|Volume 7, Number 7||
Mike Chitjian, Publisher
How to Drive Your Competition Crazy
It's war out there in the marketplace,and many of the most successful competitors are employing battle tactics you don't typically find being taught in business schools. Today many companies are driving their competition crazy - which in kinder and gentler terms can be thought of as disrupting the marketplace in order to create new advantages for yourself and to diminish the existing advantages of your competition. This doesn't mean you have to completely destroy your competitors or force them out of business. You just have to disrupt things and the best way to do that is by doing a better job of pleasing customers than your competition.
MAJOR AREAS TO CONCENTRATE ON
There are for major areas to concentrate on while learning to drive competitors crazy:
1. Lay the Groundwork. First,choose a "Mighty Opposite" as a worthy opponent who will incite you to create a better product or service. Then gather information to:
2. Do The Right Things. Foremost is to focus on your customers. Learn what makes them happy by asking questions. Provide a complete product. Be sure to communicate with your customers if something goes wrong. Develop a market niche well-suited to your capabilities. Exploit it quickly and strive for constant disruption. Consider the technique of "making good by doing good."
3. Do Things Right. Establish brand loyalty early and use frequency marketing techniques to "cocoon" your customers and shield them from the competition. Be aggressive and work to "uncocoon" your competitors' customers. Also find or create little features of your product - your molehills - and make them into mountains that differentiate you from the competition. Consider "competition" by forming strategic alliances with competitors to make them into friends.
4. Push The Envelope. Learn to recognize and
seize opportunities your
PLAY TO WIN
Play to win, but remember to constantly review your actions and check your motives. And if you lose, just make sure you lose trying something grand
SENDING THE RIGHT RESUME
You've initiated contact with a cover letter and resume. To your dismay, you're not getting the results you want.
Is it possible that the resume you've put together is not the right one for the audience you are sending it to? If you send a resume that is not designed for the person you are contacting in an organization, you may not get the right response to even a perfectly written resume.
The two most widely used lengths of resumes include the one-page short form and the three-page form. Many argue that the short format one-page resume is all that is necessary to say what you want and still be read. Others argue that you can't adequately present an accomplishment oriented career in one page and it should be presented in a longer format of about three pages.
While it's true that you cannot adequately present a career on one page, it is possible to highlight your experiences, proficiency, and accomplishments in such a way as to get you past the Personnel Department which may see more than 500 resumes a week. If you are sending your resume to the Personnel Department, all you want to do is to get past the first screening.
The Personnel Office usually does more than die hiring process and the people who work there don't have the time to read lengthy resumes. Further, most personnel people have not performed the duties of the open position and don't have an expertise in that area. Personnel must rely on the buzzwords and industry jargon given them by the hiring manager.
Therefore, if you are contacting the Personnel Office directly, the shorter one-page format using all of the BUZZWORDS and INDUSTRY JARGON possible is recommended. If you are sending the longer three-page format to the Personnel Department, you are probably not sending it to the person for which it was created.
On the other hand, if you are able to contact the hiring manager through an employment/search firm, the longer format is highly recommended.
First, the employment/search firm must be sold on your abilities. In addition, hiring managers are much more knowledgeable of the job and know what it takes to succeed. They are the one whose career is enhanced or hindered because of a hiring decision they make. The search firm and the hiring manager are therefore looking for as much information on candidates as they can get that will help them make these decisions. Send them the longer format. Most experts agree that you should have both resume formats and direct the right format to the proper audience.
WADING THROUGH THE DATA DUMP
Remember the promise of a paperless office? Some promise! If your desk looks like mine, there are letters, memos, phone messages, to-do lists, at least one stack of priority-"B" reading and an absolutely must read this when I get a chance to focus on it pile of magazines, articles and newspapers. I'm sure there's gold in those pages, but I don't have time to dig deep enough.
I can process some of this "information," particularly the reading and general information pile, using my trash can, but I feel guilty about pitching valued trade publications and articles I want to read unless they've become obsolete during their two-or three-month stay on my desk.
I haven't solved my own information problem, but let me share with you three schools of thought that may help you "recycle" your information without resorting to the trash. The first is to route the magazine, article or newspaper to an assistant with a note that says "For your review and return. Flag what you think most relevant." That's called passing the buck. It is temporarily off your desk, and when it comes back, it should be summarized - however briefly.
The second approach to wading through the data dump combines the rip-and-read school of information analysis and a good filing system. The secret here is to set up a file on whatever topics you think you may want to know more about in the future. Create files labeled strategic planning, market research, promotional ideas, time-saving approaches, management techniques - whatever general or specific topics are of most interest to you. Then scan the table of contents of each magazine or newsletter as it arrives, and rip out the articles that fit with your files. When you find yourself involved in a project for which you need additional information, pull and review the appropriate files.
The third approach is to look carefully at what you read versus what you receive. If you get it regularly and never refer to it, either cancel it or transfer it. Instead of ordering all the magazine subscriptions in your name, spread them around to your staff. Then ask each person to periodically flag the articles of most relevance and route them upward.
