LSA Global Insights Newsletter

12.31.2016

Top 10 Downloads for 2016



LSA Global Wishing you a
Happy Holiday Season!

The top 10 strategy, culture and talent downloads for 2016.
  1. 3 Major Factors that Contributed to Wells Fargo's Toxic Culture
  2. How to Know if Your Strategy is Clear Enough
  3. Sales Toolkit - Sales Strategy, Culture and Talent
  4. Training Toolkit - Assess, Design, Reinforce & Measure
  5. 12 New Manager Tools for Higher Performance
  6. Are 2-in-5 Bosses Really Bad Managers?
  7. Why Talent is only 1/3rd of the Recipe
  8. Top 10 Ways to Boost Engagement
  9. The Missing Leadership Ingredient
  10. 5 Training Strategies and Mistakes to Avoid

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned

11.28.2016

4 Ways to Move Customers to True Advocates

silhouettes of business people meeting one-on-one and shaking hands

It's great when you have customers who are so pleased with your service that they buy from you again. 

It's great when you have customers who are so pleased with your service that they buy from you again.

But it's even better when you can shift them from being "merely" loyal to acting as true and committed advocates. That's when they act to persuade others to buy your brand and offerings. 

The question is: How can we motivate good customers to become brand promoters?

We have all been besieged lately by follow-up online evaluations on customer service. Organizations --from the U.S. Post Office to the local bank-- want to know how we perceive their service reps and how satisfied we are with the results of recent interactions. I don't know about you...but I routinely delete these email requests unless I am moved by either deplorable service or the kind that goes above and beyond. An example of deplorable service could be having to call a big city newspaper four times to get a message to the deliverer who repeatedly tossed the paper into the one small area where water collected.

An example of outstanding service was when an airline (believe it or not) booked my colleague on another flight for free after they missed their red-eye. The result was better than she hoped. And unlike most passengers these days, she has become an advocate of this airline. 

Why does it matter? 

According to Bain & Company, organizations that excel in the customer experience grow revenues up to 8% faster than their counterparts. To gain the most from fulfilling the promise of your brand, you need to do whatever it takes to make it easy for your best customers to buy and then recommend you.    




About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Assess the Health of Your Contact Center

a woman is looking through binoculars that show up-and-down graphs in the lenses

Is your contact center set up to succeed? 

Creating loyal and repeat customers makes sense.  Research has shown that a 5% increase in customer loyalty can boost profits by as much as 25% to 85%. 

Determining the best way to create loyal and profitable customers in a way that makes sense for your specific strategy and culture is not straight forward.

When Harvard Business Review recently researched the dimensions of customer service they would most like to see companies provide, the highest number (65%) said "knowledgeable employees." Consumers defined these desirable employees as being able to "answer my questions without putting me on hold, searching for someone, or transferring me." 

Organizations must create positive experiences for customers with each and every interaction if they wish to thrive. These customer experiences drive repeat business, cross-selling and up-selling of services, loyal customers, and referrals. It also decreases the overall cost of service and the cost of sales.

If you would like to know how your contact center stacks up to leading organizations across 16 fundamental best practices, then this diagnostic is for you.

Assess Your Contact Center Health Now

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


10.31.2016

6 Ways to Foster Better Project Team Collaboration

a photo of many hands in the middle showing cooperation

Project teams that work collaboratively are high performing teams that consistently produce high quality results and care about the goals they reach together. 

And the reverse also is true...project teams that don't value and practice collaboration are low performing teams that miss deadlines, do not meet quality standards, overrun budgets and drain the company resources and energy. Have you taken a close look at the teams in your organization lately? 

There are many reasons why teams fail to work well together. Signs that they are struggling could vary from ineffective meetings to poor decision-making processes, from nasty turf wars to a practice of side-bar conversations that undermine trust. In today's world where so many initiatives depend upon team effort and success, you cannot afford to have teams that are stymied by conflict rather than greased by the oil of cooperation.

