One Page Digest 14.0

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Framework One-Page DigestIssue 14.0

Links

Blogger (hosting site): If the word “blog” means nothing to you, then you are missing out on an interconnected world of ideas and information on the topics you care most about. See our company blog as an example, and check out our links to others and if you get inspired, create your own blog at Blogger. The cost? 5 minutes and $0.

PBwiki.com (wiki service): If you also don’t know what a wiki is, don’t panic! Take a breath, and browse over to this site that offers a powerful tool for jointly sharing and creating information with your project colleagues sitting in Montego Bay, Port of Spain and Georgetown. The shared space you create with them will replace all the hassle of going back and forth using email.

The Service Inventory (customer experience paper): The places at which your customers experience your company and make their judgements are known as touchpoints. This Framework paper describes a method for gathering and analyzing them, in order to produce a consistent and differentiated customer experience.

GoogleEarth (a real time-waster!): I can think of no practical use for GoogleEarth, except to have fun. And it delivers! Find satellite pictures of the exact spots on the planet where you live, were born, went to school, got baptised, … everything you can think of. It is all somewhat unnerving, however, in these terror-ridden times.

Did you miss the Framework blog discussion?
Internet Networking: Are you proactively creating your personal brand on the internet, or waiting for other people to create it for you — without your knowledge? Click on this link to see why you should be taking steps now to correct false information and give regional users a rounded view insight into who you really are. Click here.

About This E-mail

The Framework One-Page Digest is produced monthly by Francis Wade of Framework Consulting, Inc. and is intended to provide E-level managers with a reliable source of new ideas for managing Caribbean companies. To join the mail list, visit http://urlcut.com/digest and follow the instructions to subscribe to FrameworkDigest, source of the One Page Digest. Past issues can also be found at http://urlcut.com/digesthome.

You are receiving this mailing because you are listed as a friend of Framework Consulting. To remove yourself from this mailing, send email to newsletter@fwconsulting.com with the words REMOVE in the subject line, or visit http://urlcut.com/digest. To ensure delivery, add fwconsulting.com to your address book as an approved sender.

Framework Consulting Inc, 3389 Sheridan Street #434, Hollywood FL 33021

FirstCuts ezine Issue 10.0

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A Framework Consulting Online eZine

High-Stake Interventions — New Ideas Issue 10 April 15, 2007

A Caribbean Branded Experience
by Francis Wade

Editorial

For better or worse, the Cricket World Cup has put our region firmly on the world stage as a united entity, jointly accountable for the success of the event.

It is the first time that we are coming together to host an event of this magnitude, and I felt proud of us as a region after the Opening Ceremony in March.

Since then, I have only wished that we had taken a stand for making it more of OUR world cup in every dimension, rather than something that feels imported. This issue is devoted to one element that we could have made our won, but didn’t — the customer
experience.

I find that we as a region are sometimes too shy to promote ourselves and our strengths on the world stage, and don’t appreciate the value and impact of our own brand in the world. Hopefully, after the matches are over we will have learned how to better harness our own strengths, especially outside of the realm of sun, sea and sand.

Until next month,

Francis

A Caribbean Branded Experience

There is a quiet revolution underway in which leading companies are changing the way they’re thinking about customer service.

Since the advent of the “total quality” movement in the 1980s, companies have been happy designing customer service to “meet or exceed customers’ needs or expectations” and to provide “excellent
service.”

Marketers are now saying that this approach is not sufficient and that they want customer service that fulfills an important role in brand building. In other words, they’re saying that service quality must do more than meet expectations. It must also create a “branded experience” that the company can use to clearly differentiate itself from competitors and deeply embed itself in the customer’s
psyche.

When companies fail to create a branded experience, they run the risk of either providing a bland experience that customers do not value or even creating a negative experience that customers actively avoid.

Such is the case of the ICC Cricket World Cup currently underway across the West Indies. The promise seemed simple: create a world-class event and cricket lovers the world over would come.

Unfortunately, the delivered experience has driven away local fans and turned off visitors, and there is universal recognition that something must be done to correct this.

What could the ICC Cricket World Cup organisers have done to prevent the fallout that’s now occurring? What went wrong in their planning? What can regional companies do to prevent their own customers from abandoning them at key moments?

In our most recent endeavor at Framework, we have been looking at this question for several clients—and we think that the ICC could have followed a simple process to craft a precise experience from inside the world of their customers, create channels to deliver the experience consistently, and ensure that interventions to restore the desired experience are timely and authentic.


Customer’s Experience vs. Customer’s Expectations


As companies change the way they think about the customer’s experience, savvy firms are focusing on creating specific “experiences” comprised of actual emotions they want their customers to retain after an encounter with the company.

For example, customers of an excellent hotel may leave their weekend stint having had experiences of “care, opulence, and comfort.”

In this context, the experience is a possible differentiating factor, built by the hotel, based on an understanding of what its target customers want—and what the hotel can actually deliver. Obviously, no set of experiences are universal and apply to all customers. Equally obvious is the fact that not all hotels are interested in delivering the same experience. A different hotel might be interested in creating an experience of “adventure, thrift, and practicality” for its customers.

If both hotels were effective in creating these experiences, they would appeal to very different segments, with brands that overlap only rarely.

In the case of the ICC Cricket World Cup, the “world-class” experience that’s associated with sporting events in developed countries has done much to turn away local lovers of the game.

The truth is, although half of the world lives on less than US$2.00 per day, the idea of what is world-class probably wasn’t defined with the “lower half” in mind. Instead, it most likely came from feedback gained from the 20% of the world’s population in the developed nations who consume 86% of the world’s goods (and perhaps even more of the global, live sporting events.) Here in the Caribbean, with our developing economies, we are hardly a part of the influential 20%.

A conversation with the average man in the street, or a visitor to the region, would reveal that our cricketing customers are very different from those envisioned by the typical customers of world-class events. The experiences we value are very different— more noisy, spontaneous, and reliant on people interacting with one another.

The ICC seems to have realized that a mistake was made and that the experience they were intent on delivering is not the one that customers are interested in having—even if it is “world-class.”

Unfortunately, companies in the region often assume that world-class is better. This is an excellent example where that thinking is just plain wrong.

