Narrator: Welcome to the Unfair Advantage Project – unique perspectives, practical insights, and unexpected discoveries directly focused on giving you the unfair advantage. Introducing your hosts, Nadia Hughes and Terence Toh.
Terence: Welcome to the Unfair Advantage Project. I’m Terence Toh, I’m the founder and Managing Director of StrategiQ Corporation and I’ll be one of your host today.
Nadia: I am Nadia Hughes. Yes, thank you Terence. And I’m so happy to be here, I’m from Smart Business Solutions. And today we’re interviewing Jenny Junkeer whom I really wanted to come and share your insights.
Jenny: Thank you! Hi everyone, I’m Jenny Junkeer. Nice to meet you all.
Terence: What an intro. So, Jenny is from Junkeer New Era Consulting. And, maybe just tell us a little about who you are, what you do…
Terence: to begin with.
Jenny: Thank you. Well I’m the founder of Junkeer New Era Consulting. It’s a relatively new type of consulting firm. It’s akin to a management consulting firm. We focus on really challenging businesses in how they operate currently to really reflect on best practice if you like. And we try to say where can you optimize elements in your business to be able to be ready to face all the challenges of the new era. And hence the name New Era Consulting.
Nadia: Sounds. How did you come up with this idea? What need in the market did you see?
Jenny: I’ve been in business for so long time, an accountant by trade. And I’ve watched and worked and consulted with businesses from so many different industries. Small organizations to really large one. One of the biggest what I’ve worked with is that international listed company AMR Manufacturing company. And one thing is really common to me is that whether you are small or large business pain points are the same. They do not change. Business is business. No matter what scale there may be lots of zeros after the big company. But the actual everyday challenges and the everyday decision-making process for all businesses are very common in terms of as a theme. And I just started observing things. And so, when I started figuring out the themes and then I started looking at all the things that were going wrong with organizations, I try to figure out what was causing it to go wrong. And I think I’ve come up with that solution and that was the inspiration or what we’re consulting.
Nadia: So, you’re telling me your expertise is applicable to job log? Somewhere in this suburb sitting there with his wife trying to run a business and to the international airport, there would be the same principle applicable to both of them?
Jenny: I’m going to put it out there yes, I’d do say so. Yes.
Nadia: Oh wonderful. And you came up to this conclusion by observing and consulting businesses.
Jenny: Because I was able to deal with so many different industries. For example, I’ve worked with manufacturing clients, and then I’ve worked with retail clients, and I’ve worked with government clients. And the same things were being asked of me, the exact same things. Staff issues. I mean if you don’t employ staff obviously you won’t have that issue. But if you’re even a small business like by trading business that has one staff, the same issue of performance management and how to get that employee engaged is the same issue in a hundred billion-dollar company has a hundred thousand employees engaged. Different scale but the same concept.
Nadia: So, all we are just the scale?
Jenny: Yes. You should have figure out what scale you are.
Nadia: Okay. Well…
Terence: And I think a lot of that is just because, what we spoke about briefly before, we’re dealing with, it’s still business…
Terence: and it’s still people.
Jenny: Yes. And there’s a common relationship with business and people that someone told me recently that there is no such thing as business. It’s relationships of people coming together to do common things that form businesses. And I really think that’s really true because one of the old sayings you’ll hear and ask people are your asset. And I think a lot of organizations have forgotten that. Or go that’s not true, my product is my asset. Or my brain of these operations is my asset. Or the IP I have is my asset. But actually, if you don’t have people to run all that, you actually have no business. So, it comes down to understanding people and understanding all the other elements around people that actually form together nice to make what this thing we call business.
Nadia: To be honest I’m actually very now excited to go to the cuff, these challenges you have identified. And stop dancing around here. I just want to know them. And as an accountant, I don’t know, some of them very common ones in the business I consult with. I’m interested to see from a perspective of larger businesses and how applicable with the smaller ones.
Jenny: Sure. Okay well let’s start with one of the first challenges I think is… Because firstly I talk about challenges that people don’t actually talk about often. Most of the time if you go what’s a challenge in your business big or small they go cash flow. They go oh my staff aren’t capable of doing this. They get the common what I call symptoms but actually not the challenge. The challenge is actually behind that. And it’s something that people actually don’t even acknowledge is a challenge, but I feel that I want to bring it to the surface. I think if we talk about challenges in the following way, sort of example the first way I talk about is prioritization. Not many of you are go prioritization is a challenge. But it actually is one of the biggest challenges for big or small. So, I’ll give you an example. So, let’s say you have a Mom and Dad business, and they have very limited number of staff, and they have very limited number of resources. There’s not much cash flow there and they need to grow. They may need to do social media marketing but they don’t know how to. They may need to buy a piece of equipment that’s about to fail. They may need to get a new employee because administration in the back-end are really suffering. They need to do let’s say five other things. How do they decide which one is the most important when every decision requires funding and time which they don’t have? How do they actually decide? And the issue is, prioritization becomes the massive saver in this scenario because if they decide well, in the right order, what happens is the cascading effect. They might pick, maybe perhaps the hardest one but the most important one first. Put the time and the money behind that and what they might see is two or three of that list start dropping off at the end because getting their priority right helps. It really helps. And so, with large organizations it’s even like, again a larger scale of a problem. You have now let’s say different departments. You’ve got HR, Marketing, Sales, Operations. They’ve all, each department, has let’s say five product initiatives ready to go. And so, if you add that up across the organization you have let’s say 50 initiatives. And as an organization, how do you run 50 initiatives at the same time even if you have all the people and all the money? Because lots of organizations have the liberty of having the people and the money. But they still don’t get it right. There still project failures. There still the wrong initiative as a start and then stop because the business changes their mind. Why does not happen?