Granted, teams are larger and more complex in this global economy. Organizations depend upon many diverse, highly educated team members to get important jobs done. Team members come from different backgrounds, range across geographical borders and must connect virtually with previously unknown experts and often under an urgent and highly visible timeline. The challenge for teams and team leaders is huge. How can you successfully coalesce a global team, keep them focused on the objectives you have set, and count on their working effectively and productively together? 

Numerous studies point to the critical underpinning of successful teams...a pervasive feeling of trust.

We know that trust is the foundation of strong, positive relationships. Since all teams (not just project teams) are based upon relationships that work, trust must also be the foundation of strong, successful teamwork. Our research has uncovered six ways that you can establish an atmosphere that promotes trust among the players and set the team up to succeed.

Read the 6 Ways to Foster Better Team Collaboration

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Assess the Health of Your Team

A woman is looking through binoculars with graphs reflected in each lens

Is your project team set up to succeed? 

By most accounts, too many teams fail to meet expectations.  As projects become a bigger proportion of how work gets done, fundamental project management skills are becoming as essential for organizations as emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills. 

The highest performing project teams follow some common practices that set them apart from the pack.  Recognizing that nearly all projects are accomplished through the concerted, coordinated work of project teams, the technical and human factors required to succeed can sometimes feel daunting.

Whether the team consists of outside experts or internal professionals, their productivity and success is dramatically affected by the relationships within the team and their ability to perform as a cohesive unit pushing toward a common goal.

Successful project teams build a positive project team environment and learn to work together to solve problems even in the face of increased pressure and conflict. 

If you would like to know how you stack up to leading organizations in the areas of Project Management Environment, Project Definition, Project Planning and Risk Management, and Project Execution Best Practices, then this complimentary diagnostic is for you.

Assess Your Project Team Health Now


About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned

9.30.2016

3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Corporate Strategy

In a cartoon, the CEO is pointing to a flip chart with an incomprehensible word as he says, "If I had to use one word to describe our strategy..."

It is one thing to draft a compelling strategic plan with your executive team.  It is an entirely different and more challenging matter to execute that strategy effectively and consistently throughout the organization. 

Does this sound familiar?  Your global executive team has just completed a successful strategy retreat. Everyone is back at corporate headquarters or has flown back to their region. As a whole, the leadership team is re-energized and confident based upon the renewed strategic clarity, direction and alignment.  


Now what?


Let's start with your executive team.  You will know that a strategy retreat has been done right when the leadership team feels enough clarity and confidence about 10 key areas to move forward collectively: 



  1. The Mission - Your organization's fundamental purpose and business 
  2. The Vision - What you hope to become in the future if you fulfill your mission 
  3. Values - Your fundamental beliefs and core decision-making filters 
  4. Value Proposition - What differentiates and sets you apart from the competition 
  5. Target Clients - The profile of your ideal client where you should win and thrive 
  6. Optimizing Strategies - Where you will focus your efforts to have the most leverage 
  7. Goals - The critical few goals to best accomplish your strategies 
  8. Roles - What each person is really here to do to best execute the strategy  
  9. Success Metrics - How success will be measured 
  10. Actions - The key actions required to reach the goals

Clarity and commitment to these 10 areas is significantly more meaningful and motivating than the single incomprehensible word on the flip chart pictured above.

While it takes preparation, dedication and hard work, a clear strategy is worth the investment.  Our organizational alignment research shows that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.


In order to cascade and execute the strategy, each and every employee (with a heavy emphasis on line management) must have enough understanding of, belief in and commitment to where you are going, why it is important to go there, how to get there and the role they are expected to play.


Executing a new strategy is never easy.  If you want your employees to personally commit to the struggle required to take the company to the next level, do not underestimate the importance of building the right mindset, plans and capabilities to pull it off.


