Have you hugged your local consultant today?

There’s a dirty little secret in the world of independent consultants and startups: It’s feast or famine, even in the best of times.

The reason this is such a well-kept secret is that when people hear the term “consultant” or “startup,” they think of well-funded organizations like Deloitte, McKinsey or startup unicorns that dominate popular imagination. They don’t think of their marketing copywriter or the consultant with deep expertise who quickly solves specific pain points. But in 2020, it’s just those businesses—those “local” consultants —who are feeling the pain of pandemic shutdown. And may need a hug.

Over the summer, Comatch polled 1000 independent consultants to see how COVID had impacted business. While we may have guessed that travel and leisure consultants are expected to take a 51% hit this year, the numbers are painful for many others. The research estimated that marketing consultants would experience a 37% decrease in earnings; high tech and IT would drop 39%; and strategy consultants’ earnings would decrease by 44%. Since many expenses are fixed, these percentages translate to even more pain than the numbers show.

Read moreHave you hugged your local consultant today?

Seek to understand before you seek to solve…

It’s the time of year when organizations review what they’ve accomplished, evaluating achievements against goals set in January. Often, this navel-gazing will result in revised projected budgets, staffing changes, or executive bonuses. Even when things seem to be going relatively well, it’s easy to (mistakenly) assume there is a good alignment between what the leaders project and what employees experience in the trenches.

2020 has gummed up the gears of business even more than usual

Read moreSeek to understand before you seek to solve…

What’s Your Time-to-Smile Number?

Customer success and support execs often are the bearers of bad news for an organization. When things go wrong, they are the proverbial “one throat to choke.” In an enterprise, this is particularly galling because many of the issues are not within the control of the customer service/support person. Buggy products, incorrectly calibrated expectations during the sales cycle and disruptions anywhere in the delivery process can cause frustration for customers. It’s no wonder that “customer satisfaction” is not a measure they like, particularly if too much of one’s bonus is tied to this measure.

To help the organizational silos better understand that everyone exists to care for the customer, there is a new metric that requires your attention. We call it “Time-to-Smile.”

It’s rooted in the idea that “we’re all in this together.”

Read moreWhat’s Your Time-to-Smile Number?

Want to be more customer focused? Stop focusing so much on customers.

Is it possible for someone to be too customer-focused? 

Why, yes, it is.

I’m reminded of a company we worked with a few years ago. As a highly respected global leader of specialty equipment that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the total annual contract value of the sale reaching much higher than that, its customers expected immediate responses, focused attention, and superior service. The manufacturer’s team of experts spent a lot of time and money ensuring the customers got exactly what they wanted and needed. 

Read moreWant to be more customer focused? Stop focusing so much on customers.

They Can’t All Be Winners: 4 Tips for Avoiding Chosen One Syndrome

In 1998, the Harvard Business Review published an article entitled, “The Set-Up-to-Fail Syndrome,” which described a scenario where employees perceived as weak performers “lived down” to their detractors’ lowest expectations. The syndrome was compared to the “Pygmalion Effect,” by which someone achieves greatness because others believe they are capable of doing so.

Read moreThey Can’t All Be Winners: 4 Tips for Avoiding Chosen One Syndrome

Free resources from Roundtables with Phil — Developing Leadership Skills

Service leaders often are the pillar that others lean on when things descend into chaos.

But what happens when everything collapses around us, and we too feel the crushing weight of a pandemic that upends all our plans and stresses our systems, our people, and ourselves to the limit?

We can muddle through, or we can build on the foundation that marks our profession—the willingness to help each other—to know that all of us are better than any one of us.

Introducing Roundtables with Phil

That’s why we invited 28 service leaders — colleagues, customers, industry leaders, and thought gurus to orchestrate a series of roundtable conversations to explore ways to help each other and share tips, “gotchas,” and new best practices as we navigate our way to surer footing.

Read moreFree resources from Roundtables with Phil — Developing Leadership Skills

6 simple questions firefighting chiefs ask—and you should, too

As leaders, we have grand plans: those that will help our organizations, our customers and dare we admit it—our own careers. Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to translate strategy into practical projects for our operational managers to implement. So, we end up with statements like: Here’s what we need to do by X date, …

Read more6 simple questions firefighting chiefs ask—and you should, too

Enterprise startup hack

(or how to get results from a Pilot in 30 days)

When we walked prospects through the results they’d see in just 30 days using Klever Insight software—a digital coach for tech support managers—the most common reaction was: “Sounds too good to be true. Can you prove it works?” And we were stumped.

Klever Insight is the world’s first digital coach that uses augmented intelligence—a human-centric application of artificial intelligence—to provide tech support managers the confidence and time they need to implement strategy, in just minutes a day. So how do we  prove that a digital coach helps managers achieve a better outcome than managers that receive no coaching?

Read moreEnterprise startup hack

A really powerful employee measure you should be tracking – but probably not the way you do it

In a world where leaders have seen the payoffs of modernizing how they onboard customers, why does onboarding employees seem like it is still stuck in the past century? I’m not talking about the cool new ways to show appreciation — but in terms of perhaps the most important measure in a team-based environment.

Read moreA really powerful employee measure you should be tracking – but probably not the way you do it