The problem was created when the term “world-class” was not translated into specific experiences.

For example, a great deal has been made of the fact that local customers have not appreciated that tickets have been available online for several months. In a world-class event, an e-commerce channel is usually experienced as “helpful.” In the Caribbean, where less than 20% of our citizens have Internet access, the experience was one that was “exclusionary” and “difficult.”

Furthermore, foreigners have been complaining that the cricket experience they are having is sterile, and “not Caribbean enough.” One visitor quipped that if he wanted that kind of experience he would just have stayed home in England.

Shifting from vague ideals such as “world-class” to specific experiences is more than just a cosmetic play of words. When experiences can be understood as a combination of critical emotional outcomes, practices can be customized to produce them.

Take, as an example, interactions between the flight crew and customers in the airline industry.

A company that intends to create the experience of “peace and quiet” would train the staff in very different practices from one that creates the experience of “spontaneity.” The practices would contrast in tone, length, volume, and warmth.

To illustrate, Southwest Airlines is well known for the jokes, contests, and songs that its flight crew (including the captain) tell over the intercom at different points in the flight. As a customer of Southwest, which specializes in short-haul flights, I can report from the experience that it was fun.

However, I also truly appreciate the peace and quiet provided by a British Airways business-class seat on a long trans-Atlantic flight.

As another example, here in the Caribbean, a company that tries to deliver the same experience to its clients, regardless of the culture of each client’s home country, can run into serious trouble. A Trinidadian customer may respond very differently to an invitation to go out for drinks and a lime after work compared to a Barbadian in the same situation.

A savvy company accounts for regional differences and customizes its practices to carefully produce the desired experience, while monitoring the actual experience its customers are having.

Unfortunately, international research conducted by Bain & Co. shows that most companies are in the dark. Some 80% of companies believe that they are delivering “a superior customer experience,” while only 8% of their customers agree.

The best companies go further than customizing their practices, however. They also define what happens for customers at each point at which the company interacts with the customer.


Delivering the Experience Through Touch Points


Critical to delivering the experience and customizing practices is understanding that customers build up their experience of companies through what are called “touch points.”

Recently I made my first visit to a new bicycle shop here in Kingston, Jamaica. The outside looks rather ordinary, as the shop is tucked away between other stores behind a very shallow parking lot. However, when I entered it for the first time, I had only one thought: “This feels like America!” The layout was superb, the store was air-conditioned, and the merchandise was well lit and attractively displayed.

It was a vivid touch point, and I have not visited another bicycle shop since then, as this one is a clear step above any others in terms of its environment.

Perhaps the owner designed the store’s interior with a particular experience in mind: “inviting.” If so, he has succeeded—the layout invites the customer to linger, and, in my opinion, it’s the only bicycle shop in Kingston that comes close to accomplishing this feeling. The first entrance into the store is a powerful touch point.

We at Framework have developed tools to help companies define the desired experience, inventory the touch points, and define standards of behaviour and process that deliver the experience. (See the footnote to this ezine about how to obtain more information on one of these tools.)

When I first did this exercise for Framework Consulting, the insights I gained were stunning. When I stepped into our customer’s shoes, seemingly trivial details became critical.

When I made the first list of touch points, I realized that the firm’s brand was being experienced through multiple channels, some of which were as follows:
• A visit to the company website
• How long it took to get a reply to an email
• The length of the voice mail message I heard when I called
• The fit between my proposals and the client’s budget
• A casual encounter in the mall or on an airplane
• A speech heard at a conference

These are all valid touch points, and they all work together to create our company’s particular brand and some overall experience for our customers. I found that I was managing a mere subset of all potential touch points.

Unfortunately, in the case of the ICC Cricket World Cup, the touch points that I personally encountered were a mixed bag of positive and negative experiences:
• The press was full of reports of things that we West Indians were not allowed to do on match day
• When I called to order tickets, I was told quite unprofessionally that “they were sold out”
• When I bought a ticket online the following day, the website was confusing and would not allow me to pick the row or seat, just the “section”
• When I picked up the ticket, the agent appeared unconcerned that I was given incorrect information
• It was amazingly easy to be transferred from the parking lot to the ground itself
• The degree of security (in crime-ridden Jamaica) was wonderful to behold
• I was told I could bring in no food or drinks, but I saw people do both
• The ground’s vendors ran out of decent meals, and my family ended up eating something awful for lunch
• Sabina Park never looked more beautiful, or better prepared, as a physical facility
• There was none of the noise that’s always a part of cricket in the Caribbean
• The brand name of the toilets was neatly (and bizarrely) covered with duct tape . . .

All of these touch points together—good and bad—helped to make the total experience.

A note about the duct tape on the toilets: While covering the brand name on a toilet may have something to do with a world-class standard (i.e., ambush marketing), the feeling of outrage that I felt at that moment has stayed with me. (Apparently, the manufacturer declined to be a sponsor, hence the peculiar need to hide its name from the public.) I cannot imagine that too many West Indians would take this particular tactic lightly, and many sportswriters have written about the greed and selfishness that it exemplifies. Clearly, this touch point created an experience that was foreign to the majority of the ICC Cricket World Cup customers.

Taken together, the mixed bag of experiences, via different touch points, has resulted in empty stadiums (to date) and a bitter taste in the mouths of many fans—a bad taste that the organisers are now desperately trying to correct.

Unfortunately, some recent public pronouncements by the executives of the ICC Cricket World Cup have only added more negative experiences. Apparently, they deliberately decided to overlook the
customer’s experience and instead tried something bolder—to “change Caribbean culture,” in the words of Stephen Price, the tournament’s commercial director.

Needless to say, it’s much more difficult to “change” customers than it is to provide a particular experience that customers value, and more recent actions seem to indicate a course correction.

This is not to say that there aren’t aspects of the Caribbean culture that work against us, but the customer is the wrong element to try to change. Instead, the tournament staff—those who deliver the bulk of the experiences to the customer—should be the real point of focus.


Interventions to Deliver the Desired Experience


Companies that decide to transform themselves to deliver a consistent customer experience must start with the people who deliver the experience. Coaching and training interventions are the best way to change the knowledge, skills, and motivation required.

