The old pyramidal corporate structure, with its paternalistic attitude is being shuffled out of the picture.

Professional managers, middle management, call them what you will, are a dying breed. Young Turks are moving in and getting the job done right, first time. The difference is they are doing the whole job, from start to finish, from beginning to end. Gone are the days of division of labour. Anyone who dares utter the words “THAT’S NOT MY JOB” should be fired.

Companies with top-heavy superstructures will founder, taking those who remain on board with them. The good old days of multi-layered management have had their day. And they’ll be gone forever.

So what lies in the immediate future? Streamlined, low-profile companies where work revolves around flexible, self-managed project teams that focus exclusively on meeting market and customer needs.

As a member of a project team, the company will expect you to provide creative input, even if it means that you have to acquire additional skills. You’ll also be expected to respond rapidly to customer demands, making on-the-spot decisions without reference to the top office. You can expect other differences to confront you. For example, you won’t have security of job tenure. You’ll only be employed for as long as it takes to complete a project. Your next job will depend on the quality of your current performance. You may even find yourself working on a project for a rival company.

In effect, you’ll be an independent contractor. As such, you’ll have to acquire skills and knowledge that you’ll need to survive on your own: not only technical skills, but also finance, marketing and people skills.

If you’re a manager now, you’re going to find the going tough. The new business order is going tow wreck your comfort zone, which involves loyalty to your employer and your need to be part of a large, protective organisation.

Those managers who succeed will adapt quickly to the changes. They’ll swing their unquestioning allegiance from a company, to loyalty to the team and its project for the duration that they’re involved. In essence, companies will provide money, opportunities and challenges in exchange for the limited period hire managers’ intellect and expertise. The new order also means that you have to take responsibility for the development of your own career. You’ll have to acquire and develop a broad range of skills and update them continuously in line with fluctuating demands in the job market.

Since you won’t be spoon-fed in terms of job opportunities, you will have to spend time developing a network of reliable, well-placed contacts to keep you in mind when new projects are launched.

You’ll also have to hone your personal budgetary skills. Those rainy financial days, which never seemed to come around when you were securely employed by an old-style corporation, will become prevalent. Because you’ll be paid only for what you do, you could find yourself spending long penniless periods between pay days.

In this presentation I detail specific challenges that you’ll encounter as the business of management drastically transforms itself. In addition, I suggest ways and means of coping with the challenges and beating them.

Tear down your existing structure and create a ‘new look’ corporate profile.

Here’s my 10-point plan to re-engineer with a purpose.

1. Eliminate artificial, inter-departmental barriers that isolate people and functions. Organize teams to work on a limited number of core projects.
2. Encourage team members to develop multiple skills rather than concentrating solely on specialized know-how.
3. Fully train and fully inform all team members. Don’t sanitise information and let it trickle downwards on a need-to-know basis. Give team members all the data and train them how to use it. Allow them to analyze it and make their own decisions.
4. Empower each team to complete the project or process. Give them everything they need and let them get on with the job.
5. Set specific, measurable performance goals for each project.
6. Make each team fully accountable for achieving its performance goals.
7. Reward team performance. If necessary, change your method of remuneration to acknowledge team results as well as outstanding individual performances.
8. Encourage partnerships between team players – your employees, your suppliers and your customers. Invite suppliers and customers to become full working members of your in-house team.
9. Make ‘customer delight’ drive performance. Focus on what your customers want and need rather than on profits and the build-up of stock inventories.
10. Reduce top-down supervision. Eliminate tasks that don’t add value to your product or service.

Stay successful:    Successful people are being transformed out of necessity. They are re-inventing themselves, flying in the face of tradition, rejecting rules that have paved the way to success in the past. Successful people are re-focusing their mindsets, redefining the nature of their businesses, and flattening corporate structures.

What you think about my thoughts is important. I value your input. So please email me: I look forward to hearing from you.


Develop a guiding vision so that you can define exactly what you want to achieve. When you work towards a precisely defined target, you work smarter … and you work more productively. By creating a vivid vision of where you want to go, you create an all-important sense of purpose. Without it you won’t see the marketplace potential or its opportunities.

