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Friday Facebook Fun

Confession: I don’t get Facebook. I try to get it. Really I do. But my experience has been, well, kinda like this:

May 2, 2008 at 1:08 pm 5 comments

Passion Quilt Meme: Perspective, Perspective, Perspective

Michael Stephens tagged me for the “Passion Quilt” Meme. (Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.)

Original Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/2222523486/

I found it difficult to narrow this down… (I guess that’s the fun of the meme). In the end I cheated and chose two quotes that, taken together, get the heart of what I’m passionate about; taking responsibility for our perceptions, thoughts, feelings and actions. We look out at the world through our eyes and think that we are seeing reality with a capital “R”. Uh-uh. Nope.

Everything outside of us is just data, and there’s a whole lot of it. Our perceptions are therefore highly selective. First we choose which data to focus on. Then we process that data through filters such as our past experiences, our preconceptions, our expectations, our wishes, our fears, our needs, our desires, etc., etc. Then we generate a thought/judgment/evaluation about the filtered, selective data. Then we may have an emotion or feeling in response to the thought about the filtered, selective data. Then maybe we move into action.

This all usually happens with very little awareness, and it is empowering to bring these processes to a more conscious level. In fact, choosing what to look at and how to look at it can be not only empowering but transformational. Limitations start to seem less solid. As we make more choices, it becomes harder to operate out of a consciousness of victimhood and we see new paths and new options opening up before us.

Becoming aware of our own filters also creates space for us to be present with conflicting viewpoints and disagreements. If I can acknowledge that I do not see things as they are, but as they appear to me after being filtered through my own unique perspective (colored by factors including: cultural, religious, political, gender and age to name a few) I become less vigilant about protecting my version of reality. I may not understand why others see things differently, but I can accept that my perceptions are not necessarily THE TRUTH.

Simple things that we usually take for granted as “true” can reveal themselves to be simple convention. You may have noticed that the picture of the Earth (above) is upside down. We all know that the North Pole is the top and the South Pole is the bottom, right? That’s reality. But that’s no more true than saying Bermuda is the top and Perth Australia is the bottom. It’s a matter of perspective. So it is my passionate wish that we learn see more deeply, more broadly and

But hey, enough of my yakkin’. Let’s hear from some others. I tag the bloggers of CEBuzz:

April 29, 2008 at 12:30 pm 7 comments

Nordstrom Quality Customer Service

Old news, but I never posted it to LG. And hey, good customer service ideas are timeless!
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Good for the “New Seasons” Grocery store, which is taking a page out of the Nordstrom Employee manual, “Use your good judgment in all situations.” The New York Times Reported:

[New Seasons] employees are given “get out of jail free” cards with the instructions to do anything a customer wants. Mr. Rohter said one young clerk opened 81 jars of mustard for a customer to taste. Then he went to his supervisor, handed the card to him and explained what happened.

Printed on the back of the card:

Dear Supervisor: The holder of this card was, in their best judgment, doing whatever was necessary to make a happy customer. If you think they may have gone overboard, please take the following steps:

  1. Thank them for giving great customer service.
  2. Listen to the story about the events.
  3. Offer feedback on how they might do it differently next time.
  4. Thank them for giving great customer service.”

“We never reprimand someone for helping a customer”, Mr. Rohter said

From NYTIMES, January 4, 2006: In Oregon, Thinking Local

April 24, 2008 at 10:28 am 1 comment

Kathy Dempsey Joins The M Word!

It’s not like we needed another reason to read Nancy Dowd’s wonderful marketing blog, “The M Word“, but we got one anyway.

Kathy Dempsey, editor of MLS: Marketing Library Services, speaker, and library marketing consultant, has joined the M Word team. Now that’s a dynamic duo!

Looking forward to many more wonderful, insightful, practical, and entertaining posts!

