CUP OF COFFEE, WARM HUG, DAY OF DAYCARE, CONSULTING FOR A START-UP...
You might have come across #GivingTuesday on your social media feed earlier today. You might have wondered (at least, I did)... what is Giving Tuesday?!
Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement that inspires and encourage us to unleash the power of people and organizations to transform our communities and the world on December 3, 2019 (and every other day... ideally). It was conceived in 2012 with a novel idea - a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past few years, this concept has grown into a global movement that has inspired hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.
People have always found big and small ways (every day) to show appreciation, spread joy, donate, or just do something nice for someone else... without the need of setting aside GivingTuesday or WorldKindness days. But, it is always nice to have a little reminder or nudge... akin to the meeting-reminder that pops-up 15 minutes before the important team meeting! Jokes aside, oftentimes, these acts of kindness go unnoticed or under-appreciated, but every once in a while, these good deeds end up inspiring thousands, or even millions (like a domino effect). Check out this inspiring and thought-provoking Facebook group called Human Kind Stories.
For my part to celebrate Giving Tuesday, I am offering you (the reader) a cup of coffee, a warm hug, day of daycare, or consulting and advisory support for your start-up or small business.
Per a research study, when people benefit from kindness they ‘pay it forward’ by helping others who were not originally involved, and this creates a cascade of cooperation that influences dozens more in a social network. One simple act of generosity, consideration, or thoughtfulness can have a domino effect – eventually touching people you may have never met. In a very real way, a simple act of kindness can expand your positive impact on the world beyond the limitations of your individual reach.
If you have read (or scrolled) thus far, then you must be a good friend or really intrigued by this article. So, I want to share a rather thought-provoking story set in the town of Venice called the "coffee on the wall".
Coffee On The WalL
I sat with my friend in a well-known coffee shop in a neighbouring town of Venice, Italy, the city of lights and water. As we enjoyed our coffee, a man entered and sat at an empty table beside us. He called the waiter and placed his order saying, “Two cups of coffee, one of them there on the wall.” We heard this order with keen interest and observed that he was served with one cup of coffee but he paid for two. When he left, the waiter put a piece of paper on the wall saying “A Cup of Coffee”.
While we were still there, two other men entered and ordered three cups of coffee, two on the table and one on the wall. They had two cups of coffee but paid for three and left. This time also, the waiter did the same; he put a piece of paper on the wall saying, “A Cup of Coffee”.
It was something unique and perplexing for us. We finished our coffee, paid the bill and left. After a few days, we had a chance to go to this coffee shop again. While we were enjoying our coffee, a man who appeared to be rather poorly dressed entered the shop. As he seated himself, he looked at the wall and said, “One cup of coffee from the wall.”
The waiter served coffee to this man with the same customary respect and dignity. The man had his coffee and left without paying. We were amazed to watch all this, as the waiter took off a piece of paper from the wall and threw it in the trash.
Now it was no surprise for us – the matter was very clear. The great respect for the needy shown by the inhabitants of this town made our eyes well up in tears.
Ponder upon the need of what this man wanted. He enters the coffee shop without having to lower his self-esteem… he has no need to ask for a free cup of coffee… without asking or knowing about the one who is giving this cup of coffee to him… he only looked at the wall, placed an order for himself, enjoyed his coffee and left.
Inspired by this story, I am offering two-hour consulting sessions to five different start-ups or small businesses. No payment or future obligations... just send me a message and we get to work! Think of this as my coffee on the wall.
A final thought, we might not be able to see it or measure it, but if we all make a conscious choice to be kind, we can create the kind of world we want to live in. As someone once said, “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
THE MARKETING CATCH-22 DILEMMA
Nearly half (48 percent) of U.S. consumers would use ‘smart-reordering’ services where intelligent sensors in the home pre-empt when a product, such as laundry detergent, is running low and automatically re-orders it on their behalf. Another 36 percent use digital assistants. While the vast majority (89 percent) are satisfied with the experience, 40 percent say it can feel slightly creepy when technology starts to correctly interpret and anticipate their needs.
Hyper-relevance is the next wave of growth for companies operating in consumer industries, but it cannot be achieved without engendering digital trust. To pivot to hyper-relevance, companies should consider:
The B2B selling space is increasingly complex sales process, and changing buyer expectations present new challenges for B2B sales teams. In order to remain competitive and hit revenue goals, it is imperative that sales teams understands the shifting landscape, the factors that influence buyer behavior, and steps they can take to more effectively sell to the 21st-century B2B buyer. Let's start with the five factors that influence the B2B buyer behavior.
