Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Winds of Change — Are You Ready?

I just finished reading a blog article by one of my online colleagues Jeff Hurt, that really fired me up.  For the details of the article please visit Jeff’s blog site “Midcourse Connections.”  Jeff shared an incident with a fellow Association Executive who criticized his blog as being “obscure.”  Essentially this person was accusing Jeff of being an online trouble maker and suggested he bring his concerns “behind the association’s walls and follow a chain of hierarchy to voice his concerns privately.”Answer is blowing in the wind

What society does not need are Bureaucrats stuck in their old ways, unwilling to consider change or new ways of doing things.  The world is rapidly changing and undeniably, organizations can not function the same way they did even six months ago.  In this tough economy, which is highly competitive, businesses (and yes that includes non profit associations) must find new ways to add value to their customer’s experiences.  To ignore this is business suicide!

The truth, folks is we need more people like Jeff in the business world.  Jeff is a highly intelligent, outspoken, courageous advocate of transparent communication.  He embraces change and his articles tend to “hit buttons” with people for a noble purpose… to get them thinking about issues.  That, my friends, is anything but obscure!

road not connectedConsider the following comments from speakers at the Opening General Session of the recent MPI WEC in Salt Lake City:

  • Gary Loveman, CEO of Harrah’s Entertainment believes we are in a “new normal” and the pervasive components for success are value and innovation.
  • Betsy Myers, COO of Obama Inauguration states we need to overcome our fears and follow the dream. We need to take a step in a direction we have never been before.

As Jeff stated in his article we can not afford to live in a bubble of nostalgia …. we must move forward into a new world, filled with possibilities, anchored by greater technology tools than we have ever had.  Lets get those brainstorm sessions going, challenge your business friends to consider something new, something different.  Hey have a “tweetup.”  Question the old “best practices” and lets get out there and collaborate to implement “new better business strategies!”

Question:  Is your organization evaluating its current business models and customer service tools?  Are you connecting with your customers regularly and are you asking them what they want/need?  Please share your thoughts!

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jeff Hurt July 20, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Thanks for the kind words Mike.

I learned early in my life that I could resist change and fight it or learn to flow with it and see where it will take me. I don’t have all the answers yet and sometimes, my questions just raise more questions. Yet, one thing remains true, it’s all about the journey and the process of learning new things.

Thank you for also asking those tough questions and looking out for what’s best for the community at large. It is greatly appreciated.

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Dave Lutz July 24, 2009 at 5:54 am

Good post Mike! What I think is interesting about this discussion is that the consumer can interpret the written word in multiple ways. i.e. if I were on the board of an Assoc., I might take criticism to a decision that I was part of somewhat personally. Especially if that criticism was made publicly. However, if I were just another member who viewed my association as “big brother”, I may get really excited when someone else publicly voiced a concern that was similar to mine.

It’s one thing to say “XYZ Association made a crappy decision. Why are they doing this to us?” A better approach would be to comment “What our association should consider doing next time.” It’s kind of like holding a brainstorming session where no idea is a bad idea. When everyone is focused on improvement and sustainability, healthy discussion should lead to business improvement.

Transparency is here to stay. There are more people in our workplace hanging out their own shingle. Those people, me included, can post whatever they want without worrying about whether or not their opinions agree with those of their employer. Folks working for larger organizations still need to walk that fine line or write good disclaimers. It’s really boils down to not criticizing, but rather giving advice for the future consideration.

Dave Lutz
Velvet Chainsaw Consulting

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Michael M McCurry CMP July 25, 2009 at 5:56 am

@Dave Lutz

Its interesting, as you said about how different people look at the same words differently based upon their point of reference. Its ok to disagree, in fact healthy as through conflict can come something really magical!

While Transparency is here to stay its sad that some folks feel handcuffed by the organizations they work for, and as a result don’t believe they can be forthcoming with their opinions. In my minds eye that stifles what could potentially be some great creativity, or innovation.

Change is difficult, more so for some than others, but inevitably it arrives at our doorstep. How we embrace it, or tap into the energy behind it may mean the difference between attaining excellence or just being mediocre.

Thanks Dave for your contributions to this discussion and look forward to hearing more!

Mike

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