Nadia: Tell me why I cannot wait. You just suspense.
Jenny: It’s because of the wrong prioritization. They don’t get it right. And that’s the thing.
Nadia: You just explain a typical scenario of any business who comes in my board room and I want to grow. And they do have this bit of the issue of what do I grab first? Everything falls apart.
Jenny: Everything’s important, right? Everything’s urgent, right? Surely.
Nadia: And what do you do? Where do you start with them? How do you figure it out in this particular scenario case Mom and Dad. So, what would be their first priority?
Jenny: Okay. So, what I do I’d point them to remind them first of all of their vision. Because the vision, and if you’ve done the vision well, it’s your guiding star. Like for Mom and Dad businesses even. They have that passion. It came from somewhere. I call that passion or what they were originally trying to do in business – their vision. Large companies they have a much more sophisticated vision. But again, the founders or the organizations continue to have something that’s driving them. Let’s start with that vision. And the vision itself is not going to help you prioritize. Right? But what the vision allows you to do is set the right strategy. So, when you have the right strategy which is to pursue that vision, that’s what your prioritization starts. That’s where it starts. So, let’s say this Mom and Dad business has to, they need to grow their business. And because for them to fulfill their vision of living a comfortable life and bringing… Oh well think of a company that you’ve worked with as a small business.
Nadia: Well I will take on dental practice.
Jenney: Okay dental practice. Right? So, this dentist really wants to make sure… Why they became a dentist in the first place, they’re passionate about let’s say not saving people’s teeth but preserving people, the health of people’s teeth right.
Nadia: Yes. They don’t like root canals, but they do like nice smile.
Jenny: Correct. And so, if their vision was to have a nice smile in everyone so that everyone can have the confidence of walking around with bright teeth and that’s their vision. For them to succeed in that, they need to be able to have an influence over people to do that. For them to have an influence, they need to be able to grow enough so they can actually touch as many patients as they can. How do they do that? So, growing and being bigger is one way to influence everyone or as many people as you can with their teeth. And so, usually a growth component is part of most people’s strategy. That’s one strategy. The second is one about telling people about how to take care of their teeth. They’re not going to get to everyone realistically. So, they may have to like do it indirectly. So, putting the message out about how to take care of teeth, wouldn’t that still be achieving their vision even if they’re not the ones getting fees for it? But they are still achieving their vision. So, this strategy of how do I achieve that vision comes down to, well what can I focus on? And in this case let say we focused on two things – a strategy of growth or I need to touch as many patients as I can, but I also want to basically help people even if I can’t touch them. That is my two-part strategy. If there’s clarity all around that, shouldn’t that then let them go well what do I need to do in number one or number two? Number one or number two? That is my only focus. And so, now you have seven, let say like a list of 10 things you have to do. One of them is being social media. So, where does that actually fit in into the strategy of number one or number two? Is it important to do number one and is it important to do number two? If it’s not, then it’s not high on that list. Then what about going out there and actually promoting your business to be able to have people come to you. Is that going to help number one or number two? If it is, that’s most likely to help number one. Right? It’s going to help the growth of the business if more people know you’re there in that location is going to help you grow the business. So, then if it comes now high on the priority because you put it in context. Priority is about why is it a priority? It’s a priority in context of what I’m trying to do. What is the call when you’re trying to do something? Your strategy. And so, that is how it works in the small business where you have a list of 10 things. But re-change the order or split the list between the two strategies and go okay, this item is for this strategy and this item is for that strategy. And now that I’ve got the list separated, I’m now going also to reprioritize between this is the number one thing. This is the best bank for my buck. Right? So, if you do that, as simple as that list, so just that focus and that context, that will help you prioritize right. Now in the case of a large organization, we take a little bit more sophisticated. We do it in a framework style. So, we have this concept of vision, strategy and then all the different components of the organization. And we usually workshop this with a larger client because there are multiple people here that have multiple opinions about what is the next step and what’s more important. And usually that biased opinions like the marketing director go so clearly social media is the most important. And the operations guy no I need a new equipment. So, the difficulty with prioritization is prioritization the business needs versus the personal ones in a larger scale. That is the complexity with larger companies.
Nadia: So, what the way I’ll look at it all the time, I use this metaphor. It’s business as a baby. And our directors of the business or business owners are parents. It’s quite often one or two. And usually the need of the baby has to come first, not the individual ambitions about I’m a better parent or I need to fulfill this. If everybody in an organization or any business will look after the baby and act in its best interests, things will get done.
Jenny: I could not agree with you more. And see, that’s one thing that not many people talk about is the leaders that are entrusted… I equate that to the same analogy but the parents in my context are leaders, right? And the people also are the older children of the baby. And so, the older children, the older siblings and the leaders are both there to try to make this baby grow and make nourishes, right? But what the problem is there is a, like an underlying tone of selfishness in business society. Probably more prominent in larger businesses because with a family business or a small business, their personal interest is the business interests. So, there’s not much separation there. However, when you go to larger scale businesses, you have leaders that are entrusted to make the right decisions for the business. But then you have things like bonuses and remuneration, that, and KPI is that sometimes aren’t aligned with what the right thing is for the business. And now you have a disconnect. Do they make decisions in their decision-making framework based on what’s in it for me or what’s the best interest for the business? And what I’m fortunately I’m going to say is a lot of people can’t put that business first. Like I appreciate that it’s a human behavior to look after one’s self. But I think that’s the challenge we need to address. Like everyone would be able to say that out loud. How do we change the behavior of leaders to make them be selfless? In the context of decision making when it comes to business. That is the challenge I see large businesses face and that’s kind of the challenge you address. So, the answer for that for us is that a KPI which is one usual way to sort of drive behavior. She could be used to drive behavior rather than outcome. So, try to make them be rewarded for making decisions selflessly is the best way to get there. I know it’s like an oxymoron but it’s the best way to get them to be act selflessly. But even just awareness. Even holding accountability for it. Too many people get caught up in the results and lot of businesses maybe making a lot of money. So, the leaders look great but are they great leaders? I don’t always think so. And so that’s part of the unspoken truth. Leadership, it’s more than just what you get your people to do. It’s about how well you do it.
