Build In Value Blog

Social Media’s Golden Rule

Measure Twice Watch the Company Grow Big!

By Rand Manasse

We have all heard of the Carpenters’ Golden Rule to “Measure twice, cut once”.  Did you ever wonder why carpenters have that rule?  Is it because carpenters like going through the extra work effort?  Or do they have to do it twice to get it right?  Could it be that carpenters are not capable of remembering what they measured?  Of course the answer is NO to all of these questions. 

The reason they measure twice then cut once is to ensure that they achieve their goal of creating the perfect chair, table or widget.  They measure twice and cut once so the item they cut out of wood will fit together with the other pieces and then create their master piece. 

Measuring the success of a Social Media campaign is analogous to the carpenter measuring twice and cutting once.  For a Social Media campaign we measure twice and watch the company grow.  Measurement of a social media campaign validates the five basic questions raised when designing the strategic marketing plan for the campaign.  In my previous article I presented the process required to develop a corporate social market awareness plan.  The highlight of that the process is that it is not much different than any other marketing effort you follow to market your business.

The design of a social market campaign starts by answering five basic questions:

1.     Who is my audience?

2.     How do I create a social awareness strategy?

3.     Which social media sites and tactics will make my strategy most effective?

4.     How do I measure its effectiveness?

5.     How will I know if I was successful? 

This article will round out the process by concentrating on all aspects of measuring the effectiveness of your social marketing awareness from what to measure to interpreting the measurements and finally how will I know if I am successful.

What do I measure?

To understand if we are successful we need to figure out what to measure.  Measurements vary depending upon the goals and the goals determine the means to measure the level of success.

Some examples might help! 

If your social media campaign is designed to add new clients to your email newsletter list,  then the best measurement is simple :Track the size and growth rate of the email list in your internal ERP system. 

If your social media campaign is to drive traffic to your retail stores a more elaborate measurement method is required to track the increased sales.  Using Hootsuite with its tiny url’s and customized url’s can track coupons that are redeemed and used in the store.

When measuring make sure that you are clear on the goals for all of your social media campaigns.  Define how you will be successful before you start.  And monitor the success (or failure) which will allow you to adjust the campaigns effectiveness thereby controlling your costs.

Measurement Methods   

Measurement can be as simple (and cost effective) as tracking information that you already maintain internally. Your ERP system is chock full of useful information and for the correct campaign that might be all you need.  If the information is not on hand then using an external resources will be the solution.  Whatever process fits your needs best be sure you that record the results monthly in a database that you can report from.

Measuring Brand Recognition

Klout is a service that measures your brand recognition and influence in the online world by looking at your various profiles from across the web to assess your social media influence. Then it comes up with a “Klout” score as a reflection of your brand’s social influence.  The score is based on your activity across many social networks.  The score ranges between 10 (low) to 100 (High).  Digging deeper into your KLOUT score can provide further analysis, including:

·       True Reach: How many people you influence (the width of your influence)

·       Amplification: How much you influence people (the depth of your influence)

·       Network Impact: How influential your audience is (the impact of your influencers)

Measure your Klout scores over time to assess your progress as you campaign unfolds.

To measure the effectiveness of your PR and branding efforts, record your Klout Score, True Reach, Amplification and Network Impact on a spreadsheet each month. Then, over time, your changes in scores will allow you to understand which efforts your social media campaign is having on improving your score.

Measuring Website Traffic

Google Analytics makes this process very simple for any website owner.

To understand traffic, use Google Analytics Social Reports, which show site data generated directly from over 400 social sites.

·       Open your Google Analytics account.

·       Select the Traffic Sources tab.

·       From the Social drop down menu, select the Overview page.

·       Record Visits via Social Referral into your spreadsheet.

 

Listening To Your Market

Twitter, like most social media tools, is designed to be a two Way Street allowing you the ability to listen to what others are saying about your business directly or indirectly how your product fits into your community.  Listening is an art form rarely perfected.  Most businesses do not take advantage of the feedback they can ascertain from their clients by listening into the social media chatter on Twitter or Facebook.  Social media offers an unfiltered discussion of your company, its products or the industry in general: Try listening!  Use Twitters search tools to listen to your market.  Simply, use the search field to enter your companies name and you will see tweets that reference your company generated by others.  Further filter the results by Top tweets or select All.  You can then select to follow those you find interesting.  Engage some in a dialogue and use their feedback to improve your company!

