Vantage Blog

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27
Feb
2018

Mind the Performance Gap

Continuous improvement is critical when it comes to building business and leadership capability.

However investing time building capabilities alone is not enough. What are the high performance habits that successful leaders display over and above capability? How do they connect the two - capabilities and habits - to plug the performance gap and each success?

The recent Mindshop survey of global business leaders explored this very issue. The survey revealed the ‘must have’ capabilities and habits business leaders will need to succeed in 2018. Click here to access a copy of the report.

The report includes a diagnostic for you to rate yourself on the top 10 capabilities and habits. Which three should be your key areas of focus in 2018?

I welcome the opportunity to discuss strategies and learning options with you. Please feel free to contact me to organise a 20 minute discussion about your top 3 priorities.

James Atkins powered by Mindshop

Continuous improvement is critical when it comes to building business and leadership capability.

However investing time building capabilities alone is not enough. What are the high performance habits that successful leaders display over and above capability? How do they connect the two - capabilities and habits - to plug the performance gap and each success?
 ..

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21
Nov
2017

Winning through Resilience

There’s no doubt that to succeed in today’s challenging market requires a great deal of resilience. Personally and organisationally. Strategically and operationally. And, of course, most critically in leadership.

The Vantage Leaders Forum (a group of CEO’s, GM’s and business owners brought together by Vantage Strategy & Marketing) met again in November to explore this topic, and what it means for their teams and for themselves.

The forum kicked off with a focus on organisational orientation; in particular customer centricity. But not just in terms of the normal narrative which just about every business trots out via their values. The group instead explored the whole concept of Customer Success versus Customer Service. Is the organisation set up to engage with customers proactively or reactively? Is the focus around ensuring customers achieve real value from your product or service, or merely ensuring that they are satisfied? The concept has grown from SaaS or subscription based businesses but has a lot of resonance in how we could approach customer management.

Several of the CEO’s reflected that maybe their balance wasn’t quite right; too much time spent on servicing customers and sorting out problems, rather than ensuring that they are achieving ‘success’ in terms of the value they are extracting from the use of the business’s product or service.

We then added to this idea the concept of building emotional connection with customers, and the potential value that could deliver. The HBR article The new science of customer emotions generated a lot of discussion. Especially given the research data indicated that customers who were ‘emotionally connected’ were 52% more valuable (on average across 9 product categories) than those that were merely highly satisfied. 

This of course raised the question as to the customer data businesses are using to drive their customer engagement strategies – satisfaction research, or insights as to how to engage and connect with customers at a deeper level. Not all organisations have the capability to do the sort of in depth research espoused in the HBR article. However, determining how best to uncover the key emotional motivators, and then using those to structure your customer journey and critical touch points, is something in reach of most…and now on the action list for a few of the group. 

The second half of the forum collaborated on what was required to build a strong and tenacious team – a key requirement for organisational resilience. We brainstormed all the key attributes, and then ranked them based on impact, with our final six being…

A good discussion then ensued around where the strengths and weaknesses were for each business, and the strategies they should undertake to close key gaps. 

Additionally, we explored avoiding blind spots when developing strategy, in particular when using scenario planning. We finished the day with an exercise aimed at enabling some personal reflection on how they behave and present to others as leaders.

All up some fantastic and practical collaboration across the group saw a number of new insights and ideas for the business leaders to take away and apply in their businesses.

As one of the participants said afterwards… “today’s workshop, was engaging, insightful and provided thought provoking content as we continue on our transformational journey. The networking was also very valuable!”

The Vantage Leaders Forum will next meet in February 2018 to kick of the first of four workshops for the year. If you would like to know more please contact James Atkins via email on jatkins@vantagemarketing.com.au

James Atkins

Vantage Strategy & Marketing......Powered by Mindshop

The Vantage Leaders Forum (a group of CEO’s, GM’s and business owners brought together by Vantage Strategy & Marketing) met again in November to explore this topic, and what it means for their teams and for themselves. ..
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19
Nov
2016

Vantage CEO Forum - challenging growth strategies for 2017

Last month, 25 CEO’s, GM’s and business owners met up in Melbourne for the launch of the Vantage Leaders Forum. The Forum will meet quarterly for half a day to share new ideas, learn new skills, and discuss best practice; all of which will enable leaders to apply research and concepts to their own business.