Terence: So, can you give us an example of a KPI that focuses on behavior rather than outcome?
Jenny: Sure. So, for example most people have KPIs around hitting profit targets, right? That’s a common KPI. What I would do differently is that I’d go okay what behavior do I want them to show like in order to drive profits, but I want to focus on behavior? So, I look at let’s say leadership engagement. I would want to have a KPI, perhaps lay around the feedback of all their subordinates and underneath that leader. Asking questions such as is how often do you feel that leader make the right decision in that sort of circumstance? And so, asking almost like a survey-based, a response. And so, the leader is accountable to their team. So, the team needs to inspire them and see first-hand that the leader is demonstrating through example the right decision-making process. What do you think is going to happen if they’re demonstrating that? And how do you think it’s going to feel to the rest of the organization?
Terence: And how do you keep that process, I mean do you try to keep the process objective still? Because you’ve got personalities come into this and that may become subjective. So, how do you keep it objective?
Jenny: I actually think I almost want it subjective. Because you think about a leadership position and their employee and the team member they’re meant to be responsible for. How is a leader a leader without getting to know you personally Nadia? Like how am I not going to be judged subjectively, objectively from you? You are the person I need to be judged by. You are, I’m the one leading you. So, I don’t think you look at me and go you’re a star Jenny because you made our company get a five hundred thousand of profit. You should be looking at me and go you’re amazing because you made me want to work for you. And I love every minute of it. And that’s how I should actually be judged.
Nadia: This is very they actually made it official that the bird leaders versus managers.
Nadia: And this is where I think leadership was about exactly this point, how you make people feel. And I’d be right under your leadership. This is effective leadership. That’s I constitute when you, at your full capacity, in the right place, and you come to you and you know you are part of contributory force. That’s how you feel.
Jenny: Don’t you think that if for example I didn’t inspire you and you’re one of my team members and it’s fine. Do you think together we would still meet that 500,000 or profit, let’s say profit target most likely? What are the probability of us if two people are pushing as hard as each other. Right? In the same direction for the same what we call just general business goals. Like it’s okay to have business goals they should be target, there should be something everyone is aiming for. But if you do that together then everyone has to work less to do it. Whereas if I’m trying to push you hard to do it and then I get the credit for. How does that work?
Nadia: What I am interested in is you have said before, and it was very intriguing, that you’re going to talk about things people don’t want to talk about. They don’t like to bring it on the surface. It’s unspoken truth you’re going to say today. And this is what I want. So, first unspoken truth is priority. What’s your second one?
Jenny: The second one is related to the first one. It’s about capabilities. Who put their hand up and go I can’t do this, I don’t know how to do this? Not many people have the strength or the bravery to actually say that in a business environment and feel okay about that, feel secure in themselves about that. And it’s unfortunately in honesty system, most people try to fake it until they make it. And people are lucky enough that the don’t get caught out on it. But unfortunately, no one wins in that scenario. And so, if you look at capability gaps in your organization and you’re really honest in that reflection, a lot of the capability gaps that, as I said in the earlier section, is starts from leadership. Right? A lot of leaders aren’t born leaders. They need to learn the skill of leadership and they don’t. They just get to that position through hard work. But once they’re there, they don’t care to embody the full capabilities, skillset that leaders should. And that’s one huge error in business. But if you talk about small businesses and even large business, then there just general people capability skills. So, let’s talk about the Mom and Dad business. They became passionate about what they did in the dentistry. And they learned here that generally you would have learned to have it become a medical practitioner in the dentistry field and would be an expert in that area. But when did he ever go to business school? When did he ever learn how to manage some staff? That skill is not organic necessarily. It’s understated skill but it’s stuff like you, and I, and Terence, we learn that skill. Right? So, it’s not easily transferable to people. So, I think people are kidding themselves if they go oh you know what we have an organization, there’s lots of people here. Therefore, we have all the capabilities and skill sets to run this. You actually don’t. Even we, don’t have all the capabilities we need to continue doing. We are constantly learning. So, why aren’t the people that actually don’t have business skillset as their primary trade or their primary skillset? Why aren’t they either learning more about it and upskilling themselves? Or getting in outsourced help to be able to fill that capability gap? Because then it becomes an outsourcing versus internal skill development question and that becomes a business decision buck.
Nadia: I think I know the answer. I think I know when some start suspecting that is pretty good and hot stuff in his area of expertise, they start looking at their boss. It’s an employment case usually have and they have first entrepreneurial seizure. I can do better than this. I know more than my boss does. That’s usually as a school of thought happening there. And I also see all those mistakes he is making which he shouldn’t be making. Therefore, I’m ready. I can do better than this. So, these comparison with a poor example makes people wanting to go into a business and they think they can be better. What hide in their boss. What happens then, they’re are on their own. And they suddenly, their perspective shifts because they haven’t been experiencing those challenges. The break of a boss was looking after this side of this.
Jenny: Of course, they never saw.
