Friday, June 26, 2015

Customer Romantiques I

Customers are the very blood of any business. A business that looses customers is heading towards its death but the business that knows how to gain, maintain and maximise customers will thrive.  The question of businesses success therefore revolves around these three elements that must of neccesity be the primary occupation of the people who work within the business. The success of the business therefore depends on people doing their jobs well enough and this in turn depends on knowing the job and understanding how to do it at their best. Quality persons make quality products and quality services - customer satisfaction is directly dependent on this. Peak performers ensures successful business through customer satisfaction. This is a matter that must concern every single in the business and not only those in the customer care department. Tomorrow at the British council from 9 am,  level 1 of the Customer Romantiques program will be on full display with J N Halm of the Customer Romance fame as lead facilitator and Markus Kennedy Katey (Hopeman) as supporting facilitator.  You must want to be a part of this experience.  Call or whatsapp Adepa on 020 983 4449 to participate

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Travesty of Second Nature

That something is referred to as second implies the existence of a first—the superior. So that, when it comes to one’s nature, what room is there for a second? Will this be necessary because one is unhappy with the true nature and for that reason is in need of a second? In my effort to answer a question that recently reached me by email, I turned to the Marriam-Webster dictionary to see what it has to say about the second nature idea. What I found was barely unexpected:

“something you can do easily or without much thought because you have done it many times before”

A rather trite phrase comes to mind very quickly; practice makes perfect. A very appealing idea and a common prescription by most motivational speakers. But practice in something you abhor is incredibly painful and requires an unreal helping of emotional labour. This affects the will to engage in the first place and one finds himself practicing in agony.  Concentration develops a heavy appetite for effort and very often the subject is reluctant to engage in practice in the practice that is to make perfect. Feedback also challenges the will by painting negative mental images of “I am not good at this”, or “I can never be good at this”. This is the result when the target nature that is to be second is in conflict with the true nature as is often the case. For no true nature will like to lose its place to second. This is conflict of the highest order.

The case however, is different when the subject is allowing his true nature to be trained towards its perfection. Practice in itself becomes an enjoyable experience ensuring that one is practicing more than others. Feedback is fantastic and it fuels confidence which returns more practice. The result is the very elusive cycle of performance.
After all, the titans of performance have already taught us that one must be more of what one already is to make peak performance a possibility. I.e. what you already are is a clue to what you must perfect through regular engagement. The high performer functions by his competitive advantage (his true nature). No second nature is as good as true nature and hence; he who functions by a second nature will at best be second only to others but to himself.

Peak performance is effortlessness and it comes from deep within when one has all conditions right. It is a simple matter of understanding and accepting what it is you are built for and functioning by it. On the football field, it is not so difficult to identify those who are naturally gifted and those who play with effort because they have learnt and practiced with hard work. I could give you two examples from Spain but I’d rather not. The idea of second nature is a tragedy to be avoided at all cost if one wishes to be their best. 

Monday, April 6, 2015

Understanding the Tri-Benefit Principle

In Uptimetrics© it is postulated that self-preservation is a key driving force behind all human behavior. Given that man is the dominant force on the planet this drive and its attendant thoughts and actions influence our environment in a miscellany of ways. And also because of the integrated nature of the universe itself, all things have an influence on other things in one way or another—NO! I won’t explain that; not in this article.
The tri-benefit principle is the next generation tool for self-preservation. Although the idea itself is not new, it is the understanding of it that has eluded the run of people.  It is the next big thing after the famous win-win idea. In fact the term Tri-benefit is simply a $20 world for win-win-win (notice the third win).

Prior to the win-win idea the majority of our specie functioned on the I-win-you-loose principle. It was thought then that the best way for one to perpetuate their own existence is to take from others and accumulate for one’s self. If necessary, the opponent must be eliminated. The place of others was not that important beyond serving our needs. Nietzsche and his cohorts might find this enchanting. It is the survival of the fittest idea and it is not sustainable as it is self-destructive. This is because in the long term when the one superman has eliminated everyone, he will be on his own. And since he cannot take from himself beyond what he has accumulated, he will bring the existence of the specie to an end. Sadly, many still practice this as it appears to have been wired as the first method for survival in all species-- instinct.