These three approaches will help you deal with most of the paper in your office, but they don't really address the heart of the issue - the feeling of comfort that some of us get when surrounded by piles of dead trees in the form of paper, regardless of whether there is anything valuable on that paper. There is a sense of security in knowing that the information you think you may need is close at hand.
But in most cases, what is surrounding you is only information - not knowledge. What's the difference? Information is raw data - the articles on general management, the statistics on unemployment, the trend lines for your new product's sales. What most this information lacks is the next step - the interpretation that tells your what it means to you: how it will change the way you manage, who and how you should hire and what you need to do to boost sagging sales
© by and reprinted with permission of "Working Smart," National Institute of Business Management, Inc. 1101 King St., Alexandria, VA 22314. 1-800-543-2049
It's getting harder and harder to motivate employees. As the workforce changes (and employee's priorities change), money alone won't motivate most workers. And even if it did, most companies can't afford cash bonuses. That's why many companies are coming up with innovative new ways to reward employees. Here are ten examples of how the most imaginative companies are keeping employees motivated and happy:
Illinois Trade Association, Inc., of Glenview, IL, pays for non-traditional health-care remedies, such as herbal therapy and chiropractic care. Employees are also entitled to one free massage month - on company time. CEO Jack Schacht claims his company hasn't lost a single employee in five years.
Wilton Conner Packaging Inc. (Charlotte, NC) employees can take their laundry to work, where it is washed, dried and folded - courtesy of the company. They also keep a handyman on site who does free household repairs for employees.
Autodesk, a San Rafael, Calif. based software development company, lets employees take their dogs to work.
PepsiCo's 700 employees at headquarters in Purchase, NY., have an on-site dry-cleaning service, and can take advantage of financial counseling services for only $20 a month.
Anderson Consulting in Chicago has set up a "concierge service" for employees. It provides a range of services, including: arranging for someone to be at an employee's home when they are expecting a delivery or a service call; sending someone to pick up a car from the repair shop; and selling subway tokens.
Motorola has opened "Motorola University" where employees can get training and education.
American Bankers Insurance Group in Miami has spent $2.4 million to build a satellite public school on its 84 acre corporate campus. The company will spend $146,000 this year towards operating the school. Right now, 255 children of American Banker employees are enrolled.
Northern Telecom in Richardson, TX, opened a gym on-site in 1992. After it opened, 91 percent off employees said the facility would relieve stress and improve the quality of the time spent at work.
VisionTek, a 290 employee company in Gurnee, IL, has a full-size basketball court on-site that employees use all the time. Not only is it fun, but the games build teamwork.
Xerox allows several employees every year to take paid leaves of absence to work for charitable organizations. American Express and Wells Fargo have similar programs
© by and reprinted with permission of "The Motivational Manager". Ragan Communications Inc., 212 W. Superior St., Chicago. IL 60610. (800) 878-5331
A very wealthy man bought a huge ranch in Arizona and he invited some of his closest associates in to see it. After touring some of the 1500 acres of mountains and rivers and grasslands, he took everybody into the house. The house was as spectacular as the scenery, and out back was the largest swimming pool you have ever seen. However, this gigantic swimming pool was filled with alligators. The rich owner explained it this way: "I value courage more than anything else. Courage is what made me a billionaire. In fact, I think that courage is such a powerful virtue that if anybody is courageous enough to jump in that pool, swim through those alligators and make it to the other side, I'11 give him anything he wants, anything - my house, my land, my money." Of course, everybody laughed at the absurd challenge and proceeded to follow the owner into the house for lunch... when they suddenly heard a splash. Turning around they saw this guy swimming for his life across the pool, thrashing at the water, as the alligators swarmed after him. After several death defying seconds, the man made it, unharmed to the other side. The rich host was absolutely amazed, but he stuck to his promise. He said, "You are indeed a man of courage and I will stick to my work. What do you want? You can have anything - my house, my land, my money - just tell me what and it's yours." The swimmer, breathing heavily, looked up at his host and said, "I just want to know one thing - who the hell pushed me into that pool?"
- as told by Dr. Charles Garfield, author of Peak Performance, cited in "The Executive Speechwriter Newsletter", Emerson Falls Business Park, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819, (802) 748-4472
Strengthen your networking skills by writing a brief news release about your job experience. Writing a release will make it easier for you to introduce yourself to others.
Try this simple tip to help you project a good first impression: Notice the color of a person's eyes as you shake hands. Why it works: You'll gain strong eye contact in a way that shows you care
Cited in "Communications Briefings", 1101 King Street, Suite 110, Alexandria, VA 22314. (800) 888-2084.
[ Archive of Newsletters | Subscribe to Newsletter ]
[ Home Page | About Markar | Principals | Positions Available | Clients
| Candidates | Newsletter | FAQ's | Feedback | Guestbook | TOC ]
Copyright © 1998-2003 Markar Associates, Inc. All
Site Design by: RC Design