Nadia: Exactly. And now they have to face it. and they don’t have the skill. They only acquired the skill of judgment. They haven’t acquired the skills of leadership or skill of the business set of skills. And this is where this gap becomes, after the first year in business, this gap becomes so significant. They realise it. And usually that’s where you have people coming to you because everybody’s accepting in the first couple of years I won’t make money, so, they can run it as poorly as they can. But after two years they become restless. Why I still don’t see profits? And this is when they start addressing this. They don’t go into the businesses with those set of skills, they go to the business with a set of judgments.
Jenny: Yes, I so agree. And they don’t necessarily acquire those set of skills either. And because they don’t know at what point they acknowledge I don’t have this capability set. I just don’t. And so, I don’t think many people say that to them so often enough. I say it. And when I say it, I then go and do something about it. So, the hardest part is to say it and then if you are brave enough to say it, then doing something about it is not difficult. There’s online courses, there is other people you can learn from. You can buy the expertise if you need to. And so, but the thing is unless you actually fix the capability gaps by getting people in the know, it’s like the iceberg that’s sits all pretty on the outside. You can, as a business owner, you can keep everything together on the surface. But you know you’re pedaling as hell like down the line and make this thing work. With all the pressures of cashflow and all the little pressures that come along with business like administration that you weren’t expecting, now it consumes your life and you don’t even have time to go ahead and do something about it. So just acknowledge that one of the reasons why that is the case is there is a lack of capability there. So, go and do something about it.
Terence: Yeah. So, once you’ve acknowledged that you know is there a simple course of action that someone listening to this could say okay well this is what I can do about it? This is how I can address the capability gap in my business.
Jenny: Sure. So yes, of course, there’s always something you can do. So, in this particular capability, it’s about reflection. So, that reflection is what’s going to get you to be, like well you’ve admitted that you’ve got an issue, clearly an issue. Then you reflect. I want you to reflect and go okay what is it? What skills do I believe I’m lacking? And in what department? And then what you should do is actually write yourself a list. How big is this capability gap that I’ve got here? And once you’ve write that list, then you’ve got to realise that business is teamwork. No person can really do business alone. Even a sole trader requires support of their family to support them in a mentally. It requires their customers to be loyal and support them. It requires their peers to fill in or if they’re sick. That every person and every business does it through teamwork. And so, when you have a capability issue, it just means you don’t have the right people or the right skills in that team. So, the way you create your team that you probably, let say only half a team are there, is go and either find new people. Like say get a new blood. So, even if it means making the hard decision of replacing an employee with someone that actually does have the capability set that you really need. Unfortunately, in a business is not easy. That’s a hard decision that you may have to make. Another thing is you go up to upskill yourself. When you write that list, you understand the capability gaps. Figure out which one of those things you, it makes sense for you personally, to go and acquire and then go and do the hard work. Again, prioritize that above anything else. It will become one of your most, biggest things you have to do. So then just jump in and do it. View a lot of experts or outside help. They’re a little bit more expensive on the surface because they’re external. However, in the long term, you look at the reward of not having to train them, not having to keep that cost going for a full year trying to make more business like to be able to justify that cost. Using them sparingly if you have to. But then getting access to that all that wealth of knowledge really quickly and only in times of need is another great person or team of people to add to your team so surround yourself with a really good professional network. And that’s how you build, that’s how you fill your capability gaps.
Terence: I guess I’ve got a really simple filter that I use to address because I’ve got lots of capability gaps. And I use, and I heard this from I think it is Verne Harnish, heard him speak once. And he said make it a who question not a how questions. And so, whenever I know that I’ve got a capability gap, I just simply make it a who question. So, it’s either who can do this for me…
Terence: which in most cases is my preferred option. Or who can help me with this? When you say people, they realize that they’ve got this capability gap and then they go and try to do something about it. I think the biggest mistake is to go and try to figure it out yourself. That’s actually my, probably a key take-away from me over the last 20 odd years of being in business is that was always the slow path. I’d much prefer, I think as you say, go pay an expert. So, I’m a business coach but I’ve also got my own business coaches. Why? Because I want to learn from the best people out there. So, I want to go invest rather than investing my time. And as I say, what would I say, a poor man pays with time and a rich man pays with money or a wealthy man pays with money. Something along those lines. I’m probably, I’ve really messed up quite. But anyway, it’s something along those lines. Rather than paying with years and years of my time, I’d prefer to go and find that expert, the who, that person who can really help me. So, I think that’s something I see lots of people challenged with. To put this podcast together, we’ve got about five who’s in the background who have all the capabilities that Nadia and I don’t have. Instead of us trying to sit there and fear how to edit the Podcast, how to get it up on iTunes, how to get it up onto Google or whatever, we just go on and fund all the people that can actually help to be build the website that goes with it. We’ve got all people who can just do that stuff. So, I guess that’s my really simple kind of framework of how to make your life easier.
Jenny: I love that.
Nadia: And another thing I just… As a business owner you have to become the major choreographer. That’s all is. It’s choreography of skills. You bring skills into the business in the right time in the right place. A lot of people get caught chicken and egg dilemma. It’s too expensive. Nothing more expensive than killing years of your time becoming an expert in this industry. I killed probably 20 years of my life to become an accountant. I’m really good at it. I know there’s a lot of laws and I know a lot of loopholes. No, I haven’t said that. However, what I am offering my clients, I’m not offering them a tax return. I’m offering them years of my expertise which I just come in a very comprised for fee. That’s how I see it.
Jenny: I want to add to that because I agree. But the only thing that’s lacking in that is a sense of purpose. So, if you remember purpose which is, I make it synonymous to vision like you have a passion to do this, to me that’s my purpose. You realize that if you really want to fulfill your purpose in life or you purpose in business, it doesn’t mean you have to be expert in everything that requires your business to have. You can’t be an expert in everything. You need to have a team that can help you get that purpose. And to the who on your team, is the most prominent question you’d ask yourself.
