Ken Tencer

About Ken Tencer

Ken Tencer is the CEO of Spyder Works, a business consultancy of choice for mid-market companies and intrapreneurs globally in the areas of innovation and intrapreneurship, brand and customer experience, marketing and channel management, organization and operations, and learning, culture and leadership.

Posts by Ken Tencer:

Igniting mid-market organizations with world-class thinking.

KenQuote_Image1For over 25 years, Spyder Works has developed design-driven strategies to help our clients move past their time consuming ‘front burner’ issues and develop clear, implementable steps to accelerate profitable growth.

Designdriven strategy integrates leading edge business thinking with customer- centric design thinking. This key differentiator helps organizations generate and translate powerful ideas into usable solutions that reach and impact their customers.

Organizations come to us at the point of change: a drive for sales, facing Increased competition, shifting brand or consumer perception, identifying and implementing new opportunities or unblocking cultural or operational bottlenecks, our team delivers powerful, holistic business thinking. We draw on first-hand experience at tier one consultancies and leading international corporations managing brands and divisions with full P&L responsibilities. We are creative and design thinkers, intrapreneurs, entrepreneurs and academics. Our team’s diversity and collective expertise and experience uniquely position us to provide a distinctive approach with both flexibility and speed.

At Spyder Works, we assist our clients in overcoming their most pressing strategic and tactical challenges in the areas of innovation and intrapreneurship, brand and customer experience, marketing and channel management, organization and operations, and learning, culture and leadership.

What needs to be true to drive your organization’s success?

Spyder Works approach and team provide creative and pragmatic thinking to enable you to build intrinsic value through improved skills, tools and processes that support critical decisionmaking.

Spyder Works. Small Steps. Epic Journey.

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Shining a Spotlight on Barry O’Grady.

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Our Vice-President, Marketing and Brand Experience, Barry O’Grady brings global, award-winning marketing expertise to Spyder Works’ clients.

Everyone knows that the toughest battles in marketing are fought in the grocery aisles. If you can win market share from Procter & Gamble and Colgate, you’ve got what it takes. Barry has done both while managing domestic market and global marketing responsibilities for brand powerhouses like Unilever and Mars Incorporated.

His goal is to help your company connect with its markets more deeply and personally, using the best strategies, storytelling and interactive marketing tools. “After running major brands for multinationals, I now help clients find the true potential in their businesses,” Barry says. “It’s all about helping you see an exciting, achievable future.”

Barry is a decorated marketing veteran, having fought bravely in the Cat Food Wars and won the Battle of the Soaps. The minstrels still sing of his work for Dove Beauty in Canada, which had long languished behind Ivory, the market leader. He says he’ll never forget the day Dove passed Ivory as Canada’s No. 1 soap brand. More importantly, his work on “Canada’s Classic Beauty” which valued the holistic beauty of real Canadian women set the stage for Dove’s ground-breaking “Real Beauty” campaign. Coming out of Canada and spreading around the world, that campaign not only sold more soap, it redefined how marketers engage with their target audiences. “Dove was 20 years ahead of its time,” says Barry. “It was exciting, fresh, different. We weren’t playing a conventional marketing role. We were empathizing with the reality of everyday women.”

Empathy drew Barry into consulting. He loves putting himself in his clients’ shoes, to understand their struggles and the needs of their customers. “I stand for input, dialogue, consensus, and high-trust relationships,” he says. “My clients sleep better at night knowing the consultants they’ve engaged are solving the real problem, not just putting words on paper.”

Barry’s rigorous approach to marketing and brand strategy is a catalyst for customer engagement. Or as Spyder Works CEO Ken Tencer puts it: “Barry transforms consumers into brand advocates in an age where the voice of the brand is increasingly coming from the mouths of its customers.”

“Spyder Works solves clients’ real problems in unique ways,” explains Barry. “I can start the change process by helping clients write a new strategy. The rest of the team can take it further, through design to production and leadership development. We’re operational and strategic.”

Barry’s dedication shone brightest the day he enrolled in a course on “Fundamentals of Digital Marketing” at Sheridan College. He was probably the oldest student in the class. He was by far the most experienced. But he was delighted when his prof, aware of
his background, con rmed that the role of digital media is to uniquely amplify all the principles of great marketing – establish connection, interaction and loyalty – that he learned from working with the world’s best consumer-product companies.

