Seth Godin is one of the greatest business minds living today. I don’t believe that’s an exaggeration. I read his blog and here, summarized some of his best advice from the last year.
…is that it still has edges. It’s tempting to believe that creativity comes from starting fresh. But even when we start fresh, we approach projects and problems with self-created boundaries. You can’t do real work without edges, without something to leverage, but those edges don’t have to be the same edges as everyone else uses. Creative people often excel because they change the shape of the clean sheet.
This is the most difficult sentence for companies that stumble in doing effective customer service. By effective, Seth means customer service that pays for itself, that is a rational expense on the way to building a loyal brand following and generating positive word of mouth.
When someone in your organization says, “You’re right, we were wrong,” they’re not saying that you’re always wrong, or that you were completely wrong, or even that, in a court of law with a sympathetic jury, you would lose. No, all you’re saying is that you made a promise or set an expectation and then failed to live up to it. Owning that and saying it out loud does two things: it respects the customer and it allows you to make more promises in the future.
We expect authors, painters and singers to identify themselves, to sign the work they do. What about managers, committee members, engineers and everyone else who makes something? Who made this policy? Who designed this menu? Who approved this project? If you’re not proud of it, don’t ship it. If you are, sign your work and own the results.
One thing you’ll discover when you start pan roasting brussel sprouts is that more is not always better. Sure you have three uncooked sprouts left, and it would be a shame to not serve them, but if you add those three to the pan with the others, the entire batch will suffer. Adding one more is just fine, until adding one more ruins everything. Greed costs.
Perhaps it’s better to commit to wading instead. Not the giant, life-changing, risk-it-all-venture, but the small. When you do a small thing, when you finish it, polish it, put it into the world, you’ve made something. You’ve committed and you’ve finished. And then you can do it again, but louder. And larger.
The job is no longer to recite facts, to read the bio out loud, to explain something better found or watched online. No, the job is to personally and passionately make us care enough to look up the facts for ourselves. When you introduce a concept, or a speaker, or an opportunity, skip the reading of facts. Instead, make a passionate pitch that drives inquiry.
What’s worth more, the frame or the poster? It turns out that a well-framed graphic is often transformed, at least in the eyes of the person engaging with it. It might be the very same beautiful object that was thumbtacked to the wall, but it sure feels different. And an unwrapped piece of jewelry is worth far less without the blue box, isn’t it? The wrapper isn’t everything, it might not even be the point. But it matters.
For more Seth gems, check out the full post on Intuit's Fast Track blog.