Attention to Detail, Richard Branson’s way

So you have an idea for a business — one that you believe has the potential to alter the industry. You put together a straightforward proposition, raised the necessary capital, gathered a team and publicized your new venture by every means available. What happens next?

It’s time to deliver on your promises. And the only difference between merely satisfactory delivery and great delivery is attention to detail.

Anyone who aspires to lead a company must develop a habit of taking notes. I carry a notebook everywhere I go. Most of my entries are like this one, from a Virgin Atlantic flight years ago: “Dirty carpets. Fluff. Areas around bow dirty. Equipment: stainless steel, grotty. Choice of menu disappointing — back from Miami, prawns then lobster (as a main course) in Upper Class. Chicken curry very bland. Chicken should be cut in chunks. Rice pretty dry. No Stilton available on cheeseboard.”

What’s most revealing is this final note: “Staff desperate for someone to listen. Make sure flight staff reports are actioned IMMEDIATELY.” I’m pleased to say they now are. This is the key to getting all the other items on the list done — employees are better able to report problems and get them fixed before I come along with my notebook.

And as you decide how best to deliver your product or service, keep in mind the company’s core business values, the medium-term strategic considerations and where the industry is headed in the long term. Make your decisions on the micro level in light of that bigger picture, and your business should be headed in the right direction.

This problem-solving process should not be limited to the launch. Owners and leaders of established companies should sample their business’s products as often as possible. Many bosses regularly speak to staff at all levels, but often they do not follow up on problems they uncover. This means their employees never learn what importance the CEO places on getting the details right, or see just how necessary and possible it is to address the everyday problems that come up. If you foster a culture of waiting for someone else to solve problems, the company will suffer the consequences.

Great delivery also depends on great communication, which should start at the top. Be brave: hand out your e-mail address and phone number. Your employees will know not to misuse it or badger you, and by doing so, you will be giving them a psychological boost — they will know they can contact you anytime a problem comes up that requires your attention.

Instilling attention to detail throughout your new company will prove especially important when the business begins to gain ground. Employees across the business should be focusing on getting it right all day, every day.

A few years ago, I saw warning signs that we were starting to stumble when I received a letter from a couple who had planned to travel on Virgin Trains in Britain. We had seen a rapid 50 percent increase in passenger numbers, and suddenly people were finding it difficult to get a seat on the busier routes. The letter writers had not realized that they now had to book seats in advance. When they arrived at the station, they found the staff unhelpful. Given that the husband was disabled and needed assistance, this was pretty terrible of us.

I personally helped them, and in the process became concerned about the bigger picture for this company. I asked Ashley Stockwell, the brand and customer service guardian for Virgin Group, to take a look. Thanks to our renewed focus on delivering great service and attention to detail, we got better and soon received plaudits.

Finally, if you do start to see success in the form of new and repeat business, remember to keep a cool head. You’re delivering change, and if you are succeeding, other businesses are probably getting hurt. They will try to shut you down.

Be sportsmanlike, play to win, and then befriend your enemies. If you do fall out with a partner, colleague or competitor, call that person a year later and take him out to dinner. It is likely you have a great deal in common. After all, why did you both get into the business in the first place? To deliver change, serve customers, and reform an industry. Now, what can you create together?

This is an edited excerpt from Richard Branson’s book Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur (Virgin Books, 2010).

Original post/article from  http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219510#ixzz1LarpNYM0


10 Things to learn from Japan

Its not that we have no good examples, but this is not from an individual/s. It is the entire population and all elements within that showed collective learning.

1. THE CALM
Not a single visual of chest-beating or wild grief. Sorrow itself has been elevated.

2. THE DIGNITY
Disciplined queues for water and groceries. Not a rough word or a crude gesture.

3. THE ABILITY
The incredible architects, for instance. Buildings swayed but didn’t fall.

4. THE GRACE
People bought only what they needed for the present, so everybody could get something.

5. THE ORDER
No looting in shops. No honking and no overtaking on the roads. Just understanding.

6. THE SACRIFICE
Fifty workers stayed back to pump sea water in the N-reactors. How will they ever be repaid?

7. THE TENDERNESS
Restaurants cut prices. An unguarded ATM is left alone. The strong cared for the weak.

8. THE TRAINING
The old and the children, everyone knew exactly what to do. And they did just that.

9. THE MEDIA
They showed magnificent restraint in the bulletins. No silly reporters. Only calm reportage.

10. THE CONSCIENCE
When the power went off in a store, people put things back on the shelves and left quietly


A Beatable Challenge #PostAWeek2010

A Beatable Challenge is what another blogger‘s comments were.

