Monthly Archives: August 2013

Business etiquette, participation and commitment, as opposed to slash and burn.

Think of a project, any project. Now, remember how it worked out. Did it go as planned? Was there a plan? Seriously, there has to be a plan for things to work out as promised: on time and delivering all the aspects agreed upon, but in a way that helps all those involved to feel respected and valuable in the process. That’s what I call a successful project, but have you considered risk management as part of your plan?

For instance, over the years I learned of a few businesses that have been at the mercy of poor etiquette from their customers. They did their due diligence on everything they could by investigating the clients requirements and checking they were ready to start, got some way in to delivering the product and then… nothing!

Some clients break contact without explaining what is happening to their commitment to their supplier and can be incommunicado for weeks, or worse months. After spending many thousands of dollars, on say, an app, but without making the balance payments for remaining stages of the agreement, this leaves any firm with issues to address if they haven’t protected themselves adequately:

Depending on the intricacy of the required software code, they also have to assign the right level of developer. If the developers involved are contractors they will not be too keen to hang on if the firm is in need of additional contracts to keep them busy and may need to earn money elsewhere. This could really harm a small app firm with a start up workflow, or inconsistent business supply. A pipeline of revenue can take a long time to develop.

If the developers involved are employees it is difficult financially to have people sitting around not making margin. In terms of ensuring available developers are actively working on other client apps, it could work out to be a bit tricky, too.

Then, there are people are on the make, they see an app firm and decide to say they haven’t got what they paid for and try to sue for what they have already paid with damages for loss of projected earnings, irrespective of the reality and without testing the concept of the app in a competitive market.

I have one past anecdote in mind where the client sued the app firm, the case was thrown out as ridiculous. The client didn’t give up and went to another court to make a new claim that the app firm was wrong to make positive encouraging phrases about the positive possibilities of their apps success. The app firm concerned did not guarantee a level for the apps success and they did not project market value. They thought it sounded good, but did not know for certain and were happy to gain the business, so of course they sounded enthusiastic! They never gave any assertion about their fitness to judge such things because that was not their stated business. The app firms business was to take client instruction, work as collaboratively as possible and deliver the app in good time (allowing for additional client requests), on budget. Their opinion on the products’ success was never part of the agreement. It’s a bit like the manufacturers opinion of a car manufacturer could be about a domestic car, they state it has a good engine, with the guidelines that fuel and maintenance will allow its driver to travel from A to B. They may have said it’s popular, other people will buy it and it’s a bit zippy but is not expect it will help Louis Hamilton win the Grand Prix (unless it’s going to get him to the race track). Some outlandish scenario may make it possible and they will be enthusiastic about selling it to you, using language congruent with your wish to purchase it and an understanding of it’s potential among other cars, but that’s all.

Even if a firm has done everything by the book, if they haven’t got enough resources for repeated legal representation to protect their interests, they’re stuffed.

Without legislative protection it is hard to start a black list for a relatively new industry like apps without ending up in court oneself.

What is needed here, in my non-legal, but common sense opinion, in the absence of legislation or advice for scenarios like this, is a broader understanding of what can happen in business through:

A thorough understanding in risk management or paid for resources to satisfy this requirement, as well as actually reframing terms and conditions to cover it in order to cut down the possibility of this kind of aggressive litigation activity, which often results, in my opinion, in exhausting the resources and will of the firms involved in the contract.

I have seen it before and experienced it running a different kind of small business myself, but in my case the issue was just about getting them to pay at all. Lesson learned.

Get your terms and conditions right. Don’t be too trusting because for the 99.9% of decent clients in existence, there are also the other type of slash and burn client.

No one is saying that being in a legal wrangle makes one a bad client. There are good reasons to take firms to court over bad practice, but if it’s just to get an unfair advantage, word may get around – eventually. However, that won’t pay your bills, or keep your business afloat if you are on the receiving end of litigation.

Good coaching helps clients, whether businesses or individuals to look at investigating as many steps in their planned goal as possible, helping them to take these steps agreed by the client, once they are satisfied with the achievability of their own process and their commitment to it. If the client has a real rip roaring idea which turns them into a millionaire overnight, that’s great, but it’s not the coaches responsibility.