Terence: Yeah. And for you Nadi, you’re an accountant. If you’re the best accountant out there, it’s probably spending a lot of time doing the things that you’re either not passionate about, that don’t form part of your purpose just like what Jenny said, or that maybe you’re not that good at and you can just outsource.
Nadia: Well that’s correct. That’s exactly what I do. I do have a team. I’m not the sole trader. That’s the reason I’m not and never will be. I’d rather go and write a book and be, sorry book is hard to read as well. You need a team to write the book apparently.
Terence: All right so, what’s the next?
Nadia: Well the next one. We have capability now. Next people don’t talk about?
Jenney: Change. Let’s talk about change. Doesn’t everyone hate that word? It’s a little word but everyone hates it. Change and disruption, they go hand in hand. People go oh that’s changed, oh that’s disruptive. I don’t know why? Why is that disruptive? If you didn’t have your iPhone with you, that change never happened. What would your life be like? Yeah. You’ve got, why do you accept some change but not others? That’s my point. What do you think?
Terence: Why do we accept some change? Well…
Nadia: Change is scary because it says there is an element of unknown and there is an element of self-doubt whether you will fit in in a new life. Change introduces some things you haven’t envisage yet where your place will be in this new world. That’s what I think it’s the biggest recent drenched feel us. It’s an insecurity. But some people are more risky and they like to ride the wave. And this is where you come different attitude to change.
Jenny: You look at the risk as appetite. Is change relevant to risk? Are people that won’t jump off let’s sat a cliff when they’re doing bungee jumping, right? That’s a big risk. Do you have to be that brave in order to accept change? I say no. You don’t have to take that road. Not everyone has got the appetite for doing that. But everyone actually has the appetite for change. They’re just selective change, like that. Let’s be real, it’s selective change. It’s change when it suits you but is then resistance when it suits you. And so that’s what people don’t talk about. And so, what I want to say. Why are people being so selective with change? Which ones they let into their lives and which ones they resist, well, like a plague? And so, what I believe organizations are doing wrong is that they’re putting it on the person. Oh, my staff they just, they won’t accept change. Like it’s too much for them, just too much. How often do you hear that oh we can’t do that because it is too much? Why is that too much? Is it that you haven’t prepared them well enough to go that’s not too much? Hey everyone, should we not be excited about this? Look at the positive things that will happen if this happens. Then all the different and selective change and resistance change, is awareness and desire. That’s it. Awareness and desire. And so, if for example a small organization needs to introduce a new, I’ll have example client, right? It’s small team, six or seven people that make large dollars. Right? This efficient team has been operating so along with let’s say two or three key people that have been running the management and the finance side of business. And they’ve been using a system that is so old fashioned and they really would benefit from the change. Where the time it takes would be reduced by almost 70 percent of. Their frustrations would technically go away. Their capacity to do more fulfilling personal work would be there. All positive reasons for change. And yet here they are, they’re fearful. They’re trying to say no we don’t need something different. And I look, and I go I don’t understand when we got in there why they feel this way. And all we had to do was show them the other side. Like okay, just imagine for a minute, like this change has happened. And let’s look at what your life would be. Right? Because that’s the trouble with change. Because people don’t understand what it’s been given to them, change wise, well enough to go what would that look like? Once I go through the change, and what will my life be at work like, what will my personal life change be like, and go oh I actually really want that. I see the benefit of that. It’s a no brainer. Soon as people go oh my God, okay sign me up now because they’ve seen it. Then that’s the biggest trouble. Get them to visualize this change. And the hardest part is the people that are teaching the change, can’t visualize themselves either. That’s why there’s not enough trained managers in the world. It’s because again leaders aren’t born change managers. So, if they aren’t a natural and organic change manager where they can inspire people through any change just see what the actual benefits and what the post change picture looks like, then hire change managers to do that. You have change managers on your staff that are really good at that. So, that people are never fearful of change. Because if you can get rid of that stigma around change and people are willing to adopt anything you throw at them, they’re ready to adopt it once they realize what it is. You just make them realize it. And then if they’re in that sort of mode of like oh wow I can visualize everything as you’ve taught me that skill, then you can be so much more progressive as a firm and you can start becoming more agile and start doing a lot of things faster. And as soon as you start bringing speed of decision-making because you can introduce things faster which is in definition of what agility is in business, that will take you leaps and bounce. And that’s what we try to promote with organizations. Get agility through challenging this concept of change.
Nadia: With change, what I have noticed is there are two types of attitudes. One is very progressive. And this is what you’re talking about, promote early adoption. They always get a warm. That’s how I see it. And there is a steamroller analogy. It’s your choice whether you want to be part of steamroller or part of the road. It’s up to you. That’s a decision you have to make. But this is a late, slugger’s. They are facing this dilemma. Was a hop on but it already, the progress moved on. And now they’re forced to do these decisions. So, this is a passive, it’s a blast we call it of humanity who is will wait until the last point when you have to jump on or you just completely will be rolled out. That’s I think.
