The Monday Morning Quote #420

“If we can keep our competitors focused on us while we stay focused on the customer, ultimately we’ll turn out all right.”

Jeff Bezos

 

The Cost of Doing Nothing – in IT

From LRB comes Paul Taylor’s take on what has led up to the problems with NHS IT systems – the malware attack last Friday was a symptom of a far more complex and concerning issue.

Successive governments have spent billions without success. 

“There are no good news stories about computers and the NHS. The reporting of Friday’s malware attack may, however, be usefully different from the typical bad news story, in which hubristic politicians or nameless bureaucrats waste millions, if not billions, of public funds on projects which go over budget, fail to deliver, prove to be unusable or collapse under pressure. In this instance it seems that, for once, inaction and underinvestment have led to something sufficiently focused to be newsworthy, showing that there can be a political as well as a human cost to doing nothing.

For most of the 21st century, the story of NHS IT has been the slow unravelling of New Labour’s ambitions for the transformation of public services. In February 2002, Tony Blair committed his government to a programme that was supposed to take the NHS, in two years, from being largely paper-based to having a seamless IT architecture, enabling a new generation of consumer-friendly digital health services. The mistakes that were made in the pursuit of this vision, which became known as the National Programme for IT, have had devastating consequences for those whose care was supported by NHS IT systems over the last 15 years.

The government entered into huge contracts with large corporations that promised to supply systems they couldn’t engineer, and for which the NHS couldn’t specify the requirements…..”

Full article at LRB

Obsess Over Your Customers, Not Your Rivals

From HBR, worth a read and then asking yourself some questions….

The starting point of most competitive analysis is a question: Who is your competition? That’s because most companies view their competition as another brand, product, or service. But smart leaders and organizations go broader.

The question is not who your competition is but what it is. And the answer is this: Your competition is any and every obstacle your customers encounter along their journeys to solving the human, high-level problems your company exists to solve…..

….Sure, someone in your company needs to understand the marketplace: who your competition is, what other products are on the market, and how they are doing, at a basic level. But there’s a point at which paying attention to other companies and what they’re doing interferes with your team’s ability to immerse itself in the world of your consumer. Focusing on competitive products and companies often leads to “me-too” products, which purport to compete with or iterate on something that customers might not have liked much in the first place.

Conclusion:

  • First, rethink what you sell.
  • Next, rethink your customers.
  • Now, focus on their problems.

Read full article HERE

 

 

Nice piece on the practical elements of leadership from the HBR

Use High Standards to Motivate Employees

Employees constantly watch their leaders to understand what kind of people they are. So one of the most important things leaders can do is to insist on high standards. While low standards lead to low commitment, high standards are energising, even for the most self-motivated employees. But choose your arenas carefully. If you demand perfection in every aspect of performance, you’ll come across as a tyrannical nitpicker. Choose one or two things you want to be known for, such as always being prepared for meetings, insisting on product quality, or supporting excellent customer service. Whatever the standard is, consistently uphold it and demand it of others.

Adapted from “Followers Don’t See Their Leaders as Real People,” by Nathan T. Washburn and Benjamin Galvin

Kolbe Wisdom™ and Sales & Service

KOLBE WISDOM™ AND SALES & SERVICE

If “selling” can be defined as the exchange of goods or a service for money, then it stands to reason that the process is influenced by the instincts of both buyer and seller. So by knowing the Modus Operandi™ (MO) of your team you can predict how they will work at maximum effectiveness.

In Dentistry there is so much more than just selling an item of treatment or even a service. You and your team are engaging in a life-long relationship with any new patient to your practice. Sadly if you read and listen to some of the people advising dental professionals you would think it’s simple. That all you need to do is follow the memorised script to its, apparently, logical conclusion for effortless success.

This approach, presuming one size fits all, not only fails to bring the best out of the members of the team but also omits any consideration of the buying instincts of the patient, client or customer.

