I’ve been working in financial services on and off over a period of more than 20 years and the debate over how many branches a bank needs has been going on for at least that long. So it was good to see the Financial Services Club keeping the debate going this week. Despite money becoming increasingly virtual and the growth of online banking I think the industry has a long way to go before we see a significant change in the number and style of bank branches. Banks that invest in their people as well as new technology will maintain both a distribution network and the valuable customer relationships that go with it.
My social media credibility – recently boosted by having a tweet ‘favorited’ by a jazz pianist admired by my 16 year old – has taken a bit of a dive as I was unaware of Waitrose’s recent Twitter campaign – #WaitroseReasons – asking people to complete the sentence “I shop at Waitrose because….”. Initial reaction in the press and on Twitter suggested that this was serious hashtag fail. I personally think it’s a brilliant piece of marketing.
In my attempts at bringing humour into my work, I – and I think I’m probably not the only one – have occasionally used the phrase ‘through the medium of interpretive dance’ as a shorthand for ‘out-there, wacky stuff in the business place’. Despite my love of aforesaid wackiness I’ve never actually been to a meeting or workshop where any form of dance was featured – until last night when I attended the excellent Knowledge Cafe run by Alida Acosta and accompanying tango dancers.
I’m writing this whilst watching Spain play Portugal in the World Cup and, as I usually root for the underdog, I’m supporting Portugal. Having had a great experience in Portuguese-style piri-piri outfit Nando’s last night I’m even more inclined to favour them. The secret? Over-compensation.
I make no apologies for a second post on the joys of improvisation â€“ this time inspired by seeing the Comedy Store Players (featuring Paul Merton) in an evening of hilarious improvised comedy at my local theatre last weekend.Â For readers unfamiliar with the improv approach, the audience supplies the source material by suggesting film or theatre styles, character names, locations, jobs and so on. Itâ€™s then up to the performers to improvise from that starting point. Itâ€™s hard to convey the results of this without making it sound ridiculous â€“ which it is â€“ so I wonâ€™t attempt to. (Since itâ€™s played for laughs the ridiculousness is all part of the equation anyway.) (more…)
I was going to write a post on customer service in a recession but then I got distracted by a great article on improvised theatre posted on Innovation Tools. It made me realise that my original impulse â€“ to post a piece on the recently-ended London Jazz Festival was the best one to go for as both the article and my experiences at the festival were inspirational and, yes, they do provide useful lessons for customer service.
SMART objectives â€“ anyone whoâ€™s been trained in best practice for personal or project planning knows about them. Itâ€™s a convenient shorthand thatâ€™s found its way into common usage but is it any use? Sometimes I find a little redefinition is in order.
Recently I spent an evening at the theatre seeing Yazmina Rezaâ€™s new play God of Carnage. Itâ€™s got an excellent cast (perhaps the only time you can see DI Rebus, Voldemort and Debbie Archer in the same bill) and only detains you for about 95 minutes. Its central, rather bleak premise sparked thoughts about the conditions under which superior service flourishes.
Itâ€™s not often that you read a management book and think â€œeveryone should have a copy of thisâ€ but Jane Northcote â€“ management consultant and occasional contributor to this blog â€“ has written a book that everyone involved in change should read. Making Change Happen is quite simply (more…)
There’s a new post in the business innovation series coming soon but in the meantime here’s a link to an interview I gave to NLP consultant Michael Beale on his websiteÃ‚Â - available as a transcript or podcast. I don’t practice NLP myselfÃ‚Â for anyone who’sÃ‚Â interested in the subjectÃ‚Â Michael is well worth contacting.
I also wrote an editorial on the relevance of the CharterMark for The Guardian’s Guardian Public magazine. The magazine isn’t available online but I’m happy to share the article with anyone who’s interested - drop me an e-mail at email@example.com.