#1094 brilliant

I use the TripIt app to coordinate the logistics of my travel.  It recently had an upgrade.  Typically after you install something like this, a button appears and you click “OK”.  

Not so with TripIt.  Their post-install page listed the new features and the button said “Brilliant”.  Sure, it’s a minor and subliminal thing, but nonetheless, you are acknowledging that the upgrade you just did was a good one.

Why don’t more of us utilize routine functions to set ourselves apart and be memorable?  The next time you are doing a form or implementing a process, try to be ‘brilliant’ instead of just ‘ok’.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com



#1093 prize inside

Want a good example of how a product can adapt with the times?  Look at Cracker Jack.

The product once known as “candy coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize (…that’s what you get in Cracker Jack)” has come to describe itself as “caramel coated popcorn”, apparently a more PC term for the health conscious.  

The boxes still contain a prize — in my case, an Atlanta Braves sticker — a far cry from the actual 3-D prizes of my youth, but a nod to brand names and the allure of something recognizable.  

It also allows you to “download fun, authentic Cracker Jack prizes to your smartphone” (at crackerjackapp.com).  Actually, what you download are two different games you can play on your phone.  Cracker Jack has always been associated with games, originally little plastic mazes that you rolled a tiny bearing through, so it seems appropriate that they morph into sponsoring electronic games now.

So here they are, 120 years later, still with popcorn coated in sugary-stuff, peanuts and a game-related prize.  They have evolved, but no so much that the surprise inside is inconsistent with who they are or what you would expect. All in a box that brings back all the feelings of nostalgia for everyone who grew up with the sailor and puppy as a treat.

If someone saw your organization in the past and then looked at it now, what would be the same and what would be different?  It is a good thing for there to be some of both.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com






#1092 pushing limits

As I wrote yesterday, Twitter may be having impact on service transactions across the land.  It also is influencing the type of creative output that is produced.

Josh Groban, known for his easy listening vocals and opera, recently released a new album of showtunes and pop hits.  The lineup even includes a duet with country star Kelly Clarkson.  He deviated from his normal fare in part because of Twitter.

“There needs to be more risk taking out there,” Groban told Time. “Things like Twitter and the blogosphere are so instantaneously critical that it’s actually created a culture of artistic fear to branch out too much because you don’t want to be slammed.”

Not all of us have work that is noteworthy on Twitter.  Our next project likely won’t come with a release party and media reviews.  Yet we are often as cautious as if they were.  

What can you do today to take some risks in your work? Can you take some incremental steps to push your thinking in a new direction?  Take advantage of the relative anonymity that you operate in and try something different today.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


Source:  Quick Talk with Josh Groan by Nolan Feeney in Time, May 11, 2015, p. 60

#1091 fast

It appears that it is not easy enough to order a pizza by phone or to fill out a quick form on line.  Now Domino’s is offering a service where customers can tweet their order, and if you are a regular customer you can just tweet the pizza emoji and your favorite pie will be delivered to your door.

Domino’s is the first to experiment with emoji-ordering, but not the first to use tweets for transactions.  Twitter is intentionally trying to move itself from a social network to a place where commerce is conducted.  Old Navy and AMC Theaters have tested using tweets with a “buy now”option. Charities have already used texts to accept donations after tragedies.  

Think of the service implications this could have for you.  Students, the target of  Domino’s ordering system, already don’t want to fill out the 20 questions on an admissions application or even the 5 questions on an inquiry card.  Maybe instead they will now just want to tweet us the graduation cap emoji and have us count that as an intent to enroll?

You may not be in the pizza business, but Domino’s foray into emoji-ordering could put pressure on you to simplify how customers access your services.  You may not be able to offer a customized emoji (yet), but you may want to modify your processes to more closely replicate that option.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


Source:  Domino’s to roll out tweet-a-pizza by Bruce Horowitz, USA Today, May 14, 2015, p.5B

#1090 assembled

A friend was telling me about a new cupcake store.  Instead of a large selection of flavored cakes, they offer a modest sampling of the staple offerings. Their niche is that you get to choose from among the many flavors of frosting, and then move down the line to determine whether to adorn your cupcake with sprinkles, etc.

It caused me to think about the evolution of the assembly line.  When Henry Ford first deployed it, the goal of the assembly line was to standardize things.  Today, many businesses utilize a modified assembly line to allow customers to personalize things.

Think about all the ways we move “through the line”, giving individual choices at each station.  The cupcake example mentioned above.  Chipotle and other design-your-own Mexican restaurants.  Subway and their sandwich artists.  Build-a-Bear Workshops with personalized stuffed animals.  The virtual assembly lines of designing a computer for on-line purchase or even choosing elements of your next car.

More and more transactions are able to be customized through you giving step-by-step preferences to someone assembling the item for you.  And the more people design their own burrito, the more they will want input into how they design what you offer.  Henry Ford’s adage of cars being available in “any color you want, as long as that color is black” is as outdated as the Model T.  

How can you incorporate this trend into your organization?  Can you provide an element of choice at several “stops” along the way?  The assembly line is moving; you need to be in motion too.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com



Cupcakes @ Molly’s Cupcakes in Iowa City




#1089 weeds

A few years ago, a well meaning Eagle Scout candidate installed landscaping around the sign welcoming people to our city.  It looked beautiful and was a great improvement over the sign which had been sitting solo on a plain concrete base.


Fast forward to now, and the rock area in front of the sign has as many weeds as rocks.  The plants around the base are interspersed with overgrowth, and, all in all, it looks pretty shabby.

This sign project, as with many similar propositions, took all the details of the present into account but forgot to plan for the future.  Nothing lives on without attention and care: not sign landscaping, an organization, a democracy or any project you spearhead.

“The end” only happens in fairy tales. Keep the weeds in mind the next time you make plans.  On-going maintenance isn’t sexy, but it is what keeps your project living on in glory after the initial roll-out phase.

— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com



#1088 divert your course

Someone recently shared with me this transcript of an actual radio conversation of a US naval ship with Canadian authorities off the cost of Newfoundland in October, 1995.  It seemed to fit both the leadership and Memorial Day theme:

Americans:  Please divert your course 15 degrees to the North to avoid a collision.

Canadians:  Recommend you divert YOUR course 15 degrees to the South to avoid collision.

Americans:  This is the Captain of a US Navy Ship.  I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians:  No…I say again, you divert your course.

Americans:  THIS IS THE AIRCRAFT CARRIER USS LINCOLN, THE SECOND LARGEST SHIP IN THE UNITED STATES ATLANTIC FLEET.  WE ARE ACCOMPANIED BY THREE DESTROYERS, THREE CRUISERS, AND NUMEROUS SUPPORT VESSELS.  I DEMAND THAT YOU CHANGE YOUR COURSE 15 DEGREES NORTH, THAT’S ONE FIVE DEGREES NORTH, OR COUNTER-MEASURES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF THE SHIP.

Canadians:  This is a lighthouse…Divert YOUR course.


How many times have you acted like the Captain and failed to listen or ask questions?  Before your words or deeds become the equivalent of ALL CAPS, take the time to understand the perspective of the other person.  Humble Pie tastes much better than Crow.


— beth triplett
leadershipdots.blogspot.com
@leadershipdots
leadershipdots@gmail.com


Radio conversation released by the Chief of Naval Operation 10-10-95 as shared by Bill Mauss.