Business Change

People don’t leave jobs, they leave their environment.

People don’t leave jobs, they leave their environment

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People don’t leave jobs, they leave their environment.

Sure the boss is a major factor. The research supports it. Fixing the problem is not just about fixing bosses.

It goes beyond that. Certain behaviours and actions need to be cultivated and supported broadly within company culture and values, in addition to the individual level.

Having worked in or with companies of varying sizes and industries I have noticed similar themes with staff turnover.

Lack of engagement. Lack of positivity. Lack of authenticity.

An engaged environment is where connection and collaboration exist. This happens when there is respect for each other. This happens when individual strengths are understood and brought to life. An engaged team is more productive and happier.

A positive environment is where optimism and confidence exist. This happens when change is embraced. This happens when the focus is on solution and the future rather than the past. A positive team is inspired to take action.

An authentic environment is where honesty and support exist. This happens when accountability trumps blame. This happens when mistakes are allowed and perfectionism ditched. This happens when conversations and communication are genuine. An authentic team has trust in themselves to deliver.

Anything I have missed?

AS and Raelene

Be Remarkable

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“Be remarkable.”I still remember Seth Godin saying these words at an address in Sydney in 2014. Recently, I witnessed a perfect example of being remarkable.

I listened to and observed CEO Rugby Australia, Raelene Castle, at a business networking event. As guest speaker, Raelene spoke of her sports leadership experiences, and views on Australian Rugby.

What made her remarkable?

It could have been the explanation of her impressive career and family history in the sports industry.
It could have been her pragmatic approach to taking on one of the toughest gigs in the country. Made tough by running a high profile business, and judgement from passionate fans on the sidelines.

It could have been addressing the challenging questions with aplomb.

It was more than that. What made her remarkable was that she stayed. After the formalities of addressing the crowd were over, she didn’t rush to leave celebrity style. She mingled with the rugby enthusiasts. She listened to them. She thanked them.

Raelene took the time to engage. Her behaviour personified authenticity and leadership.

To be remarkable is to achieve big impact from something simple.

To be remarkable is to give people something they can tell a story about.

What does “be remarkable” mean to you?

What my Dad’s speech at my wedding taught me about business

What my Dad’s speech at my wedding taught me about business

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In 2016 I got married. The wedding was a celebration and a fun day spent with family and friends. It became even more memorable through something quite unexpected during the speeches at the wedding reception.

The Best Man, Matthew delivered an awesome speech. Matthew shared tales of youth, boys becoming men and lifelong mateship. Much to my relief, he performed his duties, kept it to time and he thanked me for taming his good mate. There were jokes galore. Every person in the room wanted Matthew to be their friend.

It was time for a representative from my side of the family to deliver a speech. The MC announced, “please welcome the Father of the Bride.”As the guests cheered and whistled, my Dad shuffled his 85 year old feet to the stage.After adjusting the microphone and silently acknowledging the crowd with a smile and a nod, he started to tell what could only be described as a magnificent story. It was a story about trials and tribulations growing up. It was a story about success and achievements. It was a heartfelt story about being proud of his daughter. It was a story that fuelled laughter and conjured up tears. Every person in the room wanted my Dad to be their Dad.

A few months down the track, I had an epiphany moment. It was after several calls from wedding guests once the honeymoon was done and dusted and I was back in the business saddle. Every person I spoke to mentioned my humble and endearing Dad. How is he doing? What a great speech! How old is he, 85? Hope I’m like that at 85.

What I realised was that my Dad taught me one of the biggest lessons in business and life. The power of telling stories.

After taking the leap of faith from my corporate world upbringing to go follow my own path in business, I was given advice aplenty on a lot of things. One of those pearls of wisdom was that I needed to tell stories to help boost my business and build my brand. My first thought was that I didn’t have stories. I was under the assumption that one needed to have gone through a massive adversity in life, or be famous, or be in a certain type of industry to have permission to tell stories. I was wrong.

Stories help you communicate what you stand for – In my Dad’s case, it was being passionate about his family, his daughter and welcoming another son into the family.

Stories help you to connect and engage with others – After my Dad’s speech everyone at the Reception felt like they knew him. He was everyone’s Dad for the rest of the night.

Stories are memorable – Many guests remembered specific references he made and things he said even months after the wedding.

In the Corporate world there isn’t enough storytelling being done. You aren’t supposed to and it can be seen to be unprofessional. In an age where the younger generations in the workplace are crying out for more collaboration, more respect and leaders they can trust and admire, what a simple and effective way to teach and inspire others.

In the Business Owner/Entrepreneur space, telling stories can help to promote your authenticity and showcase your authority. Stories are an effective way to share the value you provide and they also allow for people to get to know you. All of which are required to establish trust which certainly makes marketing, selling and generally doing business a lot easier.

Stories can originate from all different aspects of business and life experience (even weddings)! We all have them, as well as the ability to share them.

