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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Honouring Selling and Design - Trust in Linked In Invitations ?

Congratulations to North London Chingford's son, Sir Jonathan Ives KBE ( Knight of the British Empire) , senior vice president of industrial design at Apple. His honour was given  for his services for services to design and enterprise, whose leadership of the design team at Apple has led to the iPodiPad and I phone.
Such honours are given in recognition of great achievement and imply trust from the monarch through her first minister of the Treasury - Prime Minister, David Cameron.

I have yet to receive an invitation for an honour from her Majesty the Queen for "services to blogging on selling matters." If I were to do so, such an invitation for an honour from The Queen I am given to understand would be a command.
Windsor Castle , Royal County of Berkshire UK


I understand that I  would have to return a suitably worded reply addressed to the member of Her Majesty's Household who had issued the original invitation.  I would probably first need to consult Debrett’s http://www.debretts.com/


Despite the fact that the royal household is on-line nowadays http://www.royal.gov.uk/  , I very much doubt the invitation would be communicated to me in the style of those automated messages to join the chivalrous company of gallant business gentlemen and ladies of the “ The Most Noble order of Linked In ”.


“Since You Are A Person I Trust, I Wanted to Invite You To Join My Network on Linked In."

To some that flattering automated message from Linked In should have a health warning! But why , what could be more lovely in  the world of business than to be" trusted" ?


Of course when we say we did not deserve the 'honour' of such an invitation – that is not humility but candour. For we may have done absolutely nothing to deserve that trust unlike the real honours like Sir Jonathan's.

Have I met the Linked In invitee ?

0 Colleague?
0 Classmate?
0 Done business together?
0 Friend?
0 other ?



Indeed for such an invitation there is no need to consult Debrett’s but one can just lazily depress the ‘accept’ button.- job done


Linked In maybe morally neutral but our use ( abuse) of it may not be. The way that word “Trust” is used in an automated message devalues that particular virtue.
St George's Chapel Windsor - home of the Knights of the Garter. Burial place of Henry VIII and Charles I.

  •  Trust and respect


This standard form of words, offered by Linked In to their members as an option in the invitation process. Perhaps we should lobby Linked In to withdraw it.
Such automated messages have the laziness of total reliance of greeting card manufacturers with nothing personal added. When received they can seem to indicate how little the sender values the would-be relationship.
 It  also indicates that the sender prioritises quantity over quality in their networking – and you are clearly a “Z” list-er.

As a recipient one  wonders how useful such a connection is likely to be.


  •  Should your network be "Open" to all or restricted?

Should we be open to connections from people you’ve never met?
 In the formative years of social networking  we were encouraged to think so. Some are wary of this and prefer a closed  network.
 Open networking will help you network grow but it should like all professional selling be respectful and discriminating. It comes across a rather devious when an implication of of trust already exists when it clearly does not.


A fellow professional does a bit of research?
They bother to look up one’s profile?

 They find a reason why a connection might be mutually beneficial  ie WIIFY –What is in it for you?
  • Personal invitation or junk invitation?

Your point of common interest might be in membership of the same group or in a topic that’s of shared interest.
It could be an article the other person has published or commented on.

Perhaps it could be an aspect of the individual or the company they work for.
 But if there is no common ground whatever, what reasonable expectation is their from the recipient to want to connect with invitee.
Most accept every request that shows that the invitee has taken the time to personalise the invitation and has identified some element of mutual interest.

Those connections are going to prove to be far more valuable to all concerned


  •  Discerningly open
( One of the best views of London from Windsor Castle's twelfth century 'round' tower - newly reopened to the public- over the  roofs the state apartments towards the east with Heathrow Terminal 5 building- through to the horizon with Shard then on towards the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf)


"Back in the day"
Openness with discernment enables one to build up a good sized network that will prove invaluable to  growing your business.  It helps you to vet would be time wasters.
It was how connections were made in days gone by.
The Most Noble Order of the Garter is the highest order of chivalry existing in England, founded in 1348 by Edward III.

It was to be “a society, fellowship and college of knights” given to those the monarch trusted.

Knights are to be chivalrous which are qualities idealised by knighthood, such as bravery, courtesy, honour, and gallantry.

The Order is dedicated to the image and arms of St. George as England's patron saint, and is bequeathed to recipients from Britain and other Commonwealth.

After a peerage, it is the pinnacle of the UK honours’ system .



Bestowing the honour is one of the Monarch's few remaining truly personal, executive privileges.

