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What do Customers Buy: Experience or Product? 0

Part 1 of 2 with John Goodman

Customer Experience 3.0: High-Profit Strategies in the Age of Techno Service is John Goodman new book and my guest this week on the podcast. John has managed more than 1,000 separate customer service studies, including the White House sponsored evaluation of complaint handling practices in government and business and studies of word of mouth and the bottom-line impact of consumer education sponsored by Coca-Cola USA. John Goodman

John has taught service quality and service re-engineering courses at Wharton Business School’s executive education program.  He has appeared on “Good Morning America”, the ABC Evening News, The Discovery Channel, National Public Radio and as a panelist on the PBS show, “The Editors.”John is the Vice Chairman of Customer Care Measurement and Consulting (CCMC).

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Next week will be the 2nd part.

Is your Backlog Stale? 0

I was re-reading the transcription of a podcast on Personal Kanban and this topic of backlog jumped out at me. How do you deal with your backlog? How long does something get to stay in it? Youmay want to skip the blog post and read the entire transcription or listen to the podcast: Pascal Pinck Speaks on Personal Kanban.

Podcast Excerpt:

Joe:  I always think what is interesting when you have a backlog, some of these things just sit there and they never get done and it is why they are backlogged, maybe they never needed to be done.

Pascal:  That is a really interesting topic because lately I have been part of, we had a lead Kanban meet up here in Los Angeles, that I am fortunate to be a part of. We had a conversation at one of the recent meetups about the differences and also, in a way, some of the overlaps between GTD, you know, “Getting Things Done,” David Allen’s work.

And personal Kanban because some of the folks there were using it like I do what we started to think about there is, what happens to the stuff that isn’t a high priority. Because if you look at the objective, I will make an argument, I mean I am no GTD expert and so I am not trying to say something definitive. From where I sit the objectives for me if I am using personal comment verses if I might be using GTD around the most important issues, the stuff I am going to do, you know, today, in the next couple of hours, tomorrow, that kind of high priority stuff.

I think probably the objectives in some of the basic kind of way that the flow works is pretty similar. I don’t see huge significant earth-shattering differences around the areas of the most important stuff. Where I think there are some interesting philosophical differences, this doesn’t come from Kanban per se, but more from the lean philosophy, is how we treat things that are at a relatively or very low priority. You talked about this issue of I put stuff in my backlog and it stinks. I think GTD has the tickler file if I may be using the wrong word, but stuff that is not important, but it is something you want to hold on to in your system because you do not want it stuck in your head. Certainly I am all in favor of taking stuff out of your head and putting it down. You know if the best place for you to put it down to feel OK about is your backlog or your GTD tickler file or a shoe box full of post-its. It does matter that we all know that you have got to get it out of your head. I mean, otherwise you’re banned with your work in progress cognitively is just going to suffer dramatically and you are not going to be able to perform.

The question that really interests me is once I put it on paper, I got it out of my head or I put it in some kind of electronic form, what happens to it then? GTD is very clear on this. It is like you put it in a setting where it is contained, but where periodically, maybe over a period of months or even years, you can come back to it. I think the lean philosophy that we are working from when we use Kanban, personal Kanban, is a little different. My feeling is that what I have been able to see as a result of working with personal Kanban for some time now is that I have been able to understand in a way that I did not before that having something that I keep track of that is something that I might do some day, that no matter how small it is, it has a cost. That there is an inventory cost to holding on to something as something that I might, a particular task, activity, objective or whatever it is that I might do someday.

In thinking about that inventory and the desire, that I kind of come back with from coming from my infinite to lean thinking is, I want to reduce my inventory and the desire to reduce my inventory and the recognition that that inventory has a cost has helped me give myself permission to drop stuff out of the long-term backlog. As a result of practicing this, I delete stuff all of the time that has been there for three, two weeks, three weeks, a month. More and more I am coming to the opinion that if I have something in the board and it has not moved in a couple weeks, then you know what, it is not important enough to pay interest on. Pay the rent. I think that is probably the best way that I would describe it. If I have something on my board somewhere, whether the board is virtual or whatever form it is, to have it take up that space on the board, I am paying rent because something else could be there or better nothing could be there.