The next stage of human development saw the win-win idea brought to the front as the better method for self-preservation. With this thought system it was necessary to ensure that one’s opponent didn’t walk away with nothing as the deprivation of all opponents will ultimately mean (ceteris paribus) their demise which will in turn mean we are on our own. Because of the fact that the strength of any specie is directly dependent on the ability to collaborate, it is clear that we need the existence of others in order to perpetuate our own. And that our own existence is guaranteed by the continuous existence and strength of our entire specie. This works very well and it is evident that species who know how to collaborate are among the most thriving. 

The most advance idea of all is the tri-benefit principle which translates into win-win-win. The idea insists that there is a third (often silent) party to any transaction. This third party is the larger system that holds the two main parties together and makes the transaction possible in the first place. For this reason the two parties must not only think about themselves but also about the third party. Our classic example will be a business transaction between two businesses within a locality. They must pay taxes and levies to ensure that they both have a place to continue doing business.

In recent times, we have seen businesses taking an interest in the communities they work in. They are interested in matters to do with climatic changes and energy saving green solutions. They want their products and process to be not only customer friendly but also environmentally friendly. The reason is simple; in a matter of time they won’t have a place to operate anymore unless they are conscious of the environment enough to put some of their resources towards its maintenance. So now they research into safer production process in order to sustain the environment that makes them possible in the first place. They will continue to exist if the environment remains conducive.

Members of families must recognize that it is the family that makes them possible and that no matter how much progress they make by and for themselves, they are only as strong as the family they are a part of. It makes sense then that a fraction of their earning must find its way into the family’s well-being. Families who know how to manage its constituents well are among the most powerful. By this principle therefore people must be interested in contributing to all entities they are part off even in the smallest ways. From schools, to halls, to teams and tribes etc. we are all responsible in our own small ways for the groups we belong to.

Anyone who practices the tri-benefit principle understands that they must give something towards the welfare of the larger entity that holds everything together. If you are in church it will be your tithes and offering. If you are a citizen of a country it will be your taxes and CSR activities. If you trade in a foreign land, pay what is required of you. In a family it is your simple contributions towards its welfare. Modern businesses recognize this and make an effort in this new direction. When you are in a boat, it wise to ensure its safety as your own life and that of others depend on it. The tri-benefit principle is the future as it does not only ensure your own existence but that of others and the environment you are both part of. Man who hunted other species indiscriminately now thinks about preserving them. He is wiser and knows now that his true source of power and influence is not dependent on what he can take from others but instead what he can give.

What you do for yourself benefits only you and barely attracts appreciation from others. What you do for another person might attract their appreciation. What you do for the community is likely to attract the appreciation of the whole community. For peak performers, this is often the goal. The more people who benefit from our existence, the more useful we are. Driven by this idea, even the products we create must meet the needs of many people in an environmentally friendly manner for us to be truly wealthy. The maximization of any existence will be challenged in an insensitive environment and the environment is only as sensitive as we make it.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Configure Q2

Ok folks the first quarter just ended. It is the perfect time to review your activities so far to see whether your strategy is working and whether you are in fact working with it. Also it is important to know whether your goal for Q1 has been met and explore the “why” and the “how”. It is also a good time to re-examine your configuration to see if it’s the best for your particular circumstance. Some 523 people are using configure to ensure the best results for the year and I am assuming you are one of them. If you are new to the program however, do not worry, it is a good time to start. Download the file here now and begin configure yourself for your best year yet. Configure answers the questions the success proponents leave unanswered. It is the “how” which must be addressed once you decide on a goal (The “what”).
In my work as a Peak Performance Coach, I noticed that people are always excited to talk about what they want to achieve (goals). That’s easy; believe me everyone has a goal of some sort at any point in time. But as soon as you start a discussion about how they intend to achieve it, confusion sets in. 
Deciding on “the how” of things is not so easy. Configure solves this problem. If you have never answered 125 questions about how you intend to reach your goal, now is your chance. New actions automatically bring new results. Using configure for the first time will change how you see yourself and your life. This must trigger new actions that will ensure a better year than the last one.
While reviewing, it is important to remember that using a program like configure does not necessarily mean you will do the right things all the time. What it does is to give you a picture that will tell you the true state of affairs so you see clearly where you need to make changes. It gives you a structure which you can follow as perhaps a car follows a road that will take it to the intended destination. This makes all the difference. Now you can plan and engage with the future with more purpose, clarity and confidence.
On Saturday 18th of April 2015 at 6 - 8pm prompt, I will be with the folks at Kingdom Flame Missions in Dansoman (near Enso Nyame Ye). You may join us there for a free coaching session made possible by the good Bishop Amponsah and his hardworking team of ministers. Join us for a live experience and ask all the questions you want. Get configure now to prepare!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Citi; a fantastic ten years

Last year Citi FM turned 10. Naturally this called for celebration but I do not believe they got the attention they deserved. I expected recognition from government and other institutions for the contribution of this small organization towards our democracy and the general welfare of this nation’s citizenry. The impact of Citi’s contribution is enormous and for us at CSD Africa and SPiD-UP® they epitomize high performance in every sense of the idea.