The most popular legend for the origin of the Order involves the "Countess of Salisbury" while dancing with or near King Edward at Eltham Palace, her garter is said to have slipped from her leg.

When the surrounding courtiers sniggered, the king picked it up and tied it to his leg, exclaiming, "Honi soit qui mal y pense," ("Shamed be the person who thinks evil of it."), the phrase that has become the motto of the Order


The motto to be found all over Windsor Castle home of the Order of the Garter. The six is just the viewing point for tourist visitors.


The order's emblem, depicted on insignia, is a garter with the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense (Old French: "shame upon him who thinks evil upon it", or "evil to him who evil thinks") in gold lettering. Members of the order wear such a garter on ceremonial occasions

Do Debrett’s offer help on “netiquette and LinkedIn yet?. Possibly they cover it “Modern manners”
http://www.debretts.com/debrett's-publications/books/a-z-of-modern-manners.aspx

Shamed be the person who thinks evil of it Honi soit qui mal y pense


By the way, if we’re not yet connected, and you think that there might be a good reason to be so,  please send a short personalised invitation on LinkedIn but  please not one of those 'auto-trust' messages- my profile Hugh Alford  , and I’d be happy to accept.


 Of course, you can always follow me at distance on twitter @fruits_hugh


I’ll be pleased to follow back as long as your twitter feed looks like it might be interesting


And should it be a command from her Majesty I will consult DeBrett's quam celerrime and reply to the best of my ability. 


"Your humble servant, your Majesty."

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Alexandr Orlov Celebrity Blog Editor Christmas 2011

Christmas Card with Alexandr Orlov - "Meery Kreestmoss"

As has become traditonals on BBC wireless Radio "Today Programme" for guest editors for the week between Christmas and New Year, I Alexandr Orlov,  am celebrity guest editor of  this blog during holiday period.
I was interviewed by Mr Appeal

Where are you spending Christmas holidays?
 My Papa Anton advise me to visit pretty Cotswold village in aptly named  steep Hill of Bourton in Gloucestershire district. This is farming area of great beauty and grow mini cabbages of Brussels which go well with Seasonal Turkey Meal ( and secret plates of cheesey beetles.)


Where did you attend Christmas Eve?
I went of  pretty and old  St Lawence Church Bourton on the Hill. See picture below of said saint with grill -the martyr’s symbols. (Simples)


 We singing traditional carol songs like 'In the bleaky midwinter' ( that remind me of home town of Meerkova), 'Comes all ye faithfuls' and "It came upon a midnights clear" with strange words not covered in my English graduate  course I studied through the "Learn English Through Acupuncture" correspondence for example" veiled in flesh the Godhead see" ??
 Church has TWO Cribs


Extra crib on ledge
Did you find the church service strange?
No, it was piece of centipede cake. Thanks to my ITkat, Sergei,  who used to work on Russian space program and he install state of art computermabob with extra large RAM jar and floppy box which access Googles to explain strange liturgy of Church of Englands. But not so different to Meerkat Orthodox tradition back home. Village of Bourton on the Hill very friendly. 
What was your most amusing Christmas cracker joke ?
What  do termites have for breakfast? Oakmeal! That killed at feastings table in Bourton


How much time do you spend at your computer each day this holiday?
In morning I have to spend many hour replying to timewasters who are email me for cheap car insurance (deal scroll down for such.) The rest of day split between snacking and Tweeting about Christmas snacks .
Favourite website this year?
I am current working on a new social media website, called Litter. It is like LinkedIn and Twitter combine to let you waste time more efficiently.

The British public can now buy replica toys of you and Sergei as brand extension of your comparethemeerkat company what other ventures as you considering? Are you sure you in right place?
There have been rumours that I am to endorse  strange wafer chocolate confectionary bar called  KitKat by Nestle company as grown up sophistikat lifestyle brand to 'Kid Milky' and his bar for baby meerkats. This not true my cake bar is "Meerkat Bar" with slogan 'have a cake have a meerkat bar."


Have you been cold in the English countryside?
No my Santa sock keep cosey at night. Also weather has been mild but windy like on Russian plains


Favourite pop song at the moment?
Military wives song " Wherever you are"  with Chorus master Gareth Malone . Click for Wherever you are


What have you found most interesting about Cotswold Christmas?
Note boxings under tree

The term "boxings" is confusings. No one boxes on Boxings day but give presents to each other.


The tradition has long included giving money and other gifts to those who were needy and in service positions. ( Remindings I must remember to pay faithful servant and Itkat Sergie.) Sergei.)


