Blog

Inaccord launches to help organisations improve business results through increased customer engagement

 Read more

Aligned for Success

 Read more

Who will be the Winners and Losers in Customer Engagement– the Banks’ Perspective

 Read more

RDR – What will it mean for customers?

 Read more

What business needs to learn from the Billy Ray Harris Story

You may have heard the interview on the radio this morning with Sam Laidlaw, Chief Executive of Centrica, in which he defends the 11% increase in profits in the residential arm of British Gas.  If not, and you want to listen to it, it’s here.  The criticism levelled at Centrica, in this interview and more broadly in the press today, is that this level of profits illustrates that the 6% rise in prices to UK customers during the last year was unnecessary, and unfair given the squeeze in disposable income than many people are experiencing.

Mr Laidlaw defends the increase and explains why increased profits are important.  During the interview he refers to (admittedly in a slightly different context) it being about a balance and whether you or I agree with his explanations and believe that the balance is right, it’s clear that many are questionning it directly as a result of the size of the increase. Read more

Valentines Day – How your people can genuinely love your customers

It’s St. Valentines day, so a blog about love almost seemed obligatory.

There are various theories on the origins of Valentine’s Day, but the most popular goes back to the time of the Roman Empire when in 270AD the emperor Claudius II didn’t want soldiers to marry because he believed single men made better warriors.  Bishop Valentine went against his orders and performed secret marriage ceremonies.  When Claudius found out Valentine was first jailed and then executed for his disobedience.  Prior to his execution of February 14th he wrote a love note to the jailor’s daughter, signing it “From your Valentine”. Read more

Why building organisational culture is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle

My youngest daughter enjoys doing jigsaws and doing them has become one of her preferred activities on cold, wet winter afternoons.  And very often when she decides that’s what she going to do it becomes an activity for the whole family to gather round and do.  It was easy of course when she was young when there were just a few big pieces.  But now we’ve moved on to bigger, more complex ones with lots of pieces and subtle changes in colour it’s much, much more difficult.

As we prepared for our latest challenge last Sunday afternoon I was thinking that building jigsaws and building organisational culture have lots of similarities. Read more

The organisational culture jigsaw (Part 2) – do you head towards the east coast of the US or the Boston Light at the entrance to Boston harbour?

In my last blog (here) I wrote about how leaders must overcome siloed, parochial thinking in order to build a strong and productive organisational culture.  And I stated my view that it’s the role and responsibility of culture practitioners in organisations to help them do that.  The culture that organisations seek to achieve should be driven by  requirements from the business that culture needs to help deliver.  Each requirement can be seen as a piece in a jigsaw and all of the individual pieces combine to form the whole picture.

I said that in this post I’d focus on the key to actually making the jigsaw by fitting the pieces together.  However, I think it perhaps makes more sense to write first about the picture the pieces make when they are fitted together. Read more

How a culture practitioner starts fitting the pieces of the culture jigsaw together

“What we need is to develop a risk culture.”
“We’re focused on creating a sales culture.”
“Our priority is safety.  It’s all about a safety culture.”
“It’s important that we have a culture of innovation.”
“We’re going to create a truly customer focused culture, where the customer always comes first.”
“We’ll address under-performance by developing a performance management culture.”
“We’ll ensure a culture of cost consciousness.”

I hear statements like these all the time!  

Typically they are statements made by people seeking to raise the priority of their function in a business so that achieving their objectives becomes easier.  Unfortunately they’re parochial and position the requirements of their function in competition with the requirements of other functions.  And sadly, they illustrate a fundamental lack of understanding about what culture is.

This is a big problem because shaping culture becomes extraordinarily difficult when leaders, who play a key role in changing culture see only part of the picture. Read more

What we could all learn about customer experience from the mountain men

Last Saturday we celebrated my daughter’s tenth birthday by having a party for her at Wolf Mountain in Wolverhampton.  For the uninitiated, the folk at Wolf Mountain describe it as an ‘indoor climbing and caving centre’ although they seem to offer far more activities, both indoors and outdoors, than that.  This might seem like an unusual party venue for young girls – but my daughter is quite adventurous and likes to try new and different activities.

The party was a big success.  The girls climbed a variety of climbing walls – and loved the guide from the centre who was there to support them and look after their safety.  After completing their climbing they moved on to archery and once again enjoyed the relationship with their guide who kept them safe, helped them to hit the target (surprisingly regularly actually) and did it in a way that meant they had a constant smile on their faces. Read more