Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Seth Godin's - "Willing to be lucky"

Seth Godin had yet another wonderful blog post today called "Willing to be lucky". He wrote:

"It's very easy to plot a course for today that minimizes the chance of disappointment or bad outcomes or lousy luck.

I wonder if you could plot a different course, one that created opportunities for good luck?"

Although I've always believed in following my instinct, and knowing that I am in the right place at the right time, this year, I am going to bring that knowledge more into my conscious awareness.

Venture forth to new opportunites, new experiences, and new ways of truly making a living. I want to see how lucky I can be. And I wish you all much luck in your journeys as well.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Can Companies Help Employees Care About The Company?

Of course, a company’s primary goal is fiscally driven. If the company is not in the black, it can't pay employees to work there. But, when a company's ONLY goal is fiscally driven, then what is the message being sent to the people who make that goal possible?

To quote Jack Welch, companies need three things to be successful:
fiscal responsibility
satisfied customers
satisfied employees

Companies are slowly beginning to realize the importance of listening to website visitors. It may sound like common sense, but companies are just recently coming around to the idea of gathering voice of visitor data in a reliable, credible way and using that data to drive business decisions. They are slowly beginning to see as an asset the investments they make in satisfying these visitors.

But when it comes to employee satisfaction, many companies are still woefully behind the curve. Employees are often viewed as a "means to an end" - to push widgets out the door faster and faster. In this economy, employers might think that their employees should feel lucky to have a job and work harder still. But there are other issues at play.

Many people are afraid about these economic times. They may have spouses or partners out of work or may be laid off soon, babies on the way, bills to pay, and they're scared. And when they're scared, they start focusing on their own - more immediate - needs. What if this happens...what if that happens....

As a result, customer service and quality of work begin to deteriorate.

So what can employers do? They, too, are feeling the financial crunch. Nobody is holding their hand and offering words of comfort. But CEO's, entrepreneurs, and other leaders have one key ingredient that many employees don't have - CONNECTION TO THE COMPANY. They feel connected to their companies because their voice is heard (often it's the only voice heard), they're decisions are final, and they are given room to grow and to learn new things.

So the real question may be, "how can we foster connection between employees and their place of employment?". How do we encourage their ideas, encourage entrepreneurial thinking - even for the lowest on the org charts, empower employees by sharing thought processes - the WHY of decision making. I certainly believe this is a two-way street. Employees have to step-up to the plate, but the company has to let them know their on the same team, and cheer them as they stand at bat.

It's time to remind employees that we are all in this together. Employees choose to work for the company. The company chooses to keep them employed. It's a relationship, and relationships need honesty, trust, and commitment. To attain this, each party needs to feel valued for who they are and for what they contribute.

If you treat employees like the partners they are, they’ll be more inclined to focus on customer needs and not their own. Focusing on customer needs will grow the business - satisfied customers are the best customers. This, in turn, will grow revenue dollars.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Transparency in Government

Theyworkforyou.com is a site that keep tabs on British politicians - creating more transparency and accountability in the Government. Does the U.S. have anything like this?

Loyalty Programs - Get all you're entitled to

Perkler helps consumers manage their loyalty perks.

From the site, "Perkler is an online community "for perks and people who love them," giving shoppers a central place online to manage all of their loyalty and rewards programs. "

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Power of Caring

I work for a wonderful company in Michigan called ForeSee Results (www.ForeSeeResults.com). As one of the first employees, my first day on the job occurred two weeks after September 11, 2001. We now have over 130 employees and growing - even in that economy and even in today's economy....even in Michigan.

You may not have heard of us yet, but you will. Why? Because most everyone who works here cares. We care if our customers are upset or need something. We care if our fellow coworker is upset or needs something. And when you care enough, you can do anything.

The company measures customer satisfaction of websites. If you go to BestBuy.com or IRS.gov, you'll probably see ForeSee Results gathering the voice of the "little people" - the visitors to those websites who would not otherwise have a voice in how the site is run. We not only help the managers of those websites make more intelligent business decisions based directly on people who visit those sites, but we help the actual people visiting those sites - you and me. And we care when you complete the survey (how else could we collect this feedback). We care about what works for you on the site, and what doesn't. And we help your voice to be heard.

For managers of those sites, we help to differentiate between the voices that are loud merely because they're angry, and what's loud because it's important.

My job is to provide credible, accurate, and reliable voice-of-visitor feedback to the people in charge of these websites in a way that allows them to confidently prioritize web changes (based on the American Customer Satisfaction Index - www.theacsi.org).

I don't get paid to write this, and I'm certainly not trying to sell anything. It's my voice in Michigan stating that there are companies and people here who care deeply about helping others and growing together.

What Really Matters?

None of us want individually what we are doing collectively.

How different would we be if the news portrayed good Samaritans as often as it portrays murderers? How different would we feel if television supported each of us for who we are - encouraging us to connect to each other, to support each other, to love each other?

What can our society be like if we stop listening to the absolute garbage the media pawns off as "news" and start understanding that the only true voice we should listen to is our own heart. Look around. Be kind. Love yourself, and be supportive of your hopes and dreams. Then, share that with those around you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

In good times and In bad...........

Where is your faith? I don't mean "religion", I mean Faith - faith in ourselves, faith in our neighbors, faith in our co-workers.

Of course we know the economy is in a recession. It's probably a depression, but that will take another 10 months to figure out.

We don't need to go shopping. We need to be giving. Giving of ourselves, our canned goods, our clothing we've long since forgotten we owned. Knowing that we're making a difference. But how do we do this?

1. Shut off the Television. Remove yourself from the local news - it's just too depressing right now, and, more importantly, it's not telling the full story.

2. Give thanks. Look around you, and be thankful for your life....if you can't feel the thanks in your heart, look at the birds, your cat or dog, or the sky. Watch the sunset and the sunrise. Look up at the stars. Know we're going through this for a reason.

3. Listen to the reason. WHAT do we have to learn from the state of the economy? If America were a person, what would she be saying to us? Are we listening?

4. Find your strengths. Our ancestors (my grandparents) looked to the Great Depression as their call to courage. To band together, find their creativity (such as making clothes, stretching a bag of flour to feed the family for a months, etc), and succeed.

They had faith. This is not the end. Not yet. And we need to live every moment with love in our hearts and the knowledge that we will be ok.