I recently stumbled across an American Indian proverb that read, ‘Those who tell stories rule the world.’ While my Dad didn’t go on to rule the world. On that day, he ruled the hearts and minds of 100 wedding guests and left his daughter inspired to become a storyteller.

How to Nurture one of the Biggest Assets in your Business

How to Nurture one of the Biggest Assets in your Business

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“It’s not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.” Henry Ford summed up the role of the customer for any business owner or employee quite nicely. Without them, you don’t have a business or a job! Now more than ever, we live in the age of the customer. Customers want more, and given the copious amount of information they can access on the web and via social media, they have so much more choice. They also want to be listened to, feel respected and be rewarded for their loyalty.
What can you do to keep your customers coming back for more – and keep you working in a thriving and successful business? Here are some strategies:

Create a Culture with a Customer Focus

It’s impossible to delight your customers without having a culture in your business that supports that attitude. Building the right culture starts with two key foundations: strategy and leadership. That is, a strategy that includes a focus on customers and the right leadership to execute it. More importantly, everyone in the business has a part to play. That’s because everyone has customers! It doesn’t matter what your job title or role is, you have customers, either internal or external to your business. The responsibility doesn’t rest solely on your customer service department. Serving your customers well requires everyone to embrace the concept that the whole business must have the mindset of putting customers first.

Listen to your Customers

You can’t deliver what your customers want until you know what it is. Ask your customers what it is they need and want. Once you know that, you can work backwards to create an experience that provides value and exceeds those expectations. You also need feedback mechanisms in place so your customers can keep you updated on perceptions of your brand, and the quality and delivery of your goods or services. Don’t panic if the news is not always positive. Keep in mind that customers complain because they care. Consider customer complaints or concerns as opportunities to show how good you can be by being solution oriented, fixing the problem and restoring confidence. Keep your customers updated on what you are doing with feedback. A great listening strategy happens on an ongoing basis where the feedback loop between you and your customers is continuous.

Engage Your Customers

Good behaviours and attitudes certainly go a long way in customer interactions. Being professional and courteous as well as listening, displaying empathy and a can-do attitude can make you and your customers feel better. Being authentic with a passion to help can really impress and satisfy. To ensure consistency, make sure your online presence and social media messages reflect these positive manners. Tony Hsieh, CEO of, described their approach to customer engagement. “When people call our call centre, our reps don’t have scripts, and they don’t try to upsell. They are just judged on whether they go above and beyond for the customer and really deliver a kind of personal service and emotional connection with our customers.”

Improve Processes and Leverage Technology

There’s no point providing an amazing experience in just one part of your business and a lesser experience in others. If your customers encounter a great online experience but then need to queue when they enter your store, or go through an arduous returns process, then the overall experience falls short. It’s also important to realise that your customers don’t see or understand the silos or departments that exist in your business. It doesn’t matter if the person they speak to is in marketing or finance. Your customers see one brand and expect an experience that reflects that. Invest the time to evaluate, improve and streamline your cross-departmental processes and workflows to ensure a seamless outcome for your customers.

Also, the right mix of technology can certainly make the customer experience easier for you and them. Be mindful that the role of technology in your customer experience is to support your strategy, not to replace it. In addition, there are some things technology can’t do – and replacing the human touch is one of them.

Empower Employees

Recognised as an authority in the employee empowerment space, Naomi Simson, founder of RedBalloon, has been quoted as saying, “Without happy people in an organisation it is very hard for a customer to have a happy experience with the business.” There’s proof that engaging your employees and creating happiness not only improves employee retention rates, but also contributes to customer satisfaction and improved customer relationships. Enable your employees to thrive by allowing access to the right tools and training. Promote ownership and accountability and encourage your employees to solve problems themselves. Make your employees feel appreciated by having systems in place to acknowledge and reward ideas and input.

Measure, Adapt and Innovate

It’s important that you measure your overall performance in meeting your customer expectations. Some customer-satisfaction tools and metrics are effective and used widely – for example, the net promoter score (NPS). The NPS takes into account how likely it is that your customers would recommend your business to a friend or colleague. Think outside the box of just using the same tools and metrics. Do your KPIs include customer outcomes? Are you tracking loyalty and conversion rates? What are your customers saying (or not saying) about you on social media? Is there scope for you to conduct interactive focus groups with your customers? However you choose to measure it is up to you. Consider what you need to help shape the operations of your business and achieve future goals. The information you gather can assist with how you innovate to keep up. As the needs and wants of your customers change you can adapt accordingly.

Create an Experience

A heightened customer experience comes from your ability to understand the ongoing and emotional journey your customers embark on with you. Engage and include your customers and create an awesome place to work so that the journey is more rewarding for everyone. You will improve customer retention, increase referrals and have the edge over your competitors, which will ultimately drive profits.

In most industries, competition is increasing, change is happening at a faster pace and competing on price is becoming less of an option. There’s merit in treating customers like they are the biggest asset in your business!