Without a Vision the people perish

Before we can define our goals for 2010, we need to ensure we have a clear picture of what we want our business to look like in the future. Having a vision statement in front of us draws us forward and is therefore the most important part of our business plan. Conversely, if we lack vision, we are doomed to perish!

Having a business plan, which is continually nurtured and adjusted, is about far more than getting a loan to start our business. Whenever we need to make decisions, set goals or change direction, it becomes the compass that keeps us off the rocks.

The Vision Statement drives our Mission, our purpose for being in business in the first place, fueled by our values and beliefs.

Once we have established the why we can start to work on the what and the how.

Goals are specific statements of what needs to be done in order to achieve our mission. They are the direction we travel on our journey towards our initial vision that got us excited enough to get up and do something different in the first place.

Objectives are the progress markers in our plan that measure our success or need for change along the way. From these we can define our actions; what needs to be done in minute detail and who needs to do it.

As we work together in preparing for 2010, take some time to relive our initial vision and remind ourselves of the reason we got into business in the first place. Quality time invested in nailing the why will pay dividends when we come to put pen to paper and set our goals.

Have an outrageously productive week. You deserve it!

Cheers

Grant Herbert
The People Builder

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Finishing Strong in 2009

2009 has been one of the toughest yet most rewarding years of my life. The global financial crisis coupled with a significant family illness, whilst in the midst of a major change in direction personally, has placed an unprecedented level of stress on me, my family and my business.

Thanks to having a clear set of values and goals, driven by a desire to never give up, I am emerging tougher than ever and ready to finish strong in 2009.

This is the time of year when most people subconsciously take about 6 weeks off and chill out for the “silly season”. Having a well earned rest is essential to a balanced success in our lives, however, before we hang up the hat for another year it is imperative to have 2010 planned on purpose so we can continue the momentum created by our hard work in 2009. Our time off, for those lucky enough to have some, should form a part of our plan.

A lot of people, at this time of year, reflect negatively on what might have been if things had of panned out differently. This negative can have a draining effect, fueled by fear, failure and frustration, binding us in an unhealthy environment and thought pattern and effectively sucking the life out of our time off. I visit the past for one reason; to learn from it and move on. Our current situation is the start point of the next phase of this exciting yet sometimes challenging life. My purpose for writing this article is to encourage us all to draw a line in the sand, accept what’s done is done, learn from our experiences and move forward into a brighter 2010.

Having a clear direction for 2010, articulated by a series of S.M.A.R.T goals, allows us to kick off a new year with purpose. Take off the baggage of the year that’s over, forgive those that have hurt you, change what is in your control, dream big dreams, shed limiting beliefs and have another go. You can do whatever you set you mind to and back up with the appropriate action. Set goals for all areas of your life, not just your business or career. Take a look at an article I wrote earlier in the year that will help you get started.

Here are a list of gems that I live by. Yeah some may sound a bit corny or cliche, but I am here to testify they work!

Success is the progressive realization of worthwhile, pre-determined, personalized goals.

Nothing happens without first a dream.

If we aim at nothing we are bound to hit it.

If you think you can you can; if you think you can’t you won’t.

Obstacles are only visible when we take our eyes off our goals.

In December I am working with all my clients to help them set some stretch goals for 2010. To facilitate this I am running a series of Goal Setting Workshops as my free gift to the local business community. If you need some help with goal setting, drop me a line and I will either contact you myself or put you in touch with someone in your area.

The only way to finish strong in 2009 is to make sure we are ready for a better 2010.

Have an outrageously productive week. You deserve it!

Cheers

Grant Herbert

The People Builder

Changing Behaviour to Improve Results

Change

Past behaviour is a great indicator of future behaviour. What we continue to practice becomes habit. This can be positive or negative; it all depends on the behaviour. Everyone I meet all seem to have a desire to have better results, in many areas of life, including business. The challenge is to first recognize that it is our current behaviour that is bringing the current results and then, if we want to change the results, change the behaviour.

Behaviour is defined as the response of an individual or group to an action, environment, person, or stimulus. The key word here is “response”. It is not what happens around us that causes our behaviour to be good or bad; it is our response to it. This is why I believe the first step in managing behavioural change is controlling our attitude. Being in control of our attitude will ensure an appropriate response which in turn produces acceptable behaviour.

There are many environments in our life, such as school, home, work, church etc, that focus on changing behaviour rather than attitudes. Try as you may, you will never get the performance of a V8 out of a 4 cylinder. Our attitudes are the engine room for behavioural change. If we want to stop eating junk food, we need to have a healthy attitude towards eating. If we want stop procrastinating, we need to ensure our attitude reflects that desire. We will never change to a behaviour if it is not something we truly believe in. This is why it is futile to try and change the behaviour of others. If they don’t want to improve in an area of weakness, they never will. Fear motivation only places a band-aid on a sucking chest wound. You might appear to be making a difference but in the end the patient will still bleed.

In a workplace, when we foster an environment where people are rewarded for having a great attitude rather than just results, you will see lasting change. If the change is welcomed by the employees as well as the business owner, the results will be exceptional.

A great way to start this process is to conduct a brainstorming session involving stakeholders from all areas of the team. This week I facilitated one of these sessions for a successful company in our region. We looked at what attributes were needed for a great firm, what obstacles there were to having those attributes, what solutions we had to overcome the obstacles and then personalised it by asking each team member to identify something they would need to change personally to ensure we reached the team goal. The results were exceptional! By enlisting the people in setting up the “change” arena, we will always see a greater buy-in and therefore a more positive result. Followed up with team and individual coaching on the goals set by each stakeholder, the ROI on such an exercise will be guaranteed. The key, once again, to this process was starting with the “Attributes” of a great firm. Attributes are a reflection of an attitude.

