Work-life balance as a Finance AVP is a term used for the idea that an individual needs time for both work and other aspects of life (personal interests, family and leisure activities).
Our schedules are getting busier than ever before, which often causes our work or our personal lives to suffer. The compounding stress of Finance AVP from never-ending workday is damaging. It can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness.
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The best work-life balance is different for each of us because we all have different lives and different priorities. Work-life balance doesn’t mean an equal balance. There is no perfect balance you should be striving for. At the core of work-life balance is meaningful daily Achievement and Enjoyment.
When employees feel a greater sense of control and ownership over their own lives, they tend to have better relationship with management and tend to feel more motivated and less stressed out at work, which in turn increases company productivity and reduces conflicts.
Companies that encourage work-life balance have become very attractive to workers. These companies also tend to enjoy higher employee retention rates and more loyalty. Promoting balance is beneficial to both employees and companies.
It's popular to tout customer-centricity, yet it's very difficult to consistently demonstrate. The word centric means having a specific thing as the focus of attention and efforts. Customer-centric means that concerns other than the customer's well-being are in the background while the customer stays in the foreground.
That may seem simple enough, yet reality proves the elusiveness of customer-centricity. In Accenture's Delivering the Promise study, 75% of executives viewed their customer service as above-average, while 59% of their customers reported their experience with these companies' service as somewhat to extremely dissatisfying. Likewise, in CMO Council's Customer Affinity study, half the companies said they are extremely customer-centric, but only a tenth of their customers agreed.
The building blocks of customer-centric culture are communication, skills, accountability and systems.
1. Communication. The vision and values that top management communicates, both verbally and behaviorally, set the tone and direction. What top management focuses on guides the thinking and efforts of the entire organization. The key is consistency: at every opportunity, continually communicate the necessity of making it easier and nicer for customers to get and use solutions. Consistency occurs in formal and informal meetings, written correspondence, external messages, and in every business process and every management ritual such as performance reviews, annual operating plans, performance dashboards, etc. Consistency builds trust and passion, which are necessary ingredients for true customer-centricity.
At Amazon.com, founder Jeff Bezos once began a meeting by announcing that an empty chair at the table represented the customer. Throughout the meeting, the executives were compelled to include the customer in the discussion, as if present. This became a habit - the group's way of thinking and doing.
2. Skills. Customer-centric values and vision must be supported by proficiency in related technical and soft skills. Examine competency requirements for everyone - not just customer-facing roles - relative to your customer-centric values and vision. This includes channel partners, suppliers, and other external entities. Proficiency is the vital link between strategy and execution.
At Nordstrom, employees are selected on their capabilities to anticipate and meet people's needs. They're encouraged to try new approaches to selling and customer service, with the mantra use good judgment in all situations giving them a tremendous sense that they're trusted to always do right by the customer.
3. Accountability. What gets rewarded gets done - whether the rewards are tangible or intrinsic. Interestingly, intrinsic rewards have proven to be more powerful in adjusting a group's ways of thinking and doing. Risk tolerance and penalties also determine the degree to which customer-centricity takes root. Above all, monitor cause-and-effect and also perceptions of fairness in terms of logic and equity; these elements are pivotal to success.
At Enterprise Rent-a-Car, customer sentiment is measured at the rental office level. Only employees in offices that score at or above the overall company average are eligible for promotion, raises or bonuses. At EMC, achieving the target for their leading indicator of customer sentiment, system availability, is a go/no-go determinant of the bonus for the entire company.
4. Systems. Systems-thinking means acknowledging the big picture and linkages between its components. Scrutinize your business policies and procedures and tools for their contribution or detraction from the goal of making it easier and nicer for customers to get and use solutions. Systems include formal and informal inter-department communication and interactions and handoffs, and connections outside the enterprise.
At Dell, SVP of customer service Dick Hunter asked employees to send him notes about the inconsistent and dumb things the company was doing. Combining this input with customer's verbatim comments to their call center led to significant changes in the customer experience.