As always, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you need help in building value into your business, contact me on my direct line at 914.666.0830 or rmanasse@referencesystems.com.

To your success!

Rand 

 

What Do Fire Flies and Social Media have in Common?

By Rand Manasse

When you were young did you ever catch a fire fly and wonder …


FireFly

What if I could catch hundreds, or thousands or even millions of fire flies and put them in a jar.  Would they light up my room or even the whole city at night? 


Developing the right combination of social media sites and the tactics is analogous to catching that one firefly and then watching as millions follow to light up your bottom line.  It is happening everyday, just ask companies like Netflix, Amazon, Groupon or Zappos.

The process of marketing your business and its products has changed radically over the last 5 years. 

The advent of the Internet and social market sites combined with the generations that use it daily are driving forces prompting the change.  Your business presence on social market sites is as important as any other form of marketing you will engage in.  Social Market Awareness should be an integral part of your marketing experience.

In my previous article I discussed the benefits of your business becoming socially aware. To briefly recap Social Market Awareness:

1.     Increases your business's exposure to the estimated 1 billion people using social market site on the internet today.

2.     Humanizes corporate values and positions your product as part of the social trends of the day.

3.     “Build in Value” to grow your business. 

4.     Opens up new and far-reaching world-wide markets.

5.     Increases bottom line profits.


What questions should I be asking?

Marketing your business is a tried and true process. Adding technology does not change the questions you are looking to have answered when developing a strategic marketing plan.  The process required to bring your business to new markets is not much different than any other you would follow to market your business.

It starts by answering these five basic questions:

1.     Who is my audience?

2.     How do I create a social awareness strategy?

3.     Which social media sites and tactics will make my strategy most effective?

4.     How do I measure its effectiveness?

5.     How will I know if I was successful? 

This article will address the third question “Which social media sites and tactics will make my strategy most effective?”  Knowing the audience you want to attract should come first. For now, I am going to assume that you have already identified the target audience.  Creating a social awareness strategy will be addressed after we understand the tools we have to work with.


Social Media Sites

The most common sites like Facebook and LinkedIN would seem like the natural place to jump into the social markets.  But before you jump in a review of the top sites would be beneficial.

A recent industry report from the Social Media Examiner revealed that 3,000 marketers surveyed indicated their #1 site for future social media marketing was YouTube followed by simply writing a Blog (just like you are reading).  Of course Facebook is still the number one site of marketers, but most businesses are still searching for the benefit received for their involvement with this site. 

The second most used site depends on who your customers are.  If you sell to consumers you should be spending time with Twitter as this site is where people communicate self interest stories and if you sell to other business then LinkedIN is a natural fit.  Typically LinkedIN users are communicating their business persona to others. By the way this has made LinkedIN the fastest growing site to reach business clients. And let us not forget sites like Pinterest, Groupon, Instagram and Google+ that offer special markets.  


Tactics of the “Mad Men” of Social Media

Developing the tactics to use on the social media sites is analogous to catching that one firefly and then planning on attracting the millions that will follow to light up your bottom line.  It is possible but you have to catch the right tactic at the right time.

The tactics change between sites and the sites are constantly changing how you use them.  When you create the right combination it will pay back largely.  It can be as simple as purchasing advertising credits on LinkedIN or being creative with a viral video on YouTube. 

Each site has to have its own method and each method needs to be measured for its effectiveness on a regular basis.  Once you have optimized the site usage and method employed you will light up your Jar with millions of fireflies.


Next Steps

In the next article we will discuss how to measure the effectiveness of your Social Market Awareness program.

As always, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you need help in building value into your business, contact me on my direct line at 914.666.0830 or rmanasse@referencesystems.com.

To your success! 

Rand 

Photo by Melissa MW

Is Your Business Socially Aware?

by Rand Manasse

This is an article about your businesses ability to be socially aware.  The question that conjures up in your mind might be “Why does a business need to be socially aware?”  And what does that really mean?  Does it mean that your business needs to meet other businesses?  Do I need to get my business an account on Match.com?  Should it learn how to hold a meaningful conversation with another business while juggling a drink in one hand and a dish of hors d’oeuvres in another?  … No not at all.  

