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Past President 2012/13



Keeping Promises – What is 100%?

Keeping Promises – what is 100%
By; Adolph Kaestner

I was chatting to a friend and colleague about finding the right people to do a job and how difficult this has become.

The number of times people “commit / agree” to do something and then just don’t deliver without even a warning or a call for help, seems to be acceptable.

Regrettably it’s a sign of the times where people want to receive maximum reward for minimal effort and where commitment to do what needs to be done rather than what suits them to do is the order of the day.

Non-delivery is a South African norm and basic fulfilling of duties is regarded as extraordinary achievement that should be rewarded and applauded.

In my training on Performance Management I do a Session on – “What is 100%”. The comments I get from delegates ranges from very good to outstanding and the expectation is an increase, a bonus and even a promotion.

I remind them that 100% is doing what you were contracted or committed to do.
My definitions of 100% is:-

“Doing EVERYTHING that is listed in your JD/KPI’s —within the TIME specified—-within the BUDGET agreed –with a NEGLIGABLE ERROR rate and with a MINIMUM of direct SUPERVISION”

And the reward for delivering 100% is simply:  Thanks and You Can Keep your JOB

If you want more than that you have to deliver more –

My Performance Rating scale is as follows.

  1. Excellent                120% ++  – This is the Bonus and Promotion zone
  2. Very Good              106% to 119%
  3. Good                     (96) 100% (105)
  4. Satisfactory            86% to 95%
  5. Unsatisfactory         76% to 85%
  6. Poor                      Under 75%  – This is the Exit Strategies zone

Where there is a WILL there is a way

Where there is a Will there is a Way
By Adolph P Kaestner
12 November 2015

In my primary Keynote Speech (I Can Is NOT Enough) I discuss the 3 stages of what it takes to achieve something – anything.

The First is to believe that I Can, the second is to have the intention to do so –I Will and the 3rd stage is to Say I Do and actually get out there and do it.

Listening to the news again this morning about the Fire in the Kya Sands squatter camp and the Water Crisis as a result of reservoirs running dry I reflect  on how a country like China has achieved more in 30 years than most countries have achieved in 300 years.

I just returned from a visit to China last Sunday and when people ask me how was the trip I can only answer with one word – Surprising.

You see I thought that I was going to visit and tour a country with over 6,500 of cultural history, typical Chinese houses, labourers tilling the fields and rice paddies etc. To my surprise what we saw was a series of ultra clean, modern cities like, New York, Sydney and ant ultra-modern large city in the west.

Was I disappointed? – Yes – because I wanted to go and experience a culture that has fascinated and interested me all my life – so going from one ultra-modern concrete jungle to the next was not what I had signed up for

But here’s the point – I was absolutely dumbfounded to find a country that has in 30 years built in excess of 50 million homes (some say a few 100 million) for its people to ensure all squatter camps are a thing of the past that has stepped up to ensure that the cities are clean – R5, 000 fine for littering – R 10, 000 for smoking in a non-smoking area.IMG_20151027_105526

Here at home we have done nothing of the sort – we have not used massive amounts of available money to build houses, electricity, water, health, safety, and jobs. Instead the people who promised to do so and who we voted in to do so have done nothing but fill their coffers, built their palaces and ignored, even shunned, the people who they are supposed to serve.

China after their revolution made a few decisions – We CAN do this, We WILL do this and they have gone out and DONE it. They work a minimum of 12 hours a day and some have more than one job – they are fit active and live to over a 100 years as a matter of course.

We know that they are busy colonising Africa and only yesterday I heard that SA is now going to be teaching Mandarin in our schools – are we going to give up our freedom to yet another colonial empire – I’m afraid we are already past the point of no return on this one

Mismanagement, incompetency and greed has robbed South Africa of the opportunity to be a real 1st world powerhouse – what a shame.

Come on South Africans lets not give up our land … let’s get leaders that will adopt the WE CAN — WE WILL and WE DO attitude and build the nation we all fought and prayed for in 1994.

CHANGE – We hate it – But we need it !

“Change is not merely necessary to life It is life!”
Alvin Toffler

Every year all good businesses Micro, Small, Medium and Large look at what has happened in the past year/years and tries to predict what they want to achieve in the coming year/years. –Well at least I trust they all do otherwise they could be heading down a slippery slope to being an ex-business very fast.

