Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Work life balance is a myth

I am putting together a presentation for a client of mine on work life balance and as I sit here I am compelled to write about the fact that there is no balance. How did we come up with this crazy concept? The term suggests that we actually have a balance or equal hours at work and home.. how unrealistic.

And the amount of training that is available on getting work life balance is quite interesting. Sadly one size does not fit all; an ideal week may provide you with some structure in how you manage your work day but probably not the balance you are looking for. And here is the real cruncher what is right today in regards to balance more than likely will not be tomorrow.

How often have you had to give up on your gym appointment because a meeting ran over time? I had a chat to a collegue about this very issue yesterday and my question is.. would you miss an appointment with a prospective client? If the answer is no then why miss an appointment with yourself?

So what is the answer? Perhaps we need to start thinking in terms of flexibility, high degrees of it! Reduction in how much we may procrastinate, saying NO and the king of them all get great at delegation.

Whenever I start to feel a little overwhelmed by what is occurring around me I go back to the concept of looking at my life in 4 quadrants. Family, Work, Friends and Me. How much time am I spending in each?

Here is what often happens, I have a bad day at work and I immediately call my friends to go have a drink, keep this up on a regular basis and two parts of the quadrant starts to suffer –family and me. Often I will have a serious chat to myself as to how much time I am spending in each quadrant and can I perhaps do better.

Instead of focusing on whether my life is balanced or not what I do is look at what I have achieved in a day, people whose lives I have impacted on and how much fun did I have along the way.. did we laugh?

Map it back to the four quadrants – family, work, friends and me – what have you achieved, whose lives have you impacted on in a positive way and how much fun did you have along the way.

Perhaps as you drive home tonight assess it from this prospective and you may be surprised as to how much life balance you actually do have.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Its all about choice

“We work in an environment where you need to engage your customers before they become a client”

With so many marketing messages to filter through prospective clients need to make a decision to listen to your message therefore engagement need’s to occur before they become a client. Too often I see businesses spend a lot of time on ways to engage clients after they have made a decision to become a customer. If you are one of these businesses imagine how much potential business you are missing out on?

Its all about choice; think about it - you choose which TV program you watch, what radio station you listen to, what emails you open or delete, which links to open up in Google; not sure about you but I am the remote control queen in our household.

I recently worked with two businesses, one where they were getting frustrated on despite their best marketing campaigns they weren’t getting any cut through or increase in their customer base. The other was building a base of loyal clients who were happy to refer businesses.

How does this happen? Simple really the second business understood that your customer has the power in the relationship you have with them. They knew who their customer base was, how they wanted to be engaged and interacted with which enabled them to grow their client base.

They also used tools that are available today, e.g. facebook, twitter, blog, website; invested in marketing and viewed their businesses as a whole; not two separate entities – property management and sales.

Customer engagement can be a minefield if you get it wrong, get it right however and you will have raving fans for life.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Virgin WOW experience

As a consultant/trainer I talk to my clients about the wow experience and often I either see blank faces or examples of “wow” that really isn’t a wow at all. If you provide a level of service that is the same as everyone else...people this is not a “wow” experience.
I was on a flight from Fiji to Sydney a few weeks ago on Virgin Blue and a fellow passenger experienced a “wow” moment.
Somehow and I suspect that a fellow traveller told the Virgin steward that it was Bills birthday so just as we were descending into Sydney airport they announced it to the passengers, got us all to sing along and then to all of our amusement sang a rendition equivalent to the Marilyn Munroe version.
Now why is it that I classify this as a “wow” experience, well firstly we all laughed, it became memorable, I am sure Bill is still telling everyone, I am writing about it so the WOW has turned into a WOM = word of mouth.
How many times does this happen in your business? Or are your people so busy simply keeping up doing their jobs that their ability to deliver WOW so it turns into WOM does not exist or isn’t even on the radar. Are you the same as every other agent in town?
Remember a brand name isn’t just what brings you in the businesses, the memorable experiences you create is often far more powerful.