I was reading Clayton M. Christensen’s great book, How Will You Measure Your Life?the other day. I love the book and he has some great stuff in it. But there was one quote that really stood out to me and I love it:
“…the path to happiness in a relationship is not just about finding someone who you think is going to make you happy. Rather, the reverse is equally true: the path to happiness is about finding someone who you want to make happy, someone whose happiness is worth devoting yourself to.”
As I’ve previously mentioned, when I have a book that I really think is beneficial to my staff we often use it for more than one of our Education Plan meetings. One of those excellent books is Ken Blanchard’s, Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service. This is a book that I think is excellent for everyone. Whether you are working with the customers that are buying your product, or the customer you are serving is your boss, this book is full of great stuff. In one of our previous company education meetings one of our team members, Red, taught us about Raving Fans. One of the points he made that stuck out in my mind was:
“Once you have your vision of what you want and listen to your customers and find out what they want you need to DELIVER TO YOUR CUSTOMERS PLUS 1%” One percent may not sound like a lot, but if you are delivering to expectations, plus 1%, it is a lot. But DON’T PROMISE TOO MUCH TO GAIN CUSTOMERS AND THEN NOT MEET THEIR EXPECTATIONS!
It takes way too much time, money and effort setting up new clients to let it fall apart after the fact with poor follow up service. A great product cannot sustain a relationship. If you’ve built a relationship and don’t foster it once you have the customer, it will be a short term relationship. Once you have built the relationship, deliver what you’ve promised PLUS 1%.
One of the things that I (D. Jeff Heggie) like about being an entrepreneur and running my own company is that when you have an idea, you can implement it however you want.
I remember sitting in my office one morning reading the most recent business book that had been suggested to me. A while later my first employee of the day showed up to work and poked her head into my office to great me good morning. As I heard her footsteps coming down the hall I put my book away and began working on the project that was sitting on my desk. I’m the leader in my company, I need to set an example for everyone. They need to see me working every time they look in my office.
That was then. I had a meeting with my CFO (Dave) a short while later that changed my perspective on this situation. Yes, it’s still very important for me to be an example in my company. It’s still very important for my staff to see that I have a good work ethic, etc, etc. But the thing that made me question my actions was, “why am I hiding from my staff that I’m reading or studying material that will make me a better leader or improve our company is some other way?”
Dave is someone that I enjoy having meetings with. We work well together and we often look at things from different perspectives. So from our meetings we often come up with plans or solutions that are much better than either of the plans or solutions we each entered the meeting with individually. Dave is like me in the fact that he loves to continue learning. We love reading and/or listening to new materials and ideas. In this particular meeting I told Dave about the habit I had gotten into. The habit of coming to work early to spend time reading, but hiding my materials and rush to get my work in front of me as soon as I heard any staff coming down the hall each morning. I was constantly doing it, but it really wasn’t something I should have been ashamed of or trying to hide. That’s when Dave brought up Google’s 20% Rule. Google’s philosophy of giving their engineers one day per week (20% of their time) to work on projects that are not necessarily in their job descriptions. Why not use 20% of our time to learn and study?
“One of our core values is that employees continually learn and improve. Employees at all levels should be encouraged to continually learn and improve themselves…
…team members have the opportunity to participate in an educational development program with two components:
1. Required readings within a certain time after joining the company.
2. 30-60 minutes per day of free time to study material that covers information related to our industry &/or the role of the team member.We decided that not only should it be OK to be reading and studying things that will improve us individually and benefit our company, but we wanted to encourage the rest of our team to do the same thing.
Our hope is that we are adding value to the lives of our employees through our Education Plan. Dave and I are both advocates of personal development and continued education. Our hope is that with this plan our team members will benefit in their professional lives at Kodiak Mountain Stone, but also that they will take things from what they learn to improve and benefit their personal lives away from work as well.
The part of the Plan that I really enjoy is our monthly Education Plan Meeting. Each month one of our team members will host a meeting that is focused around the current book or materials they have been studying. They will teach the rest of the team about the things they have learned that they feel will benefit the team professionally as well as the things they have learned that will help all of us in our personal lives.
Our meetings are great because we can learn so much from each other. We have had a number of meetings with Ken Blanchard’s book Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach To Customer Service as the topic. Each meeting has been great and each meeting has been given from a different perspective that has helped each one of us in customer service. I think that if you really want to learn something you need to teach someone else about it. When our team members know they will be teaching the rest of the team about the current book they are reading, they get a lot more out of it than they would if they were just reading it in their leisure time.
In this blog I will write about many things. I love being an entrepreneur and I love continued learning. So I’m sure many of my blog topics will be focused around those things. I think that our Education Plan is something that could benefit any company. If you have any questions about our education plan, please feel free to contact me for more information at jeff@KodiakMountain.com