Sunday, June 03, 2012

3 x Golden Helicopter Awards to Thee exceptional Businesses

I have been especially privileged recently to work with some spectacularly impressive organisations - working in all kinds of sectors - but are linked by their laser beam focus back on the basics of business and the motivation of their people.

Three stand out both as organisations and for the outstanding leaders who run them:

Adams Foods - sell the Pilgrims’ Choice cheese and Kerrygold butter brands in the UK and have a major cheese packaging factory at Leek. They have been transformed since the arrival of their new CEO, and are simply challenging all the paradigms in their business (like setting up a demo kitchen run by a top chef in the middle of their sales floor) and seeking out every possible way to achieve sustained profitable growth. Employee relations have been transformed - and this is, perhaps, best epitomised by everyone (including the CEO) having performed in an in-house rap video!

Qalhat LNG, based in Muscat, Oman is the first major corporation to be 100% Omani. It was set up with the current CEO and since then they have achieved that all elusive aim for most of a ‘family’ culture in a hard nosed corporate environment. Very unusually everyone is the company is called by their given name, with decisions challenged and a great deal of fun in the workplace.

Acumen Law, was set up in Brighton just 5 years ago with a vision to challenge the legal practice norms for doing business and, wow, have they succeeded! Fixed price contracts, a ‘Legal Director’ scheme for companies, the extensive use of social networks, approachable, accessible and unpretentious staff, an annual business conference and a strong brand that they are now franchising countrywide to name a few.

The leaders of these three businesses: Ian Toal, Harib Al Kitani, and Penina Shepherd respectively are all remarkable, visionary, people who each epitomise the leadership traits that came from recent research which asked the question:

“Why do you follow someone?” 

93% said:

"A feeling of fun, energy and excitement"

- and the three organisations they run have taken on board the first of the 4 basics of business - they are constantly striving to be truly exceptional at everything they do.

Congratulations! - and a Golden Helicopter award to each 

Ditched Heloicopter Award to WH Smith

WH Smith have introduced self service payment stations into their shops in addition to the normal tills.
I was in their branch in Henley on a Saturday in a queue of 18 people waiting to pay. There was one member of staff on the tills and one attempting to explain how the self service stations work. They are clearly not straightforward or user friendly as he was struggling.
Other staff were wandering about - apparently doing very little but finally after some mumbling by the queue one of them went onto a spare till.
When I finally got to her to pay she went out of her way to tell me that “I shouldn’t be doing this” and grumbling about the management.

Can you imagine any member of staff in a well run company like Pret a Manger or Apple ever saying something like that?

A Ditched Helicopter Award therefore goes to WH Smith

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Golden Helicopter Award to HSBC / Ditched Helicopter Award to Lloyds TSB

My son, Russ, and I recently agreed to be trustees of a disability trust.
Our first job was to open a bank account for the trust to receive funds. Russ contacted the Lloyds TSB branch in Ludgate Hill near his office in London and arranged an appointment with them to sign all the papers and open the account when I was next in London. Lloyds texted a confirmation to him the day before and a reminder to bring passports etc for identification purposes.
So far, so good.

We arrived at the appointed time  to be told:

"We know nothing about an appointment and there's no-one here at present who knows any thing about trusts. That's Head Office for you, they often do this to us, sorry. Can you come another day?"

We then explained that we had come a long way and really needed to get this done so they found someone to deal with us. We duly filled in all the forms but were told near the end of this process that we would be unable to have online banking on a trust account. This would make it very inconvenient for us running the account but they told us that this was a regulatory requirement, not Lloyds own rules. 

On leaving the branch we noticed there was an HSBC branch nearby so we thought we would call in on the off chance and just check about the online rules for trust accounts.
The contrast was light and day.
Zak Islam greeted us by the door in a friendly and professional manner and when we mentioned our experience and that we were seeking to open a trust account asked us to wait whilst he spoke to the expert.
After offering us a seat and a drink he came back and said that yes it was possible to open an online account with a trust account and if we could wait a few minutes the trust expert would be able to see us. He established that with HSBC we could, after all, have online facilities for a trust account.
Five minutes later we were sat with Vicky Morgan. Ten minutes later we had filled in all the forms, had our ID certified, the trust deed copied and been informed that the account would be open within 24 hours.
We were extremely impressed with Vicky who helped us with the somewhat complicated forms, was professional and courteous and genuinely appeared to want our trust account business.
She rang the next day to confirm that the account is open as promised and we are both very happy clients.
Vicky and Zak  are a credit to HSBC and it is great to know that HSBC invests in and clearly values training, customer service and employing quality people.

I am very happy therefore to give a Golden Helicopter Award to HSBC, St. Pauls Churchyard and Zak Islam and Vicky Morgan 

 After leaving HSBC we went back to the Lloyds TSB branch and asked them not to process our papers or open the account. They said that would be fine.


Three days later we received a letter from Lloyds TSB telling us our account was open  and the next day we received paying in books!

Lloyds TSB get an extremely well deserved Ditched Helicopter Award for lousy service

About Me

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Roger Harrop, The CEO Expert, has spent over 25 years leading international business at the highest level, ultimately a plc, putting him in a unique position to deal with contemporary business challenges. He is ranked in the top 10 of Management and Strategy Speakers worldwide by Speaker Wiki and twice voted by the members of The Academy for Chief Executives 'Speaker of the Year' He is an, Oxford, UK based, international motivational business growth speaker who inspires and entertains his audiences with his acclaimed Staying in the Helicopter® programmess. Over 20000 CEOs, business leaders in 40 countries have achieved transformational change through his thought provoking and entertaining talks laced with real-life stories, anecdotes and humour. Roger is an author, accredited SME business advisor, mentor, and independent director and has run businesses for major multi-national corporations. He is a Past-President of The Professional Speakers Association, a former Vice-President of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and a Liveryman with The Worshipful Company of Marketers.