Unfortunately, the average employee in the Caribbean region is at a severe disadvantage.

One benefit of being a service worker in a First World country is simply having consistent exposure to companies that deliver better service, or even world-class service. Contrasted with the average Caribbean employee, First World employees can more easily become savvy service providers as a result of having had a direct
experience.

Here in the Caribbean, however, the average service provider just hasn’t had that same experience. In fact, the average Caribbean national is hard-pressed to identify a single company with which they interact that provides excellent service.

That doesn’t mean that Sandals, for example, isn’t providing excellent service. However, the income gap between our average service worker (earning perhaps US$200 per week) and the average Sandals customer (paying $US200 per night) means that the majority of workers will never spend a night at Sandals.

Caribbean service workers are therefore in a bind—How do they meet customers’ expectations when theirs have never been met? How do they provide a service level that they’ve never personally witnessed? How do they effect behaviours that deliver an experience that they’ve never had?

This question is not an easy one to answer, as we at Framework are finding, but we have had some success by taking the following two steps.

1. Use Specific, Familiar Language
Managers must define the customer experience in terms that the service worker can appreciate and understand. This may mean using language that’s colloquial, based in patois or local jargon. The point here is to make it easy for the service worker to remember and focus on delivering the experience.

The benefit derived from making the experience explicit is that the service worker is better able to judge whether or not the experience is being delivered. When general terms such as “world-class” are used, that actually communicates very little to the service workers—leaving them unable to correct their behaviour, even if they want to.

This is quite different from a situation in which a manager asks his worker whether or not a particular customer was “delighted, inspired, and energized.” A manager who uses such terms is more likely to get an intelligent response than one who asks whether or not the customer was merely “satisfied.” Using specific language is
the key to communicating what the goal of each interaction actually is.

2. Develop Emotional Intelligence
Managers must train workers to develop aspects of their emotional intelligence that emphasize the ability to recognize, and respond to, the emotions of customers—especially when those emotions might be negative.

At one extreme is the kind of worker who cannot recognize the emotions of others, even when those emotions are obvious. These workers probably should not be in the service industry at all. Further along the spectrum are those who recognize the feelings of others, but react in a way that’s inappropriate because they cannot
control their reactions.

The emotional intelligence needed to consistently deliver a customer experience can be learned. With consistent coaching, an employee with a basic level of empathetic skills can learn how to use touch points to accomplish the company’s goals.

Most are not able to turn themselves into experts overnight, however. Managers must make time to not only train, but to serve as role models for the standards it takes to create a desired experience.

The best managers believe this rule: service workers will not deliver an experience to a customer that exceeds the experience that they’ve had with their own management. The best managers give enough of the “right” experience to their front-line workers in order for those workers, in turn, to be able to give that experience to others. For this reason, the first-level, or front-line manager’s role is a critical one.


Summary


Long after the ICC Cricket World Cup has come and gone, companies in the region will be able to use the example of its citizens direct experience to see that delivering good service is not merely a matter of repeating what is done elsewhere.

Instead, it takes the precise application of touch point standards and interventions in every case—and when the job is done well, the customer’s experience is assured.

*

P.S. We would like to offer you a paper with more details on Framework’s Service Inventory — a tool to capture critical information at company touch-points. To receive the paper, send email to fwc-serv-inv@aweber.com


Useful Stuff

Tips, Ads and Links
I will be speaking at the upcoming Jamaica Employees Federation conference from May 3-6 in Ocho Rios on the topic: Building Bridges across the region: Networking Strategies and Techniques for the New Breed of Caribbean Managers.

We are on the lookout for possible contributors to FirstCuts. If you are interested, send email to francis@fwconsulting.com to be included in a future mailing. Please send this request along to others.

Back Issues of FirstCuts can be found at http://tinyurl.com/pw7fa

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FirstCuts: An Online Newsletter From Framework Consulting Inc.
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One Page Digest Issue 10.0

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We sent you this digest because we believe you have an interest in these topics. Please PASS IT ON to others of like mind. If we are incorrect, please send us email at newsletter@fwconsulting.com, or follow the directions at the end to be automatically unsubscribed.

Links

Getting Things Done (time management): If there is one common area that professionals everywhere must continue to master, it is time management. This site, based on the book by David Allen, is the best resource on the web, and the perfect compliment to his book by the same name.

Google (Blog/News) Reader (web service): If you are a heavy blog reader, then it’s time you stopped skipping from one blog to another to find out whether anything new has been added. Google’s reader picks up the latest entries and puts them all in one place, saving you time and effor. While you’re at it, add in our company blog to get the region’s latest ideas for running your business.

CANA News Agency(online news service): For regional news that is timely and far-reaching, this source can be viewed as an RSS feed — by the same Google Reader described above.

YouTube.com (Framework video): This link will take you my own bio — which is not the point — but it has a video introduction at the bottom of the page that demonstrates the power of YouTube by example. I love how easy it is to use, and the world it opens up. Coming up soon: a full speech on techniques for Caribbean networking.

Also of Interest
Do you have some ideas on what you would like to see covered in the One Page Digest? Let us know here.

More Depth?
In FirstCuts, our monthly ezine, we share our newest management ideas in depth. In the latest issue: “Delegating in Caribbean Companies” we look at why finding and training replacement managers is so difficult for executives in the region.

To subscribe to FirstCuts, Visit our homepage and sign-up at the bottom of the page.

Did you miss the Framework blog discussion?
A Caribbean Approach to Time Management: we are developing it, and we are sharing the content as we go along — warts and all. Add a comment and tell us what you think.

About This E-mail

The Framework One-Page Digest is produced monthly by Francis Wade of Framework Consulting, Inc. and is intended to provide E-level managers with a reliable source of new ideas for managing Caribbean companies. To join the mail list, visit http://urlcut.com/digest and follow the instructions to subscribe to FrameworkDigest, source of the One Page Digest. Past issues can also be found at http://urlcut.com/digesthome.

You are receiving this mailing because you are listed as a friend of Framework Consulting. To remove yourself from this mailing, send email to newsletter@fwconsulting.com with the words REMOVE in the subject line. To ensure delivery, add fwconsulting.com to your address book as an approved sender.

