Posts

Rhian Silvestro

Surf your data!

Is your strategy built on received wisdom or analysis of performance data? – management rhetoric or business reality?

Are you building your business strategy on received wisdom or real data? Corporate strategies are often based on assumptions about what drives business performance rather than data from the company itself. J.W. Marriott (founder of Marriott Hotels) is famous for saying “You’ve got to make your employees happy. If the employees are happy, they are going to make the customers happy”. TNT Express promotes the slogan “Take care of your people, let them take care of your customers and the rest will take care of itself”. The implication is that happy employees make happy customers, which drive profits. But does this really happen in your organisation?

The problem is that often some drivers of performance aren’t measured at all; let alone the correlations between them. For example, you may believe that loyal employees create satisfied, loyal customers, but do you have data which demonstrates that your longest serving staff create the highest levels of customer loyalty? Another assumption is that loyal customers are the most profitable; we’re often told ‘it is five times more profitable to serve existing customers than loyal customers’. It makes sense. The better we know our customers the better we are likely to serve them. And because customer spend tends to increase over time, it may well be cheaper to serve long-term customers than keep attracting new ones. But, can you prove this is the case in your organisation?

Performance topology mapping is a tool that can help with this analysis. The first step is making sure that you’re measuring the right thing. So if your business is built on the assumption that employee loyalty is necessary to create loyal customers, collect loyalty data. Identify your key performance indicators, and then measure the correlations between them in order to build a map of business drivers.

The findings can be astonishing. For example, the link between customer loyalty and financial performance is often regarded as a basic principle of retail management. However when they came to explore the data in their own organisation, the management of one home improvement retail chain discovered that there was no such correlation. They could not prove that the stores with the most loyal customers were the most profitable.

Analysis of the performance topology map of one of the UK’s big four grocery superstore chains also revealed counter-intuitive results. Its management bought into the idea that satisfied employees created customer satisfaction which drove store profitability. But the data revealed negative correlations! In fact the stores with the highest levels of employee satisfaction were the least profitable. The explanation for this lay in the value proposition: customers in these stores did not value contact with staff so much as product availability, price and checkout speed. Therefore their shopping experience did not hinge on the quality of their interaction with employees.

In other businesses, of course, the interactions between staff and customers are likely to be much more critical. Take, for example, the professional services of clinicians or lawyers. Their services are based on more sophisticated interactions between staff and clients, and long-term business relationships may well be an essential part of the value proposition. Therefore employee engagement is likely to be a more important driver of profitability in professional services.

Understanding the performance drivers is crucial. Because failing to understand what drives profitability is to fail to understand why your company has succeeded… or indeed failed. The reality is that your business strategy is based on all sorts of assumptions about what investments will yield increased market share, revenue growth or profitability. To get the strategy right, better start testing those assumptions… surf the data wave!

About the Author

Dr. Rhian SilvestroDr. Rhian Silvestro is Associate Professor of Operations Management at Warwick Business School. Rhian has conducted service management research in a number of large, leading edge organisations including retail companies, banks, transport companies, health services and call centres. She has publications in over ten international journals in the fields of service design, performance improvement and supply chain integration.

Do You and Your Organization Speak Data?

Speaking two languages makes you bilingual, and speaking three makes you trilingual. Any more than that, and you are a polyglot. In today’s data-driven business world, you are a data scientist if you can “speak data”.

Our world is becoming more and more about the data it generates. As pressure mounts, people who can analyze, visualize, and interpret data are becoming indispensable, much like a well-versed polyglot who can interpret and translate multiple languages with ease.


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About the Author

Anteneh Ayanso is an Associate Professor of Information Systems at Brock University’s Goodman School of Business. He is certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) by APICS and teaches and researches in the areas of data management, business analytics, electronic commerce, and electronic government. Anteneh Ayanso can be contacted at (905) 688-5550 x 3498 or [email protected]

Hank Moore

The Big Picture of Business – Yesterdayism… Learning from the Past, Planning for the Future

This Annual Report issue celebrates the year, as basis for helping business people to prepare for the future.