Social awareness for business is about how much your business reaches into the Social Medias to find new customers,   Or better yet how social media can drive new customers to your virtual door front.

We all know how social media has become the latest Internet phenomenon. It is hard to go through the day without Wall Street, main street or someone at your kitchen table talking about Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instragram or the next new way to interact socially.  When that happens the question you have to ask yourself is how my business interests adapt to the latest change and why should I adapt to the new business model.

Lets First Address Why Should I?

People throughout the world are using social networking sites to connect with each other.

The barrier to human interaction has once again been brought down.

With social media sites like Facebook, one can connect with the family and friends. With sites like LinkedIn, one can connect with colleagues and business professionals. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram allow people with similar visual and creative interests to connect by sharing visually appealing images.

Of the 7 billion people in the world, an estimated 2 billion are using the Internet.

And an estimated 67% of people using the Internet use social networking.

With over a billion people using social media throughout the world, business leaders continue to look into the social opportunity.  The obvious attraction is if we can extend our existing sales into this new channel the increase in EBITA would be great.

The Digital Revolution

We have heard this term for many years going back as far as the 1980.  Some people refer to the Digital Revolution as the third industrial revolution for the way it has changed the landscape of the way we work and play. Social media is the next evolution in the Digital Revolution.

Computers and the Internet were the first stages of the modern Digital Revolution. Search engines and mobile devices continued the evolution and now social media takes the revolution even further.

Social Awareness

The appeal of social media in this revolution is that it humanizes the cold hard aspects of the digital world by allowing people to congregate and connect with each other.

For centuries, humans have congregated in tribes and communities.

The Digital Revolution has broken down location barriers. Humans are now able to connect with each other no matter where they are in the world.

Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the others give people the opportunity to connect with family, friends and those that have similar interests and worldviews.

Photos, news items, stories, facts, entertainment and family events all connect people and social media is the channel that fuels this information and connection.

Businesses that understand the connective nature of social media are the ones that will find success with creating social awareness for their image and products.   During the industrial revolution you would want to have your business on a busy street in an industrial city like New York or London.  During the Digital Revolution you want to have your business socially aware on a busy site like Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn.

Social awareness for business is the top of the funnel strategy for the Digital Revolution.

People connecting on Facebook and Twitter are not looking to make purchases. However, they are open to finding information.  Businesses that provide information to help their target customer will raise the awareness of the brand and will find success by getting consumers into the top of their sales funnel.

For example, it seems silly for someone to be friends with or to follow a brand like Kleenex.

However, if Kleenex were to share information about how to fight the common cold and provide daily tracking of cold outbreaks it would be something a person would be interested in while using social media. The content makes the person follow Kleenex and become aware of the brand.

Social media is fueled by content, interaction and discovery.

Businesses that understand this nature will find the most success with social media. These will be the companies that are socially aware.

Next Steps

This is an introduction to Business Social Awareness.

In the coming months we will review further details about Social Media and what your business should be doing to increase sales through social media.

Topics will include:

·       Social Markets

·       Social Media Users

·       New Channels for Existing Products

You’ve seen the numbers. You’ve read the articles.

Now it’s time to understand social media and the opportunity it presents for your business.

As always, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you need help in building value into your business, contact me on my direct line at 914.666.0830 or rmanasse@referencesystems.com.

 

To your success!

 

Rand 

(image)

Will It Ever Happen? Ask Tiger Woods and Jim Stockdale.

by Rand Manasse

Will It Ever Happen? Just ask Tiger Woods or James Bond Stockdale.

Are you at the point where you’re wondering if things will ever happen?

It’s common for business owners, founders, CEOs and executives to struggle with this thought at some point. Most businesses go through struggle on their way to greatness.

In fact, every company likely goes through some kind of struggle that becomes a make or break moment. It’s probably the biggest reason so many companies fail especially in the start-up world.

Coping with difficult situations is a concept leaders need to understand. Perseverance in difficult times is how you take a company through periods where everyone involved has to fight through bad luck and poor performance.

The difference between good companies and great companies is how the leaders addressed the reality of the situation without losing their drive to succeed.

