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A free monthly newsletter about improving your
people, processes, sales and marketing, financial
performance…and other interesting stuff

November 2012


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People
 Strengths Based Work

Two main approaches to organising employees around business functions are as follows: 
  1. Strategy first approach. Create the organisation chart and make sure each place is filled by someone who seems to be able to do the job.
  2. People first approach. Understand someone's strengths and weaknesses first, then ensure they are appropriately positioned according to their strengths.
One of the keys to high performance and satisfaction in the workplace is ensuring our people are working in their strengths. A strength can be identified as having the following attributes:
  • that which we do with ease
  • possess natural talents for
  • achieve above average to high results in 
  • high enjoyment and engagement factor
When strategy and the 'all places filled' approach is taken, we are fitting the task to the person. "You're available so you can do this." When the people first approach is implemented we are saying, "you are important to us and we want to make sure you are working in the areas you most enjoy, those which you are strong in. Where do you see you would add the most value in our organisation?" Totally different approach with potentially massive outcomes. 

There a many in today's workforce who simply work to put food on the table and to provide themselves with the means to develop and pursue their areas of interest. Why not create a people centred workplace with  the interests and goals of our people at the forefront? 

Some signs that team members may not be operating in their strengths can be:
  • achieving low results
  • time frames and deadlines frequently unmet
  • general unhappiness
  • given to distraction 
  • higher level of sick days than normal
  • lack of punctuality
  • sowing seeds of discontent among other workers
Here is a phrase that might be helpful to address with these types of employees:
"I have come to realise that you may not be operating in the best role suited for you and I wanted to discuss where you think your best fit might be within the company. It's important to me that we are all operating in our 'sweet spot' - essentially what we  enjoy and are skilled in doing. Any thoughts around this?"

Results across other organisations who take the people based approach reflect:
  • an increased sense of employee engagement
  • increased productivity; higher profitability
  • decrease in time off
  • longevity of employment / decreased attrition rates
  • happier workplace
  • significant savings in recruitment costs. 
As I always say, better to pay the time and money upfront in recruiting, training and keeping excellent staff than paying on the back end for their departure. You pay for it either way!


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 Financial Performance
The Relationship Between Budgets and Marketing Strategy

I am often requested by companies to help shift the sales and resulting profitability in a certain area or department. Here is an approach I have discovered and used over the years with often outstanding results. And best of all it is quite simple. Here it is:
  1. Understand what your core business is around the three areas of passion, strengths and profitability. (Profitability in the sense of defining which out of all of your products and services have the highest margins)
  2. Work out what you would like to achieve in terms of revenue (knowing already what your profitability is)
  3. How many sales does this represent?
  4. How many does this represent per annum, month, week, day? Whatever is applicable
  5. Now build in how many quotes, contacts, walk ins, enquiries etc are required to meet this sales budget based on your current ratios. ie. Initial contacts to quote prepared; quotes to sale etc
    Once you know how many enquires you need for the amount of quotes required etc, you are now positioned to set out your marketing strategy.
  6. Define which customers are a perfect or close match to your core business. This is where your business intersects the market needs.
  7. Then ask the following questions, building a profile of your target audience known as the 'buyer persona''. (For more information on this subject review David Meerman  Scott's works).
    • who is my buyer?
    • where do they live?
    • what are their occupations?
    • what interests do they typically have?
    • what organisations do they belong to?
    • other characteristics of my buyer?
    • what is the best way to reach them direct?
    • how do I get in front of them?
    • which marketing mediums would be most effective eg. advertising, radio, social media, telemarketing, association membership/networking etc
  8. Analyse all current marketing strategies and cull all those that aren't in alignment.
  9. Create your strategy based on the above.
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Efficient Process 

Increasing Staff 'Buy In' for Ongoing Improvement

Even if you already provide your staff with documented policies, procedures and process instructions, the question I'd like to ask is "were they involved in writing them and do you expect them to let you know when a process isn't working properly?"  The truth is they probably won’t! 

Most staff or line managers will endeavour to sort it out themselves without bothering you, especially if the process or procedure is one you have written and expect to work.  You are more likely to find out when the issue has seriously affected productivity, profitability, customer service, quality and staff morale. 

The best way to ensure efficient procedures and processes are created is to first listen.....listen to those on the floor working the process, hearing their views, ideas and their concerns.  Make them part of the writing and implementation process.  This will ensure maximum buy in and ownership in the ongoing improvement process. 

Team meetings are an excellent way of ensuring all those involved in a process are actually part of its initial design and ongoing success.  This not only promotes effectiveness but also builds commitment, loyalty and a sense of achievement in your team. Create a team responsible for business systems review.  Have regular team meetings to review the effectiveness and efficiency of your processes and procedures.  Ensure you give these meetings your full commitment and a high priority item included in your schedule.

Implementable Idea (getting procedures written fast)
A quick way to complete procedures quickly is to list what needs documenting. Then, designate one procedure per day to the relevant team member who is actually doing the task that relates to the procedure required. Have them write it as they do the job. Quick, easy and effective and...if you've got five staff that's 25 written next week. 


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The Cellar Notes
Chilled Red???

If you're a purist, skip to the next section but...here is an idea for summer drinking that I learned on my travels through Italy. 

When ordering red wine it often came out chilled. At first I couldn't quite get my head around it but since have applied it in the summer months back home.

I keep my good red wine at around the 13 degree mark all the time but when eating salads, pasta's and the summer BBQ, I will often get a quality cleanskin or a red that is light to mid weight (depending on your taste) and then chill it up before lunch. For some reason it works a treat, costs next to nothing and sets you up for a long post lunch nap.

On The Lighter Side

Doing a fair amount of behavioural work for others, I said to my wife, "you know, sometimes I can't figure out whether I'm an introvert or an extrovert." Her response... "you're just weird." Gotta love people who keep you grounded.


In This Issue:
Ray Hodge is the Director of Ignite Business Consulting. He speaks and consults to businesses & organisations, a notable event being the Department of the Australian Prime Minister and Cabinet.



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"I have worked with Ray for the last 12 months to review the business processes and then monitor on a monthly basis. Ray’s ability to look at a micro level and then shift to a “helicopter” view is exceptional and been invaluable to me as a business owner. He is generous with his time and experience which regardless of whether you are small or large enterprise Ignite Business Consulting is an absolute necessity."
Joanne Brooks - Talent 2

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Copyright 2011 Ray Hodge. All rights reserved.

Email  ray@ignitebusinessconsulting.com.au.
Web    www.ignitebusinessconsulting.com.au






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