People are interesting combinations of the old, the new, the tried and the true. Individuals and organizations are more resilient than they tend to believe. They’ve changed more than they wish to acknowledge. They embrace innovations, while keeping the best traditions.

When one reflects at changes, he-she sees directions for the future. Change is innovative. Customs come and go… some should pass and others might well have stayed with us.

There’s nothing more permanent than change. For everything that changes, many things stay the same. The quest of life is to interpret and adapt that mixture of the old and new. People who fight change have really changed more than they think.

The past is an excellent barometer for the future. I call that Yesterdayism. One can always learn from the past, dust it off and reapply it. Living in the past is not good, nor is living in the present without wisdom of the past.

Trends come and go… the latest is not necessarily the best. Some of the old ways really work better… and should not be dismissed just because they are old or some fashionable trend of the moment looks better.

When we see how far we have come, it gives further direction for the future. Ideas make the future happen. Technology is but one tool of the trade. Futurism is about people, ideas and societal evolution, not fads and gimmicks. The marketplace tells us what they want, if we listen carefully. We also have an obligation to give them what they need.

In olden times, people learned to improvise and ‘make do.’ In modern times of instantaneous disposability, we must remember the practicalities and flexibilities of the simple things and concepts.

Things which Made Comebacks…

Ceiling fans. The jitterbug and swing music. Hardwood floors. Stained glass.

Things the Economy Has Exempted…

Penny arcades. Five-and-dime stores. Full-service gas stations. Free car washes at gas stations. Towels in boxes of detergent. Mom-and-pop stores. S&H Green Stamps and other redemption programs.

Things which the Marketplace Has Eclipsed…

  • Ice delivered in blocks via a horse-driven carriage by the ice man
  • Milk delivered in bottles via a horse-driven carriage by the milk man
  • Going downtown to do all of your shopping
  • Drive-in movies
  • Stores closed on Sundays

The Old Became the New Again…

The original speed for phonograph records, as invented in 1888, was 78-RPM, which engineers determined to be the most ideal for sound quality. In the 1940s, technology brought us the 45-RPM and 33-1/3-RPM records… adding up to the ‘mother speed’ of 78-RPM. The 1980s brought us compact discs, which play at a speed of 78-RPM.

Station wagons of the 1950s went out of style. They came back in the 1980s as sport utility vehicles.

Midwives were widely utilized in previous centuries. In modern times, alternative health care concepts and practitioners have been embraced by all sectors of society. Herbal ingredients and home remedies have gained popularity, and cottage industries support them.

Telephone party lines went out of style in the 1920s. They came back in the 1990s as internet chat rooms.

Corporations have become extended families, thus embracing dysfunctionality, changes, modifications and learning curves.

Schools started out as full-scope community centers. As the years passed, academic programs grew and became more specialized, covering many vital subject areas. Today, with parents and communities severely neglecting children and their life-skills education, schools have evolved back to being full-scope community centers.

7 Levels of Yesterdayism… Learning from the Past… Sources of Insights:

  1. Think They’ve Been There… Haven’t Yet Fully Learned from It.
  2. Saw It Happen… Understand It.
  3. Participated In It.
  4. Been There… Learned from It.
  5. Teach, Understand and Interpret It.
  6. Innovated It… and Teach You Why.
  7. Innovative Then and Now… Still Creating.

7 Applications for Yesterdayism… How to Shape the Past Into the Future:

  1. Re-Reading… Reviewing… Finding New Nuggets in Old Files.
  2. Applying Pop Culture to Today.
  3. Review case studies and their patterns for repeating themselves.
  4. Discern the differences between trends and fads.
  5. Learn from successes… and three times more from failures.
  6. Transition your organization from information down the branches to knowledge.
  7. Apply thinking processes to be truly innovative.

Apply History to Yourself. The past repeats itself. History is not something boring that you once studied in school. It tracks both vision and blindspots for human beings. History can be a wise mentor and help you to avoid making critical mistakes.