Read the 3 Big Mistakes to Avoid When Cascading Your Strategy to Learn More



About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Download Leadership Toolkit to Align Strategy, Culture and Talent

three men straining as they pull on the rope in a tug-of-war

Our Organizational Alignment Research found that leaders who align their culture and talent with their strategy grow revenues 58% faster, are 72% more profitable, have 9-to-1 greater leadership effectiveness and 16.8-to-1 higher employee engagement levels. 

The highest performing leaders:


  • Create strategic clarity by ensuring everyone understands where to go, how to get there, why it is important and their role in making it happen.  That means everyone understands the overall strategy, has no doubt that the company is committed to it, is highly responsive to changes in the market, and believes the strategy is being consistently implemented throughout the organization.

  • Build high performance cultures by ensuring their teams clearly understand the desired corporate culture, frequently observe the majority of leaders modeling the desired behaviors, regularly feel the  culture motivates top performance, repeatedly receive and share information in a timely manner, and continually believe decisions demonstrate a healthy short- and long- term balance.

  • Differentiate top talent by ensuring their teams believe the quality of talent creates a competitive edge, repeatedly observe the company hire and retain top  talent, and continually have the support and resources to meet their targets. 

Download Leadership Toolkit Now to Learn More


About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


8.27.2016

7 Sales Strategy Warning Signs You Cannot Afford to Ignore

An executive stands on a balcony overlooking the city

Our organizational alignment research found that a clear sales strategy accounts for up to 31% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams. 

What does this mean for you? It means that, without a clear and meaningful direction, you will struggle to consistently meet your sales targets.  

Many sales teams focus on quarterly revenue targets and move too quickly to create and clearly articulate the basics of a solid sales strategy. Some sales leaders say they do not have the time. Others think sales targets combined with pressure and hard work should be enough. But when you ask sales teams what they are striving for, strategic ambiguity reigns. Unfortunately the lack of strategic sales clarity not only hampers short-term sales performance but also long-term sales team health.

So what do effective sales strategies entail? They provide crystal clear alignment with the corporate strategy. They outline the ideal target clients, value proposition, success metrics, goals, roles, processes and specific actions that should lead to superior performance. By contrast, an unclear sales strategy blurs priorities and trade-offs for sales teams. Unfortunately, most sales teams have just enough of a game plan to stay in the game...but not to win it. 

A rudderless sales team drifts with the wind. It does not outperform its competition over time. It does not provide the foundation to create a high performance sales culture. And it does not consistently attract, engage, or retain top sales talent. Top performing sales reps need and want leaders to provide a strategic road map to help steer important decisions and consistently beat the competition. 

To succeed, sales executives must precisely define sales goals (where the team is headed) and sales strategies (how it is going to get there). Based upon high performance research, we know that the overall goals for any team or organization must foundationally be simple, meaningful and just possible. In other words, it must be an achievable challenge worth fighting for.

The good news is that sales targets are typically very clear compared to goals of other organizational functions where it is often more difficult to measure success. While being simple, meaningful and just possible, sales targets must also be perceived as fair, transparent, accurate, and relevant. Additionally, they cannot conflict with how other teams (e.g. marketing, R&D, service, engineering, delivery, finance, legal, procurement, etc.) are measured and rewarded.





About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Benchmark Your Sales Practices to See Where You Stand


a man points to a graph that shows monthly sales

Our Organizational Alignment Research found that sales leaders who align their sales culture and sales talent with their sales strategy grow revenues 58% faster, are 72% more profitable, have 9-1-to-1 greater leadership effectiveness and 16.8-to-1 higher employee engagement levels.  

The highest performing sales leaders:

  • Create go-to-market sales clarity by ensuring everyone understands the go-to-market sales strategy, has no doubt that the company is committed to it, is highly responsive to changes in the market, and believes the sales strategy is being consistently implemented throughout the organization.

  • Build high performance sales cultures by ensuring their teams clearly understand the desired sales culture, frequently observe the majority of sales leaders modeling the desired behaviors, regularly feel the sales culture motivates top performance, repeatedly receive and share information in a timely manner, and continually believe decisions demonstrate a healthy short- and long- term perspective.

