Category Archives: Leadership

Accreditation – A burden or a blessing

Vendor accreditation programmes – who are they really for?

1. Customers?
2. Channel partners?
3. Vendors?
4. All three?

Why does a customer care if their supplier is accredited by the vendor of the product, solution or service?
Why does a channel partner care whether they are Bronze, Silver, or Gold certified?
Why does the vendor need to create training and certification material, courses, tests etc?

It all sounds a lot of work, so why does anyone bother?

There must be some significant value in order to motivate everyone to care enough to get engaged – so what is it?

Customers are what this is all about! Customers require good advice from well informed representatives from the channel community and the channel community cannot rely on the resources of the vendor at every engagement they have, so the channel partners need to become equally well informed – This requires training and testing, which is great for the vendor, because they end up with well informed channel partners representing them and provides the scale required to develop more market coverage. In addition, an accreditation programme usually has a volume\revenue related metric, which rewards the successful sales partner – more of a value component than a quality component and an often thorny topic for engineering heavy partners with lots of skills but not too many new sales. Customers are usually able to see for themselves what partner accreditations are for channels and select based on a value\quality blend. In reality most customers want to know they will be well looked after rather than well sold to.
For the vendor, an accreditation programme provides a sense for channel partner commitment levels and focus on their portfolio, and training enables current knowledge to be maintained and product knowledge to be broadly well ingrained. The more a channel partner commits to one vendor programme, the less time and resources they will have for competing offers – stands to reason. So vendors see this as an important dynamic for developing partner commitments. Ultimately this enables scale and quality delivery for the customers and commitment for the vendor, with the reseller having the ability to wrap services and complementary products to their solution.

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Who is coaching you?

never quitWhether you are Jonny Wilkinson, Steph Houghton or Mo Farah, the one thing they all have in common is that they all had, and continue to have support to develop their skills and success – a sports coach – in fact probably several coaches with differing and complementary skills.

How about you? Are you so talented that you don’t need coaching? Maybe it’s more simple than that – you simply lack ambition?

No of course not, It’s none of the above is it….you just haven’t been thinking in these terms have you? But now that we are discussing it, it makes sense doesn’t it? In fact it’s rather more common than most of us might think.

So now you are thinking about it – what will you do differently?

Give me a call now – that’s right be a “do it now” person of action.

Success awaits you – the bold and audacious, I salute you.

How agile is your business?

What factors affect the agility of a business? Is it the simple case that if you are running a small business, then you are agile?
I don’t believe so, as there are other really critical factors that mean that a larger business can also be agile whereas a smaller business can also be slow and unresponsive.

For example, in order to be agile, a business needs to be able to make decisions rapidly and have an environment where staff are empowered. The culture needs to be one that focusses on the customer as their purpose, rather than the customer as an inconvenience and an interruption and a source of frustration. Believe me when I say that I have experienced senior business leaders speaking about their customers in very negative terms, and bemoaning their approach to suppliers.
Ownership of issues is also a factor that is critical in ensuring your business can be agile or not. Large or small, having simple processes that ensure that the business does not simply rely on people passing emails to each other and responding in a timely fashion, is critical. A customer with a requirement is only interested in a partnership with another organisation able to understand them and an ability to execute.
So in summary the following are necessary to enable your business to operate with agility:

> Customer focus
> Empowerment
> Decision making
> Process – simple and effective.
> Ownership

And an agile business, like a successful sports team, needs a high degree of collaboration and teamwork focus.

Can your Leadership repertoire run to coaching too?

I was watching the TV earlier in the week – Vera was the name of the programme in question and for those not acquainted, it’s a police detective drama.

There is the usual hierarchy on display with a hard working sergeant who is smart and growing in confidence in his role and adding enormous value to the case currently under investigation. What struck me about this particular episode was the fact that the Inspector, whilst valuing the sergeant’s inputs, was not particularly OPEN with him, and in fact the communication was pretty one-way traffic, apart from the issuing of instructions and orders – sound familiar?

At the end of this episode, there is a moment where the inspector and her sergeant are sitting in a car and the conversation takes a turn to matters of a more “personal” nature, and the sergeant speaks up to say that he learns a lot from her, and he needs her to share more with him to help him to develop……how true this must be for organisations around the World! The old paradigm of “knowledge is power” still rings through the corporate corridors and business “leaders” are jealously guarding their knowledge for fear that giving it away makes them somehow impotent. The reality is that this very act is holding back the success of the “group” and ultimately the business. This outdated thinking is also creating a positive reason why those very individuals being starved of help and support will most likely entertain the call from the “head-hunter” when he comes knocking.

Don’t let your fear and neurosis halt your progress, as it is through the success and development of the people you are responsible for, that you will deliver the result that you and your business are seeking.

But hey – what do I know!

Values and principles

Because we always see and experience 100% of the time through our own eyes, sometimes we may struggle to be truly objective on all issues.
I thought I would begin with that caveat, as I recognise that my rantings are entirely “as I see things” So to my post ……

Through innovation in technology and in how we communicate, we have never had more channels open to us through which to engage and communicate with other people, or not. This is coming to my point; despite the open ubiquitous nature of communications, I have found that rather than improving communications, it has stifled them. There may be many reasons for this and perhaps the very fact that we are spoilt for choice, may well be the issue – communications overload!!!; Perhaps responding to incoming “traffic” has become a firefighting exercise, and if you or your “message” are deemed unimportant to the recipient, then you are possibly going to the bottom of the queue; relegated to the “I’ll deal with it when can” group.
My personal experience of late is that I have seen a rapid surge in periods of deafening silence over not just days, but weeks following commitments to keep me updated. I’m not sure that anyone could argue that this could be viewed as either desirable, or indeed welcome.
Fast forward to some of the social media channels and again it’s a not uncommon experience for an individual or organisation to use, Twitter, for example as a broadcast; automating a series of outbound marketing messages in the hope of hooking some new customers. How they intend to do this is a little puzzling, as I’ve replied a few times to a feed and guess what? Yep, radio silence.
So why is this? Are people so ignorant that they can’t be bothered to respond, or are the tools not in place to support the meteoric growth in channels of communications….. Who knows?

Can I get off my soapbox now before I fall off…

Will you reach your full potential?

I was showering this morning and began thinking about the year just gone and the coming year ahead. I was thinking about all the well wishes I was receiving and sending and I started to think about some of the language we use and ended up thinking about reaching our full potential. Further thought on this had me delving deeper and asking myself some questions which I would like to pose to you here now- Firstly what exactly is your full potential? How do you measure it and where is the ‘limit’?
I’m still pondering on that one and hope to hear some alternative perspectives and thoughts.
I hope you reach yours and achieve fulfilment 🙂

What did you learn in 2009?

I guess we’ve all felt the recession in some form and have felt some pain or seen some benefit, depending upon the business we are in, or the state of our personal finances. Whatever our position, we have seen impact. Often we have no ability to influence what happens to us, but we can absolutely choose how we respond to what happens to us. So I decided to share an abridged version of my 2009.
I left long term employment in October 2008 as a result of taking a redundancy package, and immediately began a consulting assignment. At the start of 2009 I decided to press on and see what business I could become involved in and although not consciously, something far from what I had been doing (it was only later that this realisation came to me).
I became involved in publishing and assessing sales people’s capabilities and fit for specific roles and spread myself so thinly that I found it difficult to explain when asked, what business I was in. During this time I also began to network extensively and learnt much about social media and social networking. I read significantly too and took the opportunity to invest in personal development- training with Delta TCC and completing three INLPTA diplomas: Leadership, Coaching and Sales all were delivered using NLP techniques which provide a platform for enhanced communication with people.

After the summer I came to a realisation that I had much invested in my experiences to date and expertise gained from more than 20 years in the Telecom market place and so I made a decision to return and subsequently found my self a great role to immerse myself in, and am delighted to be doing so.

So what have I learnt? I learnt a huge amount about myself, a lot about people generally, and about human nature, as well as behaviour. I learnt much more about business generally too – certainly more than I would ever have expected to. Overall an invaluable life lesson and absolutely unmissable. I am most definitely a better person, and more heavily armed to take on business than I could ever have hoped to be – PRICELESS