right people in right place

What are your people telling your customers about you?

My refrigerator started leaking water all over the floor. So, I called to have someone come out and fix it. When he got here, he explained the design flaw that was causing the problem and indicated he could fix it, but it would happen again at some point. And the cost of the repair was pretty high. So, I asked him if he was really telling me it is time for a new fridge. He said yes.

Having people in your business that will give customers the full picture to make an informed decision is critically important. Those front line folks tell customers a lot about how you run the business, who you hire, how you incentivize them, and the values and behaviors you expect. What are your people telling your customers?

you'll love this!

You’re going to love this!

A service provider recently sent an email outlining some upcoming changes. And with gusto, they signed off by stating that I’d love the changes. The move was clearly for cost savings. And would require more work on my end every month. I don’t love it.

That’s the thing with driving change. For it to stick, everyone has to be better off. And they have to know how they will be better off to get excited about it. So, as you think about your change initiatives, take time to get people involved to see how they will be impacted. You’ll be glad you did!

risk solution

How do you get around problems?

During the winter, an ice patch forms in the same location. Water flows from one side of the street to the other and freezes in a patch wide enough to make stepping across not an option. Some people see it and turn around. Others try to walk across it and fall. And others see the way around by stepping on the curb, holding onto the light pole and getting to the other side.

When you see a problem, how do you get around it?

are you bold

Sometimes trying something new is a great way to get out of a rut

Over the weekend, I decided to try a few new things. The local cheesemonger made a few recommendations based on what I typically like, and he hit homeruns! It is easy to get into a rut of getting the same things over and over. Especially in these times. Getting out of a rut, lifting spirits and getting more creative takes doing new things and having new experiences. When was the last time you tried something new? If not recently, it’s time to give something new a try!

are you stopping things that no longer make sense?

Do you know what to stay away from?

Walking around the area, the fall berries provide a nice pop of color and contrast to the bare limbs and bushes in the winter. They are everywhere in many colors and sizes. After the birds ate my strawberries and cherries through the summer, I got to wondering why the birds eat the summer berries, but not the fall and winter berries. The answer wasn’t simple and straightforward. But clearly there is something that causes the birds to stay away.

Your business should have things you instinctively know to stay away from too. Whether projects that don’t move the organization forward or risks that shouldn’t be taken, every person in the organization should know instinctively to stay away.

making change sustainable

Are you keeping up with the times?

My vet is great! She knows how to handle rescue dogs that are a bit skittish and need a little extra attention. When she moved from one company to another, we followed her because she is great. The only downside is, the owner of the vet business does will not interact with the online pharmacy because of the number of issues they experienced a decade ago. The thing is, today, the online pharmacy is so much easier to deal with and has no issues versus going to a vet office for regular refills. But the issues from a decade ago now result in the vet sending a paper prescription to me by mail, then I have to send that prescription by mail to the online pharmacy, requiring a few weeks of time for issues that no longer exist.

It is a great example of issues that no longer exist driving business decisions. Every business has something that started years ago, but would not be handled that way if implemented today. Are you keeping up with the times?

well run business is worth exponentially more

When was the last time you looked at the dynamics in your market?

It’s easy to tell when open enrollment starts by the level of commercials for Medicare supplement plans. After all, depending on the source, there are somewhere between 63 and 68 million people in the US on Medicare plans. While not everyone buys supplemental insurance, the level of commercials indicate it is a pretty good market to be in.

Compare that with the individual market which has only 11 million people spread out across all the states, with many counties having only one provider as option because there isn’t enough demand to support more than one provider.  It is no surprise that there are no commercials or other ads. And given the small population, it has taken many years to figure out the pricing/profitability in the market.

The dynamics in a market can be pretty easy to spot if you just look for them. When was the last time you stood back and looked at the dynamics in your market?

What are you thankful for?

What are you thankful for?

It has been a crazy year to say the least! But in times like these, the best in people comes out. Family, friends, neighbors and complete strangers helping others. New developments that would have taken years take months. New ideas and ways of doing things making business more customer friendly.

If you take a moment to look around, you’ll find so many amazing things. What are you thankful for?

are you taking more time than you need?

How much time and money are you wasting?

Work from home has brought about many changes. A lot of them are good. Some, not so much. Pre-COVID, making meetings as efficient as possible was a top area of focus. Somehow, with all of the adjustments, meeting efficiency has dropped significantly. Agendas are not as tight, leaving lots of inefficient time.

But the biggest change is not starting on time. Meetings now regularly have an appointed start time, but when people logon, an announcement is made that the meeting will actually start a few minutes past the announced start time. The result is, for those in the know, logging on late and for those not in the know, wasted time that can be used for something else. And wasted time is wasted money.

High performing companies set start times and use time efficiently. They have tight agendas and focus on decisions and actions. Have you slid backwards on meetings in the work from home era? If so, it is time to get back on track!

make a difference

Longevity and Perseverance

Alex Trebek passed away over the weekend. Like many, I didn’t know him but saw him on tv over the years. While he had many successes, the greatest tributes to him are found from people talking about what a lovely and decent man he was.

He had a remarkable career. He began in journalism and switched to game show hosting in his mid 20’s in 1966. But it took until 1984 for him to land Jeopardy! And in a world of constantly changing desires and interests, he sustained the show through his death in 2020. Remarkable!

His life was one of perseverance, curiosity, and generosity. What can you take away from his life to implement in your own?