  • Differentiate top sales talent by ensuring their teams believe the quality of sales talent creates a competitive edge, repeatedly observe the company hiring and retaining top sales talent and continually have the resources to meet their sales targets. 

Would you like to know how you compare to leading sales organizations in the areas of sales strategy, account planning, lead generation, presentations, executive and solution selling and negotiations?

Benchmark Your Sales Performance Now

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


7.29.2016

7 Immediate Management Actions to Create Alignment

A sketch of 4 rowers in a crew shell

Your employees may have their oars in the water, but do they know in what direction the boat is headed? And if so, do they understand how their oars can best move the team toward its goal?   

Successful managers know that Alignment is critical. And our annual employee engagement research backs them up. Based upon surveying over 500,000 employees each year as part of the Best Places to Work Contest, we know that three "Alignment with Goals" questions matter most for managerial effectiveness. In terms of goal alignment, the most effective managers have employees that rate the following three questions higher than their lower performing peers: 

  • "I know how I fit into the company's future plans."
  • "I understand the company's plans for future success." 
  • "I understand how my job helps the organization achieve success."  

As you can imagine, getting consistently high scores on these questions is not always easy. But it is worth it. Employees, who rate these questions higher, perform better in terms of four key managerial effectiveness metrics:  

  1. Employee Relations Risk.Bad managers exacerbate employee relations problems.  Effective managers decrease issues, claims and lawsuits. This is not a trivial matter. The number of claims by employees against employers increased by 2000% from 1969 to 1994 and by 70% between 1992 and 2003. Additionally, the average employee lawsuit costs $250,000 and, when taken to litigation, the majority of cases are ruled in the plaintiff's favor.

  2. Profitability. Bad managers negatively impact financial health. Companies with higher performing managers realize a 48% increase in profitability.

  3. Employee Engagement and Retention.Bad managers negatively impact employee engagement and retention. Companies with higher performing managers realize a 30% increase in employee engagement scores and a 19% decrease in turnover.

  4. Customer Engagement. Bad customer-facing managers negatively impact customer engagement. Companies with higher performing managers realize a 17% increase in customer engagement scores.  

So let's look at concrete actions your managers can take to improve alignment with goals by ensuring that their direct reports know how they fit into the company's future plans, understand the company's plans for future success, and how their job helps the organization achieve success.  

Read about The 7 Immediate Management Actions to Take to Create Better Alignment

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Benchmark Your Management Practices to See Where You Stand

A graphic of a magnifying glass held over data

Are your managers driving performance in a way that makes sense in both the short- and long-term?  Are they creating a high performance work environment for their teams?  Do they have what it takes to succeed? 

According to a recent Harvard Business Review Study, the most enduringly successful companies, those delivering a 10-fold return to investors over a ten year period, excel at specific management practices. While that is great news, managers at our clients tell us that they are over-worked and under-prepared to set themselves and their teams up for success.  They are eager, but frustrated and hungry for help. They want more and feel as though they do not have the time or support to be as successful as they want and need to be.

Because managers are often the leverage point where "stuff gets done," we believe an organization's ability to create, execute, and sustain a competitive advantage depends greatly on the quality and depth of their management capabilities at all levels. Yet, the majority of leaders report alarming competency gaps in their management teams - especially for new and mid-level managers. 

According to executives, managers must be able to positively navigate seven key management challenges:

  1. Transitioning from individual contributor to manager
  2. Creating consistent management and performance management practices
  3. Increasing employee performance and career development
  4. Reducing employee relations issues
  5. Ensuring legal compliance 
  6. Attracting and retaining high potentials 
  7. Responding to changing business needs
Managers across all industries are being asked to do more with less, faster.  It is no wonder why many feel overwhelmed and underappreciated; they lack the resources, time or skills to do it right.  

In return for about 9 minutes of your time, you will receive a complimentary Management Best Practices Health Check to benchmark whether or not your managers have the best practice skills, knowledge, and tools to drive performance, engagement, retention, and profits. 

