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27 мая, 11:22

After the hiccup

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Most customer relationships don't stumble because something went wrong. Your best customers know that mistakes happen. It's what happens next that can cripple the relationship. How we recover from a miss is where the possibilities lie. If you're open, engaged and focused on making things better, the door is open to build a resilient, ongoing partnership. Not just for customers, but for all the people we work with and count on. Too often, we're so focused on not hiccuping, or so filled with shame and blame when we do that we fail to allocate enough emotional labor to do the most important part--making things right. Not with a refund or a basket of fruit, but by truly seeing the other person, understanding what happened and doing the hard work to move forward.        

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26 мая, 12:53

You can't please everyone

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We know this. Each of us knows it. From experience. From logic. By doing the math. It can't be done. Okay, fine. So, what are you doing about it? When you're creating something, are the possible reactions of the people you can't please weighing you down? And when you inevitably end up disappointing someone, how do you react or respond? It doesn't do any good at all to know that you can't please everyone but not use that knowledge to be bolder, walk lighter and do better work for those you can please.        

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25 мая, 11:23

Does it help?

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Okay, you know how you feel, what you need, what you want... This next thing you're going to do or say: Does it help you get closer to that?        

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24 мая, 12:22

The order

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It's tempting to decide to make a profit first, then invest in training, people, facilities, promotion, customer service and most of all, doing important work. In general, though, it goes the other way.        

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23 мая, 12:49

Big crew/little crew

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Software projects work better with small teams. On the other hand, it makes sense to have multiple teams of workers if you're paving a patch of highly trafficked highway. Three reasons: Coordination Learning Ramp up time As we learned from the Mythical Man Month more than fifty years ago, software projects rely on coordination of work. As you add programmers, the work doesn't go faster, it gets slower. Ramp up time is expensive. And if the project involves learning as you go, then big teams waste far more time at the beginning while you're figuring things out. On the other hand, it doesn't make any sense at all to have a single crew working on a paving project. If you need to close the road for two weeks as they work from one end to the other, you've cost the users of the road a fortune. Ramp up time for trained professionals is trivial, and there's no learning and not much coordination. Better to have five crews working on different sections and open the road after just one or two days. Often, we default to a small crew because we don't believe we can afford a bigger one. But if the work is worth doing, it might be worth doing more quickly. It's easier than ever to find ways to scale project labor now. And sometimes, we mistakenly choose to use a big crew, thinking that nine women, working very carefully in coordination, can have a baby in one month. Wishful thinking that ends up in disappointment. If you want to see a project in trouble, look for how crew size was decided.        

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22 мая, 11:09

Before and after

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When you put the right idea into the world, people can't unsee it. It changes our narrative. The existence of your product, service or innovation means that everything that compares to it is now treated differently. Once the fax existed, mail seemed slower. Once email was around, the fax seemed hopelessly analog. Of course, these are once-in-a-lifetime tech innovations. But at a smaller scale, the same thing happens when the first restaurant installs a salad bar, or the local insurance agent or real estate broker gets rid of voice mail and starts answering the phone on the first ring. Once seen, they can't be unseen.            

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21 мая, 11:12

Unrequested advice, insufficient data, unexplored objectives

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Your ideas and your feedback are worth more than you know. But you might not be heard if you haven't been invited to chime in. And you'll waste everyone's time if you base your advice on your assumptions, instead of what's actually happening. Mostly, it's entirely possible that the person you're eager to help doesn't believe what you believe and doesn't want what you want. Enrollment is the secret to education and change.        

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20 мая, 11:11

Accessorials cost extra

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{not a typo} In the trucking industry, they usually don't include the extra charges, unforeseen or not. "Accessorials" not included. Which often leads to surprise down the road for those that don't expect them. Tonu is another useful lesson. "Truck ordered, not used." Of course, when you ordered the truck, you expected to need it, and the fact that you don't isn't a bad thing. Sure, you have to pay for it, but it was a sunk cost, not an obligation. All a clever way of pointing out that we often pay for options, for flexibility and the ability to do the appropriate thing at the right time. Even if you're not in the trucking business.         

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19 мая, 11:04

Mass personalization is a trap

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Dear seth , Of course I could have sent you a personal letter. A direct 1:1 connection between you and me, thanking you for what you did, or letting you know about my new project, or asking for your attention. Instead, I'm going to hire someone to hand write the envelope in marker, but of course, I'm too busy to do that myself. And I'll use the latest in digital handwriting fonts to make you think I actually wrote the note. But I'm not careful or caring enough to actually put good data into the mailmerge, so it'll only take you a second to realize that I faked it. I know that I'm asking you to spend hours on the favor I'm asking, but no, I couldn't be bothered to spend three minutes to ask you. There's an uncanny valley here, that uncomfortable feeling we get when we know we're being played, when someone mass customizes and tries to steal the value of actual person-to-person connection. It's a trap because the more you do it, the more you need to do it. Once you start burning trust, the only way to keep up is to burn more trust... it's a bit like throwing the walls of your house in the fireplace to stay warm. Don't waste your time and money on this. You're wasting the most valuable thing you own--trust. Humanity is too valuable to try to steal with a laser printer.        

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18 мая, 11:13

Are you a genius?

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In the latest episode of my podcast Akimbo, I riff about what it means to be a genius. Hint: You are one.     PS more people are subscribing every day. It's short, free and sometimes fascinating. All the cool kids are doing it.   ALSO! Half-price sale on my book Your Turn... when you buy the 5-pack you save 56% on each copy. Thanks.        

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17 мая, 12:40

The difference between time and money

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You can't save up time. You can't refuse to spend it. You can't set it aside. Either you're spending your time. Or your time is spending you.        

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16 мая, 12:25

The triumph of everyday design

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Luxury goods used to be better. Better than the alternatives. The best-made clothing, the best saddle, the most reliable luggage. The top of the market was the place people who cared needed to go to buy something that had the highest performance. Today, though, a Toyota is a better car than a Bentley. More efficient, more reliable. The Vertus phone was a joke, and no one needs a $200 mouse when a $9 one is faster and easier to use. I spent some time at a high-end hotel on a recent gig. The light switches were complicated and didn't work quite right. The door handle was awkward. The fancy faucets sprayed water on whoever was standing in front of the sink. All expensive, none of it very well-designed. As materials have gotten cheaper and easier to find, it's design that matters. And the market is demanding better design--which is easy to copy and easy to improve. Expensive is not the relevant metric, utility is.