The Story of Jim Stockdale

James Bond Stockdale was a Vice Admiral of the US Navy and candidate for Vice President of the United States with Ross Perot in 1992. As Admiral Stockdale tells his story, the defining moment in his life was during the time when he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.  He recounts:

“I never lost faith in the end of the story. I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade."

When asked who didn't make it out of Vietnam, Stockdale replied:

“Oh, that's easy, the optimists. Oh, they were the ones who said, 'We're going to be out by Christmas.' And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they'd say, 'We're going to be out by Easter.' And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart."

Stockdale then added:

“This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be."

This philosophy of duality was then coined by Jim Collins as the Stockdale Paradox

It’s an incredible story and that alone makes you feel lucky for your current situation in life and whatever struggle you’re going through in life or in business should be a defining point in your life.

Perseverance and optimism need to work side by side.

Stockdale said those that didn’t make it out were “the optimists”. But faith that you will succeed is a form of optimism that needs to work hand in hand with the perseverance to make it through the tough situations to find the solution.

Optimists will struggle with let down if they don’t employ perseverance. On the contrary, perseverance doesn’t work without a positive outlook about the future.

Successful organizations understand the necessity to set big goals. This is a form of optimism. This is what keeps employees interested and driven to succeed. They want to be part of something successful.

But goals alone won’t achieve results. There needs to be a culture of perseverance in the organization in order to achieve goals.

That’s the relationship between perseverance and optimism essential to success.

Use Struggle As The Defining Moment

Stockdale used his situation as a POW as the defining moment in his life. He knew he would go through incredibly difficult situations nearly every day, but he told himself it would be short-term and that in the long run he would be better for it.

This is something all great leaders and organizations are able to do.

It happens in sports all the time. After losses, the best NFL coaches will often say that the team now has an opportunity to get better and improve. A difficult loss strengthens the team and allows them to address the fact that they can get better.

Tiger Woods is another recent example. He went through the worst slump of his career, which was at least in part if not entirely due to his own decisions.

But after years of struggle he regained form and again became the number one golfer in the world.

He didn’t tell himself that he would win the next major. He focused on getting better and building a better game than he had before.

Tiger knew he could become the best in the world again. He didn’t set false expectations. He believed in himself and the process. He put in the work and ultimately persevered.

Final Thoughts

If you talk to successful business owners and ask them what defines their career they will often talk about perseverance. It’s a defining characteristic of nearly every successful person. They believe they will succeed no matter what and they’re willing to work toward it.

Just like Jim Stockdale, great companies are able to get past the feeling of “Will it ever happen?”

If you’re going through a difficult time take a step back. Address the brutal reality of your situation. Create a plan. Get ready to do the work and never lose faith that you will succeed.

As always, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you need help in building value into your business, contact me on my direct line at 914.666.0830 or rmanasse@referencesystems.com.


To your success!


Rand 

What Is Big, Hairy and Audacious … Is it Your Goals?    It should be!

By Rand Manasse

Big Hairy Audacious Goals are called BHAG’s (pronounced BeeHaagh).

Perhaps you’ve heard the term before. It originates from the book “Built To Last” written by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras.

In their research, Collins and Porras found that companies that were built to last (and later ones that went from Good to Great) had long-term goals that were on the edge of being extremely ambitious yet possible.

Many businesses focus on goals set forth for today, this week, this month or the next one to five years. It’s important to set these goals, but for the long-term it’s necessary to understand where the company is headed and what is expected of the employees and the team.

Only with a BHAG can a business truly go from good to great and then build itself to last.

What is a BHAG?

A BHAG sets a goal that makes your team think about a finish line. The goal gets people excited and gives them a clear reason for doing what they do each and every day.

A good BHAG creates two relationships with your business. First it aligns with your Hedgehog Concept and second it builds on the momentum contained in the The Flywheel strategy.

In aligning with your Hedgehog Concept your BHAG needs to fit with what you’re

         1) Passionate about,

         2) What you can be Best in the World at,

         3) And it has to fit with what drives your Economic Engine.

If your long-term goal doesn’t fit with these three elements then your BHAG will not survive.

It’s not always easy to come up with a BHAG but if you have developed a Hedgehog Concept which focuses your organization on how to be successful it will be a catalyst to develop your BHAG. 

That is how creating a BHAG follows the framework needed to be audacious, but also attainable.

