Low engagement is your fault

Gigh employee enagement reaps profits

High employee engagement is easier to achieve than you think, a fast track option to improve productivity, reduce costs, improve customer experience, and make your workplace a happier one.

6 steps (see below) are all it takes to find the yellow brick road to:

  • high employee engagement,
  • high levels of productivity,
  • killer culture that delivers higher customer satisfaction, greater efficiencies, less costs and ultimately knockout return on investment on shareholders’ funds, and
  • happiness, success, satisfaction, fulfilment, self-actualization for everybody involved in the organisation.
Low engagement is unproductive, unfulfilling and unprofitable – a lose/lose/lose for ALL stakeholders.

Low Engagement is a Failing not a Reality

If you have low employee engagement in your company, from a handful of employees to 50,000 or more employees, it’s the leader’s fault!

Employee engagement Has been analysed, re analysed, investigated, researched and assessed over and over and over again for two decades but, instead of addressing the core problem, operational people have been attacking the symptoms and not solving the problem.

Engagement is very simple.

The two main reasons why employee engagement becomes sub optimal.

The major reason absolutely, unquestionably, is employees not getting along with their immediate supervisor.

This can be solved by creating an environment that encourages and promotes camaraderie between supervisor and his team. Supervisors do not deliberately set out to offend people. Almost all of the time it’s because they’re frustrated, ill-equipped unappreciated, unfulfilled, somehow lacking in support that they need to do their job properly.

So, the problem falls not with the supervisors not getting along with their employees but with the leaders who are not empowering the supervisors to get along with their employees.

…and where does this come from?

Each comes from the key reason that research has identified to be the second most important reason or cause for employee engagement: Absence of a purpose, mission, vision, identity, intent or values!

If you fix your MEVPIV, you fix everything !

I don’t want to hear any more complaints from any high -level executives, boards of directors, c-suite VP’s, complaining about employee engagement when the tools are readily available at their fingertips .

If any organisation, from government to NFP,  suffers low employee engagement among employees, it’s all because the boss isn’t taking charge of MEVPIV.

That’s the core reason. The whole reason. And the fixable solution.

If you’ve just inherited knew leadership of an organisation that has low employee engagement don’t try and cover it up with surveys and promises, recognition and rewards can increase silos, inefficiencies, dissonance and internal politics… tactics come later – micro-problems can be fixed later. Right now, will you have to concentrate on the six variables of the MEVPIV.

If you want help implementing a MEVPIV, let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction.

Regardless, if you agree, disagree or can embellish, I welcome comments below… .

5 Ways To beat any Covid-19 Threat to Your Business.

Business opportunity in the Covid era

Trained marketers understand that marketing is more than advertising and promotion: That it is the management of exchange; and to manage exchange, trained marketers know they have to adapt to environmental change .

In strategic marketing terms, Covid-19 is very simply a change in the business environment in which we manage exchange (in which we market our goods and services). Those who refuse to accept this will perish. Those who willingly adapt will prosper!

Prospering in a Covid-19 market

The 8P’s of Marketing STILL apply in the Covid-era.


You may or may not have to :

  • Re-think pricing,
  • Alter or find new channels of distribution,
  • Develop or alter your offerings in terms of product or service,
  • Make changes in processes,
  • Modify the way you manage people,
  • Review message, media and investment in marketing communications and promotion,

Strategically, you will definitely need to:

  1. Accurate identify the new segments that Covid-19 has created in your market
  2. Identify the new segments and which of these are attractive to you
  3. Repositioning and target these new, attractive segments
  4. Monitor competitive activity
  5. Abandon “old” ways.

Operationally focussed decision-makers and untrained marketers will desperately claw for marketing communications and promotional hacks, hoping these will eb enough of an  answer because they have worked in the past. They may or may not test new media, but sheer good fortune may be enough to survive.

Many will likely bemoan the situation, blaming Covid-19 for downturn in sales rather than their ability to adjust and capitalise on a new set of circumstances.

Covid could be landmark opportunity for many different companies for Trained Marketers with Smart Leaders

Trained marketers know that a SWATT from a SWOT .

Trained marketers know that they have to review and respond to the PESTLEED that applies to their organisation .

Smart leaders realise that they have to change and change now because the environment has changed.

Smart leaders will be looking at their MEVPIV.


Smart leaders will be looking at their resources and be matching these to capabilities and market opportunities… reviewing what business they are in and what business they should be in.

It Really All Comes Down to Leadership

  • Leadership is required to engage and align the teams .
  • Leadership is required to reorganise and refocus the organisation.
  • Leadership is required to maintain morale 2 exercise initiative to embrace innovation.

So, when good leaders and properly trained marketers work synergistically with each other, there is always a silver lining to a grey cloud.

Feel free to comment. It would be interesting if anybody who can tell us a story of how they’ve adapted and changed, could respond.

Do Airlines Qantas & Virgin DESERVE any Help?

The ONLY people that Qantas & Virgin SHOULD be sacking are the incumbent Board of Directors!

The lack of strategic competence demonstrated by the Board and executive management of Qantas and Virgin is NOT new.

