The Power of a Guarantee

Greetings.  If you've read Surrounded by Geniuses, you know that I love guarantees.  Real guarantees.  The ones that actually let the customer decide if they are satisfied with a product, service or solution.  Not those wimpy 90-day warranties on things that cost hundreds and thousand dollars.  Tell me that you really stand behind what you sell and I'll gladly sign up to be your customer–assuming, of course, that I have a real need for what you have to offer.  

That's why I adore Leon Leonwood Bean, and why you and your colleagues should have his picture hanging in your boardroom right next to the giant glossy picture of your customers.  He's the guy who, in 1912, had the audacity to create a shoe with a lifetime guarantee.  Talk about being nuts.  Yet today, the L.L. Bean company continues to stand behind every single product they offer.  Boots, sweaters, bicycles, tents, kayaks, fishing gear.  Even umbrellas.  Unconditionally!  All with the same promise…


Which makes me wonder what could be more powerful in helping to set your company or organization apart from the pack than an "unconditional" guarantee of satisfaction?  In fact, how could we lose if we offered (and delivered on) a guarantee that really mattered?  Which leads me to the following questions:
  • What does your company or organization guarantee to those you serve?  And, 
  • What guarantee could you create that would change the game in your industry?  
Take a few moments to think about these questions with the geniuses you work with.  Or better yet, get off your butts and wander around town in search of real guarantees for products, services and solutions.  Then come back and create your own.  It could be the key to your future success.

Oh No, Another Blog!

Greetings and welcome to my new blog!  It has been a long time in the
making.  But finally, after much
pressure and encouragement from customers, colleagues, friends, neighbors,
family members, pizza delivery professionals, clergy from a wide range of  religions, total strangers and all the
kind people who continue to give me parking tickets, I’m ready to go live with Surrounded
by Geniuses
.  A place for sharing and exchanging ideas on what it really
takes to unlock the brilliance in ourselves, our colleagues and our organizations.  And a place for thinking about what it really means to deliver
compelling value to the customers, citizens, members and associates we choose to serve
each and every day.  But a blog with a different, and hopefully valuable, perspective.

So let’s get started by asking a couple of amusing and important
questions that I’ve been wrestling with for the last few years…

First, how many times have you arrived at work, exchanged greetings with some of your colleagues at the water cooler or over a premium and possibly overpriced caffeinated beverage, attended a meeting or two, responded to a few emails and phone messages and then sat down at your desk overwhelmed by the incredible feeling that you were surrounded by geniuses?  If you're like most people, the answer is "never."  In fact, when asked in a large group, this simple question causes most people to laugh hysterically.

Second, how many times have you left work, climbed into your car, boarded a bus or train, or hopped onto your bicycle, then looked around and been struck with an awesome sense that you were surrounded by a world filled with geniuses and brilliant ideas?  If you're like most people caught up in the pressures and routines of day-to-day life, the answer is also "never."  In fact, as you take the journey home, you're more likely to see a world filled with aggressive drivers, total or at least partial idiots, and painfully mindless advertisements than sources of great inspiration.

Yet as funny as these two questions might sound, they are at the heart of what it takes for companies and organizations of all kinds to innovate, grow and succeed in challenging times.  In a world that constantly rewards new and better ideas, we must all find ways to consistently deliver greater value to those we serve.  But we can only do this by unlocking the genius in ourselves, our coworkers and partners, and the world around us.  

And that's the purpose of this blog.  So I hope that you'll stop by in the days and weeks ahead to be part of a new conversation about the things that really matter.  For now, however, I'm off in search of a few new ideas and a bit of useful inspiration.  I'll look forward to catching up again tomorrow.