There are always things we are great at and that the market wants and we should Continue doing these things. Then there are new demands for our products and services which we should Start doing if we want to keep our existing and attract new clients. Then there are the things we do badly and that clients either want of don’t and these we should either Stop doing or Change what we are doing.

It really is not rocket science but there is always the mistake most businesses make and that is they presume they know what the clients/markets want and need. The really successful businesses do not assume they know — they ASK the Client/Customer and then only do they apply the strategies and plan to provide what is wanted. And the Great companies of course deliver more than what is wanted or expected.

The Key to survival and prosperity is Change.

Albert Einstein defined insanity/madness as “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result”.  And this put another way is – you must change to make it happen and to achieve the results you want.

But just the word Change makes people feel that their world is crumbling. Some run away, some become inert and some go into deep states of depression. The successful ones learn how to cope with change and if they are business owners they learn how to implement change without causing the reactions mentioned above for their teams. – This is not just a hit and miss process – it is a skill one needs to learn BEFORE implementing the changes not after as then it is too late.

So what then are the keys to and effective change intervention:-

  •  Understand the real need for the change – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of the situation.
  •  Get the right people together to lead the change in the company.
  • Create a “Dream-board” of the desired end result
  • Share and communicate the “Dream-board” with all until the accept and buy into it
  • Allow them to “Go For It” – remove red tape and obstacles – Give power with responsibility and accountability.
  • Celebrate Milestone Successes as they happen – “What gets recognised gets repeated” Adolph Kaestner
  • Implement all the changes that worked and keep on promoting their usage – create a vibe of energy and excellence.
  • Make them a Habit and a Home Grown Tool for success so that the process continues.

If you are not sure that you can do this on your own get someone to help.  Failure is not an option and does more harm and breaks the trust for future change interventions. The people affected also need to be shown how to cope with the change which in itself is a skill that needs to be known to all and especially the change agents.


But above all do not be afraid of implementing change. Winston Churchill shared these sage words with us  “There is nothing wrong in change — if it is in the right direction. To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have to change often”.

Enjoy changing, adopting new projects and processes and the success they bring with them.

Hope – Your Friend or Your Foe?

Hope – Your Friend or Your Foe?

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
This is a quote by Albert Einstein – sounds great doesn’t it – pretty much the same as you hear from most preachers “ Where there is Hope there is Life!!” and  “Faith, Hope and Charity

They all sound great, makes one feel good and make one believe that things will be better tomorrow …… doesn’t it ? But is HOPE worth anything or just a pure waste of time, effort and energy?

I know of several people who started their businesses:-

  • Hoping that their dreams would come true
  • Hoping that their product or services will always be in demand
  • Hoping they will make their sales targets
  • Hoping that their suppliers will deliver on time
  • Hoping that that they get that tender deal
  • Hoping that …………..

One just has to look at the Lines at the Lotto Tills on Wednesdays and Saturdays and see how many people are “HOPING their ticket will win the Lotto”

I believe that HOPE and HOPING for things is in fact one of the reasons why people seldom achieve their dreams, seldom succeed at their endeavors, seldom realise their full potential and continue to live their lives in HOPE for something smarter and better ——– BUT more often than not end up dying – having hoped their lives away!

HOPE is, in my opinion, a great friend of the people that don’t want to get off their “A’s” and do something about their futures and their lives. HOPE in itself is a futile waste of energy and only lulls one into a false state of security and belief that somehow, somewhere there will come a Fairy Godmother or Fairy Godfather and just make things happen – IF WE HOPE ENOUGH!

The truth of the matter is that if we do not get going then nothing will get done and we will meet people that walk around and tell us they are HOPING that this and that will happen so that they can live the lives they dream of.

The only route to success and achievement is through ACTION and IMPLEMENTATION. If one reads the lives of any of the successful icons Like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa and the like –we always hear them say that No amount of Conceptualising (dreaming), No amount of Strategising and Planning and Organising and Delegating and Marketing on their own will lead to success – The Key to all of the above turning into something is Action, Implementation  and Performance.   …………..Certainly NOT HOPING!

In South Africa in particular we have a rather sick “hand out” and “you owe me” and “minimalistic” mentality. Everybody just seems to want things handed to them on a plate and they believe they need to do the absolute minimum to get whatever they want. The less and the faster they can get it without doing the time and sweating the hard stuff the better.

So today I want to leave you with the message that whilst HOPE is good for the soul and helps to make one feel good and gives us that warm fuzzy feeling – if you want to achieve your dreams, be successful, have a thriving business, be a leader and a person others will look up to and be satisfied by the life you will lead, then you need to do a lot less HOPING and a lot more ACTION and IMPLEMENTATION in the right direction.

