I just recently saw the results of a study from Odgers Berntson from 2011 showing some very frightening statistics about executive succession planning. When you look at the numbers below, think about how your organization is handling this issue.
- 17% of organizations expect to lose more than 50% of current leadership by 2016
- 25% expect to lose more than 20% of leadership
- 68% have no executive team replacement strategy
- Next generation of leaders likely to be at least five years younger
- 43% anticipating a shortage of executives by 2016
The first question that comes to mind is, “What are we doing about it?” I would be interested to know if the answers from these same executives have changed since 2011. This shows a clear lack of succession planning, which is something that we see every day. For some reason most organizations don’t do it. As a leader, one of your accountabilities is to find a top-notch replacement for yourself. We all know this, yet it’s often not done effectively.
Think about these statistics and then think about what you can do to ensure you don’t fall into one of them.
There is a difference between having the desire to change, the ability to change and the capability to sustain the change. You need all of these to be successful.
Last week I stayed at the Pierre hotel in New York City. A great property with a great view of Central Park and even greater service. It is one of the only remaining hotels (I think there might be one other in New York) that still uses elevator attendants to move you up and down the floors.
After my stay, I took a few minutes to complete the survey that I was sent. I usually do this because if I have something valuable to add, I want to help the organization improve. In this case, I had a great experience but provided feedback that for the rate that people were paying to stay at the hotel, it was difficult for me to wrap my head around being charged $12 per day for Internet access. In this day and age when we are always connected, Internet access should be included with any hotel room.
To my surprise, I received an email from the Pierre’s Director of Guest Relations within a few hours of completing the survey. Now talk about providing a personal touch! I thought this was a great example of going the extra mile. The email thanked me for my stay and for taking the time to complete the survey, but also addressed my issue about Internet access directly. This just showed that someone took the time to actually read my comments and address them specifically.
This is not something that most companies do so I applaud the Pierre and Taj Hotels for implementing a culture that encourages this kind of extra effort by its’ employees. In a world where communication is becoming less and less personal, acknowledgement of a customer’s concerns is a great strategy.
As I’ve said before, you don’t always need to do something extraordinary to stand out from the crowd.
In an earlier post, I talked about how technology is used in the workplace is not aligned with the way employees use technology away from the workplace.
What I mean doesn’t relate to updating hardware and software or getting the latest version of something, but more about how people communicate and making sure organizations align how they use technology to achieve specific outcomes.
Outside of work people use mobile phones and tablets and other technology to stay in constant contact with one another, share information, gather information, search for resources, etc. They expect immediate results. Yet in many organizations, technology is not used for collaborating or communicating quickly and effectively. In fact, it’s the opposite and can act as a hindrance to performance because the objectives for using the technology were not considered appropriately before it was implemented . Hence the reason you see many people with two mobile devices, one for work and one for personal use, which makes little sense to me.
If technology is not supporting employees to do their job as quickly and effectively as possible, then there will be lost opportunities, hence the impact on profit.
I’m not suggesting that organizations always determine technology decisions based on how employees are using it away from the office. I do think however, that technology adoption would be higher inside organizations if it was used in a way that was better aligned with the way people are using it outside of the office.
In a recent post, I identified different ways to find money and performance boosts. One of the statements was, “Instead of focusing on resolving customer complaints, measure the amount of new revenue generated from those complaining customers.”
Many organizations measure the amount of time it takes customer service representatives to get off the phone, or the volume of calls per hour or maybe even the number of customer issues resolved on the first call. But what about turning that customer complaint on its head and actually making a sale after resolving the issue. When their issues gets resolved quickly and to their satisfaction, customers are grateful. You have just removed one point of stress from their lives.
If you just spilled water on your computer and someone at Apple’s Genius Bar was able to fix it, wouldn’t you be open to listening about an additional warranty to replace your computer if that ever happened again, or some kind of storage device that automatically saves your data? Sometimes it takes a problem for customers to realize what they really need and they’ll be willing to take steps to avoid that problem happening again.
These are the types of opportunities that the best companies in the world look for and exploit.
Of course it requires customer service reps to have a different set of skills, but it also creates a new revenue stream and strengthens customer loyalty. What other opportunities can you find to turn negative situations into growth opportunities?
One of the great competitive advantages an organization can have is being able to find money and performance boosts in areas where most other organizations don’t normally look. This is how to turn conventional business wisdom in it’s head:
- Instead of focusing only on the acquisition of new customers, measure the seamless on boarding of new customers and the retention of existing customers.
- Instead of focusing on resolving customer complaints, measure the amount of new revenue generated from those complaining customers.
- Instead of spending a great deal of time on strategy development, focus on execution and implementation of the strategy.
- Instead of only focusing on pursuing new customers, find a way to have customers seek you out.
- Instead of focusing only on product development timelines, measure the uptake of that product relative to other new products that were successful.
- Instead of over-delivering on features, benefits and services, determine what the customer needs and only provide that.
- Instead of measuring the number of new ideas developed, measure the number of ideas that become commercially viable and from where those ideas were generated.
- Instead of focusing on customer satisfaction, measure the number of referrals to new prospective customers received from each customer.
- Instead of treating all customers equally, treat your most important customers better than the rest.
- Instead of measuring employee turnover or attrition, measure how many of your best people stay with the organization for more than three years.
- Instead of providing incentives to sales people for making the initial sale, only measure and reward them for repeat, long-term customers.
- Instead of focusing on the number of new products and services you bring to market, measure the percentage of revenue and profit those new products and services represent in their first three years of existence.
As you can see, there are many different areas where there are tremendous opportunities for increases in profit and performance. And we have just scratched the surface.
I will be hosting a free teleconference going into more detail about these areas on Thursday February 28 at 10:00EST. To register, please provide your name, organization and email address to [email protected].
Look for future posts over the next few days where I will go into more detail about each of the ideas above.