Get Visual

As I take the journey through re-vamping my systems, webs, literature and first impressions to the customer I would like to share my thoughts on being visual.

Starting with your Unique vision

We get an idea for a business, we daydream, we make it happen but it mustn’t stop there. For the first time this year I did a vision board. I have been on quite a journey of learning and one of the key factors in my success so far has been understanding the law of attraction. Learning to take your focus off the negative aspects and turn my attention to what I desire in my personal and business life. Put simply if you focus on lack of customers or money guess what the law of attraction brings? Yep, you’ve got it, more of the same! So if we don’t develop our visions and adapt them how do we progress along our journey? My advice here is to start mapping out in your mind the long term strategy and vision, even visualise milestones, winning awards or contracts. What ever is significant in your business see it and sense it in your mind down to the last detail, what will you be wearing and who will be with you? When you start to see things in this much detail it is easier to become that person and achieve the right mindset. Mindset is another key element; for example if you want to be a million pound business you first need to become and make decisions as a million pound business owner, being able to actually see yourself already there will make the journey easier.

Moving this vision to your team.

When you tell your story to others they will engage with your story and relate to it, and the same is true in business. So what if we add powerful images to this story, how much more compelling does it become then? I recently met an artist who made me think, she had worked with a company on their core values. The staff had been allowed to create paintings of how they thought their values would look as images e.g. trust & integrity. These images have been put onto literature with the values and are carried around in handy sized credit card sized leaflets by all staff. Now employees can relate to their paintings and the values taking ownership of what they have created together. I loved this and think it is so important to use photos and images to capture the aspirations and goals of the company. Even more to get everyone from the bottom up to contribute and understand their part in the journey and ongoing story.

Explaining to your customers.

Nearly all business owners I have spoken to have said what a different using videos or re-branding their business with new graphics has made. We need to show our customers what we do not just tell them. Statistics show that we only have a limited number of seconds to make an impression so images really count. They don’t stop to read, may not feel like pressing play on that video today but they have already seen the image you put there. My journey is looking at images that portray what I do, which can sometimes be very technical. My aim is to show a solution to a customer problem in as little words as possible. This is not an easy job and I would recommend the help of an expert but I hope to share my ongoing story and show what a difference it can make.

Within the business structure

My business revolves around creating good business systems and adding value by giving structure and stability to the company growth. I love flowcharts, sad some may say but a great tool nonetheless. The use of images and diagrams for education and training has been proven so why not find something that gives instruction step by step. A flowchart also allows you to see who your internal customers and suppliers are to help you understand what and why you do what you do. Having critical success factors within these processes give clear measurables, enabling the team to instantly see where they are successful in delivering the needs of the next step in the process. A good idea is to also look at the risks associated with each process as well as understanding the overall business risks. That way the team fully understand the controls in place and the consequences of not adhering to the system.

I digress when I talk systems but flowcharts and process maps are my thing! Let’s also not forget about the power of using pictures to engage, learn and train. Graphics on why things matter, training simulation, video tutorials are crucial as we all learn in different ways. If you eliminate the visual, chances are you eliminate a proportion of your workforce that learn in that way. I prefer visual flowcharts but I do not eliminate detail altogether. When you hover over a step in one of my flowcharts there is a link to written work or form examples or check lists; it’s all about layers and those who need to dig deeper into detail can and will. Phonographics are another great tool as they show a number of complex steps in a simple visual form. i am looking at working in partnership with a new company and the first thing we are working on is an info-graphic to describe the benefit to the customer of our joint approach. Can’t wait to share this with you shortly.

A word of warning

What ever you do; do it consistently. Quality and consistency are key to growing your brand.

With your website is hard to find your space within the noise that is the internet. Good strategy, planning & persistence will get you there; being consistent with timing and content will raise your chances of staying there.

I am no expert but I know the feeling I get every time I decide to draw something or illustrate the subject matter; when eyes light up and they say “I get it now”.

I would love to hear your stories so do get in touch, it is great to bounce ideas from one another and see the innovation that comes out of these conversations.

 

 

 

 

Achieving work life balance needs a system!

You will often hear me talk now about creating harmony in the workplace, true harmony is when all of your processes interact with each other seamlessly to achieve a common goal. Sounds easy enough until you put people, external factors and risks/opportunities into the mix. So how am I helping with work life balance? I will enlighten you. To me ‘systems thinking’ is all about being able to understand the whole or the bigger picture. We need to put this deeper understanding into practice as we manage our day to day activities and changes that are occurring in our businesses. Do you feel that you have adequate time to do your job well and spend Quality time away from work? If the answer is no then Why? Maybe you are so consumed by what you do that the answer will not come without refocusing.

Some of us spend far too much time either fire fighting to survive or having conversations with ourselves over situations. Having precious little time and fighting the internal dialogues of our mind does not lead to us enjoying a healthy relationship with the business and a good work life balance. These are my tips to take you from surviving to thriving.

  • Take time out to relax and refocus, spend time on the business.
  • Look after you – if you are not in good health you won’t be in the right place to move forward.
  • Understand your business process, what is it that you exist to do?
  • Realise why systems are so important to creating sustainable growth.
  • Walk your process and start mapping out your business, design the way you want it to run and look like.
  • Implement systems that work for your business and your staff – involve everyone. (No forced templates)
  • Understand the risks and controls in your business, what is actually affecting your ability to deliver?
  • Prioritise – take things one step at a time – work on the things that are going to make the biggest impact to your customers and bottom line first.
  • Automate when you are able but only after you have defined the process first. For example your CRM system is not your process it is only a tool to help automate part of the Sales process.

If you need a gentle introduction to all of this then check out our new course and give yourself a different perspective on systems.

Have a great day!

Get Better or Get Beat

Get Better or Get Beat!

Quality, remember that word? It has so many definitions and meanings to each and every one of us. Quality has come a long way since the 80’s and the phrase Get better or get beat comes from the US in the late 80’s when they had to do a real push for Quality following the Japanese market success.

So my question is do you think that putting Quality as one of the key elements in the heart of your strategy can give you the competitive advantage you need? Isn’t that one thing we strive in order to survive, market superiority? This lead ahead has to be sustainable and affordable, we need to be efficient and consistent in what we deliver. S. C. Wheelwright identified six characteristics of a strong competitive advantage, so how do these fair with ISO9001:2015?

  1. Driven by customers wants and needs – You need to give your customers value that your competitors are not. The 2015 standard clause 5 is LEADERSHIP and under this category we look at customer focus. It is your responsibility to demonstrate leadership and commitment to ensure customer focus so that all requirements are determined, understood and met. This needs to be related to all interested parties which is why you need to ensure fully understand the context of your organisation. Know the risks and opportunities that can affect your product or service to make sure that you can maintain the focus on enhancing the customer experience.

  2. Makes a significant contribution to the success of the business – I think this is self explanatory but reports have shown that companies who truly embrace the principles of the ISO9001 standard reap the benefits. For a relatively low fee the standard provides a PROVEN METHODOLOGY, techniques and ideas that in turn increase customer confidence, help them operate more efficiently and meet your customer needs consistently.

  3. Matches the organisation’s unique resources with opportunities in the environment – No two companies are exactly alike they have different people, vision and culture. Cause 4 of the new standard covers understanding the CONTEXT of the organisation, so you will need to determine all external & internal issues that are relevant to your purpose and strategy. Purpose is a great word and under ISO9001:2015 you need to be more RISK BASED in your thinking, so what is it that affects your ability to achieve results & fulfill your purpose? Think about your SWOT & PEST analysis opportunities as well as threats, this is what defines your strategy, policies and objectives. With this clear line sight and visibility throughout the organisation your actions and resources will be directly in line with your strategies.

  4. Durable & Lasting, difficult for competitors to copy – Nothing stays unique for long you need to be able to develop and embrace innovation to stay ahead of the game. Clause 10 of the new standard is now IMPROVEMENT stating that you need to select opportunities for improvement, then implement any that meet and enhance existing customer satisfaction and future needs / expectations. Add to this the expanded section on DESIGN & DEVELOPMENT in Clause 8.3 and Clause 6 PLANNING the actions to address threats and opportunities; then you have a formula to capture and develop improvement ideas. Of course customers don’t always know their future needs until they are created, which is why we must innovate!

  5. Provides a basis for further improvement – quite often ideas act as a catalyst and can provide a stream of improvements which can be rolled out step by step. It is important to remember this for changes to your Quality management system. Clause 6.3 PLANNING OF CHANGES reminds us of the emphasis we need to place on ensuring we know the impact of these changes, and carrying things out in a controlled manner.

  6. Provides direction and motivation to the entire organisation – I love this last one as I believe it reflects the new requirements regarding fully understanding the context of your company, then demonstrating LEADERSHIP & COMMITMENT in your strategy. When you embrace ISO9001 and involve everyone it is a team effort. It’s about defining your expectations and boundaries but giving your employees responsibility, trust them to do the job you brought them in to do. This is a favourite of mine and why so many business owners need systems, to have the confidence to let go of the day to day in the business and start working on their business. Employees will do amazing things if given the opportunity and encouragement, so use systems to define your expectations and help them understand where they fit into the bigger picture.

My feelings regarding the ISO9001:2015 standard I hope are clear – I am a convert, but my advice is to ensure you consider three things in order to give you that sought after competitive advantage:

  1. Put it into the right environment – CULTURE IS CRITICAL

  2. Share and involve people on your journey- UNDERSTAND CONTEXT AND LINK IT TO YOUR WHY, YOUR STRATEGY RIGHT DOWN TO HOW YOUR EMPLOYEES CONTRIBUTE TO IT.

  3. Be disciplined and think process – EMBRACE THE PROCESS APPROACH, PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND ADDRESS RISK SO YOU FULLY UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT OF CHANGES.

Ok so that is a lot put into three points but people like to look at a small number of things as a summary! I hope this has encouraged you to look into Quality Management Systems as a route to giving your company a competitive advantage to your business. I am happy to discuss any of these points or explore stages of improvement that can be rolled out.

LEAVE A COMMENT, MESSAGE ME OR EMAIL afumpson@white-tiger.co.uk

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Chartered Quality Institute Event 17-06-15

The Avon Branch are back!

Very pleased to be part of an amazing group at the CQI Avon Branch, a brilliant talk given by Debbie Huxton. It was a busy night and I would like to personally thank everyone for taking time out to come and support this, especially to those who helped make the event happen. Thanks must go to the regular venue at the BAWA club for good food & wine plus fab cakes by Chris at Cakes from the Soul.

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Check out the CQI Linked in Page and also the official CQI Website to keep up-to-date with future events.

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