Monday, 13 May 2013

Career Success - Do More Than The Minimum

Success equals always making the effort to do more than the minimum! 

For relaxation and for a little fun I play a game called Empire Avenue. As a trainer I am well acquainted with games as a learning tool. The thing about games is they not only show your abilities they highlight your character.

As part of the Empire Avenue game you can issue missions that for a small fee will intice other players to do things for you. For example if you have done a blog post you can ask other players to tweet about it for a reward of some virtual EAve. currency.

Now when you issue missions you can see the real people pop up. For example: you have what players call "mission cheats". These are the grubby characters that take the money then do not do the mission. These people usually get caught and are banned by individual players or the site itself if they are repeat offenders.

The ones that I want to talk about are those that do the mission, however in the process show themselves to be selfish and self centred (not a formula for social media or even life success) and those that are generous of spirit who do more than what is asked of them.

In the game I sometimes offer missions to get some of my shares (its a stock market type game) for free. As an example I recently offered 50,000e (e=eaves the vital currency) to buy my shares. Now lets say to buy exactly the amount that the 50000e covers you can buy 116 just under at 49750e or 117 at 50250e or say a round number of perhaps 120 shares at 51,750e. 

So what happens: 

Some buy 116 and look stingy!
Some buy 117 to do just enough and look just adequate.
Some Buy 120 and that's great just because they round up and put some of their own 'money' in.
and Some by 200 and thank you for the subsidy.

It's a bit like work… you can improve your chances of being respected and successful in your position (and career) by being a 200 buyer. 

At work always do that bit extra… particularly for your external customers.

Worth thinking about? orglearn Richard Townsend

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Communication Excellence - 5 Quick Tips

Communication Tips

• How clear is the meaning of your message? Do you adequately explain the thinking behind what you are saying. A good start is… "I want to discuss xyz because…. etc. Let your motive be known very early on.

• How clear is your delivered message. Are the words you are using appropriate to the listener? Being clear to them requires simplicity and using words appropriate to the other party.

• What’s the attitude you are conveying and is it appropriate for the listener. Tone pitch and pace can convey as much as the words you are speaking, in fact often convey more than the mere words.

• Is your body language and gestures in in line with your words and your delivery? Make sure your stance and gestures show a relaxed, confident style. Be open in your stance and look at the other person in the appropriate manner.

• How succinct is your message? One of the most common complaints I hear is that many people waffle on or go round in circles rather than getting to the point. Short sweet and well considered sentences and words are best.

Richard Townsend


Thursday, 10 January 2013

Breaking the Money and Motivation Link

Motivation of the most important lessons you can learn!

Richard Townsend - orglearn - Management tips, free blank resume form, fill in the blank resume sections online.
What managers need to do & the issues to consider in the soft skills area of their role. Articles on behavior, motivation, selling, competence, teamwork, EQi & leadership. Blank resume form with positive examples, handy self-analysis to evaluate the commercial realities of what you have to offer employers.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Service - Australia Post and Going That Bit Extra

Post Mistresses (or is it now post persons), Packages and Elderly Moments

I live in a smallish village called Montville which is in Queensland. Our post mistress Susan gives me the impression that she has an extreme dislike for those that don't always strictly follow procedures. I must say that I have (I think) always a had a pleasant relationship and dealings with our post person.

Some time ago a couple of neighbours advised me that they had mail that was not delivered as their residential address was shown on the mail they were sent (which does not have a delivery service), rather than their post office box.

Recently I bought an item and being aware of the rules asked the shipper how it was to be sent… "door to door" was the reply, "by courier". When I received the shipping confirmation I noticed it was an Australia Post courier. I immediately went to see Susan to explain the problem, apologise that it was going to be incorrectly addressed and asked her to do me a favour and hold it anyway. After a lecture (not a customer talk) all seemed settled. 