It quickly assesses 14 management best practices based upon twenty years of research. 

Benchmark Your Management Practices in 9 Minutes Now

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


6.27.2016

Changing Corporate Culture: 4 Do's and 3 Don'ts

One arrow points to the old way; another arrow points to the new way

The importance of organizational culture is getting more press lately.

  • In March, Samsung announced that it was reforming its military-style corporate culture to become more nimble and innovative. To prove that they are serious, Samsung's executives must sign a pledge to move away from a top-down culture and towards a working environment that fosters open dialogue. The driver for the change? Samsung has experienced a rapid decline in smartphone profits and is looking for new areas of growth.  

  • Last September, Volkswagen's emissions controversy prompted their CEO to step down amid accusations of a corporate culture described as "confident, cutthroat, and insular...potentially enabling lawbreaking behavior." The new CEO has promised to change Volkswagen's culture and has started to dismantle the "old hierarchical, bureaucratic and crony-like ways."

  • Last February, widespread reports about scandals, corruption, incompetence and deaths caused the Department of Veterans Affairs to begin to change its rigid and ineffective corporate culture.  
The good news is that leaders are beginning to better understand the important role that culture can play in terms of business performance. We define culture as how things really get done. It includes the way people think, behave and act. Harvard Business School recently reported that culture can account for up to half of the differential in performance between organizations in the same industry. Our own organizational alignment research found that cultural factors account for up to 40% of the difference between high- and low-growth companies. 

The bad news is that changing an entrenched organizational culture is one of the toughest leadership tasks you will face. Aligning the hearts and minds of people is never easy.  

The 4 "Do's" of Changing Corporate Culture
  1. Do Focus on Strategy First
    While it is a bit counter intuitive, if you want to make a change in your organizational culture, you need to start with your corporate strategy. To get behind any cultural change, people must first understand why the change in culture is needed. That means making sure that your business strategy is clear, believable and implementable enough for people to commit to moving forward. 
    Take our strategic clarity assessment to see where you stand

  2. Do Create an Authentic Sense of Urgency
    Instead of just talking about the need for culture change, look for concrete ways to get people to understand and experience the realities that make it imperative. For example, a recent client required their leaders to handle calls from disgruntled customers to understand how they were not fulfilling their brand promise and losing market share. The TV show Undercover Boss also does a nice job of exposing previously unknown business realities that need to change to improve performance. Take our change management assessment to see where you stand.


  3. Do Align Your Culture to Your Strategy
    For a company's strategy to succeed, it must have an enabling and aligned culture. If the beliefs, practices and attitudes are at odds with the corporate strategy, execution and performance will suffer. Too many executives underestimate how much a strategy execution depends on cultural alignment. During a time of cultural change, leaders must clearly outline why a change in culture is necessary, the plan for change, everyone's role in the change and the organizational and personal benefits of making the change.


  4. Do Prioritize and Focus on What Matters Most
    Your organizational culture is either helping or hindering your ability to execute your strategy. And, any culture change requires behavior change - which is difficult. Many people do not change their behavior even in the face of overwhelming evidence. According to the American Cancer Society, 10% of people diagnosed with lung cancer do not stop smoking and more than 80% still smoke daily. According to the American Medical Association, 25% of heart attack and stroke patients do not modify bad lifestyles after a cardiac event. The list goes on and on. So you need to carefully choose and strengthen the critical few behaviors that matter most to create a high performance culture that drive your strategy forward.    


Read about The 3 Don'ts of Changing Corporate Culture

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


4 Research-Backed Steps to Create High Performance

a swimmer races toward the finish line with the butterfly stroke

Did you know that there are over 70 possible leadership actions available to an executive at any given time that can significantly change performance? 

It is no wonder why many leaders and companies get lost in and frustrated by impractical theories and expensive consultants trying to make sense of it all. 

To better understand the dynamics that improve high performance, we spent 20 years researching such elite institutions as Harvard, the U.S. Special Forces, Cisco, Accenture, MIT, NASA, and the Juilliard School. The results point us toward the top leadership moves necessary to drive higher performance.

