Sharing knowledge makes you stronger – Part two

August 28, 2009

Here’s the second of my five steps……provide Public Opportunities for sharing

Run a weekly workshop, led by a different member of the team, each week on a self-managed rota basis.  The whole team takes part in a quick 20 minute session where phones are turned off and literally everyone takes part.

Members of the team who have been on external courses, workshops or seminars are encouraged to bring the key learning points they have picked up back into the wider organisation.  Alternatively, they may bring to the group a previous experience, something they’ve picked up from a book, the internet or other resources.

The sessions should be fun, great for wider team building and are generally always appreciated by the participants.

Perhaps most of all though they help the deliverers. They get to understand their subject even better, practise their presentation skills and boost their confidence and self-esteem by helping their colleagues.

I hope it works for you – please let me know how you get on.


Customer service

August 26, 2009

The great news about first class customer service is that it’s a brilliant encouragement to pass the good news on.

Last week I was in Copenhagen.  I bought a few gifts, as you do, but didn’t check the contents.  Arrived home Sunday, opened the box and sadly one of the parts of the item was missing – what a pain!

Googled to find the Companies details.  Head Office in Sweden, so sent a quick email to say what was missing.  Acknowledgment by end of play Monday and missing item arrived by post today, Wednesday.

Fantastic – I’m a happy customer – so this is the firm concerned – thank you.

In fact one of the new services we now provide is research activity that enables clients to identify new customer trends that have come about specifically as a consequence of recession.  I thought it was a good idea and it looks like a winner as I heard on the radio today that Sir Martin Sorrell’s Ad Agency is doing just the same thing!

Sharing knowledge makes you stronger

August 23, 2009

One characteristic of any successful organisation is the ability to share knowledge.  It’s a fundamental feature that all employees, at every level, embrace the idea of sharing information.  In team games we do it all the time, but in business often the opposite happens.  So how can you prevent this happening?

Here’s the first of my five tips, others to follow shortly………

Tip one is pretty simple.  Share your own knowledge. 

Leaders never stop leading, and the example you set in everything you do will be noted and often copied by your team.  Sharing your knowledge implies that you want other people to benefit through the information you give them.

For the secure leader, or the leader in a growing organisation, that’s no problem.  For Managers it can be an issue, as the perception of becoming dispensable is not seen as a good strategy for personal progression.  

You can overcome this by making the sharing of knowledge and the growth of your people an integral part of your culture.  And one of the most effective ways of achieving this is to set up a mentoring programme.

If you haven’t done this before, you will be amazed by the energy that your mentor’s get out of helping others develop.  Especially when its part of a company backed philosophy. 

If you want help setting up such a scheme, give me a call on 07971 006 446.

A wise statement

August 20, 2009

During my holiday to Copenhagen, which is a beautiful city that I would urge anyone to visit, I came across this quote which I really liked…..

I am a firm believer in the people.

If given the truth,

they can be depended upon to meet

any national crisis.

The great point is to bring them

the real facts, and beer.

Abraham Lincoln

Nothing much has changed, has it?

What impact does advertising have?

August 12, 2009

Hardly a day goes by without some advertising advocate extolling the long term benefits of advertising, so what’s the heart of the issue….

And as we dive further into difficult economic times, this type of comment will be on the increase.  Primarily from those that have a vested interest to either sell you advertisements or media.  But it’s only half the story.

It’s not the long term effects of advertising that should today concern advertisers, but the short term instant response; simply because advertising is designed to generate sales.  Brand appeal comes from a much wider range of marketing activity. 

Take Virgin, for example.  The brand is all about Richard Branson promoting an image of his attractive bohemian lifestyle; a David and Goliath act taking on BA – young, rebellious and challenging. 

Yet when it comes to Virgin Atlantic ads, most times he doesn’t get a mention.  They might be on the risqué side to match the personality of the organisation, but its back to good old features, advantages and benefits.  These ads are designed to sell – the rest of the communication strategy reinforces the brand image.

The sense of this approach is backed up by the stats too.  Take the analysis by Professor John Philip Jones of Syracuse University, NY.  He only found one example of an ad, where there was no short term impact, which had a long-term positive effect.

What advertisers should demand is a real, tangible and measureable short-term commercial result from their advertising.  Not something that’s soft, woolly and cuddly, but something that would make ‘Surallen’ Sugar smile.  For example more sales, more buyers, existing buyers buying more, goods sold for higher prices, higher margins etc.

So, if you can’t measure your advertising or it doesn’t deliver these tangibles, short-term, I suggest you don’t do it.  Save the money, have a rethink and develop marketing activity that does give you an immediate measureable return.

NSPCC advertisement banned for using 10 year old research

August 5, 2009

The claim that ‘One in Six’ children are abused is based on field work they carried out in 1998/9.

The advertising standards authority received six complaints about NSPCC’s national press advertisement, which claimed “One in six children in the UK is sexually abused – help stop it”, ruling that the advert breached its codes on substantiation and truthfulness and must not appear again.

The source of the statistic was a paper, “Child maltreatment in the United Kingdom a study of the prevalence of child abuse and neglect”.

The paper by Pat Cawson, Corinne Wattam, Sue Brooker and Graham Kelly, published in November 2000 analysed a survey of 2,869 18-24 year olds, so one could also argue that they weren’t talking about children, but young adults.

It saddens me to see that the NSPCC have damaged their reputation like this with a question mark raised over the integrity of the information they use.

A lesson to us all – use up to date information that is properly challenged and fit for purpose, otherwise the strength of what we do comes into question.