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What Prevents Organizations From Growing? 0

The Curve Ahead: Discovering the Path to Unlimited Growth describes how growth companies can build innovation into the rhythm of their business operations and culture using design thinking, prototyping, business model design and other Innovation Power Tools. The author Dave Powers offers a practical approach to sustaining long-term growth.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Dave Powers on Business Growth

Excerpt from the podcast:

Joe: What have you seen is the biggest thing that prevents people from understanding and taking that next step (Business Growth/Innovation)?

Dave: What happens is, even if you intellectually understand everything that I’ve been saying, when you’re running a growth company, you’re running like mad making the next quarter, hiring more people, figuring out what’s the next way to execute on the operating plan of your fast growing company. It doesn’t give you any time to think about what’s next.

On the other hand, if you let that happen to you, what will happen is, your business model will mature faster than you expect and you haven’t done anything to lay the groundwork for your next step’s curve.

If you or any of your listeners have read Stephen Covey, who talks about the importance of paying attention to things that are important, but not urgent; we pay a lot of attention to things that are unimportant but urgent like email. But things that are important and not urgent are things like strategic planning. They’re like doing research with your customers to uncover a problem worth solving. Spending time with R&D and looking at potential new technologies. Those slow processes that builds you your future.

If you want six pack abs and you don’t do your sit-ups today, no problem. In fact, if you don’t do your sit-ups tomorrow, no problem either. But at some point, if you don’t start doing your sit-ups, you’re never going to have six pack abs.

Let me bring it back to this sustainable growth energy. If you didn’t get out to see your customers and find out some problem they have to solve today or tomorrow, no big deal. But if you don’t look at your calendar every month and say, “These three days, I’m going to be out of the office talking to my customers and understanding how their world is changing, the new problems they’re going to be dealing with and what are the new problems that are going to be the basis for growing my business in the future,” then I don’t think you’re going to sustain the growth of your company over the long run.

Lean Service Design Program Offer 0

Lean Service Design changes the way you think about business. No longer can companies focus their efforts on process improvements. Instead, they must engage the customer in use of their product/service rather than analyzing tasks for improvement. We no longer build and hope that there is a demand. We must create demand through the services that we offer and Lean Service Design is the enabler of this process. It changes our mindset of thinking about design at the end of the supply chain to make it look good and add a few appealing features.Lean Service Design Instead, it moves Design and the user themselves to co-create or co-produce the desired experience to the beginning of the supply chain.

Or, purchase the Lean Service Design Program!

Purchase the 130 page PDF for download, Lean Service Design

The umbrella of Lean offers Service Design a method of entry into a well-established market. Lean has been very successful in Services and Design through traditional practices. However, we must move away from these traditions and institute a wider scope of Design to Services. This download contains a 130-page PDF book, workbook with forms, PDFs and training videos.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1 – Lean (SDCA)
  • Chapter 2 – Service (PDCA)
  • Chapter 3 – Design (EDCA)
  • Chapter 4 – Trilogy

In addition, for a limited time, I have included 2 popular eBooks from the Marketing with Lean Series:

  1. Lean Engagement Team (More Info): The ability to share and create knowledge with your customer is the strongest marketing tool possible.
  2. CAP-Do (More Info): What makes CAP-Do so attractive is that it assumes we do not have the answers. It allows us to create a systematic way to address the problems (pain) or opportunities (gain) from the use of our products and services.

Or, purchase the Lean Service Design Program!

Purchase the 130 page PDF for download, Lean Service Design

Connect with Me on LinkedIn and Mention the Date of the Blog Post

I will send you a Free PDF of The Lean Marketing House

A few reasons to consider the Lean Marketing House book:

  1. Is there a reason to use Lean in Sales and Marketing?
  2. Do you have to be practicing Lean in the rest of the company?
  3. Is Lean Marketing the same as Agile Marketing?
  4. How does A3 problem solving relate to Marketing?
  5. Why is Social Media so Lean?
  6. Can your company ever complete a Lean Transformation without Sales on board?
  7. What does Knowledge Creation have to do with Lean?
  8. Develop stronger partnerships with your customers?
  9. Provide a methodology to become more precise in your sales and marketing?
  10. Begin a continuous improvement program in your sales and marketing?