Second, the BHAG needs to fit with your Flywheel strategy. Often in business it takes time to learn what your Hedgehog Concept is. To do so you might have to try different strategies until one comes through as the key winner. 

It might start with one implementation and then another until you realize that you’re riding the momentum of your flywheel.

Then is the perfect time to set your BHAG. You have a clear understanding of your Hedgehog Concept and the flywheel is spinning faster and faster and it’s gaining momentum.

It’s Time To Create Your Vision, Your BHAG

Now that your business understands the Hedgehog Concept and you have the flywheel spinning it’s time to create your vision or your BHAG.

Henry Ford has a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. He was not the first person to have the idea to create an automobile. He wasn’t even close to the first.

What Henry Ford created was a long-term goal to create an automobile for the mass public. Up until his idea the automobile was only for the elite class. You had to have wealth to afford such a luxury.

Henry Ford realized that he was passionate about automobiles. He found a method for building affordable automobiles and the model was profitable.

From there he set his BHAG to become the largest automobile manufacturer in the world and within a few decades that is exactly what happened.

The goal was big and audacious, but those on the team understood that it could be achieved. They could see the momentum building. They were on board and they knew when they reached the finish line because the company became the biggest in the world.

Amazon is another example. The company was founded in the early days of the Internet and Ecommerce boom. The company started by selling books.

Momentum started building around this idea and soon Amazon was the biggest online bookseller in the world.

But that wasn’t enough. Once the goal was achieved Amazon realized there had to be another finish line or another BHAG.

Today, Amazon is focused on becoming the most customer-centric company in the world. They have the passion. They know they can achieve it. They have the profitable business model.

It’s a goal that is attainable.

Final Challenge

Now it’s time to set your BHAG.

Share your idea for your company’s Big Hairy Audacious Goal in the comments.

Let’s discuss your company’s future and how you can achieve your goal in the next two decades.

To your success

Rand

Are You Doing What You Do Best? Walgreens Is And So Can You! 

Walgreens realized they could become the best convenience drugstore in the world!

by Rand Manasse

Great companies understand what they do best.

Finding the answer for your company involves a process. You analyze your company and find the brutal facts regarding what it is you are passionate about, what you can be the best at and what will drive your economic engine most effectively.

Jim Collins, author of Good To Great, refers to this as the Hedgehog Concept. It is something every great company has and it is part of the reason they are great.

The Hedgehog Concept is based on a parable of a fox and a hedgehog. The fox attempts to find many different ways to catch the hedgehog, but the hedgehog knows one way to protect itself and it does it very well. You want to be the hedgehog as a company.

Collins proposes the visual of three intersecting circles as a way to define your Hedgehog Concept. These three circles are outlined below. It is only when you find your place where all three circles intersect that you can find your Hedgehog Concept and continue on your way to becoming great.

These are the three steps you can use to determine what makes you the best company you can be.

What can we be best at?

The way this question is worded is key to finding your Hedgehog Concept. You are not asking what you are currently doing well or even what you’re currently best at.

Your team needs to figure out what you can be best at in the world. Once you have the answer you will see if that intersects with the other two circles. then will you have your Hedgehog Concept.

You may need to come back and refine the answer as you work on the three circles. It often takes several iterations before you are able to truly find where the three circles all intersect.

What are we passionate about?

Gather the people in your company that are most connected to the core values. Work together to determine what you are most passionate about. The answer may be what you currently do or it could be something entirely different.

Often, the answer is one of the things you currently do or part of what you’re doing. Whatever the case may be you should all agree what it is you are passionate about as a company.

When you find it you’ll likely be excited as you consider the prospect of doing only what you love and using that passion to fuel a great company.

What drives our economic engine?

The third circle is your economic engine. As part of the three circles process you will figure out what metric is best for managing profit. You might have something you are passionate about and you might be able to be the best in the world at it, but without profit your company cannot achieve greatness.

Every great company analyzed in Good To Great was able to figure out where all three circles intersected. It wasn’t always easy to find the answer and it often took time, but once the companies found their Hedgehog Concept they were able to beat the competition and the market.

Let’s look at one example.

The Walgreens Hedgehog Concept

Walgreens had been around for decades, but in the 1970s they started to define their Hedgehog Concept and in the coming decades they became a truly great company that beat the market many times over.

