The European Super League and selective deafness

Writing this as the short-lived idea of a European Super Football league comes crashing down. There couldn’t be a clearer example of a strategy and objective created internally. Without thinking of stakeholders. Without understanding customer needs. Without consulting. And perhaps most dramatically, without asking or clearly recognising what fans/customers/the market VALUES in what you do. There was such a gulf between what the architects of this idea focused on and what their most loyal supporters wanted. It’s a salutary lesson for any business in developing its aims or strategy without listening and taking on board feedback from its customers and major stakeholders. Internally driven strategy without being sense-checked? Very expensive mistake. Listen to your...

What’s important to your clients has probably changed

A couple of weeks ago our car – probably like many others in the last few weeks – had a flat battery. The thing about modern cars is it’s a lot more complicated than it used to be, you can’t just stick jump leads on any more. In the end it necessitated two different people from two different organisations coming out. I’ve no idea which one was more technically adept, as I struggle to tell the difference between a spark plug and an exhaust pipe. But one guy coughed into open air, and kept rubbing this nose, and was pretty blasé about social distancing. The other had gloves, had clearly sanitised stuff, was respectful of distance, and had clearly thought how to communicate and show me how to do stuff, again at a distance. Who do you think I’d use again? It’s a blunt example, but enabling customers to feel safe and secure in dealing with you is going to be a big deal for a...

How can you help your staff retain their clients?

I’m not going to say “this is a challenging time”. There’s no need to replay all that. You already know. What’s more important is that some of the unknowns may derail your competitive ability to retain work and clients over the next few months. I’ve written about this at more length elsewhere (see here) But some of the key bits are ensuring that not only do you know what your clients want, but you understand how emotionally capable staff – and their line managers – are to deliver it. That requires finding out, in a sensitive, and risk-free way. You can’t be resilient if you don’t know what you need to do to create that...

Capabilities and market gaps

It feels right to talk about something more “normal” for the moment. We did an interesting project a few months ago for a firm which was keen to understand the truth about how its capability was perceived vs. competitors, and indeed if it could successfully differentiate itself. From speaking to their clients and key opinion formers across their high priority sectors, it was clear that the activities of their competitors had created a gap. The firm in question just needed to more clearly communicate its capability and ensure that its “brand” resonated more clearly, though key people confidently delivering all the elements of a trusted advisor. They now have a clear map and focus to do this, and I’m sure they will...

Flexibility in times of uncertainty

Thriving recently undertook a thought leadership programme for a major law firm. We found that some of the characteristics of the successful in-house legal team of the future included flexibility, clear goals, leadership and values, effective stakeholder and board management – and the ability to respond rapidly to the unexpected. That seems even more significant now. Contact me if you’d like to chat about thought...

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