I was part of a panel asked to present on our top productivity tips yesterday. Often we don’t really know what we do that keeps us productive – it is innate. I thought of my own productivity such as writing down physically the three things I must get done in a day before I go home; or is it turning off email so I can focus on producing what I want to do rather than responding to other people’s agenda. I contemplated what are some of the bigger ideas of how RedBalloon is focused and productive. The reality is that one must be intentional about being productive… floating through the day or ‘hope as a strategy’ simply results in a lot of wasted energy.
1) Be as great as you say you are to your customers
When I started RedBalloon I had a simple premise: to run a business that listened to its customers and acted on the feedback. (Anyone who has been on a RedBalloon experience knows that they will hear from us 48 hours after the experience with our ‘How was it for you’ questions – and a real person reviews and responds to these – always has.)
The customer experience is key. As a result, RedBalloon benefited from conversations about not just the experience but about the experience of delivering experiences, word of mouth marketing that gave us a profile on a shoestring that we no way could have paid for.
2) Be an enviable employer branding
RedBalloon has been recognized as a Great Place To Work, and a Hewett Best Employer in the last few years – but it has not always been like this. It took years of commitment to fulfill on our vision of being a great employer brand. A strong employer brand is the reputation of an organization; its critical ability to recruit and retain the best of the best. Our recognition as an employer of choice gives RedBalloon tremendous leverage: we attract great people – who bring diverse and new ideas to the business. I’m excited that we are recruiting several roles currently to join our corporate team…
I’d encourage all businesses to make their employer brand reputation a key element to strategy and really commit to the employee experience.
3) Value Innovation
Encourage people to think big, make mistakes, innovate and grow — and while not every idea will fly, the freedom to be allowed to ‘get it wrong’ means there’ll be more opportunities when they get it right. If you don’t allow your people the safety to make mistakes, then you’ll never get the grand ideas. And don’t be constrained always expecting ‘big’ ideas. 2012’s theme at RedBalloon is ‘Small Things, Big Impact’ where RedBallooners are encouraged to make suggestions on ways to impact costs, productivity or revenue. To qualify, the idea must be new or incremental and not already in the plan. The idea must also be small ie: it doesn’t require 1-2 weeks worth of development; it can be implemented using existing resources; it doesn’t require substantial investment; and requires only a little extra effort. One of our IT guys, Mitch, came up with a splendid idea for investing in RAM for old computers to speed them up, rather than spending big on new computers. Prime thinking.
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