To see continued success, sales reps must adapt to better serve the needs of the modern buyer by understanding buyer personas, adding value to the conversation, and engaging buyers early on in the purchase process with relevant content. Learn more about these five factors at the Salesforce blog.
CAN IT BE BUILT VS SHOULD IT BE BUILT
Many established businesses spend several months building and perfecting new products in their pipeline without ever showing the product or its early prototype to prospective customers. When the products are eventually launched they fail to attract interest from the market. Upon post-mortem (pun-intended), it is often discovered that the market feedback was never incorporated while developing the product.
YOU CAN’T PREDICT THE FUTURE
Most businesses operate in an ever-changing environment. Thus, investing time and effort on formulating detailed business plans with uncontrollable assumptions would not be the most efficient use of company resources. Unless building a spaceship to transport critical payload, established businesses should take a cue from lean start-ups who do not rely on a step-by-step plan. Instead, they formulate a milestone-based plan and adopt hypothesis driven experimentation and validated learnings for course correction until they reach those business milestones.
DON’T COLLECT DATA FOR THE SAKE OF COLLECTING DATA
We have all been guilty of this one. Spending hours gathering data from multiple sources and creating reports to share with our team – simply because that’s what everyone else does. However, if the data does not accurately reflect the key performance indicators (KPIs) of the business then the resulting intelligence may be meaningless and waste of company resources. For example, analyzing total impressions of company social media profiles may not be as critical as analyzing number of product demonstrations performed by sales associate against actual sales.
STEP OUTSIDE THE CUBE - TALK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
Even after investing resources on data collection, analysis and jaw-dropping dashboards - you still need to meet with customers to understand them and their pain points. Following up after customer complaints can not only reduce attrition rates, but can also be a source for product and process improvement. For example, your customers may share insights about new ways of using the product that the engineers may have overlooked. No matter how large or successful your company may be, it exists because of your customers.
Many books and best-practices have been professed about value-creating & waste eliminating lean management techniques that can be deployed at an organization, department and even at the product level. My thoughts in this article were influenced by the production philosophy pioneered by Taiichi Ohno, considered as the father of the Toyota’s lean production system, Eric Ries, consultant and author of The Lean Startup, and James Womack, management expert and co-author of Lean Thinking.
Feel free to share your experiences and other best practices with me (and others) by posting your comments.
Please feel free to share your tips and suggestions with me and other readers by posting your comments.
What were some other trends and techniques that did not work for you? Feel free to share your thoughts.
There's an apocryphal story of a guy who went for his final interview for a senior post at Coca-Cola. During dinner, he ordered a Pepsi. He didn't get the job (no surprises there).
Most packaged goods companies would kill to be the only product on the shelf, to own the category in a given store. Yet, not only do authors get along, they spend time and energy talking-up each other's books.
Can you imagine Bill Gates giving a generous review of Apple's new operating system (OS) or Tim Cook writing a positive blurb about the Samsung Galaxy S5? And yet, the authors do it all the time! To read more about this unique perspective, check out this article written by Seth Godin.
I had observed that some of the industries I had previously worked, have had a high turnover rate resulting in a constant influx of new team mates entering and exiting different phases of the projects. With these high-knowledge professionals transitioning the Organizational Intelligence (OI) acquired during the projects/operational activities is lost with their departure. However, most businesses do not have a planned knowledge transfer process resulting in a loss of OI.
This makes me ponder - how should businesses prepare for these unplanned exits? I read this article that shares a few great ideas to retain OI. For more details check it out: http://linkd.in/1xS8AAS
The history of the word “entrepreneurship” is fascinating and scholars have indeed parsed its meaning. I will spare you the results, and instead share the definition formulated by Professor Howard Stevenson, i.e. the godfather of entrepreneurship studies at Harvard Business School. He says, "...Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled..." - Read this on a thought provoking article by Harvard Business Review. For full details check out: http://blogs.hbr.org/2013/01/what-is-entrepreneurship/
Read this interesting article on Forbes the other day by Peter Drucker, who is considered by many as the father of business consulting and it made me ponder. Peter made a profound observation, " ...because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two – basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business...”
Quite an interesting article. Check it out here: http://www.forbes.com/2006/06/30/jack-trout-on-marketing-cx_jt_0703drucker.html
"Observant strategist who enjoys theorizing business practices even in his spare time"