Faucet Queen Make Over – Mike Linn’s Formula for Success

Today I am presenting to you a success story.  I wanted to write down this case so that we can study it and learn how leaders act and drive their organizations to success.

FAUCETFaucet Queen is an organization established in 1935 and quickly became the leader in the American market in the field of home hardware solutions. Following WWII, Faucet Queen launched the Helping Hand® brand to expand the business and hence creating the broadest line of home hardware products within the industry.

In 1999, the business was sold to Masco Corporation and at this stage the brand and product line got some sort of a set back due to lack of investment and strategic focus. and in 2009, they decided a major change has to be introduced and this is when they decided to hire Mike Linn as new president and CEO.  They wanted to regain their market share and give the company the boost it needs.

Mike was this boost, he adopted a new strategy to the extent that they are expecting double digit growth in 2010.

“Mike’s successful track record in creating lasting retail partnerships and driving substantial growth initiatives is what drew us to him as the ultimate choice for Faucet Queen’s President and CEO,” said Wali Bacdayan, Partner at PNC Equity Partners, majority owners of Faucet Queen.

I was lucky enough to be able to conduct an interview with Mr.Mike Linn, as I wanted to highlight the lessons learnt from his experience.  and I decided to write this post to share with you the knowledge so that we can all know what it takes to reshape a business.

In this post I will list the main points I want to highlight.  For the full interview, please download it here:

http://www.designrific.com/misc/mike_linn_interview.pdf

His main goals when he first joined were to stop the sales decline and quickly implement a growth plan.  Among the things he focused on was :

  1. “Empowered people to make significant decisions” – This point i liked so much.  Making your employees able to make decisions is certainly one of the keys to success.  If they are afraid or discouraged or always waiting for you to take decisions, your organization will never go anywhere.  You have to create leaders if you want to lead.
  2. “Celebrated failures” – As strange as this sounds, it is important.  The point is you need to learn from your mistakes.  So if someone fails but recovers fast, you need to highlight the experience and learn from it to avoid it later.  The important point here is to recover.  If you fail in something and keep stressing on it and focusing on punishing whoever caused it, you will overlook the lessons behind it.  i am not saying of course to reward whoever makes mistakes, but you have to create the culture of fast recovery and learning from the experience for the good of the business.
  3. Delivering exceptional customer service. I do not need to explain how important this is.  If your service is not appreciated by your customers then all efforts for growth will go down the drain.
  4. Reorganized the organizational structure and hired new talents. Plus better utilizing existing talents.  This is one thing that every leader must be able to do, bringing the best out of his people and putting the right qualifications in the right place for better productivity and quality.
  5. “Focus on change”.  He said that management need to make ‘constant change’ a part of their everyday culture.  that is to say, as a good management practice you need to innovate and always think of new and better ways to run your business.

when I asked him, if he wanted to give some hints and tips to anyone in his position, trying to leverage the performance of his company or give it a boost after a set-back, what would those be, he focused on:

  • Studying the company history to see what was done good to continue doing it and what was done bad to get rid of it
  • Obsess with the consumer.  i liked the expression “obsess” very much. It is crucial to always keep your customer in mind.  Ask yourself why he likes this and why he does not like that.  Why he buys this and not that.  Putting yourself in the shoes of the customer will make you always able to make the right decisions. and allow me here to take a quotation from his press release: “Manufacturers remain largely unfocused on providing solutions specifically designed for women, despite the fact that our research shows 57 percent of women state the feel of the tool in the hand is one of the most important purchase attributes,” said Linn. “Our team has done a tremendous job in identifying these needs, listening to the consumer, and creating a product that has already won a design award from the International Housewares Association.”
  • “be ready, willing and able to fail regularly and to learn quickly from those failures – the leadership team needs to embrace and have the edge to make unpopular, sometimes wildly unpopular, decisions.” – This i think we highly need here in Egypt.  We are always afraid of taking the right decisions because of one reason or another.  I want to be popular, I don’t want this person to hate me, I ….. Leaders have to do what is best for the business even if the decision is not going to be popular.  As long as of course you study your decisions very well and take them based on facts.

To conclude, I want to say that this is an experience that we have to learn from.  Mike focused on both the human factor and the non-human.  He balanced his efforts between the people and the strategy and this is why he achieved remarkable success.

Download the full interview here:

http://www.designrific.com/misc/mike_linn_interview.pdf

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Customer Support… Vodafone, Mobinil or Etisalat…Which is better?

This is a new survey that I created out of my forever concern for the level of customer support companies in Egypt offer to their customers.  This time I am comparing Vodafone, Mobinil and Etisalat in terms of their customer support services.

Please take 5 minutes out of your time to contribute in the survey and tell me what you think of your customer support center.

http://surveys.polldaddy.com/s/EF6138BBB11CA70F/

It would be great if i get considerable number of answers, so please answer the questions and be kind enough to forward to all your friends.

Thanks and appreciate your giving this survey some of your time.

The Decisive Moment! Bill Hawkin’s tough Call

Can you be that decisive? Bill Hawkin’s , only 3 months after being a CEO for Medtronics, he learnt that one of his company’s key products might be endangering lives.  Here’s how he handled it:

http://www.bnet.com/2436-13058_23-348860.html?promo=713&tag=nl.e713

How many managers or CEOs can admit they have a faulty product or that they are offering a bad service?  most people tend to lie and try to convince their customers that it is their misuse of the product that is causing the problems.  But this is the story of a true leader who was honest enough to admit their fault.  Yes, his company lost financially a bit and lost some market share but it was not as hard as he thought it would be because people respected their honesty.  I am sure they will make up the losses real soon because customers always respect honesty.

Read the story and learn from a true leader!

http://www.bnet.com/2436-13058_23-348860.html?promo=713&tag=nl.e713

http://www.bnet.com/2403-13058_23-348863.html