Platform Zero

Platform Zero

A stand alone blog but it fits quite nicely with this one and this one

I was in London earlier today and I had the pleasure of standing in the main concourse at Kings Cross for forty minutes.

 (Okay that line was tinged with sarcasm I concede perhaps writing this on the train after the wait is influencing this blogs style!)

Anyway, I like to see waiting for things as a personal challenge. Especially in situations where there is no alternative. Doing it with grace can take an effort.

So standing on the platform with hundreds of other people, all of us slowly watching the ‘delayed’ notices go up on the main monitor for train after train, I started to wonder how to put the time to good use. There was no scope for getting the laptop out. With nowhere to sit there was nowhere to start typing.

Although that does bring me to a question, and if anyone knows the answer I’d love to know ~ why they don’t have more seating available in one of the busiest platforms in the country?

I assume there is a good reason, or maybe rather I hope there is! Anyway I digress. So no laptop, the blackberry was a possibility but all the emails I need to do were longer than comfortable to type with my thumbs.

It was a little too crowded to ring people and have a personal chat which brought me back to sipping my rather bitter coffee and simply thinking.

And what I thought was this – If you have to tell people, every ten minutes, that:

Platform zero is located to the right hand side of platform one*

(*This message was being broadcast over the tanoy)

then something has gone wrong with your design.

And then I started to wonder that maybe platform zero was a metaphor for something…maybe it was a representation of all flawed systems or processes.

That then led me to consider what ‘platform zeros’ we might all have in our work or personal lives.

What systems we might have that don’t really work and where we have to keep telling people how to do it properly. The ones where actually if we stopped and took some time out to rework the system, whilst it might take more time at the time, in the medium to long-term it would in fact create greater efficiencies.

Maybe we should all do what Walmart did in an effort to create more effieincies…they went looking for things to eliminate by asking their workforce the question:

What’s the stupidest thing we do around here?

It’s reasonable to think that we all have at least one ‘platform zero’ in our life. And it’s very possibly annoying a lot of people and taking up time that could be spent on more productive things. 

Consider that a management and even a personal challenge ~ find your ‘platform zero’ and fix it.

That way annoying and repetitive announcements and actions can maybe cease to the betterment of all!

Until next time; be successful.

Stephen Hart

Owner, Edenchanges

 Photo curtesy of http://timace.deviantart.com/
 ♦♦♦

Edenchanges

Corporate trainers and coaches

Recruitment Training ♦ Sales Training ♦ Management Training ♦ NLP and Communication Training ♦ Linkedin Training ♦ Personal Development Coaching
♦♦♦
Suite A10 Riccall Business Park, Riccall ,York, YO19 6QR
Based in York and working UK wide and internationally
(0)1757 249 380 ♦ enquiries@edenchanges.comhttp://www.edenchanges.com
♦♦♦

Looking Forward

Looking Forward

“Predictions are extremely difficult, especially when they’re about the future.”

Milton Friedman, Economist (& Winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics)

And who says economists don’t have a sense of humour?

That said Milton Friedman certainly had a point when he said that. As no one actually knows what is going to happen in the future any and all predictions are open to being totally wrong.

It’s a cold fact that simply needs to be accepted when looking forward, whether in our business or personal lives. I know one couple who appeared a few weeks ago to be happily married who are now separating. Not something my wife or I would have predicted nor I think anyone else who knew this couple.

So there are no guarantees about predicting the future. Does that then make planning redundant? I don’t think so.

In fact I think it means that you have to plan better. If the future is going to be unpredictable then better to make some effort to chart your course than simply drift along.

Where to start with planning can be a hurdle in itself and sometimes a hurdle that people don’t get past. Personally I like to start by looking back and considering what has happened in the past. This I believe helps identify the resources I have for moving forward – for more on this see the sister blog to this one Looking Back.

Moving from the past to the future I think an easy and powerful way to start the planning is to consider two things

  1. What you want to happen
  2. What is most likely to happen

I’d start with what you would like to happen. This is the version of events that you would like to see unfold. Whether you are a leader of a business unit, manager of a team or an individual this is really about starting with your personal vision. The vision that you have of the future.