“My vision is to have a personal computer on every desk in the world,” said Bill Gates in 1975.

A vision isn’t about predicting the future. It’s about creating the future by taking action now. A vision is the difference between taking short-term action to improve your bottom line and long-term strategic change. It translates your strategies into a way of business life.

The sense of purpose projected by your vision will guide you steadfastly towards a profitable marketplace niche. To create a vision you need:

  •  the ability to maintain focus despite fierce competition in the marketplace;

  •  the courage to take risks;

  • analytical skills, and

  •  intuition

Intuition gives you the ability to peer into the future marketplace and predict trends.

Visionary planning gives you the ability to see a need in the marketplace, and take the action to satisfy it … it provides a mental framework that gives form to the future. It paints a clear picture of where you want to go.

Don’t allow traditional planning based on the past to lead you and your business into the future. “You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore”. Sharpen your visionary planning skills by finding a quiet place to dream … to unlock your creative potential, which requires rethinking the way you think.

Visions that allow you to transform today’s reality won’t come to you in a flash. Practical visions are born from an intensity or preoccupation. However, not all your visions will strike gold. You’ll only get where you want to go by taking risks, making mistakes and getting things wrong.

The quickest way to get someone’s undivided attention is to make a mistake. Architects cover their mistakes with ivy. Lawyers visit theirs in jail. Ad execs put theirs on TV. Cooks cover theirs with sauce. Doctors bury theirs.

The biggest mistake is the fear that you will make one. He who never fails will never grow rich.

Don’t let failure faze you. Keep going until you get it right.

To get it right:

  • persevere;

  • reject conventional wisdom;

  • think differently, and commit yourself to achieving your vision.

Your vision should express optimism. In visionary planning, there’s no place for caution.

Replicate and share your vision. There’s nothing more useless than a vision that you keep to yourself. Sell your ideas to the people who matter by every possible method. Remember that the effectiveness of a decision is the quality of that decision multiplied by its acceptance.

  • Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision.

  • The ability to direct individual accomplishment toward organisational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.

Open yourself to new information … to the element of surprise. Play with perception and context.

To get ahead and stay ahead, you’ve go to think revolution not evolution. Aim to make things 100% different. Ten or 20% better just isn’t good enough.

If you improve whatever you offer in small, incremental steps, the world won’t race to get to your doorstep. It’ll yawn. To overcome the ho-hum mindset of those around you, jolt them into action by revolutionizing what you do. Make the changes radical.

You’ll know you have successfully replicated and shared your vision when the people who matter know where you want to go, how you plan to get there and when you want to get there.

Action points

  1. List 5 macro trends you predict over the next 5 years that will impact on your business.
  2. How will these trends affect your business?
  3. What will you need to do in order to stay ahead?
  4. My vision for my company/division is to…
  5. In order to achieve this vision, I will…


Establish a perfect little turnkey operation that goes to work every single time. Own the job. Own the way you do something. Build a system that works. Build it as though you were going to franchise it.

Provide a consistent level of service that imparts to the customer a sense of security and integrity … an assurance that problems will be handled promptly at no extra cost.

Dress the same, behave the same, offer the same. Many top companies rely on uniforms to project an image of consistent quality, good service and uniqueness. Also aim for consistency in behaviour and speech. The way you answer the phone, greet customers and serve them will influence their perceptions of the service quality you provide. Make the experience of doing business with you sparkle with life. Own and duplicate the experience. Provide a level of service that can be depended on, come what may.

Deliver the same result every time. If you own the experience, you must be able to replicate it. Deliver the same result in an absolutely predictable fashion, time after time. Create a systematic way of producing a result. To keep your customers, be consistent … be predictable.

 Give your customers control. Design your systems so that your customers control their experience rather than allowing the systems to control their experience.

 Manage your customers’ expectations. Tell your customers exactly what they can expect from your business, when they can expect it and periodically update them on the status of the work in progress.

Don’t work on a process.
Work to produce a result. To produce the result you and your customers want:

  • Determine the results you aim to achieve, start with the result.

  • Divide the project into steps that can be seen and understood.

  • Work you way backwards.

  • Crate a checklist with your customers so that you use common methods of evaluating performance.

  • Determine how often you want to communicate with your customers. Diarise the dates and times.

  • Insert self-imposed penalties in the project’s specs.

  • Make them meaningful. Be specific.

Empower your customers.

Action points

  1. Define the result that you are responsible for achieving for your customers.
  2. Who else is necessary to you in order for you to produce the result?
  3. What limitations/drawbacks/disappointments could customers encounter when they receive the defined results?
  4. What steps can you take to eliminate the abovementioned drawbacks?



Become an entrepreneur. Take risks, use your initiative.

Yes, son I’m a self-made man.
That’s what I like about you, Dad. You take the blame for everything.

Make things happen. Get personally involved in the action. If you’re an employer, encourage employee initiative.

Lacerate red tape. Red tape is symbolic of the worst type of bureaucracy in both the private and public sectors. Nothing strangles initiative, creativity and innovation more effectively.


Heard about the man who had an addiction to red tape?
He joined the civil service.

Implement an open door policy. Invite all employees at all levels to pop in and kick new ideas around.

Establish an open book management system. Give your employees unimpeded access to financial information. Encourage them to monitor the progress of the plans they suggest. Give them a stake in the financial success of the business.


You know why civil servants never talk about their work?
Because they never do any.

Lead, don’t manage. Lead, don’t boss.

  • If you think you have influence, just try ordering somebody else’s dog around.

Keep your employees aware of the risks, of what they can gain and of how they can make the difference. Businesses even big businesses now want people with entrepreneurial flair. You need to acquire at least four skills before you can consider yourself a business leader in the mould of an entrepreneur …

  • become business literate. Get to know everything there is to know about the business you’re in;

  • develop conceptual skills that allow you to think systematically and creatively.

  • Cultivate decision-making skills that allow you to resolve problems quickly, often with access to only incomplete information, and

  • develop people skills so that you can recruit and motivate the right type of people for your type of business.

No business can survive without making profits. So become a self-contained profit centre. Watch your bottom line. Nurture the desire to make money. Think and earn profits.

Keep pushing the profit button. Draw up a budget. Take into account every factor that impinges on the cost of your product or service.

Calculate exactly how much each person costs the company in terms of wages and salaries, office or factory rental, medical aid, pension, stationery, telephones, etc. Then ask them to calculate the profit on their jobs. A minimum of three times cost is an acceptable norm. For example if a secretary costs you R10 000 a month in total including 13th cheque, office space, salary, etc she should be providing you with value worth R30 000 a month.

Smash the logistics jam. Let’s face it, there will never be an organisation that is completely without boundaries. You can’t eliminate all boundaries. But you can make them permeable so that they allow information, ideas, resources and energy to flow freely throughout your company. To make the boundaries in your company more porous, set each of your employees the task of redefining his or her role in producing a result.

Work on results. Replace the titles on everyone’s business cards with a description of what each individual does in customers’ terms. Change from descriptive titles to prescriptive statements.

And don’t stop there.

Make everyone in your organisation responsible for producing a measurable result, whether he’s the office cleaner who has undertaken to keep the premises clean, or the managing director who’s responsible for producing long-term profits.

Get each person to define their result. Then ask them to write down exactly what functions they should perform to produce that result.

Outsource. Buy in high levels of specialist expertise. Save on the cost of ownership. Outsourcing certain functions costs you less and gives you more.

An economy built around lots and lots of minnows rather than a few dinosaurs is infinitely better, says Frankfurt-based Max Worcester. In fact, 96 percent of German GDP comes from small and medium-sized companies.

Outsource as much as possible. Farm out tasks to save on the costs of ownership and the substantial costs related to the employment of people required to do the work. Outsourcing gives you access to specialist expertise while containing costs, improving quality and enhancing efficiency.

Surround yourself with experts.


Yes, I’ll give you a job. You can start by cleaning the floor.
 But I’m a university graduate.
Get a broom and I’ll show you how then.

Use beginners as experts. Use break-it thinking.

Beware of the typical expert of yesteryear. They can hinder more than help. They have tendency to fit a NEW IDEA into an existing model or framework. They put new problems into the same old context in order to understand them. They tend to define what is new, in terms of what is old, what is unknown in terms of what is known.

Set up a network. What you know is important. Who you know is more important. Surround yourself with on-tap expertise: keep an up-to-date contact book of Guys Who Really Know (GWRK). Set aside time to purge your contact book at least once a month. Use the phone, send faxes or post letters to keep your list current. Don’t ignore any opportunity to add to your list of potentially useful people. Spend at least 10% of your time making new contacts. Look for them everywhere you go: conferences, conventions, social functions and sports events, etc. Don’t overlook secretaries and assistants.

Charlie, why don’t you play golf with Ted anymore? asked the wife.
Would you play golf with a chap who moved the ball with his foot when you weren’t watching? he said.
Well, no, admitted the wife.
And neither will Ted, replied the dejected husband.

Classify your contacts under six main headings:

  • potential employers;

  • customers;

  • potential customers;

  • suppliers and

  • potential suppliers

Get networking and keep networking. It’s an informal way to reach knowledgeable people.

Nourish yourself

A bow kept forever taut will break.”

Make your diary into a scrapbook of fun. Write down in detail exactly how you’re going to nourish yourself with enjoyment over the next month. Take time off to unwind and do the non-business related things you want to do. Don’t do anything if that’s what it takes to recharge your batteries.

Action points 

  1. Within the next 10 days, you need to know everything there is to know about your business. How are you going to accomplish this rather formidable task?
  2. Identify bureaucratic areas that are impeding your results. What’s holding up the process?
  3. How/where can you outsource? How can you become a tighter profit centre?
  4. Examine your business card. What description does it have? Cross it out. Write a more suitable one relating to customers’ terms.
  5. List your support team members. How should their titles be changed?
  6. Write down an IDEAL LIST OF EXPERTS that you would like to be able to tap into at any time. Next to the area of expertise, write a list of names that spring to mind. EXPERTISE NAMES


Benchmark yourself. Even if you’re the boss, your job isn’t secure. A lifelong job with one company has become history. But you can enhance your value in the marketplace.

Change your mindset. Cultivate a new mental outlook. Take responsibility for your career development. Become a student of change: ensure that you know which way the wind is blowing.

Make change work for you: be prepared to exploit opportunities as soon as they emerge. Prepare yourself now for a change in career.

Learn to market yourself. Determine your worth out there.

When James graduated from U.C.T., he applied for a position in the S.A.A.
At his selection interview he was asked: What can you do well?
Good! cried the selection panel in unison. You’re just the sort of chap we want and we won’t even have to break you in!

Think of yourself as self-employed.

Jot down anything that enhances your chance of Getting a job: qualifications, experience, special expertise, etc.

  • Scan situation vacant ads for job vacancies in your area of expertise. Note what they’re paying for people like you and the qualifications demanded. This will give you a panoramic view of what you’re worth in the job market.

  • Get a more detailed view from Human Resources consultants who specialise in your area of expertise.

Increase your value. Build up your intellectual capital. Become a lifelong learner. Perpetual homework. Acquire skills that will increase your value. Upgrade your qualifications continuously. Learn your living. Don’t earn your living. Constantly improve your marketable skills.

Become a generalist, not a specialist. A specialist is someone who knows more and more about less and less!! Constantly upgrade your knowledge across-the-board so that you can do anything that gives you the desired result.

Enhance your worth by collecting letters of Customer delight. Hordes of delighted customers who testify to the excellence of your service are more valuable than certificates and diplomas that attest to your professional competence.

Send your CV out. Apply for jobs; attend interviews.

You won’t really know what you’re worth out thereuntil you test the market.

Circulate your CV to let potential employers know that you’re still around and keep them informed about what you’ve been doing since you were last in contact. View CV circulation as an insurance policy that could stand you in good stead if you’re wrongsized out of your present job.

Draw up a strategic employment plan for yourself to cover, say, the next three years. Decide what new skills you intend to acquire during this period. And, in the light of your job market intelligence gathering, which of your existing skills you need to upgrade.

Cross train yourself.

Build up your intellectual capital.

Knowledge is the new capital of the working world. In the US, despite the downsizing epidemic, the numbers of managerial and professional workers have increased by 37 percent since the beginning of the 1980s. And by the year 2000, it is estimated that the UK will have 10 million knowledge workers compared with 7 million manual workers. The Swedish company, Skandia, even has a “director of intellectual capital”.

  • A shallow thinker seldom makes a deep impression.

  • Some students drink deeply from the fountain of knowledge, others only gargle.

  • Few people think more than two or three times a year. I have made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week. George Bernard Shaw

  • It’s a nuisance that knowledge can only be acquired by hard work. Somerset Maughan

  • 90% Of inspiration is perspiration.

  •  A genius! For 37 years I’ve practised 14 hours a day, and now they call me a genius! Pablo Saraste Spanish Violinist

  • Once I met someone so dumb  the only thing she ever read was an eye-chart. In fact she used to look for a wishbone in a soft-boiled egg.

  • Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.

Action points

  1. List the names of 3 competitors, and next to each name, jot down their strengths.
  2. How can you achieve the strengths listed of your competitors?
  3. When was the last formal qualification that you received?
  4. What course could you do to obtain the strengths of your competitors?
  5. What courses/skills could you acquire in order to supersede your competitors?
  6. List the names of 5 customers who will testify to the excellence of your service.


Be tough on yourself. Play to win. Come back for more, no matter what punishment you encounter en route to your goal. Become a bad loser. Constantly pushing yourself to the limit will knock the hell out of you. But moderate stress pushes you to heights that you never knew were possible.

Pick a mighty opposite. Don’t make little enemies with whom you disagree for petty reasons. Rather cultivate people with whom you have significant differences … people with whom you’ll fight to the bitter end over fundamental issues. A good, tough enemy forces you to improve yourself and your business. Prepare to do battle with the smartest biggies that make your life hell.

To win the battle:

  1. Focus squarely on your customers. Do things right. Concentrate on the people who support your business, rather than your competitors. Tell your customers more. Today’s customers want to know more about what they’re buying. If you want to keep them, tell them. Short, cryptic descriptions of products don’t stimulate emotions, differentiate one brand or model from another or highlight advantages to the consumer.

Today’s consumer is street smart: he wants more information about less.

  1. Concentrate on the decisive point. Seek a chink in your competitor’s armour. Divide and conquer.

 Go for small victories to give you and your troops confidence. Winning isn’t the most important thing. It’s the only   thing.

  1. Provide a complete product. Look for features that your competitors don’t provide: batteries for torches, blades for the razor, plugs for electrical equipment, workbooks for seminars …

Turn your customers into evangelists. Get your customers to spread the word about your product or service with missionary zeal. Create a cause. Evangelists need a cause. Give them something to believe in: a product, a company or a set of beliefs like environmentalism. They’ll spread the word because they want others to believe in what they believe.

  • Embody a vision … it’s much more than just a good idea: it’s a calling.

  • Seize the high ground by promising to make the world a better place through, say, improving productivity, cleaning up the environment or empowering formerly disenfranchised groups.

  • Redefine the experience by, for example, making a product even more user friendly.

  • Catalyse strong feelings of love for the product or service.

To spread the word, find the right people. Target your market accurately. Aim at people who believe that you’re offering them the best thing since sliced bread. Start with existing users. And don’t forget your employees. Make all the people who work for you evangelists for your cause. After all you pay their salaries so they have a vested interest in the success of the business. Employees are at the heart of the engine that drives improved customer service.

Action points

  1. Identify a mighty opposite. Another company, division or person.
  2. What is their weak point (that chink in the armour)?
  3. Go for small victories. List the small victories that you can accomplish over the next 30 days.
  4. Write a note to a customer of yours listing 5 reasons why the business should be awarded to you, and not to the might opposite.
  5. Imagine a customer suddenly overcome by a blinding flash of light. A convert is born, he can think of nothing other than your phenomenal product/service. Write the opening paragraph of a speech that he is to deliver to 5000 sceptics, persuading them that your product/service is the only way to eternal joy.