I submit to you that the word HOPE should be replaced by the word HELP

  • Help yourself learn something new every day
  • Help yourself understand your business better
  • Help your staff to be excellent at what they do
  • Help your customers by providing solutions to their real needs
  • Help your business to deliver – always and on-time and in-budget
  • Help others achieve their goals and you will achieve yours
  • Help …………

Have a year of excellence  by Helping Not Hoping!!

Professionalism and Standards – How do you stack up?

Professionalism and Standards – How do you stack up?

Two very interesting concepts that most people in business believe they deliver but which most customers/clients complain about.
So why is there a disconnect between the Provider and the Receiver?

Let’s look at the two concepts:
Professionalism, in its simplest form, merely means that a person is being paid for a service. The mere act of accepting money makes one a professional as opposed to an amateur/volunteer.

Two definitions of this term give us some interesting insights (1) -Professionalism is knowing how to do it, when to do it, and doing it. – Frank Tyger and (2) Professionalism: It’s NOT the job you DO, It’s HOW you DO the job.- Author Unknown.
Other Criteria to be considered a Professional include:-
• Expert and Specialised Knowledge in a specific field.
• High ethics– confidential relationships.
• Very high quality of work/service.
• Specialist education and skills
• Autonomy and Independence
• Applying theory to practice and solving problems
• Enthusiasm, commitment and loyalty
• Ongoing Life Long Learning
• Setting an example others follow
• And many more ….

So where do we fit in and how do we regard and measure ourselves as professionals?

Truth be told I guess we believe and espouse to be true professionals and we state that on out web sites, marketing material and even say it when we sell ourselves and our services to our client’s and prospective clients.
But the true test of professionalism is not what we think but rather it’s all about what our Clients and the world at large thinks and says. So how do you measure your professionalism? Do you ask for specific feedback from your clients as to how they felt you deal with the issues at hand with specific reference to your professionalism? And if found lacking what do you offer your clients in compensation for lower than expected delivery?

Let’s now look at Standards

Standards may be defined as the level of expected results demanded by our clients. It is not about what we believe is good enough its what our clients (colleagues/industry) believe we should be delivering.

The following quotations gives an inkling of what is expected:- (1)The idea for which this nation stands will not survive if the highest goal free man can set themselves is an amiable mediocrity. Excellence implies striving for the highest standards in every phase of life. John W. Gardner and (2) You must regulate your life by the standards you admire when you are at your best. John M. Thomas

Some minimum standards considered to be no-brainers:-
• On Time and In Budget every time
• No hidden costs and agendas
• Value for money
• Pay it Forward if it’s out of your skill set/domain
• If you don’t know – say so
• Don’t renege on promises / your word
• Unquestionable Honesty
• And many more ….

So how do you stack up?
• Do you have your own check list against which you evaluate yourself and your business transactions and interventions?
• Do you ask your clients for feedback on how you are doing in their eyys after each intervention?
• Do you test your professionalism and standards against the norms in your industry
• Do you offer a 100% of fee refund if your clients complain that you delivery was not up to standard

Professionalism and the Highest Standards are a clients right and we need to ensure that we are continually looking to provide them with what they are paying for and then some.

It’s no longer acceptable to just give the client a good experience – to stay in business and get referrals and grow our businesses we need to be delivering WOW experiences.
If we expect them to give us business referrals we need to be better than they expect us to be.

It’s a great habit to review your own Performance on a quarterly basis at least – so take 2 minutes now and set aside an hour in your diaries to do so every 3 months and you and your business will be better for it and your clients will truly believe you are the best thing that has happened to them this year.

Have fun and be better than the best you think you can be!

Personal Excellence is the Key

Most people I deal with all seem to either Wish or Hope that something will happen that will make them successful in life.

What a waste of time !!- there can be no greater waste of time and energy than wishing and hoping!

The Key to success and achievement has to be the Development of Personal Excellence so that you are the most efficient and productive person you can be in your chosen field of work and endeavour.

And to be Personally Excellent one has to take action to get there – you cannot buy it, inherit it and it wont come through some wild intervention by others – it takes Personal Commitment and Action.

That is what I am all about and I have dedicated myself to assisting those who truly want to excel to get there and to be the leaders and not the followers in their lives.

I look forward to working with you all to achieve the same