Archive for the ‘Tip of the Day’ Category

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day: Plan Some Downtime

Monday, June 9th, 2014

Haven’t you also had the impression that every moment of your time is spoken for? Not only your working hours, but your private time, as well? Easter, Whitsuntide, Christmas? Family get-togethers—at least Easter and Christmas. Weekends? Run errands. Take care of something that wasn’t finished during the week. Take the kids to their sports, you to your sports. The garden is waiting, too. A few light bulbs need changing. Pay bills online. Do a few things that you’ve volunteered for. If that sounds familiar, you’re in the best of company.

In my speeches about self-management, I have argued for planning some downtime. That is to say, downtime is by no means something objectionable. By “downtime,” I mean giving yourself the freedom to set aside a certain amount of time to do nothing, or to do something unscheduled, something that appeals to you. It sounds paradoxical, but it shouldn’t. See it as a protected time slot, defended against any and all intruders, in which you can do what you wish. Ideally, planned downtime should also include your partner. Try it sometime. Exciting dialog, insights, moments could arise as a result. One rule of the game: The reasonableness of doing this will be under-appreciated

 

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day: Keep It Short and Simple

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Do you know people who repeat things several times using different words because they have the impression that they must reinforce their point just one more time? Here’s what that sounds like:

“Since our last conversation, I have become convinced that you should choose the first of the three alternatives that you have been considering. I mean, the second offers opportunities, as does the third. But the first is simply the most effective. I saw that quite clearly. Moreover, if you choose the second alternative, you will encounter higher overhead in its implementation. The third would demand even more overhead, and you can’t afford that at the moment. Meanwhile, the first alternative certainly combines all of the benefits, especially if you bear your present situation in mind. The first alternative is simply the best. That is certainly our impression at the moment.”

In the meantime, his counterpart has no doubt fallen asleep.

Here’s the right way to say it. “As promised, I have considered the matter and recommend the following: Choose the first alternative.” Period. Say no more. If your counterpart has questions, he’ll ask them.

Come to the point and, most important, make it.

Do you know people who repeat things several times using different words because they have the impression that they must reinforce their point just one more time? Here’s what that sounds like:

“Since our last conversation, I have become convinced that you should choose the first of the three alternatives that you have been considering. I mean, the second offers opportunities, as does the third. But the first is simply the most effective. I saw that quite clearly. Moreover, if you choose the second alternative, you will encounter higher overhead in its implementation. The third would demand even more overhead, and you can’t afford that at the moment. Meanwhile, the first alternative certainly combines all of the benefits, especially if you bear your present situation in mind. The first alternative is simply the best. That is certainly our impression at the moment.”

In the meantime, his counterpart has no doubt fallen asleep.

Here’s the right way to say it. “As promised, I have considered the matter and recommend the following: Choose the first alternative.” Period. Say no more. If your counterpart has questions, he’ll ask them.

Come to the point and, most important, make it.

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day: Self-Worth

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

In my mentoring and personal-coaching sessions, which I supervise myself, questions always come up that lead back to the same theme: your sense of your own self-worth.

Why is it that experienced, successful, seasoned individuals lack the courage to take the next step toward growth, to telephone a customer, to call an employee to account, to deliver a speech, to remind someone of a mutual agreement that he has seemingly broken?

The answer: the specter of rejection.

Aside from the fact that you can never exactly foretell the response (i.e., the reaction) and that anticipating a response is unfair, there is rejection-anxiety—which is usually unfounded, anyway. So what, if the next step toward growth happens to go awry? What happens if the customer says “no,” if the the worker being called to account has a different opinion and dissents, if the speech fails to please everyone in the audience?

Correct. Nothing.

The biggest bottleneck on development is your sense of your own self-worth. The good news: you can do something about it.

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day—Stay Tuned!

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Today I emphasize once again the topic “stay tuned.” When you are convinced of something, when you absolutely think that something is right, and yet you see that small successes gradually come to a stop, then keep at it.

That’s obvious? Certainly not. It’s all too common to fall quickly into a rut. We are so often attracted to new things, which suddenly seem more important, allowing good intentions go by the board altogether—with the result that, in the end, nothing gets done right.

Consider well what you are doing, and then devote yourself to that. Resist the temptation to do everything under the sun. Everything that can be thought of can be done. Correct. But not everything that can be done, should be done.

Also stay tuned here, because the Mandat Growth Tip of the Day, with an ever-increasing number of fans, will continue to appear.

By the way: If you look at the list of categories at right, you will find a link that takes you to all Growth Tips of the Day, in succession, with a single click. These tips alone offer an immense benefit, not to mention all the other posts on this blog so far.

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day—Do You Overestimate Your Competitors?

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

In growth projects with our clients, we observe time and again that most businesses are able to monitor their competition more-or-less effectively. Occasionally, this leads to peculiarities: The competitor’s every step is noted, every action reviewed for potential applicability to the business doing the monitoring. Entire talk shows revolve around the competition.

What is readily overlooked—but which we can evaluate through observation and experience—is that competitors are often thoroughly overvalued. Ultimately, you can’t always see behind the curtain, and very often, things in front of the curtain look fantastic. After a short time, even former employees of your competitor offer little in the way of insider information.

Working with our clients, we counter competition-monitoring with growth-intelligence. Focus your strengths on the marketplace, not on the competition. Don’t be a copycat; forge bravely onward.

Is that what you’re doing? Or do you think less of yourself than you should?

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day: Keep Your Promises

Monday, May 19th, 2014

There is a guiding principle that is recited time and again—even in the relevant trade literature—when the topic is satisfying your customers: “Say p.m., deliver a.m.” Promise afternoon delivery, but get it there in the morning. Or: Deliver more (or better) than you promised.

That proposition is nonsense.

It’s not a matter of delivering earlier, since that can be just as inconvenient as delivering too late. It’s also not about promising less than you are capable of. Likewise, it’s not about rendering free services that possibly—in most cases—won’t be valued. The crux of the matter is to agree with the customer on a date, to make him a promise, and then to keep it.

Then if you still have a small surprise ready, something that keeps you in the mind of you customer (which must, however, be used in moderation), all well and good. But the following still basically applies:

“Say p.m., deliver p.m.”

 
© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day: “This is a disaster!”

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

If the first difference between successful people and less-successful people is made plain by the little word “that”(see Mandat Growth Tip of the Day: “That Won’t Work Here!”), the second important difference is how people deal with the unexpected.

Circumstances are what they are. How someone deals with a situation determines how successful a person he or she will be. Of course I don’t mean economic success alone, but success in general.

A delivery doesn’t arrive. “This is a disaster!” One kind of person flies off the handle, reads the supplier the riot act, looks to blame someone in the company, and bemoans the loss of sales. The other tries to find a solution, talks with customers, looks internally for ways to salvage the situation, and tries—when all that is accomplished—to fix things so as to avoid a future repetition of the error.

A big customer is lost. “This is a disaster!” One kind of person uses this as justification to kiss annual goals goodbye. The other tries to talk with the customer, or to acquire new customers—because of the capacity now available. He discusses the situation with the bank, as well as the possible need to have his lines of credit increased somewhat. And he uses the opportunity to position himself even better in the marketplace.

Solve problems instead of lamenting the situation. This is the way best to describe the differences in behavior between successful people and those who are less so.

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day: “That Won’t Work Here!”

Monday, May 12th, 2014

There are two significant differences between successful people and less-successful people. Today’s growth tip and in coming days, both differences will become evident.

“That Won’t Work Here!”

Whenever I hear this statement, two things happen with me: head-shaking and sympathy. How often I hear this formulation: “That’s all well and good, Mr. Quelle, but . . .” (the “but” negates whatever has just been said) “. . . that won’t work here!” Exclamation point. Discussion over. Topping this is: “That can’t possibly work!” Variations are: “That’s all right in theory, but we are pragmatists here” or “That is all too academic.”

Mandat and I have already helped many businesses to raise prices or fees, to create services that had previously been unimaginable, to recover millions upon millions of euros where processes interface, to implement growth-projects in one quarter of the alloted time, to create growth strategies that catapult our clients into a new league. In this context, “That won’t work here!” sounds a little odd.

The first difference between successful- and less-successful people and businesses is characterized by the little word “quite.” “That won’t quite work here” is a legitimate response; it sparks a discussion. Much of what I observe among our colleagues in the U.S. doesn’t quite work in Europe, but in such cases, we adapt a good idea to the European market. What’s the problem?

Successful people ponder how they can devise a suitable way of implementing one good idea atop another. Less-successful people see the same idea as absurd.

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day: You Need a Filter

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Today, the possibilities available to us with virtual media are immense and offer huge advantages. But there are also disadvantages. One of them consists of the fact that, in the virtual world, anyone can write about or comment on anything, and it’s becoming more difficult to ascertain whether what someone has written has any substance. The disadvantage increases when someone, who understands little or nothing about something, writes something. This in turn is read by many who don’t take the trouble to research whether the author is offering only an opinion or has some understanding of the matter.

You need a filter. You need a frame of reference that makes it possible for you to filter out the rubbish that patters down on us every day from the Web and to shovel it where it belongs— onto the virtual trash heap. Trust blogs least, because most of them contain junk. Don’t waste your time in forums, where anecdotal evidence is all too often applied en bloc. Trust only serious news portals, because many others simply want to generate quotes, so they accept things without verification.

The healthiest filter is your own development and education, what you’ve read, your having grappled with important topics, both in your private affairs and in business. No one can take your own experiences from you. And for all the allure of the virtual, your personal and varied real-life experience leads to significantly superior insights than does pursuing a pseudo-reality at the level of Facebook.

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.

Mandat Growth Tip of the Day: STRATEGY x TEAM = GROWTH

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

We have just returned from our annual strategy conference which, as in years past, ran from Wednesday evening to Saturday morning. This year’s conference was arguably the best one yet. We conduct our conferences as we do with our clients including, of course, bringing in an outside moderator, a practice we strongly recommend to our clients. Five critical questions characterize our strategy conferences, :

  • During the past year, what have we achieved together?
  • What were the essential patterns of success along the way?
  • What does the “cool year” of 2014 look like?
  • Which path do we take to get us there?
  • How do we make headway during the year?

Not only does the strategy conference bring to light an excellent, precise road map, but also every team member has assumed responsibility for it – just as in 2013. That is also the essential point that I would like to make as today begins: An otherwise good strategy is not worth the paper it’s written on if the team is not on board. In this respect, the formula for success is: STRAGEGY x TEAM = GROWTH. If one of the factors is zero, the result is also zero. Work only with people with whom you are happy to work, and see to it that a mutually-supportive team developes.

When will you hold your strategy conference? And when it’s over, how are you to be certain that the results don’t sink into a sea of day-to-day operations, but are actually implemented?

© 2014, Prof. Dr. Guido Quelle, Mandat Consulting Group, Dortmund, London, New York. All rights reserved.