A while ago a good friend of mine asked more about the products and features I work with. Then he said something: “You put so much passion explaining things and this is not even your working hours”. I can clearly remember when I was answering to that statement a great TED talk was popping into my mind:
In sales, in business and in other aspects of life, I agree that is not the “WHAT?” or the “HOW?” that drives things. Is the “WHY?”! The great examples given there are about Apple products and Dr. Martin Luther King but, in general, if you understand the vision and how you can contribute to that vision, how it connects to you and makes you fill, then it will enable you to sell, to buy, to motivate and to be motivated.
If you never listened to this TED talk, I recommend it and Simon is a great speaker so time flies by
The all time favorite post on my Blog is “Basics of effective communication“. I believe what was said back then still applies. Here are a couple more ideas for you to keep in mind before engaging others, either they are costumers or members of your own team:”First things first”: What is your objective? What is the key message you want to transmit?
Think of your audience, their expectations, their previous knowledge about the subject, their education background, their business culture etc. Write/speak accordingly. First impression counts if you dont know the people and don´t skip many logical steps just to sound smart!
If your changing processes internally, use more than one channel of communication. It helps to pass the message across and useful to get people used to the idea you are trying to implement
To get the message across one must use the right channels, “eg if the staff you are contacting do not have regular access to a computer, do not rely on email as a way of communicating with them. Also consider that different categories of staff prefer to receive information in different ways“.
A very common mistake is: the use acronyms without explaining them. Be mindful that not everyone might know what those are.
Use headlines that explain briefly and accurately what the message is about. Sometimes people don´t have time to read everything at once but it is important that they know what is it about.
Conduct an internal communications audit after the changes have been communicated for a while. Did people got the message? What can be improved? Use your findings to improve the process
Remember that good communication is a two-way process. Provide opportunities for others to communicate their views/thoughts. LISTEN… (I’ll make sure I write a post with my thoughts on effective listening)
As a premise to my post I advise you to watch “Up in the air” with George Clooney. The movie itself is good and with a nice script. I’m not going to tell more about the movie…watch it
I fly a lot but never looked into collecting miles. So, I decided analyse the companies I usually fly with and what they are doing to keep me faithful. I usually fly with Virgin Atlantic, Aerlingus and BMI.
– Excellent service and good planes but most importantly they allowed me with not effort to register my previous flights (last 6 months) and collect points for these flights. Still waiting from an answer from their costumer service regarding collecting miles from a partner flight that changed in the last moment and the tool could not detect my reservation. They set the expectations that an answer can take a month… This is not a race so I’m in no hurry if it is solved. I’ll fly with Virgin as often as I can and the lounge is London is the best I’ve seen.
– I usually divide my flights in Europe between BMI and Aerlingus. I think their program can be very good, they are part of Star Aliance, have lots of partners and decent lounges. The program itself is divided in levels. The first level you can reach out fairly easily and as soon as you are there you get free food and that hooks you and makes understand the advantages of the program. However, they will not be my first choice… Why? I had many flights to claim in the last 6 months and their answer was.. “Send us the boarding passes”. I sent them all the reservation numbers, flight numbers etc. Reservations are not enough??? Can´t they find me in the system?? I was really chocked with their answer as I could not claim flights! I will only fly with them in case there are no Virgin Atlantic flights.
– They are the only company that does direct flights from Dublin-Lisbon-Dublin so.. I’ll keep flying with them when I go home. Now their loyalty program: It´s by far the worse! I registered for their loyalty program just after 2 transatlantic trips to the City of Mexico and San Francisco (over 3 years ago). Back then, they also requested the boarding passes, that obviously I did not have and could not claim anything. I was very upset but registered anyway since I knew I would fly home and to other locations in Europe. Their point system is terrible, very hard to get to the next level and does not hook you at all. The level itself allows you “nothing” apart from lounge access (that they now sell to everyone!). Their range of partners is very limited. I also highlight that the dedicated area in the website is confused and poorly managed
I have to say, their loyalty programs also reflect the opinion I have from the brands themselves:
Virgin: Young and dynamic. They know their space and are moving fine
BMI: Re-structuring but still wit many old fashioned mechanisms, They need an update
Aerlingus: Still old fashioned, with nice people, but needs to be part of an alliance, be more dynamic and step up for the challenges of a new world.
To finalize, I know these companies try to position themselves differently but being low costs or not, a good loyalty program can hook you for good.
“Two heads think better than one”. I truly believe in this saying and I think brainstorms can bring several creative ideas and new ways to approach problems.
It is true that not all brainstorms are successful and they can get very messy and turn into arguments. If you respect some basic rules you can increase the probability of success and avoid unnecessary discussions.
Prepare the room. I personally like white boards, post-its and different color pens. Cut all communications to the outside world (that includes notebooks and mobile phones!) and provide water as people need to vocalize their ideas :);
Set your expectations clearly and give an introduction of what you plan to achieve.
Have a moderator (that is not a contributor). His/her goal is to keep people focused on the problem at hands;
Get a heterogeneous group and I always think small groups are better to manage (around 10 people)
Give a few minutes for individuals to think on their own ideas and write them in a post-it and explain the purpose of the color pens (good to divide the ideas into groups). After a certain time, the moderator puts them all together in the board. Encourage people to write all their ideas, even if they can foresee roadblocks to their success
The golden rule is: Do NOT debate the ideas themselves. You can only in witch group they belong
I thinks these tips would help you get one good and creative idea for your problem.
I recently read “What is Strategy?” by Michael E. Porter (Harvard Business Review) and that gave me the idea to write a post mentioning briefly the concepts discussed in that document. Some people might claim that the article is outdated after more than 10 years but I really enjoy it and believe that it is still very much up to date.
From the article is it’s clear that the author separates both concepts but both are essential for a company if they want to achieve superior performance.
Operational Effectiveness, in theory, is no more than performing similar activities better than your rivals. They can easily be copied but that should not dissuade companies from doing so. Constant improvement ensures superior profitability.
Strategy on the other hand is more about performing different activities or, similar activities in different ways. “Strategy is the creation of a unique and valuable position, involving a different set of activities”. This can hardly be imitated .
Continue to read if you want to know why and are interested in the concepts of “Strategic positioning”, Trade-offs” and “Fit“.
A broader user base with greater discrepancy between user and designer in terms of skills & expectations
System components related to usability are developed independently by specialized teams
Product development emphasis on machine or system, not on the person who is the ultimate end user
Design of usable systems is a difficult endeavor, yet many organizations treat it as if it were just common sense.
* Rubin, J. Handbook of Usability Testing, Wiley, New York, 1994.
Although these conclusions were applied to the ‘offline’ business they also can be extrapolated to the online one. When developing a product or a system that it is intended to be used by a Human we should focus on: