Most of us have grand ideas about the things we need to do to improve our personal, professional, social, financial and spiritual status. Some of us also manage to go one step further and maintain a laundry list of these ideas with a time-bound plan of action for their implementation. But only a miniscule percentage of us actually get down to executing the ideas, and thereby, have a shot at success.
Unfortunately, execution alone does not guarantee success... FLAWLESS EXECUTION is more likely to help us achieve it.
Any wonder then, that success seems so elusive?
The secret to success, therefore, is not great ideas... but great ideas WITH great execution!
As Robin Sharma says, "Ideation without execution is mere delusion".
Just read an incredible interview of Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com.
Jeff's interaction with Steven Levy allows us a peek into the mind of one of the greatest innovators of our times. There are several nuggets of wisdom strewn through the interview. But if i were to pick a single thought as my take-away from the article, then it has to be Amazon's mantra of being "stubborn on vision and flexible on details".
A powerful philosophy, simply told.
Perseverance. This is the key attribute required of a salesperson. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, perseverance is "the continued effort to do or achieve something despite difficulties, failure or opposition".
That's the reason a salesperson is taught never to get tired of knocking doors irrespective of the number of times the doors get slammed on his/her face. The salesperson is also taught never to take a "NO" from a prospect at face value. Just because a prospect has not bought from you on your first sales call doesn't necessarily mean that s/he cannot be converted to a consumer the next time around.
This "perseverence" mantra is drilled so hard into a salesperson's head that it becomes part of his/her DNA. Though meant to be a boon, perseverence can also become a salesperson's bane. This happens when the salesperson refuses to let go of any of his/her prospects in the hope that the prospect will eventually buy at some point of time. Here, the never-say-die spirit actually makes the salesperson lose his/her ability to "qualify" a prospect as a potential buyer.
Therefore, along with perseverance, a good salesperson should also know when to let go. S/he should be able to judge precisely when a prospect needs to be qualified as "dead" and move on without expending any more time.
Choosing your customers carefully and diligently is one of the most critical business decisions you can make. A commercially win-win deal is not the only factor you must consider while choosing a customer. The more important factor is whether the customer can "intellectually engage" with your organisation and help it learn, improve and grow. The value that your organisation will gain from such a customer will most certainly work out to be exponentially higher than the commercial value of the contract with that customer.
A great customer can not only help chart your organisation's path to growth and progress, but also increase the competency levels of your team and motivate them to achieve greater performances. On the other hand, a customer whose only objective is to get the "maximum bang for his buck" can leave your organisation bleeding and your team feeling frustrated and demoralized.
So have the courage to say no. CHOOSE YOUR CUSTOMERS!
How does one feel when a 13-year relationship comes to an end? Especially when one has remained fiercely loyal despite persistent temptations from relentless suitors?
Anger and Betrayal! These are the two emotions I strongly felt…
This was the only brand of phone I had used since I went “mobile” 13 years ago. And not for a fleeting moment in all those faithful years did the Blackberrys and iPhones of the world manage to lure me away from my beloved Nokia.
A few weeks ago I decided to become “smart” like the rest of the world and bought myself a Nokia N-97 Mini. Well, suffice to say that it turned out to be a “dumb” decision! I spent a couple of stressful months with Mini. But thankfully, before the problems could become major, I saw my saviour arrive amidst unprecedented media blitzkrieg. Nokia unleashed its long overdue answer to the iPhone… the N8! I promptly bit the bait. And then cursed my fate.
My “power struggle” with the phone started the moment I switched it on. 11 harrowing days later, it was DEAD!!!
The retailer was kind enough (by Indian standards) to replace the departed instrument with a new piece… 8 days later this was DEAD too!!!
8 days!!! Was the phone living up to it’s name??? I wonder…
Now the retailer started interrogating me like a murder suspect. After all, I had slaughtered two innocent N8s in a matter of 19 days. What was my modus operandi, he wanted to know. And my sinister agenda. He just wouldn’t believe that the phone would get switched off automatically atleast a dozen times a day and then take about 20 minutes before it could be switched on again. Apparently he had sold large numbers of N8s within days of its mega launch and the only two phones that had met their untimely deaths were under my evil custody. The judgment was loud and clear… I was guilty!!!
Before I decided to turn myself in to the cops, I did what the rest of the world does when all else is lost. I turned to the one who knows all… Almighty “G”.
Google, that is!
My prayers were answered in precisely 3 minutes. People of the world, here’s an article and a video that prove my innocence. Nokia N8, indeed has power problems! And I am not talking about it’s power to dominate competition!
From being a die-hard brand advocate to blogging about my disappointment with Nokia, this story once again confirms that consumer patronage cannot be taken for granted. Unlike diamonds, customer loyalty is not forever!
This morning i woke up to the news about TCS planning to recruit 50,000 employees in 2011. The announcement comes close on the heels of similar such predictions by other Indian IT-BPO majors in the past few weeks. Great!!! Things are certainly beginning to look up again for the industry!!!
The IT-BPO sector has brought glory, greenbacks and growth in abundance to the country and its people. Yet, it has also been singularly responsible for bringing one particular species close to extinction... the direct sales person!
Due to their humongous manpower requirements, year after year the IT-BPO companies fight a virtual "recruitment war" on college/universiy campuses to hire freshers. As a result, almost all final semester students in the metros and surrounding tier-2 cities of India have more than one job offer on hand even before graduating!
Unless someone wants to pursue further studies, every student - the brilliant, the above average, the average, the below average - has a job to go to the day after finishing college. On the face of it, the newbie couldn't have asked for anything better - iconic employer, fancy salary, swanky office, gen-y colleagues. It's an extension of college life... only it's more "hip n happening". And one gets paid handsomely as well.
With this kind of a lifestyle being offered on a platter, who would ever want to go out there in the hot sun or pouring rain and knock doors to sell products and services? It is no surprise then that the direct sales person is almost on the verge of extinction... atleast in the IT-BPO hubs of India.
Will the species survive? Only time will tell.
Since August 29th, News of the World has been "stinging" the cricketing world with their revelations on match-fixing. But what is more shocking than the alleged involvement of the Pakistani cricketers in the scandal, is the way in which the Pakistani administration has been handling, or rather mishandling, the whole issue.
The minute the controversy broke out, the Pakistani government jumped into the fray (now don't ask me what a government has to do with cricket!!!) and dealt with it in the only way it knows to deal with all its problems... that is, play ostrich and bury its head deeply in the sand and pretend that the rest of the world is blind. As a result, their statements in defence of their players range from shocking to bizarre to ridiculous to farcical to comical.
To solve any problem, one has to first recognise it. But this is certainly not as easy as it sounds... it takes courageous leadership to do so. Why courageous? Because recognising a problem means, in a way, accepting that one has possibly gone wrong with one's judgement/handling of a situation. Which in turn leaves one susceptible to ridicule and criticism. And it takes a helluva lot of courage to put oneself on the firing line!
Can YOU recognise a problem? Are YOU a courageous leader?
ARE YOU AN OSTRICH?
Last weekend i flew in to Bangalore to catch up with a couple of school buddies. And what better way for us Indians to bond than over a cricket match? And if it is cricket, then it doesn't get bigger than the Indian Premier League (IPL)!
The excitement was palpable as we waded through the sea of humanity and joined the serpentine queue at Gate # 2 of the Chinnaswamy Stadium. A sell-out crowd of 40,000 was expected, so we reached the venue an hour and a half before the 4.00 pm game. The security officer at the gate took one condescending look at our e-ticket and asked us to redeem it for "proper" tickets at Gate # 12! What? We weren't informed about this when we booked the tickets online! And for god's sake, this was Bangalore... the IT Capital of India! If you guys don't recognize an e-ticket, who on earth will???
15 minutes of jostling later, we were at Gate # 12. Thankfully, there were only 9 guys in front of us to redeem their e-tickets. Phew, this wasn't as bad as we had expected! But hey, 45 minutes of baking in the sun later, there were still the same 9 guys in front of us!!! On enquiring, we found out that the counter had run out of tickets... so someone had gone to fetch them! I mean, would you not "know" how many people had booked online and stock tickets accordingly?
And while we were waiting, a bomb exploded barely 100 meters from us. As expected, people ran towards the explosion rather than away from it to get a ringside view of the happening. Neither we nor a single person from our queue budged an inch... it would certainly take more than a mere bomb blast to keep us away from a mouth-watering contest between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians! In any case, we were here to have a BLAST, remember???
Our adventure didn't end outside the stadium. When we finally reached our seats, we found them to be already occupied. We were given to understand that the seat numbers on the tickets were invalid and it was a "free seating" arrangement... so much for paying top dollars (okay, rupees!) for "special" seats.
The match was delayed by an hour because of the blasts. Once the game started, the speakers at the stands took over the job of making our IPL experience even more memorable. We couldn't make out a single word of what the MC was saying... it was sheer cacophony! With the match turning out to be a lopsided affair, the only saving grace was the food served... a great spread of mouth watering delicacies!
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is the richest sports body in the world, and the IPL is the second-highest paid league after the NBA. Yet, the fans who have made the IPL the humongous success that it is, are treated with utter disdain. At this point, the IPL is banking on the fact that they have a fantabulous product in their hands and care a damn about their customers' "purchase experience". And they are raking in the moolah by the billions. But can an organization afford to neglect it's customers and last on the sheer strength of it's product? Only time will tell.
The freebie has always been an important weapon in the arsenal of marketers to entice new customers as well as to retain existing patrons. It is also one of the most potent tools used in building brands. However, it is important to recognize that a freebie can be a double-edged sword.
Recently we received a car-shaped pencil box as a freebie along with a jar of Horlicks bought at the local super market. Needless to say, my “car freak” six-year old son was over the moon! But I was shocked!!! No doubt, the concept of the freebie was brilliant… but the quality of the pencil box was so pathetic, it was actually unbelievable that an iconic brand like Horlicks would want to associate itself with anything so appalling. It looked “cheap”, the plastic edges of the box were really sharp and dangerous for a child to handle… and the wheels came off the second my son nudged it!
While on one hand a well-researched freebie can help enhance brand value and create/cement brand loyalty, on the other hand a poorly selected freebie has the power to dent brand credibility assiduously built over several decades.