The question; Is it beatable? Yes, of course, it is beatable, I m sure everyone can write at least a paragraph or two every week, at least that will ensure and remind us that we are still blogging and of course the total number of blog post and stories would have drastically increased by the end of 2011. We will also come across different view points and ideas during the course of the year which will give topics for others to write. Now the above said bloggers comment on my previous blog triggered this title.

Presently bloggers supporting each other to achieve this goal is something that shouldn’t phase off before the years phases off.

Its beatable in terms of blogging / writing / updating your blog. True but would everyone think of that in the same manner i. e. quantity of blog post or otherwise. Some will want to write quality blogs for which they might even do a research for a considerable amount of time and some will not post until otherwise they are happy with their contents. For those bloggers this task of #postaweek2011 or #postaday2011 would be even more challenging. Some bloggers, however, are more used to writing every thought that comes to their mind and they are good at it or possess an inborn skill, as for other it might have to be developed or keep searching for things and ideas to write about.

Now I would always opt to be the one who wants write something quality and interesting, however I m also very much flexible to ensure I stick to PostAWeek2011 (I know last week of this month I might not be able to hence I have personally bent the rules  as minimum 52 blogs by the end of this year). In a way directly or indirectly this challenge is going to refine me just like it would refine other bloggers. So for me this will be a training ground just like I m learning everything else including trying out new themes everyday :) etc.

How to blog every week?

  • Look for topics all around and be open to anything that comes to your mind.
  • Note down the respective topics (don’t trust your memory), jot it down, on the phone, on a separate password locked page on WordPress, in a 3×5 card which you carry in your wallet, some where.
  • When you sit down to write go through entire list and find the best topic you can write about at that given moment.
  • When you go through the entire list, your mind would be mapping few more thoughts and will be refining the existing thoughts, which one day will look the best topic for you to write
  • If you really don’t find a topic sit down with a cup of coffee/tea and list down few topics.
  • When you read a book look for those chapter titles which are more interesting and note that down.
  • Draft few topics at once when you find time and save it for a rainy day.
  • Refresh review and rework on the things you might have written something about few years back.
  • Give clues, tips, how to ideas
  • Always ask yourself Who What When Where How and Why.
  • Write about current news.
  • Write Thank you notes
  • Bless those who are suffering
  • Write about a cause you support, or why should we support?
  • Write about Pros and cons of the same thing
  • Write about Good things that happened and bad things that happened
  • Write about Good / Bad services you have received.
  • Write about the Jobs you have done including appreciated  or otherwise.
  • Be determined and committed.
  • Write about this idea ;)

As you see there are plenty of things to write about and I m making a separate list of topics to be written in future which I will share with all of you.

Good luck, Keep Blogging and don’t forget to follow me on twitter.

Happy Blogging Everyone

Mr. #PostAWeek2010 we are going to meet you head on and beat you with more than blog a week!!!!

Cheers,

Deen


Finally I have settled on a Theme (I think)

Well for the last whole week I have been trying to find the correct theme in my mind and apparently not getting what I want.

I m looking for a theme which would look decent, clean sheet, a business look and of course with which I can change over to a shared/self hosted service later on for some online business, affiliate marketing, advertising etc.  It should also give me (the laymen) to work around few things and placing pictures, tags, links, pages etc at exactly where I want. It’s pretty strange I have not come across a theme something like WYSIWYG editor. Or am I looking at the wrong place?

On a separate note, I m keen on jumping on the wagon with ‘PostAWeek2011’ group or if things work out fine ‘PostADay2011’ wagon.

The funniest thing is even before I start blogging in this I have written a blog just within a day at posterous.com as deensblog.posterous.com. about posterous itself. I m planning on edit or rewrite the blog in this.

Since I m very much interested in writing various subject which includes reviews, motivational thoughts (which can be read at my blog at blogspot), ideas, how to tips, social media, etc, I m looking for that perfect theme which would let me take my fans, subscribers, readers etc etc along with me to whichever the paid service I choose to move in due course.

Please do drop into this site/blog as often as you can to check on the latest. Like I said there will be something weekly with “postaweek2011” motivation. Finally I will get enough encouragements, ideas, comments and reviews to enhance the quality of the content of this blog.

Cheers

Please follow me on twitter! Thank you bloggers and readers!!!