Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Forming a Great First Impression

Every Chef knows that how the food looks is as important as how it tastes.

LIkewise, you may be prepared to sell a service, but does your customer see preparation in your delivery? Or, does your customer see a wreck of a website or a nervous person sitting in front of them.

In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcom Gladwell confirms years of research into first impressions and then takes it one step further. He says our decisions occur much faster - instantaneously or in less than two seconds.

In Gladwell's research, he finds we do this whenever we meet a new person, or when we have to make sense of something quickly or encounter a novel situation. "Snap judgments are, first of all, enormously quick: they rely on the thinnest slices of experience. They are also unconscious."

When we meet a person, our primal instincts are hard at work trying to gauge if this person is a threat or not. We are unsure how to interact with them. We don't know their temperament and basically we want to figure out if they will hurt us or help us.

Our minds act with lightning speed, calling upon all of our senses during any first encounter. We listen to the timber and tone of the stranger's voice. Our eyes focus on movement and other non-verbal cues and our noses try to detect any foreign or threatening smells.

While our brains are busy sorting through all the input the other person's brain is doing the exact same thing. In the case of the web-based sale, emerging systems track customer movement and make recommendations to the administrator.

Although it sounds like a joke, that last sensory input (smell), may be the final frontier of the online experience. It's hard to imagine, but sooner or later, scent will become part of the online experience. I just hope it's not a two-way technology...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Impressions Matter

One day, the banquet manager at a resort hotel at a very big theme park in Orlando took his crew of dishwashers to the banquet hall. Spread before them was an immense sea of tables, flowers and decorations for a lavish wedding dinner.

The manager asked his dishwashers to imagine the same scene, but only with dirty dishes. "It wouldn't matter if we spent all week on the decorations," he said. "If the bride's glass is dirty it will ruin her impression of this day forever. Imagine if this was your own daughter's wedding...?"

His point is simple: contact = impression = experience.

Sometimes almost everything can go right, and yet the most essential task taken for granted can ruin someone's impression of your service or product. (If my glass is dirty, then how clean is the kitchen...?)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

by Kristine Forster

Is it just me, or do you have days when when the thought of  tackling all those emails and RSS feeds seems like an overwhelmingly daunting task?

Over my cup of coffee and slightly burnt cinnamon and brown sugar pop tart this morning (mmm - breakfast of champions), I energetically attacked said mountain of rss feeds that, I am remiss to say, I have allowed to start piling up – again.

I'm so glad I dug in to that pile this morning though because here's what I read from Brendan Burchard's, "Life's Golden Ticket eNewsletter":

"Are you showing up as "passionately present" as you can each day, and are you lighting up your co-workers with energy and passion and excitement for what you are doing together?"
Along with my pop tart, I savored the taste of that question; and as the coffee does to my energy level, I'm allowing that fine thought to bolster my thoughts and attitude today.

As leaders of your organization or team (or family at home) – there's no greater skill for a leader to possess than the ability to inspire others. Give yourself permission to wade through the sea of demands and expectations and responsibilities that surely await you and settle for a moment on the question above.

I know when I did this morning it made the sun shine a little brighter, my coffee a little heartier, my resolve a little stronger and my pop tart all the sweeter.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Burn the Old Manual

Still using paper manuals to teach your leaders?

If traditional leadership and career tracks are anachronistic, then the traditional leadership curriculum is also dead. Hold a funeral. The only thing sustaining those traditional approaches to leadership development is... traditional thinking.

Consider this: public school systems are starting to compensate teachers for student test results and performance. It's pay for play in academia!

I'm not trying to fry my own bacon, but if public schools are trying this, shouldn't (capitalist) businesses treat their corporate education similarly? That's a scary thought for some corporate educators, but it may become commonplace.

I wholeheartedly support the idea that corporate educators should be paid based upon student outcomes, as long as executive leadership does likewise. If 3rd grade teachers can do it, why not the rest of us?

My thoughts: Shake up your leadership development program. Explore new approaches to learning that reward autonomous assessment and development. Throw out old manuals and start with a clean sheet of paper, or no paper at all!

Design something with impact, a program that excites, challenges, and motivates through meaningful engagement.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Horizon Report: emerging technologies and how they will impact learning.

A great read that highlights six emerging technologies or practices that are likely to enter mainstream use on campuses within the next one to five years. The report presents critical trends and challenges that will affect teaching and learning over the same time frame.

Visit www.educause.edu/eli for a copy of this newly issued report.

Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith, R., & Stone, S. (2010). The 2010 Horizon Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.