A high performance organization is intelligent; it understands itself, it understands its environment and knows the manner in which it can maximize its existence by affecting its environment. The folks at Citi have done this in the deftest manner. They appear to also understand performance theory and how the world works. They clearly ensured that every individual in the organization meets a certain standard. This comes about with the understanding that the performance of an organization directly depends on its individuals as the most active sub-components. High performing individuals makes high performing organizations and it is a simple as that.

A high performing organization understands how to leverage strength in order to make impact in an already saturated market. When Citi came into the business of radio broadcasting, there was a clear leader of the Bolt Caliber. To outclass them must have seemed an impossible task unless you understood strategy and had an unfathomable amount of confidence. This says a lot about the leadership of the organization as they clearly set out to lead the market with what will be referred to in business parlance as product leadership. Every single product they put out was above average and they seemed to have mastered the art and science of brand building quite well. In every area they appear to lead with a brand or two. This includes news and current affairs spearheaded by the nation’s number one breakfast show, entertainment, events and sports. 
The intelligence of the organization is clearly demonstrated in the brands as they appear to be aware of the idea of the influence of the sub-component. To have a high performing organization you need high performing units-- high performing products that are created by high performing individuals. I dare without sounding too esoteric; postulate the as above so below concept as the driving force behind such thinking. For a breakfast show for example, they pack in five people who on their own could have given any other breakfast show a run for their money. This is a clear demonstration of the intention to lead the market with a high performing product.
Intriguingly, they did not do all these at the expense of operational excellence. From where I sit, they match every best practice in running a modern business. They appear to have not have thrown ethics out of the window either and have consistently contributed to the welfare of the underprivileged. To understand our findings on the Citi performance analysis, it is necessary to discuss some thoughts from business theory and a bit of our own performance theory without over-digressing. 

According to business theorist, very rare businesses are able to master two of the three driving forces of business strategy i.e. Product leadership, operational excellence and customer intimacy. Most successful companies focus on one of the three and this enables them to lead the market in a way. This of course makes sense given that there is the need to prudently apply effectively the limited resources available to organizations. At CSD Africa we proposed structure and content both being of high quality as the means by which high performance can be attained. This is a question of what is being delivered and how it is being delivered both being of high quality. In practice this will mean that an organization must be high on both product leadership and operational excellence. This is not a deviation from the business theory of course as it proposes that whiles one may focus on one of the three, the other two must also be at appreciable levels. (I recognize that this needs further discussion)

Citi appears to understand both theories and have broken the barrier building the much needed bridge. Perhaps a new theory can now be formulated based on how they run their business. Although, I suspect the new theory will validate the idea of quality in both what is being delivered (content) and how it is being delivered (structure). We do not always have to look outside for our success formulas. We can formulate our own based on our own narratives.
So if there are any hints there, they will point to
Understanding your market and developing the right products
Understanding your strengths and weakness (I know it sounds a bit cliché-ish but it’s useful)
Being clear about your target
Having a reliable and modifiable business model and a clear strategy (extremely important as it shapes how the business creates and delivers value)

If you have any fear of a Goliath in the field the above will kill it in your head and you will walk confidently into your victory. Just like Citi has done. With that; it is appropriate to recognize key individuals, who by their performance as micro-components have ensured that the larger organization performed at a very high level.

Samuel Attah Mensah -        
 High performance in leadership

A great personality by all standards, it took one meeting which lasted not more than ten minutes for me to conclude that he is a masterful judge of character. By our second meeting which did not even involve a direct conversation, I begun to understand the depth of his social intelligence and integrity. Frankly we don’t have that many of his type in Ghanaian leadership.