American Rail ignored change in the demand for transport when cars went into mass production: Instead of adapting, they threw their hands up and said “bail us out!”, too. The buggy whip industry shook its head in dismay and began sacking staff and winding down.

Closer to home, Australian car manufacturing industry kept making cars people didn’t want (did anyone ever own a P76?) in the face of diminishing sales it universally closed up shop when a glaringly attractive industry in electric car manufacturing was staring them in the face! HAD they possessed the least amount of strategic foresight and competetence they CPULD have been producing electric cars at the very kernel begibning of Tesla’s reighn.

Sadly teh promisnanc eof oeprtaional corporat ecancer, and teh absence of strategic talent, in all eth examples above, dominated.

The Biggest Mistake in Business for the Last 100 years?

The 21st Century’s Most Costly Business Mistake?

Probably the most expensive mistake of the 21st century is perceiving marketing as meaning advertising and promotion.

How the business-world came to close itself off from the science of marketing strategy, the vast and rich knowledge base that makes profitable businesses spark and explode, is a matter of debate…

What has created a world that doesn’t understand the meaning of the word, Marketing?

Is it tertiary marketing education devoid of real world worth, now that academics have significantly displaced practitioners in teaching?

Is it because the efficiency of the medium that is the internet is so profound that the aggressive snake-oil hawking of digital promoters, describing themselves as marketers, without understanding anything beyond rudimentary marketing communications tactics?

Is it because the leaders of sophisticated marketing organisations are hording the knowledge because it represents such potent and potentially sustainable competitive advantage for them if they keep it to themselves?

Is it because the marketing professional has fought off mandatory accreditation and control… so that anyone can say they are a marketer without challenge?

Or could it be that middle management and senior executives who have lobbied so hard to rise above their peers in corporate organisations, shout down anyone with knowledge that might interfere with their planned career progression?

Is this due to the fact that over 50% of business executives working in marketing lack ANY tertiary qualifications in the discipline?

Where Did Marketing Go Off the Tracks?

Perhaps, in the ‘80s, if the marketing professional has screamed “wrong” when the term, “direct marketing” was incorrectly coined to describe direct response advertising, the nonsensical term, “content marketing” may not have be adopted and a more accurate phrase to describe “online publicity promotion” might have formed? The same goes for “search engine marketing” which really is “prioritization of search engine ranking”. (At least somebody tried when they coined the phrase “Search Engine Optimization”.)

Poor lay people are left in a soup of confusion daily when terms sprout such as “Influencer Marketing” which is simply utilization of group opinion leaders to disperse information utilization  in context with the multi-stage mass communication model.

Whatever the causes, the cost is incalculable!

How much damage is done when people are unaware that they must balance the 8P’s of marketing scientifically if they are to protect their companies from sub-optimal profits?

How destructive is it when quality executives are appointed to roles they THINK they can handle when they are simply ill-equipped with inadequate training and knowledge to make strategic marketing decisions?

How profound are the losses as the commercial world graciously accepts the dominoes that are retail chains collapsing world-wide, without even questioning that these occurrences might be a clue that the leadership models in business are faulty?

How corrosive is it when employees simply leave their jobs in frustration because their corporate guidelines are soiled by silos, blurred by secret agenda, eroded by office politics, undermined by poor morale?

How much worse does this make frustrated middle management as they vent on their own staff because they are fighting a losing battle with the same demons they are creating because of complacent leadership and corporate governance?

Even though Gartner, Inc,  have made $4B a year reminding us that employee engagement has been consistently around 25% of all employees since they began surveying it in 2002, where is evidence of quality internal marketing?

History will tell a sorry tale.

How they will giggle in decades to come when the historians recall the anecdotes of 21st century  business people ignoring the lessons of history only to repeat the mistakes.

Students of Marketing in the future may shake their heads in disbelief when they discover that the body of real knowledge was not in universities, but secreted away in the coffers of just a few large companies and consultancies, remaining virtually known except to only to a few outsiders.

Incidentally, on the topic of academia worth and value to the business world…

Is Academia Failing Society BIG-TIME?

For years I’ve have complained that the focus of Universities on “publish or perish” instead of “teach well and share knowledge” is a big mistake.

So, I couldn’t help capturing this post when I found it on the web recently…

Who cares about your PhD thesis?

Colin Riegels, Doctoral candidate: Law, University of Oxford

There is an old joke about this: only five people will ever read your doctoral thesis.

  •     You
  •     Your supervisor
  •     Your two examiners
  •     Your unlucky spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend who has to act as unpaid proof-reader for you

In 99.9% of cases, nobody else will ever read it or care what it says.

When I arrived at Oxford I went to the archives and checked out a number of completed doctoral theses in my field so I could read them and get a flavour of what they are meant to be like. In every single case except for one, I was the first person ever to check them out. And, in each case, they weren’t randos – I picked those ones because they were names that I recognised as people who went on to enjoy success in the field.

By the time I read this post, it had 203,900 views and been liked or shared over 6,100 times! Academia KNOWS its failings yet academia are ignoring (laughing at!) what most certainly will be its downfall!