Commitment to something like an app as your goal is indicative of whether you, the client truly see the reality of what it means for you, the possibilities from your perspective and your target audience and whether at the outset, you fully understand these things have to be done in tandem with the talents and resources of suppliers: In other words, whether you really want to achieve what you originally state as the client.

Maintaining a good reputation is not like leaving a book one has been reading unfinished behind and expecting to know the ending will work out the way one wants it to – perfectly. If you are an individual or run a business, but you have not got the will to do something fully or at all, examine why, but be nice to yourself about it. Are you leaving something incomplete or undone because it’s not really your goal, or you’re a bit stuck? If you do want to achieve a goal and still run up against things, you may need a coach. Contact me and see if you want to be coached on your goal.

Notice:

The content of this article and others by this author is purely the opinion of Mandy Worrall, owner of Statuam, a coaching service. It is not a legal opinion (or qualification in risk management) and is only intended to serve as a helpful note to those wishing to plan and secure business in any and all fields of endeavour. Mandy Worrall and Statuam do not give advice and take no responsibility for any action or inaction, or omission of any individual or company in pursuance of their business/organisation, or representation of any other business or organisation, either now or in the future, but only wishes to provide issues and personal insights for consideration and discussion.

A great attitude, the odd pork pie and still ‘NO’ x 95

Many people have seen diagrams of business management systems. They are useful guides and goals in planning any business, but sometimes, like a map, they are not enough. Sometimes you need more information in order to have a happy, uncomplicated and productive journey. Like the analogy of the weakest link in the chain, all parts of the business model are important.

I used to be involved in performance assessments for companies who wanted to improve their sales. Part of this was to explain my role as a diagnostic consultant by supplying reports and suggestions after observing and speaking to those involved about how they performed and what they thought their job involved. My reports about individuals and groups within the organisation made proactive suggestions for improvement, but noticed something odd and it happened all too often.

The directors of the companies invariably had little ‘buy in’ to the suggestions and although my follow up service was available to them they did not seem to believe in themselves, or their staff very much – why?

They didn’t really care as long as a certain level of productivity was reached because a lot of them did not want to actually speak to their employees! Were they hiding in their office waiting to be told the whip had been cracked? Did they not think they were part of the same team?

In one company, apart from satisfying some training quota for them, from what I could see and hear they didn’t view the many of people working for them as very important. Each of their employed sales people may as well have had a number on their forehead. It’s true, most bosses simply wanted to plug their staff in and get results. Those who didn’t perform well would be fired eventually. To be fair, the bottom line is true of any business, but if those in the decision making seat are not fully understanding the resources (people potential) available to them, they are missing the point and the profits.

If you have a sales team ask yourself this: When was the last time one of my staff ASKED to receive extra sales training? Then take a look at performance and ask why they haven’t asked you. Are you approachable enough? When was the last time you offered and gave mentoring, or received it yourself? How about coaching?

The status issue of a job plays a big part in the assessment of both employers and employees. A person who sweeps a factory floor won’t be consulted for ideas on the business, but if they didn’t do their job and no one else could or would, the place would be a world of crud in no time.

So what jobs have status? Being the boss! Yes, but being an ineffective or negative boss? No. Being a telesales? …Be honest, mostly no. Being a brilliant telesales making loads of money, in fact so much the boss practically kisses your feet? Much better! However, unless the outside world knows how wonderful you are as a telesales, they won’t care and can’t tell you are successful, unless you actively wave bling at them, including the house and car.

Low status jobs keep the world turning! Call them an account manager with a bit of education = instant promotion.

Picture this: A business sells goods and services, it also has lovely offices and presentable office staff with very attractive receptionists and personal assistants. It has nice décor with real plants and great coffee. Sounds nice. What else does it need? It needs to SELL what it does to keep being able to have all the nice stuff. So why does it treat telesales staff like they don’t matter unless they are making a mint?

Without telesales and customer service staff a lot of companies would die. Not everything can be done on a website or through search engine optimisation.
Believe it.

Do you believe it’s easy for anyone to cold call someone into buying anything?
Anyone can pick up a ‘phone, right?

