Why Rituals Matter To Your Success

In business, rituals play an important role. The famous business and life coach, Tim Ferris often talks about his five morning rituals: he makes his bed, meditates for 10 to 20 minutes, does at five to 10 reps of a light exercise followed by some strong tea and finally, he finishes his routine by journaling for five to 10 minutes.

Since we are creatures of habit, rituals can set the intention and tone of our day. Like running through scales, rituals can be mindless ways to clear our minds and allow us to listen to ourselves.

Michael Hyatt, CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company, a leadership development firm, says that there are five benefits to rituals, which we’ll explain here.

First, Hyatt points out that the whole point of the ritual is as much mental as physical. He uses the game of golf as an example. He has a set of rituals, or steps, he goes through every time he approaches the tee box. He says, “I’m not just fine-tuning my stroke, I’m also conditioning my mind for the best possible shot. By dropping into the groove, I get out of my own way.”

Hyatt points out five benefits of optimized rituals:

  1. Help put you in a mental and physical groove for high performance, whatever you’re doing. You’re lined up for the workday with far fewer distractions.
  2. Allow you to perform at a predictably high level. The routine leaves less to chance, so you can focus on performing your best.
  3. Stop you from overthinking, so you’re not constantly engineering and reengineering your entire performance. This frees you up not to worry about whether you can perform but helps you focus on simply how best to do so.
  4. Allow you to upgrade your performance because you’ve broken apart the individual steps. Now, you can focus on tweaking them individually.
  5. Give you a sense of purpose and confidence. By working your ritual, you set your mind and body at ease and take control of what you can control.

That’s why even the most seasoned musicians run their scales before performing. So what are your rituals?

Source: Michael Hyatt is the founder and CEO of Michael Hyatt & Company, a leadership development firm specializing in transformative live events, workshops, and digital and physical planning tools. Formerly chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, Hyatt is also a New York TimesWall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of several books, including Living Forward and Platform.

Customer Service Vs. Customer Experience

When I need to return an item to Nordstrom, I know I’m not going to encounter a problem. The company’s return policy makes me more willing to shop online and in-store. In my opinion, this is great customer service. But this quality alone doesn’t make the entire customer experience package—that includes the store setting, retail staff and all the other elements that create the total experience.

The difference between customer service and customer experience is that while customer service is one piece of the puzzle—focused on human interaction and directly supporting customers—customer experience is the sum of the entire customer journey with your business.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we’ll look at these differences in more detail and why it matters to your business.

Customer Service. This is the assistance and advice provided to a customer for your product or service as needed. Customer service requires your customer-facing team to possess a particular set of skills, including product knowledge, and tenacity, so they can provide the answers and assistance a customer needs. It’s the human element in the customer journey and the voice your customer will recognize as representative of your organization.

Customer Experience. This refers to the broader customer journey across the organization and includes every interaction between the customer and the business. Customer experience involves all the ways your business interacts with a customer, including traditional direct, customer-facing service and all approaches outside of it.

Customer experience includes three main components:

1. Customer Service: This includes customer support, customer success, and self-service support—the points at which your customer interacts with your team.
2. Technology: This is the product itself—how it works and the interactivity points.
3. Design: This is the brand touchpoint—the marketing, the design and the feelings your brand creates for your customer.

While those three areas are quite distinct, there are no hard lines between them. All of the pieces combine and work together to make up the customer experience.

The key difference between customer service and customer experience is that the latter involves the whole customer journey, including customer service. Customer service is limited to the interactions a customer has when seeking advice or assistance on a product or service. Understanding the customer experience, on the other hand, can involve analyzing data from non-customer-facing teams who contribute to a customer’s overall experience with a product or service.

The line between how customers use a product and how they interact with the people supporting it are more blurred than ever. It’s important to understand the distinction between both customer service and the broader customer experience in order to create a memorable, engaging interaction and profitable customer interaction.

Source: Sarah Blackstock is a freelance writer specializing in technology and customer support and a former happiness engineer at Automattic.