Indeed one cannot discuss leadership in our time without mentioning John C. Maxwell. In his book 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, Sammens as he is affectionately called was clearly captured in the first law. A true leader is the one who raises other leaders. If there is any leader within visibility who has achieved this, it will be Samuel Attah Mensah. Another lesson from the Maxwell leadership class is: leaders are trail blazers, they lead by example and this man iconizes this in more ways than one. He has a great connection with his team and his leadership can only be described as exemplary. Bernard Avle appears to have learnt from this as he demonstrates this through his leadership of the market leading Citi breakfast show. 

Bernard Avle                   -         
High performance in radio broadcasting (Current Affairs)

As far as I know, breakfast show meant Kumla Dumor. Prior to that, it was good old TAF and Charlie Sam. In fact one might even argue that Komla brought the whole breakfast show hosting thing to a new level standing albeit, on the shoulders of the giants before him. I did not see how I was going to listen to anything or anyone else. What were they going to say and how were they going to say it?

All that changed of course when I stumbled upon the Citi breakfast show. I honestly didn’t know what it was that captured my attention. It appears the structure and the content were both right (pardon my need to use performance lingo). This means that both what was being delivered and how it was being delivered was of a high quality. The voice was distinctively Ghanaian without blemish and so was the language with traces of useful verbosity. Soon I was imagining a great personality behind the voice.  My dial started shuffling between Komla Dumor and Benard who? This was happening subconsciously until I woke up one day and realized I was listening to Bernard Avle all the time. When Komla left the local scene-- that was it. We gained in Bernard Avle an indisputable king of breakfast show hosting who did not drop the standard as we have seen happen in other areas. The lanky Ewe boy has taken the place of his mentor after giving him the only real competition in his breakfast show hosting career. To say it is possible Bernard was the reason why Komla moved on will be a fair speculation probably not too far off the mark. 

Bernard’s achievement can fairly be described as phenomenal and his portrait rightfully belongs on the same wall as the greats. He is clearly a market-leading individual who runs a market-leading product in a market-leading organization run by a market-leading leader. This is no coincidence at all if you understand performance theory (the behavior of the micro-components determines the behavior of the larger entity). He learnt from the best and is clearly applying his knowledge through the engagement of his gift. My only problem with him is that, he has done it all and doesn’t appear to know where to go next; this worries me of course because I happen to believe that it is continuous progress that sustains an entity’s existence and ensures its maximization. If you like something, you want it to be the best it can be. And that is what I will continue to insist on as far as Bernard Koku Avle is concerned

Jessica Opare Saforo
High performance in radio broadcasting (Entertainment)

I was being driven from the airport on the day I had returned from my sojourn in another country for a considerable number of years and naturally I had lost track of what was going on in the country. I asked to listen to the radio and when it was turned on the voice hit me. Who is that I asked almost instantly? Jessica-- came the answer. Wow! came my only response. That’s what happens when you encounter a great product. It was almost like my first encounter with the iPod.

I really didn’t care much for what she was saying and that is being plain honest. She was in argument with another presenter whose name I don’t remember (funny) about the man and woman difference thing. The question is; how do you like someone who is arguing against your very nature. High Performance. If it’s Jessica then you really don’t mind. You just want to listen.

There was another shift in power base when Jessica started hosting the Citi mid-morning show as she clearly took some shine away from good old Doreen Andoh who a priori had been the undisputable queen of mid-morning radio. It will be surprising if Jessica didn’t look up to her at some point given the age gap and depth of experience.
The thing with Jessica is this; she is just entertaining to listen to. She is incredibly smart, adoptive and a super-talkative. Most importantly, she has high social intelligence which makes her a great conversationista. Have you ever met someone who knows what to say and when to say it in the most entertaining way-- all the time? Erm…that will be Jessica. I guess you can call it versatility. Such persons are very aware of their environment and how it works. This makes it easy for them to fit in and affect it in their own way. Put her on another planet and all she will need is a microphone and some music.

Whiles there are other great personalities at Citi who by their effortless hard work have made it the outstanding radio station it is, these three personalities have been the key driving forces behind its leadership. However, it is important to mention names like Shamima Muslim; who put the evening news on top of the list, Gary Al Smith and Godfred Akoto; who put the sports in its own class, and Richard Sky who made short documentaries fashionable again. There are several formulas for performance as we have discovered at CSD Africa in our research. The one I would like to share in concluding this article is

What you choose to do + how much of it you do + the nature of your output / the period of time in which you do it – the comparison to others.
That may not sound functional now but take some time to think about it. Over the last ten years Citi have decided to do radio and they have done a lot of it consistently. I truly cannot recollect any down times since I have been listening to them and comparing them to the best, they have done better bringing broadcasting to a new threshold. All of this has been made possible by great leadership and performance consciousness. 

