-Ken Blanchard, Jim Ballard and Fred Finch

Ken Blanchard has written this beautiful book,Customer Mania!, where he gives the secret of building a Customer-Focused Company. He has used Yum Brands, Inc. as a case study. Yum! owns some of the best known restaurant brands in the world – KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Long John Silver’s and A&W Restaurants.

The book is organized into three parts. The first part is an introduction to Yum!. The second part talks about the four steps to build a customer-focused company and the final part talks about the challenges which the Yum! team would face.

The second part of the book is the heart of this book. It has four chapters and each chapter is presented in a beautiful format – Blanchard’s dream, Yum! Reality and The Yum! Scorecard. Blanchard’s dream is a must read.

Things I learnt from this book are mentioned in this article.

Operational Values 

Many many organizations don’t have operational Values… And those who make make two common mistakes.

  1. They have many values – 8,10 or 12… Research shows that people can’t handle more than 3 to 4 values.
  2. Nobody ranks their values.  This allows people to pick and choose any value they want from time to time.

The author gives an example of Disney theme parks that have 4 rank-ordered values –

  • Safety
  • Courtesy
  • The show and
  • Efficiency

Nobody would be happy if they go out of a theme park with a broken hand. Thus safety is the number 1 value for Disney. Courtesy is all about the friendly attitude which is what we’ll think is the number 1 value. If a cast member is talking to a guest in a friendly way. He is doing his job. But if he hears a loud noise near him. He must excuse himself and run to see what he can do to help. i.e. Safety is more important.  It is, therefore, very important to rank these values.

Values guide the organization to achieve it’s vision.

Two types of people

Wayne Dyer, the great personal growth teacher, said years ago that there are two kinds of people in life-

  • The ducks and
  • The eagles.

Ducks act like victims and go, “Quack! Quack! Quack!” Eagles take initiative and soar above the crowd.

As a customer, you know you’re in a top-down organization when you’re confronted by ducks who quack, “It’s our policy. I didn’t make the rules – I just work here. Quack! Quack!….”

Performance Management

For many companies Performance Management is all about Performance evaluation. As long as there is a P.E. form and it is conducted it is thought that the company has a great Performance management system.

Performance Management has 3 parts –

  • Performance Planning  –  Here we agree upon the goals and objectives for the company as well as each individual.
  • Performance Monitoring and feedback – The managers must monitor the day to day work. They must try to make sure the goals and objectives of each individual is met.
  • Performance Evaluation – And finally the performance evaluation is taken to see where the individual stands. 

A beautiful example was given by Ken Blanchard where he says about his life as a professor. He talks about giving the students the final exams before the beginning of the class.
This made entire college staff quite agitated. And the question was – what does he do for the entire semester?
Well he teachs the students the answers so that they get As.

Life is all about winning. How many of us hire loosers ?
We lost some of our best loosers last year, so let’s go and hire some new ones to fill the spots.

Praise Progress … It is a moving target

Most of us end up saying a good job only after the job is done. Sometimes it is too late. We should always praise and motivate a person during the progress. This is what helps a manager get the best out of his people.

The author gives a nice example of how a child is taught to walk. The first time the kid stands up tries to take a step,it may fall. But the mother is so excited that she runs to the kid and hugs the kid and says “My child you stood” . This motivated the child to move further and in no times learns to walk.

Servant Leaders

There are two parts to leadership –

  • Vision and
  • Implementation.

When your vision is clear, you invert the pyramid and shift to the a service frame of mind for implementation.

People with humility don’t think less of themselves, they just think about themselves less.

People with humility don’t deny their power, but they recognize that it passes through  them, not from them… 

I was talking about this book to my father and told me about the values of the Indian Military Academy… It inspired me a lot. I think this credo has value to any organization. True leadership is taught in just these 3 lines….

“The Safety, Honour and Welfare of your Country come first, always and every time.
The Honour, Welfare and Comfort of the Men you command come next.
Your Own ease, Comfort and Safety come last, always and every time”