Go Big or Go Home!

Greetings.  One of our son Noah's favorite phrases is "Go big or go home!"  It's a notion that is quite popular on the local playgrounds where Noah and his friends try to hone their basketball and soccer skills.  But it's also a phrase that applies quite well to the rest of our personal and social lives, and to the work of our companies and organizations.

In Noah's mind, "Go big or go home!" means trying your hardest and doing your best.  Or has he likes to say:  "If you can't give your all then why should you even show up?"

Push yourself.

Be bold. 

Try something new and daring. 

Test your limits. 

Leave your mark.

From a business perspective,"Go big or go home!" is also a very powerful call to action.  A challenge to make sure we are bringing our very best to every customer, employee and partner.  That we are bringing our best to the products, services and solutions we offer.  That we are bringing our best in designing and delivering the most valuable and compelling customer experiences.  That we are bringing our best to make sure that all of our employees are engaged and given the resources and support to think in new and big ways.  That we are bringing our best to every partnership worth having by leveraging each of our strengths in unique ways.  That we are consistently focused on unlocking the real genius in ourselves, our organizations and the world around us in order to be more remarkable.

Because if we don't someone else will.

So what is your big move?  And when will we get to see it?


We win in business and in life when we are determined to "GO BIG!"  We can always go home once our important work is done.


Once in a Blue Moon

Greetings.  It seems fitting that only six days after the death of Neil Armstrong we should have a "blue moon."  This is a somewhat rare occasion when the moon becomes kinda sorta not exactly blue.  In fact, the idea of a blue moon really has less to do with the moon changing colors than with the fact that our calendar isn't perfectly aligned with the 29.5 days that it takes the moon to orbit the Earth–also know affectionately as my favorite planet.  Given this, there are times–slightly less than every three years on average–when a single month ends up having two full moons, with the second one being called the "blue moon."  And tonight is one of them.  August 31st, 2012.  The next time a blue moon occurs will be in 2015.

And while this scientific phenomenon is relatively cool, it should cause all of us to think about the phrase "once in a blue moon."  It's a phrase that has come to mean an event that is exceedingly rare…like a company coming up with a truly profound and valuable new product or a truly remarkable customer experience, a help desk solving our problem in less than a minute or a seventh grader keeping his room clean.  A phrase that we often use to suggest something that we would love to have happen regularly but simply don't expect to be a standard operating procedure.

And yet they could be.  

Which begs the simple question:  "What are all the 'once in a blue moon' things that you and your organization do that really matter to the customers and citizens you serve?"  And, which ones would be more powerful if you did them consistently? If you and all the geniuses you work with could somehow figure out how to make them a habit.  Because they might be a key to greater personal, team and business success.

Blue Moon

We win in business and in life when we understand all the things that really matter.  And when we commit to getting them right every day and by the light of the moon.


Getting Beyond Stereotypes

Greetings.  Let me start this post with the following joke:

What did the Black guy, the Latino guy and the Asian guy all have in common? 

Believe it or not, they all liked cantaloupe.

Probably not what you expected.  Because all of us have been conditioned to think about people in terms of the stereotypes–both good and bad–that we hold.  And these stereotypes tend to come out at parties, picnics, bars, other social events and even at the office when we think it's okay to be funny at someone else's expense.    

Which is probably why I find this joke, or anti-joke, and others like it to be so very helpful in thinking about people, innovation, collaboration, leadership, learning, the customer experience and the real keys to business and personal success.  And I also find it to be more than slightly funny.

Too often we are quick to pass judgment about other people based on their cultural backgrounds, personality types, jobs or roles, training, politics and a host of other things that make them "different" from us and unlikely to be the perfect colleagues, collaborators, bosses, business partners and potential customers we hope for. And if they happen to be strangers we are likely to place even greater emphasis on these stereotypes as instant deal-breakers that keep us from engaging them and gaining their perspectives and insights.

Even though we are all very similar.  Similar enough to connect as humans if given the chance.  And different enough, if also given the chance, to add real value in stretching our thinking about the best ways to solve pressing problems or create new opportunities.  But not different because of our stereotypes.  Different because of the unique richness of who we are and how and what we think.

So just as we should cast a wider net in our search for ideas, we should also cast a wider net in our openness to connecting in meaningful ways with a broader circle of people–in our own workplaces and beyond.


We win in business and in life when we get beyond stereotypes.  And when we allow our unremarkable similarities to open the door to our remarkable differences.

Cheers!  And if you'll excuse me, I think I'll have a slice of cantaloupe.

More Lessons From Summer Camp

Greetings.  It's the last week of July and once again our daughter Carly has just finished four fun-filled weeks at summer camp in the mountains of Pennsylvania. This was her second summer at camp and she approached her return with a sense of great joy and anticipation–in marked contrast to last year when she felt slightly more than a bit of trepidation at the thought of going to a strange place so far from home.  And, as someone who never went to camp, I must admit, that there seems to be something magic about summer camp for a lot of kids.

Last year I wrote some wonderful customer service lessons from Carly's camp, and this year two more powerful ideas stuck in my mind.  The first was our arrival when all of the counselors and the director lined the road through camp greeting returning campers with cheers of "Welcome Home."  The notion that this place was each camper's home away from home was an exciting and comforting start to the customer experience.

The second idea was embodied in the simple white T-shirt each camper received as they were about to leave.  A T-shirt that would serve as a perfect canvas for collecting messages of affection from new and old friends.  On the front it said "Camp Harlam" and on the back it said:  "Where Friends Become Family." The notion that this was a place where each camper would build the closest of relationships with bunkmates from many places and counselors from half way around the world.

The feeling that I belong and that I have built compelling relationships that really matter.  

Isn't that what every customer longs for?  A simple formula mastered by the finest summer camps.  And that can be understood and mastered by all of our companies and organizations.


We win in business and in life when we understand the real power of coming home.  And when we really dare to make customers a part of our family.


A World of Customer Service Ideas

Greetings.  Many thanks to all of you who participated in my recent webinar on innovation sponsored by the Verizon Small Business Center.  If you couldn't make the session but would like to listen at a more convenient time, simply click HERE and you'll be directed to an archive broadcast.

Tomorrow (Wednesday, April 27th) at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time I'll be presenting a second webinar titled "Customer Service: Winning in Your Market by Creating the Most Compelling Customer Experience."  In this session we'll travel the world in search of brilliant ideas and insights that companies in any industry can use to transform the way they engage customers.  In the process, we'll also talk about the critical moments in the life of a customer and provide guidance on how to build and maintain the strongest possible customer relationships.  All in an hour.  This session is also part of Verizon's efforts to provide practical guidance to small and medium-sized businesses on topics that will help them to grow and prosper, and I look forward to the opportunity to participate and share some of my latest ideas.  

If you're available and interested in this free program, you can click on the photo below to register.  And if you're not able to attend live, it will also be archived on the same website and available to listen to over a glass of your favorite beverage–whether it's a fine red wine, a delicious seasonal beer, a smooth and aged single malt scotch, a quadruple mocha latte with skim milk, a cleansing green tea, an energizing fortified water, or even a Red Bull or Mountain Dew.