Archive | July, 2009

A big, urgent question

The other night I was at a board meeting for a nonprofit agency I serve. And as sometimes happens at those kind of events, we participated in an icebreaker — you know, a get-to-know-your-fellow-board-members-better activity. Each person drew a question to ask the person to her right. Someone earlier around the table got the inevitable, “Who’s your hero/who has influenced you the most?” question. At the time, I breathed a huge sigh of relief — I can never answer that question. It’s not that many people haven’t influenced me. I could start now and go all day naming the good role models I’ve had. But “hero”? That elevates it too far, in my mind. In our society, we see heroes debunked daily [or hourly, this summer], and I struggle to burden another person with the hero moniker. We’re all just doing the best we can, I hope.

But I received my copy of the Good Experience email newsletter today, and I may need to revise my answer to that question. Mark Hurst may come pretty close to being my hero, after all.

In 1997 Mark Hurst founded the firm Creative Good, which remains groundbreaking in evaluating and improving the customer experience. I was lucky enough to attend his Gel Conference several years ago, and it remains far and away the most inspiring, useful conference I’ve ever attended. I continue to use what I learned there — mostly about your mindset in approaching your customers’ experience, as opposed to the specific tools you’re using at this moment. If you’re communicating well with, and responding well to the needs of, your customers, you’ll be successful.

Today, Mark highlighted a post on his blog that reminds us to review the big questions. Are we doing what we love? Is it worthwhile? What’s our real goal?

These questions seem critical to me. It’s so easy to get absorbed in a. the rat race b. media-fueled speculation about anything c. self-induced stress — whatever the economic or political situation, but perhaps more now than ever. And Mark gently reminds us, we need to remember what we’re doing in the first place. Take a look, and take stock of your own experience.

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