Jenny: Because you’ve got to look at why humans do that. Yeah. Why laggards are laggards? And that, if you look at the bell curve, when it talks of early adopters and laggards, it’s the majority of people are laggards, right? Or late adopters. And so, you can think why? Why is humanity like that? And what it is, people like their safety blanket? They love being comfortable. And you can use that to your strength is what we teach. Is like okay just acknowledge that individuals feel this way. They go through these emotions when it comes to change. They almost, we, if there’s an out there’s an actual tool in change management, it’s a grieving process. So, when change comes, I think if someone passes away, think about the stages you go through. Shock and then denial, and then anger, and then sadness, and then you start accepting it happen, and you sort of move through this low and then become to go back to normal. There’s a curve. If I told you now, everyone goes through that similar curve when they’re confronted with something even the simple as a small change in front of them. People should know that. Like people should know that humans feel. And so, change and even business is about feeling. How do they feel that way? What do they do? How do they feel when they do work? So, what will they feel like when something new happens at work? Just deal with the feelings. Like it’s, people and business are not remote from each other. And we’ve gone through years and decades of businesses trying to get away with, not having to deal with emotional stuff at work. It’s like it’s your crap, leave it at home. Don’t come to work with it. But you’re human, we’re hhuman. We can’t leave it at home. And so, the best organizations are the ones that actually at the front of that. Like don’t just simply accept it but actually use that knowledge and then insight about we are dealing with humans here so, let’s get on the front foot with that. Let’s actually create environments that are really safe, and comfortable, and encouraging, and future-thinking because then we’ll get that. And so that is how you combat change by actually changing. Like that’s the only way organization do, actually making so many changes. But making the environment safe to make these changes is my best advice in terms of, even both small or large.
Nadia: Because what people do expect after the changes and you change will, they will be retrenched because of lack of skill or wage and everything. It’s a lot of these embedded insecurities would be out there. So, any… What you are saying can you change has to be managed through the feelings of the people. You have to acknowledge them? This is what’s going through…
Jenney: And what they’re feeling about fear.
Nadia: Yes. And you have to work with the fear. You just cannot ignore it and just set my way or highway because you will end up on your own.
Terence: So, it’s just really framing change in the right way.
Jenny: Yeah. Absolutely. That is all the job of change manager does. Which is why I’m happy to share with everybody that, even not a change manager, to go just learn from the principles of it where it’s about addressing it head on and finding a way to move through people through the emotions of awareness desire. And it requires a little bit of sharing information, sharing of knowledge, being really transparent with things, and then actually having open honest discussions. People appreciate open honest discussions even in a business work place.
Terence: I’m a bit of an advocate of change and I think I, well at least, I think I change a lot. I’m always making some sort of changes. But the way that I’ll frame it is for instance in saying okay I want to make some changes to my diet. I’m just going to trial with that. I’m going to test it out see how it goes, right? And so, Nadia probably knows I’ve been testing stuff here for quite a while and lots of different things. And what’s happened is that most a lot of those things have become a habit. So, now my diet over last let’s say three years has changed significantly from being high in sugar high in carbs just probably a really poor diet to being a really good diet. Cut out all sugar, pretty much all carbs or whatever stuff. So…
Jenny: And that’s hard. That’s actually really hard to do because I’m trying to do the same. It’s really hard to do. But it’s a mindset thing. As soon as you accept it.
Terence: But you also frame it. And the other tool that I use is it’s easy to look at the… It’s easy to be fearful of change because as you said you don’t quite know what’s on the other side. Right? But the reality is, that if you don’t change, what’s on the other side of doing nothing, right, is going to keep you in exactly the same situation.
Jenny: And sometimes it’s a far scarier picture. And people don’t realize that.
Terence: Well, I think that if painting that picture can be a major event if you want to actually make change, saying okay well this is the reality now. If we don’t change anything, I mean, Nadia I’m sure she’s dealing with someone who’s making a loss on a monthly basis. If they don’t change anything, what’s going to happen? The reality is, they’re not going to have a business. Right? And… So, then hopefully that would alleviate that fear of change.
Jenny: Agree. So, another thing I would say is information overload is probably another challenge. We live in a data age. Well I call it a data age, but I don’t say it’s information age yet. There’s plenty of data out there. Think about large organization or small organization where there’s a lot of sales receipts, transactions, lots of things happening – numbers, figures, words everywhere. Like the entire ERP systems, thousands of lines big. Right? That’s data. But people don’t understand how information works. Data is not information. Data is formed in a shape to give you information. So, if formed in this way, like shape A, it tells you this thing. That thing, it tells you information. Then reshape it, reform it and gives you another thing. That second piece is also information. People, first of all, don’t understand data. And second of all, don’t know what information they even need to look for from the data to be able to actually survive in business. And so, what do they go by? Instinct. They go about information or data, data or information that used years ago to like, to dictate what they do in the future. And this is dangerous. It really. And not enough people talk about it. There is such a huge information management gap in business. And I feel like I’m the only one really talking about it. Like people know and they will say oh you know I just need to have this and this and then I’ll be able to do that decision. They say it as if it’s a wish list thing. I wish if only I could have that information I would be able to do this faster or make that decision quicker. But they don’t actually come why don’t I have that information faster? Oh, that’s because my system are too slow and it takes a month to get last month’s result. It takes a month, I don’t bother waiting for them. I’ll just continue doing soldering on. Why do we do that? Why don’t we stop and go hang on a minute and go back to prioritization? Isn’t information and knowledge power? We’ve all heard that. And so, you’re running a business blind to some extent if you don’t demand, not just ask, demand real time accurate information. And so, what lets an organization down and the challenges they face is that’s really hard to get. First of all, it’s really hard to extract out of a system because usually you sit with the IT department going they know well the datary and how to manage the data, but they don’t know what our business needs to tell them or to give it to them because they’re not the ones usually responsible for reporting. They’re the ones responsible for the systems behind the reporting. And then you have your finance team or your systems or people that need to extract that information that have actually no idea about the system. And they go I have block report to pull out, I don’t know how to get that information. So, then they get some information out and then they put it into Excel, and then they manipulate it in Excel, and get I have prepared information now. And then that process takes days, sometimes even months. And I go oh my goodness. That is way too hard. If you’re doing it that way, it is way too hard. Let’s talk about that. So, what it should be, again painting a picture of what can happen, what actually does happen in some realities or some business that we touch, is that information you click a button and there is something you need is available to you. And then before you click that button, you have top 10 things that you know which buttons you want to click. Like you just actually know, because Information Management starts before the system starts. It starts with you actually having a clue about your strategy and then going oh I know what information I actually need to make the decisions I need to make around that strategy. You start there. And so most people get caught up in either accepting that they don’t have the information. Oh God. Oh, I’ll get it eventually and actually don’t stop for a minute and a demand that you get it here and now. And again, if you don’t or are not in a position to get it here and now, change something. Change your systems. Change the people that are getting the information that don’t have the capabilities to get it for you. Change something and then change yourself to actually know which information you want and need.