Framework Consulting Inc, 3389 Sheridan Street #434, Hollywood FL 33021

FirstCuts Issue 9.0

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A Framework Consulting Online eZine

High-Stake Interventions — New Ideas Issue 9
March 15, 2007

Delegating in Caribbean Companies (part 2)
by Francis Wade

Editorial

A few weeks ago in Jamaica, there was a riot at the construction
site of a hotel being built by a Spanish hotel conglomerate:
the Fiesta Hotel Group.

The bottom line was that a worker was shot, cars were burned,
offices were looted and work was suspended for almost two weeks.

Now and then I receive a reminder that our work in the region can
have very dramatic results, and that when we discuss ideas such as
those we tackle in FirstCuts it is not just a matter of
intellectual interest, but also a matter of doing work that
impacts the lives of workers, families and communities.

Until next month,

Francis

Delegating in Caribbean Companies (part 2)

In last month’s issue of FirstCuts, I wrote about the need for
regional executives to think deeply about the process they use to
turn over accountabilities to new direct reports. I mentioned the
need for executives to systematize the work they do so that it can
be captured and passed on effectively.

In that issue, I discussed the need for Caribbean executives to
produce a “turnover document” for every new accountability. In
addition to writing such a document, they must also create ways to
progressively delegate the content of a new job. (To see the prior
edition of FirstCuts, visit http://urlcut.com/FirstCuts8.)

In this issue, we describe the way in which we have worked with
executives to produce the critical content included in a turnover
document. Once the document is produced, we advocate a phased
turnover of tasks to ensure that learning takes place.


More on Turnover Documents


While turnover documents might include all kinds of important
details about a job, at the heart of them is a list of key
activities. These activities are discovered by breaking down the
job into three tiers, as follows:

= Tier 1 consists of a list of top-level Results to be produced
= Tier 2 consists of the Targets to be reached to accomplish each
result
= Tier 3 consists of the individual Tasks that must be performed to
hit each target

An example of the breakdown of results, targets, and tasks (i.e.,
the elements that make up a job) for a sales manager might be as
follows:

= Result: $100 million revenue increase

That result might be broken down into two targets:

= Target 1: Motivate top salespeople to increase sales by 20% each
= Target 2: Create new sales of $10 million for new product X

Each of the two targets outlined above can be further broken down
into tasks to produce the following:

= Target 1: Motivate top salespeople to increase sales by 20% each
– Task 1.1: Coach each salesperson to manage time better
– Task 1.2: Look at top prospects and determine a way to enter
their network of friends and colleagues

= Target 2: Create new sales of $10 million for new product X
– Task 2.1: Create a list of features and benefits for product X
– Task 2.2: Test new product X with five customers in a focus group

Ideally, this cascade of results, targets, and tasks should all be
prepared in the turnover document for a new manager before he or
she ever takes the job.

However, once the information has been adequately developed, it
would be a mistake to dump the turnover documents into the lap of
the new manager. This is a trap into which many impatient
executives fall, hoping that a well-written document telling a new
manager what to do is all that the new manager needs to be
successful.

Our research shows that the best executives do things differently—
they actually use the turnover documents in phases that coincide
with the ability of the new manager to learn the job.


A Phased Turnover


The safest assumption for executives to make is that new managers
know little or nothing about the new job and that they cannot be
trusted to undertake it successfully. In the beginning, they should
assume that on the new manager’s first day, the executive is
responsible for getting 100% of the job done, and this number can
only be decreased as the new manager’s capabilities increase.

We recommend that executives start the reduction from 100%
gradually—and that they first delegate tasks, then targets, and,
finally, results.

For example, Task 1.1 in the above sales manager turnover document
involved the need for the manager to coach salespeople in managing
their time. While new sales managers may have generic coaching
skills, they probably would not yet know the intricacies of the
salesperson-to-sales-manager relationship. They would not yet
appreciate the time pressures that salespeople face or the
successful coaching techniques that managers before them had used.

This information, if passed on by a prior executive, can make all
the difference in learning this new skill.

Once a crucial set of tasks has been mastered, the executive can
then decide that the next objective would be to delegate a
particular target. Once the target is mastered by the new manager,
it can be delegated. The same applies to the third tier of the job:
results.

In this way, the manager’s competency grows gradually but steadily,
guided at different phases by the turnover document.

However, something else is happening while a new manager is
becoming more proficient. The executive’s confidence in the
manager’s ability, so critical to the process of delegation,
steadily grows.

As it grows, the executive is increasingly able to supervise the
manager through periodic written or verbal reports, and the
executive can trust that he or she will be brought in by the
manager when help is truly needed. Less of the executive’s precious
time is therefore needed.

It’s worth repeating that executives must resist the temptation to
impatiently walk away from this phased process before the new
managers are ready, or before their confidence level is where it
should be. The results of doing so can be disastrous.

What executives need to know is that this process is not designed
to bury them in a world of micromanagement. Instead, they should
understand that the time commitment involved is very different from
what they might expect from their own past experience.


A Different Time Commitment


As the executive engages in this process of turning over tasks,
targets, and results to the new manager, the time required by the
process can vary greatly from day to day.

When a new element or skill is being taught, the executive must be
prepared to spend a great deal of time helping the manager to
understand the details. This kind of hands-on coaching can only be
done in person, although it can be facilitated by the existence of
a good turnover document.

In most cases, questions from the new manager require some
thinking, and executives may decide to update the turnover document
on the spot, as they remember what is truly needed to execute the
job effectively.

Over time, however, the time spent up front more than pays off in
the manager’s increased capabilities, and when the job is properly
delegated, the executive can effectively forget about it. When a
new task, target, or result is chosen as the next item to be
delegated, the intense time involvement starts again.

This sawtooth pattern of time commitment is quite different from
the everyday process that we’ve observed.

Our experience tells us that busy executives who hire new managers
typically hand them little more than a job description. They try to
spend time with the manager in the beginning, squeezing in time
between other existing commitments.

In short order, a crisis hits and the executive becomes too busy to
spend time to ask anything more than, “Is everything fine?”