Wrong. Some people feel blind terror about doing a sales call, because to them it’s like public speaking, but instead of doing it once and going home, they have to do it one hundred times a day. By the way, if your outbound sales team members aren’t doing one hundred outbound calls a day every day, without getting some decent results, you have issues to address.

Do you believe it’s easy to be told ‘No’ ninety five percent of the time, all day, every day?

Aha! You may be thinking only losers get told ‘No’. What about that 5%, which could be more in reality?

As a company what would you say if you had 5% of every days outbound calls resulting in business? What would this mean for you, even using the lowest value service or product? Multiply this by the number of telesales and the weeks of the year. It could be a little or a lot, but it adds up to something valuable.

Example: Low value sale @ $1000.00 x 6 staff x 5 days equals $1.5m+

Holding on to those people is worth it. Improving their performance, even by one percent is worth it – you can rent some very nice office plants for $15,000!

Even people who don’t see the job they are doing as their ‘dream’ occupation can still perform better than most, if they have suitable goals, support and motivation. The turn over of telesales people is massive. All the interviews to hire them, all the advertising, all the training, all the paper work, over and over and over again. You’d think someone would try to keep the good ones. What did people tell me?

They had hired people without sticking power, they were unmotivated, lazy, expendable. What, all of them? Methinks there are porky pies afoot!

The people in the US call pay compensation. This is a confusing term in todays’ society, when most English speaking people only seek compensation for an injury! This ‘compensation’ mentality is a strange revelation of language as most GO! GO! GO! sales training seems to come from the US. Compensation sounds linked to, “I’m going in… Cover me!”

Have you ever thought this at work, or in another situation?

Are you in business to create a limited wealth stream, or is there something more you want? What is it?

What are your priorities for the business you do?
What are your priorities for your place within the business?

Once you reach the golden number of dollars, what comes next, apart from a house, car or holiday?

Sometimes I wonder whether some firms avoid paying for their employees to be coached, just in case they leave. It’s a possibility, but normally they stay long enough to make a positive difference. They use their new perspective to the firms benefit, not just their own. If, after coaching, they do leave, apart from it being inconvenient, the upside is that through consistent coaching and mentoring you get to keep the good ones who will add value to your business. Everything changes, mostly for the good, if you give it a helping hand.

I call it this, you call it that, but is it what you think at all?

I had the romantic idea that Google was named after google buns in the Far Away Tree, written by Enid Blyton.  It wasn’t.  Do I feel negative about the fact I was incorrect?  No, it makes me remember the bun with a large raison in the middle filled with sherbet.  I smile because I read these books to my daughter at bed time.  Who could feel bad about that?

It does, however, raise some interesting questions about what thought processes are at the forefront of a persons mind.  Are they in the right head-space to be coached?  How open are they about their issues and to other ways of receiving, investigating and delivering their priorities?  How do they like to express their ideas?  What words do they use?  What is affecting their lives and possibly their work?

If I do not understand someone, it is my duty to respectfully get the client to explain what they actually do mean.

If a person is worried about being seen to communicate effectively with another person, a boss perhaps, but not ask what they mean, all kinds of goofy things could happen, especially when there are tight deadlines.

Clear communication is, most of us believe, the central part of any conversation or message about information, intent or instruction.  How is it then that it sometimes becomes Chinese whisphers?  I thought they meant this, but they meant something else.  I didn’t fully understand the context or the timing.  My boss talks a lot and I didn’t want to be embarrassed by admitting I tuned out.  I had no idea what she meant when she used that word!

AHA!

Communication is more than context, more than transference of information and feed back.  It also depends on those involved having the right information, delivering it easily and receiving it fully and having the confidence to speak up when needed in a timely manner.  It is about understanding the agenda of all parties to ensure attention to the goal is as full as possible.  It is like a contract, but do not be surprised if someone doesn’t buy in fully.

If you’re the boss, you may ask what credible reason could someone have for not being involved with the conversation the way you want?  The employee may not feel it has much to do with them.  Of course it does!  Really?  How are you communicating with them?  Are you dumping your list down the virtual funnel and expecting everyone to get the point and get involved?  Communication has to be more deliberate and more human than this to get the best results.  They are not robots.  What is your business missing out on because of communication issues?  What communication issues?  Looked at the spreadsheet lately?