A quick review:
In previous postings I have outlined the principles behind Kolbe Wisdom™ and how, by using the 32-question Kolbe A Index, it is possible to identify the striving instincts that drive natural behaviours.

I outlined the four Conative Characteristics:

  • Fact Finder – Gathering and sharing of information – Specifiers.
  • Follow Through – Sorting and Storing Information – Classifiers.
  • Quick Start – Dealing with risk and uncertainty – Improvisers.
  • Implementation – Handling space and intangibles – Builders.

Each Action Mode has three Zones of Operation, which determine how the individual acts when using it.

  • Initiating Zone: how they insist on beginning the problem-solving process.
  • Accommodation Zone: how they respond to people and situations.
  • Preventing Zone: how they avoid or resist problems.

We lead from different strengths and it is the mix of the intensities in each of these characteristics that gives rise to our individual ways of doing things – our modus operandi, or MO.

A successful sales team is (like any other team) a synergistic group that takes advantage of all the instinctive insistencies. Too often it is presumed that an individual with what is deemed to be a “sales personality”, described as outgoing, high-energy and driven – frequently by greed – is the right person to have in charge of sales. If that were the case and these are the qualities to succeed in sales there wouldn’t be the failures in selection that there are now.

Successful selling requires creativity; it’s a matter of pure instinct. Most recruitment techniques, like sales training courses, miss the point. There is little point in selecting the extrovert because he or she is the life and soul of a party. Similarly, there is nothing to be achieved by teaching manipulative techniques in mirroring and gaining a false sense of rapport in order to make a one-off sale which will be followed by buyer’s remorse when their innate needs surface.

The phrase about a leopard changing its spots comes to mind when considering the different ways that a member of the Dental Team will initiate in everything they do, not least the sales process.

Take, for example, a discussion about rebuilding a broken down dentition. A Fact Finder would instinctively want to know everything about the patient before describing the treatment required. Someone who initiates in Follow Through would be keen to describe the reliability and longevity of the proposed work and perhaps offer a guarantee. In Quick Start the clinician will just want the patient to trust their judgement and will be itching to get going. The Implementor requires something tangible like models, wax ups and radiographs, so that their instinctive needs are met.

Unless the authentic instinctive nature of the person involved in dealing with the patient is allowed full rein then they will be unfulfilled, inefficient and ultimately unhappy. This will soon show itself in their dealings with patients and will lead to less than optimum performance of the whole team.

Good sales people meet their customers’ needs by using their instinct to find alternatives that work with the instincts of their customers. The process must be win-win without manipulation of the client to act contrary to their best interests.

When instinctive needs are met, there’s no procrastination, no buyers’ remorse and no customer dissatisfaction. That is the sales process at its best.

Sadly the reality is that much sales talk is artificial communication, which ignores buyers’ instincts in pursuit of the “close the deal” attitude. Until this changes, the majority of dental people in “sales” including front desk, nurses, hygienists, treatment co-ordinators, associates and, above all, practice owners will continue to fail and they and their patients will continue to miss having their needs met.

Want to discover your Kolbe A? HERE

Next week: Sales considering the patients’ MO™.

During this piece I have, once again, borrowed and quoted heavily from Kathy Kolbe’s book “Pure Instinct” which is available from Kolbe Corporation through their website www.kolbe.com.

It is possible that some of the concepts I discuss will not be clear to the reader who has not read the earlier articles, for back copies please email me.

The Monday Morning Quote #418

“Everything around you that you call life

was made up by people who are no smarter than you.”

Steve Jobs

A Formula To Measure Likely Success

 

On a small scrap of paper is the wisdom that Peggy Collins from my Toastmasters Group shared with us last week.

Mark yourself out of Ten for the Desire to achieve a goal and the Action you will take to reach it.

Multiply to see the percentage chance of attaining it.

No amount of Desire without Action and no amount of Action without Desire will lead to success.