Sure enough it arrived and when I picked it up it a had a big note about about how I must use the PO Box. (see pic). I commented on the need for the note, considering our previous discussion and was given a short lecture about being "trained to do it correctly". Then, in an attempt to bring some humour into the awkward moment my retort was… 'if she wanted to tell me everything six times we would need to be married'. No smile was forthcoming.

Vets, Returned Mail and Dogs 

Sure enough I get a call today from my vet saying their mail was being returned… it's time for my dogs' annual needles. They didn't have my PO Box address as I wasn't expecting any mail from them and in case they had to physically find me for an emergency.

Now I understand the need for rules however I sadly miss the days when the attitude was "I know who this is and I'll make sure they get their important letter". Susan's attitude in this case was, from my perspective, 'its all just about me' and 'I have the power to disrupt so I will'.

Funny enough recently my Rotary Club gave her an award for service… perhaps a mistake… I wonder why she didn't want to accept it at our public presentation.

I guess even poor service is better than no service at all however, the postal service's vision is "Australia Post is committed to providing high-quality mail and parcel services to all Australians. Our enthusiastic, professional people will build a progressive commercial corporation through a commitment to high levels of customer satisfaction." Maybe I should print it frame it and give it to her to hang on the post office wall. No maybe not.

As lesson in customer service and why monopolies are a curse from

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Why Businesses Fail - Sales

Poor sales performance is a major contributor to the demise of many. Obvious on the surface however, what’s the problem? Changes in the market place, technological advances, disruption of key relationships, over dependence on one customer or key product and poor sales planning are all major contributors to failure.

Two critical planning issues are, quantity and quality.

QUANTITY - The almost sickening pace of ever-changing market conditions means annual sales plans (and budgets) are a thing of the past. In the current environment ‘living’ (continuous) plans, or at least quarterly targeting are needed. How quickly do motor vehicle models change, telephone systems evolve and computers become outdated? How quickly does a fickle customer base move to a new brand or make a substitute buying decision? Mechanisms for adjusting to an ever-changing reality are a must.

QUALITY - When the sales plan is done who is involved? It should be the entire executive team supported by all the sales staff and any outside consultants that contribute to the sales and marketing efforts. Advertising agents, marketing and PR consultants and yes even the financial advisors, economists and political scientists. All departments must get on board with the concept that ‘the sales department is not the whole company, however the whole company had better be the sales department’ and that...


Changes in the market place… 

Hotels can provide a great example of market place myopia and a reluctance to walk away from a traditional perspective. To start with, say we decide to focus on catering to the government sector which through budget constraints suddenly decides meetings, conferences and expensive ‘private room dinners’ are out. How about if we rely on the Japanese tour markets and the economy collapses and oops no customers and a lot of highly paid Japanese speaking staff who are doing little more than eating up the payroll. What if we set ourselves up as a five star super deluxe property that caters to high-end corporate customers and September 11 event occurs and everyone starts teleconferencing? The problem is that while, say the government sector is flourishing; often too little attention is placed on developing other markets. Constant repositioning and adjustment to capture market opportunities and close monitoring of market trends is a must to survive in today’s volatility. 

If we are going to cater for an ever-changing future we need to constantly train to meet that future. 

Many organisations (including hotels) don’t seem to invest enough in modern business methods and particularly in modern selling and lots of sales staff still do boring ‘presentations’. Example: I remember a tourism publication that stated that Thailand (a great holiday destination) is going to loose major market share because it can’t find trained managers to run its tourism related businesses. I mean the entire country may well suffer because a few key industry operators are too short sighted to invest in the ‘soft skills’ needed for the future. Thailand’s woes were exacerbate then of course by the political turmoil that racked the country for some years.

