Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Ever heard of RACI?

I hadn't either, but once you hear about this, you'll hopefully flip out just like I did... simple in design, simple in implementation and potentially great results... RACI is a process enhancement designed to allow you to review your projects and assignments and see how distributed responsibilities are across your organization (or department).

I found a good link where you can learn more, but the bottom line is pretty simple:

Break down your tasks or activities and assign the following:

R - responsible (can be more than 1 person/department)
A - accountable (can only be a single person/department)
C - consulted (has the info and has been consulted)
I - informed (must be informed of results, but no input needed)

Link to read more... and link here for even more...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

NAACM – Tony Robbins and the single most important thing I heard at the conference

Ok, I’m going to admit this in public – I’m a huge Tony Robbins fan. My brother and I even have a nickname for him: “The Bot.” Email me if you can’t figure that one out. In any case, I’m a giant fan of his and have I’ve read all his books and yes, bought several CD packages. Most recently, I finished Get the Edge – I still haven’t calmed down.

I have been excited to see Tony since I registered for the conference a month ago and I was ready! Before I give the notes, I think it is worth noticing that Tony is crossing over in a big way. For him to be speaking at an industry marketing conference and adding the value that he did today is pretty amazing. Remember, this is the infomercial guy.

According to Tony, leaders must:

  1. See it as it is, but not worse
  2. See it better than it is
  3. Make it as you see it

In this context, Tony discussed change – change is instant – it’s progress that takes time and leadership.

The main thrust of the talk was really about resourcefulness. When people complain about lack of resources, what they are really saying is that they are not resourceful enough to get the job done – they aren’t committed enough, have enough passion, desire, drive, love, whatever to just get it done. Hmm… interesting.

Emotion is created by motion. While it felt a bit silly, the physical exercises we did were fantastic – the energy in the room was palpable and tangible. I felt it – and I know the folks around me felt it – even though we all felt silly. Tony pointed out that the words are a small part of influence; your VOICE and your physiology are in fact, much more powerful. So… information without emotion is useless – action is power.

Ok, here goes… the most important thing I heard at the entire conference:

Business is about love. It’s about emotion, and passion.

I mentioned in an earlier post that LLS is in the hope business. Let me expand on that – the business The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is in is providing hope to those affected by blood cancers. Our passion and our mission are to cure those cancers. Period. End of story.

With that as our guide, we should be inspired and resourceful in looking for new solutions, new money and in everything we do everyday. We need to love our patients, our researchers, our donors, our event participants and our employees. With that love as a guide, only then will we be able to see it as it is (but not worse), see it better than it is, and be in a position to make it as it should be. I dig this! This gets me excited!

The session ended and I was buzzing… I looked up and Tony was coming at me… I shook his hand and thanked him for his time and for the inspiration. Too cool. The Bot Rules!

NAACM – Sydney Finklestein - Why Smart Execs Fail

Sydney is a distinguished professor from Dartmoth and has written a book about why executives fail. I was interested to see the science behind this premise and was not disappointed! See more at

Sydney led two sessions, and kicked it off quickly by talking about how execs “choose no to cope” with changes. The Boston Red Sox waited until 1959 for their first black ball player – Jackie Robinson entered the league in 1947! Sydney’s point was that Red Sox organization KNEW what was happening, yet chose not to deal with it.

The 4 keys that Sydney spoke about were:

  1. Executive mindset failures (you got the strategy wrong!)
  2. Delusions of a dream company
  3. Organizational breakdowns
  4. Leadership pathologies

The case study about Motorola tied this together beautifully:

Motorola went from 60% market share to less than 20% in 11 or so years because they didn’t move when the market told them to go digital.

  1. Arrogance
  2. Warring tribes
  3. Compensation system that didn’t reward innovation
  4. Leadership boxed into position

The second part of Sydney’s sessions had some great nuggets as well:

    • Create a mistake of the month club to discuss what you’ve learned and that no on is perfect – great idea!
    • Make a rule that emails can only be TO one person – and they have accountability.

