“Cloning” is an opportunity | “My client” is an issue | What are the solutions?
There are two BIG ‘how to’ questions that regularly emerge during my discussions with consultants and professional advisors:
1. How do I “clone” myself … so that my successful enterprise can practically grow without me
2. How do I cure my colleagues of the “my client” syndrome … because it’s impeding our overall growth.
Clearly question #1 is an opportunity to be realised, whereas question #2 is an issue to be resolved. I’ve mulled over these questions since my last news-mail in April, and here are my answers.
A quick look into the thesaurus (one of my favourite books!) shows duplicating / copying / replicating / emulating as the synonyms. And these force me to conclude that we tend to use “cloning” as a colloquial verb … because we would not want the sameness that it implies … would we?
What we really want is a ‘Modus Operandi’ – a method of operation, which everyone can deploy with their own little tailoring touches that reflect our individuality in how to operate and apply the method.
So what are the key enablers of the “MO” as it’s more commonly referred to? There are four, in this ranked order:
1. Purpose + Mission + Core Values
2. Code of conduct
3. Quality ethic
4. Work standards.
#1 Purpose + Mission + Core Values
I see these as the keystone, that specially shaped and centrally placed brick which enables the brickwork arch to function. Many enterprises lack this first MO-enabler, which is simply defined as:
- Purpose – the aspirations of the highest possible outcomes that will be produced by the enterprise
- Mission – a definition of what the enterprise is here to do
- Core Values – the deeply ingrained principles that guide all of the enterprise’s actions.
#2 Code of conduct
The set of conventional principles and expectations that bind together the members of the enterprise. I often liken this MO-enabler to a ‘badge of honour’, which can be proudly worn.
#3 Quality ethic
In my book, poor quality is unethical … hence this MO-enabler.
#4 Work standards
I am referring here as to how work activities, ideally with minimal wasteful activities, are carried out, as well as the intensity to which they are carried out. I calibrate intensity on a high : medium : low scale, and my ideal intensity is towards high – but, you will need to calibrate accordingly.
With the Modus Operandi in place you can build that sense of belonging … a community … the tribe … by adopting this mantra – communicate, implement, iterate – to realise the cloning opportunity.
Colleagues putting their arms around clients, and effectively ring-fencing them, is a problem which is a lot bigger than most of us realise. I have seen it and heard about it many times, and I’ve got a fix. But it’s a tough fix … some colleagues won’t like it … however it works. My best case study resulted in a 6% revenue improvement and 20% profit improvement over a 15 month period. And that would have been sustained if the client hadn’t been sold!
The first part of the fix is to be very clear that a ring-fencing behaviour will not be tolerated under any circumstances. And if there’s a Modus Operandi in place then it’s a lot easier to communicate the desired behaviour in an equitable way. Without an MO, then you must add it to your single-page list of non-negotiable mandated behaviours, ie if you wish to keep working around here, no matter who you are, then this how you will do things. I know that some of you will cringe when you read this … so use this approach as a last resort.
The second part of the fix is to implement your Customer Relationship Management (CRM), including Opportunity Management, system. However I now hear you say … I’ve already done that … but many of you have not fully implemented your CRM system. And full implementation includes ‘policing’ it on a very regular basis, either daily or twice a week (Tuesday and Friday). The other key inclusion is that every opportunity is recorded, from the first ‘sniff’ … no exceptions.
Now for this to work, the Opportunity Management process will need to be quite simple, and I have seen some stage-gated processes which literally prevent an opportunity progressing. Of course there’s a minimum of five stages in the process; potential opportunity, opportunity identified, approach defined, proposal submitted, sold or not sold – with the associated recording of likely win percentages and fees, which rise and fall as the opportunity moves through. And you must have robust qualification to proceed from one stage to the next. But this is all … nothing complex, otherwise it becomes self-defeating and opportunities only appear after the proposal has hit the client’s inbox … we cannot deny that we have never seen this … can we?
This is how my clients resolve the “my client” problem, and it works.
I am pleased to report that I have just signed Client #70 – thank you Geoff, based in Melbourne
Happy to further expand upon these topics, or any of these Reference Stories.
I hope that I have answered your BIG ‘how to’ questions.