Manager's Corner: Keep It Real

Manager's Corner
Keep It Real

One of the professional organizations to which I belong has had its theme for the year: Keep It Real. It is meant to encourage us members to truly be experts in what we proclaim to be and do. To be honest, when I first heard the theme, I thought: Boring! However, over the past several months, I've come to appreciate it.
With the business environment becoming more and more challenging, it's been interesting to note the validity of Warren Buffet's famous saying: "Only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked."
Just last week, as I was wrapping up a training program, one of the participants said, "You actually know this stuff don't you?" I looked at her and initially thought, "Well, yeah." But then I thought, "Oh my gosh! They know when someone's snowing them."
There are far too many innocent victims of these troubled times. Yet there are many organizations and professionals who have been getting by and are now being severely tested. When the economy had been sailing along smoothly, it was relatively easy to use virtual and viral marketing techniques to hype over less-than-excellent products or services. But when money is tight, and decisions are made on legitimate value, how will your company stack up? Will your past customers continue to be future customers? Have you proven that your products or services have been and will continue to be 'worth it?' Have you regularly invested in your employees to ensure they continue to develop their expertise and skills to be the experts in your industry?
If your answer is "No," now's your chance to revamp. Challenging times are often the best times to revisit why you do what you do. During your review process, it's also the right time to ask, "If we were good before, what can we do to be even better for our customers going forward?" It's often the most obvious things: like really knowing your products, services, and industry; like really listening to your customers about their challenges and identifying ways you can help them going forward; and like truly listening to your staff and hearing where their frustration points have been during the busy times. Sometimes, all your staff wants is some of your time.
So, how good is your company at doing what you say you do? How good are your employees at being the experts in their fields? In tough times and bad, how good are you at Keeping It Real?

Copyright 2008 - Liz Weber, CMC - Weber Business Services, LLC. www.wbsllc.com