7 Kinds of Reunions… obtaining perspective:

  1. Pleasurable. Seeing an old friend who has done well, moved in a new direction and is genuinely happy to see you too. These include chance meetings, reasons to reconnect and a concerted effort by one party to stay in the loop.
  2. Painful. Talking to someone who has not moved forward. It’s like the conversation you had with them 15 years ago simply resumed. They talk only about past matters and don’t want to hear what you’re doing now. These include people with whom you once worked, old romances, former neighbors, networkers who keep turning up like bad pennies and colleagues from another day and time.
  3. Mandated. Meetings, receptions, etc. Sometimes, they’re pleasurable, such as retirement parties, open houses, community service functions. Other times, they’re painful, such as funerals or attending a bankruptcy creditors’ meeting.
  4. Instructional. See what has progressed and who have changed. Hear the success stories. High school reunions fit into this category… their value depending upon the mindset you take with you to the occasion.
  5. Reflect Upon the Past. Reconnecting with old friends, former colleagues and citizens for whom you have great respect. This is an excellent way to share each other’s progress and give understanding for courses of choice.
  6. Benchmarking. Good opportunities to compare successes, case studies, methodologies, learning curves and insights. When ‘the best’ connects with ‘the best,’ this is highly energizing.
  7. Goal Inspiring. The synergy of your present and theirs inspires the future. Good thinkers are rare… stay in contact with those whom you know, admire and respect. It will benefit all involved.

About the Author

Power Stars to Light the Business Flame, by Hank Moore, encompasses a full-scope business perspective, invaluable for the corporate and small business markets. It is a compendium book, containing quotes and extrapolations into business culture, arranged in 76 business categories.

Hank’s latest book functions as a ‘PDR of business,’ a view of Big Picture strategies, methodologies and recommendations. This is a creative way of re-treading old knowledge to enable executives to master change rather than feel as they’re victims of it.

Power Stars to Light the Business Flameis now out in all three e-book formats: iTunes, Kindle, and Nook.

StrategyDriven Podcast Episode 44 – The Big Picture of Business: Business Leader as Community Leader, part 2 of 2

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Episode 44 – The Big Picture of Business: Business Leader as Community Leader, part 2 of 2 examines the role of business leaders within their communities. During our discussion, Hank Moore, Corporate Strategist and author of The Business Tree: Growth Strategies and Tactics for Surviving and Thriving, shares with us his insights and illustrative examples regarding:

  • how business leaders can avoid becoming too politically involved
  • how companies can contribute to the community in a manner consistent with their values without alienating segments of the community
  • the breadth of individuals who should consider themselves business leaders and therefore community leaders

Additional Information

In addition to the outstanding insights Hank shares in The Business Tree and this edition of the StrategyDriven Podcast are the resources accessible from his website, www.HankMoore.com.   Hank’s book, The Business Tree, can be purchased by clicking here.

Final Request…

The strength of our community grows with the additional insights brought by our expanding member base. Please consider rating us on iTunes by clicking here. Rating the StrategyDriven Podcast and providing your comments online improves our ranking and helps us attract new listeners which, in turn, helps us grow our community.

Thank you again for listening to the StrategyDriven Podcast!


About the Author

Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal, and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.

StrategyDriven Podcast Episode 43 – The Big Picture of Business: Business Leader as Community Leader, part 1 of 2

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Episode 43 – The Big Picture of Business: Business Leader as Community Leader, part 1 of 2 examines the role of business leaders within their communities. During our discussion, Hank Moore, Corporate Strategist and author of The Business Tree: Growth Strategies and Tactics for Surviving and Thriving, shares with us his insights and illustrative examples regarding:

  • the benefits businesses realize through strong community relationships
  • risks business leaders face if they do not cultivate a positive relationship with their communities
  • outward signs of good business – community relationships
  • actions business leaders can take to build and maintain good community relationships

Additional Information

In addition to the outstanding insights Hank shares in The Business Tree and this edition of the StrategyDriven Podcast are the resources accessible from his website, www.HankMoore.com.   Hank’s book, The Business Tree, can be purchased by clicking here.

Final Request…

The strength of our community grows with the additional insights brought by our expanding member base. Please consider rating us on iTunes by clicking here. Rating the StrategyDriven Podcast and providing your comments online improves our ranking and helps us attract new listeners which, in turn, helps us grow our community.

Thank you again for listening to the StrategyDriven Podcast!


About the Author

Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal, and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.