Those leaders around the world with whom we have worked to identify and execute these high performance actions tell us that they have: 

  • Increased productivity by 25%
  • Gained over $500,000 in annual benefits
  • Improved performance of 40% of the workforce 
  • Improved net profit by $100,000 per month 
  • Raised average revenue per person by 400%

Typically leaders want to understand the specific dynamics affecting human high performance in their organization or team to align their culture with their business and talent strategies, better realize stretch objectives, benchmark themselves against high performance best practices and increase accountability for performance improvement.

After an initial leadership education session that focuses on the high performance research and the critical dynamics that stimulate performance, our usual approach involves 4 key steps: 

  1. Assess Your Current Performance EnvironmentUnderstand the existing performance environment using our proven High Performance Environment Diagnostic. The high performance environment assessment enables leaders to quickly build a detailed picture of the current performance environment and accurately pinpoint key levers to improve and sustain performance.  
  2. Strategize the Two Key Leadership MovesReview the diagnostic results with the Leadership Team and agree on the two key leadership actions that, if taken, will result in the most dramatic improvement in performance across the organization. 
  3. Execute the Two Key Leadership MovesImplement the two leadership actions in a way that makes sense for your strategy and unique circumstances. 
  4. Measure Improvement and Agree Upon Next StepsRe-test to monitor progress against success metrics and to continuously improve.

Read About the 2 Key High Performance Leadership Moves to Make

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


5.23.2016

How Serious Are You About a Customer-Centric Culture?

Photo of a hotel front desk with a bell for attention in the foreground

Just about every company these days claims to be "customer-centric."    

They talk about being hyper-focused on doing the right thing for their clients at all times. Unfortunately it does not take long for many customers and employees to feel they are not the central focus of their company. And it often takes only one bad client experience magnified by social media to paint a completely different picture from the one the company would like to prmote and live.  

While customer-centricity makes sense for many businesses, we often find two major issues with the "customer-centric culture" claim. First, too many companies only pay lip service to putting the customer first. They have good intentions but poor execution. Second, too many companies would be better served strategically if they put something else first - e.g. their employees, operational excellence or product innovation.  

Issue #1: Only Giving Lip Service to Putting the Customer First
Let's start with too many companies paying lip service to strategically, culturally and operationally putting the customer first. It's like the hotel that places a bell on the counter for customers to ring when they need help. But their front desk clerks are consumed by tasks that keep them focused on their screens and not on approaching guests. These employees are most likely guided and measured by conflicting operational rules and rewards, not by a customer-centric organizational culture that promotes, lives, breathes and rewards true customer service.  

Why would this happen? There are a few good reasons.  

  • First of all, it is not easy to create a consistent client experience that delights customers. This is especially true now that personalized online and offline experiences are required to fully deliver on customer-centric brand promises. Nor is it cheap - organizations spend millions measuring and improving customer satisfaction.
  • Secondly, many businesses consider customer service a support function and a cost center. In doing so, they typically measure and reward employees based upon operational and financial metrics that trump customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention. Many contact centers, for example, over-measure and over-reward call volume and speed of first call resolution versus contact quality and client satisfaction. This is often short-sighted.  

Building customer loyalty however, makes good business sense. Research shows that a 5% increase in customer loyalty can boost profits by as much as 25% to 85%. Satisfied clients lead to greater profitability and higher growth. 

Issue #2: Being Better Served Strategically by Putting Something Else First - e.g. Employees, Operational Excellence or Product Innovation 
Don't get us wrong. We think measuring and exceeding client expectations is an extremely important ingredient to every successful business. 

With that said however, you cannot do it all. And different companies have different target clients and different value propositions. Walmart and Costco, for example, are fundamentally focused on offering the lowest possible prices, not necessarily the best customer experience. Their loyal customers know and appreciate this and are willing to make the trade-off.  