Walgreens, through discussion, found they could become the best convenience drugstore in the world. They also knew they were passionate about pharmacies. Finally, Walgreens realized that the metric of profit per customer served intersected with the first two circles.

After this realization Walgreens went to work. They delivered the most convenient drugstore experience. Their passion drove them to succeed in this area and because of the convenience more and more customers went through Walgreens stores every day. That led to more customers being served.

Over time Walgreens perfected the concept always focusing on the intersection of the circles. The results have been astounding and they are recognized as a great company.

Conclusion

Do you know what you are best at? How can you tell?

By using the three circles exercise you can find your Hedgehog Concept and become a great company just like Walgreens and others. It takes work, but it is truly exciting to find something you are passionate about and realize that it can also be economically beneficial.

If you still have questions please contact me. Together we can find your Hedgehog Concept and take your company from good to great.

Contact me at 914.741.5200 or rmanasse@referencesystems.com.

To your success!

Rand

People & Core Values Form the Heart & Soul of a Company.

 

by Rand Manasse

If Core values shape the business and become its soul then people working in the company must be the heart of the company. 

Whole Foods Market Core Values

 

Core values are part of the people in the company. Often, the founders of the company will have their own core values and those will become part of the company. If the company hires based on those values the company will live on and become great with those core values remaining vital to the success of the company.


 

Forming Your Team Around Core Values

 

Zappos has done a good job of hiring people that are aligned with the core values and not selling shoes online. When people are aligned with the core values they are more likely to stay with the company through times of change. The business is more likely to endure through change because the core values never change.

 

Another example of a company that has changed yet remained constant in core values is 3M. The company started as a mining venture over 100 years ago. The mining industry has obviously changed since then and in that time 3M has changed as well. When the mining industry went into decline, 3M needed to change its direction and industry in order to remain relevant.

 

3M focused on its core values of finding solutions to problems through creative solutions. With those core values in mind the company was able to successfully branch out into new industries. People would join 3M based on the creative nature and innovative spirit. As the industry changed the company remained true to its core values and has found lasting success.

 

Focusing the team around core values instead of the industry you currently work in is vital to your lasting success. When people join based on vague industries they are more likely to leave when things change or even worse they are likely to lose focus when change occurs.

 

Form your team based on core values and your company will be likely to succeed with great team members.

 

Conclusion

 

The next step for your company is to figure out your own core values. Look at yourself and the people in your company.

 

What defines you as people and as a company?

 

Here is one final example to help you get started.

 

Whole Foods entered the competitive food industry. The company is defined by the core value of healthy eating. This core value is what attracts top talent. People that are interested in healthy eating are drawn to the company.

 

Now, the idea of healthy eating doesn’t necessarily apply only to selling groceries. Whole Foods could change course in the future and that is likely to be the case.

 

Core values start with the leadership of the company. Everyone needs to figure out what they are passionate about and what the company can succeed at. From there you will find your core values and once you have an idea you can begin building your team and your company around those core values.

 

It’s one of the keys to lasting success in business.

 

As always, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you need help in building value into your business, please contact me at 914.741.5200 or rmanasse@referencesystems.com.

 

To your success!

 

Rand

 

 

Core Values Shape The Soul of a Company 


 

by Rand Manasse

 

Core values shape the business at Zappos.

 

Change is something that affects every business.

 

What separates good companies from great companies is the ability to change. Not only do great companies change, they change in the right way.

 

Let me explain.

 

Zappos is an example of a great company that is changing with the times. Zappos started out as an online shoe retailer. There was nothing particularly unique about this position. Zappos was not the first company with the idea to sell shoes online. There were and are a handful of companies doing the same thing even today.

 

Yet over the last decade Zappos has been able to become the biggest seller of shoes online and the company has successful changed into being more than just a shoe retailer. In some instances, changing from a shoe seller to shoes, clothing and more would cause issues within a company.

 

There was no issue at Zappos as the company grew. The reason for this was the way the company built its team around a set of core values.

 

There are defined core values at Zappos. None has anything to do with footwear. Core values are more than just what a company does in terms selling. Core values run much deeper.