This article was written for the sole purpose of recognition based on our evaluation of the organization in question over the period of its existence compared to others.  It is possible that the writer may be Citi's number one critique. I do it for the good of mother Ghana and Grandma Africa. May you also be the best you can be in your field and get recognized for it. To ensure high performance this year get configure 1.0 now

A New Year Message to you

A New Year message to you

This year is a gift to you. It is a gift that many had hoped to obtain but never did. Many started last year confidently hoping to see this year and even the next. It is a precious gift because it is the key with which you will unlock and shape the entirety of your very existence. It is not a coincidence you made it this far just as it is not a coincidence that you are the maturation of that sperm that made it ahead of 3 billion others who also tried to get to that egg in the quest to form the union that will become you. You are formidable, a warrior and a conqueror achieving what billions of others cannot. Your track record is there for all to see.

Once again you are at the beginning of another year holding in your hand that which you will use to engage and accomplish. It is not new to you, every year you have done this. This time you are going to do more because of the experience you have gained in this world and the many advantages you have ahead of others. It begins with your uniqueness. There is something special about you and that thing is your advantage that will enable you to accomplish that which no other person can achieve.

You have an existence and it is not a coincidence. It is one that was carefully planned and orchestrated for victory by a maker who makes only the best. Your task is to maximize this existence to the best of your ability and your key is your occupation. The one thing that occupies you the most is the vehicle with which you will get to the goal. And so you will handle it with the utmost care and work it with all the power in you. No other person can do it but you. Because you are unique—built specifically for this mission.

You will meet obstacles on the way. But those are not the problems because you are equipped to rise above them. And if they hold you down, be not afraid to reach out to your maker who will without fail rescue you and put you back on your feet. He will empower you more than ever and your race will be smoother. There have been several others in similar a position as yourself. Never has he failed those who live by his instructions and know to call on him when the need arises.

The apostle Paul was one such man. In Hebrew 12:1, he talked about this race that we must all run and went further to state how we should run it. He said we must shed the weight of such things as sin if we are going to run effectively. Sin becomes the liability that holds us back and slows us down. I therefore implore you to do your utmost best not to pick up any unnecessary weights or liabilities along the way so that you will finish well with full power. So that the lord your God will say to you; well-done faithful servant. Paul points us to Jesus as the example we must follow if we are to make any progress. He of course was the most accomplished individual to ever walk the earth and his mission was always to show us the way. The great way! The one you must follow if we are to accomplish.

Paul spoke also in 2 Timothy 4:7. He said he has fought the good fight and kept the faith and looks forward to his reward. There is a reward awaiting you and I am not talking only about the afterlife. For us as Christians the reward is twofold. To serve the purpose for which God created you has its earthly as well as heavenly rewards. So you must run your race very well knowing that it is not in vain. And if for any reason you wonder about your capability or the support of God, let me remind you about what God said to Moses when he expressed fear seeing that he was going to face a super-power like Egypt. Only one question turned the whole thing around: what is in your hand. As Moses’ staff turned into a snake, that occupation in your hand will become something phenomenal beyond your wildest dreams. It begins with your understanding of the power of the staff in your hand and the one who put it in your hand. You have an omnipotent and omniscient power at your disposal. I encourage you this day to use it to the best of your ability.

I cannot end without taking a lesson from the wisest man who ever lived. In Ecclesiastic 9:10 Solomon admonishes us, whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do with all they might. What marvelous words of encouragement from the man who was a custodian of divine wisdom. He of course was referring to your occupation. Like Moses, It is what is in your hand at the moment. Put everything you have into it. For whiles your goal might be beyond it, it is the vehicle that can get you there. May the God of Jacob, Isaac and Abraham guide and protect you while empowering you with wisdom knowledge and understanding in order to accomplish in this year more than you have ever accomplished in any year. It begins where you are now. The bridge between your location and your destination is your performance in your occupation. Be more this year and may His Favour, Grace and Mercy never depart from you.

This message is a refined version of my short exhortation at Fast Track Financial Services limited during their end of year get-together and awards night. I thought it will be good to share with you as well. Please accept it as my New Year message to you. I suspect I will be using it in a few other places before the end of the month.
Plan your year with the special tool created with you in mind and accomplish more this year. The road is easier travelled with a map in your hand. Configure will help you in that direction. Download it now for free