What I have learned…

September 7, 2009

For the past few weeks I’ve been managing the marketing and community engagement business unit @ Logan City Council. Although its been a while since I led a creative team of talented people the lessons of a diverse business career are always and ever present with you – specifically insights of, customers, people, leadership and business. Show them you care, Show them that they matter, Show them with love in your heart and Show them where they fit in (or don’t)!

Actually I’m blessed to have met or worked alongside some of the worlds best.

Back in the early 80’s I pitched an idea to the legendary Bob Ansett This was around the time when his mighty Budget Rent A Car was on the drive to knock off Avis from its No1 top dog status. (They did!) Anyway  back then I remember thinking wow, this guy is amazing but more importantly I remember his message:

“You can’t possibly know or understand how customers think or feel – unless you deal with them face to face”

Like most entrepreneurs Bob’s leadership style meant he didn’t just talk about it,  sadly like so many of todays managers do – he actually demonstrated what he meant by leading from the front line – and mandated all Budget senior execs must regularly serve on the front counter to experience first hand what face to face really means!

My next big lesson was about Customer Relationship Management… in the late 90’s at the offices of legendary USA authors Peppers & Rogers Group. (Dr Martha Rogers and Don Peppers – coined the phrase 1:1 Marketing). It was around the time that a few of us OZe’s imagined a different world emerging through the customers eyes. I had just seen Martha captivate an audience at a digital printing expo in New York  and I was hooked!

“Treat customers as a marketing opportunity of ONE – and you might just create a relationship covering a lifetime of value!”

And my third lesson is all about the new social media revolution when back in early 2000 I began to follow a real heretic – Seth Godin.  I’m an avid fan of all of his books and his daily Blog.

“The Web changes everything: customers now rule – you don’t!”

But perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learnt  and continue to learn is from the man who coined the ultimate customer relationship phrase LovemarksKevin Roberts is someone whom I admire, and regularly follow across a variety of issues including Leadership and what it means to do the right thing – the very inspirational Saatchi & Saatchi leader – Kevin’s a Kiwi and NZ is a country which spawns a host of clever people who regularly punch above their weight

So do yourself a favour. Sit back and watch this.




The Innovation Cafe

May 3, 2009

Hello and welcome to my Australia – a land very much ‘down under’ in respect to where we sit within the global innovation economy!

Undaunted, a couple of weeks ago (Monday 20th April to be precise), three committed Queensland Economic Development Mavericks – Derek Ephrem, Nick McGuire and yours truly, decided to do something about it, when we raised the innovation bar a notch for this country.

Over 200 invited VIP’s and guests attended, the first Innovation Cafe breakfast (Watch the Launch here) – hosted by Logan City Council’s mayor Pam Parker.

Australia’s leading strategic foresight thinker – Steve Tighe – (from Chasing Sunrises) provided a fascinating 45 minute insight into why the world’s smartest business leaders continually get it so wrong. Scenario planning – spot the signals before they become a trend!

Now before you start trying to Google – The Innovation Cafe’s location, let me say this isn’t about a physical place rather this is more about the metaphor which underpins Innovation – the new peer to peer collaboration model – to  get together over a coffee (or if you prefer – green tea) to discuss issues or a topic around a common interest!

This is an era of Ready Fire Aim. Its time for Aussie business leaders to Think Different!

To unlearn those rear vision lessons from the past. To look up and to look forward. To notice what’s going on around you. To recognise that people especially your most valuable asset – employees matter just as much as profits and customers.

hire the right staff as they will attract the right customers because they will deliver you sustainable profits!

Yes, change is constant and inevitable. Therefore any business success, regardless of the current GFC (global financial crisis) is entirely dependent upon the benefits it provides by matching society’s perceived needs at any given point of time. And that can change in a blink of an eye.

You either adapt or you’ll become extinct.

But not this little black duck.

Open collaboration that fuels innovation is the key.

Join me in this quest to Think Different…and watch this space!