 

How Core Values Guide and Shape a Business

 

The purpose of core values is to keep the team aligned and working toward a common goal even when change occurs. In the case of Zappos, the business may have been founded on the principle of selling shoes online, but the core values of delivering a WOW experience and having exceptional customer service were used as guiding values in business decisions.

 

Core values are not simply defined by the organization. It is not possible to define a set of core values that you want to have for your company and then work toward those values.

 

 

For example, Walt Disney founded his company based on the simple idea that the job of the Disney was to bring smiles to the faces of children around the world. The company started out making short cartoons that would make kids smile. Eventually Disney created feature-length motion pictures. From there the company opened up theme parks and created a television channel.

 

Throughout its history Disney has changed industries, but the core values have remained the same and those core values shape the business guide and shape the business today.

 

Conclusion

 

The next step for your company is to figure out your own core values. Look at yourself and the people in your company.

 

What defines you as people and as a company?

 

Core values start with the leadership of the company. Everyone needs to figure out what they are passionate about and what the company can succeed at. From there you will find your core values and once you have an idea you can begin building your team and your company around those core values.

 

It’s one of the keys to lasting success in business.

 

In my next discussion I will explore how core values make the choice of the right people in the business that much easier.

 

As always, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you need help in building value into your business, please contact me at 877.341.5200 or rmanasse@referencesystems.com.

 

To your success!

 

Rand

 

Red Flags In Sports Are Penalties .... In Business Red Flags Build Value !

by Rand Manasse

In football, when the referee throws a flag it tells everyone that a penalty has been committed.

 

Play stops and everyone pays attention to see what has happened.

 

Penalties are used to keep players within a framework of rules to make things fair. When a penalty is committed, yards are marked off on the field. The team that committed the penalty has to pay the price and the opposing team benefits.

 

With rules, skill and execution become the determining factors in success.

 

Flags can also benefit business.

 

According to Jim Collins, author of Good To Great, great businesses have a flag system to keep everyone in check.

 

These systems are designed to make sure everyone in the business remains focused. It’s an early warning system to make sure no large mistakes occur.

 

In addition to the referee flags, coaches have red challenge flags. This mechanism gives coaches the ability to challenge calls on the field made by the referees. The challenge system allows coaches to keep the referees within the framework of the rules.

 

Business works the same way.

 

In football, the referees use penalty flags to keep players within the framework of the game. Coaches use red flags to challenge certain calls on the field.

 

In business, the system is known as the Red Flag Mechanism. If you use the red flag mechanism you can build in value and grow your business.

 

The red flags in business are made to keep everyone within the framework of success. When everyone in the business has the opportunity to raise a red flag others will be more apt to stay the course.

 

A red flag mechanism allows self-monitoring to occur so you do not have to micromanage people or processes, which opens up opportunity.

 

There are two main red flag mechanisms in business that you can implement right now. These mechanisms will allow you and your employees to stay within the successful framework on your way to greatness.

 

Employee Reporting

 

Once you have the right people on board at your business and in the right roles it’s time to let them go to work. You allow them to achieve the goals established by the executive team.

 

However, in order to give employees freedom it’s important to have a red flag mechanism for employee reporting. The mechanism gives all employees the ability to report to management when they feel something needs to be said.

 

Employees can bring up things other employees are doing that falls outside of the framework or things management is doing outside of the framework.

 

An example given by Jim Collins was from his classroom. For an entire semester he was giving lectures and allowed each student to have a red flag. During the semester the students would have the opportunity to raise their red flags at any point if they felt the lecture was not beneficial.

 

The students could use their flags only once, but the mechanism allowed Collins to keep his course on track instead of having to wait until the end of the year to receive feedback from the traditional professor surveys.

 

Customer Feedback

 

Second, it’s important to have red flag mechanisms in place to get feedback from customers.

 

Again, Jim Collins gives an example from a great company in his research. The company would send out invoices each month to customers. On the invoices the company would ask the customers to pay the full invoice only if they were completely satisfied with what they had received.

 

If the customers were not satisfied they could pay whatever they felt was appropriate. This red flag mechanism allowed the company to realize if there were any issues before the customer would decide to simply stop doing business with the company.

 

It is a classic example of a canary in the coalmine.

 

Conclusion

 

Football uses a flag system to keep the game on track. Referees use flags to make sure everyone is following the rules and staying inside the framework of the game. Coaches use red challenge flags to make sure all calls on the field are correct and accurate.