Book Description: When you first hear the terms Lean and Value Stream most of our minds think about manufacturing processes and waste. Putting the words marketing behind both of them is hardly creative. Whether Marketing meets Lean under this name or another it will be very close to the Lean methodologies develop in software primarily under the Agile connotation. This book is about bridging that gap. It may not bring all the pieces in place, but it is a starting point for creating true iterative marketing cycles based on not only Lean principles but more importantly Customer Value.

Or, purchase the Lean Service Design Program!

Purchase the 130 page PDF for download, Lean Service Design

Don’t Add Functionality, Take Away Functionality 0

The American Management Association published John Goodman’s book, Strategic Customer Service, in May, 2009 and I think I have used it every week or at least every month since then. John is my guest tomorrow and next week on the podcast to discuss his new book, Customer Experience 3.0: High-Profit Strategies in the Age of Techno Service. John is the Vice Chairman of Customer Care Measurement and Consulting (CCMC) and has published scores of articles including “Using Service to Grow the Top Line” in the AMA Journal, 8 articles in Quality Progress as well as BrandWeek, the American Banker and Marketing News.

Below is part of our conversation before the podcast started.

Simplicity

Courtesy of http://www.interaction-design.org/

Joe Dager: Your first book was a I kept back on my bookshelf, dog eared, highlighted, tried different things out of it and used it as a reference material. This book, it makes me want to go back and re-read certain sections again. I certainly did not get everything out of it reading it cover to cover.

John Goodman: In fact in a number of areas, I sort of raised issues but for brevity don’t necessarily fully answer them or fully blow them out. I guess that’s one of the challenges is I was trying to cover so much, you know, all the new technology and everything like that, the evolution of the market and customers which are becoming more and more fragmented to the point where one, there was at least twice as much material that could’ve gotten in the book, had wanted to do a 700-page book which no one would want to read, but so that’s one of the challenges.

Joe: Every time you go deal with, I go deal with a client, they have a whole different software products that they use because it’s the best thing since, sliced bread. There’s just so many different things out there to be able to be used that it’s not uncommon anymore that you find people using 10% of 20 different products out there.

John: On top of that, even the broad technology areas, for instance, online communities or Gamification or video. There’re so many different ways each of those can be used. For instance, I just started advising a startup that streams video from your iPhone. If you’ve been in an auto accident, rather than them sending an adjuster out, they send you this App and then you walk around the car and show them all of the different views of the car and, you know, sort of exactly the same thing the adjuster would see with his eyes and they’re recording it. They basically can adjudicate 95% of claims without ever sending the adjuster out and I’m now doing the same thing with a construction company, where rather than send the estimator out to give you an idea of what the job would cost to redo your kitchen, this can now be done using this mobile app. So, that’s one example of video, but on the other end videos used for educating people and setting proper expectations and everything else, so each of those technologies has 20 possible applications and what I did was I sort of hit, “Here are the 3 big ones and here are the 3 big mistakes,” but literally writing some new articles on online communities and on Gamification. We’re now sort of expanding on that stuff.

Joe: Like, it’s never ending, what you can do right now. I always go back and I always reference Apple and remember that every person in the world can practically name all of Apple’s products and they all can sit on the kitchen table and everybody’s defined at what they do and they’re one of the most profitable companies in the world.

John: That goes back to simplification which another interesting thing we may want to just talk about very briefly is Siegel and Gale just came out with a study. They’ve now created what they call the Simplification Index. I heard about it because Toyota was the simplest car and it goes back to the Steve Jobs thing of ‘don’t add functionality, take away functionality so that only the key functions are there.’

Transcription and Podcast with Siegel and Gale author: 3 Steps of Simplification

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A Linear Process for Right-Brain Thinkers 0

Timothy W. Fowler is a visual-spatial thinker who designed President Obama’s Air Force One secure inspection and re-fueling process and is also the founding Director of Super Bowl Champion Coach Joe Gibbs Youth For Tomorrow. In a past podcast, he introduced me to RIGHT technique.

Read, Inquire, Glimpse, Highlight and Trend

Related Podcast and Transcription: Does Leadership Need Right Brainers?

An excerpt from the podcast:

Joe:  That’s a good way to put it because that’s very much Dr. Deming’s motto. I look at the problem-solving as a key to different things and you need the right-brain influence. But don’t you need some structure when you go through that process?