The topic was Developing and Challenging Growth Strategies for 2017. We explored some great research by Bain on the factors that drive high performance in organisations.  The study identifies six key factors – Aligned, Capable, Effective, Adaptable, Efficient and Engaged. If you want to read more on the research click here.  


In the workshop the group shared what had been effective for them in driving engagement within their own organisations with some creative ideas explored around effective and timely communication.  This included how to use enterprise social media and collaboration tools – such as Yammer and Chatter – combined with both formal and informal meetings and catch-ups. One leader utilises a 10-minute stand up session for the leadership group once a week.  I think this will be replicated by a few of the CEO’s pretty soon judging by the enthusiasm for such an informal, more spontaneous way of communicating and engaging. The group also shared how authentic leadership is key to true and lasting engagement.


The second half of the morning focused on developing strategies for the top growth priorities for each business leader heading into 2017.  Utilising the Mindshop 4 Step strategy development and problem solving approach, the group worked in pairs identifying and then developing quick win strategies.  In part these leveraged some of the learnings from the Bain high performance model, as well as each leader working together to build and challenge the other’s ideas and plans.  At the end of the session, one page plans in hand, the CEO’s had moved their growth agenda forward – a kick start for implementation in 2017.


Wrapping up the workshop, the group reflected that not only where there interesting and challenging discussions, but one of the real benefits was meeting with peers away from the business in an open, collaborative and constructive environment. 


To read what some of the attendees thought about the day click here to see their comments on LinkedIn.


The forum will next meet in February where we will again work collaboratively on key business challenges, and share ideas and insights to grow their businesses, their people and themselves. This works in well with the direct coaching also provided to each participant to drive the success of his or her business.

 

by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing

This article is linked to James' Google+ profile



About the Vantage Leaders Forum: The quarterly Vantage Leaders Forum is one aspect of how we work with our clients to achieve their individual and business goals. It supplements our core advisory and coaching work where we help develop and implement strategy, as well as problem solve around current opportunities and challenges within their businesses. Additionally they are supported through access to Mindshop Online where they have 24/7 access to a wide range of tools, online courses and resources.


To read what some of the attendees thought about the day click here to see their comments on LinkedIn.


If you are interesting in being part of this unique, invitation only group and gaining my support to drive the growth of your business (and you as a leader) please send me a brief email to arrange a 20 min call to discuss your needs further:
jatkins@vantagemarketing.com.au


Last month, 25 CEO’s, GM’s and business owners met up in Melbourne for the launch of the Vantage Leaders Forum. The Forum will meet quarterly for half a day to share new ideas, learn new skills, and discuss best practice; all of which will enable leaders to apply research and concepts to their own business. ..

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21
Sep
2016

Speed up the pace of implementation in your business

The pace of doing business is speeding up not slowing down. Each year the pressure grows on all areas of a business including its people, cash-flow, leadership, innovation, business models, technologies and ability to implement strategies successfully. This pressure can lead to issues arising across the business that ultimately impact its overall growth and profit potential.


Standing back from all the specific issues stemming from this 'high pace' of doing business most can quickly be related back to the in-ability to implement 'change' successfully.


So what does a business leader or owner do? What are the strategies that should be implemented to 'adjust' the business and its people to this NEW normal environment for doing business?

Here are three strategies that can assist businesses and teams cope with the high pace of doing business:

Strategy 1 - Focus on Micro tasks

Think back to the last planning session you had or project team you were involved in. What was the nature of the strategies / actions that were set? Were they quite broad or were they very specific outlining the steps that need to be taken. Too often planning sessions lead to broad statements such as: 'Do a marketing plan', 'Refine our sales process' or 'Fix that problem' but rarely outline HOW to achieve those outcomes or the micro steps / tasks required. This leads to teams either heading down the wrong paths or not starting to change at all. The simple solution when you see this occurring is to keep breaking down the broad task into micro tasks that highlight the HOW and the steps required to reach the desired outcome. Try this simple strategy in your next planning session and you instantly see the benefits.

