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7 challenges of CEO blogging September 17, 2006

Posted by electrica in CEO blogs, Visionary Leadership.
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(1) Conversation:

are you willing and eager to form candid, sincere relationships online with your customers? or would you prefer to NOT have to listen to their complaints, suggestions, questions, or critiques?

(2) Response:

are you willing to reply quickly to comments posted by readers? or do you want to be aloof and just post your thoughts?

(3) Dedication:

(a) are you willing to be a devoted blogger, which means reading other blogs, posting comments on other blogs, and assembling a list of blogs you like for your sidebar? or do you want to just post articles and be done with it?

(b) are you going to demonstrate your visionary zeal and experiment with podcasts, photos, sidebar enhancements, RSS/Atom feed syndication, tags, and videoblogging? or are you going to do the bare minimum, and have only a plain text blog?

(4) Courage:

are you ready to risk looking foolish, awkward, or unprepared? or do you only want to use communication tools with low risk?

(5) Understanding:

do you really grasp what the blogosphere is all about? or do you care nothing about the blog culture?

(6) Passion:

are you really enthusiastic about your industry and how your products benefit customers? or are you just an administrative type who could be heading any company?

(7) Transparency:

are you willing to be upfront about your vision and agenda? or do you have many things to hide from public scrutiny?

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How to formulate a Vision for your company September 1, 2006

Posted by electrica in CEO blogs, Miserably Servile Customer Pampering, Visionary Leadership.
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I think the Vision comes from the front-line workers and the customers, which is then absorbed and crystallized by the Leader.

The Leader is not the only Visionary, and if the Vision comes only from the Leader, the Vision will not correspond to the reality of the sales situation and the needs of your customers.

The Leader sets the Example, more than formulating or enforcing the Vision.

The Leader gets in-depth information about customer needs, organizational capabilities, and where the Future will likely be.

A customer-based Vision will always beat an organization-based Delusion. The prime example of this is the automobile industry.

The housing market is providing another lesson. Huge, hard to heat and air condition, stereotypical  $300,000 homes in America have been all the rage.

Until lately. Now the trend seems to be headed to more modest, compact, simple accomodations.

Displaying wealth with items that deplete it is beginning to be seen as a type of consumer insanity.

Anticipation of the future must be derived from a true sense of customer needs evolution, where the trends are headed, not where you think they should be, to favor what you’re already doing or wanting to sell.

We must stoop to conquer.

Stoop, get low, humble, bend down and converse with customers, let them define what we sell, rather than the Old Economy of telling customers what they should desire.

Back to Vision, the Leader should not only get it from the customers, sales staff, and service rep input…he/she should gather, crystallize, and then set the example.

I worked once for a telemarketing firm. One day the CEO came up, with his brother, from Texas. Young guys, late 20s. I had a problem, and I went to their office to seek advice. They were playing cards and pretty much blew me off with, “Hey, it’s a numbers game. Just keep calling.”

No solution to my problem. I quit the next day.

They should have been on the phones, demonstrating how it’s done.

That’s how you motivate your employees: get down there and show them how to do it. Don’t just tell them: “This is the Vision. You will now obey and implement it. I have spoken.”

I’m sure you aren’t like this, but many are. They are trapped in the old, outmoded, discredited Command and Control mentality.

It’s now Converse and Comply.

Converse with customers to know their real needs. Converse with sales staff to know the real benefits of product and demands of consumers. Converse with support staff to know the real logistics of serving the customers and helping sales to function. Converse with service department to know the real weaknesses and defects of products.

Comply with all this data, develop everything based on this rich and relevant input.

That seems to me how Vision is formulated.

Not “where do we want to be in 10 years?” Rather: “where are customer needs today and where are they likely to be in 10 years?”

That’s your Vision.