For years, I relied on SurveyMonkey for my consulting practice. SurveyMonkey changed the security process for members since they believed too many people were sharing their account access. I was blocked from my active survey results for 30-days. I used the same device to login but employed a VPN and therefore hit the trip wire of 10 different user login sessions, an automatic account freeze. Customer service finally released the lock-out on the final day of my annual billing cycle, stating their new measures were for my security but using a VPN was not acceptable, even if it provided me more secure access. I did not renew after 20-years of doing business.
National Rental Car charged me a one-hour late fee for returning a rental car before the return time listed on the contract. Since my inbound flight arrived early, I picked up the car a little earlier than expected, which reset National’s calculation of the time frame for a one-week rental. No associate mentioned the adjusted return time, so I was surprised to discover that an early return was deemed late and would trigger a fee. When I suggested I was curious about the circumstances and disappointed, I was told customer service would contact me, but nobody ever called.
United Airlines changed my schedule for a future flight, and a 90-minute layover is now 7-hours. When I attempted to change the itinerary, United tried to charge a fee to redeposit the award miles and rebook the ticket. I had done the work to find a more direct, less layover intensive itinerary option that required more miles (which I was prepared to use). United claimed I could accept the 7-hour layover option or cancel, but I could not change the ticket to a better itinerary.United’s website stated I was eligible for a one-time schedule change without a fee.
These are minor inconveniences. High-quality problems. But they break the cycle of trust and promise. I promised to do business with these organizations and choose them over others, even when their price is not the lowest. They pledge to honor my loyalty with some accommodations and benefits. I would rather they say, ‘you are a number, not a relationship,’ than the promise to do better and disappoint repeatedly.
What is the minimal viable group that you can serve and thrive? When we attempt to scale, the numbers might look great, but the opportunity to disappoint grows exponentially.Like a snow storm in May landing on trees in full foliage, the added burden may break the trust you aspire to build.
It works better when we communicate with others traveling the same path. If we proceed without regard for other users, we will create disruptions. How might we set others up for success which will ultimately benefit our journey?
If we are committed to what we believe, we are willing to restate our purpose repeatedly. We are OK with the quick pick option if we consider it a game of chance.
Which core values are you not willing to sacrifice because they are fundamental to your quest? Which tactics are considered a roll of the dice? If we are not playing the same numbers in every drawing, then we should recognize the outcome does not matter. We have signed up for the adventure, but the work that matters comes with dedicated effort.
At first glance, the scene we encounter might look coherent—a plane departing a runway. Then we recognize the plane is a shadow and the ‘runway’ is a street grid for new housing development.Just because it rhymes does not mean it parallels reality.
How might we remain curious when our first glance seems to confirm expectations? How might we adopt a mindset to make room for variable and serendipity? How might we uncouple past performance from future results?
If we wait until the last moment to share our appreciation we might miss the opportunity to germinate generosity. Delaying gratitude until the gift is revealed is a risky proposition. If we have built trust and a connection, implied thanks might be sufficient but silence can easily be misconstrued and disappointment.
How might waiting until the final meeting of a board member’s term to say generous things change the course of their service? How might periodic illustrations of impact offer encouragement and refuel our collective purpose?
What is the right cadence for celebration and appreciation? What has worked well for your enterprise? What has been less ideal?
We can shock potential clients into doing business with us by leveraging scarcity, networks, features and benefits, FOMO, etc. Most of these interactions tend to transactional. We can encourage a potential client and allow them to approach us when they are ready. We can offer, growth, significance, connection, clarity, and trust. Many of these engagements tend to be transformative.
Shock vs encourage. Shock is quick and reaches the decision threshold immediately. Encouragement takes time and investment and create alignment to inspire the work that matters. What type of work are we seeking? How do you want to fill your schedule and are you willing to leave blank spaces on the calendar until you find the right partnerships?
If we miss an opportunity, are the ones where it is inches or seconds from success more challenging to absorb than the opportunities that closed miles or days before we reached the finish line? Our raffle ticket being one number off the winning number. We felt potential success until the final moment. A missed flight where the aircraft is sitting at the gate or a race when a medal is lost by tenths of second. Technically, these end in the same result but our ability to be approximate to our goal can change our mindset. It can motivate us or undermine our morale.
How might we embrace the the journey and experiences we encountered along the way that serve as fuel for our next adventure, regardless of the results? How might we recognize the journey is not over, even when the itinerary is altered?
We pitch it to avoid the even ground that exists between our current location and the intended landing zone. We are hopeful that the momentum we embed into the projectile is sufficient to reach the goal. We place it when we intend to be more exact and/or the value of the object meets a threshold to be considered less replaceable.
Horseshoes are easy to pitch and it is a required part of the rules of the game. The consequences of an errant throw is usually minimal and the reward for a ringer are virtual points. Placing a Rodin sculpture requires a level of expertise. We would be held in contempt if we pitched a world class sculpture over the wall and left it randomly in a sculpture garden. We invest in the professionals who have appreciation, experience, tools, time, and financial security to successfully install a piece.
Which considerations should we address before deciding if our intended strategy is a pitch or place?