The Excalibur Awards
Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending “The Excalibur Awards”, along with a number of my colleagues from Kennesaw State University. The awards are presented by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), to recognize tech-enabled organizations that have developed innovative solutions to address complex business problems. KSU’s Technology Enhanced Learning Group was bested by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia for the award. (Isn’t that a bit like letting your boss win in golf?)
Anyway, ‘wait till next year’, as they say. KSU’s mobile online learning platform for executive education, and particularly the account management curriculum (shameless promotion) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_nMkk9O9Ns&feature=youtu.be) is really having a positive and profitable impact for our clients. That’s reward enough!
Marc Lautenbach, CEO of Pitney Bowes, was the keynote speaker at the event. He became CEO in 2012 after a long career at IBM, and inherited a proud company that was in rapid decline. It sounded almost like an Eastman Kodak story where technology was already passing them by and they would need a radically new approach to survive then prosper. His story was compelling.
Marc set about to learn all he could in his first 100 days. He met and spoke with clients, employees, former executives and suppliers. Afterward he settled on an immediate strategy focused on three priorities:
1) Stabilize the client base. PB already had a large client base that did business with them for metering snail mail. Most of the CIO’s he contacted did not even realize they were clients. This would not be the future of the company, but it was a start. Stemming client defections would be “Job One”.
2) Operate with Excellence. Doing a great job for these clients would pave the way for cross-selling of newer and more sustainable products and services.
3) Grow through New Business. Marc intentionally made this third because there would not be a future with new clients unless the existing ones were stable and recognizing value.
Hmmm. Where had we heard this before? Oh, that’s right, we incorporated it into the Clients for Life® Client Retention Process in 1986 and wrote about it in our proprietary blog in March, 2013 (http://clientretention.com/the-blog/page/9/). As Solomon says in Ecclesiastes, there’s really nothing new under the sun. We could have saved Marc a lot of days and travel miles though if he had been on our mailing list, as fortunately you already are.
By the way, Marc – and this strategy – are both succeeding beautifully at Pitney Bowes, as we would expect they would. It’s just really good management and uncommon common sense.
Steve, John and Gary