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February 26, 2010

Management Development Tips – Learning Opportunities Are Everywhere

As most managers will tell you, learning our trade is a life-long experience that never stops.

The learning will come from many different sources, when you care to look…

From the first day we take on the responsibility of management, to the day we finally step back, there are always improvements we can add in.

We will develop our skills in the workplace through the experiences we will have.

We will enjoy learning through training programs we are fortunate enough to undertake – where we take the learnings back to implement in our own way, back in the workplace.

Yet there are many opportunities that can be very creative indeed, often outside the workplace, which are all around us, if only we look.

Here are three examples, which might sound a little wacky, yet are stimulating and intriguing possibilities that can excite a manager’s development, when prepared to take a risk or two in thinking outside that box.

Time to give it a go!

Nature

Sometimes just a walk in the park is enough to trigger some thinking that will develop the way you manage.

Have you seen the flight path of a green woodpecker? It’s flap-flap-flap/rest. Effort made till the right speed is achieved and then take a break. Efficient management is more effective with breaks in the energy devoted.

Why do some tree shoots make it when others don’t? What’s the link to your management?

Metaphors

Metaphors from nature, are perfect for giving a totally different perspective to issues that you face and as such are huge assets for the future.

Metaphors are where a descriptor can be applied in a number of situations where they find some sort of relevance.

If you look for them, they are around.

How can the release of 1,000 white balloons be related to what you do? What is the relevance of traffic light sequencing? Why are snowflakes so symmetrical?

Sound weird? Maybe. But then again, if you create one more tool in the box from watching hang-gliders on a thermal-rich afternoon on the scarp side of a hill or how dolphins school together their prey on National Geographic, it’s worth it.

What stories can you apply to the management you offer?

Off The Wall

Whilst there are ideas that are a bit wacky like those mentioned about, there can be much to gain from speculating yourself as you go.

In these cases, it would be easy to deny relevance and move on past. Slow down though – wait. The inkling you felt came for a reason. Where you feel there is a draw for you to linger and be curious, try going with your flow for a while and see just where you are led.

Developing your skills as you progress as a manager is valuable for you. How you go about it will be different for everyone.

We all learn differently, so it’s often good to see things in as many different ways as you can and be brave; take risks, see from the world around you what might work in the team you lead.

Big – and small – ideas may come from well, anything really!

Filed under Blog, Building the Future, Management Development Tips, Managing Me by Martin

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Customer Service Excellence – Cultivating Your Raving Fans

Customers are an asset. Yet how many managers have the insights to make much more of these people that simply completing today’s transaction.

They are much more valuable than that.

It’s easy to appreciate the challenges that providing great customer service can pose. You see it’s not simply a case of giving them what they want, when they want it, at a price that they are happy to pay. No, there’s a lot more value that we can squeeze from them in the relationships we build.

And the good thing is that they will be the beneficiaries as well. Because the way we generate ‘Raving Fans’ is purely by being great with the customers we already have and being clear about what we want from them too. It’s as simple as that.

You see, what we want from our customers, are people who like us so much they want to:-

•    Support us as a gesture
•    Help us along the way
•    Become a resource to their family, friends and acquaintances too
•    Come along and trade with us more often

We want to create people who love us so much that they will tell our story for free to anyone who will listen.

For many small businesses, this is all they do.

They are great to their customers; they go an extra mile even/especially when things go wrong and they are loved for it.

So much so that their customers become their marketing tool.

When you have complaints, you have the opportunity to interact fully with your customers – which, ironically, you miss when things actually go right!

A complaint is a little door to create a relationship that is open, honest and mutual. Over a little time, you will be able to move that relationship into a partnership too.

These people are a vast asset whether you are in a small local business or a huge mega-corporation, by creating one-to-one relationships like they’ve never had before with a service or goods providers.

And they tell others about how great you are.

If you are smart, you even start to ask them to collaborate in the development of your business or service, by asking them for their input beforehand.

Whether you are a store; a call-center or an online business you can move into the sport of open-sourcing.

And that will enable you to draw on the insights of your most important asset (along with your people, of course) – your customers and clients!

The ‘Raving Fan’ is the most cost-effective customer or client you can create. They are worth more than their weight in gold and are out there, right now, waiting for you.

Filed under Blog by Martin

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