April 1, 2008 at 11:56 am 1 comment

My Positive Customer Experience at the Radisson

Just a quick post to share my experience at the Radisson in downtown Minneapolis. I’m feeling very positive about this hotel right now, in spite of two problems in the last 24 hours. The way the Radisson staff (1) quickly dealt with the problems, and (2) otherwise exceeded my expectations in small but meaningful ways has contributed to my satisfaction as a guest.

First, the problems:

  • PROBLEM 1: CHECKED IN TO AN OCCUPIED ROOM: After checking in, I made may up to the room. It was rather dark inside, and very clean, so it took me a minute to notice that there was a suitcase in the corner and a laptop on the desk. Uh-oh.
  • HOW IT WAS HANDLED: I made my way back downstairs. The person who had just checked me in (and also spent a few minutes reviewing the skyway map, and giving me the best route to the convention center) was occupied with a customer. The other desk clerk quickly booked me into a new room, apologizing profusely and (to my ear) sincerely. She asked if I would accept a free breakfast from the Radisson for my trouble, and gave me a very nice looking gift certificate to the excellent “Firelake” restaurant in the lobby.
  • THE RESULT: I felt happy, and taken care of. The way the situation was handled exceeded my expectations, which have been lowered by previous experiences at hotels in which check-in problems were not only NOT apologized for, but I was left feeling like I WAS THE PROBLEM. (Marriott, I’m talking to you. Twice!) Note to hotels: don’t shoot the messenger. Buy him breakfast.

  • PROBLEM #2: The business center computer ate my credit card. Yup, I actually had to feed my credit card in to use the computer. Upon sucking in my card, the computer promptly logged in, and then froze.
  • HOW IT WAS HANDLED: There were a number of signs posted that said “In case of emergency, dial 55″. I wasn’t sure if this was an emergency, but decided that it was close enough (I wasn’t dialing 911 after all.) I dialed and the phone was picked up immediately. The customer service agent said, “we’ll have an engineer come up immediately.” In 30 seconds flat, the engineer was there. He had my card out in 10 seconds, apologizing all the while.
  • THE RESULT: I was amazed at how quickly the problem was solved, and felt relieved and thankful that my afternoon did not go down the drain while I tried to deal with the situation. I’ve had very bad experiences with almost every business center I’ve ever used in a hotel–and they usually charge through the nose for the privilege of wasting my time. My good feeling at the quick response was heightened, as I logged in to another PC and quickly printed out my pages to discover that…wait for it… there was no charge, save an .08 cents printing charge (penny a page?). No charge for time on the computer. Again, my expectations were far exceeded.

A few other nice perks that have exceeded my expectations and enhanced my experience at the hotel:

  • They have Sleep number beds. I’ve been thinking about buying one. Now I get to try it out for a few nights!

  • Bottled waters in the room–free! I’ve always hated the way you get into a hotel after a long flight, parched like you just spent 40 days in the desert, and they try to charge you for the big bottle of water sitting out on the table. Well done Radisson!
  • Free wireless and wired internet in the room. None of that $10/day crap!
  • Huge, lit shaving mirror in the bathroom. Love these, and rarely see them in hotels.

These “little” touches help create an overall customer experience that also generates a valuable “background hum of satisfaction”. That “hum” probably makes customers a little less upset when something does go wrong–especially when the staff is so adept and empowered to address problems immediately.

Well done Radisson!

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March 26, 2008 at 1:53 pm 8 comments

Juicy Visions: Reconnecting with purpose

Reconnecting with purpose.
What juicy vision gave birth to your Library?
by Peter Bromberg

Want an easy yet powerful way to re-energize and re-focus your passion at work? Clear five minutes from your schedule (yeah, you’re busy, but you can do it.) Pick up a pencil or a keyboard or a crayon and answer this question: What juicy vision gave birth to your library?

Think about it: Libraries don’t just appear. Your library didn’t just pop fully-formed into existence one day, did it? I’ve never started a library, but I’m sure it’s not a quick or easy process. A short list of needed elements might include: Funding, employees, land, building, furniture, collections, utilities, finances, training, computers. The creation of your library may have also required an expression of the will of the people, perhaps in the form of a public vote or approval from a Board or Commission.

