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STEPHEN SPENCER & ASSOCIATES

THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE EXPERT | RETAIL | TOURISM | HOSPITALITY
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Leadership - Style versus Substance

Welcome to our newsletter!

The current Labour leadership election is certainly providing more 'news' than we are used to in the summer "silly season", with all the elements of a good drama (or comedy - all views are welcome here), from the unfancied underdog who suddenly looks like winning, to the consequent, fevered manoeuvrings of those who expected to be in the lead; and from the daily interventions by concerned party grandees to the growing chorus of complaints about the process itself. Whatever your political stance, this is a fascinating process. I'm sure more than one book is being hurriedly assembled at this moment, ready to be rushed to publication as soon as the result is known!

The process and the personalities (and the politics) aside, however, what does the Labour leadership election tell us about Leadership? I'd suggest the following lessons can be drawn, regardless of who wins. Successful Leaders:
  1. Know where they are going: people can't follow you if the direction isn't clear, and coherent. This is about your values and your future vision, in which those values prevail. 
  2. Tell a story: your values and strategy aren't enough. You need to weave a narrative that is about them (your followers), not you.
  3. Have a plan: your followers have bought into the values, they see themselves in the story; however the plan needs to explain how you will get there - and how you will deal with obstacles along the way.
  4. Are authentic: their style and behaviour is congruent with their prospectus; everything they do underpins what they stand for.
  5. Are credible: this is about more than just authenticity - it is about having the tools (experience and expertise) to lead this particular journey/project/organisation.
  6. Are humble: rarely, in this day and age,do successful Leaders "lead from the front" - in the sense that, they know that Leadership is a privilege, not a right, and its role is to create opportunities to let others shine, in pursuit of the common cause.
  7.  Are flexible: things change, opportunities and challenges appear from nowhere, disaster lurks just around the corner. Successful Leaders know how and when to change tack, taking their followers with them, without losing sight of the end vision.
Over the past few months, we have seen many Leaders unexpectedly dominate elections: from Sturgeon to Farage, from Alexis Tsipras in Greece to Jeremy Corbyn. The key point is that, whilst they have all captured public imagination, their actual results have been mixed. Some have failed to be elected, others have been elected and then failed. On others still, the jury is still out! I'd argue that these outcomes have been (and will be) in direct relation to their demonstration of the above attributes. 

Read about our POSITIVE Leaders' programme here. 

Quote of the Week

"The meaning of your communication is the response you get."  - Gregory Bateson


I love this quote, because to me it is not only true, and succinct, but it also puts the responsibility for effective communication squarely in the court of the communicatorCommunicating effectively is fundamentally about understanding that everyone has their own "map of the world", and their own preferred communication style.

There are many systems and training courses available on this subject, however too often they don't successfully translate a complex subject into learnings that can be put into practice back in the workplace. Our programme "It's a Zoo Around Here", is the exception - simple, practical and fun, it can be delivered in a variety of formats, and there is an accompanying book available too. Find out more here.

HUMOUR: last month we featured a spoof theme park catering for miserable family days out - this month that has become reality, courtesy of Banksy! (WARNING - may offend those that believe theme parks are intended to make people happy!)

Ingredients of Success

As the summer draws to a close, it's time to start planning those vital autumn Team days and strategy planning workshops. 

To help you get the most out of this time, Stephen has teamed up with award-winning chef and trainer Christopher Trotter to create a unique Team building workshop using food and cooking to create a fun, non-hierarchical Team dynamic. Called "Ingredients of Success", the workshop will equip your Team to work better together and communicate better too. Places are still available for our autumn workshop sessions - find out more here:


Service Moment of the Week

I've always been a fan of Pret A Manger.  For nearly 30 years, it has maintained the values and vision of its founders, Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham - delivering great food, with natural ingredients, fast, and with outstanding service. Having studied the company closely, I'd say that its greatest strength is its focus on Team - we'll explore that another time, however suffice to say I'm rarely if ever disappointed by the service I receive in a Pret store.

Last week however, I was very disappointed indeed with the state of the toilets at one particular store, for reasons I needn't describe! So I did what any self-respecting Customer Experience Expert would do - I Tweeted a couple of photos of the offending facilities, to Pret. Within hours, I'd received, via Twitter, not only an apology and a request for more detail (so they could take corrective action), but also the promise of a £10 Pret Card, which arrived a few days later. For recognising that "a complaint is a gift", and rewarding me just for complaining, the Pret Social Media Team delivers my Service Moment of the Week.
For Customer Experience, Communication and Leadership news and tips, join us on Social Media! Links below...
POSITIVE Leaders Love...communicating with ALL personality types and Communication preferences. Discover our brilliantly simple and effective programme "It's a Zoo Around Here"
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