Cultivate your customers. Delight them with dazzling service so that they keep coming back for more. Give them a little more than they expect: under-promise, over-deliver.

If you want me as your customer, delight me. I want to be wowed by your remarkable service. I want to be dazzled.

Don’t for one moment think that we’re still in the era of customer satisfaction. We’re not. We’re now in the era of customer delight.

So how can you delight me?

Get to know me on my turf.

Invite me to your premises and introduce me around within seven days of our fist contact. And insist that your personnel visit me at my premises within the first 30 days of our initial interaction.

Don’t stop the visits.

Make sure I have face-to-face contact with your team at least once every three months.

Invest time in your customers. Make them feel at home… make them feel special. Work to retain their loyalty.

Become performers. Today there should be no such thing as I’m not a people person. I’m just a backroom boy. You need people-orientated people. It doesn’t matter what position they hold in your company, they must give customers a performance.

A consistent, delightful performance.

Make your work entertaining. Turn your business into a theatre. Your customers and those who work with you will love you for it. Stay loose and laugh a lot.

Cultivate a sense of fun.

Personal recommendations influence 80% of all consumer buying decisions. Existing and former customers can be a gold mine. Keep a comprehensive database of your current and past customers. Create a Customer Contact Programme: a computerised customer data-base in which you store the names of all your customers, their pertinent details and an inventory of their purchases. Update this database every six months. Use the data to communicate with your customers on a regular basis. Keep them in the picture. Send out a mailshot at least four times a year.

Follow up on lost sales. View customer defections as a key measure of your company’s performance. It costs about 15 times more to find new customers than it does to retain existing customers. Work out the value of a loyal customer to your business over the next 10 years.

Determine why defections occur and how they influence profits. When an aircraft crashes, airline investigators search until they find the black box so that they can establish the cause of the disaster. When a customer defects, develop a black box mentality. Find out why he’s abandoning you.

Earn customer loyalty. Create customer value. It’s the core business activity from which sales, profits and long-term success flow. Do something a little extra for your customers. Identify what results your customers expect by doing business with you.

Segment your customers in terms of profitability and audit them in terms of loyalty:

  • How long have your different customers been with you?

  • How much money do they spend with you as opposed with your competitors?

  • What made them leave your competitors to come to you?

  • Update your findings every six months.

Give your customers an interest in your business. Communicate with them constantly in a language they understand. Keep them abreast of all changes in your business. Ask them for input.

Involve your customers. Make them members of your club whatever you sell, invite your customers to seminars every six months. Get in guest speakers, provide transcripts of their addresses for your customers who are unable to attend.

And above all, make the whole buying experience fun.

In a nutshell, offer knowledge.

Because knowledge is power, go out of your way to ensure that you become your customers’ fountain of valid information. When you give your customers access to knowledge, their loyalty to you grows.

  • Knowledge is the only instrument of production that is not subject to diminishing returns.

Customer retention rates and employee productivity are directly correlated. The higher the customer retention rate, the higher the level of productivity.

That’s what customer loyalty can do for you.

Penalise yourself. Penalise yourself or your company every time you don’t keep your service promise. Give your customers a pledge such as: If I don’t deliver it within 30 minutes, you get it for free. Be specific.

Consign to the scrap heap phrases like as soon as possible.

What about this one?

If you have to stand in a queue for longer than three minutes, we’ll pay you R20. Come up with concrete suggestions for penalising yourself if your service doesn’t meet expectations. Reject out-of-hand any proposals that include cheat numbers like 100% or 24-hours-a-day. They mean zip. Pretentious statement like I will provide you with 100% service 24-hours-a-day don’t work.

Customer loyalty isn’t dished up on a plate. You have to earn it.

Action points

  1. How can you make your work environment more fun?
  2. How can you make yourself more fun to be around?
  3. Write down the names of 7 customers, and next to each name, list the results that they expect by doing business with you.
  4. Imagine for a moment that you have been made chairman/lady of your business club. Think of 10 innovative ideas that would encourage your customers/members) to feel as if they belong to your club.
  5. List 3 ways of penalising yourself if you don’t keep your service promise. Remember, use tangible, specific rewards that your customers will cherish.


