Learning How to Change From the Apple

September 7, 2014

This week, Apple is expected to display a brand new iPhone. Industry experts predict the phone will be in high demand, possibly selling over 6 million phones within the first three days. Leading up to the launch, iPhone sales have accounted for over half of Apple’s revenue for the first six months of 2014. Combined with iPads, iPods, iTunes downloads, and accessories, 87% of Apple’s revenue was attributed to a product that wasn’t a Mac. It wasn’t always this way.

The first Mac computer was introduced 30 years ago. Through the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, the company produced computer desktops, laptops, software, and printers. Apple was strictly a computer company until Steve Jobs famously introduced “1,000 songs in your pocket” in October 2001.  While the iPod was introduced as songs in your pocket, the first iPhone was introduced in 2007 as “the internet in your pocket.” In the next seven years, over 500 million iPhones have been sold.

Apple’s history is an example of how important it is for companies, and employees who work for them, to constantly look ahead and embrace change. By nature we tend to be creatures of habit.  Most people are reluctant to change laundry detergent, let alone work functions.

One of the most frustrating things to hear as a trainer is when an employees tells me how he/she is “just a “ something or other, and “is not” whatever their employer’s new initiatives require him or her to be. I hear this a lot in banking, which is the field I have worked in for over 25 years.  You can imagine how much an industry changes in 25 years. When I started, less than half of our depositors had direct deposit. Debit cards and online banking didn’t even exist. Friday night at a bank branch 25 years ago resembled what Christmas Eve at the mall looks like today.   As technology changes the way we conduct business, employees need to change he way they assist and engage with their customers. More and more banks and credit union are switching their focus to sales and redesigning their branches to focus on customer/member engagement. Some employees balk at the change, thinking their resistance will somehow force their CEOs to reconsider their strategy. These employees were happy doing things the old way, thank you very much, and are not interested in learning anything new. Besides, how do we know is these new things are really going to work. That’s ironic, because many people questioned a need for an iPad when it was first introduced. Steve Jobs described a world where you couldn’t live without one. Today, iPads play a prominent role in schools, retail stores, doctor offices, and even bank and credit union branches.  

Recently, I was conducting a workshop for credit union employees being cross-trained for the new branch model. One of the participants, a nice woman who was showing her colleagues pictures of her grandchildren that she had on her iPhone, asked to talk to me during break. She expressed concern that she and some of her long-time coworkers weren’t ready for the change. “This new idea is too much for us” she told me. “We’re just tellers. I don’t know if this is going to work”

I pointed at her phone. “Image if Apple employees said ‘we’re just computer people.’”   


The Sales Coach

July 11, 2014

Does your job involve sales?

In my 25 year career I’ve worked for a number of financial institutions, ranging from a small community credit union to one of the nation’s largest commercial banks, and I’ve held positions that have encompassed all aspects of the sales process, from selling directly to customers to managing, recruiting, and training others to sell.

If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that selling is an integral part of everyone’s job. I’ve encountered many people ...

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TV an Example of How Poor Leadership Ruins Businesses

February 22, 2014

I recently caught up on the first season of The Profit, a reality-based TV show where billionaire entrepreneur Marcus Lemonis offers to invest in struggling small businesses to help them turn a profit. The show offers high drama among lessons in business. There is a common theme in the first season which mirrors what I often see in business– poor leadership leads to poor performance. Marcus talks about his three Ps (people, process, and products). When things go sour in the show, it always ...

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Hiring the Right Fit

January 19, 2014

Employees are your company’s greatest asset. That is a phrase I use all the time when speaking to managers. One of the biggest concerns I get from managers involves hiring the wrong employee for the job. I believe that most people will make a great employee…. As long as they are hired for the right company. I can get the buy the best cashmere sweater, but if it’s not my size, it won’t fit.  

In Sit Stay Succeed! one of my paws of leadership is to hire the right fit. You wouldn’t br...

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© 2014 Mike Patterson Partner in Learning, LLC