By: Kathy Kent Toney, CEO & Founder of Kent Business Solutions
Many companies are jumping on the digital transformation bandwagon for good reasons. Those who delay doing so face the distinct possibility of being left behind. Here are some eye-opening statistics that prove this point:
With this in mind, companies that don’t embrace DX efforts can experience the following consequences:
1. Inability to Meet Customer Expectations
Here’s a perfect example of how not embracing DX can lead to disaster:
Years ago, many of us were more than willing to hop in the car to grab a movie at Blockbuster, bring it home, and settle into our favorite armchairs to watch it. Now with a few clicks of a remote, we can watch a Netflix movie from the comfort of our homes.
Discerning companies, like Netflix, see the writing on the wall and change with the times. Blockbuster didn’t do this—they refused to go more digital, which led to their demise.
2. Higher Costs Associated with Manual, Inefficient Business Processes
Many employees manually fill out forms or use Excel spreadsheets to complete their work. Some of these tasks can be so repetitive that they are mind-numbing. Both scenarios can be time consuming.
With automated systems, employees can fill out forms that parse out correct information and tasks to other people next in the work queue. That way, people will know what they're supposed to be doing when they're supposed to be doing it. Furthermore, systems with artificial intelligence and bots running in the background can make repetitive decisions without employee intervention.
3. Higher Costs Associated with Maintaining Legacy Systems
Companies that refrain from updating their legacy systems to newer, more efficient technologies waste precious resources by pouring money into maintaining those systems. Organizations may find that the inefficient patchworking of outdated systems could cost more than implementing new, more efficient systems that could provide a greater Return on Investment.
Employee frustrations can also run higher around not having more intelligent, integrated systems at their disposal, and keeping employees happy in a tight business market is of utmost importance!
These are just a few examples of the consequences companies can face by not embracing DX. Organizations that prioritize DX projects in their budgets, choose the right software platforms to meet their needs, and successfully implement their initiatives are more likely to reap benefits that will help place them at the head of the pack.
This last sentence is crucial! Companies must choose the right platform and ensure proper management of the project to be successful.
If you're interested in learning how to do this right for your DX projects, check out Michael Cantu’s and my book, No-Nonsense Digital Transformation. It provides a step-by-step roadmap for preparing for and implementing digital transformation initiatives in your business so you can help ensure success even before you start.
If you’re interested in learning more, click the button below.
By: Kathy Kent Toney, CEO and Founder of Kent Business Solutions
Many business leaders are scratching their heads, wondering how to prevent the Great Reshuffle from negatively impacting their organizations.
One way to help counteract the exodus of talent is through recognizing and rewarding employees for their service.
Here are 10 creative ways to give kudos to your employees:
1. Share Employee Content on Your Blog
If you have employees that like to write (and that's not their main role), share their content on your company's blog.
2. Recognize Outside-of-Work Success
Share your employees' successes outside of work on social media channels, your internal website, or your company's website.
3. Showcase the Monetary or Volunteer Impact of Employee Efforts
If an employee's efforts on a project contributed positively to the bottom line, highlight that in some manner to your employee base. You can also draw attention to employees who support charitable contributions through either donations or volunteer time.
4. Provide Stipends for Long-Distance Commuters
Employees living far away or who often experience heavy traffic during their commutes could receive stipends to help pay for gas.
5. Use Gamification Apps to Fuel Productivity and Motivation
Gamification gives employees an entertaining way to meet company requirements, such as training. What might often be a tedious process could be transformed into something fun. Check out what Edgagement, Hoopla, and Gametize apps have to offer along these lines.
6. Share Kudos from Customers
Create an Employee Wall of Fame to highlight customer feedback directed at particular employees or teams.
7. Share Employee Kudos
At the start of your meetings, recognize employees for the small, daily wins. These are often overlooked, but these shout-outs can go a long way towards increasing employee morale.
8. Surprise Employees with Snacks or Meals
Bring in or order food during busy workdays. It lets your employees know you appreciate their hard work.
9. Provide Sabbaticals for Long-Timers
For employees who have been with the company for five, seven, or 10 years (for example), consider providing them with sabbaticals. That way, they can take quality time off work to pursue their passion and return to work refreshed and ready to re-engage with your company.
10. Use the Power of a Post-It Note
I left this for last because it's something you can start doing today!
Who doesn't like a personal touch to show appreciation? A simple post-it note with a meaningful message that you place on an employee's desk is a simple act that can go a long way to show appreciation.
These are just a few things you can do to recognize and reward your employees. Doing so can help keep employees happy and can also help build a foundation of increased loyalty to your company.
And what business leader wouldn't want that?
