Book Review: Five Key Principles of Corporate Performance Management

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As many of you know, I am constantly in learning mode. I am looking to learn the different perspectives of various items to not only help me, but my clients.

Recently, I finished reading ‘Five Key Principles of Corporate Performance Management’ by Bob Paladino. Mr Paladino is a specialist in helping companies to set up Corporate Performance Management offices (CPM). The CPM is a mechanism which can be used to link your corporate strategy, process improvement, and operations.

The strategic side of the CPM deals with the handling of the strategy map and the balance scorecard. The strategy map, as the name implies, maps out your strategy from the perspective of key operational processes to the higher level executive strategy. The balance scorecard is comprised of a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for each step of the strategy map. Based off the two strategy tools, operational improvement projects are identified to be worked on.

Mr. Paladino takes the reader through a number of case studies of actual work he has done as an employee or consultant. It is much appreciated to see how all of these tools (Strategy Map, Balance Scorecard, Lean, and Six Sigma) are used together to help improve a company.

The concepts delivered from the book are great but the book is hard to read. Not because it is too technical but some examples lack certain pieces of information which will help to put the pictures together. In other portions of the book, there are some concepts which are revisited a number of times which make it hard to read due to boredom.

If you are a lover of strategy or process improvement, there are better books out there for you. If you are interested to learn how the two can be placed together, this might be the only book for you to read.

What is your most favorite business book?

Have an awesome and productive week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.

Kevin is hosting a workshop series known as Entrepreneurial Community Edmonton. The workshops cover different areas of business, including finance, human resources, and collections. You can find more information at http://www.l6sbc.ca/ecyeg.html

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867. You can also follow Kevin on Twitter at @L6SBC or Facebook.com/L6SBC

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Is It Time to Start Now?

Thanks to the BusinessLink for the opportunity to write this blog a few weeks ago. You can find the original posting at:http://businesslink.ca/blog/now-time-start-business

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With the recent developments in the economic landscape, Albertans have experienced significant change. Companies have seen a decrease in sales and are right sizing their operations to be affordable, but yet meet the current demand. More than 70,000 Albertans have been affected by company restructuring and they are looking for their next opportunity.

In many cases, the next opportunity may lie in starting up their own business. But is it the right time? Everyone is cutting back.

A number of strong and vibrant companies started during an economic downturn. Microsoft, FedEx, Hyatt Hotels, and Smashburger are a part of a long list of companies that started during an economic downturn. Here are 5 suggestions on how you can make your startup a success.

Lean and Mean: Seeing that ‘times are tough’, your first priority should be to run your business within a strong and realistic budget. That skill will become valuable in the future.

Innovate: Are you stuck in a pattern of running your business the way you always have? This is the time to re-examine your strategies and processes.

Marketing: For many companies, their first reaction to a slowdown in sales is to cut their marketing budget. Look at this as an opportunity to get your message in front of your target market with less noise from the competition.

Relationships: Spend more time with your current clients and target market. Get to know them on a deeper level. Find out what their pinch points are and reverse engineer them.

Improvement: Listen to your customers and use that knowledge to improve your offerings. Maybe use that information to create a new product line or service offering?

Be realistic! Start a new product line because it is within your budget and it solves a problem for your target market. You have limited resources. Remember when you develop a new product or offering, you are taking resources away from your core product.

An economic downturn is a fruitful time to start up a new venture. This was my perspective when I started my business in the last recession of 2008-09. This is your opportunity to be open to new ways of thinking, and build on what you have.

Have an awesome week.

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (L6SBc.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller & CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.

Kevin is hosting Entrepreneurial Community Edmonton, a series of workshops with the goal of helping business owners/managers with their company. For more information, please visit L6SBC.ca/ecyeg.

For help with your business, contact Kevin at kevin@L6SBC.ca or 780-868-1867. You can also follow Kevin on Twitter at @L6SBC or Facebook.com/L6SBC

Defining Remarkable Customer Service

Mike Mack Blog

Defining Remarkable Customer Service

For the October mixer, SEBA members had the opportunity to network with fellow members at the Derrick Golf and Country Club, but also the opportunity to improve their customer service.

During uncertain economic times, it is a common notion that sales and marketing budgets are slashed. There are some smart companies that have kept their sales and marketing budgets constant knowing that this is an opportunity to take away market share from competitors. How is this being done? They are looking at their level of customer service and improving it.

For a number of years now, the November Mixer was the Mike Mack of X5 Management event. Mike led a group of local entrepreneurs through an interactive one hour conversation where Mike challenged the group on how well they actually know their level of customer service.

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Firstly, Mike asked the group what is remarkable service? To paraphrase the group:

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Next, the group was asked to take a step back and look at their own customer service. Don’t look at it from a manager’s point of view, but from the viewpoint of your customer. Every person in the organization has an impact on customer service in their firm, no matter its size.

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Next, we looked at defining the moments of truth for our companies.

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As we progressed, we looked at the lifetime costs of a customer. Mike provided a process on how each company can make this calculation.

The conversation evolved to what customers are looking for in customer service. In general, they can be broken down into 6 categories: reliability, responsiveness, speed, competence, value, and friendliness. A tool was shared to help rank our companies along with possibilities to improve each area.

In the end, customer service boils down to creating, delivering, and demonstrating value to your customer.