Recruit the right people. Look for people with independent minds. Hiring yes men and clones of yourself could be a recipe for disaster.

How long did the person work for you? a former employer was asked.
About six hours, was the reply.
But he told us he’d been employed with you a long time.
Oh yes, said the ex-employer tersely,he’s been her for four years.

Become a performance coach. Don’t cast your employees in your own image. Rather strive for balance. Refuse to beat your employees into shape.

Excuse me, Sir, I think you’re wanted on the telephone.
You think! Don’t you know?
Well, Sir, the voice on the other end said, Hello, is that you, you old idiot?

People would rather be shown how valuable you are; not told. Assume responsibility for:

  • providing employee training that applies directly to the job:

  • helping employees enhance their careers;

  • helping employees improve their on-the-job performances and;

  • mentor employees to help them become the best they can be.

To become a successful performance coach, go out of your way to build a close and open relationship with each member of your team.

  • People don’t come to work to fail. They come to work to succeed.

Link training to the job. Don’t train your employees in a vacuum. Human Resources professionals sometimes consider the act of training more important than the results achieved. They demand costly and complex out-training courses. They deem attendance a vital. They’re more concerned wit the activity than the result.

To ensure the wealth of expertise that already exists in your company permeates throughout the organisation.

  • Assign new employees to project teams for between six and twelve months. Encourage them to come up with new ideas or better production processes.

  • Encourage your employees to spend more time talking to each other. Promote corporate “rituals” that lead to social interaction and bring people closer together. This bonding process promotes trust and, ultimately, idea sharing.

Like marriage: Although when I got married, it wasn’t by the Justice of Peace, it was by the Secretary of War.
People said to me, Are you married?
I replied, No, I was hit by a car.

  • Gather team members’ ideas and experiences into a corporate knowledge bank on the successful completion of a project.

Set key objectives. Concentrate your firepower on the goals that matter.

Too many targets will dissipate the strength of your attack.

  • Management by objectives works if you know the objectives. 90% of the time you don’t.

Throw informal, spontaneous fun parties in recognition of achievements by you or those who work for you. Dish out plenty of awards and slaps on the back. Inject yourself and those around you with a daily dose of happiness.

Create a sense of urgency.

You have to face facts: without any sense of urgency, people won’t put in that extra effort that is often essential. They won’t make needed sacrifices. Instead, they’ll resist initiatives from above and cling to the status quo.

At least six reasons help explain this sort of complacency: 

  1. No highly visible crises exists. The company isn’t losing money. There’s no threat of a big lay-off. .

  2. You hold that meeting in a room that screams success. The subliminal message is clear: We’re rich, we’re winners. We must be doing something right. So relax. Have lunch. Nothing fails like success.

  3. The managers measure themselves against low standards. Wondering around companies, I hear: Profits are up 10% on last year. What I don’t hear is Profits are down 30% from five years ago, while industry-wide profits were up nearly 20% over the last 12 months.

  4. Staff focuses attention on narrow functional goals instead of broad business performance. When the most basic measures of corporate performance are sinking, virtually no-one feels responsible.

  5. Management rigs the various internal planning and control systems to make it easy for everyone to meet their functional goals. A typical goal: Launch a new ad campaign by June 15. They don’t deem increasing market share to be an appropriate target.

  6. Whatever feedback employees receive comes almost entirely from these faulty internal systems. An employee can work for months and never be confronted by a dissatisfied customer or a frustrated supplier.

Turn up the heat in your company. Eliminate such symbols of excess as a big corporate airforce. Set higher standards, both formally in the planning process and informally in day-to-day interaction. Change internal measurement systems that focus on the wrong indices. Vastly increase the amount of external exposure that each of your employees get. Reward both honest talk in meetings and people who are willing to confront problems.

Organise monthly bright ideas sessions to brainstorm ideas. Summon all the members of your team. Get into a huddle. Examine ways in which you can add value to the experience of doing business with you. Brainstorm at least 10 ideas at each meeting. Reward employees who come up with ideas that add value to the customers’ experience. Generate enthusiasm. Avoid outright put-downs.