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If you or anyone you know are stuck in the middle of a project and don't know how to get it moving forward...
OR you want to start projects but don't have the internal bandwidth to undertake them, I'd love to have a chat! I have over 30 years of project management expertise, so I can help accelerate these projects over the finish line.
Interested in learning more? Click the button below to schedule a time!
By: Kathy Kent Toney, President and Founder of Kent Business Solutions
As a business leader, it can be daunting to plan for and implement a digital transformation initiative. How do you ensure that you start off on the right foot?
There is one essential thing to consider…ensuring your team has the right mindset. It’s a vital aspect for ensuring project success and keeping your ideology fit.
It’s great to have a good plan, great people, processes, and execution, but if you don’t have the right mindset, successful digital transformation projects will only be a pipe dream.
So, what are the qualities of a great mindset? It all starts with team members who:
These qualities are just the tip of the iceberg, so let’s take a deeper dive into some four key aspects of having a great mindset:
1. Honesty and Candor
Creating a mindset of honesty and candor is essential to have successful teams. Honesty should never be devalued within your team.
Candor involves talking about things in a real way, without negativity, towards other team members. It’s discussing the things that can be done better or how individuals can interact more effectively, without pointing fingers.
This also includes Care, which means having an attitude that you are all in this together. It’s involves determining how to best look after team members and being aware of how individual members are doing.
Care comes down to active concern for the total person. Case in point—everybody's got a life outside of work. Having an empathetic understanding of what things employees are balancing, to the point that they feel free to share about them, is the goal.
Here’s an example. Bob has been working late every night and seems stressed, which is uncommon for him. As a leader, it would be helpful to ask Bob how he's really doing—to show true care to him, making sure he is doing alright. It may also involve “taking one for the team”—giving Bob permission to leave a couple hours earlier the next day, if that seems appropriate.
And here’s a further illustration of how having the right collective mindset throughout your team might look like. Bob’s manager could ask someone to pick up the slack for him and a team member would most likely be glad to jump in and help.
On the other hand, having negative team mindsets could result in many more problems on a project. Imagine this—team members with a fearful mindset aren’t going to be as forthcoming when something's a mess. And with that type of environment, you’re most likely not going to find individuals wanting to jump into to help when someone’s needs a break. They’ll perhaps be more concerned about not meeting their own work goals while caring less about the overall team goals.
Bottom line—it comes down to working with your team to build the right mindset, which in turn, helps create a healthier team culture.
Endurance is one of the most important factors of continued success and is a large part of having a great mindset. This is true for anything, whether you are building a business, a team or your life.
Successful teams complete projects over and over again. It has to do with their ability to endure. Every day they come to work and complete tasks, completing one more piece of the puzzle at a time. It involves team members keeping their mindsets positive and making a decision to endure.
Of course, great leaders will use the “Care” approach to check on them, as well, to help them in the process if they’re getting stuck.
In the end, endurance is the ability do what it takes over and over again with measurable, incremental and positive results, which move you towards a successful conclusion of a project. It’s also about making sure you do what you said you would do.
3. Visibility and Transparency
This involves open communication with your stakeholders, whether external or internal. Essentially, it’s all about letting them know that you will have a mindset of honesty, candor and care with them and that you will escalate issues when required. By doing that, you show leadership how much you care about the project, which will pay dividends for you throughout the course of your work.
For example, if you happen to miss a deadline, it may look less erratic when you're raising the issue with management. It really is going to make a difference in the way that they view you and how they view the project.
But that’s not the only good outcome. Having visibility and transparency amongst all team members can positively affect the end users of the process, and eventually the business as a whole.
4. Change Management
How you approach communication of planned changes has a powerful effect on mindset. That’s why a good change management approach is important—employees in an organization really need to understand what's changing. That way, they can prepare themselves for the changes, so that they can achieve the right mindset. This involves communicating the amount of effort required for a project to transition from where they’re at to where they have to be for the business to succeed. Then, it’s asking for their feedback along the way.
This removes the outward perception of changing for change sake and casts a vision of the future to help ensure success for the organization. And it really becomes an organizational change/movement mindset.
This is vital, because this can change the whole organization’s attitude and help create an environment that is more accepting of digital transformation.
When you can do that, you’re well on your way to a more successful digital transformation journey for your organization!
This newsletter is an example of the content Michael Cantu and I have included in our best-selling book on Amazon, No-Nonsense Digital Transformation. This book talks extensively about creating proper mindsets, building exceptional teams, and creating great cultures, so it isn't just for digital transformation fans.
Are you interested in learning more? Then click the button below to get started!
By: Kathy Kent Toney, CEO & Founder of Kent Business Solutions
As a business leader, ensuring newly launched projects succeed is always challenging. Unfortunately, projects can still fail despite best efforts.
