behaviour change Tag

As we discussed in part one of this post, there are certain conditions that exist that enhance a leader’s success in using a coach approach. But because a leader is first and foremost responsible to deliver organizational results through team members, it still remains that...

We’ve been told one of the major reasons people want to work with us – they want our culture in their culture. We work hard as individuals and as a team to live our values and help each other work within our boundaries. We came across...

I was recently chatting with a colleague about one of my favorite topics, Organizational Culture; what it is? How does it form? What elements make some stand out against others? How does it bring out the best in people? Or how might it limit people’s potential? To me,...

Eight years ago, before I came to work at ViRTUS, I fell into an exciting job. The head office is in Waterloo, Ontario and I live in Vancouver. They needed a facilitator on the West Coast and so I had the much coveted clause in...

Think back to a time when you reacted to a situation in a way that you thought afterwards “I wish I wouldn’t have behaved like that”. It could have been when you were at a job interview and you panicked and got confused so the potential...

Imagine this. You’re on the operating table about to have your appendix removed.  You’re drifting gently into la-la land unable to speak when your surgeon walks in and says, “Ok folks, gut feel says it’s the right leg we need to take off.”  Oh dear. You’re...

In the past month, I have had two unique opportunities: the first was to spend a few days in Boston with one of my clients and Frances Frei from Harvard; the second was a fireside chat with some fellow CEOs and author Malcolm Gladwell (Tipping Point, Outliers, What the Dog Saw). There were some great strategic nuggets interwoven into both conversations, and I want to share with you what I learned.

Frei is a professor in Harvard Business School’s technology and operations management unit and the chairwoman of the MBA required curriculum. Because Frei’s work focuses on how organizations can more effectively design service excellence, I was eager to hear her thoughts on organizational strategy. I was not disappointed.

Here are some key points I took away from the conversation.

Choose great over average. When you’re considering your points of differentiation as an organization the key is not to try to become five out of five on all aspects of your client value proposition; by diffusing your efforts as an organization among so many things you end up becoming three out of five (average) on everything.

Really great, standout companies figure out what they can sacrifice (areas where they are at about a one out of five), so they can truly be five out of five on the areas that count most to their customers.

Choose differentiation versus “me-too.” For true differentiation you need to do something that the competition can’t properly replicate. Consider the example of the Heavenly Bed Wars. Once Westin hotels rolled

out its heavenly beds campaign, all their competitors had to do was provide a similar quality of bed – a simple yet costly undertaking, the net result being that consumers now get better beds from all competing hotels. But each is still in the same price-competitive space: higher cost, lower margin and no differentiation. The trick is to focus on providing something to your customer that is difficult for your competitors to replicate.

One of the challenges of being a good leader is understanding how to lead up and provide appropriate feedback to your leader while at the same time finding ways for your team to provide you feedback. Here are three questions you can answer for your leader...