So how did your library get here? There must have been many people involved and they must have really wanted to create it. A lot of time and energy went into it. These people, these ‘founders’ could have been playing golf, or spending time with their children, or watching a movie. Why did they choose to invest some of their limited time on this planet into creating your library? There had to have been one heck of a compelling vision.

THE JUICY VISION
Before brick one was laid, or book one was laminated, your library begin its existence as a vision in someone’s mind. It must have been an exciting, juicy vision, so filled with energy that people felt compelled to share it, and talk about it, and invest their energy and time into making it a reality. That vision must have turned people on.

“Yeah, a library… I see it! Information. Books on anything and everything. A great collection of materials. It will be a living reflection of our community’s values. It will help ensure a healthy democracy. It will be a place where people can educate themselves—level the playing field. A place for focused study. A place for serendipitous discovery. A place to bring the kids. A place to relax. A place to be stimulated by new ideas. Yeah, I see it!!”

People got so jazzed by this vision that they wrote about it and talked about it, and got other people jazzed to a point where a community of people said, yeah, let’s do it! We want it! Let’s spend money. Let’s give our time. Let’s develop some land. Let’s build buildings! Lets create something that will reflect this juicy vision. Let’s bring it to life!

WHAT GOT ‘EM SO JAZZED?

My question is, what was this vision that got everyone so turned on that they got into action? What was their original intention in creating your library? What got them so motivated? If you want to re-energize and re-focus, try reconnecting with the founding purpose of your organization.

Start there, at the beginning, but also remember that organizations are like people; they are capable of changing and growing. The cells in our bodies today are not the same cells that were in our bodies when we were born. We are, physically speaking, a completely different set of atoms. Yet there is still some organizing energy that makes you, you and makes me, me. Ten years ago we were different people, but I was me and you were you. Our goals may have changed since then. We may have acquired new skills and abilities. The roles we play may have changed, evolved, grown. Maybe we’ve abandoned certain roles in exchange for others that make more sense for us. This is also true about your library. The people may have changed, the building may have changed, and the mission may have even shifted, but it’s still the same library. So start with the founding vision, but also think about what vision animates your library today. And what vision might animate it tomorrow?

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: A FEW JUICY QUESTIONS

To reconnect to your library’s purpose, it might be helpful to explore these questions:

  • What juicy vision gave birth to our library?
  • How does that vision inform, animate, shape, and energize what we do today?
  • What is the purpose of our library today? Is the vision the same? If not, how has it changed?
  • Why does the library continue to exist?
  • What energy flows through this library, connecting all aspects of it?
  • What purpose does the library serve?
  • What purpose can the library serve?
  • What purpose do we want the library to serve?
  • What purpose do I want the library to serve?
  • What can I do to bring the juicy vision to life every day?

I’m sure there are other questions that I’m not seeing. If you see others to add to the list, please leave a comment–and tell me about your library’s juicy vision!

March 14, 2008 at 11:48 am 1 comment

Is the iPhone dead? (No, and neither is reading)

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is. The fact is that people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year.” -Steve Jobs on the Amazon Kindle

In his NYTimes ‘Outposts’ blog, Timothy Egan takes aim at Jobs’ assessment, suggesting that any reports on the death of reading are greatly exaggerated.

Egan writes,

Reading is … an engagement of the imagination with life experience. It’s fad-resistant, precisely because human beings are hard-wired for story, and intrinsically curious. Reading is not about product…

This year, about 400 million books will be sold in the United States…[H]alf the population bought nearly 6 books a year. If only Apple were so lucky. The latest Harry Potter book sold 9 million copies in its first 24 hours – in English… Apple reported selling a piddling 3.7 million of the much-hyped iPhones through 2007. Is the iPhone dead? Of course not. But what should be dead are foolish statements about how human nature itself has changed because of some new diversion for our thumbs.

Egan’s post is spot on and a fun read. Go check it out at: http://egan.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/20/book-lust/index.html

February 21, 2008 at 7:42 am 3 comments

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