Nadia: For me it’s extremely important point. And this is first thing I start is addressing in any consulting session. Clients come in and want to improve their business. First things first, I establish monitoring system – extracting relevant data from relevant source. Relevant source, putting them on a cloud – a very efficient way of using their record keeping. That’s how I do it. Without these monitors, it’s like a body in a hospital. How do you know your heart rate? How can I advise or give you any direction to your business if I don’t know your pulse, your saturation level, anything? That’s what for me information is in a smaller context. It’s a like how I apply it. And getting these data, extracting, I teach them what they need to look on a weekly basis. But they only can look at after managed it they have got a little system in place which means reconciliation. They have to reconcile it. They have to allocate those transaction in the right cubbyhole. That’s what I call reconciliation. And it’s this playful way of addressing data management for small to medium businesses. Which is just also applicable for big businesses, larger businesses as well.
Jenny: Large businesses still take a month to reconcile. They take a month to process transactions of the month.
Nadia: And then they all face and post-mortem analysis of cause of death. There’s nothing else. That’s what’s happening because the current system and what data management, smart and intelligent data management, it’s your little spies into, yours is a way your system operates to be able to step in right there and then when change are cued to your benefit then capitalize on it or to your detriment and seize it.
Jenny: What’s funny and ironic is that organizations that are struggling or not achieving their goals are looking for these clues outside in the external world. What can I do differently? What new thing can I try? And look out. They need to look in. Like they need to look in their data. Their data has all the secrets they could ever want to know. They just need to know how to tap into it. And it’s becoming an entire new world and a new science, right? But again unless… There are experts in it now which is fantastic. But unless you accept that you are looking for that expert, you never got to be able to get the skill set and the capability in-house and so start looking inside people.
Terence: But let’s talk about maybe measuring the right things. Is… I think what you’re saying is all information is not good information.
Terence: You actually want to really know, as you say, what your priorities are and where you want to focus. But the other side to that is, and I think relating back to what Nadia said, is that if you’re doing an analysis of data, if you’re doing an analysis of something that’s already occurred, I think the best resource that I’ve kind of read for this is the 4 Disciplines of Execution. Read that book? It’s a great book. But it talks about lead indicators and lag indicators. And the reality is that most, and I keep coming back keep generalizing, that there are lots of businesses out there that measure lag indicators. And your lag indicators are what gives you that post-mortem analysis. They’re your profit and loss after the fact. They’re your… Even your sales figures the month after. And coming back to one of your earlier points, what we really need to do is look at how we can drive the behaviors that cause the changes that we want to, and in this case if we’re measuring our bottom line, how do we focus on those what’s called lead indicators and how do we extract that information or how do we get that information up in a more timely manner?
Jenny: So, the first thing I would recommend is collaboration. Because, which is sort of a good segway to my next point about the next challenge that’s massive. It’s the silo challenge or the disconnected challenge where you have an organization, whether it’s big or small, and no one talks to each other well enough. And so, they all do their own individual parts and they believe that they or they act that they’re in isolation of each other. And so, information then acts as if it’s in isolation of each other. So, if you actually want to understand the right, and I call it I say a top 10 list. If you can’t identify as a business, not as a team, not as a department, but as a business, only top 10 piece of information you need to drive that business that you don’t have enough focus or clarity around your strategy and your direction. So, isolating the top 10 pieces of information is really easy. And it, the way you get it is by talking. Talk to your team. And when I mean team I mean every aspect of your team. So, if it’s not realistic to talk to the entire firm, if you’re a large firm, make all the senior leadership team talk to each other. Make them, as a collective, as a collaborative effort, decide on the top 10 and put things into perspective as a singular business unit. If you’re a small team, if you’re a Mom and Dad, talk to the five employees that you have and all seven of you decide on the top 10 list of information this business needs to thrive. And that requires debate. It requires discussion. It requires rebuttal. It requires a healthy conversation around. Why is that really important versus that one? And I’m not here to say there is a magic answer what that top ten looks like. But the way to get it is through a collaboration process of discussion. And once you get the 10 and each put it through the rigor of what, you almost have to pick it apart and put it back together, then that is what is going to take you through probably about three to four years. It’s not a forever list but it’s definitely longer than a 12-month list. And so that’s your aim. Don’t have information for the next 20 years. That’s what your visions for. Just have the critical information for the next two to three years which is usually the ideal period of your strategy. What information do you need to execute a strategy? Period. That’s it.
