The chapter from Dean, a brand management executive, on the results of adopting the MAD culture in business, will delight and astound the reader almost as much as the strategies outlined in it delighted and astounded their participants and recipients.
“On one occasion, we decided to surprise our distributors who were only looking to secure trade deals or bundle promotions from us,” Dean writes. “We came up with a brilliant but crazy idea. We made appointments with the distributors, informing them that we would drop by their offices to discuss business issues. They had no idea what was in store for them.
“Every one of us – from the managing director to the logistics staff – turned up at their doorstep dressed as pop stars! We began playing music accompanied by different kinds of instruments. There was no doubt we caught our customers' attention! Their eyes and mouths opened and closed in disbelief! The team danced their way into their offices and we performed songs and dances! Then, one of our team members gave a speech on behalf of the organisation, thanking them for their support and business partnership.”
The intention was to forge closer ties with them – let them know they were part of the 'family', Dean relates. “From then on our relationship with them was rock solid.... It was indeed an eye-opener for me,” he says.
Launch strategies included turning up with chefs and equipment, “cooking up a storm”, and making personalised presentations related to the product, to wholesalers or commercial customers. On one occasion miniature bottles of the product being promoted were inserted in a personalised miniature chef's uniform with a mini hanger and a stopper to hang on a glass screen, and presented to the clients.
Celebrations were organised to honour the country's chefs and other members of the food and beverage industry in Singapore when they were in the limelight for any reason. The accolades the team got in response were evidence that it struck the right chord and secured the team a prominent place in business. Accolades like, “This team is world class in terms of the service level they provide their customers. We are constantly delighted... they.. make us feel appreciated and important.” And, “They also know how to mix fun with business which is important in today's hectic life.”
Having seen how the Making A Difference culture that is “MAD” really does make a difference in the workplace and marketplace, readers will doubtless relish the concluding chapters of the book, which give advice to encourage, inspire and empower one.
Much of Lauren's advice is very practical. “You must define the method and style of your execution because the way you fashion your execution matters,” she says.
“Do not confuse hard work with the impossible,” she enjoins. “Hard work equals diligence, perseverance, tenacity and patience. With passion, hard work becomes easier and exciting... breeds enthusiasm... generates intensity in thought, purpose, focus... drives your will power helping you see beyond the hard work towards the end results you desire... fuels energy you need to pursue your goal.”
Lauren cautions those who would adopt the MAD culture to avoid overwhelm by being focused and objective, doing the things that need to be done and focusing on achieving the highest possible quality of results.
She quotes Jawaharlal Nehru who observes that people avoid action often because they are afraid of the consequences, for action means risk and danger, but adds that often it is a pleasant companion, adding to the zest and delight of life.
Beyond all these things, Lauren, and therefore MADBiz®, is big on building character & competence. “C & C,” she calls them.
Lauren writes that MADBiz® is an integrated business programme that helps organisations create positive changes in culture and behaviour in the workplace, directly impacting business results. Starting with the desired results, it works backward (top down) to formulate strategies and programmes that aim to translate business objectives and goals into MADBiz® action plans.
There are segments on how to set goals and strategies, execution methods, attitude towards customers, making partners-for-success of the organisation, staff and customers.
Lauren emphasises that the strategic and tactical thrust of MADBiz® begins with creativity. One has to open one's heart and mind, she says; look outside oneself, renew one's perspective, re-align one's focus; engage in creative thinking, construct and fashion bold ideas, create what one desires!
She advises using leverage, not underestimating what one is and has now, identifying what one has at one's disposal that one has not used “to the max” or fully taken advantage of to deliver the desired growth. She cautions one to spot patterns, trends or issues that have an impact on one's business, and once identified to find appropriate strategies to eliminate what is negative and ride on what is positive.
Being humble and seeking support or obtaining “buy-in” to gain agreement is recommended. Rather than seek success at the expense of others, she advises positive strategic partnership or collaborations where necessary.
She encourages belief and confidence and warns against the perception that what one has now is too small to multiply.
Lauren talks about knowing customers' wants and desires; knowing what one wants one's customers to remember about one, and how one will bring that about; how to differentiate one's offering from that of one's competitors.
“To be the preferred supplier of your customers, you must stand out among all other suppliers in your targeted market... you must be prominent and distinctive in (their) eyes... So, be passionate in pursuing your growth plans.... position yourself as the 'top-of-the-mind' and 'core-of-the-heart' among your customers and potential customers,” Lauren writes.
She cautions not to neglect one's points of differentiation. “Once you know what they are you should work on mastering them,” she says. “As you grow, they may even vary in response to changes in your customers' preferences or needs.”
On the state of the market, she says, “Dictate the market; do not be led... Often circumstances become worse as a result of our indifference and negligence”.
With these and many other words of wisdom gleaned from years of experience and success, Lauren encourages businesses, organisations and individuals towards MAD passion.
MAD Culture and MAD in Action is published by Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson USA, and can be purchased on www.amazon.com and www.koorong.com
Read Part I