Who’s your leader?
Can you remember the single best dining out experience you’ve ever had? Whether it was the best steak ever, stir-fry to die for, or that anniversary dinner at the Killer Italian Place, do you remember what it was that made the meal memorable? The company probably had a lot to do with it, but the context and environment had a BIG part in the whole thing, too.
How often do you get honest feedback about how you’re doing? I mean, honest….it doesn’t NEED to be brutal, just a truthful, balanced opinion from someone, based on their experience. A large number of businesses are scared of feedback and reviews on their various social media pages. This is despite the fact that this is an important form of social transmission and enhances the word of mouth referrals they value so much in the off-line world. These can make or break a business.
It is much too easy to burrow into your business and go deeper into the knowledge, building more depth and expertise in that area so you can be an even better resource for your customers. But doesn’t this turn you into a “one-trick pony”? For example, in my social media consulting business, does it truly broaden my mind and stretch my intellect to become more facile in the inner workings of Facebook and Content Marketing…or is it kind of “more of the same”?
I have always found pictures of prairie dogs popping up from their burrows to be hilarious. There’s something about the idea of this small animal getting a better view of its surroundings that just makes me smile. This made me think of some experiences I’ve had lately with smaller local businesses.
Image by timber_floors via Flickr
This has been my life this week. My family and 4 cats have voluntarily relegated ourselves to a couple of large connected rooms (mostly to keep the cats out of the flooring stuff) in the evenings, and the cats are there during the work day (plenty of food, water, toys, and, heaven help us all, litter…). It’s not comfortable and we’re all dearly looking forward to when (hopefully late this afternoon) they will be done, do the final sweep up, and we can reassemble our normal lives.
So, beyond the obvious, I started to think about what this evolution has entailed and what else I can learn from it. Here’s what I have so far…
Image via Wikipedia
OK, so the title of this post may seem a little like link bait, but stay with me.
I have been a Dr. Who fan for a long time. Generally each season of the show has some kind of overarching storyline. This season a race of beings calling themselves The Silence are introduced. They have a number of disturbing traits, but the back story on them implies they’ve been on Earth for thousands of years and have had a controlling hand in the destiny of mankind. No one has noticed because they have a particularly disturbing ability: they can erase all memory of themselves from a person’s memory once the person looks away from them. How do you fight against something when you can’t even remember it when you’re not looking at it?
Where this thought connected for me in my professional development comes with my completion of Steve Pressfield’s excellent book The War of Art last night.
Image by stevegarfield via Flickr
I am not a BIG FAN of product support…..except, of course, when things go south. Perhaps it comes from the days when I operated in that capacity (and occasionally still do for at-home items, but I digress), or from the bad old days of sitting on hold for untold hours waiting for someone with the actual answer to give it to me, so I could fix the broken whatsit and get back to work/play/whatever.
Things have gotten better….
I am consistently drawn to the central point of the conversation as I read all of our assigned articles, books and collateral material. One of the standout articles that has brought a new perspective to my work and analysis of what I’m doing is the Christensen HBR article (Bower, Joseph L. & Christensen, Clayton M. (1995). “Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave” Harvard Business Review, January-February 1995). His analysis on how competent companies miss disruptive technologies by listening closely to their existing customers describes a business problem I am working with.