I imagine historians of the future will share my disdain of unoriginal, regurgitated marketing theory being submitted as justification for their existence by the incumbent  pure academics in power now, representing a fake body of knowledge,  thrown up as a smoke screen to disguise it profound absence of advancement; too crammed with irrelevant and unusable findings  that the “publish or perish” mandate has forced them to create.

Why You Cannot Afford Silos between Sales & Marketing


What Factors Make Sales People Successful?

I recently shared a Linked In comment, and in my keynote presentations and workshops discuss, a large & intense formal commercial study of selling skills, that showed only two significantly important factors determine a sales person’s success…

  1. How hard salespeople work (calls, preparation, & face-to-face time in front of a prospect or customer, no ‘brass-plating’, procrastination, or poor time-management), and…
  2. The distribution of speaking time between seller & buyer (the greater the percentage of time the buyer spends speaking, the greater the salesperson’s sales success, relative to team peers’ success).

As a throw-away I mentioned that increased average productivity across the whole team of salespeople occurs if they have access to, and understand, properly identified market segments but I probably DDN’T emphasize the point enough that If a company really understands its market segments and responds accordingly, then all the salesperson really has to do is take orders… the selling is already done before the sales meeting.

What Factors Interfere with Sales People being Successful?

Multi-national corporations, in the main, already know a about the world-wide crisis in employee engagement: With only 24% of Australian workers engaged, and with 202% productivity gains to be had from the 76% unengaged, employee engagement & organisational alignment has become TOP priority, particularly in the wake of Millennials displaying even greater need for engagement, than generations past.

An issue that doesn’t receive enough attention is that 18% of any workforce is made up of “disengaged” employees – ones that deliberately want to “sink the ship”. and THAT is seriously lose sales and detrimental to future opportunity!

If silos are known to exist, any decent leader should be tearing them down, YESTERDAY!

But how often do we hear about disconnects between Sales & Marketing teams?

I’m betting silos between research and other departments even interfere with distribution of segment identification and recognition… that information isn’t shared, synergy is lost, and sales results end up being suboptimal across hundreds of industries.

It is an easy bet for me, I have uncovered plenty of situations just like this over my consulting career, from doing marketing audits, deficiency analysis and even in competition analysis… through to ‘war-stories’ from delegates to my workshops who confess this goes on far too often.

Often the problem stems from CEO’s who are too busy with distractions… too complacent towards improving productivity, too cynical to believe that a small investment in correction will deliver a significant ROI, or just fearful that they might be “exposed” as less than 100% competent.

How Badly Do YOU think Silos Interfere with Sales People being Successful?

I’d be interested in any comments, observations, cases in hand, or thoughts readers have as to silos, sales productivity and leadership, relevant to these thoughts.

By the way, I use an approach that has helped FMCG, transport & big pharma grow corporate profits by as much as $250M p.a. that can be used to help all sorts of businesses… If you want to have a peek, check out: http://bit.ly/OpAudit

Is Bitcoin and Crypto Good or Bad?

Why Bitcoin and cryptocurrency may be evil

The anonymity that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies provide is of concern because how do you identify someone’s true net worth or income? Now that some merchants are offering the opportunity to buy and sell using Bitcoin, it means you cannot measure or verify sales, purchases, sales tax, etc… Profits cannot be taxed!!!

Organisations that want to avoid taxation can do so really easily. This means less contribution to the government who are responsible for distributing tax revenue to all sorts of social purposes. Do you see what this means?

This means that the rich will be able to hide their wealth by buying and trading in Bitcoin… while the poor not able to acquire Bitcoin, or risk the fluctuations associated with it, will be left to bear the burden of transparent taxation.

So here we go… the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, distribution of wealth becomes more unbalanced and the propensity for the world to distribute or share the wealth with 1% of the world’s population owning 99% of the world’s wealth will only be exacerbated.

How safe is it, really?

While it is possible that cryptocurrency is the 21st century’s equivalent of the MLM with early entrants making a lot of money and late entrants doing their shirts, it is also possible that the sheer volume of participants will keep the system going long enough for the rich to become even richer and the poor to become even poorer.

When will greed end? Probably never. But I don’t really see any good coming out of this impending trend towards a system where there are no checks and measures in place to ensure fair play and to protect the weak from the strong.

What are the implications for CSR (Corporate social responsibility) and Corporate Governance?

Could cryptocurrency destroy our very existence by undoing social fabric and community?

The Financial Benefit of A Good Mission and Vision Statement.

Its all about People!

Most B2B marketers, struggle with these problems… which are your biggest challenges?

  • Discerning the right information needed to make better decisions
  • Cross-functional collaboration among your people
  • Finding, attracting, recruiting and onboarding the right talent
  • Inconsistent and broken customer experience due to misaligned marketing and sales systems
  • Managing everyday working policy
  • Consistency in Leadership (up, down or across)
  • Getting budgets approved
  • Securing Demand and/or Sales Lead generation
  • Ensuring maximum conversion of leads once passed over to sales
  • Supporting sales throughout the funnel
  • Optimising value and standard of Content Marketing
  • Avoiding silos, office politics, secret agenda, negative relationships, etc.
  • Measuring genuine ROI and Attribution and adjusting accordingly
  • Getting heard or being able to contribute to leadership

Problem Solved!

