Regardless of the sector your organization operates within or its size, increasing employee performance, building customer loyalty, and growing revenue are likely your top priorities.
How can you continually improve your employees' morale and performance in a sustainable way? How can you stay ahead of your customers' ever-changing needs without spending a fortune on technology? How will you survive financially amidst the rising costs of retaining talent, attracting customers, and introducing technology?
Whether you are a CEO, executive, or entrepreneur, in The Unstoppable Organization, Shawn Casemore will show you how to master the trilogy of success for unsurpassed performance as he shares insights, examples, and proven practices to:
- Engage your people to increase their productivity and morale.
- Empower your customers to become invested in and loyal ambassadors of your brand.
- Gain clarity on where you should invest in order to achieve the highest possible ROI.
- Increase creativity within your organization to tackle and overcome emerging challenges.
- Prepare for the next generation of employees and customers.
Building and sustaining a highly competitive and profitable organization can be complex and confusing, but it needn't be. The Unstoppable Organization shares insights and examples of dozens of companies who are growing leaps and bounds over their competition, all with a stabilized and highly engaged workforce who help them connect and satisfy their customers each and every day.
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Shawn Casemore is widely recognized as an authority in employee and customer empowerment, helping organizations introduce and embrace empowerment as a key strategy to increasing employee autonomy, morale, and performance. After nearly two decades leading teams in the automotive, packaging, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and power generation industries, Casemore began his consulting practice in 2009 with the intention of helping CEOs and their organizations build stronger and more profitable companies with and through their people. Having worked with more than a hundred different executives from around North America since this time, Casemore is frequently in demand to speak on topics related to employee empowerment and engagement. His insights and ideas have been published Industry Week, Fast Company, Chief Executive, and The Globe and Mail.
Read an Excerpt
SUCCESS OR FAILURE INBUSINESS RELIES ON ONE THING
There is not much new under the sun.
Ray Casemore, Retired
When I was around the age of six, my parents took me to the local fair where, like any other kid my age, I took in the rides, various games, and demonstrations. The memory is long past today; however, the one thing that stands out in my mind was the magician who was demonstrating card tricks. I remember being amazed at the magician's ability to allow me to pick a card, without him actually seeing the card and then, after the deck was shuffled, to pick out the very card that I had chosen (or so it would seem). As a six-year-old living in a small town, I was absolutely astonished. Magic and specifically card tricks actually still amaze me to this day, as I spend time watching specials with magicians such as David Blaine who, through sleight of hand, is able to amaze complete strangers with card tricks and other more dangerous feats. David, like many other magicians, is able to shift perceptions, making onlookers believe something that isn't real. The question I've asked myself during the past 10 years of research into what makes an organization unstoppable when it comes to growth is: are we being led to believe that the secret to growth isn't what we think it is?
For several years now, I have been traveling through North America and speaking at CEO and executive forums such as Vistage International and TEC Canada. In the hundreds of interactions I've had with CEOs, executives, and business owners, our discussions invariably turn to business growth. Sometimes it begins with some innocent small talk. I invariably ask, "How's business?" Other times, the questions come directly from the executive, who is seeking advice on what I've seen working that would help their organization grow. I was motivated to write this book as a result of these discussions. To be honest with you, I think the secrets to becoming an unstoppable organization aren't so secret. Instead, I believe that the real key to growth, the primary consideration necessary to truly becoming an unstoppable organization, has been somehow lost or forgotten amidst the glitz and glamour of new technology or lost as a result of chasing a solution that some guru might suggest is the "key to organizational growth today."
Now before I go any further, let me share with you that I've been an acting management consultant for more than a decade. I have never during this time believed or suggested I was a guru; rather, I'm a student of the hundreds of executives and organizations with which I've had the pleasure to work for. They have demonstrated time and time again through both their successes and challenges that, to grow a sustainable and profitable business in any sector and any region, you need only focus on one thing: people.
When I say people, what I'm referring to are your employees. They are the people who make decisions, interact with customers, and invest a good portion of their waking hours to the success of your organization. It's your people who will determine ultimately whether your organization is profitable or not, is successful or not, and will sustain it in a competitive marketplace or not. This might seem like an oversimplification; however, I can reassure you it's not. When you consider that every single person who works within your business today has a different background, experiences, ideas, expectations, and beliefs both personally and professionally, the objective of aligning your people in support of becoming an unstoppable organization can seem a daunting if not impossible task. In reality, it can be. However, it's for these very reasons that it's your people who ultimately are the deciding factor between the success and failure of your business. Your people are the key to becoming unstoppable.
Throughout this book, I'm going to demonstrate exactly why people who work in your organization today, and who may be working in it tomorrow, are the single most important factor to its future success. There can be no better area to invest your time, energy, and money than in your people. I'm not suggesting in making this statement, however, that you need to run out and train your people, nor do I believe that hiring more or better people is the answer. It's not as simple as that because as I alluded to, people are complex beings.