How to Drive Decision-Making Across Your Team

One of the basic elements of the Toyota Production System—the automaker’s foundation for lean manufacturing—is the Japanese term nemawashi. This term means “preparing the soil,” as you would before planting a tree. Nemawashi is a kind of informal consensus-building technique. The idea is to have all preparations done properly (hole dug, water available and so on) prior to planting the tree instead of trying to just slam it into the ground.

In order for teamwork to succeed, it is important to have consensus among team members. So nemawashi prepares the soil for effective decision-making by aligning the stakeholders around a proposal before they are asked to make a decision.

1. Identify the stakeholders. A thorough stakeholder analysis will enable you to gather a great deal of information about the stakeholders during the scoping of the consensus—building exercise. Gathering this information at the beginning of the exercise will help to develop a realistic plan to ensure the maximum level of involvement.

2. Determine customer requirements. It is imperative to understand customer needs and to define customer requirements. Many companies use the process of defining the Voice of the Customer (VOC)—a way to document service level targets and specification limits, and to identify improvement areas.

3. Concept selection and reaching consensus. Place the customer requirements into the first column of a chart and give a weight to each customer requirement, using a 1 – 5 scale (1 = least important, 5 = most important). Work down the list of criteria and rate them as a team. If a team member isn’t at least 70 percent comfortable with the requirement, then they can block it. This way, the final list will include criteria that each person buys into at least 70 percent.

4. Generating concepts. Next, get small teams or individuals to develop alternative designs or concepts. Search for different alternatives and benchmark them, using the following concepts:

Functional – a comparison to similar or identical practices within the same or similar functions outside the immediate industry.

Internal – a comparison of a business process to a similar process inside the organization.

Competitive – a comparison of your own industry and product lines; hard-to-get information but valuable when received; product and process-orientated.

Use the concept selection process to review these additional concepts and determine an additional consensus around them. Once the final list of approved concepts is established, then it’s time to develop an implementation plan.

Consensus requires time, active participation of all group members, communication and communication skills, creative thinking and open-mindedness. While it may take longer to establish consensus, this method ultimately provides better decisions and greater productivity because it secures every employee’s commitment to the concepts.

Source: The TRACC framework helps organizations build standardized and integrated good practice and performance capacity across their Plan, Source, Make and Deliver functions. Simultaneously it accelerates their collaboration and alignment capacity to build world-class end-to-end value chains, enabling the organization itself to become the ultimate source of sustainable practices.

Top Three Things Employers Look For In Job Candidates

In a recent article, Forbes author Shelcy Joseph interviewed Michael Fraccaro, chief human resources officer at MasterCard. She asked him to share what he looks for in a potential hire. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we’ll share what he had to say.

Skills and culture fit. “We’re looking for people who can demonstrate the skills needed for the job they’re applying for—but, equally, if not more important, are people whose motivation and attitude fit with our culture. Candidates should definitely look into those aspects of the company beforehand. Just as you might check Yelp before trying a new restaurant, research the kind of work environment and culture you’re applying to. You can use resources like Glassdoor, Fishbowl, YouTube and other social sites to get an idea of what a company is like from the inside.”

Personality.“In the interview process, candidates who demonstrate grit, curiosity, optimism, a global mindset and a knack for problem-solving tend to make a positive impression. We also value people who are good at building relationships and have a healthy outlook about work-life balance. Being able to speak simply is also important. We deal in a very technical space, but we need to be able to translate what we do so people of all backgrounds can understand. Sharing stories and giving relatable examples are two good ways to make a complex subject simple and engaging. This shows not only that you know your content, but that you’re also able to help people connect with a topic they may not be familiar with. This is a kind of leadership that people at all levels of an organization can demonstrate.”