We know that 64+% of employees are unengaged, but many executives don’t realize the reasons why!

  • 49% of people don’t like/respect/get along with/agree with of simply blame their boss!
  • 34% say they don’t understand their employer’s mission & vision!

BUT both of these causes can be cured.

How Much money are we looking at?

Gallup tells us improved productivity from unengaged employees who become engaged is 202%.

Even if you only believe that you can convert 33% of the unengaged to become engaged,

multiply 202% times 33% times the 64% figure we end up with 42.7% overall increase in productivity. Other research finds that increases in productivity of this ilk convert to somewhere between 12 and 25% increase in EBIT.

Plug in YOUR figures! Even if you only generate $5M in annual turnover, that’s an increase in profit of $200K p.a., that an extra $85,324.80 in your pocket.

And … you can achieve this with a spend of no more than $20,000…

Here’s where you start…


The Most Dangerous Business Mistake Anyone Can Make

The Single Most Dangerous Business Choice

I visited an industry event yesterday and bumped into one of the day’s speakers who has sought my business counsel from time to time over the past 20 years.

We were sharing some thoughts about business opportunity when I mentioned, “Perceiving the markets as a single entity, instead of a cage for a bunch of different groups, is probably the most dangerous decision anyone can make in business.”

He grabbed a pen and piece of paper and said, “I’m going to quote you in my presentation this afternoon! Repeat what you just said!”

The point is that business executives all too often forget that a “market” is nothing but a corral for significantly different market segments… members of one segment share similar or identical needs, wants and behaviours that are VERY different to the needs, wants and behaviours of another segment.


As soon as a business decision-maker says, “Everyone wants…”, “No one likes…” “People do not…” their decisions HAVE to be imperfect, if not dead wrong. The real truth is that SOME people want, SOME people like and SOME people do not!

Benefits of Market Segmentation

Owning a small segment by satisfying it perfectly is always much more profitable, easy, and cost-effective. Refusing to recognise, identify and respond to one of the two to five segments that exist in ANY market, spells grief, frustration, hard-yards and possible failure.

In my keynotes, workshops and mentoring sessions, I’m often heard to say, “Market segmentation is the most powerful tool in the arsenal of a marketing manager”, because if you know what an individual really wants, what they’re prepared to pay, and you fulfil their every wish, they’ll climb over you to buy it.

… and in business, isn’t that what we really want?

The Conundrum of Marketing in the 21st Century

The Conundrum of Marketing in the 21st Century is that most people in a Marketing role, actually do not understand the nuances of strategic marketing, the skills and tools of the craft, and do NOT possess the knowledge necessary to lead marketing activity.

Why? Because day-to-day marketing activities are primarily “operational”… requiring industry knowledge, company-specific experience, and specialist (dare I say ‘ product-oriented) insight.

Consider this diagram…


Those who commence as juniors, and rise through the ranks prove themselves in Administrative and Operational areas, and often a competent in playing ‘politics’ within their organisation. They develop great relationships, ‘earn’ promotion in rank and seniority, and “progress” to CMO or equivalent.

IF they were properly educated (substantial numbers do NOT have formal marketing credentials), they’ve most often forgotten their advanced training in marketing governance techniques, because it wasn’t needed at the junior level where they began their careers.

THINK about it: They complete their degree, maybe with a pass or a credit, which means they know 60% of their course material the day they sat their exam.  Three months later? What have they retained? MUCH less! Three YEARS later? What have they retained? Very little!

The Conundrum is that they devalue or don’t even recognise educational/academic/strategic knowledge, and “likes employ likes”… so they mentor, hire, train, favour succession candidates that “fit” and the ignorance of advanced marketing skills is reinforced.

In truth, PROPER Marketing governance would stop failed product launches… It would stop companies going bad, losing money, going into liquidation… It would improve profits, grow businesses, develop best possible products, even improve political systems…

“Well, if ‘proper’ marketers know better why do they ‘market’ themselves then?” you say….

This is the Catch 22… The Marketing concept says, “Find out what the Market wants and deliver it”… BUT Heads of Business don’t want to hear that they are doing a bad job, that someone else could do their job better… CEO’s don’t want to accept they are infallible… that they made a mistake, or that they are simply lucky and have been at the right place and the right time in an operational situation that has ‘married’ with their operational skills and brought short term success…

The bigger the pay packet, the bigger the ego can be true… causing some (not all) leaders at the helm of their organisations to simply refuse to believe that anyone could possibly know better than them and their team.

This syndrome has been named “Corporate Cancer”… and experts acknowledge the three signs to be Arrogance, Bureaucracy and Complacency as qualities which are recognised as a danger or weakness for larger organisations. Even executives that are blind, and fall victim to, “Corporate Cancer” in their own businesses, can see it in others.


There are examples across the world… the US car industry, many banks, a large number of corporations, Nokia, huge retailers that struggle to reap forecast profit levels, political parties, and smaller businesses, all the way down to SME’s.