In the UK, it was a custom for tradesmen to collect "Christmas boxes" of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. Now we do shoppings. I visit Warwickshire district and  Avon  river town of Stratford of Shakespeare fame he playwright like Checkov but funnier.
Christmas Lights in Startford upon Avon



What has been the saddest thing this Christmas?


Mr. Roman’s footballing team only drew with  Fulham team. Serious doubting about Premier leagueings this season.

Related links
For authentic and official Cheap insurance site comparethemarket.com/

Mr Appeal will be back at Blog in 2012

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas 2011 from Fruitsofsuccesswithhugh



Christmas Tree lit up in Trafalgar Square


Crib at Trafalgar Square - Hodie Christus Natus est


Wishing all readers of this blog
a Merry Christmas

video
Tree made of Lego bricks at St Pancras International Railway Sation, London


 
Wishing all readers of this blog
 a Merry Christmas


Wishing all readers of this blog
a Merry Christmas


During the holiday guest editorship of this blog will be undertaken by Alexandr Orlov
Meerkat superstar

Friday, 23 December 2011

New England Biolabs Company Conference - 9 key Customer service Teamworking Skills

The acronym "DNA" is often hijacked by Sales Executives as a shorthand metaphor for the core benefits in a Sales DVP ( Differentiated Value Proposition) or else by management gurus to describe the cultural essence of an organisation.


 So it was enlightening to facilitate on behalf of TACK International at a  team building event and conference held by New England Biolabs UK - world leaders in biological reagents including real DNA at Hitchin Priory.


 (This post has loads of video clips, photos and content of the fun team working experience we had)




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NEB's 'Group Phusion' sharing thoughts on benchmarking and metrics. Music room at Hitchin Priory
Having closed down the office on the Wednesday before the holiday break, the whole UK operation of NEB met for a team building  and business meeting in the historic Hitchin Priory conference centre.

 As with so many technological companies it is rare for the whole pf NEB UK to gather under the same roof to take stock of the state of the business the lessons learnt and to treat themselves  some thinking time to considering the future challenges and opportunities that are on offer.


I was particularly impressed how all the members of NEB were so open minded and prepared to risk leaving their day to day the 'comfort zones' of their specialisms, expertise and roles, to free think both the strategic and tactical challenges set them.


The morning was spent considering some 'big picture'  and 'heady' stuff.
  • Corporate cultures ( Power, Role, Task and People cultures) Charles Handy's classic on Changing-Organisations What transitions has NEB gone through what the the future hold?
  • Individual Personality and styles ( Lion, Monkey, Dolphin and Elephant - Nigel Risner'sThe Impact Code) Our own individual impact within the company and with clients.
  • Moments of opportunities ('MOO' moments) for NEB for 2012 The teams generated loads of ideas to those touch points with clients for opportunities to cross sell and provide a broader offering.
  • Benchmarking ' Hero' companies whose customer service values the various NEB teams admire and who they will actively follow throughout 2012. One team elected to followAmazon, another Google and lastly John Lewis.
  • Striving for Customer service excellence.
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'Helen's heroes' discussing their views on what Customer service excellence is for NEB customers. Music Room at Hitchin Priory


The afternoon was a session on team building. Rather a running a conventional session on the key elements of teamwork in business I took the risk ( and NEB were up for  the challenge) and set the teams a detailed task  I had written to build a  model replica of a mangonel ( medieval catapult) as used in the Siege of Bedford in 1224 along with an information quiz and other diversions..

So just before lunch the groups were supplied with a long and detailed brief and a set of tasks to be completed before 3 p.m.

The teams mixed with various disciplines such as scientists, salespeople, warehouse and shipping, order processing. In the first few moments you could see many in the groups wondering could this all be completed.

But this exercise was not just an entertaining teamwork challenge without real learning objectives because each team was to be observed by a team member who was to observe and record how the team went about the task and then to report their findings after the sessions to the whole conference at the end of the day. The observer presenters were  Laura and Mel, Rachel and Jacey and did a great job mixing both amusing ,serious,insightful and constructive observations.
Mikel studying the brief... intently



