicians and journalists have really *^#%ed me off this weekend. So much so that I am breaking our golden rule and using this blog for a rant. For those not in Australia this weekend you are missing a media frenzy as the leader of the Federal Opposition, Tony Abbott, completed the Australian Ironman in Port Macquarie in 13 hours 57 minutes. (The winner did 8 hours 23 minutes and 54 seconds). Last Sunday as I flew from Australia to New Zealand I read of a government minister criticising the opposition leader as not being committed to his job as he spends too much time working on his fitness. Feeling sorry for the desperate minister I thought nothing further of it as I focussed on a busy work week which included 14 hours a day assisting NZ’s biggest company get closer to their customers and an hour a day running or in the hotel gym. Returning to Melbourne on Friday I was struck by the continued criticism of Abbott and what I see as ridiculous, uniformed criticism. As members of the media joined a rattled government the comment moved beyond misguided political opportunism to downright ignorance. My passion for this 11
  17. 17. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 subject comes from personal experience having made the transition from couch potato and bar fly to being fit and healthy. An interview with a respected journalist for an article to appear in a national publication really made me think as we explored Tony Abbott Syndrome and reached the conclusion that my passion for running was a positive that established a wonderful life style rather than some mid life crisis akin to fast cars and women. As a 30 year old I was “good” for a hundred cigarettes a day. As a 42 year old I run my first Oxfam Trailwalker: 100 km’s in less than 14 hours. As a 30 year old I regularly drank 20 beers a day, now days it is regularly 20 km’s a day and only 20 beers a year. As a 20 year old 2nd year university was the best 5 years of my life, as a fit, healthy marathon running 35 to 42 year old I completed 3 masters and a doctorate while working 60 plus hours a week as a CEO of a $50m per year company. The point is fit bodies lead to fit minds, less waste, more productivity and a dramatic increase in quality of life. The problem is captured in the old story of the boiled frog unaware of the water heating around it until it explodes and our inability to realise what we are missing out on when we are not physically fit. The outdated and overly macho view that to be a good leader you need to work all the time and not take time to work on your health and fitness lacks credibility when presented by jealous, over weight and exhausted looking politicians who by all reports are failing to deliver, in part, as they are so exhausted and unfit they have lost their productive spark. It is down right un Australian when the person suggesting working on our fitness is the Federal Health Minister. Shame Nicola, Shame. We should not forget our own experiences where it is almost never the person who spends the most time in the office that is the most productive or effective. When we are tired and lack fitness it takes longer to do things and we don’t think as well. Taking on a physical challenge helps us develop a range of characteristics that enhance our leadership ability and contribution to our families, workplaces and communities. Stamina, planning, vision, determination, discipline, mental toughness and the ability to overcome obstacles are a few that come to mind from personal experience in running almost 50 marathons over 10 years including a couple of Comrades 89km in South Africa. 12
  18. 18. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Neil Mitchell on national television this morning says Abbott does not have the time to train 10 hours a week. Let’s think about that 1 hour a day Monday to Friday and 2 to 3 hours per day on Saturday and Sunday. You must be kidding, so many people spend an equivalent amount of time drinking coffee, sitting in restaurants, purchasing and consuming alcohol and or sitting on the couch watching TV. Am I better off watching an hour of TV each day and a movie each day on the weekend or doing some exercise? Unbelievable is the suggestion that 10 hours exercise a week is too much. Why doesn’t the nanny state make it illegal to sit on the couch and compulsory to walk an hour a day! (just kidding on the nanny state idea, I’m passionate about personal responsibility) An article in Melbourne’s Sunday Age also took a one sided and in my view did those involved a real disservice by focusing on what it takes to compete at the top and highlighting “sore legs” and other participation soreness. One of the problems we face in encouraging people to be active is that too often we hear about what it takes to be an elite athlete rather than a participant. Abbott did Iron man in 14 hours not sub 9. The training required and the impact is different. I can run lots of marathons in 4 hours but not if I am trying to run 3 hours. People often approach us saying they don’t exercise as it hurts. Some muscle fatigue is a small price to pay for being fit and healthy. My legs hurt for two days after a marathon and I love it. I love it more than the sore back and aching joints I lived with when I spent life on a bar stool and lounge room couch. And another thing. Who wants to tell the wonderful people training for the Melbourne Trailwalker in a few weeks that they are wasting their time preparing to cover 100 km’s in less than 48 hours and raise money for Oxfam in the process. As a mid life runner Sue is the only fast woman I enjoy chasing and I hope to keep chasing her along marathon courses and training runs for many years to come. Once you have read the article please feel free to post a comment. 13
