Monday, 17 December 2012

But i'm with Banco Espanol not business banking

To use a catch phrase from  the olden days (as my kids would call it) “I wanna tell you a story”.

Last week I went to my bank’s premises (a former  building society) to pay in a business cheque. I have both my personal account and business account with this institution for simplicity and convenience Hmmm, or so I thought.

I handed over a cheque which I wanted paid into my business bank. “I’m sorry but you will have to pay that in through the ATM machine” was the rather frosty edict from the cashier.

“But I’ve done it over the counter before” I protested.

“ That is only the case when the ATM option is not available” was the next rebuff. 

Quickly followed up by “ We don’t do business banking here in the branch”

As far as I’m concerned there is no difference between Banco Espanol and business banking they are all the same brand irrespective of whether one is for personal banking and the other for business customers.

So what can Banco Espanol learn from this experience. Don’t put up artificial silos because from a customer perspective you are all one Bank irrespective of internal structures. Put yourself in the customers shoes.

Secondly perhaps the cashier could have employed some flexibility and not been such a “job’s worth” The refusal of the cashier to process my cheque meant it took 5 business days to clear.

Keeping up the Iberian theme, what could I have done about the can’t/won’t do mentality I experienced – perhaps grow some large cojones !!

Muchas gracias for reading my pequeno blog,

Linkedin endorsements finger clicking bad

Aren’t I the big star with over 1500 linked connections and numerous endorsements.

Well actually the thing I court the most within Linkedin is the recommendation from a connection. To be able to write a meaningful recommendation that connection has to know me well and either have experienced my work first hand or seen it as an observer.

So when I get endorsements from connections that have never seen me doing my training stuff it means nothing to me. I really only want recommendations because people will have thought about what they write rather than just clicking endorse.

So whilst I may show an abundance of endorsements to anyone checking out my profile, it don’t cut the mustard with me. Call me old fashioned but it doesn’t seem right to be endorsed by people who don’t know me that well and who haven’t been Dell’Armied ! It devalues the endorsements and it’s the lazy person’s way – a bit like a Facebook like.

There maybe some algorithm type thingy going on here with search ranking (which I don’t pretend to understand) which may benefit me but from an authenticity perspective it just doesn’t sit comfortably with me.

Would love to hear what others think.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Would we in learning & development last 5 minutes if we worked for Roman Abramovich ?

As Roberto Di Matteo and many football managers know you are only as good as your last game which for Di Matteo was a 3-0 defeat to Juve. If ever there was a profession that personified the phrase “ it’s a results business” it has to be the fickle yet beautiful game.

This got me thinking ? What if Mr Abramovich decided to employ me as a freelancer or he decided to buy a training company. Would we be able to say well, Sir you spent £x amount on training and this is how it affected the profits of your business.

Maybe this lack of demonstrable value add/ROI is the reason why the first thing to be cut back in times of recession is training.

But equally not investing in training can be devastating to a business as Toyota learnt ,when  the problems that resulted in product recalls in 2011 were down to the fact that proper training hadn’t been carried out.

It strikes me that in times of austerity the only training that gets done is the mandatory stuff.

Why is that ? It comes back to lack of demonstrable value add. Training without application and transfer of learning is entertrainment and we’re not in the entertrainment business. So as professionals we need to be more than simply order takers .

So if we are asked to run a training event we should consider asking some of the following questions:

  • What is the issue that the event is trying to solve ?
  • How does that issue manifest itself ?
  • How much is it costing you currently ?
  • How much extra income would you expect to be generated as a result of the training
  • What needs to happen (post event) to make sure that the training or new skills learnt on the day are successfully transferred back into the workplace
  • How will we know that the training has made a difference ? (measures of success)

So as a profession we need to ask the right questions of our customers in order to be able to show that we’ve made a difference and be able to quantify that difference, then training wont be the first thing to be chopped in difficult times.

Until we start doing this, training will just be seen as a cost by the bean counters.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Sorry George but we don't owe you a bean !

“For more than three decades, Starbucks had a storied history of being a great place to work, of ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality coffee beans” The above quote comes from the inside cover of  “Onward” by Howard Schultz (Starbucks CEO) . Ethical sourcing and roasting undoubtedly but clearly not ethical enough to pay a single bean of UK Corporation Tax. 

Thanks to the way the business is structured and expenses apportioned (I don’t pretend to understand the mechanics of their accounting and tax avoidance) they have not paid one single penny in UK Corporation Tax. They allege that they made a loss in the UK.

Don’t get me wrong; what Starbucks have done is not illegal ! BUT it is clearly immoral. Add this corporate behaviour to the following examples of how to destroy trust:

·         Banks who rigged the libor rate
·         MPs who fiddled their expenses
·         News of the World journalists who hacked into mobile phones unlawfully.

Organisations exist in society and from a corporate social responsibility point of view should look to give something back which generally Starbucks has been pretty good at. But organisations if they want our trust and custom need to behave ethically and what Starbucks has done falls well short of the standards of acceptable behaviour.

I suggest, that if we as consumers demonstrate our abhorrence to this type of behaviour by taking our patronage elsewhere this will focus the minds of brands on how they should conduct their affairs.

 I could go on roasting Starbucks ….. . This morning I had a business meeting and whilst my tipple was the usual latte the venue wasn’t. You’re going to have to show a lot of contrition and a new behaviour to win my custom back and not become a has bean!

PS I’m not ignoring Google or Amazon who appear to have underpaid UK Corporation Tax allegedly