When the manager (who, at this point, is undertrained and ill
prepared) experiences a significant failure, however, the executive
is ready to swoop in to firefight and control the damage. The
executive does what many executives do best—which is to save the
day, using considerable time and energy.

The new manager feels like a bit of a fool. The executive’s trust
begins to waiver, and he or she watches the manager more closely.

More failures occur, and the firefighting continues until either
the manager learns through trial and error or the executive loses
patience and fires or ostracizes the manager.

In one regional company, an executive explained that he “could not
be expected to keep the person on board because he was taking too
much of my time … and, after all, no one spent that kind of time
with me when I had that same job.”

This executive didn’t realize that the manager’s shortfall was
actually the executive’s failure—he had done little to prepare the
new manager to be successful.


Failures and Feedback


Even in the best of circumstances, however, failures do occur. At
this point, executives must be ready to step in to avert serious
problems. Rather than coming in like a hurricane, blowing away the
credibility and confidence of the new manager, the executive should
instead go back to the drawing board with the manager and reexamine
the turnover document.

Frequently, the seeds of the failure can be found here—in poor
turnover timing, inadequate definitions, and incomplete training.
In the most extreme cases, the executive must be prepared to step
in and re-assume responsibility for items that had previously been
turned over.

For example, in the case of the sales manager, if there is a sudden
rise in complaints about salespeople being late or a surge in
missed appointments, then the executive may decide to resume
coaching the salespeople and subject the sales manager to further
training.

The difference here is that the feedback is used to surgically
reverse the turnover, retrain the manager, and develop the manager
to the point where the turnover can once again be undertaken.


Summary


The bottom line is simple: make turnover documents an integral part
of your company’s culture, and you will empower your managers to be
successful from the very beginning.

*

P.S. I had promised that I would address the question of why
entrepreneurs and small business owners also need turnover
documents in this issue. I found that the content would not fit
this issue, so instead I have picked up the topic in my blog at
this entry: http://urlcut.com/smallbiz


Useful Stuff

Tips, Ads and Links
I referred to Michael Gerber’s book in this Issue. His website is also filled with information: http://www.e-myth.com, most of it geared towards entrepreneurs. The ideas that I have extracted for this issue are at the heart of his approach.

Back Issues of FirstCuts can be found at http://tinyurl.com/pw7fa

We are on the lookout for possible contributors to FirstCuts. If you are interested, send email to francis@fwconsulting.com to be included in a future mailing. Please send this request along to
others.

To manage this newsletter, we use an excellent programme called AWeber that you can explore here:- http://www.aweber.com/?213577

Subscriber Q&A
None this month

General and Newsletter Subscription Info
To contact us with feedback, questions or praise, email newsletter@fwconsulting.com

To subscribe, please send email to firstcuts@aweber.com from the email address that you which to be subscribed from

Please feel free to use excerpts from this newsletter as long as you give credit with a link to our page: www.fwconsulting.com

FirstCuts © Copyright 2007, Framework Consulting, except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. Reprint only with permission from copyright holder(s). All trademarks are property of their respective owners. All contents provided as is. No express or implied income claims made herein. Your business success is dependent on many factors, including your own abilities. Advertisers are solely responsible for ad content.

FirstCuts: An Online Newsletter From Framework Consulting Inc.
954-323-2552
876-880-8653
3389 Sheridan Street #434
Hollywood FL 33021, USA

Click here to see Issue 9.0 in Colour on our website

FirstCuts ezine 8.0

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A Framework Consulting Online eZine

High-Stake Interventions — New Ideas Issue 8 February 15, 2007

Delegating in Caribbean Companies
by Francis Wade

Editorial

This week’s issue is one that I had to break up into at least two parts, due to its length. This is the first time that I have had to do this, and I think that wherever it makes sense I will try to break up lengthy issues.

I am aware of the studies that show that it is easier to read from paper than it is onscreen, and that the writing and spacing needs to be quite different. At the same time, I have a hunch that my average reader is more used to the British than American style of
writing — more heft and pomp, but also less of a quick read over breakfast at your desk.

Next month at this time the Cricket World Cup will be underway across the region. It will be the single largest undertaking for our region, and the most important collaborative effort by our relatively small countries. I am hoping that it benefits all our people, as intended.

Time to start to Rally Roun’ the West Indies… now and forever!

Until next month,

Francis

Delegating in Caribbean Companies

In Caribbean companies, and especially in growing start-ups, executives often complain that they cannot find good people to work for them. In our work at Framework, we have found that executives, in particular, have an acutely difficult time filling positions that they themselves once held.

They look for professionals with the best credentials, thinking that the new hire’s education should help them to do a job that others before them had to learn on their own. They bring them on board, give them all that they need, including a substantial salary. Success seems to be a “sure thing.”

That is, until the new hire shows a lack of “basic common sense.”

That is exactly how executives put it to me when they complain that they cannot fill key positions reporting to them in the corporate hierarchy.

The star they hired appears not to be a star at all.

According to the executive, in a series of critical moments, the new appointee demonstrates an appalling lack of judgement that leaves the executive distressed, and forces them to swoop in to
save the day. When it occurs it is stressful, tiring and disheartening.

It leaves them wondering why exactly they are paying such a tremendous salary, and how it is that they, themselves, could have learned the job armed with less training, help and pay.

Unfortunately, the end-result is often disastrous. The new hire fails, and fails again, until they are fired. In some companies, the cycle continues, as a number of people are hired into the same position, only to fail within a matter of months. No-one seems able to succeed.

At one Caribbean company, the key position of VP-HR remains unfilled for over ten years. The company has been through a series of incumbents, none of whom stayed for more than a few months. Interestingly, the President actually performed the job capably at one time, and continues to hold the position in his portfolio while the search for a new executive continues.

What exactly is lacking? Is the educational background of the new hires inadequate? Or are the expectations too high? Are executives somehow being unfair when they hire replacements in our
region’s companies?

Our work in the Caribbean has taught us a few lessons in this area: executives do not properly “systematize” their work, they don’t delegate it systematically and they do not establish
appropriate feedback loops to be successful.


“Systematizing” Work


The chaos of day-to-day Caribbean business life often seems to be enough to force a manager to operate in perpetual crisis mode. While moving from one problem to another, each and every day brings with it unique challenges that require significant energy and ingenuity just to stay above water.

In one company we worked with, there is a policy that managers must answer the phone when it rings, and to reinforce the policy there is no provision for voicemail. The result? Highly trained managers with no control over their personal schedule, as the culture of the company is one in which everything stops when the phone rings.

In another company that prided itself on being customer-centric, even the CEO would drop everything when a customer had a problem. It had to be solved immediately at all costs, disrupting meetings and any other activity that happened to be underway.

Unfortunately, managers who work in these environments learn not to make plans, and instead surrender themselves to whatever might be happening in the moment. Many compensate by coming to work early, leaving late or working on weekends and holidays — when everyone else in the office is hopefully away.

Michael Gerber’s book, The eMyth Revisited, offers a brilliant prescription in the form of an insight: the very best managers not only work IN their jobs, they work ON them. In other words, they
set time aside to examine the way in which they do their work. They purposefully spend time thinking about their job, how they are executing it, how they are measuring their own success, and what techniques they should use to take it to another level.

Better managers take the next step and “systematize” their job function. They have determined that it is not enough for them to be effective, but they also have decided to assure the success of
their successor by documenting HOW the job is done when it is being done well. They look deeply into the heart of what they are doing, in an effort to develop processes that help them to automate key aspects of the job using the best methods possible. For example, when they find a piece of software that makes their job easier, they document it for future use.

For example, before my first visit to DisneyWorld as an adult several years ago, I happened to buy a book with the title: “How to Enjoy DisneyWorld without Kids.” The book gave a unique
perspective on how to enjoy the different theme parks while avoiding lines, escaping the heat and skipping attractions that would have no interest for adults. I had a wonderful time, thanks
to the work that someone else had done to document insider tips, practices and information that
were unique to my needs.

Gerber advocates writing a very similar document for each job, and argues that this is exactly what the very best managers do. They document their short-cuts, process descriptions and tips in a way
that allows almost anyone with common-sense to do the job effectively.

According to him, it is the single most powerful technique that Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonald’s chain, used to create the world’s first mega-franchise. After buying a single hamburger
restaurant from the McDonald brothers in California, he discovered and documented what made it successful, and built a chain on the contents of the unique manuals he was able to assemble.

The result? Today, identical-tasting hamburger and fries are sold from thousands of restaurants worldwide to 54 million people daily.

Systematization is a powerful method that is very rarely used in our region’s companies.

When it is not done, incoming managers are forced to learn job from scratch, based on little or no basic information, let alone the kind of detailed and nuanced insights that the executive needs to
pass on to a new hire. It may seem that the new hire is failing to demonstrate common sense, but the real failure occurs when managers are not trained to systematize their work and to produce the
turnover documents the new hire needs.


Turnover Documents


Turnover documents include all the information that new hires need to be successful. At the very least, they start with a generic kind of job description. At the very best, they are the end-result of a
long, hard process that a manager has undertaken to work ON their job. They describe the innovations and improvements that a manager has implemented, and if a new hire is lucky it can span several years and managers.

There is no set format to the documents that I have seen and written. They are informal, and meant for immediate application. They are filled with inside knowledge of how things _really_ work — as opposed to how they are supposed to work.

In Jamaica this informal knowledge that is critical to success is known as “the runnings”. Here in the Caribbean, it often means the difference between profit and loss.

For example, the turnover document written for a VP-HR position could describe how to obtain a work permit for an expatriate professional. It would detail who to contact within the Ministry
of Justice and Immigration and who to avoid, which forms are really needed, what the true cost is and how the number of trips to various government offices could be reduced.

A well-written document would save the new VP-HR many hours of time and effort. Yet, in the example cited above, it could only be written by the President of the company — the last person to
successfully perform the job.

However, when the turnover document is missing a new hire could flounder, and make the kind of mistakes that the President might call “a lack of common-sense.”

Make no bones about it — developing a turnover document takes tedious, quiet work with no immediate payoff. Most managers prefer to focus on the job at hand, and the results they have to produce in the next few days. Any improvements are incorporated into new practices on the fly, as the learning shifts to other competencies.

As new competencies are mastered, over time the original, primary learning recedes into the subconscious.

In most Caribbean companies that we have worked with, the idea of turnover documents is quite foreign. While it is possible to reverse-engineer them from a manager’s experience and memory, the
process is a difficult one.

The best method we have used with our clients involves intense interviews that are essential for getting at the aspects of the job that are done without conscious effort. Sometimes, using this
approach is the only alternative a company has, but the very best approach is to develop a culture in which turnover documents are the norm, rather than the exception.

In the cases in which a manager leaves the company altogether, turnover documents are impossible to create, requiring an injection of new costs and time in order to bring a new manager up to speed.


A Turnover Culture


There is no single approach to developing a culture in which systematization is the norm, but the best companies start by engaging their managers in building a long-term future for the
firm.

These companies clearly describe the rationale behind systematization, and the need for turnover documents. They ask managers to start writing them once they change jobs, and create
the expectation that their ability to turn the function over to another person is a requirement of the job.

Managers also learn that they will not be deemed ready for promotion until their turnover documents are in order, and fully updated.

There is a natural resistance to writing these documents that we have found in Caribbean companies, however, and it must be dealt with it at some point.

The first source of resistance comes from a bureaucratic unwillingness to make self-replacement easy. Managers often try to protect their positions by keeping key information close to their
chests, and thereby ensure some job security. Developing a turnover document can look to them like career suicide.

The second source of resistance comes from the fact that the time spent to develop a turnover document has little immediate and practical benefit to the incumbent. The benefit to having them
comes in the long term in most companies, in the form of the firm’s success. Many managers are just unwilling to wait that long.

Companies that are able to create cultures whose values surpass this resistance are able to tap into something very powerful: a technique that builds the company from the inside, with all the
employees working ON their jobs as well as IN them.


Summary


Presidents and CEO’s, systematization assures the success of the company in the future, and helps to build a true Learning Organization along the way.

Gone is the expectation of instant success, as it becomes apparent to the executive that mastering the job is largely a function of how well it was systematized when it was the incumbent’s
responsibility. When the executive turns over a position they once held to a new hire, they have a much better appreciation for what the job entails.

