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The Alchemy of Leadership Blog

Just Tell Me What I Need to Know!

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One of the things all businesses must do is “get the basics right.”  Deliver the parcel on time.  Sew the seams of the dress properly.  Serve the coffee hot.

The challenge is to get all these details right, all the time.  So many businesses get some of them right, some of the time.  There’s a great for the senior team to spend their energy and attention on the cool, exciting stuff like branding, profile, etc.  All too often what the team is really doing is seeking status, affirmation from their peers that they’re cool.  There’s a hotel I sometimes stay at near Reconomy, the business I chair.  The building has been beautifully renovated.  The gardens are tastefully planted.  The food is organic, locally-sourced, etc etc.  The staff are friendly.  But – and it’s a big but – they’re poorly trained.  They shout across the dining room at each other instead of walking over to communicate.  When booking a taxi, some of them do it with bad grace (others don’t).  There’s clean laundry lying around on the corridor floor.  And so on.  Details that spoil the enjoyment of the good bits.  Each one is minor, but taken together it’s wearisome.  Puzzling too – if they can get 80% of the experience right, why not that last 20%?

The same applies to websites.  Take our local attractions.  The websites proudly triumph the history of the place, the range of souvenirs in the shop, the gluten-free café, and so on.  But what I really need to know is: where is it, when is it open, how much does it cost?  I’m constantly amazed at how many restaurants, museums, farm shops and so on force you to treat their website as a forensic investigation for clues rather than serving up the information you need quickly and easily.

Get the basics right.  Then you can worry about the clever stuff.

© Patrick Macdonald 2015

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