Monday, April 29, 2013

What you need in your business is Clarity-- part 5 (Rallying Cry)

Our final Clarity blog...

Recently I read a book called The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni.  It is a follow up to many of the other books he has written.  This is a practical guide to implement many of his "parables" from the earlier books.  After reading the book, I did something I NEVER do.  I implemented it!  My last 10 staff meetings have been focused on these concepts.

If you care to catch up, here is part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4

This meeting was focused on developing a Rallying Cry for the company.  That is, now that we have clarity to why we exist, how we behave, what we do, how we will succeed... you have to do something with that!

The Rallying Cry is simply determining what is the most important thing to do right now for the company.  So our team developed this list of things that need to get done now!

  • New doors-- we feel we need to open 1,000 new salons with our brand
  • Eliminate backorders
  • Improve client communication
  • Develop a compelling consumer branding story
  • Build the team passion
  • Have a more flexible shipping plan
  • Mirabella Bride
After much discussion, the item that would provide the biggest benefit to our clients, our employees and our business is to eliminate backorders.  We have been struggling with our vendors to properly ship to us.  We have been struggling with our largest customer with their inventory.  But our team realizes that those items exist, but Mirabella can still improve in this area.

After we determined that eliminating backorders was our biggest opportunity, we developed a list of objectives that we wanted to accomplish to solve this problem.  They are:
  • Develop a heirarchy for shipping the inventory that we do have
  • Meet with our software vendor to utilize the system to help solve issues
  • Create a forecasting model for our sales team to utilize to communicate demand in a more real way
  • Write and follow procedures to make certain that we will not back order products that we have in house but are not currently available readily 
So tomorrow many of the team members, including myself, will have a meeting to begin solving this problem.

At the end of 3-12 months, with focus, this problem should be dramatically improved.  At the end of this process we should see:
  • More customer confidence with our company
  • Our service should improve substantially while inventory remains neutral
  • We will have  greater accountability with each of us
  • Our team will have developed a inventory communication plan to all the stakeholders that is transparent, accurate, and complete
 
After this time passes, we can chose our next Rallying Cry.   And day by day, we become a better company!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What you need in your business is Clarity-- part 4 (Strategy!)

I LOVE THIS STUFF!!!

Recently I read a book called The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni.  It is a follow up to many of the other books he has written.  This is a practical guide to implement many of his "parables" from the earlier books.  After reading the book, I did something I NEVER do.  I implemented it!  My last 8 staff meetings have been focused on these concepts.

If you care to catch up, here is part 1, part 2 and part 3

Strategy... this is what every business should have, but most don't take the time to consider it.  In his chapter about strategy, Patrick says "What exactly is a strategy?  Did I sleep through the day they taught us the definition of strategy?"  He had worked for 2 years as a strategic management consultant!

But in this book he gives us a very simple definition:

An organization's strategy is simply its plan for success.  It's nothing more than the collection of intentional decisions a company makes to give itself the best chance to thrive and differentiate from competitors.

Lencioni suggests having the team create a list of all the things related to how the company runs its business.  It should include topics like:
  • pricing
  • hiring
  • site selection
  • marketing
  • advertising
  • branding
  • merchandising
  • sourcing
  • partnering
  • product selection
  • in store experience
  • service offerings
  • promotions
  • decor
So this morning our team did exactly that!  We came up with a list of 40 items that included:

  • Quality, luxury products
  • Clean Ingredients
  • Fun, ergonomic, innovative components
  • Artistic sales force
  • Marketing tools
  • Private ownership
  • Streamlined modern look
  • Constantly improving
  • Wearable everyday line
  • Socially active
  • Selective sourcing
  • Pride of ownership with employees
  • Transparent
  • Limited distribution
  • Boutique brand
  • Ambitious
  • Bridal program
  • Education
  • Salon/consumer driven
  • Responsible/accountable management team
  • Sense of community
  • Video education
  • Positive employee environment
  • Hire for attitude and cultural fit
  • Team oriented
  • Inspiring trainings
  • Easy to sell
  • Color cosmetics, brushes, tools
  • International customers
  • Salon brand
  • Accessible-web/distributors/education
  • Entrepreneurial
  • PR visibility
  • Narrow selection of products
  • Competitive prestige pricing
  • Gratis program
  • Perks
  • Customer focused
  • Sleek fixtures
  • School program
  • Trend promotions
  • Colorful
  • Small fish in big pond
Big, long list!  Then, the idea is to match up those things that are similar.  So we began to see similarities with our employee focus, distribution, prestige products, and support.  But according to Patrick, you need three strategic anchors.  Three things that differentiate Mirabella from its competitors.

Writing the things we do was fun and pretty easy.  To see similarities to them also was relatively straightforward.  The hard part is to determine how to write a phrase or sentence to show our differentiation.  This is messy and filled with opinions.
Our messy strategy session

Here is an example of Lighthouse Consulting's strategy:

We will differentiate ourselves by providing extremely high-touch service, staying relatively small and protecting our unique culture, and leveraging the ideas of world-class subject matter experts.

So much so that we ended up having to revisit the session at our next meeting.  We gave Amber and I the assignment of giving a first draft of the two things that we ended up with; products and our customer focus.

I know we are supposed to have 3, but this seemed more natural.  And frankly, I am not a very good rule follower anyways. And this is what we came up with:

Mirabella Mindset
never settle for less than luxe.

Attain modern luxury by directing all of our efforts toward providing unmatched customer service and creating clean, prestige inspiring products.
Strive for the best, and NEVER settle. Good enough is not enough, we live luxe.

With every single employee focused on satisfying our customers, we will exceed the expectations of all of our various partners.


OK, now we have our strategy... next up is our Rallying Cry...