The Difference You Make: Starting to Make Sense of Your Conversation

The Difference You Make: Starting to Make Sense of Your Conversation

In the The Difference You Make: Let’s Get Started! article, we looked at what you need to do, to begin your journey to identify the difference you make to your customers. You started with some flip chart paper, and a few post-it notes and asked some key questions of each other. This led to a conversation and you filled your flip chart paper and post-it with comments. But what do you do now?

Firstly, you can transcribe all the notes into an electronic document. As you know, this a good way of keeping a record of the comments made. But you do not have to do this, you can just keep the original flip chart paper and post-it notes. The thing to remember is that they are your notes, so you can do what you like with them.

But what then? Let’s go back a step to your conversation. We are all constantly making sense of our environments, including making sense of what people are saying and doing……… we constantly analyse our world. So, let’s apply this inherent ability to the comments you have collected.

Add description

No alt text provided for this image
  1. Step 1: Get everyone, who has taken part in the conversation, to look at the comments and get them to say what they think they mean.
  2. Step 2: Let the discussion happen, as everyone tries to make sense of what has been recorded on the flip chart paper and post-it notes.
  3. Step 3: Be prepared to discuss assumptions and expectations of what everyone thinks it all means.
  4. Step 4: Stick with it, your collective analysis is emerging.
  5. Step 5: Write up the key features of this discussion.
  6. Step 6: Circulate and/or discuss with everyone that took part in the original conversation. The purpose of this step is to check that everyone recognises the analysis. Remember they do not have to agree with it all!

Why not give this a try. It is not scientific, but it is based on how we manage all the information we come across every day. What next? We will be sharing our thoughts on this in the near future.

The Difference you make. Let’s get started!

The Difference you make. Let’s get started!

Beginning work on identifying the difference you make, to your customers, can be difficult. Do you have enough information? Are the right people involved? Is there any information to collect? Will people be interested? How much of a plan do you need before you can start? Do you need a plan B?

Also, this type of work is not just about you but also about the people you work with, your team and your customers. Just sticking with your team, are you clear about their perspectives of their role? Also, how they view the difference they believe they make to your customers? It can all get really overwhelming!

So, a great starting point with all of this is to gather your immediate team together and get the kettle on. Get the flip chart paper ready and a few post-it notes and be prepared to spend an hour in an open and honest discussion. Then ask three questions:

1.      Who are we?

2.      What do we do?

3.      Why do we do it?

Simple questions, yes. But hopefully they will encourage everyone to put forward their views about their role and job, which may also include some assumptions and expectations. Now you have some notes on flip chart paper and some completed post-it notes. What next? We will be sharing our thoughts on this in the near future.

What does success look like to a socially minded business?

What does success look like to a socially minded business?

You run a successful business and also see yourself as socially minded. You like to support your local community by employing local people. You try to make good environmental choices and recycle when you can. You encourage your staff to volunteer. You also like to give some of your time to a local community group, to help them support other local people.

Does any of this make any difference to your customers? After all you know they are happy with the service and products you provide. Do they really need to know anything else? Maybe….

You know that measuring the success of your business is straightforward in relation to turnover and profit; these can be counted. However, trying to measure the difference your business choices, your staff, your processes and systems, and your time, make to both your customers, and the people, and places, within your local community, is much harder. The ways in which you bring value to your community cannot be told by numbers alone.

Does employing local people make a difference? If so, how? Does giving time to a local community group make a difference to them and the people they work with? Does any of this actually matter to your current and future customers? Maybe. Have you asked them? You might be surprised.

If you would like to spend time with other socially minded business owners exploring some of these issues, as well as being introduced to some of the tools that will help you tell your social value story, then please get in touch or check our the details of our next workshop here…

Our Favourite Customer

Our Favourite Customer

We like to help our customers as much as we can and inevitably, we have our favourites. So, I am going to share one of our favourite customers with you. Maybe this is you?

You set up your own business from scratch and have built it up over the last couple of years. Since setting up your business you have been careful to make sure that you have looked after all your customers. Customer care really matters to you. You like to make sure all your customers are happy and that they have received the right service at the right time. Also, should they have any questions, queries or complaints you are always keen to deal with them as soon as you can. As a result, you have built up a very loyal customer base, who return to buy from you time after time.

In recent months, as a result of growing, you have taken on staff. Yes, you are now an employer and it is important to you that you look after you staff as much as you look after your customers. In return you are keen that your staff treat each other, and your customers, with dignity and respect. You also want to know that your customers are still receiving the great service that you have always provided and are now known for.

As you are so busy, you now have your staff looking after your customers, alongside you. All is going great until Thursday morning when you receive a phone call from a very unhappy customer. They have had a problem with the service or product they have purchased from you. They have spoken to one of your employees, but they did not feel they were listened to, in fact they felt fobbed off! Customer care has deteriorated as far as they are concerned!

You are devasted. You value your customers and are sure your staff do as well, but how to make sure that customer care continues to be delivered, by everyone, to the same high standard that you have always done? This is where we come in. We can help you make sure that all your staff understand your business values and by doing so ‘walk the talk’. We do this by offering facilitated workshops that enable your team to explore what is important to you and them and how to make it happen, in your business, every day. 

Why not get in touch. You could become one of our favourite customers too!

Social Accounting & Stakeholder Engagement – It’s Good to Talk!

Social Accounting & Stakeholder Engagement – It’s Good to Talk!

Kamran Riaz is a Trustee at Signpost Stockport for Carers Here he shares with us some of his thoughts about using some of the social accounting tools…..

I am a trustee at a Stockport-based charity and we are looking at how social accounting can be used to help us define the kind of organisation we are now and want to become in the future. So far, this experience has been rewarding and at times overwhelming too, especially at the beginning, because you’re not sure about how to approach this challenging journey. But, whatever route you decide to take, there is one key thing to remember – engage with your stakeholders. This is one of the most important things I have learnt by attending Give2Gain’s Accounting for Social Good Network.

The idea is to listen to different views and to reach a consensus so that your key messages – in relation to your vision, mission, objectives, values and activities (VMOVA) – will be clearer and more connected, and that will reflect through your everyday work, your policies, plans and funding applications. Sounds pretty simple right?  Of course, nothing of any true value comes that easy. So be prepared to think things through – the learning curve on the social accounting journey can be quite steep, but, the benefits are clear to see once you bring people on board and engage with them.

A good place to start is to ask yourself what you want to achieve through this process and why? For example, our charity wants to demonstrate that we are placing stakeholders at the heart of our plans and that we are being accountable to those people that we help.

By involving stakeholders in this way we can:

  • Implement a joined-approach to strategic planning and governance, so that everyone is working together towards meeting shared organisational goals.
  • Validate our approach with our service users by giving them an opportunity to identify the matters that affect them the most, and a chance to come up with potential solutions.

Once you make a start, keep up the momentum, make the process your own and continually engage with your stakeholders – as they say, it’s good to talk!

Want to know more about Signpost Stockport for Carers? Please visit