Terence: So, could I add to that? One of the things that can often be overlooked is that we talk in, especially in larger organizations, we might be talking with senior leadership teams and things like that and they’re always the ones that get heard. And, I mean to me, if I really want to get to the bottom of what’s wrong in an organization or how an organization can start to do things better, I probably work I say I want to talk to the people on the ground. So, the first person I’ll probably want to go to is maybe an admin assistant. Or someone who enters the farms. Or someone who is actually selling product if it’s a retail store or something like that. The person who’s actually selling products and maybe the person who’s selling more products then outperforming the rest of the retailer. So, I guess I’d probably say even go a little bit further than just, if you’re in a larger organization, go a little bit further than just those higher-level, that higher-level leadership.
Jenny: I completely agree so. But what happens is that, so the silo effect starts department by department. And each department in theory becomes a zone organization. It’s even made to become its own organization because usually there’s an accountability of profit and loss on that department where they have to hold their own. Right? And that’s to me is one of the fundamental sort of root causes is structure, organizational design and structure, of what creates silos. So, to break silos in any regard, you need to almost address the starting point which is the structure. But even with a structure, you can still break down silos through conversation and understanding that some people do too much talking and they’re the ones who actually need to do more listening. And the people that don’t even get the opportunity to do a lot of talking are the people on the ground are the ones that need to be given the opportunity to talk. And so, if we break down these silos, it starts with a sequence of steps. The first step is get to the senior leadership team to start talking to each other. That’s to me step one. Achieve that where okay at least there’s a collaboration at the top level, at the leadership level. Then continue collaboration. Because the only thing that breaks silos is collaboration. So, I cannot stress that word enough – collaborate, collaborate, collaborate. And so how that shapes in a business is start discussing openly at the leadership team. And then start going down in those, in the structure you currently already have which is your department. Or in the case of a small business, the rest of the team, right? Start now talking to them and collaborating with them. People will do more for you if they feel included to do so and are driven by the same drive or the same passion that you are. Again, use that to your strengths. That’s the best tip I can give you is there is so much valuable, gold markets down there at ground level. And if you start like peeling back and go from the ground and then the second level above that and then eventually make your way up through the entire stream, you will have uncovered so many amazing ideas, amazing thoughts, amazing insights that you would pay experts like us to tell you once we go in. And do you know how we find that information? Because we start asking your ground people and people above them for that same information. So, if you want you even to use your experts like us wisely, start the process already. Already be more informed about your organization through collaboration. Break the silos. And then you’ll really understand your capability gaps. You won’t have a lack of ideas. Trust me on that. There’ll be plenty of people in organization that will come up with amazing ideas. Then what you may find a challenge is implementation and execution. And that’s where experts who have specialist skills like you know we do project management so, we have, there is especially skill set there to execute projects well. Then you can acknowledge whether you have that capabilities in-house or whether you need external. But the idea is I think people underestimate how many ideas are out there. I’m not the one who comes out with the best idea. I’m the one who just make the idea work.
Terence: And I think in a lot of organizations there’s no shortage of good ideas. Perhaps a shortage of the ability to execute as you say, and perhaps a shortage of the ability to really prioritize those ideas.
Terence: Because one idea really well executed is likely to outperform ten ideas which are really poorly executed.
Jenny: Yeah. Hundred percent. And so, I mean that in a nutshell is probably, I don’t know how many that was, but roughly I would say at this point in time the best thing I can share with you in terms of the challenges that are really facing people. The ones that people don’t initially, openly talk about. And so, my sort of concluding, summarizing sort of message in terms of how I can give the audience an unfair advantage and that is talk about these things no one else is talking about. So, if you do them in this step, like start talking about number one. If you now prioritize the effort to change some of these things, you’ll not only combat the challenge, but you also be able to use that challenge proactively in part of the solution. If you talk about capabilities being lacking and talking about that, then by filling their capabilities you’ve now completely changed the force that your team is now in terms of how forceful it can be. If you accept something is constant, the only thing that is constant is change, and then start changing proactively, you now combat the challenge and make it part of your solution. If you understand that there is a lot of information overload out there, so, be really selective and focused about what information you’re looking for. And then when you see the big wide where there’s so much information out there for you, you’ll be able to know actually how to sift through that and figure out what you need. And basically try to clean up. The major lesson here is avoid being disrupted and try to be the disrupter. The best I can get from this is do something to disrupt, not someone else because we can have win-win here. We don’t have, someone else have to lose in order for you to win. But you have to know that you have to disrupt your industry. Shake it up do something in order for you truly to succeed.
Nadia: And for me is go as a business not to make money but to create the change. So, that’s basically I would conclude from…
Jenny: I concur.
Terence: Absolutely. Okay. So, thank you for sharing all this stuff with us. How can our listener connect with you or find out more about you?
Jenny: Sure. So, I’m an active blogger on social media. So, you can find me on LinkedIn under just my name Jenny Junkeer. Our company, the Junkeer has a Facebook and a LinkedIn company page as well. Our website is a really good source of information about how we think and this holistic concept. So, everything I’ve shared with you so far is individualize in terms of challenges that I bring to an, in 20 years of experience I’ve been in business. But how we’ve actually used that information to actually do something about it. Like you said I’m in business to really enact change in others. In particular, in optimizing organizations and so we have a framework that we believe in that makes all of these things come together. This connectivity of all these thoughts. That there is an art of business and that’s what we know from our whole life and now end up spending my whole life doing. And it’s come through the form of we call this Junkeer 8 Lense. And that’s on our website. www.junkeer.com.au. Our contact details for office has on there. But more than anything is try to engage with us on what we’re trying to say is you can be better, just start doing better. That’s it. That’s really what we want to get organizations to know.
Nadia: Thank you.
Terence: Fantastic. All right. Thanks for everything.
Jenny: Thanks for having me.
Narrator: Thanks for listening to the Unfair Advantage Project. For more curated resources visit us at unfairadvantageproject.com.