The customer experience bar is therefore purposefully set lower for Walmart and Costco than other brands like Gucci, Banana Republic or Whole Foods.

Read about Tactics to Consider if You Want to Create a Customer-Centric Culture

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Benchmark Your Contact Center to See Where You Stand

The word "customer" is part of many words like "satisfaction, trust, loyalty, erc.

Creating lasting customer loyalty makes business sense.  Depending upon how you run your customer service function, a 5% increase in customer loyalty can boost profits by as much as 25% to 85%. 

We know from experience that satisfied clients lead to greater profitability and higher growth.  The goal of any customer service leader should be to determine how to most effectively create loyal and profitable customers in a way that makes sense for their specific business strategy and organizational culture.

Every customer interaction has the potential to move levels of customer loyalty up or down. These "moments of truth" matter.  The better your customer service team is able to work through customer interactions with the necessary skill and understanding, the greater your chances to delight and retain and grow your customer base.

Are you creating positive customer experiences with each interaction?  Is repeat business important?  What about cross-selling and up-selling?   How is customer service effectiveness prioritized compared to your other strategic imperatives in your company?

If you would like to quickly compare how your Contact Center stacks up to 16 key best practice indicators in the areas of differentiating, building sales, creating visibility, and increasing customer loyalty, then this complimentary call center diagnostic is for you.

Benchmark Your Contact Center Now to See Where You Stand

How do you stack up against other leading organizations in other areas?  See all Health Checks.

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


4.30.2016

"Accidental Project Managers" - Project Management Is Not Just for Project Managers Anymore

A cartoon super businessman

There was a time when employees did "their job," and projects were managed only by experienced project managers who had extensive training in all the aspects of successfully defining, planning, executing and controlling projects. 

But times are different now.
  • Respondents to a Blanchard survey stated that they spend as much as 50% of their time in a team setting. Yet 42% admitted to rarely, if ever, receiving any training to properly kick-off their projects.
  • Up to 66% of organizations polled by the Society for Human Resource Management use virtual project teams.
  • An Appleseed Partners poll found almost 30% of team leads are "accidental project managers" of which almost two-thirds have no formal project management training or certification.
  • The pace of business has accelerated exponentially and many teams are operating in a 24/7 global economy.

At LSA Global, we see our clients committing a greater proportion of their time and resources to key projects and project teams. And, as more and more business gets done through projects, the need for project leadership and project team skills continues to grow. In order to succeed, leaders need to add another competency arrow to their quiver of leadership abilities...they need to know how to effectively lead projects and project teams. 

With more internal and external work being accomplished by co-located and remote projects teams, the need for rock solid project leaders and team members who can effectively define, plan, execute and control projects of all shapes and sizes has grown exponentially. The new competency often comes as a surprise for many leaders who don't consider themselves 'professional project managers,' a role often equated with Information Technology, a formal PMO function or Engineering. But professionals in every department - marketing, accounting, purchasing, and human resources, for example - are being affected by this new need for project management capability.  

The shift is driven by three easily observed factors: 
  1. Organizational change is most often achieved by one or more projects. As projects become a bigger proportion of everyone's work, basic project management skills are becoming as essential as interpersonal communications, conflict management, team dynamics, and other foundational skills that apply to every professional.

  2. Millennials are entering leadership roles, while Boomers are retiring. Flatter, more agile organizations are turning over the reins for small and large leadership responsibilities to a new generation of leaders who will spend most of their careers in teams navigating change. The sooner they sharpen their project leadership skills, the better.   

  3. Innovation and V.U.C.A. (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) are pervasive challenges. Whether a company is driving disruption or reacting to it, innovation affects everyone. V.U.C.A. is a term used to describe the less predictable world most organizations face. Project management is a key capability for driving innovation and responding to 'a V.U.C.A. world.'
However, there is a challenge for those of us working with leaders to instill the basic tenets of successful change and project management. Since many managers, executives, and senior staff don't see themselves as project managers, they are leery of project management training, processes and practices that are bloated or designed for IT, construction, or engineering projects. And they rightfully reject training designed for passing the PMP exam. 

