"Frank's skill in asking the right questions is un-mistakable, and is at the core of his leadership philosophy.

The power of these questions cannot be underestimated, especially if you want to lead and not manage."
—John Cave
Westhaven Worldwide Logistics

If not otherwise stated—all postings © Frank D. Kanu. All rights reserved.

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What’s Going On Under Your Hood?

Excellent leadership of your senior team, the intelligent strategies for growth you’ve put in place, the persuasive presentation you recently gave to major shareholders, the 20% year on year profitability increase you’re forecasting…

… none of these mean a damn if I go into your retail outlet and spend a frustrating 15 minutes being poorly served by a member of your staff.

Or if I telephone your premium rate helpline (what an impertinence they are!) and spend 30 minutes negotiating an answer system menu and am then waiting in a ‘queue’.

Or if, despite me telling your staff a number of times that its ‘K’, ‘a’, ‘n’, ‘u’—ignoring the wait for more characters—correspondence from your company to me is always addressed to Mr. F Canoe.

Or if I keep telling it’s pronounced:
kanu pronunciation
(just look up how Canoe is pronounced!) but kept being called ‘Can U’.

Or if your salesman claims benefits ‘a’, ‘b’ and ‘c’ for the product I have just bought from you, it only does ‘a’ and ‘b’. Or it does ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’ instead.

Because if these things happen, I am going to decide that in future I’ll do business with one of your competitors instead.

I am also going to tell five of my friends to avoid your company… and each of those will tell five each of their friends and so on. If that happens each day, 9,765,625 potential customers will not be dealing with you after day 10.

This isn’t a homage to ‘word of mouth’ or exponential growth.

It’s about you making sure you know what’s going on at the coal face, i.e.: at the point where your company and your prospective customers touch.

I’ve gone on about that before… and I’ll doubtless return to it ‘a’,'g’,'a’,'i’,'n’.

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Telling How It Is

Bringing in outsiders is an interesting step for a Chief Executive or Managing Director to take.

Before I continue I have to declare an interest, of course. I am an ‘outsider’ for those companies who employ my consultancy. I will return to that point at the end of this blog entry.

Bringing in outsiders is an interesting step to take because it’s often expensive financially… and in terms of morale.

The first bit’s self-evident… but I should explain the morale bit. There resides in your workforce a collective knowledge about your business that you cannot replicate. No amount of briefing will ever bring outsiders up to the same point of knowledge of your business and marketplace that your employees have.

Why then ask someone outside your business to consider an issue when you’ve probably already got the answer on your doorstep?

I think the answer lies in the ‘t’ word… ‘trust’. Many business leaders have a psychological mistrust about what their employees might tell them about their business and a massive willingness to believe an outsider. Employees therefore see a consultant brought in and morale dips because they feel their own standing in their business undermined. This usually happens when the business is in the cost-cutting part of the ‘investment/cost-cutting cycle’… so the expenditure on outsiders sits uneasily alongside internal budget cuts, further undermining morale.

And the morale of this story (sorry… puns are a weakness!). Look inside your business before you look outside.

Oh… and why am I different?

Because I work with you as the leader… and am prepared to tell you how it is, as I’ve done in this article. That’s something you really might not get from your employees.

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09/16/2009

Today’s leaders have to understand what is needed tomorrow if they want to implement the necessary changes to keep the business running.
Frank Kanu


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09/05/2009

One of the hallmarks of successful entrepreneurship is the ability to make decisions quickly.
Frank Kanu

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08/31/2009

If you don’t know what your employees are doing—and if they don’t know what you want them to do—how can you develop trust and understanding?
Frank Kanu


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08/27/2009

…the responsibility of the manager is to train their team members to become managers themselves. The best performing teams are those where people see themselves as entrepreneurs within the team, not just worker bees.
Frank Kanu

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Halia arrived!

After an exhausting 33 1/2 (yes - thirty three and a half!) hours of labor my absolutely amazing wife Ada gave birth to our stunning daughter Halia:
Halia
August 21st 2009, 7 pounds 8 ounces

Could any Dad be any prouder?

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7 things you may not know about me.

7 things you may not know about me:
  1. I am married for the second time, but had 5 wedding celebrations.
  2. Met my wife Ada on the internet and got married within 4 weeks. A whopping 10 years ago!
    As an added bonus—I took her last name. And no, she did not bribe me!
  3. Like my father—I moved to a foreign country to live and work there.
  4. My family has a long history of psychic abilities, including a great great (great?) aunt that worked for Queen Victoria. And yes, I am psychic too…
  5. At the age of sixteen I drove a Formula One racing car. For some hundred yards…
  6. My parents reported me missing to the police. As a member of the police martial arts club I was at the Police‚Äôs Christmas Party—at the police station!
  7. Those men in our family that die before reaching the age of 75 are called greenhorns



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