There can be no doubt that the General Electric Corporation was saved by the extraordinary intuition of Jack Welch – a leader who almost fanatically believed in “the Marketing Concept” but also possessed a Strategic Marketing Governance approach.

This is the ‘missing element’ for many corporations led many convergent thinkers trained in operational management. For them, GE was in the light globe and electronics industry. For Jack Welch, GE was in the business of creating customer satisfaction in any industry where his company’s capabilities could be applied to satisfying market demand.

Other corporations like 3M, Mars, Unilever, P&G have legacy guidelines that help keep themselves in check.


There are, of course, many brilliant brand strategists, corporate strategists and informed experts in the “business universe”. But, as in MANY professions, about 20% of the practitioners are “pearls”, while 60% are in a range of “pretty good to pretty awful” and the bottom 20% are destructive dead-weights who shouldn’t be in the profession at all.

In the Marketing profession, these are the people who thrive off lay-person misunderstanding of “marketing”. They endure by propagating the “smoke and mirrors”/”fluff and waffle” perception that Marketing is simply Marketing Communications, and sales support, based upon just work experience, opinion and attitude, rather than an applied and empirically proven science.


To embrace and optimize business efficiency and reach best possible business outcomes, a “balance” in all tiers of Marketing is necessary.

The existing Administrative and Operational Marketers are essential of administrative and operational marketing roles… but Managerial and Strategic Marketing is NOT their forte. AS attractive as senior corporate roles might be, and as much as operational and administrative marketers might believe they are entitled to assume these responsibilities, they are simply NOT equipped to do their job properly. This is the role of “big picture” , divergent thinkers, with whom they should collaboratively team up, to evoke winning business goals and strategy to achieve those goals.

The absence of strategic and managerial skills in Chief Marketing Officers is why CMO’s only last an average of 2 years. Lacking teh right knwoledge, training and skills, they take operational skills, instead of strategic skills, into visionary roles.

If you want to discover the tools CMO’s need, I urge you to grab a copy of my e-book, “Managerial Marketing in the Real World”, which marries new, cutting-edge, advanced corporate strategic models with practical, commercially proven methods. You can get it from…  https://bookboon.com/en/managerial-marketing-in-the-real-world-ebook

Quick Videos on Leadership, Marketing & Employee Engagement

No one has time these days… Yet everyone suffers some level of imperfect information. Confusion and misunderstanding of Marketing is rife.

So I put my (limited) creative skills together and have made about 10-15 informative 1 to 2 minute videos together on YouTube.

What is “Marketing”? Definition of the word, “Marketing”. What #Marketing REALLY means

This one (1:51) seems to be the most liked so far, but my followers on this blog are generally sophisticated marketing experts so your commentary is highly respected and appreciated. So please find the time if you can?

The link to the channel is… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQeLE_5vMB0

The Reason Why Organisations That SHOULD Be Immortal, Aren’t!

A 2014 study by KPMG, revealed approximately 93% of U.S. multinational organisations were undergoing transformation in their business models,ranging from adjusting business lines to support the organisation’s strategy to overhauling the business model to deal with new challenges due to changes in the market or customer demands.

This is the critical decision point where false-premise decision-making can mean the making or the ruin for these organisations.

Are Management Teams who only know how to deal with historical problems the most suitable to lead in times of change?
The executive that relies upon “how we handled this before” or “A company I know was successful when they did this” may have what they think is the best answer… but is it?

Herein is the problem when Operational executives rule the roost…. when those people who have climbed there career path within their industry, organisation or operational disclipline:

  • Their skills and acumen lie in fields of Continuous (Type I) Innovation
  • They have no models or experience in introducing Dynamically Continuous (Type II) or Discontinuous (Type III) Innovatio
  • Their convergent thinking strengths work against them, blocking out the divergent thinking processes that are likely to present optimal, game-changing or breakthrough opportunities.
  • Belief, faith, experience are base don Operational knowledge so they shout-down, dismiss or lock-out input from Strategic advice despite the merit attributable to the supporting Strategic validity of that advice.

I deal with this in detail in my book, The Four Faces of Marketing, which you can download free, from the net.

However, the bottom line is the REVERSE of what you might expect… it isn’t young, aggressive executives who can deliver the necessary outcomes and decisions, it it the highly -educated, wise and broadly experienced “war-horse” who can deliver the strategy necessary. It is the teachers, the veterans, the grey-haired and battle scarred survivors who have “lived to fight another day’, dealt with adversity, made mistakes but made much ‘right’ decisions… across different industries, who are the most competent at


The TRUTH about Employees Working from Home

Working from home – the elephant in the room

Even before COVID-19 there was a suggestion that would be far more efficient for employees to spend the one to three hours a day they spend travelling, productively working from home, rather than sitting behind the steering wheel of a motor car or rocking backwards and forwards on a crowded train or bus.

Then COVID came along. And overnight a vast number of employers were forced into a situation where many employees had to work at home for the safety of all.

THAT is when employers found out that employees don’t necessarily want to make the minimum amount of effort, and in fact will turn the more available time into more productive time. BUT not ALL employees… SOME also may be subject to lower levels of productivity in certain circumstances…

The legendary business statistician, corporate management consultant, mentor of the Japanese economic miracle, W. Edwards Deming, found only 6% of the problems in industry could be traced to a company’s work force.  94% are caused either by management or by the system, but since only management can redesign the system, only management can be blamed if it’s wrong.

