In our November newsletter, we propose a toast of thanks to our clients and share several tips to getting a jump start to your 2015 planning. Click here to read more.
One of Washington’s largest AVAs, the Horse Heaven Hills is home to 25 percent of the state’s vineyard acreage. The region is coveted for its excellent growing conditions, which include ample sunshine and wind for even ripening and disease prevention, respectively. The growers who farm in the Horse Heaven Hills are a special bunch, and over the last decade they’ve produced four wines rated 100 points by Wine Spectator.
When the AVA’s Wine Growers Association approached us in February to support its public relations efforts, we were thrilled. As part of our strategy, we organized a press trip just prior to the organization’s annual July Trail Drive event. We invited a select group of regional media to explore the Horse Heaven Hills AVA with the goal of generating increased awareness and coverage.
In life, our personal and professional habits typically become part of a deeply ingrained routine. When we decide that our routine is not best serving us, or it becomes readily apparent, it is time to make a change. Whether it's starting a new fitness regimen to change your health or working with a consulting company to transform your business results, welcoming this change often the toughest part. (By welcoming, I mean accepting that the status quo is not working and being open to operating differently, and then actually changing behavior to produce desired results.) Truly facing our challenges at hand -- whether they be on the scale or in the P&L statement, takes a lot of personal strength; it is much easier in the short-term to stay in our comfort zone.
For some, the word "change" is invigorating -- filled with opportunity; for others it's something to be avoided at all costs. Dictionary.com states that it's anything from "to make the form, nature... different"; "substitute"; "give and take" to"transform".*
Wineries are constantly approached for donations. In fact, smaller producers -- for example, many of those here in the Pacific Northwest-- could probably donate their entire production. From health organizations such as American Heart Association and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (a cause dear to my heart) to family support non-profits like Habitat for Humanity and YMCA, and the various opportunities at local animal shelters, arts groups and schools; there is no shortage of worthy charitable causes.
In September of 2011, I posted about using business milestones as catalysts for growth. Surveying your key stakeholders -- customers, trade accounts, distributors, etc.-- is a method for gaining an understanding of your business's current position and perception. The knowledge acquired from a survey is also a great tool for charting a course of action forward to achieve your next milestone.
For success is sales are you swimming or sinking? Take a look at what works & what doesn't
What is the correct way to handle business hardships? When you lose a client, do you consider it a failure or an opportunity? How does your team bounce back from disappointments? When it comes to the aspects of your job, are you an optimist or a pessimist?
Today I read an interesting article, Inanity of Immediate Response by Daniel Markovitz, Stanford and Ohio State professor. While written for the Institute of Management Consulting (IMC) members, it also applies to wineries, which are first in the hospitality industry and second in wine production.
Markovitz laments the common consultant cry, "I didn't get anything (strategic) done today because I had to respond to my clients". We all get a flood of communication these days, and it is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed by the amount, frequency and desire to respond. Since it doesn't look like the tide will recede, those of us serving clients and customers need to re-think how we process all of this communication.
Your inbox and phone should not plan your day -- your brain should. Just because you receive a communication, it doesn't mean you need to interrupt your work, particularly if you are deep in higher level strategy or an important project. (I typically schedule strategic thinking and planning work in the early morning and conduct it with my calendar and email account logged out to resist the urge to check them.)
Instead of constantly checking email throughout the business day, do so on a regular but timely basis -- say every hour or two, or once in the early part of the day and again at the close. If someone has a true emergency, they will phone.
When phone calls with requests come in, schedule the follow up in your calendar and communicate the timeline to your customer while you have his attention (versus the type A urge to drop everything and handle incoming needs immediately). Excellent service does not have to be immediate.
Managers should speak with staff about communication policies and develop a corresponding protocol. For example, phone calls are returned the same business day and emails within 24 hours. In establishing process, you will help your team prioritize which will enhance efficiency, service and ultimately, case sales!
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