Monday, May 24, 2010

Reconnecting the Disconnected

I recently visited San Diego to speak at a conference.

San Diego is a charming and dynamic city. Perched by the Pacific Ocean, it is a delightful patchwork of old neighborhoods, with homes and offices surrounded by parks, ocean waters, clear skies and consistently perfect weather. From most locations, it’s a quick ride west to the seashore where you can enjoy some of the best views in America.

With all this beauty surrounding us I was struck by how many people stayed inside the convention center, typing on keypads, mostly oblivious to their surroundings. During one of my sessions I asked, via show of hands, how many attendees had ventured beyond the hotels to explore the neighborhoods, restaurants or public parks.

About a dozen people, out of a crowd of 80, raised their hands.

Later, I scanned some of the conference materials. “The outsourcing revolution is here!” one piece proclaimed. Other sessions would “explore new options for alternate service delivery options” and one promised to show attendees how to “educate remote vendors to deliver high-touch customer service to customers back home.”

These people aren’t just outsourcing labor, they are outsourcing their childrens' futures.

Attendees unwilling to connect with a host city, even for a few days, while learning how to help organizations move services further from the communities they aim to serve, strikes me as both absurd and ironic.

Just wondering…

Is this way of life in our best long-term interests as a society?

How connected are you to your customer’s experience? Have you outsourced it?

How connected is your leadership? Have you outsourced that too?

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