And that has to be the first place of any plan – the vision. Depending on your position in a company this will change. For a director is should be a vision incorporating their division. For a manager their team. For an individual their future position within the business.

(Side note – in the Edenchanges management training we present a deeper version of this which challenges everyone, regardless of position, to have a vision for themselves, their department and the company. I’ve simplified the above for purposes of brevity. Also when we cover strategic planning we outline a detailed six step procedure.)

The danger with a vision is that is can be unrealistic and hence my other suggested area of consider – ‘what is most likely to happen’. It’s very important to consider the events that are realistically likely to happen.

You might have the vision to have a top sales team which outperforms all previous years. However if the likelihood is that your weak sales person will still be weak in 12 months then you need to consider a strategy to work around or with that reality.

Good plans are where vision meet realistic expectations and spawn constructive paths of action. Any practical look forward needs to result in real life, daily actions that can be instigated.

That’s how you get more of your predictions to come true.

Until next time; be successful.

Stephen Hart

Owner, Edenchanges

 Photo curtesy of http://periwinkle-stock.deviantart.com/

 ♦♦♦

Edenchanges

Corporate trainers and coaches

Recruitment Training ♦ Sales Training ♦ Management Training ♦ NLP and Communication Training ♦ Linkedin Training ♦ Personal Development Coaching
♦♦♦
Suite A10 Riccall Business Park, Riccall ,York, YO19 6QR
Based in York and working UK wide and internationally
(0)1757 249 380 ♦ enquiries@edenchanges.comhttp://www.edenchanges.com
♦♦♦

Looking Back

Looking Back

I’m still on holiday as I write this. Indeed I’m not in my office but rather borrowing my daughters desk to type up this blog. Her Buffy calendar that hangs above her desk right in front of where I’m sitting tells me that tomorrow I return to work.

And the first thing I will be doing tomorrow is not phoning anyone. Because tomorrow is a planning day.

I believe one of the biggest tasks, and indeed one of the most important tasks, that managers and other senior people can do for their businesses is to plan. The question of course comes up of ‘when is it best to plan?’

The answer to that is role specific although as a global answer I would say at least every quarter and really I’d say quarterly is a check point in a rolling plan that incorporates weekly and monthly goals and check points.

When to plan isn’t the thrust of this blog however. What I was more interested in presenting was the idea of reflection or looking back.

The New Year might technically be an artificial point on the calendar but it’s one that we all recognise so let’s use it. I’d offer the thought that the starting point for any plans you might want to make for 2011 is a look back on 2010.

Hindsight has the benefit of incorporating the outcomes and consequences of actions. This can throw up some obvious mistakes and also triumphs from the year. And that’s an important point. Too many people reflect only on the negatives. Recognising what went well in 2010 can give you the building blocks for taking action in 2011.

There are many areas that you can consider when looking back. You might want to reflect by category to ensure you don’t overlook anything:

  • People
  • Systems
  • Products
  • Markets
  • Revenue

etc

Then within those areas you could consider such points as:

  • People – who excelled (and at what), who fell short of expectations, who clashed with who, etc
  • Systems – what worked well, what didn’t get implemented, what could be stopped etc
  • Products – what sold well, what didn’t sell, what new products were released, etc
  • Markets – where was the biggest up takes, what new markets were opened (and by whom selling what?), etc
  • Revenue – how much came from where, how much repeat business, how much new business, where was the most profit made, etc

Those are some quick pointers to get your considering last year. However you do it and whatever you consider it is worth taking some time and looking back.

Next blog – looking forward! Coming soon…

Until next time; be successful.

Stephen Hart

Owner, Edenchanges

 Photo curtesy of http://periwinkle-stock.deviantart.com/

♦♦♦

Edenchanges

Corporate trainers and coaches

Recruitment Training ♦ Sales Training ♦ Management Training ♦ NLP and Communication Training ♦ Linkedin Training ♦ Personal Development Coaching
♦♦♦
Suite A10 Riccall Business Park, Riccall ,York, YO19 6QR
Based in York and working UK wide and internationally
(0)1757 249 380 ♦ enquiries@edenchanges.comhttp://www.edenchanges.com
♦♦♦