 

Businesses can add value and grow with red flag mechanisms as well.

 

Implement the employee and customer red flag mechanisms in your business. You’ll be empowering your employees to succeed within your framework while also providing management with the feedback necessary to succeed. Also, by giving your customers the opportunity to provide feedback you can learn about any issues before it’s too late.

 

Some might see flags as a negative part of football and business. A red flag mechanism, however, is one of the best tools in business. It lets you, the business leader, know that there is improvement that can be made on your way to becoming a great company.

 

As always, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you need help in building value into your business, please contact me at 914.741.5200 or rmanasse@referencesystems.com.

 

To your success!

 

Rand

How to Build in Value for a Successful Business Team    

Vince Lombardi

by Rand Manasse

“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.”

Vince Lombardi

 

The NFL season is underway.

 

When a new season begins every team in the league feels they have a chance to win the Super Bowl. The coaches and players have been working throughout the offseason to make sure they are prepared to win when the regular season arrives.

 

Yet each year it seems the same few teams perform well while a few other teams fail to perform even when they appear to have talent laden rosters.

 

When we think of perennial successful teams we think of the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers and a few others.

 

Why do select teams always seem to succeed even with roster turnover and changing fortunes in the fast paced game of professional football?

 

The reason is that these teams have management that looks for the right players and the right personnel to be part of the team. Everyone on each of the successful teams is focused on the success of the team as the first priority.

 

Successful Businesses Focus on the Right People

 

In his book Good To Great Jim Collins described how great companies formed their teams. In the book Jim used the analogy of a bus and how each business had to get their bus moving.

 

There is a three-part process each of the successful companies focused on when looking at change in their business or when looking at getting their bus moving.

 

First, successful companies need to analyze their company. The goal of the analysis is to figure out if the right people are on the bus. The company is about to go through a change and move from good to great. The right people need to be on the bus for this change to occur.

 

If your organization is in need of change there is something you can do. Look at the people on the bus. Determine if they are prepared for the difficult road ahead. Find the people that want to be part of a winning team no matter where the bus is heading.

 

In the ever-changing business world you need to have good people. You do not want to have people focused solely on the destination because destinations change. These people will need to leave the bus.

 

Second, you need to analyze if the right people are in the right seats. This adjustment allows your team to react in the best way to changes in the market that determine how your business will evolve.

 

Change is a difficult time for any company, but it’s also an exciting time.

 

By making adjustments you are preparing yourself for future greatness. You’re making sure the right people are on the bus, the wrong people are off the bus and the right people are in the right seats.

 

Third, you need to fill the empty seats on the bus.  You now have a clear picture of what roles need to be filled and what type of team players should fill those roles.

 

It is at this point in the process when things really start happening and those that remain at the company can see that the company is setting itself up for success.

 

Finally, the next step in the process is to begin moving forward. Now is when the work begins.

 

When analyzing your company you will meet with your staff. You’ll be looking for indications of how each person will handle the upcoming work. The destination is unknown at this point. That is difficult for many people and it’s why you made the change to have the right people on the bus and in the right seats.

 

Now the bus is full of a team that is focused on succeeding. They don’t need to be motivated because they are already focused on doing whatever it takes for the good of the company.

 

Successful For the Long-Term

 

Vince Lombardi’s football team, the Green Bay Packers, was the most successful team in the history of the NFL. From the late 1950s through the 1960s they won numerous championships including the first two Super Bowls.

 

Every year it seemed the Packers were the class of the NFL. Players would come and players would go. The key to success over the long-term was that Vince Lombardi knew how to get the right people on his bus and the right people off the bus. He also knew how to put people in the right seat.

 

The players on the Packers were focused on team success. They knew that if the team succeeded that each of the players would be a success as well.

 

Your company can be built to operate in the same fashion.

 

The time is now to begin the process. It won’t be easy. You’ll need to analyze and evaluate your organization. You’ll need to make adjustments. From there the hard work begins as you move forward.

 

It’s an exciting time for your company. Change is coming and you can be the leader.

 

As always, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think. If you need help in building value into your business, please contact me at 914.741.5200 or rmanasse@referencesystems.com.

 

To your success!

 

Rand

 

Image Credit: VinceLombardi.com


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