Heera Training and Management Consultancy

eNewsletter August 2012

Dear Everyone,

Hi! And how are you all? It was a busy half month of July and now things have slowed a little bit due to the holy month of Ramadan. I must admit that Ramadan is an enjoyable month for me as I get a good rest from work and I love going to the Ramadan food stalls and gorge myself on all those delicious cakes and other delicacies. It is no wonder that I will most certainly put on at least 2 kg during this month. To all my Muslim friends, Selamat Berpuasa and may this holy month of Ramadhan give you lots of spiritual fulfilment and bring you ever closer to God.

I have had a great time too watching the international sporting events from seeing Roger Federer winning Wimbledon to watching Adam Scott 'melt down' in the British Open golf tournament. The Olympics opening ceremony was also a stunner. I loved the part where Daniel Craig as James Bond went to escort the Queen and the 'rough' helicopter ride to the stadium. I assure you I will be glued to my TV the next three weeks or so, soaking in all the events in the Olympics. I love sports!!

I was stunned when I read the other day that 'Blackberry now only had 9% of the market share in the US smart phone market compared to 55% in 1999' ( source: 9 Big Companies that will disappear in 2012 by 24/7 Wall Street posted on 26 Jan 2012). Their computer tablet Playbook (competitor to Ipad) is also a flop. And from the article, it seems that if nothing effective is done, then Blackberry (owned by Research in Motion) will go the way of many other world class companies i.e. bankrupt. Isn't this amazing! Imagine if I had told you five years ago that Blackberry would lose almost 80% of its market share in five years’ time. What would you have told me? Yes, I was crazy!!!!

Some other startling corporate news:

a. Kodak went bankrupt since January 2012

b. Hewlett Packard saw a 38% decline of their stocks in 2012 and is having its third CEO in two years.

c. It is predicted that American Airlines will disappear in 2012 because of its inefficiency.

The harsh truth in all this is that no company has the privilege to remain in business unless they are competitive and continue to remain relevant. Past success does not ensure future success. The competition is also getting more and more stiff and hence if you do not change and improve faster than your competitors, then they will make you irrelevant.

This is a message that I continuously preach during my training sessions i.e. the need for corporations to change and to improve. The formulas that brought them success may not be the right formulas anymore. They may have become obsolete due to environment changes, legislation, customer preferences etc. Good products are important, but customers now demand more than just a good product. For example, most local 'coffee shops' have all gone bust because their customers now demand a nicer ambiance, cleanliness and good service. The coffee in the local 'coffee shop' may be better than the coffee in Old Town White Coffee, and cheaper too, but because of the three factors mentioned, they cannot compete.

And what I get very annoyed with is that most corporations 'moan and groan' about how their customers have changed, but do not take any decisive action to change to meet the needs of the changing customer. They become arrogant and think that customers will continue to remain 'loyal' to them. I am most certain Blackberry falls into that category. Arrogance in the sense that they thought they were infallible until Apple came out with the I-phone.

Three key ways to remain competitive and relevant are as follows:

a. Always and always re-look at your strategies. Never ever remain complacent. Some questions to ask are, have we brought any new products to the market, have we found new markets, what are my competitors doing and what can I learn from them, how are my customers changing etc.

b. Get feedback from your customers all the time. The customer is king, never, ever forget that. It is not what you think that is important, it is what they think that must always and always be taken into account. Remember too that their thinking also changes, and hence you have to keep up with that change.

c. Manage your Talent well. Good people will always make good organizations, no matter what. Always know who your assets are and do everything you can to keep them, because these are the very people who will assist you greatly in continuing to remaining relevant and competitive.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. I do hope that all of you will have a great month in August. Take care.

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Heera Singh
Principal Consultant
HEERA Training and Management Consultancy
HP 0126083708