Finally, here are the 7 habits of spectacularly unsuccessful people (pick out which ones apply to you!)

  1. Illusion of personal preeminence – Martha Stewart – as unhumble as possible
  2. The company is MINE – Koslowski
  3. All the answers – Wang Labs
  4. My way or the highway – this is the #1 signal for failure
  5. Obsessed with image – Carly Fiorina
  6. Disregard for major obstacles – Iridium
  7. Inability to learn – Schwinn

Monday, October 17, 2005

NAACM – Jackie Frieberg Keynote

Jackie Frieberg was wonderful! Her new book “Guts” just came out and she has a wonderful and refreshing grasp on customer interactions and “culture” in the workplace.

She kicked off with some sobering stats – none more sobering that the fact that 1 in 3 employees when asked is planning to leave within 2 years. Wow! She talked a lot about re-recruiting your employees and keeping them “actively engaged.”

Jackie’s perspective on culture was simple and profound – culture is not about stuff – benefits, causal days and free coffee – she pointed out that culture is simply about relationships that happen every minute of every day. Fixing “culture” is about fixing those relationships.

Other keys from Jackie’s keynote:

- Measuring satisfaction is passé – rather – you should be measuring engagement! Get emotionally and intellectually engaged – wake up!

- She talked about the need for employers and executives to create a remarkable work experience

- Silos – again – Jackie was simple in her interpretation. She asked the question – “who is THEY?” It’s US! It’s a collective, not a battle (my words)

- As a manager/exec take the time and effort to manage “your piece of society” – whether that’s 3 employees, or 3,000.

- The ordinary experience isn’t good enough. For example, if you run a fundraising event and you do everything right (doubtful) and your customers still have an ordinary experience – you lose. Yes, that means all those fundraising walks where even if the loudspeakers are loud enough and the weather holds out just don’t cut the mustard anymore.

So I had to ask myself, what does this mean and how can start creating unique customer experiences… I’m seriously considering and trying to figure out a way for me and my entire team to experience what it’s like to have Leukemia, Lymphoma or Myeloma. We can’t possibly understand what our customers are going through – but we need to try. When we FEEL and EXPERIENCE that, we’ll know how to create a proper event, ask, web site, etc…

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!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Good Customer Service

Rick's got another great post on his blog about customer service. I had started out by writing a simple "right on" comment but ended up with something to post right here:

I just sent and email to

>incredibly, i've had my very first experience w/the amazon site that has let me down... the gift certificate redemption does not work while using firefox, nor does it provide ANY user feedback at all.

I'm so disappointed!

When designing the customer service experience, you really have to think through ALL touch points, human or systems driven. It's an incredibly complex web of things to consider but if your organization is truly customer focused, great things can happen.

I can't find the exact quote or source, but I recently heard something along the lines of "The problem with being focused on internal staff issues is that your butt is facing the customer."

Friday, October 07, 2005

This Post Isn't For You

It's ultimately for your boss and for your organization.

I had to laugh while watching "The Apprentice" last night. The task was to show retirees new technologies. As the show developed, I played along and thought about what new technologies I'd show my grandmother. Tivo? No way - she can barely figure out the VCR. Digital Camera - No way - her eyesight is not good enough to deal with tiny screens.

As I try to get to my point, I want to point out that I AM NOT suggesting that your boss is a retiree (but they are thinking about it in part because of what I'm about to talk about next...)

Here's a fun experiment - use technorati to search on your company or one of your products and send your boss 3 or 4 links with relevant posts. Assuming they click the links, you'll probably get a response that looks like this:

"Where did you find this?"


"Who the hell are these people and how can we get them to stop"

Your boss (I'm obviously generalizing here!) is not only "out of it technologically" - but is perhaps missing a fundamental shift in communications, marketing and culture.