What else can we tell you about Barry? He’s into yoga, and mindfulness. And he’s happiest when the Toronto Blue Jays are winning.

But the wins he likes best are those of his clients. A few years ago, he was hired by an independent producer of creamy salad dressings to develop strategies for addressing consumers’ growing appetite for healthier foods. Soon after, the company was acquired by a major U.S. food brand. Barry was over the moon to learn this multinational had bought his client mainly for its strong position in the wellness segment, which would now be exported to the rest of its international divisions. Talk about impact!

Says Barry: “It blew my mind that I had created that much value for the client in eight months.”

We could tell you more: about the way Barry turned around the Whiskas cat-food brand in the United States for Mars, Inc.; how he launched six products for Green Giant; how he restructured the sales teams for M&Ms, Skittles and Snickers; and how he re-energized a whole division by implementing a “50 Day Challenge” that generated 300 new product ideas. But we think you should hear it from him.

Give Barry a call at <a href=”tel:9056088845″>905.608.8845</a> x 32, or email him at <a href=”mailto:bogrady@spyder.works”>bogrady@spyder.works</a>. Put all that success, experience and empathy to work for your brands.

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The Accountability Paradox

nickelsThe process starts with asking the tough question: Just what are your people accountable for?

It sounds easy: Lydia’s accountable for sales. Bogdan is accountable for production. But before you can hold people accountable, you need to do two things. You need to be able to measure the outcomes of each task or function, to ensure you can actually determine success. And you need to be sure these people actually control the decision-making related to the objectives they’re accountable for.

These are systems that all successful companies should have in place to ensure they continue to thrive as they grow. But in my experience, few companies have the patience to do so. Building the right systems is demanding, detailed work. But those companies that don’t master the accountability paradox give up their ability to tie inputs to output. They end up settling for sub-par efficiency. And their key people will be working harder than necessary to succeed – because they don’t know the right buttons to push when it’s time to take action.

Here’s a real-life example of the problem. I was working with a company that thought it had a problem with frontline supervision. “They’re not being accountable for their performance,” my contact said. So I said, “Show me where it’s written down what the supervisors are responsible for.” He couldn’t do that. There were no responsibilities written down. But unless you can document these policies for all to see, how can you hope to achieve your goals – or hold people accountable for them?

Here’s the right way to make people accountable:

  1. If you are accountable for an outcome, it has to be measurable. It has to be numerical. (The word “count” is the key to “accountable.”) For instance, when you make someone accountable for health and safety at your plant, you monitor performance through the number of days lost due to accidents, or some similar metric.
  2. Clarify responsibility. You can’t hold someone accountable for production if they have no control over equipment, tooling or maintenance. Assign accountability to those who actually make the decisions.
  3. Measure the right things. More production doesn’t help if you’re making the wrong thing. Additional sales aren’t productive if production and delivery cost more than the sale price. I once worked with a company that valued sales volume above everything. They didn’t notice that the sales team was pushing through orders that weren’t exactly what the customers needed – which mean they required costly modifications. The company was losing money on each order, while the sales staff were earning bonuses.

Getting started in this work is tough. You can’t just hand it off to HR – they don’t understand the business impact of every decision. So each department has to work closely with HR to ensure they review each manager’s responsibilities, fairly resolve overlapping jurisdictions, and assign appropriate accountabilities. Each manager and executive can probably take responsibility for three to five measurable KPIs (key performance indicators). More than that is usually asking too much.
Finally, make sure your people know that accountability is a positive thing. You’re not out to punish people for underperformance. The reason you hold people accountable is to set them up for success. KPIs are for problem-solving; they tell us where to improve when something isn’t working.

The only point of measuring is to let us know when and where to take action.

Where there is no accountability, no one knows what’s not working, or how to fix it. As a result, the wrong people will be working overtime to solve the problem, while the key decision makers get off scot-free. Doing things right takes time and effort at the start, but it always pays off in the long run.

Does any of this sound too familiar? Are you seeing similar problems in your organization? Contact me for a free consultation. Revisiting accountability may be a huge opportunity for your business. I’d be pleased to help you get startedjholland@spyder.works

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