Motives are at the heart of true or false customer-centricity. Customer-centricity as priority number one must permeate the entire business, and be un-challenged by other concerns as the organization's primary focus of attention and efforts. All other goals are more likely to fall into place with consistent customer-centricity.
There are many ways employers can promote work-life balance in office, some of which are: company outings, offering remote working and flexible hours, providing good health coverage, encouraging employee education.
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Empowering employees like Finance AVP to take control over their work and home lives can have a profound impact on their job satisfaction and performance, enabling companies to achieve success. Achieving work-life balance is a daily challenge. It can be tough to make time for family, friends, community participation, spirituality, personal growth, self-care, and other personal activities, in addition to the demands of the workplace.
How should the practice of business continuity evolve to manage the threats and opportunities faced by organizations today and in the future?
Business resilience is the ability an organization has to quickly adapt to disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations and safeguarding people. The CulturalManagement provides experts to partner with your organization and develop a comprehensive emergency preparedness and disaster management program.
It's easy to be ethnocentric about customer-centricity! Enthnocentrism is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own culture. How often do we view customer experience, loyalty, word-of-mouth marketing, and customer care from the perspective of our own company culture? I'd venture to say "too often"!
In the name of customer advocacy, we tend to have a number of exciting customer relationship-building programs in place: advisory boards, user groups, reference programs, satisfaction surveys, experiential marketing, personalized customer communications, and much more. These are indeed useful efforts -- but their usefulness is exponential when we put aside ethnocentrism for true customer-centrism. The key is in examining our motives.
Ethnocentric Customer Advocacy
Inside-out advocacy seeks to build customer relationships through these primary motives: design new products, obtain new customers, up-sell and cross-sell current customers, determine employee bonuses, and so forth. These motivations are ethnocentric because they are essentially self-serving. Sure, the customer may benefit along the way, but the focus is foremost on company revenue. With this focus, the benefits to customers are short-term at best. And the company's outreach efforts must be constant to keep the wheel moving.
True Customer-centric Customer Advocacy
Outside-in advocacy seeks to build customer relationships through these primary motives: make it easier and nicer for customers to get and use the solutions we offer. With those primary motives securely in place, secondary motives may include: design new products, obtain new customers, up-sell and cross-sell current customers, determine employee bonuses, and so forth. The company will certainly benefit along the way, but the focus is foremost on customers' ease. With this focus, the benefits to customers are long-term and self-sustaining. By making it easier and nicer for customers to get and use the solutions we offer, our ambivalent customers are more likely to migrate to brand enthusiasts, positive word-of-mouth accelerates, and both revenue and profit growth are sustainable in an almost auto-pilot mode, relative to the ethnocentric motives scenario.
Waste of Inward Focus
An executive once told me he'd be glad if his company had only manufacturing and sales functions -- just the bare minimum to make and sell solutions for customers. He was really commenting on the excessive inward focus and waste that tends to occur in companies. Certainly, customers expect additional services around the solutions they buy: safety, quality, financing, upgrades and innovations, and so on. And that's why companies exist -- to make and sell whole solutions for customers. After all, it's the customers who make our payroll dollars possible! And truly customer-centric companies keep that thought at the forefront, with pure primary motives to make it easier and nicer for customers to get the solutions they need.
Customer Experience Management
Customer experience management (CEM) is an essential methodology for being a truly customer-centric firm. CEM brings an outside-in focus and pure motives to all groups within the firm. It's the key to creating strong customer perceived differentiation from the competition, as truly customer-centric customer advocacy encompasses the customer's full experience spectrum. CEM makes it easier and nicer for customers to get and use solutions.
Ethnocentric customer-centricity is easy to fall into! Executive champions must be on the alert to prevent it. Outside-in motives prevent waste and and generate big results. The usefulness of any customer relationship building program is exponential when we put aside ethnocentrism for true customer-centrism.
When a Finance AVP spends the majority of its days on work-related activities and feel as if they are neglecting other important components of their lives, stress and unhappiness result. Thus, you must learn to draw a clear line between your personal and work time and set clear expectations with your colleagues.