Corporate culture and fine traditions are great however…


A big danger that I have seen overlooked time and time again is … too much business from one customer. For hotels (as an example) this seems to be the problem of constantly struggling with big time ‘introducers’ whose buying power is so great they are able to command the market at minimal profit whilst reserving large percentages of a hotels inventory. I think perhaps the evolution of the modern independent traveller using direct ordering through the Internet may in time put paid to this lot. Hotel groups selling across the 3, 4, 5 star and super deluxe properties might give us all a clue on how we all need to think. Capturing different market segments and reducing our reliance on one or two major introducers should be a commandment. (I can never understand why more hoteliers don’t design individual properties that cater for a broader spectrum of customers, perhaps along the line of some cruise ships).

Sound business practice also means sales people must think ‘big picture’ and to make sure they/we are acting as a ‘company team’ and that we are putting the organisation’s overall results ahead of our own ‘small area’ priorities. A friend in the event management business recently told me that he had two hotels in the same group arguing over his business and cutting each others prices and he was both amused and perplexed by this situation. He had decided that in future he was going to use another chain as although he had made a short term gain, the hotels sales team’s behaviour made him nervous and question their professionalism and he felt uneasy about accommodating his customers in either hotel. Were the sales operators of these organisations acting as a team and looking at the big picture… maybe not and what damage was done to the long-term result for the organisation and its prospect for future sales?


Poor sales and marketing and the role of intelligence…

Company difficulties can also arise from insufficient understanding of the competition and not knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses in relation to those of our business rivals and in relation to a changing market. This lack of knowledge and understanding will inevitably lead to us forfeiting opportunities. How much competitor analysis is undertaken by those businesses that fail? I suggest little or none. (Do we do competitor analysis and market trend analysis on a regular basis… no huh)? Managers need to carefully look at the total market for new business opportunities rather than just trying to do the same old same old at 110%. 

We must avoid becoming blinded by our own perspective (or lack of perspective) on the market or of becoming too immersed in operational details that can cause us to lose sight of how the overall operation is progressing. Lets face they guy on TV who sometime back said ‘Germany will never again be a leading economy if it insists on continuing to make manufactured products that no one wants to buy’, was right. The best production in the world won’t save us from the bloody-minded attitude that “this is what we do and we don’t want to change”. 

On a more light hearted note, maybe we also need to look at the ratio of sales staff to administration and production and perhaps sack two accountants, four engineers, fifty percent of the HR department and anyone we are carrying on the payroll out of some perverse sense of loyalty. Then spend the money we save… to hire, train, encourage, cajole, push or even glorify the sales team. That’s where to money is… with their ‘best mates’… “THE CUSTOMERS”



If your company is not constantly reinventing itself can I suggest your need to move to an organisation that is. The big question we all need to ask… Is my organisation moving with the times, does management have a sound vision of its future and is the vision appropriate for where the world appears to be heading?

More on business on orglearn

Thursday, 27 September 2012

How To Build Trust in Organizations with Peers Colleagues and Bosses

In your communications be specific and direct. Don’t avoid the “elephant in the room”, bring issues it to the fore early and often. If problems are occurring or others are not performing as you wish let them know with tact and in private. Use a calm and logical approach to your communication and avoid abruptness.

Share credit with those that assisted in wins you have had, even go to the point of slightly overstating their contribution or as someone said “when in doubt, share”.

Resolve issues or solve problems through direct communication at with person causing the difficulty, don’t bring in the boss or others. One to one is best.

If you are doubtful about your role in a project or proposed work related activity, tell other stakeholders of your concerns upfront. If other duties and work issues overtake you when engaged on an ongoing commitment, advise of the difficulties you are having, or going to have as soon as you believe problems will occur.

Spend non-work time networking with your colleagues, don’t just wander off alone during breaks and always be involved in any volunteer activities your organisation sees as worthwhile.

Don’t ask loaded or rhetorical questions, ask only “non-assumptive” questions with couching them in any “spin” or as a way to push some secret agenda.

Make only promises you can keep and if events overtake you admit it don’t avoid the issues.

If your organization has a formal lines of authority responsible for particular tasks or to resolve issues don’t step outside the existing system and practice full disclosure of facts and potentially useful information.