Remember, the mind cannot work on the reverse of a negative. Motivating people to move away from bad behaviour will never work, however, encouraging them towards the positive does.

Have an outrageously productive week. You deserve it!

Grant Herbert

The People Builder

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To see how we can help you with this process CLICK HERE

Customer Service is an attitude not just a skill

customer-service

Exceptional Customer Service is the key ingredient in standing out in a crowded, fast paced marketplace. Having great products or services is what allows us to step up to the starting line. If we want to run a great race, giving our customers the experience they want and deserve is essential.

So what is “Exceptional Customer Service” and how do we provide it?

If we pull the phrase apart and extract the meaning of each word, we can then link them together and gain a better understanding of what we are working to achieve.

The word “Exceptional” means “forming an exception or rare instance; unusual; extraordinary”. This definition, put in the context of our business, suggests an opportunity to stand out in the day of our customers, to set us apart from the ordinary and what they are used to. This alone will give us the edge over our competitors when jockeying for position and marketshare.

A “Customer”, also called client, buyer, or purchaser, is usually used to refer to a current or potential buyer or user of the products of an individual or organization. This is typically through purchasing or renting goods or services. However, in certain contexts, the term customer also includes by extension anyone who uses or experiences the services of another. A customer may also be a viewer of the product or service that is being sold despite deciding to not buy them.
The word derives from “custom,” meaning “habit”; a customer was someone who frequented a particular shop, who made it a habit to purchase goods of the sort the shop sold there rather than elsewhere, and with whom the shopkeeper had to maintain a relationship to keep his or her “custom,” meaning expected purchases in the future.
The slogans “the customer is king” or “the customer is always right” indicate the importance of customers to businesses – although the last expression is sometimes used ironically. The customer may not always be right but they will always be the customer.

Although I have forgotten most of my High School English, we can see that we have had an adjective followed by a noun and now there is only one thing missing; a verb or “doing word”. The word “Service” can be used as a noun or a verb. In providing customer service I believe it is best described by the latter! Customer service is a series of activities designed to enhance the level of customer satisfaction – that is, the feeling that a product or service has met the customer expectation, before, during and after the sale.

To provide Service we must take on the role of a servant. (I know; you are even more impressed now by my grasp of the English language) This key truth is why I believe Customer Service is an attitude, not just a skill.

Servanthood represents an attitude of the heart. One must possess a heart for service and a heart for others. However, the attitude of one who serves is only half of the picture – his/her actions complete the cycle. There must be a desire on the part of the servant to seek ways to meet the needs of another. Historically, the concept of servanthood has generated negative implications. Being taken advantage of, physical abuse, and low self esteem were the typical characteristics of servanthood. There are many in society today who still retain these negative images in their thinking. The prospect of being served is far more attractive than being a servant. If the whole truth were told, one must admit there is a feeling of unmistakable satisfaction in having someone willing to meet your needs and satisfy your desires.
Servanthood is also often associated with weakness and inferior social status. This inaccurate assessment must be rendered null and void. The process of removing the negative stigma of servanthood begins with a change in thinking. Step two in removing these negative vibes involves putting this new perspective on servanthood into practice in our everyday lives.

As we open for business each day, if we take on the attitude by “serving” our customers we are adding value to them, and the community at large, we will have no trouble at all employing the skills required to “get the sale”.

Have a great week. You deserve it!

Cheers

Grant Herbert

The People Builder

The Value of Local Community in Business

Family - community - business - supportThis week has been one of the most challenging and at the same time, most rewarding weeks I have had in business. Balancing family commitments, running a successful business and keeping fit and healthy in my mind, body and spirit, takes a lot of planning and discipline at the best of times. This last week my wife has been in hospital having many tests and procedures and will be there for another couple of weeks. Whilst my priority lies with family, everything else still needs to be done, and planning alone will not get it over the line. The priceless support we have received from family and friends has been equalled by the outstanding business community of the Macarthur region.

We have been playing the waiting game for a few months, going to and fro the doctors surgery, eagerly looking forward to a specialist appointment to see some go forward in my wife’s condition. Last Wednesday, whilst in an appointment with a new business associate, I mentioned a need to leave my phone on in our meeting as my wife was not doing very well. Showing a genuine interest in me, beyond our business relationship, Simon enquired about her condition. As if by divine intervention, through his wife working for a local surgeon, Paula had an appointment the next morning, was immediately admitted to hospital and had her first procedure that afternoon. Since that time she has improved dramatically and is now on the mend. This is a testimony of the value of building a business in your local community. The return on investment from local networking goes well beyond referrals and business opportunities.

Having one of the busiest weeks this year, I did not have to change one meeting or cancel any commitments. This was achieved through the generosity of people who cooked meals, picked up kids from school, played taxi for me or just offered good old fashioned prayer and encouragement. Facebook, Twitter, TXT messages, emails; all filled with messages that were encouraging and offering support. Social networking was also a brilliant tool for keeping people informed and updated.

As a Balance Coach, it is important I practice what I preach. I help people overcome a sense of hopelessness that comes from not having enough time, energy, skills or resources to be everyone they need to be. Without the people around me, I would have been way out of balance this week. On those days when you feel all alone, in business or in other areas of your life, take time to stop and remember you are in a community of people who care. Build your network based on more than referrals and business opportunities and you will experience what I did this week in my time of need.

Paula and I want to thank everyone of you for being a part of our support network this week. Some people think business is all about making money and being your own boss. Whilst it is these things, business is all about a community of everyday people, working together for the benefit of everyone.

Have an outrageously prosperous week. You deserve it!

Grant Herbert

The People Builder