Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Self Employed Tips

It was a day filled with Vision and business strategy for the All City Vistage meeting "Leading with 2020 Vision".  Three excellent speakers  talking about the Customer experience, Competing for the Future and Visionary execution. 

Customer Experience:   I asked our table what single customer experience had they encountered that would demonstrate excellence in Customer service?  Nothing really came up -  4 guys with over 240 years of consuming - and no real specific example or story was told.  However..... many of us had stories of the opposite experiences.  Customer Service nightmares - hate of providers -  never again buyer stories.  Mine were permanently etched in my memory - American Express and Time Warner.

I asked our table to describe what brands they are most loyal (consistent buying over 10 -15 years)  in buying.  This was an easier question and had many answers.  Mine were - Sony, GM, Cincinnati Bell, Allen Edmonds, Microsoft, PNC Bank, Yahoo, Schwab, Sams Club, Verizon and some food brands. While Customer Service/Experience was a large part of this loyalty - the reality is my loyalty to these brands was more about delivering consistent value and addressing any mistakes along the way.

Competing for the Future:  What do Kodak, Blockbuster, Radio Shack have in common? Casualties of the DCX - Digital Customer Experience.  The Baby Boomers grew up in an analog word and the Millennials (Gen Y) have grown up in a digital world.  To compete in the future, companies must start over in the digital world.  Don't attempt to incrementally change business analog processes to into digital copies. 

"It isn't the past which holds us back, it's the future and how we undermine it today" Victor Frankl

Visionary Execution:  Innovation is the magical intersection (and synchrony) of Insight, Idea and Experience.  Advertising and marketing is the tax you pay for a bad idea with little insight and poor execution.  Go to the source - your customer's customer.  Go from B2B to B2C to B2me!    Intelligence is learning from your own mistakes but Wisdom is learning from the mistakes of others.  Wisdom is a gift given from the humility of others. 

Visionary Execution is knowing your "Why".  Start with Insight discussions (before the ideas)  and balancing the 'idea monkeys" with the "ring leaders" during both vision and execution.

So how can you apply these three topics in your personal business - your life?

(1) Focus your relationships on consistent delivery (matching expectations with communication) and upon mistakes - recover with asking for forgiveness.
(2)  Be Brave - let the future reinvent your past.
(3) Surround yourself with the wisdom of others. Be vulnerable and let wisdom flow between you and others.

A good day - we are all self employed to do better..

Sunday, July 12, 2015

See the Dark

USA Today's section of the Cincinnati Enquirer feature article is titled "6,000 Stars Light up Our 'Dark Sky' Parks".   Hmmmm.......   On my last trip to Kansas, I had just finished listening to the Modern Scholar series "Heavens Above,  Stars, Constellations and the Sky"  by Professor James B. Kaler.  I had remembered him saying that only 2000 stars were visible in our sky.

I had repeated this fact last Thursday evening as A.M. and I were relaxing after a tennis match looking up at a clear night in the stars.   Naturally I was wondering if my memory of details was waning.  Had I passed on inaccurate information. Which figure was correct - 6000 or 2000?

From Professor Kaler's text:

"The count of naked-eye stars depends on location (altitude, humidity, eye-sensitivity), but at the limit, some 6,000 to 8,000 can be seen without aid. The number seen on any given night depends on what part of the sky you are looking at. Some of it is sparse, while near the Milky Way—a band of light that runs across the sky—there are crowds of them. On any night, one can see perhaps 2,000, less than half the total because absorption by the Earth’s atmospheric blanket dims the ones near the horizon, rendering the fainter ones invisible. They fall into random, charming patterns that we name and call “constellations.”

So both figures are technically correct - it just depends on location and a truly dark sky. The USA Today article was about Natural Bridges National Monument in the middle of the Utah desert - one of darkest places in the states.

Next time you're out looking on a dark night - start counting.  You may be lucky to see 100 because of the city lights reflecting up.  

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Your Story

Books, movies, conversation and yes even blogging all have something in common - usually a story.  We all yearn to hear a story and to tell our story.  I can remember Jenna as a child blurting out - "Daddy tell me a story".  I would respond "What kind of story?".  "Anything", she would plead.

The story doesn't need to be dramatic nor does it need to be worthy of best selling books or block buster movies.  In fact it is the everyday routines of our lives that become interesting to others - lives that are richly different in their routine.  A.M., J.R. and I were having lunch together and the conversation was about our daily routine.  Filled with laughter and relationships we all described the idiosyncrasies of our daily living patterns.

Ellen and I watched an interesting movie last night - a story about stories-  "Hugo".  This meta story saga was about dreams, mysteries, and broken stories that need fixing - and were fixed.   The Automaton reveals the key (from the heart) to a story interwoven in various subjects lives.  Each of our stories and how they weave together (the world as an automaton) reveal our purpose in life.

Tell your story to someone.  Discover how your stories interweave together.  Enjoy how they together reveal purpose.