Posts Tagged ‘contingent action’

Inconvenience Squared

Monday, July 10th, 2017

Sitting on a EasyJet plane last night in Nice’s Côte d’Azur Airport minutes after boarding and the Captain gets on the microphone apologising that due to inclement weather on route, we must wait 55 minutes on the tarmac in Nice because “he needs to free up the gate”. He then invites those who would like to look around the cockpit to pay him a visit when the engines are off.

Kudos for the leader of the ship for addressing the audience and his openness to entertaining the frustrated passengers (quite how that is squared with EU security protocols preventing access to the cockpit is something of a mystery). Yet the obvious thing to ask is why would you ask 170 customers to be inconvenienced to a great extent in boarding a plane that you know is going nowhere for a considerable amount of time? Why couldn’t you move the plane 200 metres to another stand?

Perhaps you don’t care or perhaps the airline’s priority is more important than that of its’ customers comfort?  I see the same thing in a number of businesses.  Think about the unnecessary inconveniences that you are asking your customers to tolerate for your benefit? What stops you changing your behaviour and applying common sense? Is it a material or immaterial reason (safety or Company Policy)?

Too often our best intentions to manage customers expectations are largely overlooked because we insist on dumb decisions which are clearly not in our clients’ best interests.

© James Berkeley 2017.


Trusting Relationships Trump A Deal

Friday, June 2nd, 2017


Donald Trump follows through on one of his campaign promises and there are cries of “quelle horreur” and “nein” from his European partners, at the mere thought of any re-negotiation. It begs the very same question in your business, are you putting too much emphasis on signing a contract, and too little on continuing to nurture a peer-level trusting relationship and creating alternatives, where the original signatories (investor, customer, employee or business partner) may change, and the anticipated value derived from the deal is in all likelihood a long way in the future?

© James Berkeley 2017.



Idiotic Management: British Telecom (BT)

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

A call from a Jennifer Williams at BT, our broadband service provider’s security department, alerts us to suspicious activity. The call request details send us to their main customer telephone (30 minute wait) or their chat line function, hosted in some far fetched location, where you spend 30 minutes trying to get someone, who can input your account details accurately.  If BT’s management are truly serious about lowering the costs of fraud, and improved customer care, they would do well shopping their own business processes. They make the keystone cops look like MI5.

© James Berkeley 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Putin’s Boardroom Lesson: Who Let The Dogs Out

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

The heightened escalation of hostilities in Kiev splashed across global news media goes to prove that even the most choreographed “coming out” parades or new launches can be a hostage to fortune. The billions invested in Sochi to showcase a confident, high-growth and modern country are submerged beyond powerful images of fires, death and Russian political influence in Ukraine’s domestic affairs. When the 2014 Winter Olympics are over, it is clear no amount of images showing celebrity giant slalom skiers, 15 year old ice skaters and singalongathon’s  at the bottom of the Big Hill will stick long in the mindset of most people watching around the world. It is also a timely reminder to executive management tasked with exploiting profitable growth opportunities in a high growth market that they can never control or plan for everything.

  • If you have the predominance of your infrastructure in place, start, don’t wait to be 100% ready or 100% certain.
  • You must have preventative and contingent action in place for incorrect assumptions (market size, market demand, propensity of buyers to buy through different distribution channels) or unplanned events (the arrival of a new competitor, the announcement of new regulations)
  • You must establish clear accountabilities within the business for monitoring progress towards business goals and appropriate interventions
  • You must plan in advance to regularly bring good news to your key constituents, such that the need for changes of direction “on the fly” are put in the appropriate context
  • You must hire people with the skills, aptitude and personal resilience to work daily in a highly ambiguous environment
  • You must surround them with the appropriate tools (technology), support (feedback and resources) and authority (decision-making power) to manage a safe passage through the rocky terrain

There is a slightly macarbe irony watching a Russian DJ pumping up the crowd to the strain of 1990s anthem “Who Let The Dogs Out” in a momentary lull before the evening final of the ski jumping, and events across the border this week in the Ukraine. What is clear is that even the most powerful and wealthy governments and businesses cannot control everything and have to prepare for foreseen and unforeseen obstacles.

© James Berkeley 2014. All Rights Reserved.