Timothy:  That’s a great question. Absolutely. We have a five-step process. It’s very structured. It’s very linear, but it allows for a right-brain influence in each phase, and we just happen to use the acronym of RIGHT, R-I-G-H-T. The first thing we need to do is we need to read or observe, read the situation holistically, and that would include the problem, specifically. But it would also include things like the environment, the interactions of people and some of the symptoms that you see around the problem. Secondly, we would want to inquire or question, inquire as to the inputs to that problem, the ripple effect of that problem, some of the intangibles and root causes.

Then “G,” we want to get a glimpse or a depiction of what the future would look like if the problem were solved, beginning with the end in mind as a kind of the flavor of the glimpse phase.

Next, we go to “H”, we would want to highlight, and that’s our examination phase. That’s where we test tube the solution and kind of track the process.

Lastly, “T,” we want to trend it or the application phase where we apply the change in real life. Subsequently, we read the situation again for continuous improvement. So that’s our five-step right-brain problem-solving methodology.

Joe:  Could you just go over that acronym, just start with R-I-G-H-T for someone who’s just listening?

Timothy:  Absolutely. R would be the observe phase, you read the situation holistically. I would be the inquire phase where you question the inputs and the ripple effect. G, you take a glimpse or a depiction of what the future state would look like, beginning with the end in mind. H, you highlight or examine your improvements that you put into place in real life. You basically test tube the solution. And then, T, you trend. You apply the application things where you apply that change in real life. And then you read it again, and that’s the cycle of continuous process improvements. So it’s Read, Inquire, Glimpse, Highlight and Trend.

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A Few Hints When Starting with Lean 0

Natalie J. Sayer is the owner of I-Emerge, an Arizona-based global consultancy, and co-author of  Lean For Dummies. She has traveled the world extensively, working with leaders in English and Spanish, to improve their daily lives, businesses and results.  Natalie began studying and applying Lean in the automotive industry, in the US and Mexico before it was formally known as Lean. She has trained, coached, mentored and rolled up her sleeves to implement Lean in organizations ranging from Fortune 130 companies to micro-businesses.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Applying the Principles of Lean

An excerpt from a past podcast with Natalie:

Joe:   What would you then warn someone about before they would attempt Lean?

Natalie:    I wouldn’t say maybe warn. I would say advise them. That is to find a project that will have an impact on your customer if you improve. Two, get the leadership on board and get their support. Have your idea of the first place you’d want to start, have an idea. If you’ve read the whole book, then you might have an idea of what tools might be appropriate for that project and the scope of the project, and get your leadership onboard. If you just want to start in your own work area, start small. Maybe it’s something that will help you to be able to do your work more effectively. Workplace organization is a good place to start.

I have a home office, and it’s kind of funny because if I start abusing the systems that I have in place of not following them, it’s amazing how much time you waste looking for things. It’s not where in you expect it. We’re all human. There is no Lean robot perfection, so there will be times that you put something in place and then you, yourself, don’t have the discipline to follow-up. Then when you don’t follow it and you waste a lot of time looking for something. Let’s talk about your keys. How many times do people lay their keys down somewhere and then can’t find them? As a matter of fact, there’s a kind of a funny little spaghetti diagram in the book around, where the heck did I put my keys? There’s tracing the path looking for them.

I would say, to succinctly say that, start small. Start with a place that can affect your abilities to deliver to your customer. Get your leadership onboard. Get the ear of someone in leadership, and try a pilot.

The other thing I think that is kind of a warning for companies try to avoid the big launch event. It’s almost like that sets a company up for failure, because people expected then, “When are we going to get there?” like kids going on a destination, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” Then you lose momentum because you’ve put this big, ‘Yahoo. We’re going Lean’ banner or cry out there. I kind of am a supporter of stealth.

Start talking about in your strategy, where can it fit; a leadership decision to move the direction. What does it mean on building capability, serving the customer, and understanding value streams? Then just start with projects and start with behaviors. Train as you go don’t just send a bunch of people to Lean classes to get Lean certified as we’ve already talked about, when, in fact, they don’t have a project that they’re going to immediately implement on.

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