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Millbrook 2018
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January 10 2017
By Mel Holley

Mel is the Editor at routeONE magazine. He has more than 30 years’ experience in road and rail transport journalism.

Chasing the intangible

What makes a business special?

Making sure your processes are really good, and your health and safety and compliance top-notch, is one measure.

But according to Andrew McMillan, this is not enough – these are ‘tangible’ differentials – but it’s the intangible differentials that make the business special.

And, he should know. Nowadays a motivational speaker, he spent almost three decades at John Lewis, the last eight years with responsibility for customer service across the brand.

Speaking at this week’s annual CoachMarque Conference (see pages 32-34), he said: “If you can upgrade all your vehicles, your neighbouring coach company can do the same.

“But if your people are different, it’s something your competitor can’t copy so easily.”

He asked the assembled operators some tough questions that you might want to ask yourself of your business: “What does your business feel like? Is your driver happy? Enthusiastic? Or just sat behind the wheel? There’s a big difference.”

To change a business’s culture takes leadership from the top, and he spoke at length about the importance of reflecting the culture.

It doesn’t just apply to the person at the very top, but middle managers too: He said that 65% of people would choose a new manager over a pay rise.

Andrew believes to motivate anyone they need to know what they’re being motivated to do – there has to be a ‘why’, and that should be at the heart of your brand. It’s an argument that’s hard to ignore.

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