Lucky's Blog

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Unified Vision

This article is dedicated to my good friend John, who asked me specifically to discuss some of the processes I have instituted to help maintain our brand. While I will apologize if this comes across as a promotion, it is not intended as such. I am very proud of my team but I am not using this as a platform to promote our service. I am hoping that everyone will gain insight into how important process is to being successful.
You cannot develop a brand without a unified vision. You must understand what your brand message is and build processes to ensure its successful implementation. A unified vision is the cornerstone of your brand’s foundation and everyone must understand and buy into it. As I have explained in my book, only once everyone knows the main objective, the play or plan that will be executed and their role, do you have any chance to succeed. The more clear and detailed your vision, the better chance you have to build a unified team and the better chance you have at implementing a solid brand message.
As I have stated in multiple articles, my main brand is quality and customer service. While many companies and individuals will promote these same key factors as part of their core principles, this is not a slogan, it’s a way of life for me. I spend my days looking for exceptional examples of quality and customer service, what I can learn from them, and as many of you know, I write about them as well. I also make note of the less than stellar examples and believe me, there is no shortage of examples.
My team is built around a brand message of the highest quality and the ultimate customer experience. I have also instituted many processes to ensure that the message is heard loud and clear.
It starts with the hiring process. When we plan to bring a new person into our team, we have a very extensive interview process that includes multiple tests that will reveal the candidate’s skills as well as their character. We make it a point to have several different people interview the candidate to get multiple opinions and then share our findings. You see when someone becomes part of our team; it is not something that is taken lightly, in fact, less than 5% of candidates actually earn a position on our team.
Once an individual makes it past the interview process, they go through a thorough back-ground check. Once they have passed through all of this up front evaluation and we are still considering them for our team, we put them through orientation. This is a weeklong orientation process where they go through multiple training sessions on safety, skills, specific processes exclusive to our team, customer experience, and quality. Once they have completed this training they are then scheduled to do a three week ride along with one of our senior team members who will train them on all our processes in a hands-on environment. Only once they have completed this training, and the senior team member recommends them for a position with our team, are they able to move on to the next stage. The final stage is a one on one interview with me, where I make it crystal clear what it means to be part of our team. I also cover what my expectations are and have some detailed conversations about what they have learned over the past several weeks. Only once I am convinced that the new candidate is a good fit and will promote our brand message do we bring them aboard to our team.
While this is a very detailed process, if I were to stop there, the brand message would be lost in a month or two. To capitalize on the huge upfront investment of training we have monthly continued training sessions in every office, where all the team members come in and we continue to discuss what we are doing right, and where we can improve. The brand message is constantly being promoted on a daily basis to all of our team members. We are continually coming up with new ideas and better ways to serve our customers.
Once again, if I were to stop there, the message would still end up being lost. We also have implemented a very structured QC program. This includes follow ups with our customers to get valuable feedback on how we are doing and how we can improve, as well as site inspections to verify that the highest possible quality is being supplied on every job every time. As a very wise man once said, “you must inspect what you expect to fortify a congruent culture”.
In closing, this is just a quick snapshot of some of the processes built around my team to ensure our brand message is solid and unwavering. That is probably the most important part. Once you build the process and brand, you can never let it slip. It is easy to cut corners, or skip around some of the process once you have built it, but that is the first slippery step to losing your brand message and becoming another historical failure. I hope this article has been helpful and got your mind churning. I know that it may sound like too much to take on, but just use baby steps. Remember that a journey of a thousand miles starts with that first step. Good Luck and best wishes.

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