Blogs

A Little Respect and Common Courtesy

So I am kind of struggling with this one.

Over the past year or so, business emails from strangers trying to interest me in something start off with the salutation, "Hey Mike". Growing up, my Dad – who was the consummate gentlemen – would have been embarrassed to hear one of his kids show disrespect, rudeness even, to a stranger by using such a casual greeting, especially in a professional environment.

Building Trust and Keeping Clients

“You start losing a client the moment you get it.” ~ Jay Chiat

Regular readers of my blog know that I like to post some quotes at the end that are relevant, sometimes amusingly so, to the topic. In researching appropriate quotes for this post, I came across this one by Jay Chiat, Advertising Executive and co-founder of TBWA\Chiat\Day.

Integrated Project Teams: 5 Steps to Improve Project Performance

A recent study by KPMG, reported in Building Design & Construction, indicated that more than half of the Owners who contracted for projects last year suffered underperforming projects – defined as being more than 10% over budget or 10% over schedule. Many attributed this more to a shortage of talent, rather than poor planning.

KPMG International offered five steps for owners to improve the performance of their projects:

Supply Chain Trends, Part 1

From Austin Consulting

Manufacturers are facing many trends and challenges these days, including those from both the supply chain and transportation sides of their business. This two-part series will examine these issues, so companies can be better prepared to address them.

Risk Management

Managing risk is a key component to running a sound business. It is also a key component in managing supply chain. Many businesses were affected by the West Coast Ports labor standoff, which is estimated to have cost retailers as much as $7-billion. To manage risk successfully, shippers need to ask themselves a few questions:

Leading with Industry Loyalty

Recently, while at a conference in an industry we serve, I was asked by a prospective client why they should choose The Austin Company over a competitor for their next project. It is an awkward question since first, you are being put in a position where anything you say can be interpreted as bashing the competition and that can always backfire on you. And second, in our industry, we do not know our competition as well as say, Coke knows Pepsi.

Emotional Intelligence on an Aircraft Carrier

I attended two industry conferences last week and was struck by the similarities of the underlying theme of two of the keynote address speakers.

The first speaker was Brent Darnell, a noted author and trainer on developing Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. The second speaker was John Bourneman, F/A-18 Fighter pilot, Top Gun graduate, and CEO of the Corps Group, a consulting firm made up largely of former military officers with a focus on building high performance teams.

Creating Expectations: Building a Foundation for Success

I recently participated in what was potentially a very challenging meeting with an excellent prospect. The design of the plant we had been schematically developing was presumably well over their budget.

Yet, the team working on this accomplished a number of important tasks in the development of this opportunity. Within these tasks lies a process that is the foundation for greater success in sales and, yes, in relationships in general.

Scrutinizing Incentives: Perception vs. Reality

By Brandon Talbert, Senior Consultant with Austin Consulting

Over the past few years, there has been an increased level of scrutiny placed on incentive packages offered by many state and local governments to entice companies to create new jobs and invest capital in their area. A lackluster national economy, increases in government spending, the passage of a major healthcare reform bill, and growing deficits have likely contributed to taxpayer concerns and much of the negative press around some incentive deals. Many companies have been blasted in certain media outlets for negotiating or accepting incentive offers. Needless to say, this can become a public relations nightmare for the incentive recipient, as well as municipal governments and politicians. 

Channeling our Inner Ernie Banks: The Power of Positivity

Permit me some self-indulgence on this one. I have joked for years that being a life-long Cubs fan provided great training for a career in sales – it has taught me how to deal with disappointment and adversity, how to maintain optimism and good will, and that attitude is the biggest factor in one’s happiness and success. No one represented those qualities more than Ernie Banks. “Mr. Cub” passed away recently at the age of 83. 

Benefits of Conducting an Early Favorable Area Study

By Jonathan Gemmen, Senior Location Consultant with Austin Consulting

For several decades, corporations have compressed the timeline on which they execute the site selection and construction process. We’ve seen that most firms want to minimize the window between the date when their competitors know of their future expansion and the date when production starts. Every day that the market knows of the proposed expansion, is another day they can prepare for and adjust to the upcoming increase in production capacity.

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