Thursday, April 10, 2014

35 And Well, .....

Fooled again by weather. I have a suede coat on this morning and no other outer wear like gloves or a hat. It's spring for crying out loud. Or is it? With frost on all the cars in the bus parking lot and a temperature of 35 degrees it feels more like just another day in this never ending winter. At least the heat still works on the bus.

Today is round three of our account reviews. The schedule begins winding down at about three this afternoon and so I'm hopeful I have a few hours attaché end of the day to get other things accomplished. I head out on vacation on Saturday and have to be out on sales calls tomorrow so this is my last opportunity to get caught up with everyone and make sure things are well sorted for the week I'm out. It's going to be a busy day.

The sky in the east is brightening. Though it feels like winter outside there are some real signs of change. I think I saw flower buds on trees last night as I drove home and I'm certain I saw the reddening of leaf buds on a few as well. Perhaps when we get home from our trip this transition will be complete and we can truly call it spring.

I'm droning on with drivel here so I will sign off for the day. I have to send a few notes to Asia anyway so I might as well get the day started. Looking forward to the time off.

And that makes me happy.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Single Purpose Day

Specialization often makes for superior performance. You see it in athletes at the highest levels and in the arts. Actually in most aspects of life those that specialize excel in that activity. The outperformance is direct result of a continuous weeding out process of lesser talents. Unless we are talking about hobbies, eventually the individual that underperforms will be relegated to such a low state that they no longer have options to participate, or they will simply give up and move on to another pursuit. I specialize in people and yesterday was a perfect example of the amount of energy and time required to be good at my specialization.

We are in the heart of our quarterly account reviews. Today will be day three of four and like yesterday my time will be completely dedicated to these meetings. We began our first session yesterday at seven thirty AM and finished our last for the day at ten PM. Other than commuting, taking a half hour to get lunch and dinner and my hour for exercise, this is all I did all day. The meetings are set back to back in half hour increments. If we finish a bit early with one we review what was said among the team and discuss ways to improve the review process. It is all encompassing for these four days.

I instituted this process a little over two years ago and it is very satisfying to see how they team has developed and more importantly how much better we know our clients. The results have been outstanding.we certainly have our losing stories but for the most party e attention to detail of having a plan of attack in an account has made each member of de team more efficient and accurate. We diagnose any service gaps early enough to fix them. We plan for change in our accounts and make certain we have the relationships in place to weather any major turnover. We talk through and hold ourselves accountable for growth goals based on our understanding of the potential in each account.

All of this takes a lot of work by the team, but for me it is a great chance to influence how they think about their work. I have four days to intact with them in small group discussion and provide concrete tactics and feedback on how they approach their job. This is one of the most taxing but rewarding things I do.

Yes, we all dread the account reviews each quarter. We are locked up in a conference room for four days straight while the email and the rest of our business lives pile up do to lack of attention but sometimes you have to specialize to be good and so I am all for the single purpose day every once in a while.

And that makes me happy.