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Making the best of customer touchpoints

Making the best of customer touchpoints

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: # 5   Have a fully coordinated, customer sales approach, drawing a customer into an engaging relationship at every point of contact.  One of my beautiful daughters had a modeling gig for Lands’ End recently that put her in the popular catalog and on the company’s website. As a proud father, I searched out the Lands’ End webpage, found her picture and clicked to look at the various shots. I moved on to other web pages, including Facebook, where I was greeted ...

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Why selling your products is a bad idea

Why selling your products is a bad idea

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth:  #4  Have a clear understanding of how each of your products and services relate to the other and to the company as a whole.” I watched as my 10 year-old son dug around in a bin of hundreds of small and odd shaped little pieces. He turned a red plastic block in his hand - shiny, triangular, smaller than his fingernail. It was a cool shape. He studied it and quickly placed it on the growing geometry of blocks. He pulled out another piece, imagined it, then ...

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Listen (to the voice of your customers)

Listen (to the voice of your customers)

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: #3 Clearly understand your customers’ unmet needs, their frustrations, and what they look for in products and services like yours. Last year, when we talked to the senior leaders of a manufacturing firm with a large footprint in a niche market, we sensed concern, even a little despair. The brands they were selling to businesses were well known and recognized as quality products.  But customers were pressing them on price and turning to competitors, often with...

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What People Believe Matters

What People Believe Matters

Valcort 35 Keys to Growth: #2 Know what customers, distributors, shareholders, vendors and employees believe about your company.  Let’s face it. You act on what you believe to be true. Last week I decided to purchase a watch as a birthday gift for my wife. As I was thinking about where to purchase it, my mind ran through a mental list of potential stores. My perceptions, my beliefs, about each of these retailers, influenced my decision about where I should to go to find the perfect gift. My bel...

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The Importance of a Vision Statement

The Importance of a Vision Statement

#1. Have a motivating and achievable vision statement that drives critical business decisions. In one of the best-known passages from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat-- "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don't much care where---" said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. "---So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as a...

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The Sharp Edges of Strategy and Business

The Sharp Edges of Strategy and Business

Sorting through some of my father’s tools yesterday, I ran into three old auger bits. Rusty as they are, they are impressive tools, intentionally designed, and carefully made by a metal-worker with one purpose in mind: to help a carpenter make a hole. Running my fingers over a 75-year-old, rusty bit, it was still surprisingly sharp on the edges, very capable of cutting through an 8 by 8 post today. The sharp and pointed smallest tip threads had been carefully forged to grab a crack in the har...

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Three Principles of Greatness

Three Principles of Greatness

Whether you’re beginning a business from scratch, re-creating an existing organization, or looking to take a company from acceptable to extraordinary, there are three core principles that great operations share--core beliefs that impact management style, communications and use of resources. 1. Truth builds trust Knowing what is true is the basis for taking action, making any purchase or investment.  When organizations seek and speak the truth at all times, regardless whether it’s good or ba...

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Delivering Value at Every Point of Contact

Delivering Value at Every Point of Contact

Can you think of the last time you were amazed by your experience as a customer? If it involved a product, its performance probably exceeded your expectations, time and time again.  If it was a service, the personal contact most likely left you feeling like someone who matters, or amazed by the speed of service or the value you received for your money. Are your customers amazed by their experiences with your company? At The Valcort Group, we hear a lot of different answers from companies ...

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The CEO’s Transformation Roll-out

The CEO’s Transformation Roll-out

By Chuck Thomas, president, The Valcort Group Change has come to your company, division or unit. As the CEO, you’ve done all the research, all the strategy and planning, and the executive team is on board. Now, how do you get your broad employee base to change behaviors to better align to the customer and market? There is no quick fix.  It’s quite impossible for employees to digest all the research and planning information with one email or one presentation.  Remember, it took you months,...

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Trust Gone Wild

The prerequisite of investment of time, money, and energy is a belief that what you invest in will be valued and will return a reward.  This holds true whether in financial markets, relationships, charitable giving, or the sacrifice of time to serve.  The return can be tangible or intangible, measured or perhaps a subjective feeling, experience, or simply the satisfaction of knowing that you “did the right thing.”

Any such transaction is based upon the presence of trust.  Trust provides the investor with confidence that the investment once made will be valued and a reward will be received.

For thousands of years, our financial systems have been built upon this foundation of trust.

That trust is disappearing beneath our feet almost daily.  It is time to do something about it.

Trust with any person or institution is based upon the Four Stages of Trust – shared values, shared vision, assumed responsibility and always delivering on your promise.

The bedrock of trust is shared values.  These values are common heart-motivations and beliefs – values like honesty, fairness, generosity, hard work, and integrity.

Over the past 15 years, we have seen the erosion of these values by Boards, Directors, CEOs and COOs of organizations, institutions and companies we have trusted.  We have trusted many of these organizations for decades, some even for centuries.

The values of hard work, honesty, fairness, generosity and service have been replaced by an unquenchable desire for power, accompanied by arrogance and greed.   The fruit of this can be read in headlines over the last decade as district attorneys have exposed leaders of both public institutions and private corporations taking advantage of our collective trust to manipulate systems, regulations, traditions and inferred promises.  It has become painfully evident they have done this to accumulate personal wealth.  They have “gamed” the system and we have been left holding the bag.

Of course, erosion of trust has always been present.  Historical records provide ample testimony of people in commerce, government and church who have manipulated systems for personal gain.

But not of the scale and breadth we have seen over the last 10 years.  Trillions of dollars have been siphoned off, diverted into back pockets, sketchy bank accounts, and hidden by intricate systems and complexities.

The result is a people who are jaded and skeptical, if not cynical.  The implication is that they have become victims and fools, manipulated by those in charge of a system of trusts, weights and balances.  Most of these leaders and those who have yet to be caught couldn’t care less.  It is precisely their avarice, arrogance and self-serving tendencies that perpetuate this destructive cycle.  Is there no end?

With capitalism, the power resides with the consumer.  Once bitten, the consumer can run away, tell friends and family, and perhaps call into question the trust, reputation and integrity of the organization and its leader.  The result is a loss of customers and revenues.  This has been the foundational basis for capitalism – the buyer’s trust that the seller will keep his promise.

Our system of capitalism and trust in each other is under assault.

It is time for CEOs and leaders of government organizations and nonprofits to step up and make a promise.  It is time to once again state intentionally the values that are shared among the organization’s leaders, its representatives, its partners and its stakeholders to reweave together the fabric of trust.  It is time to demonstrate that the values they hold consistently drive the choices they make, and to prove, indeed, that some of us are different. Some of us are trustworthy.

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