Strategy 2 - Provide just-in-time learning

Sending teams to two day residential training sessions to learn new skills are slowly becoming a thing of the past. There is certainly still a need to hold these types of events in specific situations but 5-7 years ago every training event was a two day off-site with little accountability to the new learning acquired or how it would be implemented. The retention of new learning was thus very low and too often forgotten (until a need arose and the learning had to be acquired again!).

To obtain the skills to address specific issues in this fast paced business world you need to shift the thinking of your people to 'just-in-time' learning. This means that as a need arises to address a specific issue (such as understanding the strengths / weakness’ of your competitors as part of a marketing strategy) the focus should be on putting time in your schedule to learn that skill in 30-60 minutes via an online learning platform or quick internal training session and then applying it in the field quickly. The retained learning is much higher with this approach as there is immediate application of the learning. Best of all a solution to the issue is provided straight away to allow momentum to continue with the desired 'change' or 'new strategy'.

Strategy 3 - Capture and track your strategies / actions using innovative technologies

How often have you gone to reflect on a strategy you developed months ago and then had to spend hours searching through your emails, journals, files or go and follow-up a team member to get yourself up to speed again with the discussions that occurred and actions that were confirmed. Even if you have a good discipline of having 'One Page Plans' operating in your business (and even pasted to your office wall) it can still waste many hours in your day searching for the detailed plans you have developed or putting yourself back in the same 'head-space' you were in to reflect on the next steps you should take.

To assist this process and speed up your pace of implementation it’s critical in any modern business to be using the latest cloud technologies / applications to help you track projects and tasks. What are you currently using in your business? Nothing? There are a lot of great, cost-effective options available. The time savings and productivity gains will be felt immediately and free you up to be focusing on the growth and profit of your business.

While these three strategies are not a magic bullet they do help you adapt both yourself and your teams approach to allow you to implement change much more effectively in this fast-paced business environment.

To assist this process we provide all our clients’ access to Mindshop Online. Mindshop Online allows you to capture and track in one location all your strategies, actions and professional development that are only visible by you and your advisor. We can then provide confidential support and solutions drawn from hundreds of tools, courses and resources within Mindshop Online.

Mindshop Online is a fantastic way to help leaders speed up their pace of implementation to give them back valuable time to focus on the growth and profit of their business.

If you would like to discuss how we could assist you implement change more effectively in your business please email us to arrange a call or meeting.

by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing

Powered by Mindshop

This article is linked to James' Google+ profile




The pace of doing business is speeding up not slowing down. Each year the pressure grows on all areas of a business including its people, cash-flow, leadership, innovation, business models, technologies and ability to implement strategies successfully. This pressure can lead to issues arising across the business that ultimately impact its overall growth and profit potential. ..

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27
Feb
2015

2015 Business Leader Insights and Trends

Growth is once again the key theme for most businesses in 2015. However survey results show that most businesses lack the change readiness, skills and strategy implementation ability to achieve them. How will you adapt in 2015? What are the top trends and strategies you need to implement for success?


The 2015 Business Leader insights and trends paper compiled following a global survey of business leaders by Mindshop provides valuable insights into emerging trends, key issues, new opportunities, and support required to guide leaders globally towards success in 2015. Its findings can help shape your thinking on the skills and strategies you will require to achieve success for both your business and yourself in 2015. 


In the paper you will find:

  • Top 5 Business Trends: What will shape your vision for 2015?
  • Top 8 Training Needs insights: What will shape your strategies for 2015?
  • Change Success Methodology: What is your probability of change success in 2015?
  • Overall Training Needs Analysis survey results

The Top 5 Business Trends as identified by Business Leaders are:





















If you would like to read more please click here for a copy of the full report.


by James Atkins, Vantage Strategy & Marketing
Powered by Mindshop


This article is linked to James' 
Google+ profile




Growth is once again the key theme for most businesses in 2015. However survey results show that most businesses lack the change readiness, skills and strategy implementation ability to achieve them. How will you adapt in 2015? What are the top trends and strategies you need to implement for success? ..


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