We have to think of our organizations as living, breathing entities that contain perceptions, norms, and ideals that ultimately influence the success or failure of the organization. These come from the people who work within it and the customers that it serves. It is our employees who determine the level of success (as measured by sales, productivity, profitability, and the like) an organization achieves, and it's the degree to which our employees feel committed to the success of the organization that will determine that success. Put differently, you can train employees on new processes, add new technology, or bring in highly skilled people, but in the end it's the employees' own experiences, ideals, and enthusiasm that will determine how well we attract, service, and retain our customers.
When my family moved to a new home last year, I contacted a local satellite provider to arrange for equipment and installation of our Internet and television. Everything went off without a hitch. About a month later, my wife and I decided we wanted to install a third satellite box to operate an additional television in our basement, so I contacted "customer support" about getting a third box. I was told that it would cost nearly $400, which seemed ludicrous considering that our existing dish and two boxes had only cost $225 just 30 days prior. As I felt my blood pressure rise, I explained to the customer service agent that the cost made no sense. I was reassured several times that this was the price.
As you might imagine, we decided not to add the third box, but instead to move our business to a different provider. A couple weeks after I cancelled my service, I received a call from my original provider to ask why I had made the move. When I explained the cost differential and our disappointment, they responded with, "Why sir, a third box should only have cost you $99 and being a new customer the agent you spoke with should have offered it for free." Those were my thoughts exactly, but unfortunately either the original agent didn't know this was the case (which could be for various reasons), or didn't care about the influence this policy may have had on my desire to keep them as my provider.
I'm sure you've had similar experiences, and I share this specific example because it highlights something that plagues most organizations today when it comes to becoming unstoppable. Employees of the organization, in their daily roles in supporting its objective, either don't know what to do or how it is to be done or, alternatively, they simply don't care. This statement isn't meant to be negative in any fashion; it's simply the truth. When it comes to acting in a way that best aligns with organizational objectives and satisfying customer needs, most employees either don't understand what specifically the organization wants or needs them to do, or they've realized that the role they are in or the organization they are with simply isn't for them.
Relative to employees not knowing what do to, the underlying issues can be:
Not having sufficient or timely information to make decisions.
Not having access to the tools to support making decisions.
Not having the authority to make decisions.
Not understanding the influence their decisions have on the business.
Not being clear on the decisions others around them are making.
Relative to employees not caring about what they should be doing can result from:
Not enjoying the work.
Not enjoying the people they work with or for.
Not having the support of leadership.
Not believing the organization has their best interests at heart.
Not believing they can make a difference in the business.
Whether an employee doesn't know or doesn't care can really depend on the situation at hand and the employee, but we can draw a hypothesis relative to causes when we consider the environment and challenges most companies face today.
Trials and Tribulations
My father once told me, "There is not much new under the sun." What he was referring to at the time was my concern as a young teenager about some bullies at my school who were taking names and picking fights. Like most bullies, they strutted their stuff through the halls of my high school, bumping into people, shooting looks at those they didn't like, and welcoming anyone to join them at the front of the school for an "attitude adjustment" after the final bell. Unfortunately for me, one of the more disliked hoodlums started dating my ex-girlfriend (yikes!), following which I presumed it was only a matter of time before I received an official invitation to the school parking lot for an attitude adjustment. As you can imagine, I was somewhat nervous. I shared the situation with my father, hypothetically of course, presenting a story about a guy who was being threatened by others at school, one of whom may have a knife, and asking what my father suggested my "friend" do if confronted. My father, who I'm sure got into a tussle or two when he was young, shared with me a story about guys carrying chains when he was younger, and suggested that the rumors were most likely not true and started by the bullies themselves as a scare tactic. Although I'm confident my father knew that my hypothetical story was about me, he ended our discussion by sharing this. "Shawn," he said, "there have always been bullies in schools and there will likely always be bullies. There is nothing new under the sun. Regardless of the difference in our age, there is nothing that you have or will face or experience that I or my father likely didn't experience ourselves."
If you're wondering, I was eventually invited for an "attitude adjustment" after the final bell, and following my father's sage advice I went and waited, somewhat nervously, to accept whatever fate was coming my way. After some exchange of words, the bully decided to save bruising his knuckles on my face for another day, which never came. What I've never forgotten, however, is my father's view that "there is nothing new under the sun." I find this piece of wisdom surrounding me daily, particularly when reading the news. Rarely is there a story or a situation that hasn't happened before. Each time we are faced with a record temperature high, the statement is followed with something like, "The last time we saw a high of this magnitude was back in 1951." When faced with the recession of 2008/9, the media, while reporting the severity of economic events happening globally, frequently referred back to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Sure, these situations and others like them might emerge in different forms or ways, but rarely is something completely new, never having been experienced before.
I share this story with you because that lesson my dad taught me comes to mind when considering the trials and tribulations of many organizations, and specifically, the CEOs and executives who lead them. Despite the growing complexity of a global marketplace, the continued evolution and influence of technology, and the challenges in adapting to shifts in human behavior and preferences, one thing remains constant. We have always been attempting to find ways to get the most from our people in order to best support our organization and its customers, and this likely will never change. At the core, an organization and its ability to be successful or not relies on its people — that, in essence, is my father's timeless wisdom at work. There is nothing new under the sun.
