Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What is Your Backup Plan?

Recently there was an unusually lengthy power outage in the central business district at Alice Springs (Central Australia). Many businesses, including Australia’s two major super markets had to close their doors. Dozens of businesses later complained that the outage had cost them thousands in lost sales, refrigerated foods wastage and so on.

Lengthy power outages are exceptionally rare at Alice Springs compared with a place I visited in Lagi, Vietnam, where more affluent business owners have installed backup power generation systems to handle the frequent outages.

There is admittedly, a cost-benefit issue that a firm has to consider before spending large amounts on a backup power generation system. However, electricity isn’t the only part of a business that can fail.

The question I ask you today is, what is your backup plan for systems, equipment and procedures within your organisation?

What needs to be done is a risk analysis; identify aspects of your organisation or busines that can fail and what the consequences will be. Then plan to avoid those consequences by developing a contingency plan.

This should be something every business does. Does yours?


Thursday, May 19, 2016

Can You Learn Leadership from TV?

As I watched yet another edition of Navy Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS), the make-believe outfit that catches criminals, prevents jihad attacks, and otherwise protects the free world, all in the name of entertainment, I realised there is something to learn from these shows.

I prefer the version of NCIS that has Hetti managing a small team at Los Angeles. All of the actors complement each other very well and there is a balance of humour, nonsense, and the serious work where everyone manages to walk away from a gunfight while leaving numerous dead crims lying bleeding on pavements. Most of all I enjoy spending a little time with the lovely Kensey and thinking about how lovely it would be to spend a week with her sipping red wine and eating seafood. But I'm wandering, which is permissible when you're an older guy.

Seriously, if you watch these shows, you can pick up examples of both sound and unsound leadership practices.

For example, Hetti, one of the shortest people I have ever seen, demonstrates a rapport with her team that any leader would wish for. She manages to stay firm and run a tight ship while remaining compassionate, empathetic and on top of the job. She has the respect and admiration of everyone on her team. She's also highly experienced and apparently very good at her role.

Being able to lead a team and balance formality and control with friendship and  mutual respect isn't as easy as it sounds. It takes years of trial and error.

By comparison, the gentleman who plays Grissom in Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), is quite often grumpy, up tight, very direct, and often sarcastic to his team members when performance isn't as he expects it. Team members are a tad cautious about him and his occasional rants when he doesn't agree with something a team member has done. While he is a likeable character, he seems (in my opinion) to lack some of the niceties necessary when leading a team.

As actors, the roles being played are dictated to them by their script writers and both Hetti and Grissom do an excellent job. In the real world, you have to write your own script - so to speak and as I said previously, it's trial and error.

If you are a developing leader or aspire to be a leader, you could benefit from watching some of the leaders in the entertainment world. See how they do their jobs, how they treat their staffs, customers, and peers. Compare it with your workplace and what you have learned about leadership and management theory.

Please come back in a few days and leave a comment about your experience.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Why You Need Google's "My Business"

When Madonna and Christian are driving round town and suddenly decide they'll buy a pizza for dinner, one of them (hopefully not the driver) will take out their smart phone and enter something like, "pizza shops West Melbourne" in the search engine field.

Within seconds, a list of pizza outlets within the region will appear. Some will be more detailed than others. The detailed ones will have a carefully completed My Business account from Google.

The Google My Business accounts will have a location map, customer reviews, perhaps some discussion between the owner and customers or some advice from the owner, some photos of the shop, and full details of hours of operation, contact details and more.

The potential caller will click on the number and order a pizza.

You need to accept Google's offer of a free site at My Business because:
  1.  It's free (duh!)
  2. Everyone is now using a smart-phone instead of the Yellow Pages
  3. You can keep in touch with your customers
  4. It's good for advertising your business and placing photos of you, your team, your business premises, or all of those
  5. You can be found across devices, on Google +, Google Maps etc

I know that a lot of things that are free are not necessarily good, however, anything Google provides for free is bound to be very useful. 

My Business replaces Google Places where Google had begun setting up a site for every business it could find during searches. Owners of the sites have to complete the data. My Business is an extension of this.

To get further information, visit Google My Business.