I am sorry, I do not understand what you are saying
I really loved the concept of out behaving your competition a book written by Gregg Lederman entitled ENGAGED for my birthday. I found the title quite engaging and started to read the book the very next day. Friends and colleagues know me as a person always looking out for new and relevant ideas in my pursuit of excellence in business. I trust that you as a business owner are engaged in this pursuit as well, and if not, you should be engaged in the pursuit. I remember asking one of my colleagues one day if he was engaged or just interested. The response was ‘I am sorry I do not understand what you are saying. I expect that if you were a fly on the wall that day it would have been quite an eye opener. My colleague realized that the effort he was making was mediocre.
You and your employees may doing the same, just going through the day-to-day motions and feeling everything is OK. To be engaged means to be committed to something. It is part of our DNA, our values and our beliefs. It is what has gotten you to where you are today in business and hopefully what will get you to the next level. That brings us to the concept of “Living the brand”. In the book they talk about the three things that you can do to.
• Define the experience, clearly know what you want and are going to tell the client.
• Remind, set expectations about the delivery and reinforce.
• Quantify, define success factors and measure success.
When I was in Toastmasters, we were taught to establish a pattern by using three phrases in an established 1-2-3 pattern. Tell them what you are going to tell them; Tell them and then finally; Tell them what you told them. It was a very effective process for communicating ideas so I expect if you were to implement the ’living the brand’ concept you would get results within the 60 to 90 days the time that it takes to change a habit or behaviour.
The first thing to remember is that you and if applicable your employees are the brand. Therefore you need to be aware that everyone in the business needs to act and behave within the constraints of the “Living brand system”. If you are like most business owners you probably have never thought about this. I tested my theory on a business owners at a conference I was giving and I received a puzzled look and then they were swept with a level of curiosity to know more. It was true that they have never considered the ‘brand experience’ and therefore did not define it.
Next they never thought about implementing a process to remind themselves and the team about how to communicate and deliver the experience. As a result they had 20 percent loyal clients and 80 percent marginal clients who they shared with similar businesses. Repetition is the motive of all learning; this is why franchises are generally very successfully at attracting more regular clients. They have mastered the practice of Define, Remind and Quantify. To Quantify they linked the experience to financial results. Here is some work for you to do. Give some thought to what you feel is your Living Brand and then give some thought to what you would like it to be or what it should be. In the book they also talk about the fact that happy employees create engaged customers, and again I asked the business owners at the conference if they have ever evaluated themselves or their employees against the five levels of engagement.
• I’m not engaged
• I’m somewhat engaged
• I’m engaged
• I’m very engaged
• I’m extremely engaged.
The answer that came back was no but it sounded like a good idea. So here again is some homework for you to do. Give some thought to how engaged you are and if applicable your employees. Consider what each questions means to you. And then give some thought about what level of engagement you want to have for your business. Measuring and managing the experience is something that I often do with a business as a precursor to leadership development and I use a 360 degree feedback where the manager, his boss, peers and employees have the opportunity to provide anonymous feedback that contributes towards improving the relationships within the business. In the book they also recommend a 360 degree but referred to it as a view of experience.
In leadership we are working to increase the employees experience with the manager and in effect want the person to also live the brand of the company. I never thought of applying the 3600 in the way the book describes but I can easily visualize the concept and application. For the purpose of the 3600 view again a pattern of three things applies. The three things that are critical to brand experience that should be measured are;
• Customer metrics (the heart)
• Employee metrics (the smile)
• Financial metrics ( the results)
I personally like the concept of doing this in threes because 98% of the businesses in Canada are ten employees or less and if the data metrics are difficult, it would be unlikely you would take the time to implement such a system. The bottom-line to Living the Brand is the contribution it has on your internal system that no company can or should do without. I trust that by now you understand what I am saying and will be willing to take the required action to get “ENGAGED”. If you have a chance, remind family and friends that this might be a great gift for your management team library. As always do you have the audacity to be the master of your own destination?
Ken Ingram, MQA
President, The Achievement Centre -Montreal International Business Coach and conference speaker.
“Full Member of the Worldwide Association of Business Coaches”
www.TACresults.com 514 668-2320