NPO's like mine (and I bet yours too) have no clue about what the world is about to drop on them. What I'm talking about of course is fundamental shifts in social behavior that will forever (and may already have) alter our world and our ability to maintain the status quo.
  • Have you noticed that direct mail is a bit harder and that email doesn't seem to have any way to "take it's place?" Where was your direct mail program 10 years ago - where will it be in 10?
  • How much money are your raising online today vs. 10 years ago? I'd venture a guess that the growth rate over that span of time far exceeds just about anything else you are doing.
  • How many more constituents are you reaching with your web site today than 10 years ago? A lot? Thought so.
  • 5 years ago, if your email system went down for a day, could you still operate your business? Oh yea - well how about if that happened later today? Ouch.
Are these technology issues or is it something more fundamental? Here's a statement: fundamental nature of our world is technology based, like it or not.

So, as a thought experiment, I had this idea about doing a Sr. Executive brown bag lunch to help them understand at a very real level what's going on. I haven't actually done this, but the more I think about it, the more it makes a lot of sense. If you take these ideas and put together a session like this, let me know!

Your World Is Upside Down

To gain a basic understanding about the fundamental shifts that the Internet has created in today's world and to creatively think about how our organization can utilize it to accomplish our mission.

  • At least 1 "kid"
  • At least 1 person on your team who is in the office, ready to complete a canned IM and Skype demonstration
  • Sr execs attendance is required
Part I. A Tour
  • Blogging, Wiki's, VOIP/Skype/Vonage, Mash Ups, Online Gaming, iPod demonstration (iTunes purchase), Tivo, Technorati, Google API demos, Search engine marketing, Bittorrent demonstration
  • The numbers (a review of how many people are doing these things for the numbers driven in the crowd)
Part II. Assignments

The idea here is to pair up each Sr. Exec with a member of the organization who "gets this" and have them create something or use a new technology during the session and report back to the group.
  • Start your own blog
  • Upload a photo to flickr
  • Try out google video
  • Create (or more likely, enhance) a post about the company on Wikipedia
  • Define and give 3 examples of Mash Ups
  • Understand RSS and subscribe to at least 1 feed
  • Instant Message someone for business purposes who works across the country
  • Anything else they can think up...
Part III. New Opportunities
  • This can be done as follow up, or you could prepare some ideas in advance.
To wrap this already too long post up... I'll simply quote Tom Peters

They say “We need more steady, loyal employees.”

Monday, October 03, 2005

What's In It For Me?

I was intrigued by a recent NY Times article (free subscription required) that talked about "selfless" giving to charities. Pointing out that American's had donated more than $1.4 billion to Katrina relief efforts, the article discusses altrusism from a biological perspective.

The contradiction the article points out is startling:

"Why does the generosity sparked by events like Katrina fail to appear when it comes to helping the 700,000 African children who die from diarrhea every year for lack of clean water?"

I've often wondered about the various incentive programs charities utilize encourage donors, participants and volunteers to stay involved. I do realize however, that it's great to raise a bunch of money for a cause and walk away not only feeling satisfied but with a gift certificate or iPod to boot.

The article points out that less than 1% of all contributors to a given cause are anonymous!

Obviously, you cannot be an anonymous participant in a marathon, nor can you collect your incentive without coughing up your name, address and email address either! So does the system work against anonymous giving or is the fact that only 1% of all donors being anonymous tell us something else?

I was at a restaurant yesterday and saw a plastic bottle with "Hurricane Katrina" scrawled on the side - and wondered to myself how often, across the country since that event did someone drop a $100 bill, completely anonymously into a plastic cup. Anywhere? Anyone?

In any case, I have follow up questions to ponder (your comments welcome...:
  • At any level, is an anonymous gift better?
  • As it relates to eMarketing and eGiving - where do we even get started? It's not possible to collect a truly anonymous online donation - but can we come close enough that a donor could feel truly anonymous?