Coaches use inference, symbolic reframing, deliberate confusing statements to stun the receiver into accessing their subconscious in a more person friendly way.  These methods can all be used, but the most common type for me as a coach is helping you to reframe – saying something a different way to get a better feeling and action from it, but keeping it based in reality or truth.  This can yield some great results in the practical world.  However, the most important of all these tools is listening.  If someone doesn’t understand you, you can sometimes hear it and see it without them knowing they have expressed it.  That’s part of being a good coach and it helps people understand their leadership process better.

If I have said this once I’ve said it a thousand times to my dear husband, “You are responsible for how you are heard.”  😉

It doesn’t make the boss the notice what you are saying if they do not believe it is relevant, or have not had the opportunity to consider the relevancy.   Sometimes the deliverer of the message may require some help to get the message across.

When communication is in need of improvement for an individual (on one side or the other) it can damage their self esteem because they may believe the person they are communicating with simply does not value their input.  They do not feel significant to the other person.  This can be debilitating and cause less communication, stifling the situation into a deafening silence.  Not good for a friendship, marriage or business.

For those interested, Google was misspelled.  The founders had intended it to be Googol and before that “Back Rub’!  I bet they are very happy with their results now, though.

What is Statuam About?

Having always been involved in helping individuals and businesses improve their standards, initially by turning sales experience into a performance and time management consultancy, I was dissatisfied.  After examining the on-site consultancy relationship with busy firms trying to get the best out of their staff, it didn’t take long to see something I had witnessed before when my job was similar to theirs – disenchantment, struggle and stress.

Recollecting previous sales colleagues and sales training experience and noticing those who did not have the light of sales in their eyes, but had to hit targets anyway, fast forwarding to other firms with staff in exactly the same situation, I realised that there was more to do than prepare reports and give suggestions.

Training as a coach helped me understand the role I wanted was far more valuable and useful.  Yes, there is a place for training and consultancy, but I wanted more!

Have you, however informally, helped someone to learn something?  I do not mean teach, I mean help them to realize they can learn something and give them some basic tools to do it?

Years ago I helped people informally and semi formally to learn and learnt a lot from what happened in the process.  The most wonderful feeling of knowing that giving someone, irrespective of age or position, the belief that they had a right to learn and a right to enjoy doing so, has been one of the most rewarding things in my life.

I too know from intimate experience what it’s like to feel at sea, overwhelmed and embarrassed, like I should be better at something.  It happens to most of us and it’s all right!  Yes, it is!  I also know what being in the wrong job feels like.  It’s shit.  You can try to make the best of it, but if you hate it and don’t want to be there, the only reason you’re doing it is what?  The money?  The security?  You’re expected to do it?

Translate those negative feelings and self-limiting beliefs to an adult in a job they are doing because someone, somewhere along the line gave them the belief that this was what they were supposed to do.

Is this you?

Statuam Coaching isn’t training, consultancy, psychotherapy, counseling, or mentoring, it’s about helping people based in reality, with the will to do it to achieve their goals.  Yes, I have an interest in peoples’ lives, but in the coaching context I am not there to just have a chat, push you into something or wag my finger at you.  I am there to get you to your stated destination. Unlike a chauffeur already knowing the route, it is about you understanding the implications for yourself as the client, not just whizzing down the motorway as efficiently as possible, conveyed to your destination, but not really paying attention.  Isn’t that what gets us in to a mess in the first place?

Goal setting gives you the opportunity to feel positive about the journey, ensuring you have all you need to get you there, in a way which makes sense and is of sufficient value to you.  How’s that glint in your eye these days?

Email: mworrall11@gmail.com

Tell us what you want, what you really, really want!

Who gets coached?  Anyone with a real goal they feel they need help to achieve.

Trying the same thing and getting nowhere because of:

self limiting beliefs

which

breed negative habits of

negative language and

unproductive action

will make you unhappy and may encourage you to give up before

You Have Begun…

Book a no strings introductory appointment with Mandy Worrall, owner of Statuam and see where you want it to go:

mworrall11@gmail.com