Agility. “Remember also that how you get things done is just as important as what you’ve done. Employers today take into account how you operate and make decisions in addition to what you’ve delivered. In this fast-paced, increasingly unpredictable world, we’re sometimes faced with new or never-before-seen circumstances. In those instances, it’s important for a company to be confident in the personal qualities such as integrity, fairness and decency that will guide an employee’s responses in situations that can’t be known in advance. They want to be confident that the choices you’ll make will be in line with the company’s values. Personal principles and intentions matter. Be prepared to reflect those in your responses during an interview.”

Fraccaro’s best advice to job candidates: “Be yourself and ask good, thoughtful questions. At Mastercard, as in probably most places, we want people who will bring their hearts and minds and authentic selves to work.”

Source: Shelcy V. Joseph is a contributor to Forbes. She is also the founder of millennial career website A Millennial’s Guide to Life and event series NYCxClothes & Friends. She loves telling stories that move and inspire people to explore their full potential and live their best life.

How Marketing Can Regain Control

Traditionally, marketing has been associated with the four P’s – price, placement, promotion and product. However, if you were to look at a typical business-to-business marketing organization today, this function is being diluted.

For example, marketing doesn’t typically own the product anymore; that’s the responsibility of product strategy or product development teams. And, in some larger companies, there’s typically an entire team that manages pricing as well.

Another area that has shifted is demand generation. With customer relationship management technology, the customer funnel is now controlled by sales. This new structure could mean more dilution of marketing responsibilities and a one-step-removed approach from revenue-generating activity.

What can B2B marketing leaders do to guard against the watering down of their departments?  We share these steps from Debbie Qaqish, a principal partner and chief strategy officer at The Pedowitz Group.

A New Mindset. Your mindset is the collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your behavior and habits. How do you think about marketing? What do you believe is marketing’s role?

There are two beliefs about marketing that shape today’s successful B2B marketer. First, B2B marketing is a revenue- and growth-driver of the organization. Next, B2B marketing is enabled by technology.

In companies where marketing is a revenue- and growth-driver, marketing isn’t facing dilution. Marketing in these organizations is actually acquiring more responsibilities. This realization is often the most difficult step because not just marketing, but sales, finance and the executive team may have to change as well. In organizations where marketing is diluted, marketing is often viewed as a “pens and mugs” and “activity-based” department. Once the right mindset is established, it can then be supported by the right skill set and the right tool set.

A New Skill Set. More attention is being paid to new technology than training marketers to acquire new skill sets, creating more opportunities for marketing to be diluted.

For example, imagine a large company where the marketing team is not viewed as very technical or analytical. That may have happened because when the marketing ops group was formed, it fell under the IT department. This is often a mistake as marketing ops is not an IT function. Had marketing acquired the right mindset and skill set, it could have owned marketing operations.

A New Tool Set. The concept of marketing automation today is typically not a problem, although some B2B marketers still operate without marketing automation. The issue today is that most marketing teams have too much technology; they don’t know how to optimize the tools they have. Determining what to buy, how to integrate and what to capture becomes a highly technical and analytical role within the company. For this reason, it’s common for marketing to borrow this capability from other parts of the organization — especially around analytics. This is a big mistake. If you want to own all of your potential, you need to have this capability entirely in marketing. Not doing so sets up more potential dilution and eliminates new responsibilities.

The Plus In The Equation. Positively, marketing is now impacting customer engagement. Marketing is beginning to lead the pivot away from product -focused to customer -focused companies by creating optimal customer experiences at every stage of the lifecycle. Customer engagement is an exciting set of new responsibilities for marketing, but marketing teams that are highly diluted will never get the chance to lead and participate. As the role of marketing continues to evolve, marketers must also evolve and become customer-focused change agents, accountable for revenue. As a modern marketer, you must guard against dilution by understanding these changes, challenges and possibilities. Then, take proactive measures to get your mindset, skill set and tool set in alignment.

Source: Debbie Qaqish is principal partner and chief strategy officer of The Pedowitz Group. She manages global client relationships and leads the firm’s thought leadership initiatives. She has been helping B2B companies drive revenue growth for over 35 years.