Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Are You Being Unreasonable?

Being "unreasonable" typically is seen as a negative thing. Literally "not being able to be reasoned with" should be seen as a weakness, right? Out of the mainstream? Inappropriate?

So...what about all those leaders who ushered in breakthrough movements? People like the Wright brothers, who invented powered flight - against everyone else's ridicule? Or like Thomas Edison, who dared to insist on electrically-powered light/machines in homes everywhere? Or Steve Jobs? Wasn't it "unreasonable" to try and launch a personal computer that used "real" fonts and was focused on ease of use? (Not to mention challenging the music industry with iPods, or the mobile phone industry with iPhones, or the tablet market with the iPad...)

Is it possible that the only time significant breakthroughs occur is when some FINALLY takes a stand and becomes "unreasonable"?

There's a great quote by George Bernard Shaw: "Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress, therefore, depends on unreasonable people".

Consider your dreams - the new breakthrough vision of the future (in whatever arena, big or small) and ask "Am I passionate about my idea enough to be seen as "unreasonable" in the minds of all the myopic "keep with the safe way we've always done it" people that surround me?" If not, I challenge you to find an idea that you ARE passionate enough to risk unabashedly launching it into this world. You deserve the legacy you create on purpose - but it requires you bringing something new, different and better to life.

Think about it. But more importantly do something about!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are?

Think about the times you've had a conflict with someone - or there's been a different opinion about an issue between your company and your customer base. Notice a trend/pattern? Virtually every time, the conflict starts when there are differing perceptions.

How do you fix this BEFORE it becomes a costly problem?

Last week, I was working with a Fortune 500 company who had a proactive solution. Starting with their employees, they arranged for everyone to complete various simple assessments - as a way to initiate discussion about different issues. (You can download some free samples at

After you and your colleague(s) fill one out, simply compare perceptions/opinions and make the opportunity to discuss where you are coming from. [Note: Any assessment by itself does nothing - it's just an excuse to have a discussion, where the real value is.] This process gets everything out so you can get on the same page - or at least understand (with no unpleasant surprises) how you differ. This approach addressed nearly all assumptions and allowed them to resolve issues before they became costly problems.

The bonus? Approaching their customers with the same kinds of questions in a less-formal/"no assessment form needed" part of their natural discussions had similar outcomes: Better clarity/understanding/communication for less conflict and better results.

Not bad for an investment of FREE, eh?

Ready to make things better? Start addressing big issues before they become bigger problems!

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Connecting For The Long-Term

Have you ever thought about how to create raving fans or advocates for your business? Working with Disney, Apple, Ritz-Carlton, Nordstrom, and others, I've seen the approach these successful companies use to consistently engage their customers - both externally and internally (their employees). It can be stated in this simple phrase:

Reach their hearts, then teach their minds.

Of course, logically being a great value is critical to success, but facts and figures will never truly create passionate relationships. Before you can "prove" your worth, you must first reach their hearts with a shared purpose, build your relationship/credibility, THEN seal the deal with your (logical) products and services.

Once you form that deeper link with what they truly value, then the rest is just details that evolve over time. If your connection remains dynamic and value-added, you will (like every healthy relationship) serve to develop each other over time. Each adding value in a dance that gains momentum, grows in depth, goes the distance.

No complicated formula or expensive technology required. Just authentic person-to-person interactions that make a difference in the things that matter. We regularly see this with the loyalty leaders out there. There's no reason why you can't do this with your employees (first) and (then) your external customers. Create opportunities to have meaningful discussions about Values, Vision, what they truly, deep down care about most. Then build on those connections each and every day to provide a pattern of consistency. Invest in these efforts now and you'll discover a growing list of passionate advocates for you in no time!

Think about it. But more importantly, do something about!