And there we have it!

Companies where employees are engaged, are encouraged, inspired and motivated – their productivity soars! They are succeeding in the Covid era, finding their teams working from home are just as productive, if not more so, as they are in an office.

HOWEVER, companies with low levels of engagement, with a high proportion of disengaged employees, suffer low morale and which exacerbates poor management, cannot avoid suffering lower levels of productivity, whether or not their teams work from home or office.

Disengaged employees want to sink the boat. Disengaged people (around 16% of the workforce) working at home ARE unproductive… but are covertly just as unproductive at work, anyway. Unengaged employees (around 60%) COULD be inspired, with good leadership. Some may be more productive simply because they have been distanced from a toxic environment.

Engaged employees are loving it! They’re working harder, living better, loving their jobs and giving their utmost.

Companies with great management enjoy employee engagement rates of 50% or more (over double the global average of just 24%)… They are doing fine…

Organisations with poor engagement are demanding rapid return to offices and blaming Covid for losses… THESE are the organisations where management is poor… with executives that need training, or replacement.

The most incredulous issue is that all employees intuitively or overtly know this to be true – they just aren’t silly enough to point the finger at their boos… who is probably just as likely to take unproductive action in response.

The problem is not working from home! The problem is not COVID! The problem is not the employees! The problem is the management team that is failing to manage in such a way as to engage employees and allow employees to put their best foot forward.  The “pain” is that there is no hiding from this… If productivity form home is suspected as having dropped, it is a reflection in the mirror signalling management failure, not worker failure.

There is ONE person only to blame! The person to blame is the leader of the organisation! The person leading… the person who has now been exposed as not up to the challenge their job!

The reason that any employee working from home is less productive than when they are at the office is because that person who is the leader of the organisation has failed to lead well.

It might be the CEO. It might be the Chairman of the board. It might be the COO. It might be the whole board. It might be the whole C-Suite. But it is leadership that is failing to engage employees and failing to benefit from working-at-home opportunity that could be staring them in the face .

By the way, leaders looking for a quick and permanent “fix” need to think about the five elements of excellent corporate governance….

Why have FMCG marketers become serial killers?

Every day, FMCG marketers kill off good brands!

An institutionalised model of FMCG marketing is the BCG matrix, which classifies the product portfolio so that marketers optimise Rising Star products, milk Cash Cow products, nurture Problem Child products while divest themselves of Dog products.

My question is why have shareholders endorsed FMCG marketers who are delivering a malnutrition policy to both Rising Stars and Cash Cows? Why are they supporting management teams who are not managing their product portfolios properly? Why aren’t these teams sustaining their Cash Cows with enough nutrients or spawning and feeding Rising Stars so they might al least have a chance of maximising brand health and long life?

Back in the ‘70s, FMCG marketers we’re experts at marketing management! FMCG marketers conducted segmentation studies every year, year-in, year-out; discovering and monitoring trends, looking for new opportunities, filling gaps in the marketplace, doing whatever they had to do… Brand extensions were scientific and necessary; new product development and launch was immediate upon finding change in consumer preferences, especially when new segments were identified.

But, ask an FMCG marketer if they’ve done a segmentation study in the last seven years and you’ll get a majority that say no! That is appalling! That’s is not FMCG marketing… that is maltreatment of the brands that feed you!

Back in the ‘70s, when it came to a category review, the account manager would inform and enlighten the retail trade-partner/buyer so that they could collaboratively make better decisions . The FMCG marketer knew what his competitor was doing, knew what his positioning was, new where his competitors’ positions related to segments were, and presented the retailer with a win/win opportunity for them BOTH to improve return on real-estate and customer satisfaction. (Which, by the way, is the principle of “Category Management” which everyone gives lip-service to, but few genuinely employ.)

Who can blame retailers who are well within their rights and sensible to be introducing their own in-house brands and proprietary labels? Too many FMCG marketers are simply putting the product on the shelf without any active brand equity building effort whatsoever.

Do you think Woolworths and Coles and retailers (globally) are idiots? Why the hell would they give away real estate in their stores to FMCG marketers who are not going to provide any incentive or reward for them doing so? FMCG marketers are failing if they don’t bring customers into a shop! FMCG marketers of the ‘60s and ‘70s, even the ‘80s and ‘90s, knew they had to bring customers into their retailers’ shops to help the retailer make money, when did THAT rule get forgotten or abandoned?!

If FMCG marketers in the 60s and ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s knew they had to make a good business case rather than own a “divine right” for position on the shelf, with a mandatory inclusion of positive brand equity, how is it that management today does not know that now? Are they poorly trained, inappropriately remunerated, badly managed, criminally insane or is this serial killing of brands just corporate complacency gone feral?

Is this serial killing of brands corporate complacency gone feral?

FMCG’s of the 60s and ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s knew they had a job to do . The job was to create customers and that the best channel of distribution was through intermediaries such as retailers, to satisfy those customers’ needs. They had to deliver marketing consumer pull – both nutritious to Rising Stars and sustainable for Cash Cows. Not JUST good Marketing Communications, but ALL elements of the 8P’s of Marketing.

These days, FMCG marketers don’t build magical Rising Stars. They try to starve their Cash Cows. They are surprised or even distressed when these Cash Cows and Rising Stars don’t perform to the level they expect. They’re refusing the water the plants and then complaining that the plants aren’t growing because retailers are growing their own plants!

FMCG is complaining because they don’t have enough space on shelf! FMCG is complaining because retailers want more share of the profit ! Yet FMCG marketers have abandoned FMCG marketing science, deny FMCG market methods, and reject FMCG marketing responsibilities – Killing their brands!

And their Boards, their CEO’s, their shareholders, are letting them get away with it! The leaders, too tight on purse strings, too busy playing politics, too afraid or too incompetent to trust in marketing science, are the serial killers of multiple brands, who should stop moaning “tough business circumstances”, “unfair trading tactics”, “tough market conditions”… that they’ve created for themselves!

Like many serial killers they’re blaming everybody else but themselves.

Who agrees? Comments are welcome.

Have the Chinese made a rod for their own back?

Is it a case of “pride cometh before a fall” for China?

The recent political blow-ups between China and many other countries in the world may have backfired on China in a huge way.

Chinese culture, social norms, cultural norms, methods of communication, etc. are all so different to western expectations, that it might be the nuances of global relationship-building are simply beyond the Chinese way of thinking.

Certainly, the Chinese took a lot longer to develop their economic miracle than the Japanese did in the wake of World War II. Of course, the Japanese had a couple of advantages. They had a disposition of listening to outside advice and adapting it, making it suit their social-cultural constraints. The Japanese also religiously followed the guidance of W Edwards Deming who was an extraordinary, if not miraculous, visionary and insightful guru into the real way business should be written and conducted.

However, getting back to the point, I would hate to have to write the marketing strategy for any Chinese company with aspirations of global branding and marketing right now.

The Australian socio-cultural norm is one where the man in the street hates bullies. The common dialogue among Australians right now is, “I don’t want to buy Chinese anything”. The only reason that people buy Chinese is that the Chinese economic machine has established a pre-emptive purchase motive; one that disregards product advantages in exchange for a lower price. However, cheap Chinese goods have now secured the reputation they deserve. Further, Chinese repetition of the British arrogance of sticking to their mother language, as opposed to adopting the language of their target audience, has provided yet another hurdle for sellers to overcome to establish post-purchase cognitive evaluation and customer satisfaction towards their products. The result? Many people are sick of crappy Chinese products.

It may be that we will observe changes in demand, particularly in the wake of a covert downward preference trend towards Chinese products. Of course, this presents a huge opportunity to other countries with low labour costs to step in and fill the gap. If I was a well-capitalised manufacturer in the Philippines, Indonesia, India or Africa, I would be looking at investing heavily into products that are likely to grow significantly in demand globally and doing my best to undermine the Chinese brands that are currently one, two or three in their marketplaces.

For the Chinese, there may well be some economic retribution to it from other nations in the future, partially because of their arrogance, partially because of their dominance, partially because of the fact that COVID-19 spread around the world after originating in China. There may even be discord with an unstoppable internal swing within China by its own people who resent the constraints on political freedoms that Westerners take for granted.

I feel great amount of sympathy for Chinese people, particularly those that live under the thumb and resent or anguish over their totalitarian leadership. For Chinese who have made their money, I see a conservative reliance upon their continued ability of China to conquer economically around the world. I also observe that sheer Chinese cunning, that could be likely to motivate those who can see the longer-term prospects, to push some to diversify and divest themselves of Chinese activity .

Of course, I could be wrong, but I occasionally get it right, I’d be interested to hear what other people’s opinions are, and whether anyone agrees or disagrees with this perspective .


A salesforce should feel like it is an integrated part of the rest of the organisation…

Learn how the Hierarchies of Marketing helps allocate the right responsibilities to the appropriate decision-makers, how to better utilise “marketing” & how to structure a marketing department & executive succession-plan.

Find out more… get my e-book…

or visit: https://www.leadershipempowerment.com.au/


Have you ever wished that your workforce was just a cloned group of you?

Do You Wish You Could Clone Yourself?

Many bosses have said, “If only people thought like me, worked like me and tried as hard as me!”

You can actually have a workforce that’s better than that!

Remember, you are NOT perfect! You have staff that are actually BETTER THAN YOU at somethings.

The reason you get frustrated and annoyed at the decisions and behaviour that staff exhibit is because you don’t understand them, or they don’t understand you.

When a leader communicates, clearly, the mission, the ethos, the vision, the purpose, the intent, and the values that they hold dear, the workforce gets it!

I describe this essential leadership tool at the “MEVPIV”.

People often have skills that extend beyond those of their boss, that are frequently under-utilised or ignored. Once these employees understand the #MEVPIV, you give them the opportunity to present these skills… You create a means by which your staff can be able of performing and delivering extraordinary productivity.

