- Passionate attention to all customers, including the ones future customers. I dragged along a friend who doesn’t climb, and had no intention of doing so. She instantly felt welcome, even though climbing up the wall until then was something she only does at business meetings. Your customers may come in many forms and will have different needs. See the world from their perspective – are they confused? Scared? Stressed? Finding it hard to park? At the Wall you feel safe and at ease. And yes, of course, she climbed. And is now hooked.
- Create a happy place where staff are as engaged as you are in looking after customers with care. Your staff must feel like a really core part of your baby business. Get them on board and make sure to find ways of harnessing all their bright ideas about how to make your project a success
- Know your customers intimately before you start. Alan and Brian really understand their market, and are well networked. They already understood exactly what climbers want and immediately ran simple high impact events that have built up loyalty, traffic to The Wall and loads of Word of Mouth publicity, always the most powerful form of marketing. This also helps you create a sense of community and shared values among your customer base, so your customers stay longer and believe in what you do. Happy customers come back.
- Be clever about how to position and communicate what you offer: .The Wall makes canny use of social media and press coverage to get the story out in a more targeted and dynamic way than any ad ever will. Network, but be savvy about how you use that precious network.
- Know your competition equally intimately, know when to compete (and how) and when to collaborate. Sometimes collaboration is the right strategy – work together and instead of splitting a new small market you can grow it together, creating greater awareness by acting as a group and attracting more people to a new service or product.
- Good team - make sure all the practical stuff is under control. The top team here includes a marketing whizz and an employment law specialist. They have team skills to make sure the business is set up on a sound financial footing, property and planning skills and expertise to make sure design and operations are top class.
- Finally – do something you love. The chances are you will be very good at it!
- Communicating: explicit vs. implicit
- Evaluating: direct criticism vs. indirect criticism
- Leading: egalitarian vs. hierarchical
- Deciding: consensual vs. top down
- Trusting: task vs. relationship
- Disagreeing: confrontational vs. avoidance
- Scheduling: linear-time vs. flexible-time
- Persuading: applications-first vs. principles-first
We began our Six Word Wisdom series in June of last year. Since then we have spoken to a variety of thinkers in the field of management and organisational development to ask them to condense for us their advice for business into just six words... It's building up to be quite a collection....we thought it was time for a recap. So what have our contributors said?
They have pointed out the importance of taking account of the individual when trying to build succesful organisations:
Build the Organisation of Your Dreams - Prof. Garreth Jones
Everybody counts - Develop the human now! - Doug Silsbee
They have pointed out the need for all businesses - of all sizes - to take account of the power of big data and analytics:
Learn to compete with Data. Now. - Dr. Thomas C. Redman
And they have told us that we are not in Kansas anymore and that we have to stay agile and focus on the differentiated value of what we are offering:
Rewrite your playbook for transient advantage - Prof Rita McGrath
Develop a compelling customer value proposition - Prof. John Fahy All in all 30 words that say a lot. We'll be continuing to grow the series as we call on the expertise of those in our network.[post_title] => 30 words your business needs to hear? Friday Blog Roundup [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 30-words-business-needs-hear-friday-blog-roundup [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 21:17:23 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 21:17:23 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => /?p=6304 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
The Nature of Networks Within Organisations
Whether we’re talking about the evolution of online social networks or the importance of effective networking to our careers and improving business practices, the word network takes on various nuances of meaning and sometimes we forget the true importance of a well-functioning network.
‘Network’ is a word which has become a staple of our daily vocabulary. Whether we’re talking about the evolution of online social networks or the importance of effective networking to our careers and improving business practices, the word itself takes on various nuances of meaning and sometimes we forget the true importance of a well-functioning network.
Recently I had the great honour of speaking at the Irish Management institute (IMI) Talent Forum, where I talked about the nature of networks within organisations. Together with Annie McCallum, (Head of Executive Development, Careers at Associated British Foods) we spoke about how successful organisations leverage their employee networks for enhanced performance.
Managing talent is a major issue facing businesses across the globe, but it’s crucial to bear in mind that without a working organisational structure, talent will not be utilised or nurtured properly, leading to frustration and negativity among the workforce.
I’m a firm believer that network structures within organisations are much more beneficial than the traditional hierarchal structure. By implementing a network structure, which pairs various elements of the management team with staff in many other roles, connectivity between high performers can be managed more effectively.
Factors Causing Silos
As part of our talk at the IMI, we had a very productive table discussion where participants thought about the factors which cause the development of silos and too much hierarchy in organisations. Some of the interesting reasons given were: a lack of common purpose, different compensation structures, hierarchy preventing collaboration, and unconscious bias – gravitating towards people who are like us.
These issues are common in most organisations, and there are various ways to overcome them but some of the most effective solutions can be derived from the network structure. When an organisation is set up in this way, individuals can use their network in a more targeted fashion; reaching into their network when overwhelmed or facing a big challenge.
Organisations and Networks
At an organisational level, changing our approach to staffing projects can help reconfigure the network. Choosing the same people, who are generally ‘nodes’ of communication, perpetuates the same people turning up, causing them to be overwhelmed. Picking differently from the middle tier and implementing rotation programmes can be a helpful approach.
As part of our workshop, Annie and I used case studies to show what successful organisations do differently when it comes to employee networks.
Over time we have found that organisations who do better tend to manage the centre better, meaning they know when someone is overloaded.
Effective organisations know how to manage the fringe and they understand how to draw people in who might be isolated due to structural or practical considerations.
They bridge silos by integrating networks at the points which will make a difference and add value.
By acting proactively, these organisations encourage people to connect and respond without going through the leader.
Achieving Change in your Network
When looking at your organisation, it’s important to remember that “bigger is not better” when it comes to networks at a personal or organisational level. It is much more nuanced and has been proven that a more targeted approach to developing networks can have a greater impact on organisational and individual performance.
Like all good business practices, building an effective network takes time but there are certain things we can focus on in our own working lives to facilitate this success. In the workshop, we realised that there are some key traits to people who form effective networks. These are people who do things to decrease collaborative overload; they build non-insular networks and, crucially, they are energisers.
Most of us have to work hard at developing these skills, but the first step is simply realising the strength of the potential network around us, and finding out how we can contribute to make it stronger.
Rob Cross, PhD is a professor of commerce at University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce. His research focuses on how relationships and informal networks in organisations can provide competitive advantage in knowledge-intensive work.