4 winning habits of long-lasting achievers in service

Jun 28, 2017 • FeaturesManagementJan Van Veenmanagement

In a new feature series Jan Van Veen explores what are the common factors in an organisations DNA that makes them stand head and shoulders above the rest of the competition...

We have discovered 4 winning habits of long-lasting achievers in service, which sets them apart from competition. These long-lasting achievers see that change and innovation in their organisations is energising and easy and that their people pursue opportunities that go beyond business-as-usual.

Everyone in their organisations has the opportunity to be highly influential In every manufacturing industry, there are exciting – but challenging- changes taking place; involving Servitization, Internet of Things, Big Data, and so on. Customer needs and expectations are shifting, as is the competitive landscape. The speed of change will only continue to increase.

And this will offer huge opportunities for existing manufacturers, and new entrants into the sector.

Many people in manufacturing companies have identified the changes, their impact, and the potential opportunities.

They also see their companies stagnating and dropping behind, despite many attempts to increase a sense of urgency and get buy-in. This often leaves them feeling disappointed and frustrated, yet they are still eager to make a difference.

The 3 Dominant Problems

Most leaders in manufacturing face 3 problems relating to their ability to adapt for more success today, and in the future. One of the concrete consequences, is slower growth of their service business.

Slow change: Whether it is regarding small changes or larger change, it seems to be that many forces repel against it. A lot of energy is wasted in resisting change and in turn, fighting resistance.

There is limited clarity in direction, limited collaboration between departments, a conflict of objectives, too much uncertainty and fear, and a lack of passion and engagement from employees.

As a result, performance issues continue without adequate and timely interventions. Projects and strategies slow down or at worst, fail during execution. Consequently, employees show signs of being worn-out of yet another change initiative.

[quote float="left"]The ‘4 winning habits’ are in fact, the missing link to increase and sustain momentum, to continuously adapt, drive change and innovate their business- including driving a strong service business

Being stuck in “business as usual”: There are very few ideas and initiatives beyond small, incremental improvements, if any at all. Whether it is about product innovation, new services, sales approaches or delivery processes, most changes are focussed on incremental improvements of the status-quo. Of course, this is important, but not sufficient to be successful in our changing world.


Lack of influence: Most people within a company, from the operation specialists, to the CEOs, feel disappointed or even frustrated due to having limited influence to make a real difference.

What makes matters worse, is when they see good ideas and concerns failing to resonate with their organisation.

The 4 Winning Habits

The long-lasting achievers experience the same challenges and opportunities as those who stagnate. They have access to the same market for clients, same technology, same market for talents, and the same knowledge and expertise within the industry.

We can also point out that they have similar visions and strategies, change management, communication strategies and budgets for the change initiatives.

It appears that the ‘4 winning habits’ are in fact, the missing link to increase and sustain momentum, to continuously adapt, drive change and innovate their business- including driving a strong service business

The 4 habits are:

  • Direction: Everyone shares a clear and succinct picture of changes in the industry, where the company is heading and what needs to change over the coming years. They all understand how they can contribute to the change, and ultimately, fit in.
  • Dialogue: Across all teams and levels there is a constructive and forward-looking dialogue on performance, progress, priorities and aligned actions. Everyone feels secure and confident to adapt and try new approaches.
  • Decision-making: Everyone has the power to make decisions within their role, to adjust, perform and improve. There are adequate guiding principles to ensure coherence and alignment of all decisions.
  • Discovery: Everyone is aware of (potential) trends, opportunities and threats and the best practices available. They spend time in exploring, testing and learning. There is more focus on new things which go beyond the current core business, which is imperative for future success.

Over the following months, we will elaborate upon each of these habits and support our content with real-life examples.

The Result

The results long-lasting achievers obtain with these 4 winning habits is deep-rooted.

Fluid change: Everyone is passionate and keen to make a difference. They all recognise the need to change and adapt. They collectively think and act to achieve greatness. Change energises!

Pursuing opportunities beyond “business as usual”. Everyone is sensitive to threats, opportunities and obstacles, and behave in a coherent and forward-looking way.

Highly influential: The CEO, operational specialists, and anyone in between have influence to drive change and innovation, and make a positive difference.

They therefore discover:

  • More real value innovation, like service innovation.
  • Higher growth rates and margins
  • Better customer loyalty
  • Higher employee engagement
  • Better retention and attraction of talents[/unordered_list]

The Essence

If you assume that the focus is about change management and buy-in, then you have missed the point:

It is about making change management obsolete.

There is no need to cope with resistance against change, because the changes come from the ‘bottom-up’.

I believe this is the power of combining business innovation on one hand, and talent development and empowerment on the other.



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