Admit to your mistakes and never rope others into your problems, don’t try to share the blame by pushing your real difficulties onto, or by finding fault in others. NEVER discuss (read gossip) about another employee or department particularly if they are having difficulties… NEVER gloat or demonstrate that you are enjoying the demise of others.

Be on time, make decisions, don’t procrastinate and show the strength of your self-belief and character by being willing to be wrong and live with the consequences. 

Don’t scoff at another’s opinions or efforts and add support to those in difficulty. Always look at the positive intent of risky approaches to new ways of doing things and if asked honest opinions or advice with support for the fact that others are willing to try a new approach.

Have enough self-control (and demonstrate it) to overcome immediate or short-term feelings in the interests of maintaining ongoing and long term associations.

Public communication and behaviour are a small tip of a very large personal iceberg of values and belief, be willing to question your belief system and grow as a person. Don’t dogmatically stick to what you were indoctrinated with as a youngster, be will to change your perspective.


The following is a list of words that others need to be using when they describe you if you are to gain and maintain their trust; 

committed, confident, fearless, communicative, predictable, reliable, correct, forgiving, clear, factual, unbiased, respectful, reasonable, confidential, contributing, even, defining, accountable, interested, calm, resolute, tactful, sincere, frank, listener, patient, answering, sharing, fair, timely, honest, decisive, neutral, competent, consistent, explicit, responsible, transparent, close (near), willing, collaborative, accurate, graceful, helpful

A final thought on trust… always seek win/win solutions. Understanding the elements of trust and being able to sincerely build trust is essential for effective leadership. Trust me!?

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Sales and Marketing Are Different


Sales is about face to face personal contact with new and existing customers to present the buying proposition. 

Sales implements strategies for overcoming resistance to your product or service and provides feedback to marketing and operations. Critical functions are networking and building long term relationships. Sales is primarily about closing the deal and completing the paperwork. The personal attributes of a sales professional are quite different to that of a marketing professional. Successful sales people must be great with human relationships, have strong personalities, high levels of emotion and drive and be highly motivated and able to handle getting a "no". Sales people need to be mentally tough.


Marketing is responsible for defining the target market preparing and analysing statistics to define potential and is responsible qualifying prospects. 

While marketing concentrates on who to call on sales concentrates on executing the call. Marketing also looks at customer touch points and develops strategies to improve the customer experience. Marketing is about arming sales reps with the collateral, web presence and promotional programs needed to make a compelling case for doing business with you.
Marketing is about by researching and reviewing customer wants and needs, along with analysing sales successes and failures in order to reshape product/service offering to meet customer demands. Marketing assists in developing meaningful loyalty programs, reviewing customer experiences and crafting entirely new product and service offerings.

A typical marketer will be able to sit and do analysis for long periods of time and be able to test sales activity and  suggestions against statistical evidence to assess risks and/or opportunities. Personally traits of marketing professionals differ dramatically from that of sales professionals. 


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Functional or Chronological Resume, Which is Best?

I recently read an article that advocated having a functional resume rather than the  traditional chronological resume. The reasons given were particularly in relation to  those that are "in a career transition", have employment gaps or suffer from "little experience". The points were well made and the arguments presented were, from my point of view, quite sound. What really got my attention was the large numbers of comments that disagreed with the writers suggestion.

Typical of the comments were: "…recruiters dislike functional resumes and you need to get through the recruiter's screen first. I strongly recommend a chronological resume…" and "… I'd be really careful about this. Most hiring managers hate functional resumes, because they immediately make us wondering what the person is trying to hide; they look shady."

I decided to conduct a resume preference survey and my findings are below. I will admit the samples are small however no less than the number of commenters on the original blog post.

Now I'm not sure whether this adds to the difficulty of choosing which style is best however it is worth further discussion and perhaps yip need to send of both formats if you are unable to "suss out" which style is preferred by the recruiter you are approaching.

I would like some comments and the style I prefer is here: resume example.