Reward long-term customer delight. Give worthwhile rewards to employees who keep customers happy.

Regularly delight your staff by making worthwhile rewards for extra-special customer service.

Write them into your budget.

Dish out rewards to deserving employees once-a-month. Then select an overall winner for the year and shower that member of staff with accolades.

It does wonders for their self-image.

As consultant and author Edward de Bono says in his book Tactics: I would name self-image as the prime motivator. The key benefit of high-level employee loyalty: customer retention. The benefits of customer loyalty increase with each passing year. So think long and hard before rightsizing, downsizing or re-engineering your business.

Re-engineer with a purpose.

In the nanosecond 90’s, speed is of the essence. Look at each employee’s self-stated result and determine how long their functions take to produce it. Then insist that the length of time be halved within four weeks.

Sure, you may have to update and upgrade your existing technology and implement streamlined new systems. But if it makes you more competitive, do it.

Employees are of ten rewarded more for their position on the hierarchical ladder than for their performance. If this is the system you have adopted, you’re rewarding people for their past achievements. Eliminate rewards based on length of service.

Reward performance and skill, not seniority or position. One way of accomplishing this is performance-based pay. The better they do, the more they get.

In this competitive age, people like you who lead companies, departments and divisions, need to know hot to blow up self-satisfied corporate cultures … how to sabotage we do it this way because it’s the way it’s always been done.

Create a sense of urgency … do something … before a real disaster strikes.

Create a training roster to break through function barriers. Train each member of the team to work at each function necessary to produce the required result. Insist that each team member attends a 30-minuteclass each week so that he can familiarise himself with what other members do.

For example, it I’m a sales rep, get your receptionist to train me for an hour on the finer points of switchboard operation.

And let your receptionist accompany me and your other sales reps on at least one call a week.

Get the folks in credit control to teach me their functions in the overall scheme of things. Insist that I attend a 30-minute class each week until I know how to do what they do.

Don’t use outside experts or the people in your in-house training department to teach us. Rather use the people in different departments themselves to give us hands-on training.

Also get each department to draw up a schedule detailing exactly the steps involved in their functions and how to do them. Ensure that all members of other departments go through the programme from beginning to end.

Action points

  1. Write down the names of 3 of your colleagues. What are their hobbies? What unique attributes do they possess that can impact on the success of the business?
  2. Identify 3 corporate rituals which are held on a regular basis for the staff.
  3. Organise a system whereby each player in your team can be confronted by a dissatisfied customer or a frustrated supplier on a regular basis.
  4. Turn up the heat. List 5 higher standards that you can set that will improve the performance of those around you.
  5. List the functions necessary (other than yours) to produce the result stated in Chapter 2 ACTION POINT 1. Indicate by means of a tick ( ) or a cross ( ) next to each item whether you can perform the function or not. Write down the names of the people next to each cross ( ) who will teach you to perform their functions.

You’re about to set sail on a voyage of discovery into a new world … a world of adventure and excitement where anything can happen.

Rudyard Kipling had some good advice;

I keep six honest serving men;
They taught me all I knew:
Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.

Leave space for new thoughts and ideas.

Don’t allow past expertise to crowd out new input.

So if you get a business idea  no matter how outlandish play with it, toss it around in your mind. It could prove to be a winner. IDEAS ARE VALUABLE CURRENCY.

Even if your idea is wildly offbeat, ignore criticism, no matter how well-intentioned. Critics are like eunuchs in a harem. They reckon they know how it’s done because they’ve seen it done every day. But they’re totally incapable of doing it themselves.

So have heart. Persevere. You may not get it right the first time. But you’ll get there in the end.

Just do it

  • We grow by dreams. All great people are dreamers. They see things in the soft haze of a spring day, or in the red fire of a long winter’s evening. Some of us let these great dreams die, but others nourish and protect them, nurse them through bad days till they bring them to light which comes to those who sincerely hope that their dreams will come true.

  • Those who do the most, dream the most.

  • The key to happiness is having dreams.  The key to success is making dreams come true. Dare to dream.