David measuring a key component  of his team's construction




Brainstorming ideas
Chris and Calin considering various design options


The observers Jacy, Rachel, Laura and Mel structured their observations and presentations around the following 9 key teamwork skills.
  1. Listening - to listen to other people's opinions. When people are allowed to freely express their ideas, these initial ideas will produce other ideas.
  2. Discussing to discuss your ideas with your teammates until you agree.
  3. Questioning - t to ask questions, interact, and discuss the objectives of the team.
  4. Persuading - individuals are encouraged to exchange, defend, and then to ultimately rethink their ideas.
  5. Respecting - to treat others with respect and to support their ideas
  6. Helping - help one's co-workers, which is the general theme of teamwork.
  7. Collaborating - to share with the team to create an environment of teamwork.
  8. Participating - all members of the team are encouraged to participate in the team.
  9. Communicating - For a team to work effectively it is essential for team members to acquire communication skills and to use effective communication between one another e.g. face to face in this exercise,  in work additionally phone, using email, social media communication, group meetings etc. This will enable team members of the group to work together and achieve the team's purpose and goals.
"Is that going to work?"
video
" Measure twice cut once!"


The NEB Teams went through the classic stages of Forming Storming Norming Performing and Reforming  successfully became increasingly effective as the task progressed.

 • Objectives were discussed and  goals agreed
• Their openness and healthy confrontation ( little instances were observed here happily)
• Support and trust was engendered
• Co-operation and conflict were experienced and resolved respectively
• Good decision making by both empowered team members and leaders
• Appropriate leadership from the team leaders ( coxswains) Laura , Helen and Dawn kept a light touch on the helm of their various boats 
•  The teams review of their process in a natural way and kept an eye on the clock
•  The inter-group relationships were established early on and prospered
• Individual development opportunities were sort and


utilised.  For example one 'Phusion' team member , Wayne,


had expertise to share, having formerly served in the Royal


 Electrical and Mechanical Engineers ! ( REME)
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"Practise makes perfect"
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"Fine tuning"
" Studied concentration"


video
" Power drill makes the job easier"


 The  NEB UK teams proudly posed  for a photograph with their model mangonels before the ultimate test - but would their models work??!!!!


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'Helen's Heroes' Darren, Jacy, Mikel ,Ed ,Helen ,Michelle, Ginny with
"The Crush'em" - patents pending!


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'Dawn's destroyers' Dawn, David Amanda Rachel Lynsey Chris ,Calin 


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'Team Phusion' Sharon Laura, Wayne ,Sarah , Adam, Edwin and Mel


The denouement the siege engines put to the test.
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video
video


  
Our conference venue was Hitchin Priory owned by Chartridge. The site was formerly a Carmelite Monastery and some of the old walls from medieval times are to be found in the hotel. The Music room and Lady Julia's room provided plenty of room for the various tasks of the day plus beautiful setting of a Regency elegance as a contrast to modern office environments.
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Hitchin Priory  part of the Chartridge group  venue for NEB meeting December 2011




Related Links:

 
Click on  In Company Conference Facilitation    

Thursday, 22 December 2011

‘Just a minute’ elevator sales pitches "without repetition, hesitation or deviation".

44 years ago today - just after three months of the launch of BBC Radio 4, the first transmission of the comedy panel show Just a minute was aired.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/justaminute/  Back then it was chaired by the current chairman, Nicholas Parsons. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006s5dp
Clock at Earls Court Road Underground Station, London


Will you be playing your own version of "Just a minute" at  any parties over the Christmas Holiday season?

Amongst many of the questions in our small talk with new people at such gatherings ,we will meet those who will predictably ask “What do you do?”

I know that at some parties that I will attend, I will ask someone what they do.

Their response (particularly if they are English), will often be to ramble on what they don’t do, what they are not , - Five minutes later, they will be still trying to describe their role, company or industry, and you and I will be trying to find a polite way  to extract ourselves out of the conversation

Unfortunately, many salespeople don't think enough about their company's story and how it comes across.

How many of us have witnessed ineffective pitches at networking events, conferences, seminars etc.?

So why not get a little practice in this holiday period honing your elevator pitch and communication skills this coming party season?

You might find this 4 part formula helpful DSDC ( Do, Solve,Different,Care)

   1. What does your company do?

   2. What problem do you solve?

   3. How is your product or service different?

   4. Why should the prospect care?

By keeping each answer brief, you will develop a succinct story that should take no more than 60 seconds. Then you can work on the other key craft and that is to listen to them and get them talking.
 Based on those four questions above, your company's story might go something like this:

"We I....... [what your business does]. Typically we... [what problem does you solve].

 And, we ..... [how you / your company are different].

 Imagine  you were to ................. then we could ... for you[why they should care WIIFM].

Oh and don't forget to carry a few business cards on you when you go to those parties. You never know.........

Remember : "There is no such thing as luck in selling . LUCK is where opportunity meets preparation!"