  19. 19. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Seeking Inspiration - Yes Iʼm asking for help! Have you ever had a big goal and you were sailing along with your plan and everything was going well, when all of a sudden your plans were thrown into chaos? Yet your goal remained. Instead of looking like Mt Dandenong your goal now looks like Mt Everest! I am in one of those situations. Today marks the 14th day since I had my appendix out. In 18 days I am due to run the Sri Chinmoy Marathon at Williamstown in Melbourne on Sunday 30th May. My challenge is that my preparation has been severely interrupted by my hospitalisation. I normally have a training peak three to five weeks before a marathon, and then reduce my load over the last three weeks leading up to the run. Clearly I have not been able to do this as I was in hospital. So far I have managed two eight kilometre runs since leaving hospital and both times I have pulled up quite sore. D'OH! I'm not an elite runner. My average time is just over 3hrs 50 mins for the eight marathons I have completed so far. Normally I am sore for two to three days after a marathon and I'm back running within five days. My personal plan includes completing at least two marathons per year. this is my first for this year so I'm keen to 'chalk it up.' Providing a person has done some training and has a reasonable level of fitness I have learnt that a marathon is by far and away a mental challenge. I use the Jeff Galloway method of running, so I use a combination of running with short walks throughout the marathon (that is what the ancient Greeks did). I know that physically I will be able to run this marathon. I know that this time I will most likely be sore for five days rather than two to three and I might not be able to go for my 14
  20. 20. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 next run for seven days after the run. I also know that throughout this run my biggest challenge will be my mind. It is for this reason that I am seeking inspiration from you. I am not asking you to run with me (for some of you that may be an option). Rather I'm seeking inspiration from you in multiple ways. Even if only one person takes up the challenge to run in the 5km event on Sunday May 30th, I'll be inspired to push through my mental challenges to complete the run. You see, running is relative. If someone hasn't run or walked 5kms for a long time, then that might seem like Mt Everest to them, just like this 42.2kms is looking like Mt Everest to me at the moment. I'm already lucky that Andrew and Sue O'Brien from Couple On The Run and the inspiration for our Partnerunning brand will be running on the day. They are completing 10 marathons in 2010! So, how can you provide inspiration? Sign up for one of the 5km, 10km, 21.1km or marathon events at the Sri Chinmoy Race at Williamstown on Sunday 30th May. Registration information is available here. If you are unavailable on Sunday 30th May, sign up for any event that may be a challenge for you. Come down to Williamstown and show your support for everyone running in all the events. I hope to cross the finish line between 11am and 11:30am. Forward this request on to others you know who might be interested in helping. Send your best wishes by leaving a comment on this blob. If you do sign up for an event or if you plan to come along on the day, please let me know by emailing - because knowing that you are doing something will help to inspire me to overcome my mental demons on the day. So, please inspire me and continue or commence your own personal fitness journey along the way! 15
  21. 21. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 PS The photo with this article includes my good friend Jim Poussard and myself completing the Sri Chinmoy Marathon last year. Jim is running the Great Ocean Road Marathon this weekend - it is 45 kms, 'Go Jim!' 16
  22. 22. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Seeking Inspiration - The Result! Hi folks, Thanks to all of you for sending your inspirational stories to help me through the marathon this morning – I certainly needed them and they came in very handy. As I expected it was my legs more than anything else that caused me some concern from the 25km mark. With my training having been interrupted due to the operation the last 17kms or so were always going to be a challenge. I did make it which is what I planned to do – even though my time wasn’t very flattering, but in all honesty I don’t do these runs because of the time. Please know that during that period I thought of each of you and your stories. • Carolyn who had spent two full days fasting and meditating a couple of weeks ago and also reminded me that there are many people in our world who walk further than I ran this morning every day, just to collect dirty water to drink • Hazel who shared that she had dropped two dress sizes and had inspired who partner to start walking with her, even on wet mornings! • Steve who ran the Melbourne Marathon last year with just 4 weeks training! • Hong who climbed Mt Oberon at Wilson’s Promontory and opened up a whole new world of hiking and outdoor adventure for herself • Cheryl who ran the 8km event this year at the Mother’s Day Classic and who has now inspired a number of her colleagues to run a 10km event in Brisbane in August this year • Pamela who is currently in the USA and who vowed to walk 10kms around New York today to be kindred spirits in exercise • Heidi who has started a walking and running program with a friend 17
  23. 23. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 I would also like to thank everyone else who sent messages of encouragement, including some coming through as text messages this morning just before we started the race. The messages were very helpful – I really do believe that they can ‘send energy’ because it takes energy for you to send them, and if everything really is connected, then the energy is available to be used. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it! I was lucky enough to run with Andrew and Sue O'Brien for just over half of the race. An article appeared in today's (Sunday 30th May) Herald Sun (and associated newspapers) in the Body & Soul section about Andrew and Sue and Partnerunning - check it out if you get a chance. So, once again thank for your inspiring stories and messages of support. I’m not sure that I would have gotten around the 42.2km course today without them. Thank you. 18
  24. 24. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 What sayings guide you on a day to day basis? ayings can be very powerful and act as a guide for our lives. Two Australian sayings that I find very powerful and very useful for helping me to live my life are: 1. 'Get fair dinkum'; and 2. 'Have a crack!'. 'Get fair dinkum' means that you need to be honest with yourself. Don't fool yourself into thinking that everything is okay if it isn't, and don't go thinking everything is terrible if it isn't. Appraise both the good and the bad and most of all, be honest! This enables you to be honest with others, an important trait for building relationships. 'Have a crack' means, 'to have a go' or 'to take action.' People often miss out on achieving what they want in life because they are afraid of what might go wrong. The saying, 'have a crack!' reminds me to focus on what I want to achieve, and to go for it! Usually the worst thing that could happen from having a crack is nowhere near as bad as not being prepared to give yourself a chance of creating whatever it is that you want. So, get fair dinkum and have a crack! What sayings guide your life? Please share them with our community. 19
  25. 25. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Great service comes in many forms Service is not just a traditional retail experience. Examples of service include the willingness to allow direct reports to make mistakes so that they can learn (even though you could have done the task faster and to a higher quality yourself). Cleaning up after yourself in the lunch room. Picking up rubbish in the foyer and placing it in the bin. Letting others go first through a doorway. Offering your seat to someone not as healthy as yourself when riding public transport. Listening to a colleague when they just need another human’s ear. These are all simple examples of service. Service can be everywhere and it can be nowhere. How present is service in your life? Quote from a participant in one of our research programs. I’ve experienced great service from my parents, from the local convenience store and the volunteers working at the drink stations in the running events that I participate in. I’ve also received great service from high class hotels. Great service is everywhere, if you’re prepared to see it! Please feel free to add a comment to this article. 20
  26. 26. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Great service connects customers to your business Service quality pioneers Zeithaml, Berry and Parasuraman (1985) identified that service quality, reduced service problems and the capacity to promptly and appropriately resolve problems when they arise are significant factors that enhance customer retention, loyalty and referrals. The challenge here is to do these three core service activities in a cost effective manner that either meets or exceeds the real expectations of the customer. As you will read in another article this does not mean providing a ‘5 Star’ level of service when the customer is expecting a ‘2 Star’ level. It means what it says – providing the level of service expected by the customer at a fair exchange for that service. Think about it. You are already a potential expert on good service. “What, I’m an expert?” you might say. A potential expert. You spend an enormous amount of your time as a customer, whether in a retail or hospitality context, or as a customer of other colleagues while at work. You know when you receive good service, just as you know when you receive bad service. You know what good service ‘feels like’. Therefore, you also know what poor service feels like. It then follows that good service that helps people to feel good helps them to stay connected to the organisation. Please feel free to comment on this article. 21
  27. 27. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Discover the five service gaps Parasuraman, Zeithaml & Berry introduced the SERVQUAL framework in 1985. It is essentially a process that describes five potential service gaps that organisations should minimise if they want to be known for consistently delivering service excellence. Minimising each gap contributes to an organisation’s capacity to meet or exceed the expectations of its customers. The gaps are described below with an examples provided to help you to understand what each gap 'looks like'. Gap 1 The Management Perception Gap A gap can exist between managements understanding of customer expectations and the actual expectations of customers. If management get this wrong, everything else they do will be wrong and the service gap is likely to grow exponentially. Organisations must do everything in their power to minimise the chances that Gap 1 exists. Example Coca-Cola has dominated the soda drink market for decades. yet, in the early 1980s Coca-Cola decided to introduce 'New Coke' (some of you will remember, many of you won't.) The taste for 'New Coke' was supposed to be a modern taste 22
  28. 28. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 that the 'consumers wanted.' Nothing could have been further from the truth. Coke sales plummeted. Management had clearly misunderstood their market and had made a series of poor decisions as a result of their misunderstanding. If you create Gap 1 then everything else you do as an organisation will take you further away from providing what your customers want. It is for this reason that Jack Welch, former CEO of GE said: Quote “Service. If you haven’t got it, don’t even bother getting out of bed if you want to be a senior leader. It’s such an entry level requirement it isn’t even worth talking about it.” (Jack Welch, ex GE CEO) Gap 2 The Quality Service Standards Gap It is one thing to be able to understand the expectations of those you serve. A gap can then emerge if your translation of those expectations into service standards is inaccurate. Service standards are effectively the systems and processes that you put into place to ensure that you can consistently meet the expectations of your customers. This is very easy to get wrong and requires a high understanding of the expectations of your customers, as well as a high level of understanding of how your organisation works if you are to minimise this gap. Example An example of Gap 2 in action is provided by a quote from a research participant. The person was a fitness centre manager. In this example, notice how it connects to the concept of Structure Drives Behaviour. Quote (Research participant) The members said that they wanted the gymnasium to open at 6am. So I employed the staff to start their shift at 6am. The members were still not happy. I was confused. When I asked them again why they weren’t happy they said, “We told you that we wanted the gym open at 6am, not ‘opening’ at 6am. There’s a difference!” Finally I understood. The staff would be paid to start at 5:45am so that the gym would be truly open as had been requested. I had been wrong. I had misinterpreted the expectations of the members. 23
  29. 29. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Gap 3 The Service Delivery Gap After all the systems and processes have been created, both the automated and human elements of the system must do what they are supposed to do. System errors or breakdowns and humans not doing what they are supposed to do can create immediate service gaps. No system or human is perfect or infallible. As such your organisation must consider what it will do if a Service Delivery Gap does occur. Example A retail operation requires staff to work from a start time to a finish time. Usually there will be a staff member who is responsible for opening the retail outlet at a certain time. If that staff member is late then the retail outlet may not be open when customers expect it to be open. In this example, human error is responsible for creating a service gap. Quote (Research participant) Ultimately your staff have to do the right thing. It’s important to have the best systems and processes that you can, but ultimately your staff have to do the right thing. They have to properly implement what they are supposed to do. Gap 4 The Market Communication Gap If you say that you will respond to online customer feedback within 24 hours and you consistently take 48 hours to do it, then you have created a Market Communication Gap. Example The local barber who cuts my hair has two signs out the front of his barber’s shop. One sign says that the shop will be open at 8:30am. The second says 8:45am. The barber is rarely there before 9am. He has no idea how many people have looked in his window when he wasn’t open when he advertised that he would be. My expectations are consistently not met. One day a new barber will move into an empty shop in the shopping strip. What do you think I will do? Quote (research participant) Sorry mate. I know that I said sorry the last couple of times but my car broke down and I had to wait for my wife. Sorry mate. 24
  30. 30. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Gap 5 The Perceived Service Quality Gap The final gap is the perceived service quality that the customer has of their total experience in relation to their original expectation of the product or service. Ideally there is no gap here or, if there is a gap, it is in the context that the perceived service level is higher than original expectations. Unfortunately, the four previous gaps can create a significant negative gap at Gap 5. Examples I describe this gap like this because service providers are often unaware that this gap exists. As such they don't do anything to close this gap. This leaves them exposed to a competitor or new service provider from appearing to 'steal' their customers 'overnight'. The reality is that their customers were simply waiting for a better alternative to 'pop up', so when it did they 'defected' as quickly as they could. Do you think my barber (Gap 4 above) is at risk of this occurring? A similar gap can exist for internal service providers. I am aware of teams of internal staff who have failed to provide high service standards to others within their organisation. When their service has been 'outsourced' those staff and team members have become indignant. "How dare they outsource our department!". Yet they had not been prepared to 'see' other staff as their 'customers' and treat them accordingly. Quote (Research participant) You know they don’t really have to do all that much. If they just met my expectations I’d be happy. But they really don’t seem to care. And as soon as I get a chance to go somewhere else I will. And they won’t even know what happened to me. It’s a shame, really. It doesn’t have to be that way. Your challenge is to be aware of these five gaps and to be pro-active in managing them. This is a never-ending activity because customer expectations can change 'overnight'. Please share your experiences with relation to how you have managed the five service gaps. 25
  31. 31. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Powerful questions for mentors Mentoring is experiencing a resurgence as more and more people are recognising its benefits, from both mentor and protege perspectives. Recently I facilitated a mentoring workshop for one of Australia's largest universities. Part of the workshop included a Strategic Conversation. The purpose of which was to generate some resources for the 60 mentors present. One of the most powerful resources for a mentor is to be able to access questions that can be used within a mentoring session. In this context, the Strategic Conversation that I hosted included the following question: "As mentors or proteges, the most powerful and effective questions that we have asked or have been asked are...?". I have received permission to be able to share the output of the Strategic Conversation with you. Please click here to download the file. I would like to be able to continually add to this list. In this context, please share the most powerful questions that you have been asked or have asked in the context of a mentoring relationship. PS My first book What Really Matters For Young Professionals! is due for release on July 30th, 2010. In this context I have a pre-release Special Offer available. Over my journey a number of mentors provided me with books as gifts to assist me with my development. If you are a mentor then this may be the perfect gift for your proteges, especially if they are in the first ten years of their career. You might like to consider an even more powerful gift which is the Online Course that supports the book. 26
  32. 32. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 How ʻ2 Starsʼ and ʻ5 Starsʼ can both be examples of great service Many people think that good service is only provided ‘at the top end’ of the service star scale. In other words, if I’m running a 2 star motel then only a low level of service should be provided. In the context of WHAT is provided and WHAT is paid, this is true. But the service experience can still be above expectations. For example, the person greeting me may be genuinely happy to check me into my room. When provided directions to my room I am asked if I am interested in knowing where some cheap but good quality food can be found. In responding yes to that question I am provided with the appropriate information, which includes a range of discounts should I choose to eat at those places. (Later, when I do choose to eat at the place, my discount is honoured and the food is reasonable for what I have paid for it). I go to my room, the key works and my room is fresh and clean. I have asked for a non-smoking room and there is no evidence that the last person who used it smoked like a chimney. The information booklet is up to date and includes relevant information about public transport, taxis, health clubs and eateries. When I check out the staff member is courteous, quickly processes my payment and bids me farewell. If you wish to consider a poor ‘2 Star’ experience, simply go back over this story and reverse each experience that has been described. It would not be very difficult to translate this ‘2 Star’ story into a ‘5 Star’ story. The differences in the experience will relate to what we have paid and what we then expect to receive in return. The room may be bigger. The location may be more convenient. The bed may be bigger with higher quality linen. Internet access may be available. The fixtures and fittings may be of higher quality. An on-site restaurant and 24 hour in room service may be available. Laundry services may be available and a concierge service may be available to assist us with any needs or enquiries that we may have regarding the hotel of surrounding area. Each ‘Moment of Truth’ (MoM) can contribute to our expectations not being met if the experience of the MoM is not up to our expectations. In this way, 2 Star service can be great service and 5 Star service can be poor service. It all depends on the perceived experience of the customer. 27
  33. 33. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Quote “Visits are not limited to the public areas. I head for the heart of the house, too. There’s method to my madness. If I see smiling faces and well-scrubbed surfaces behind the scenes, I know that the rest of the hotel more than likely is doing just fine.” (J.W.Marriott Jr from his book, ‘The Spirit to Serve’) What are your thoughts on this topic? 28
  34. 34. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 How the power of Team Talk can help the Australian Socceroos Major international sporting events like the World Cup create a terrific opportunity to focus on the elements that enable high performance. These elements are applicable not only to elite and social sport, but also organisational teams. Specifically the Australian Socceroos Round One loss to Germany by a record breaking four goals to nil score line highlights the power of team talk. The Australian media have gone into a frenzy debating whether this current Socceroos team has what it takes to create success at the World Cup. Success, in the media's eyes and re-enforced by the Australian Socceroos themselves is reaching the competitions final 16 teams. Imagine the possible team talk in the Socceroos change rooms regarding next Monday's game against Ghana. "If we lose this game it is all over. Our World Cup Campaign will be finished. Our reputations will be equal to mud if we get thrashed again." Such team talk creates a focus on the outcome rather than the moment, and also creates a strong and vivid image of failure. Humans have a remarkable capacity to focus on what they don't want and then go ahead and create it. When I ride my motorbike I have to be aware of the truck that is coming toward me. But if I focus on the truck I will ride my motorbike straight into the truck (the same is true for bicycles - you travel where you look). Clearly I don't want to ride my motorcycle into a truck, so I have to become disciplined at focussing on where I do want to go, while being aware of the truck at the same time. The same is true for teams and team talk. Your team talk reflects what you are focussing on. As the image highlights, team talk leads to team image which then 29
  35. 35. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 affects performance. Negative team talk leads to a negative team image which, like a magnet, draws the team's performance in that direction. Of course the performance then re-enforces that the team talk was accurate and a vicious cycle is created. Team talk by itself does not guarantee success. Nothing does. But positive team talk that focuses on what the team can control, such as its systems and processes when balanced with the right work or t r a i n i n g i n c re a s e s t h e chances that success will be achieved. When negative team talk is present it significantly increases the probability that failure will occur. In this context teams must focus on what they can control and the team talk that relates to success. If the Australian Socceroos are to achieve the success they desire then focussing on their team talk is a powerful approach to adopt. I believe Henry Ford was right when he said, "If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right either way!". What is the team talk present in your teams? Is it positive? Is it negative? Is it focussed on what you can control? Please feel free to comment on this article. 30
  36. 36. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Do you listen with your ʻAnswer runningʼ? Last night I was facilitating a workshop for mentors for Monash University, Australia's largest university. Throughout the workshop the participants had been holding a conversation regarding the importance of listening. One participant suggested that if you listen, "...while your answer is running in your head, then you are not listening at all." I had never heard this description for not listening and it struck me a s a clear example of what really does go on when people are supposed to be listening. Often people are simply waiting for the other person to stop speaking so that they can 'take their turn' and now say what they have been preparing to say. Recently I facilitated a development half day for an executive team and one of the activities that I facilitated was called Turning Points. In that activity participants share significant events in their lives that, if they had not occurred the person believes that they would not be in the physical room on that day; they would be somewhere else in the world because their life would have travelled a different path. Due to the personal nature of the stories I ask the participants to, "Do whatever it takes to listen with one hundred percent attention". After people have shared their stories we then talk about the quality of listening that was occurring throughout the conversation. Participants commonly report that they couldn't believe how much they 'heard'. When asked why they heard so much, the regular reply is, "I wanted to hear what they had to say. I wanted to give them my full attention. I didn't have any opinions about what they were saying so it made it easier to listen". I then ask team members if the quality of listening that they just experienced is regularly present in their team meetings. "Rarely, if ever" is the normal response. 31
  37. 37. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Listening is regularly listed as one of the most important characteristics of effective leaders. So how do you listen with 100 percent attention when you do have an opinion about what the other person is saying? A couple of techniques to consider are to consciously make the choice to listen to someone. You might even say to yourself, "I am going to listen to this person with one hundred percent attention." Choosing to listen to someone from the perspective of trying to understand fully what they are saying is a powerful way to enhance your listening. It re-enforces that your own opinion is not worth saying of even fully formulating until you have understood the other person to the best of your ability. Statements such as, "What I think you just said was..." are ways of checking your understanding. Listening is not easy. In fact my view is that it is the most difficult of all the skills of effective leadership. yet it is also a critical skill to master. So it is worth making the effort to: 1. Make the conscious choice to listen; and 2. Listen first to understand. What practical tactics to you use to enhance the quality of your listening, particularly when you are in team meetings and you do have strong views about the topic? 32
  38. 38. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Service excellence involves exceeding expectations People expect good service. Period. Often, their expectations are not met. Too often. Just think about your own experiences as a customer. How often are your expectations met? How often are they exceeded? Customers expect their expectations to be met. You expect your pay to arrive when it is due. You expect your food to be delivered as ordered within a reasonable timeframe and at the appropriate temperature when you order food at a restaurant or cafe. You expect finance reports to be delivered and inclusive of all appropriate information as scheduled. You expect to be treated as a human being when you visit a government agency, education institution or medical facility. In order to be able to consistently meet expectations, your organisation must aim to exceed expectations. It is likely that there will nearly always be a lag between when you last checked the expectations of those you serve and the actual service that you are providing them. The lag time may include a change in the level of expectations of those you serve. Unless you are aiming to exceed the expectations at the level that you understand them to be, you may not achieve a consistent level of meeting the expectations that you do know exist. This never-ending journey means that exceeding expectations is a challenge. A real challenge. A challenge worthy of your commitment. Is your organisation currently worthy of your commitment? Is your performance worthy of your organisation's commitment to you? Quote “Consistently exceeding the expectations of the customer, personalizing his or her service experience, and continuously improving your product or service so that it creates greater value for the customer produces a level of customer loyalty that cannot be matched by your competitor.” (Theo Gilbert-Jamison, service excellence expert/author) Please feel free to comment on this article. 33
  39. 39. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Being told, “Youʼre Crazy!” is a good thing! Have you ever been told that you are crazy for doing what you are doing? I have. Plenty of times. In fact I've had it said to me so many times now I see it as a good thing! I recall when I first decided to enroll in a post-graduate university program as a part time student, people said, "You're crazy!". When I decided to become the senior coach of a local football team, people said, "You're crazy!". When I decided to study part time at the masters level at university, people said, "You're crazy!". When I decided to form my own business with my business partner, people said, "You're crazy!". When I decided to run my first marathon, people said, "You're crazy!". When I decided to write my first book, people said, "You're crazy!". When I decided to write an ebook and give it away for free, people said, "You're crazy!". When Michelle and I announced that we had our fifth child on the way, people said, "You're definitely crazy!!". When I decided to run a marathon four weeks after having had my appendix removed, yes, you got it, people said, "You're crazy!". This list could go on and on. But it wouldn't be fair to keep going because I think you understand the message. 34
  40. 40. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 I don't know why people say that you are crazy when you tell them that you are doing something that they can't see themselves doing, even if they really wanted to do it. I do know that I have enough evidence to see that statement as a positive. In fact, if people weren't telling me that I'm crazy then I suspect that I wouldn't be striving hard enough to create the life that I desire. You see the only reason that I have done all of the things listed above is that each of those little achievements contribute to me living the life that I desire. As a simple example the reason why I run marathons is so that I can be healthy and fit for my family. Also I am so busy that if I did not have something as big as a marathon to train for, I might not do any training. It is the very fact that a marathon is what it is that makes me prioritise the time to train. But again my real reason is even bigger than that. I want to be an example of health and fitness for my children, so that I can physically do whatever I want to do with and/or for them. My eldest son plays both Under 10 and Under 11 Australian Rules Football for our local club. Recently the umpire did not arrive for the start of the U11 game. Fathers were approached to pick up the whistle. They declined. "I can't do it, I'm not fit enough." is what I heard them say. I even overheard one father say, "Someone else will do it". I raised my hand. "I'll do it." The simple mathematics of the situation was that if someone did not step up to umpire, the game would not happen and the children, including my son, would miss out on a game of football. That's not an outcome that I want. I knew that I was fit enough to do it and I also felt confident enough that I knew enough rules to do a reasonable job. After the game my son thanked me as did many of the other children and their parents. Again, many of them said, "Thankfully you raised your hand because I could never have done that. I'm not fit enough." 35
  41. 41. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 For me, for as much as I can control I never want the statement, "I couldn't do that because I 'm not fit enough" to come out of my mouth and stop me from helping out my children. Michelle and I also talk a lot with our children about the importance of showing initiative. Well, I can't just talk about it, I have to show it too! I never got up that morning expecting to umpire a game of football. Wearing a shirt, jumper and jeans I was clearly not dressed to umpire. But I didn't let that stop me either. Who cares if people laughed at how I was dressed or looked or if they thought I was crazy! The important thing was that I was out there having a crack and helping the boys have a game of football. I can't even begin to tell you the benefits of having completed each of my post- graduate degrees. Once again the important outcome has been that I have been able to live more of the life that I (and my family) desire. I'm not sharing this story because I want accolades. Rather I am sharing it because it is an example of the benefit of taking the time to work on my health and fitness. You never know when opportunities like the one I have described above can pop up, and personally I want to be able to seize them. It is part of the future that I desire and an example of living out my purpose for being healthy and fit. So, what are your examples of when people have told you that you are crazy? What have been the benefits of not listening to those people? Please share your examples with us. 36
  42. 42. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Online Courses Organisations That Matter provides a wide range of Online Courses to assist you in your personal & professional development. Our courses include: Creating a Plan For Personal Success How to Create High Performing Teams Weekly Inspiration University Student Group Work For Success and much more Please visit here for more information. Webinars A webinar is an online seminar. Providing you have access to a computer and the internet, webinars are a simple, easy and cost effective way to access critical information for your personal & professional development. Samples from our webinar program can be viewed here. Please remember to view the videos in fullscreen mode. Please sign up for our newsletter if you would like to be invited to our upcoming webinars. Partnerunning is one of the new service brands provided by Organisations That Matter. Inspired the eight marathons in eight countries in eight weeks achieved in 2008 by Organisations That Matter co-founder Andrew O’Brien and his wife Sue, partnerunning provides a wide range of resources for creating successful relationships. Andrew and Sue have discovered that the systems and processes that they have used to create their own success are relevant to all walks of life, including organisational life. Please click here to find out more about partnerunning. 37
  43. 43. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 Desired Futures Creating plans and establishing systems and processes to create the future that you desire is critical for success at all levels. This is equally true for individuals, partners, teams, departments and organisations. Founded upon the doctoral thesis completed by Andrew O’Brien while he was a CEO, the Desired Futures body of work from Organisations That Matter has been established as its own brand. To access critical information and resources to enable you to create the future you desire, please click here. Accelerating Careers The What Really Matters! series of books and Online Courses have been collated into a single website. To access information specific to each stage of your career, please click the relevant link below: What Really Matters For Undergraduate Students! What Really Matters For Post Graduate Students! What Really Matters For Young Professionals! What Really Matters For Aspiring Leaders! 38
  44. 44. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 What Really Matters For Young Professionals! Are you taking full advantage of your first years of employment? Are you consciously developing yourself and taking full advantage of the opportunities presented to you? Are you fully aware of the opportunities that you have to accelerate your career? If you answered "No" to anyone of these three questions then we can help you to master 15 practices that will accelerate your career. "This book is the definitive tool for young professionals with loads of expert knowledge who need to quickly develop high-level employability skills. It can also be used by managers and HR professionals for induction of their graduate recruits, or young at heard professionals willing to adjust to the contemporary workplace. If you want to succeed in the 21th century as a high-performing individual I recommend you read this book." Renata Bernarde Relationship Manager and Career Counselor Online Checklist Take the Online Checklist for the 15 practices that are explained in the book, What Really Matters For Young Professionals! Your results will help to quickly identify how you can use the book to accelerate your career! This product is both for Young Professionals and/or their employers What Really Matters For Young Professionals! How To Master 15 Practices To Accelerate Your Career is a resource that will help Young Professionals (people in the workforce with between five to ten years experience) to accelerate the speed of their career progress. While Young Professionals are unlikely to suffer the high unemployment rates of previous generations in countries like Australia, this is not the situation in many countries throughout the world. 39
  45. 45. What Really Matters! Volume 2, Number 2, 2010 In the USA and the UK Young Professionals are having significant challenges finding employment. For those who are employed, even in Australia achieving promotions are a challenge because of the high competition for these opportunities. This is why continuous practical development is essential for career progression. What Really Matters For Young Professionals! is both a resource for Yo u n g P r o f e s s i o n a l s and their employers. The ebook and Online Course create a space for practical development to occur. In these challenging economic times employers can provide the course to their Young Professionals. Alternatively, Young Professionals can invest in their own development. At less than the cost of three coffees per week over 16 weeks, the investment for becoming a high performer is minimal. If you are an employer and would like to discuss how the ebook and Online Course can be packaged for your employees, please email . "Wow! This book is jam packed with useful and practical strategies for young professionals wanting to take the next step up in their careers. In a time where young professionals are constantly asking for more mentoring and training, this book is the perfect do-it-yourself manual to improve your employability." Alicia Curtis Printed Book Due For Release July 30th 2010 (Purchase directly from us or ask for it at all good book stores) If you would like to secure your copy of What Really Matters For Young Professionals!, please click here. 40