Ego a no no!

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Should success be a licence for disrespect?

I by no means could ever question the success that has been achieved by people who own multi million pound organisations, but does that give anyone the right to become rude, disrespectful and, quite frankly, a bully?

Giving a team or even a human being the "hairdryer" treatment is something that sometimes happens, and is usually a result of festered frustration, just ask Sir Alex Ferguson and David Beckham; but calling someone out in front of a large number of peers is not appropriate, not professional and frankly makes you look very unprofessional, especially when the attack is of a personal nature.

There comes a moment in most peoples careers where they need to stop and understand how their actions are affecting others, and this consideration is usually triggered by some sort of feedback or event taking place. The event I am witnessing right now is a mass exodus of talent, a lack of motivation in the workplace, a lack of positive change taking affect, and many mutterings of resentment. This should make anyone take a look at themselves to try and find the right way forward; not revert to psychologically threaten everyone and sundry!

The greatest entrepreneurs in this world cannot all be egotistical bullies, yet these recent experiences have left a sour taste in my mouth, and leads me to question my appetite to work under this type of "leadership"  come "start up" mentality in the future.

Accept chaos, really?

In recent times I have heard comments from people saying that chaos should be embraced in an organisation; that disorganisation means that things are happening; that this is the entrepreneurial way. Is this really the case? Have I been living under a rock for the last 15 years? 

Is this really acceptable? The meaning of the word, not the graffiti! :)

Is this really acceptable? The meaning of the word, not the graffiti! :)

If you were to ask every business owner in the world "Are you happy for me to spend some of your money on doing something completely ineffective & inefficient? Will you then also be happy when I come to you to ask for more to improve what we did? Would you then also mark it in your diary that I will be coming to you a third time to do the job properly, therefore needing more money?" - I can guess the answer!

I am not saying that there shouldn't be a pot of cash to try new things, to push some boundaries, and to be innovative, but that is not the bread and butter of the business, is it? If you were in this type of environment all the time, then you are either an inventor, a medical scientist, or someone else whose job it is to break down boundaries. 

Let me ask those of you reading this, would you be happy working in a chaotic environment, where you are accountable for growth and key business metrics that rely on your solid foundation being questioned at every turn? Again, I think i know the answer!

Does being an entrepreneur mean that the principles of efficiency and effectiveness in effort and spend get torn up the day you start your business? Does it also mean that those who question the timing of innovation, frivolous spending and lack of focus on your core business are no longer welcome in progressive business? 

Everyone is doing it.......aren't they?

I hear and read all time when I spend time at seminars/conferences and on blogs, about how "everyone is doing" something or other in the online world, and if you are not doing it, then you are a failure, miles behind, and never will succeed.

Fact or fiction....you decide for yourself!

The "thing" that "everyone is doing" comes in many forms, it ranges from; personlisation, cart abandonment chasers, responsive design, social media content stories, wearable technology blah blah blah. Put simply, this is NOT the case - it is a myth!

My point is this, there are MANY companies in the world that are not doing these things, but that is not because they are incompetent, or that they don't have the desire to do them (well that might be the case for some), but there are far more logical explanations for this which we don't hear about. What we also don't seem to read about is HOW the providers of such technology are (not) helping companies knock down the walls that stop them from doing what many consider are the basics of online business.

Here are some of the reasons why the fundamentals of eCommerce and Digital Marketing are not being achieved by most based on what I have seen in the last few years:

  • Unless you are a company that has established its entire online presence in the last 5/7 years, from scratch you are probably stuck facing legacy architecture/systems that don't allow you to simply "plug & play" with the tech needed to do this stuff
  • If you have habitually been an offline organisation, moving into the digital space, you probably have a bunch of people in the business who don't know the difference between HTML and R2D2
  • You may not have enough people to manage all of the tools, systems, content & assets, process, prioritisation etc etc that are needed to do these things well, therefore you have given up
  • Once we have a website we don't need anything else - yes I have heard that before!
  • Marketing is still sending out flyers in the daily newspaper as that what people read?!
  • Companies who sell their tech to enhance the experience, are actually unable to show true ROI, hell why would I need to see what my £100k is going to get me, here you go, have £200k!
  • The knowledge of how customers actually behave when discovering/buying /managing products and services is not understood; its not like these things called smartphones/tablets have changed the way we buy products right?

We will all get there in the end right? However it really isn't all that rosey in most companies gardens - YET!

Can global functions really work?

Having spent the last number of years working in Global, Pan-European and Local teams, I have been trying to understand what I believe works the best in terms of the organisational design of Customer Experience teams.....and I still don't believe I have the answer, however I have a view....

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Everyone is different in their own right, and what works for some doesn't work for others. Lets look at a few examples:

Privacy: this is a big big thing in the German online eco-system, I have lost count the number of times I have heard from German consumers that they don't like to give companies/apps etc access to their Facebook profile, but this is quite different in the UK market. 

Offers/Promotions: where FREE FREE FREE works in the U.S. and has done for many years, this has never really worked in the UK market when it comes to eCommerce websites - there is always a catch, no?

Payment Methods: a really big one, paying with a credit card/debit card in some countries is seen as pretty standard, but go into some countries, and bank transfer, payment by invoice, and now things like PayPal dominate the payment methods people prefer to us.

So this is only a few examples, but my question is this: "Is your team set up to understand and embrace this knowledge, or is it a one size fits all approach?" I think I know the answer in a lot of cases.

In a Global function, it should not consist of one culture, one type, one race. It should be a blend of experience and local understanding. How does Johnny American know what Johnny English wants in their experience? Just because the UK embraced the super size culture doesn't mean that it embraces everything America does - guns?

My point is that for a Global function to perform the true role of a Global function it has to contain Global resources.

I know some of you will be thinking and shouting, what about the 80/20 rule? Well that may work in some aspects, but if you want to give your customers a great experience, which ultimately will drive KPI performance - micro understanding is what you need to have, so NO, I don't believe a Global 80/20 rule works if you want to deliver great experiences, but a Local 80/20 rule, then we are on to something quite different.

My first bike...

Ok well thats not strictly true, this is not about my first bike, but more about my first website and first post. 

This was my first bike - and what a beauty she was!

So I will start by stating that I am certainly not a geek when it comes to web technology. Can I build a website? YES! (it will take me forever and will look like the NNG website - although this looks a lot better than a couple years ago).

Do I understand PHP, .JS etc etc - well yes as in its purpose and how it helps and can be used, but can I truly code it? NO!

Did I build this site from scratch? NO! I used a funky blog tool called Square Space which is so much easier to use than Wordpress and all the others out there.

Is this my first website? YES! I have toyed with the idea on many occasions to start one, I am full of good ideas (so I keep telling myself), yet the detail of setting it up and maintaining it fills me with boredom, but I am today, by writing this first post, committing to it and it shall be updated forever more!