Consider, for example, that according to a survey of 1300 CEOs conducted by PwC, one of the top concerns globally for CEOs in 2017 is the challenge of "balancing man and machine." That is, finding the right skills and technology that will allow them to marry technology with unique human capabilities. Furthermore, what's even more interesting about the survey responses is that a significant percent have found and continue to believe that technology has and will have a lesser effect on the growth and success of their companies than they once predicted back in 1998. What we can further glean from these insights is that regardless of the extent to which technology has and will continue to influence the growth of an organization, people and their unique talents and capabilities become ever more important. This isn't to say that continued developments in artificial intelligence and other technologies won't influence this perception in years to come, but it's important to note that when survey respondents were asked about their most pressing needs, finding and retaining talent were amongst the top three areas identified. More specifically, when asked about which specific skills were most important for them to find in the people they needed, the following five skills were identified:
61 percent said problem-solving was a crucial skill.
61 percent identified that adaptability was essential.
75 percent suggested leadership was necessary.
77 percent identified creativity and innovation.
64 percent selected emotional intelligence as a key skill.
The results of the survey highlight a few critical points about growing an organization in today's global economy, and they are in stark contrast to what many have believed in recent years, mostly on account of what "experts" have been suggesting. Specifically, despite the once strong belief that technology was going to change the face of business and people as we know it, this has not actually been the case. Although technology and its proper development and adaptation are crucial to remaining competitive, it has not and will not take the place of people as the most important resource for an organization seeking to grow and be profitable. Moreover, the more reliant we become on technology, the more we realize the importance of specific and unique human skills that can never be fully or effectively adopted by technology.
The question that logically presents itself, then, is how can we avoid becoming enamored with the latest and greatest technology, forgetting about the importance of our people? In my experience, the answer lies in what we have always known. A great organization, one that is successful and sustainable, is built on people. You might believe this isn't much of a revolutionary statement and that you are already placing your people first. However, to confirm the extent to which this might be true, let me share with you a simple exercise I use with my clients to assess the priority of their people relative to becoming an unstoppable organization.
Step 1: Add up the total investment you have made in technology during the last three years. Costs typically include researching, buying, and introducing technology (including training, annual registration costs, and so on). Add to this any ongoing costs you have for existing technology such as annual subscriptions, upgrades, and storage fees. Last, add all online costs, including Website development, maintenance, and so on. Any personnel costs associated with this technology should also be lumped into this bucket.
Step 2: Add up the total investment you have made in further developing the skills of your people. This typically comes from the training budgets set forth by each department and may include personal development for employees (for example, time management) or group development (for example, leadership training). Specifically, do not include development that is considered "supportive" versus "necessary." For instance, if you have compensated employees for furthering their education, but this education cannot or is not being applied on the job, then do not continue to pay for it.
For bonus material to assist you in your journey toward becoming an unstoppable organization, make sure to visit www.unstoppableorganization.com.
When you compare these two costs, which is higher? In my experience, it's typically the former more so than the latter. The investments made to introduce and maintain technology far outweigh the investments made in developing people. If you want a simpler test to see this in action, pull up the invoice for your last ERP (enterprise resource planning) implementation and compare it to what you spent on the development of your leaders last year. I think you'll find a big gap in cost, with the lion's share of the investment having gone to the ERP project.
Although this is only a simple exercise, the investments we make in our people (and I'm not talking about wages, but rather how much we invest to strengthen their knowledge and abilities) are minor compared to many of the other expenses we have in operating a business. It's almost as if we see a wage as the primary motivator of our people, when we know this isn't true. In essence, I believe that we have our priorities wrong, and we are putting our proverbial wallets behind it and then often wondering why our organization, and specifically the people within it, aren't performing to the extent we'd like to see.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Unstoppable Organization"
Copyright © 2018 Shawn Casemore.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part 1 What if Everything You Knew About Growth Was irrelevant?
Chapter 1 Success or Failure in Business Relies on One Thing 17
Chapter 2 What We Believed to Be True Isn't 29
Chapter 3 "Customerization": The Amazon Effect 45
Part 2 Exploring the Realities of Today's Marketplace
Chapter 4 Value Is in the Eye of the Beholder 61
Chapter 5 The Information Highway or Route 66? 77
Chapter 6 Dealing With the "Me" Generation 91
Chapter 7 Creating a Culture That Adds Value to Your Customers 105
Chapter 8 Growth Is a Team Sport 121
Part 3 How to Empower Your Organization to Grow
Chapter 9 Empowering Your Customers 139
Chapter 10 Empowering Employees: The Customer-Employee Connection 153
Chapter 11 Empowering Your Brand 167
Chapter 12 Empowering Market Share 177
Part 4 Growing Forward
Chapter 13 Employees: Real Growth Hormone for Your Business 189
Chapter 14 Social Media: Strategy Versus Distraction 203
Chapter 15 Growth 6.0: Peer into My Crystal Ball 209