At the conclusion of the group conversation, our mixer continued where participants were bouncing ideas off each other on how they can improve their own customer service. A number of participants, including myself, mentioned that they now have ‘homework’, with the final intent of serving their customers better.

Along with making and strengthening relationships during the mixer, customer service was improving for SEBA members.

I hope to see you at the next SEBA mixer in November.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is the Social Media Chair for the South Edmonton Business Association (SEBA). Kevin works for himself as a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.

 

This Is How We Do It!

This is how we do it

Social media, like Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, are great tools to connect with other people, learn new perspectives, and develop a sense a community. Granted, social media does not create a sense of community like a neighborhood BBQ with friends and family.

As with anything else, there is a dark side to social media which needs to be monitored and managed. Social media is a very common means to give ‘feedback’ to organizations on their lack of performance, based on the perspective of the consumer.

Venting in person to someone in regards to the person’s or their company’s performance still occurs in our society. These pieces of feedback are possible gems which can help anyone in improving their offering.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a concert at the Winspear Centre where the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra played various hits by Pink Floyd with help from a tribute band.

I will admit, the first half of the concert was very disappointing. You were not able to understand the words that were sung. The band and the orchestra seemed to be competing against each other with the drum set constantly winning over all over instruments. During intermission, a friend and I noted that it seemed that the show was off and not impressive.

As a lover of social media, I sent out the below tweet to the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra:
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After the intermission was completed, we returned to our seats wondering what the rest of the concert was going to be like. To our pleasure, we could crisply here the voices of the singers to the point we could identify each single person. No instrument was prevalent to the others and it turned into one of the better concerts I have seen.

The next morning, I received a tweet back from the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra:

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To use a saying that has been repeated many times: that is the power of social media. If social media was not around, it is possible that the sound issues would not of been resolved which would have created a bad listening experience for myself and my friends.

With the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra responding to an online inquiry, not only did they make a spectator’s experience more enjoyable, they made a fan of their organization even more engaged.

What social media successes have you been a part of? What about failures? I would love to hear.

Have a great week!

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma.

Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.

The #YEG Spirit

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Every province in Canada has its own nuance that makes it special. The people that make up the cities and villages of Alberta have a certain spirit which allows them to get through the wild and turbulent rollercoaster ride of an oil based economy.

The Edmonton spirit is also very unique in its own right, especially among the entrepreneurs of the city. Yes, entrepreneurs of Edmonton are not scared of competing on a daily basis, but they also have self-assurance about themselves, their product and service, and their place in the local economy that they are willing to collaborate on a continuing basis.

In a number of circumstances, I have referred potential clients to another organization due to a better fit or knowledge base of the competitor. Recently, another business coach referred me to someone that was looking for aid in the manufacturing industry.

CapitalIdeas, organized by the Edmonton Journal along with the sponsorship of ATB Financial, has helped to foster an environment where entrepreneurs of Edmonton learn from other entrepreneurs. Networking events are frequented by businesses that compete against

each other every day, yet it is not uncommon to see them at CapitalIdeas bouncing ideas off each other and helping one another.

Competition is a fundamental part of our economic system. Without it, improvement would slow down and the consumer, in the end, would not be best serviced. With the collaboration which happens between entrepreneurs in Edmonton, the end user of the product or service will most likely get the best fit and service that they require.

How would you consider the entrepreneurial environment where you are? Do you have the support system of fellow entrepreneurs around you? I would love to know. We can all support each other while improving our businesses and serving our customers needs.

Have an awesome week.

Kevin

Kevin MacDonald is a Business Consultant at L6S Business Consulting Inc (www.L6SBC.ca). L6S offers services in management consulting, Controller and CFO contracting, and lean management with either project work or teaching/mentoring of staff. Kevin has his CMA

accounting designation along with a Black Belt in Lean Six Sigma. Kevin is active in the community by volunteering for different groups and donates platelets at the Canadian Blood Services clinic on a bi-weekly basis.

L6S Business Consulting will also be holding 3 sessions in regards to better understanding and using social media (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn). For more information, please email: info@L6SBC.ca

Photo Credit: http://www.edmontonhomepros.ca/local-info

People within Corporate Sustainability – Part 2 of 4

Employees are an integral part of any company, as are customers.

As with any strategy, customers are a large focus. How your company interacts with your customers will define your success and ability to grow. How does your firm currently interact with your customers? During the purchasing/sales process only? For the collection of payment? How often does your company communicate with your customers on a post-purchase basis?

Your customers are your greatest learning tool to get unbiased information about your company. Opportunities for improving current products or for developing new products can come directly from your interaction with your customer.

Depending on the scale of your business, your sales associates can complete a survey with customers to get feedback on the company’s and product’s performance. For larger scale firms, surveys are typically sent via email for customers to fill out as they wish.

The information received from these surveys would allow the company to better judge their own capabilities, customer demands, and find future market trends.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which can be used to reflect your customers’ viewpoint of the company would include:

1. How likely are your customers going to refer the company or product to a friend or family? (word of mouth advertising is the most economically sustainable marketing strategy).

2. What proportion of your customer have returned to make a purchase?

3. How many customer complaints have you received during the period?

Feedback from your customer can communicate to management different issues that are currently found in your company. These issues will not be limited to the sales function either. When looking at the data, you may find issues with your hiring or training practices for certain departments, failure of the Quality Assurance department on testing the final product, or lack of customer centered focus throughout the company.

Next week, I will be looking at suppliers and investors.

Kevin