Old school, new school – we see it all. Luckily we can learn something as we watch others use new tools and tactics to make the same old mistakes.
Trickle down leadership.
Employee relations is about more than getting your company listed as a ‘great place to work’ and the ‘suit-n-tie office types’ vanity mentions in the business paper. Bottom lines are key; ignoring those that get you there – the front line – is a huge mistake. Success starts on the front line, not in the executive lounge.
HR is sometimes thisclose to PR says Leon Noone; your employees often ARE your brand. How will you hire or retain any employees worth a damn if you don’t effectively recruit, motivate and train them?
Lesson: Communications; if you don’t know what your USP or elevator pitch is, you can bet your employees won’t either. Train your employees. Make sure those on the front lines – with customers, vendors, investors, other employees – are empowered to do their jobs, know they have a voice in making positive changes.
Ignore your competition and critics. When ‘no comment’ is rarely an effective communications strategy, you stick your head in the sand. You don’t answer the frickin’ phone because really, there’s nothing anyone likes more than talking to machines. Oy.
One of the biggest customer service mistakes ever – ignore the negative feedback and the opportunities they can bring. Firms charge big money for marketing research. Your naysayers on Yelp and your blog are working for FREE; zap the trolls and can spam for sure but don’t dismiss their constructive criticism.
Lesson: Step up and face the firing squad. Make things right, reshape your story; learn something that can help grow your business. I still think about how well the Red Cross handled a mistweet; they admitted it, apologize, accepted responsibility – sans panic – and moved on; would that more companies would do the same.
Follow the leader.
The other day I was at Lenox Square (Atlanta mall) and I actually shook my head all ‘tsk, tsk’ as I passed by the look-alike Microsoft store. I cannot think of a worst message to send than “if they can do it better, we can follow and do it our own, crappy way.”
It’s quite sad that one of the wealthiest, most successful companies on the planet is copying a company who was once just nipping at their heels. Hell Apple still only has a small (but growing) share of the PC market. They managed to pull ahead by creating new industries – portable music made easy, the mobile-app world made easy – by looking ahead, by driving what consumers will want.
Lesson: One way to beat the competition, stop trying to be them; be you, only better.
So Facebook changed their rules. Again. Some more.
Facebook isn’t betraying your business; you are if you don’t find ways to adapt to those changes, make them work in your favor. Manage the tools, don’t let them manage you.
Someone else found out how to make/sell what you do 1) better 2) faster 3) cheaper and with 4) better service. You can complain about ‘big chain’ this or ‘bad economy’ that when the reality is: the way you’ve always done it ain’t working anymore. You lost.
Lesson: Improvise, adapt, overcome. When was the last time you updated your independent store, made it brighter, cleaner? Offered something the ‘big box’ didn’t? Created a loyalty program? You play the Game of Thrones to win or you die.
Mistakes happen; hopefully, we learn something.
Photo credit: Despair really gets business… and earns mine all the time.