If you genuinely want to bring out the best in people… which, let’s face it, is the responsibility of all good leaders, then you have to prioritise the development of a meaningful and inspiring MEVPIV for your organisation.

If you genuinely want to optimise success, follow in the footsteps of organisations who have embraced and prioritised people productivity, and choose to create a developed extraordinary MEVPIV.

What Good is a Mission Statement, Really? Where to from there?

On its own a Mission statement in only part of the guidelines necessary for clarity. But in SYNERGY with the other parts of the MEVPIV, an unstoppable force can be built.

From the MEVPIV comes the OSATTA (sometimes described as the OSATTF).

ANY business executive who follows this diagram will concede it provides the ingredients for drafting a workable roadmap, business plan, and marketing action program that has the capacity for holistic success.

If you take a cohesive, holistic approach to strategy you win… at least it worked for Sun Tzu. This and many other excellent business guidelines are explained in the e-book, “Managerial Marketing in the Real World”, published by Bookboon SEE: https://bookboon.com/en/managerial-marketing-in-the-real-world-ebook

So you THINK you know marketing!

Why only a risk taker tries to manage your business without knowing the 8 P’s of Marketing

It is a very green, very naïve, very safety-adverse business-person who attempts to manage, run or start a business without knowing the 8 P’s of Marketing.

It is particularly dangerous when people think that marketing is a synonym for advertising and promotion, as we know that is only one “P” of the eight P’s and far from the whole story of the management of exchange.

But the most essential P for many is the 8th P; sometimes simply described as “Politics” or intricately described as the PESTLEED, an acronym that stands for Politics, Economics, Socio-cultural, Technological, Legal and compliance, Environmental, Ethics and Demographics .

If you can’t cope with  or if you don’t cater for the 8th P, or any of the P’s, then your commercial future is at best a wild stab in the dark, if not a recipe for disaster.

It was Red Adair who once stated words to the effect of, “If you think a professional is expensive, wait until you try an amateur!” and this is the case with marketing leaders.

Any marketing person without adequate training, mentorship or education is likely to not understand the traps properly; certainly not cater for the 8th P of marketing, and probably going to lead their organisation to the precipice of disaster. It’s no surprise that large corporations rise to the top, and succeed, do so on the back of properly qualified, properly educated, properly trained and extraordinarily good marketing people.

One of the most profound and wise things that ever came out of Steve Job’s mouth was the following quote… “At Apple we don’t hire good people and tell them what to do, we hire great people and get them to tell us what to do!”

The problem is too many people hire the wrong people, people that spin a good yarn, people they like, people who are socially connected or great at self-promotion, perhaps publicised well or excellent public speakers. They will promote candidates internally above their level of competence and suffer the consequences.

Funny, how we insist that the doctor he’s experienced probably qualified and trained before they performed surgery on our bodies compared to how often we absentmindedly don’t even bother to check the qualifications and training of someone working on our business before we allow them to take control of our financial and professional future.

Short-Cut to 202% Productivity Gains…

The necessity for a purpose statement

When the Ford Motor Company of America was losing hundreds of $1,000,000 a year in the early ‘80s they called upon W. Edwards Deming, who had previously consulted broadly across industry in Japan, to come in and provide them with ways to improve their quality .

Instead, he questioned the company’s culture and management, citing that 85% of quality problems were the result of failure in management to engage their employees.

While the Ford executives were waiting for a prescription of what they should do, Deming broadened their focus with the question, “Do you have constancy of purpose?” The Ford execs were annoyed he wouldn’t’ give them an answer they wanted, but it was the beginning of the turn-around for Ford. Similar scenarios were experienced in that era by Dow Chemicals, Procter and Gamble, AT&T and the New York times.

It takes a courageous management team to accept the answers they want are NOT those they need… and Australian executives are not immune.

Too many C-suite executives dismiss the power of Purpose

Purpose statements give people their reason to get out of bed in the morning. Purpose statements give them a reason for being. Purpose statements provide direction for participants within an organisation.

It’s not enough to have a mission and vision, but there many companies that still just rely on those two guidelines. It is absolutely imperative, and organisations possess a balanced and structured MEVPIV: They need a mission, yes! They need a vision, yes! But, they also need a purpose. They also need “identity(or intent)”. They also need values which reflect the ethos of the organisation.

Since the 80’s, employee engagement and team alignment has grown in terms of perceived importance… but management often treats the symptoms rather than the disease with reward and recognition programs, team building programs, evaluation feedback processes and other tactics, when all the need to do is develop a sincere and appropriate MEVPIV to choke off the feed-line of discontent and inspire a “killer culture” and “preferred employer” status.

At relatively low cost, with enormous returns, MEVPIV development will inevitably become mandatory for future organisations, particularly as millennial employees swing for more than gross salary motives.

It remains to be seen if boomer and y-Gen senior management can adapt and adopt quick enough…


[NB: W Edwards Deming was a statistician schooled in mathematics and physics and who evolved into military planning and ultimately into changing culture. He understood the 6th “P” of marketing (Processes) and how important they are to the marketing mix: It was he who originally said, “If you haven’t got a process you don’t know what you’re doing.)