From the turnover documents, common sense appears to be not so common after all, and executives can clearly see how their subordinate’s success is up to them, and their ability to systematize their jobs.

In next month’s Issue: Learn why accountabilities in turnover documents must be gradually delegated to prevent failure, and also why solo entrepreneurs also need to systematize their work.

The FirstCuts Bottom Line: Begin to systematize your work now.


*


What are some of the things you are doing to systematize your work? Let us know at the Framework blog by following this link and leaving us a comment: http://tinyurl.com/26m3u9

Useful Stuff

Tips, Ads and Links
I referred to Michael Gerber’s book in this Issue. His website is also filled with information: http://www.e-myth.com, most of it geared towards entrepreneurs. The ideas that I have extracted for this issue are at the heart of his approach.

Back Issues of FirstCuts can be found at http://tinyurl.com/pw7fa

We are on the lookout for possible contributors to FirstCuts. If you are interested, send email to francis@fwconsulting.com to be included in a future mailing. Please send this request along to
others.

To manage this newsletter, we use an excellent programme called AWeber that you can explore here:- http://www.aweber.com/?213577

Subscriber Q&A
None this month

General and Newsletter Subscription Info
To contact us with feedback, questions or praise, email newsletter@fwconsulting.com

To subscribe, please send email to firstcuts@aweber.com from the email address that you which to be subscribed from

Please feel free to use excerpts from this newsletter as long as you give credit with a link to our page: www.fwconsulting.com

FirstCuts © Copyright 2007, Framework Consulting, except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. Reprint only with permission from copyright holder(s). All trademarks are property of their respective owners. All contents provided as is. No express or implied income claims made herein. Your business success is dependent on many factors, including your own abilities. Advertisers are solely responsible for ad content.

FirstCuts: An Online Newsletter From Framework Consulting Inc.
954-323-2552
876-880-8653
3389 Sheridan Street #434
Hollywood FL 33021, USA

FirstCuts ezine Issue 7.0

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A Framework Consulting Online eZine

High-Stake Interventions — Issue 7 January 15, 2007
Developing a “Caribbean Manager”

by Francis Wade

Editorial

While I was in Johannesburg, South Africa over the holidays, I was able to take tours of 2 townships: Soweto and Alexandria. While visiting I was struck by the wickedness that was the Apartheid system, and how long it will take that country to integrate all of its citizens
into a seamless whole — something that has never existed.

Here in the Caribbean we have a similar challenge: to create an economic force that has never before existed. This issue is devoted to the idea that a truly “Caribbean Manager” is the basic building block, because if the mindset is not there at an individual level, then all the CSME activity will be wasted.

Francis

Developing a “Caribbean Manager”

====================================================
Developing a “Caribbean Manager”
====================================================

The upcoming Cricket World Cup arrives in the Caribbean in March
2007 and brings with it several interesting possibilities.

One possibility that it brings to mind is that we, as a region
can find a way to emulate the success of the West Indies cricket
team in the 1980’s and 1990’s — off the field. One lesson that we
might learn from our Test cricketers and their collective success,
is that they each had to undergo a personal transition from being
merely a representative of their country, to being a member of The
West Indies cricket team.

I am certain that the transition involved more than just a change
in team name, particularly when we were world beaters in the
1980’s and early 1990’s. The players of that time were able to
set aside their local preferences, biases and idiosyncrasies, in
order to build the kind of unified force that politicians and
business-people have, to date, failed to create.

While our politicians are making little headway with the
implementation of CSME, it is our business-people that are more
closely following the example of our Test cricket team. Assisted
by the liberalisation of the region’s economies, they have been
able to export capital, and use it to build regional conglomerates
in manufacturing, distribution and banking.

In our work, Framework has defined a term that we have been sharing
with our clients that we hope to make synonymous with the power
that “West Indian cricketer” has around the world: “Caribbean
Manager.”

Why should we care about becoming Caribbean Managers? Who or what
are they anyway?

A Caribbean Manager is a manager who has undergone a mental shift
or transition from being a local professional to one who sees
themselves as part of a wider regional fabric. It is a change that
one makes for oneself, and with it comes a broader context within
which to make decisions to invest time, energy and capital.

For example, a Caribbean Manager cares about the latest business
happenings in other countries in the region, and seeks out sources
of news and information that may give her a competitive edge.

How does a manager make the transition? In our work, my colleagues
and I have identified three characteristics that can be learned by
regional professionals: learning to collect different and varied
first-hand experiences, using heartfelt interests as a tool for
natural networking and being willing to identify and surrender
mind-sets that are obstacles to becoming Caribbean Managers.

==================================================
A Collector of Different Experiences
==================================================
Perhaps the first part of the transition that a manager must make
is to become committed to having a variety of different experiences
across the region. While there is a great deal that can be learned
from reading books and using the Internet, nothing does more for a
manager than direct experience of other countries in the region.

I can vividly recall my first trip to the Point Lisas Industrial
Estate in Trinidad. When I surveyed the number of heavy industrial
companies in the area, I immediately understood that Trinidad had
a very different economy than Jamaica’s, and that seeing the estate
was very different from reading about it.

The Caribbean Manager yearns for experiences such as this one,
because they help him to understand the deep underpinnings of
business in a particular country. He is never satisfied with an
understanding of his own society, and in fact finds that travelling
to other English-speaking countries in the region help him to
understand his own country.

These experiences cannot be scripted, as trips to different
territories become opportunities to combine markets, suppliers and
products in ways that cannot be determined from merely doing market
research. These unique combinations can only be created by
business-people who understand the region and its needs from
direct experience.

Some examples of unfilled opportunities include the lack of a real
jerk restaurant or patty shop in Port of Spain, and the fact that
authentic Trini roti is impossible to find in Kingston. These are
both waiting to be filled but can only been seen by those managers
who can see the need based on their experience.

Also, travelling across the region in search of these experiences
help to teach a budding Caribbean manager how to manage the people
in each country.

In a recent study conducted by Framework, Trinidadian executives
admitted to being surprised by the degree to which Jamaican
business culture differed from that of Trinidad. They may have
been better prepared if they had simply spent more time working in
Jamaica , managing Jamaicans, before accepting their assignments.

Travelling and working across the region gives the Caribbean
Manager valuable insights into another culture, but they can also
learn a great deal about their home culture. Furthermore, they
can also learn to adapt themselves to the strengths and weaknesses
of the Caribbean management style.

There are too many managers across the region who are, at best,
local managers with very narrow interests. They have not visited
another Caribbean country, do not read regional newspapers, and
are more acquainted with Miami than any of the region’s capitals.
They do both themselves and their companies a disservice.

================================================
A Networker Who Builds on Natural Interests
================================================
The idea of regional networking fills most professionals with a
feeling of dread. The idea of hob-nobbing with a power-elite
over golf or tennis at the country club seems foreign to everyone
other than the few who are already members.

We have found that the savvy Caribbean Manager builds networks
around areas of authentic interest. They start with what they
are already interested in, and broaden the scope of their interest
to include the entire region, way past the limits of their
country’s borders.

For example, a collector of exotic orchids who happens to work in
a bank, could decide to build their network around this particular
hobby. Using this pastime as a starting point, and the Internet as
a tool, they could engage in the following activities:
– find contact information for orchid growers across the Caribbean
region
– join paper and electronic newsletters and mail-lists
– join or start electronic discussion lists
– travel to attend orchid shows, and pass send around
trip reports
– become knowledgeable about the laws regarding the import and
export of orchids

Taking these simple steps (based on my absolute dearth of knowledge
in this area,)could enable someone to become a regional expert on
orchids, simply by pursuing their interest in a wider geographic
sphere.

How does this apply to the Caribbean Manager?

It turns out turns out that developing an expertise in a single
area can be just as effective a networking tool as any other. As
one’s expertise grows and deepens, the likelihood increases that
relationships will be created with other experts in the field
across the region. These other experts will themselves have
connections with professionals in each field, including banking.

All without learning how to serve, and without trying to perfect a
back-swing.

Caribbean Managers have found that the relatively small size of our
societies lends itself to authentic networking, and that business-
people are as likely to be found on the golf-course, as they are
to be found at a local pan-yard, race track or orchid show.

The savvy Caribbean Manager sticks to their areas of interest, and
trusts that their passion for the area will be attractive to
others. Their only duty is to stay true to their heartfelt
interests, honouring their passions while avoiding the dark
thoughts that they should buy a set of clubs in order to meet this
quarter’s sales goals.

The practical side benefit of following an interest are easy to
see. While the banker described in the example above is visiting
Georgetown at the annual Orchid Festival, it might be quite
easy to stay an extra day or two in order to meet the President of
the Guyana Association of Bankers (who just happens to be an old
school-mate of the Vice President of the Orchid Society.)

I benefited tremendously from an extra three days in Trinidad
after recovering from Carnival 1996. After meeting with a few
businessmen, I realized that not only could I do business in
Trinidad, but also that the talk in Jamaica about Tricky-dadians
was overblown — “old talk.”

===============================================
Willing to Surrender Mind-Sets
===============================================
A mindset is simply a way of being, or a lens, that
colours the way we see other people, countries or
situations. We, more often than not, don’t realize
they are there, and come to believe that the way we see
life is the way that life is. The problem comes when we
are wrong, and fail to see what is in front of us, or in
other words, what is in our blind-spots.

The talk among business-men in Jamaica about “Tricky-dadians”
and the inability to trust them is still widespread. Today, it
stops some Jamaicans from even attempting to do business in the
twin-island republic.

Caribbean Managers are able to transcend such limiting mind-sets.
They realize they exist, but they are willing to question them,
and to compare them to actual, first-hand experience.

This process of constant checking is more than just some parlour
trick — it is the key to seeing possibilities and opportunities
where others cannot see them. In business terms, it is the key to
finding new sources of profit.

How does a manager improve her ability to shed mindsets? There are
a variety of commercial approaches that are available for the
individual who is interested in being trained, and the one I most
recommend is based on the work of Byron Katie, which can be found
at www.thework.org.

===============================================
Summary
===============================================
Companies that are the first to develop a cadre of Caribbean
Managers will gain an undeniable competitive edge. Unfortunately,
I am unaware of any company that has put in place a systematic
programme of training, exposure and awareness to bridge the gap.

While it is clear that not having Caribbean Managers is costly to
regional firms, there is no easy prescription on how to put these
programmes in place. A Caribbean solution is needed.

Perhaps the Cricket World Cup might provide the impetus
we need to develop more than just regional cricketing
talent.

The FirstCuts Bottom Line: Start developing yourself as a
Caribbean Manager TODAY.

*

What are some of the things you are doing to develop yourself as
a Caribbean Manager? Let us know at the Framework blog by following
this link: http://tinyurl.com/y2z9qs

Useful Stuff

Tips, Ads and Links
Framework’s One-Page Digest has been launched and can be viewed at http://tinyurl.com/y9b6ev. It includes a list of links to information that I think is invaluable to Caribbean executives. Subscription details can also be found at the link above.
Update: I plan to release a new issue every 2 weeks

Back Issues of FirstCuts can be found at http://tinyurl.com/pw7fa

We are on the lookout for possible contributors to FirstCuts. If interested, send email to francis@fwconsulting.com to be included in a future mailing.

To manage this newsletter, we use an excellent programme called
AWeber that you can explore here:- http://www.aweber.com/?213577

Subscriber Q&A
None this month

General and Newsletter Subscription Info
To contact us with feedback, questions or praise, email newsletter@fwconsulting.com

To subscribe, please email firstcuts@aweber.com from the email address that you which to be subscribed from

Please feel free to use excerpts from this newsletter as long as you give credit with a link to our page: www.fwconsulting.com

FirstCuts © Copyright 2007, Framework Consulting, except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide. Reprint only with permission from copyright holder(s). All trademarks are property of their respective owners. All contents provided as is. No express or implied income claims made herein. Your business success is dependent on many factors, including your own abilities. Advertisers are solely responsible for ad content.

FirstCuts: An Online Newsletter From Framework Consulting Inc.
954-323-2552
876-880-8653
3389 Sheridan Street #434
Hollywood FL 33021, USA