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The Age of Continuous Connection

By Barry Jenner
The excerpt below is from a Harvard Business Review article in May-June 2019 by Siggelkow and Terwiesch. 
“Thanks to technologies that enable constant, customized interactions, businesses are building deeper ties with their customers. Firms can now address customer needs the moment they arise – and sometimes even earlier. By employing connected strategies, companies are dramatically improving their customers’ experiences, boosting their own operational efficiencies, and gaining competitive advantage. In their research the authors have identified four effective connected strategies: Respond to desire, which entails filling customer’s requests quickly and seamlessly; curated offering, or presenting personally tailored recommendations; coach behaviour, or reminding people of needs and goals and nudging them to act; and automatic execution, or anticipating what people want and delivering it without even being asked. To get the most out of these strategies, forms must understand customers’ privacy preferences, build new capabilities, and use the learning from repeated interactions to shape future ones.” 

Transport operators must ensure the do not compromise their Chain of Responsibility “COR” obligations when being quick.

Uncomfortable Strategic Planning

By Barry Jenner
A good article in the Harvard Business Review highlights the challenges of strategic planning.

Detailed plans may make managers feel good but too often they matter little to performance. Strategy is about being uncomfortable, taking risks and facing the unknown. There are three simple rules:

Keep it simple - summarize in a One Page Plan
Don't look for perfection - Strategy is not about finding answers. It is about placing bets and shortening the odds.
Make the logic explicit - Be clear about what must change for you to achieve your strategic goal.

The Mindshop process of facilitated Strategic Plans needs only ten or twelve pages headed by a One Page Plan.

The key is in implementation.

Many benefit by having external discipline from a facilitator and mentor.

Alex Ferguson Lessons for road transport businesses

By Barry Jenner

An article in the Harvard Business Review describes Sir Alex Ferguson's management approach. It gives great insight into his enormously successful methods. 

Start with the Foundation - he modernized United's youth program.

Dare to Rebuild Your Team - Even in times of great success he worked to re build his team.

Set  High Standards - and Hold Everyone to Them - "Adversity gave me a sense of determination that has shaped my life" "I made up my mind that I would never give in." "Players didn't accept teammates' not giving it their all. The biggest stars were no exception."

Never, Ever Cede Control - "You can't ever lose control  - not when you are dealing with 30 top professionals who are all millionaires." "Responding quickly, before situations get out of hand, may be equally important to maintaining control." "I tended to act quickly when I saw a player become a negative influence."

Match the Message to the Moment - He worked hard to tailor the words to the situation. He gave reprimands right after the game. He would not wait until Monday. "I'll do it and it was finished."

Prepare to Win - "United practice sessions focused on repetition of skills and tactics." "The message is simple: we cannot sit still at this club."

Rely on the Power of Observation - As he became more successful.. "he increasingly delegated the training sessions to his assistant coaches. But he was always present and he watched."

Never Stop Adapting - He "demonstrated a tremendous capacity to adapt as the game has changed." "One of the things I've done well over the years is manage change. I believe that you control change by accepting it." "That also means having confidence in the people you hire."   

For transport operators, what are the lessons?

Can you write down one take away from the eight above?

Now, write down one action you will take to improve in each area.

Value for Money

By Barry Jenner

Client Learning

You get what you pay for was identified recently by an engineering client. He found it was more cost effective to buy a high priced consumable.The cheap consumables he tried did not last long and were not value for money.


We generally get what we pay for. It is usually false economy to buy the cheapest goods or services.

Quality lasts longer than the initial feeling of having saved money.

"No thank you" can be the right answer

By Barry Jenner

An overseas manufacturing client was keen to purchase an Australian eastern seaboard manafacturer whom it had known for years. A pre Due Diligence involved reading large files in the office of a major accounting firm.

The accounting firm expressed surprise when asked if our team could visit the Melbourne premises of the business to be acquired.

During the visit we facilitated a Strategic SWOT Analysis. That is on one page, not spread over four pages.


We asked how the strengths could be used to commercialise the opportunities? Then we asked how could the strengths be used to overcome the threats?

Next we asked what could be done to make sure the weaknesses did not spoil the opportunities? Finally, we asked what if the weaknesses combine with the threats, what corrective action should be taken?


We concluded it was a "dog" of a business. Our opinion was that the business was only worth book value - $16m.


Our client thought  long and hard and finally decided not to buy.


The answer to the seller was "Thank you but no thank you." A $16m mistake avoided.





Innovative Idea

By Barry Jenner

Great focussed facilitation for South East Business Network (SEBN).


A group of Human Resource Managers had hit a barrier, unable to cut through and get their big issues through to chief executives.


Facilitation of a mind map and then a Force Field problem solving tool identified actions to be taken to  cut through.


Made a breakthrough and energised the group to take specific actions to implement.


This process is a great way for road transport and other businesses to innovate and step up to the next level.


Here is a short video showing how the Force Field problem solving tool works. 


Noise/Distractions are key issues impacting on Decision Making

By Barry Jenner

First step for being more strategic, clear your head.

Five rules identified to help clear your head:

  • 1. Remove the obstacles - learn to say no and delegate.
  • 2. Quiet the noise - relax and have better self-awareness.
  • 3. Percolate - start a journal to capture your thinking.
  • 4. Clarify your message - Gather feedback to improve your communication goal.
  • 5. Keep reflecting and adjusting - Plan, Do, Check, Act.

Author Joshua Ehrlich 
Global Leadership Council & Harvard Business Review

Customer Profitability

By Barry Jenner

Case Study

Carefully framed questions identified as % of sales:


High profit customers                    Nil

Average Profit customers               50%

Low Profit customers                       25%

Loss incurring customers               25%


Prompt corrective action being taken to stop supplying loss incurring customers or make them low profit.

Other actions taken to make low profit customers average profit.



Lessons from Prada

By Barry Jenner

The HBR illuminates the six Prada principles: control through transparency; go where the risk is; give respect to get performance; sell only your own designs; obsess over details and give young managers real responsibilities.

With perhaps the exception of only selling your own designs, they are great principles for all businesses. 

What Matters Now by Gary Hamel

By Barry Jenner

Great new Executive Book Summary from Soundview on "What Matters Now" by Gary Hamel.


He asks "What are the fundamental, make-or-break issues that will determine whether your organization thrives or dies in the years ahead?"


He says the answer is found in five paramount issues:


Values: With trust in large organizations at an all time low, there is an urgent need to rebuild the ethical foundations of capitalism.


Innovation: Innovation is the only defence against margin crushing competition, and the only way to outgrow a dismal economy.


Adaptability: In a world of accelerating change, every company must build an evolutionary advantage. The forces of inertia must be vanquished. The ultimate prize: an organization that is as nimble as change itself.


Passion: In buisness as in life, the difference between "insipid" and "inspired" is passion. With mediocrity fast becoming a competitive liability, success depends on finding new ways to rouse the human spirit at work.


Ideology: Today, businesses need more than better practices, they need better principles. Bureaucracy and control have had their day. It's time for a new ideology based on freedom and self-determination.  


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