Read about Setting Non-Project Managers Up to Succeed

 About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Benchmark Your Project to See Where You Stand

a woman stands on a cliff as she looks through a telescope

Up to 75% of projects fail to meet stakeholder expectations.  That is unacceptable to us and our clients. 

Knowing that successful projects require the concerted and coordinated work of committed project teams, knowing where you stand is imperative. Whether the teams are part-time volunteers or highly-skilled professionals, their productivity and success is dramatically affected by the project leader's ability to create the clarity required for the team to function as a cohesive unit. 

And project teams have a special challenge: they come typically together for a temporary assignment in which they face a unique problem. Successful project teams build a positive project team environment and learn to work together to solve problems even in the face of conflict.

If you would like to know how you stack up to leading organizations  across 27 key performance indicators in the areas of Project Management Environment, Project Definition, Project Planning, Risk Management and Project Execution Best Practices, then this complimentary diagnostic is for you.

Benchmark Your Project Now

How do you stack up against other leading organizations?  See all Health Checks.

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


3.31.2016

How Strategic Clarity Distinguishes High Performing Leaders - The Elite 6%

a cartoon businessman outperforms another by leaping over a chasm

Only 6%. 

According to a recent USA Today article, only 6% of last year's Standard & Poor's 500 firms accounted for 50% of the profits.

These days, regardless of industry, it is not easy for leaders to consistently outperform their competition. Yet, leaders of 30 firms outperformed 94% of the other companies in their peer group. Apple in particular, the biggest profit contributor of the S&P 500 by a 2-to-1 margin, reported a whopping $53.7 billion in net income. As of this writing Apple had captured over 90% of the market's operating profits from only 20% of smartphone sales in the face of immense competition from both Samsung and Android. What sets companies like Apple apart from the other 94% struggling to thrive?  

Based upon our organizational alignment research of 410 companies across eight industries, 30% of the difference between high and low performing organizations related directly to leadership's ability to create a clear, believable and implementable strategy. 

Strategic Clarity 
Good leaders start by creating a business strategy that outlines clear and compelling choices about where they are headed, how to get there and why it matters. Our high performance organizational alignment research revealed that people find it difficult to perform at their peak until all team members commonly understand the direction, the plan, the part they are expected to play, and the expected benefits from reaching the objectives. In terms of clarity, Apple's strategy appears very potent; they rely on product innovation to surprise and delight a narrow target market in order to consistently sell high margin items. 

As a leader, you know you are on the right track in terms of strategic clarity when employees: 

  • Can clearly articulate the company's business strategy - the what, the how and the why.
  • Understand how their work and the work of their team directly contribute to company, team and individual success.


 Read about Creating Strategic Believabilty and Implementation as a Leader

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned

Benchmark Your Strategic Clarity to See Where You Stand

an executive is on a balcony looking over the cityscape

Most leaders believe that their strategy is 2x as clear as their direct reports. 

Our organizational alignment research shows that most leadership teams are pretty happy with the strategy that they have created together. Once complete, it tends to make sense, and leaders are usually excited about a renewed sense of clarity and focus. Leaders also typically assume that people will then be able to "go make it happen." 

Our experience and research, however, tells us that there is usually too large a gap between a leadership team creating a vision/strategy and actually getting people to implement it. Effective leaders ensure all stakeholders are behind the plan. The strategy must be clear enough to those who will be charged with leading AND implementing it. 

It is difficult for leaders and followers to succeed without a clear, believable and meaningful direction. Yet many high-growth companies mistakenly move too quickly to create and clearly articulate an implementable corporate strategy. Some say they do not have the time. Others think their strategy is already clear. But when you ask employees, time and time again, strategic ambiguity reigns. 

If you would like to see where you stand from a strategic clarity perspective, these free online health checks are for you:

Benchmark Your Strategic Clarity Now


How do you stack up against other leading organizations?  See all Health Checks.

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned