Artwork for podcast The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie
Tom Halpin with The Halpin Group
8th November 2023 • The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie • The Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie
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Industrial Talk is onsite at FABTECH 23 and talking to Tom Halpin, President at The Halpin Group about "How to avoid a culture that prevents customers".  Here are some of the key takeaways from our conversation:
  • Manufacturing and a new book with Tom. 0:00
    • Tom is a seasoned manufacturing professional with 30 years of experience in the industry.
    • Tom has written a book about his experiences and insights, which he discusses with Scott on the podcast.
  • Unintentionally creating a culture that prevents customers. 2:29
    • Tom discusses their book "The Customer Prevention Culture" and the common missteps companies make unintentionally that can lead to a culture that prevents customers.
    • Customer nuisance mindset can lead to company-centric workflows, neglecting customer needs.
  • Common mistakes in customer-centric workflows. 6:16
    • Customer centricity is key: prioritize customer needs in workflows, reduce touchpoints, and serve customer-centric content.
    • Customers sense disconnect between teams, leading to frustration and churn.
  • Building a customer-centric culture. 10:05
    • Tom emphasizes the importance of proactive leadership in shaping a customer-centric culture, rather than relying on autocratic styles or "baseball bats."
    • Tom compares the importance of a customer-centric culture to the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, highlighting its significance as a manifesto.
    • Tom argues that companies need to create a culture of commerce, not customer prevention, to drive lasting change and success.
    • Leaders must demonstrate humility and commitment to change for their teams to follow suit.
  • Preventing customer loss in business. 16:43
    • Book provides concrete roadmaps for sales success through culture.
    • Tom shares his expertise on preventing customers from leaving and how to make it happen.
Finally, get your exclusive free access to the Industrial Academy and a series on “Why You Need To Podcast” for Greater Success in 2023. All links designed for keeping you current in this rapidly changing Industrial Market. Learn! Grow! Enjoy!


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customer, culture, talk, book, build, tom, industrial, silos, ot, misstep, business, workflows, manufacturing, palo alto networks, tribes, team, sales, align, audio engineer, customer centric


tworks solution provides over:


Welcome to the Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting-edge Industry focus innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go. Alright,


once again, welcome to Industrial Talk, we are broadcast and if you can tell by the noise in the background. Fabtech is the location we are on site talking to many of the manufacturers here that are well really solving big problems in a wonderful way you need to put this event on your bucket list. And thank you, thank you, once again, for your support of a platform that celebrates industry professionals all around the world. You are bold, you are brave, you dare greatly. you innovate. You are solving problems. And you're making the world a better place. All right, in the hot seat. We have a gentleman by the name of Tom Halpin did I say that? Right?


You sure did. Scott, thanks for having me. He


has a book. And it's it. We're going to talk about that book. And I'm pretty excited about it. So let's get the car wreck and with the conversation. How're you doing?


I'm doing great. Thanks for having me. It's great to be here. It's


good to have you on the the old Podcast. All right, for the listeners out there. Give us a little 411 on who Tom is, and then we're gonna venture on into that book. Yeah.


Like you, I'm passionate about manufacturing. I've worked in and around manufacturing for about 30 years. And for the last 20 years, I've made my living as a manufacturer's rep. And a consultant. And I wrote a book called The customer prevention culture. It's supposed to sound absurd and strike you as funny. I mean, who would build a culture that prevents customers? But it's really kind of my story could have. Yeah, yeah. So it's, it's really about this phenomenon that takes place in a lot of organizations on unintentionally, obviously, nobody would want to create a culture that prevents customers, but it happens. And it happens when you let culture become an accidental outcome. And so I talk about the five common missteps that companies unknowingly make and what that looks like, kind of the way not to behave. So it's a teaching opportunity. And then I present a standard for companies to aspire to and align around.


The question is, is good to Can I get your book on? Amazon?


Absolutely. Audio Book hard copy? The customer? Who's the audiobook voice? That would be me. That's hard. That's hard stuff. Yeah. Well, it turns out my son's an audio engineer. Spent $90,000, sending him to the University of Michigan. He's a he's an audio engineer. It's how he makes his living. And so I got a deal. Yeah, I bet you did wasn't his favorite project?


Because he only imagine. Can we take that paragraph? Just just said, yeah. So you, you mentioned it. There are five points. Yeah. And let's go through those five points. If that's acceptable, just just high level five points, start to chatter there. And then then, of course, we need to sort of begin that's solving of the problem, whatever that might be. Give us Yeah.


If you think about entrepreneurs, when an entrepreneur starts their endeavor, the customer is everything, the customer is king. And if you don't have that mindset, you don't survive. And the customer prevention culture, the customer is not only not King, they'd become a nuisance. They'd never say those things, but the behavior of their team would leak out and suggest that the customer is actually a nuisance. So that's a misstep one.


Customer nuisance.


Yes. Okay. The customer is not King. They become a nuisance.


That's good. So don't do that seems pretty solid for me. Yeah.


The next the next thing if you think about organizations and how you deliver value, whether it's a product or service, your business is made up of workflows and workflows are always people process and technology. The workflows in the customer prevention culture, our company centric. So in other words, you've built workflows that serve internal stakeholders, rather than the customer. It's interesting. An example I always use is when a manufacturing company as an example wants to, they say it's time to invest in an ERP package, they'll build a cross functional team, accounting and finance, engineering, customer service, sales, operations, all those functional areas are represented in that team that's selecting ERP packages, and they say, here are our requirements, we need this ERP software to check the box. But you'll find the customers never represented there. And so that's an example of a company centric mindset towards a very crucial decision.


I have to be honest, in my many years of industry, I've been deployed and managed ERP systems. And you're absolutely right. Let's just put it this way, the customers the after, right after thought, really?


Which is upside down. It is the other way. Yeah. Yeah. So that's interesting. So so to me, it's like the if you build a workflow, any workflow, the customer should always be in first position, not internal stakeholders, they get what they get. After the customers requirements, you think about how is the customer impacted here? That's number one. So So Miss step one, the customer has become a nuisance. They're no longer King to workflows, which are made up of people process and technology are company centric, rather than customer centric. So those are the first two missteps blog it


is spot on. You're, you're hitting homeruns. Thank


you. Yeah. I can continue if you want.


Yes. Okay. Go on. We


got five, you're on three. Okay, so So three is too many customer touchpoints. Break confidence, rather than build confidence. So if you think about the customer lifecycle and how they engage with your company, most buyers today are digital, right? So even if you have a customized manufactured product, people are checking you out on LinkedIn, your website, right? Oh, yeah. So they're, they're checking out your website? And is the website customer centric? Are you serving up content in a customer centric way? Or are you posting equipment lists and things like, Well, I think this is what's important to the customer. But I really haven't really thought about I haven't asked them. So when too many touch points break confidence. And you slow down the customer's pace of doing business. Or if they sense that your team is not allowed or aligned, you got to remember customers and engage with you digitally, they talk to customer service, and they may receive a package, they get an invoice. There's all these touch points in the customer lifecycle. If too many of those touch points break confidence, you make it too challenging for them to do business. They're out.


I can argue about that. And I and I, as a customer, if you make it difficult for me. I'm moving on it. And it doesn't take much to be difficult. Yeah, you know, it can be some friction here a little little frustration there. And I'm gone. It's just so fast. And it's going to be hard to get me back. Yeah. Big time. Yeah, big time. For sure. Yeah, no, yeah. And then I'm gonna tell everybody and say, hey, you know, that experience wasn't really that good, right? So I like that you're hitting it.


For the fourth misstep is tribes and silos so. So rather than having one team with one goal, there's too many tribes and silos in the organization. And really what it feels like on the customer side is you're forcing them to navigate those tribes in silos. Again, this is unintentional, and it might be unknowingly doing so I love it. But you know, customers are pretty smart. If you think about if a manufacturer thinks about their top major accounts, they probably your customer probably has relationships with people on your team that are six to 10 to 20 people deep design and engineering, estimating sales, operations, quality control, maybe even shipping, I don't know. But customers will quickly sense like the last are you guys talking to one another? Because you're forcing me to navigate different personalities. You're clearly not aligned. Yeah. And so that would be indicative of tribes in silos. So there's no shared organizational outcome. Yeah. And And furthermore, kind of what I reinforce in the book is everybody's part of the sales team. It's not just the sales rep. Everybody's part of the system that


I have heard that in your app. I mean, I can't argue with that. But people are reluctant or resistant to saying, Hey, I'm part of the sales team. I don't want to you know, it's sort of an interesting challenge. Yeah, well, I


mean, this is what I think when I talk to leaders, every one of them knows how important culture is on the business. But they're like habits, intangible, it's mystical, I don't know how to deal with it. So I'm gonna go, I'm gonna go invest in a new machining center, because that I know the ROI is calculable. If I invest this 1.5 million, this is how it's going to change my throughput. My thing is, I'm giving you a way to think about what to avoid the culture to avoid. And if you don't make culture, a proactive leadership mindset, well, then it's an accidental outcome and shame on you. Yeah, you got a lot of payroll and a lot of investment and a lot of resources out there. And you're not thinking about how to align your team. Yeah.


But But don't you think that in that case, let's say I'm the, I'm the head cheese of this organization. And I see the necessity for us to be hate to say it customer centric, right, and really mean it. And then I go after my, my team and I grade them in the same way or a customer centric, is there a obligation on my end to be able to try to attempt to change that culture in a way that is not, you know, with a bat, and more with a, and that maybe that's where we're gonna get into but but more than a way of getting buy in as opposed to anything and seeing the importance of making sure that the customer is number one is number one. Yeah,


I mean, I'm totally against autocratic leadership styles and baseball bats, I'm thinking, this is the way I see it. Look at our country, look at the Constitution in the Bill of Rights, right. It's almost like a manifesto, right. And it gives people ground rules to operate within my book, gives you a way to say this is the culture doable to avoid, and it allows you to decentralize decision making down to its lowest levels to show people, we're not operating this way. And you have full authority to make decisions and avoid this, here's the standard to aspire to, and align around, you operate within this framework. We're good, we're aligned, and you use those things to teach and coach and reinforce. The problem with professional development. And training is too often there are events, if you want lasting, if you want, if you want lasting change, then you have to teach, you have to model and you have to say as leaders to by the way, you're allowed to call me out when I'm operating within the customer prevention culture, and redirect me to the culture of commerce, which is the remedy. That's kind of how I see things. It's a manifesto.


I'll tell you, man, I'm enjoying this conversation in a big way. Now we've, we've touched about customers being a nuisance, don't do that. We've got companies Centrix for the more for your workflows don't do that. Too many customers touchpoints. I know, I don't like that. And then of course, the tribes and silos where you're requiring the customer to navigate that now. What's the fifth and final? And then let's wrap it up fifth and final? Yeah,


there's no standard to build culture. So if you think about, what do we see, when we walk into workplaces today, we see a vision statement and we see a mission statement, we see values. And for the most part, it's it's office art, it's meaningless. It's, you know, somebody told us, we need to do this. So we did it. You got to you have to build that up. Because when you build values and vision, you're really creating standards that create an organizational way of life. And so if you want to build a an organizational way of life, you have to have standards that people can ascribe to and live out. Oftentimes most most businesses, right? Look at manufacturing, you've got some charismatic founder or partners, right? Charismatic. They build the business, then they hire, you know, over time, they say, Hey, if I get hit by a bread truck, this is over. So I'm not gonna build out a management team, right? And there's kind of standards of behavior that become acceptable. Maybe there's still remnants of those charismatic founders. So, and that kind of becomes the culture, it's an accidental outcome. We say, no culture needs to be a proactive leadership mindset.


ID? When did you publish book:


Yeah, you know, that word you just used to me, the humble leader, is the strongest leader. And if there's humility, your people will see it. But the key is, what's at stake for you, as the leader is something at stake? And do you want to decentralize and build out a team that can run the business? And how committed are you to change? So you know, if you're not, if you want training to be able to bring in somebody, you know, I'm bringing Tom and he'll do a speed speaking event. And and that's what I'm going to check the box on professional development. You got to live it out. So yeah, but it starts at the top, because people will sniff it out. How committed are you real quick, big time,


real quick. Now, are you saying that your book as we wrap it up, are you saying the book is sort of given it's a manifesto, but it sort of gives some sort of concrete roadmaps on maybe how to begin this journey? From that perspective?


Yeah, so there's a third piece I didn't share. So the book has three idea clusters, okay, the culture to avoid, which I call the customer prevention culture, then I introduced the remedy, which I call the culture of commerce. And the last piece is something I call the sales engine. And so the idea is, is that sales just like every other functional area is a process driven discipline. And so I break the sales engine down. But the key is, is that when you get culture, right, it acts as a force multiplier on sales. So culture is not you know, just you know, rainbows and puppy dogs. It's real. And, and it has a real impact on the business. So it walks you all through that


you're nailing it, man, I'm just telling you right now, you are absolutely nailing it. I really enjoyed this conversation. So if I'm the only one that enjoyed the conversation, where would I get your book? Yeah,

18:00 the customer prevention culture. I do a daily habits Friday video on Fridays on LinkedIn to help in grouping. Follow me Tom Halpin or Tom at the Halpin group. dotnet.


Peter, fantastic. Hey, If this whole, your business doesn't work out, well, you've got a bright future in Podcasting.


But Scott, thanks for doing what you do. I love I'm passionate about manufacturing, too. So thank you. Wonderful.


All right, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side, you will have all the contact information for Tom out on Industrial Talk. So if you're not you will be able to reach out to this absolute sage in manufacturing. So don't hesitate. He is definitely brings a lot of value. He does. Absolutely. All right, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. Stay tuned, we will be right back.


You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.


runs again, thank you very much for joining us real talk and that gents, name is Tom Halpin put that on your to do list connect with him. All the contact information for Tom will be out on Industrial Talk, including the link to his book, A must read book. Make it happen. I'm telling you, I love the concept or the principles behind our conversation around are we preventing customers and then some and all the action items associated with that? All right, you've heard me talk about it a number of times and that is Industrial Talk. It is a platform. It is a platform for industrial content creators that's you. You want to highlight your Podcast go out to Industrial Talk be a part of the the ever expanding ecosystem it is strictly strictly around industry. Grow your voice, your influence your network, go out to Industrial Talk, talk to me. People will be brave daring greatly. You know you need to hang out with Tom to change the world we're gonna have another great conversation shortly from Fabtech so stay tuned