Monday, October 17, 2005

NAACM – Ken Blanchard Keynote

I decided to take the tine out of the office to learn a bit more about defining the customer experience and to see how I can help us focus more on the customer. The North American Customer Management Conference looked like just the ticket – featuring speakers like Tom Peters, Ken Blanchard and Tony Robbins.

I’ll summarize Monday’s sessions here, and with any luck at all, I’ll be back with another summary tomorrow.

Monday kicked off with Ken Blanchard who completely blew me away. I had read a few of his books, but his authenticity and passion was completely arresting and he had the crowd in the palm of his hands. Ken talked a lot about being the employer of choice and looking at the “triple bottom line.”

Ken’s TBL is:

- What business are we in? (Vision)

- What is the picture of the future? (Results)

- What will guide our journey? (Values)

As Ken was giving several examples, including Disney – who as it turns out is in the “happiness business” not the theme-park business I had a blinding flash insight into LLS – we’re in the “Hope” business. We provide hope to patients through our patient services and funding programs, we fund research providing hope to all families who are devastated by blood cancers and we provide hope to researchers that they will be funded by us and will have an opportunity to do amazing research.

Go Undefeated

Ken also talked about going for the bullseye – and told the story about how Don Shula always shot for an undefeated season – to everyone’s chagrin. Don’s undefeated Dolphin’s is still unique in the NFL to this day.

Moments of Truth

Ken really crystallized his thinking when he discussed “Moments of Truth” – those singular moments when you have an opportunity to turn a customer into a raving fan or a mortal enemy (my words). Plan for moments of truth – when you get that email complaint or that angry customer and deal with it authentically.

Some other amazing nuggets from Ken’s keynote:

- Be the employer of choice

- Raving customers WANT to brag about your company

- Profits are the applause you get from serving your customers, your employees and from running a great business

- When getting feedback – seek first to understand before acting. Check your ego at the door! Perhaps the quote of the day was “Feedback is the breakfast of champions!”

- Servant leadership – leaders are here to serve – not to stroke their egos – “It’s not about you”

- Finally – Ken slammed the door shut on the keynote by pointing out that everything we have in life is “on loan.” He wisely reminded everyone to never let your “I love you’s” get out of date. When you reposition in your head that you job, your house, your wife, your life is on loan – it wakes you up!

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