One different way to view these failures is to hone in on what didn’t work in those situations. Flipping the switch on these scenarios can provide valuable insight into what could’ve worked.
Along those lines, what are some common mistakes that project managers can avoid to help ensure success?
1. Failing to Think Outside the Box to Avoid Potential Problems
Unfortunately, many Project Management (PMs) are so focused on putting out fires instead of thinking outside the box to help prevent the occurrence of possible challenges. Great PMs are tuned into what could potentially go wrong. They are forward-looking, ask questions, and are on the lookout for problems before they ever occur.
2. Prioritizing the Unimportant over the Important
Too often, PMs will focus on minutia instead of the most important things: ensuring the client is happy, tracking to budget, and keeping the project on time, to name a few.
For instance, it doesn’t matter nearly as much if someone hasn’t updated a chart or properly marked a task as 40% instead of 50% complete. A good PM constantly weighs what’s most important and tackles those items first.
3. Under-utilizing the Best Aspects of the Team
When PMs don’t take the time to understand their individual team members’ strengths and weaknesses, this can sabotage the team functioning at more optimum levels.
For example, Bob may excel at performing a particular task, but instead, the PM assigns the task to Suzy who isn’t as skilled at that particular job. Also, some team members may require more oversight than others. Finding out these abilities and assigning team members to perform tasks that match those skills can tremendously boost team productivity.
4. Neglecting to Regularly Test Early-On Assumptions
At the beginning of projects, PMs often have to make assumptions based on a scarcity of available information. When more data becomes available, it’s important to test and revise assumptions against this information. Failure to do so can result in serious errors that can affect project success.
These are a few examples of steps PMs can take to avoid issues that can lead to project failure.
Speaking of avoiding failure, Scrum is a wonderful project management approach that helps identify problems before they ever become issues.
As a certified Professional Scrum Master, I’ve experienced this reality repeatedly in my line of work. I’ve also seen how the use of Scrum typically decreases the amount of time to finish projects, and it doesn’t matter what type of project it is.
If you have any projects that you would like to undertake but have limited internal resources to complete them, or you are stuck in the middle of a project with little hope of moving forward, I’d love to have a conversation with you!
If that sounds good, click the button below to schedule a chat.
By: Kathy Kent Toney, CEO & Founder of Kent Business Solutions
Imagine the following scenario:
Your business launched a highly anticipated new product or service into the market, and results were well below expectations. So much time, money and effort were spent on creating it, and the development team was positive it was going to do well in the market.
Disappointed is hardly a word that describes everyone’s emotions. The ramifications were not too pretty as well--one person lost their job, another was demoted, revenues plummeted, etc. Everyone on the team was asking themselves: ”What could we have done differently?”
Perhaps you don’t need to imagine this situation, because it unfortunately happened in your business.
If that’s the case, here’s a possible answer--your business could have done a better of job of listening to the Voice of the Customer (VOC), before you ever started the development project.
If customer requirements were well documented in advance, your new product or service could have been tailored more to meet the customer needs. By doing so, the likelihood of a more successful product or service launch would have significantly increased.
So, what are the warning signs that your business could use VOC? Let's dive into that!
1. Product or Service Launch Failures
The example described in the previous paragraph is often an indicator that your company needs to use some VOC techniques. Having a robust process should lessen these failures significantly.
2. High Levels of Customer Churn
There’s no need to scratch your head, wondering why they left. The best solution is to reach out to them and find out the reasons for their departure. Perhaps a survey or focus group would be beneficial. Then, armed with these insights, you can put together an action plan to resolve the issues.
3. Rising Customer Complaints
If you’ve noticed an uptick in your customer complaints, it’s time to start doing a better job of understanding what is making them unhappy. Next, devise a plan to reverse the trend.
4. Depressed Revenues
It’s not a far leap to find a connection between less-than-stellar profits and less-than-happy customers. Digging in deep to find out the reasons for their disenchantment can provide actionable insights for your business.
5. No Formalized Method of Gathering, Recording or Acting on Customer Feedback
It’s so important to a business’ profitability to have a standardized way of ensuring feedback is properly gathered, stored, and acted upon. In fact, one study proves that companies with VOC programs outperform all others by as much as 22% across a number of categories, including revenue, customer churn, among others. There’s proof that VOC works!
If your business hasn’t encountered these warning signs, congratulations! You’re most likely doing a good job of listening to your customers. However, if any of these situations sound familiar, your business could be a good candidate for using VOC techniques.
If you’re in this boat, I’d love to brainstorm with you some possible solutions! All you have to do is click the button below to schedule a time on our calendars.