This week marks a milestone for me. One year ago, I officially moved from being an “internal resource” and became “A Consultant”. Those that know me well know that I agonized over this decision before taking the plunge.
My previous gig was awesome. I had cool puzzles to solve, an expectation to be creative and the trust of leadership to do my things my way. Mostly, that’s a rare and beautiful thing, especially when you get all the best tools to play with. Add to that the fact that I was lucky enough to have some really passionate and dedicated folks on my team and, well, you’re in a post that is (if you’re like me) hard to abandon.
Esteban Kolsky was right
But I went for it anyway. And here I stand one year later absolutely certain that it was the best career move I’ve ever made. I love consulting. I love my clients. I love the insane deadlines and my new-found ability to rock a presentation that didn’t exist like 15 minutes ago. I love having (even more) of an inside scoop on what’s going on in the industry. I adore working with the analysts, bloggers, and product developers who are – literally – shaping tomorrow for the rest of us.
While at a Social CRM conference in Silicon Valley last year, I asked Esteban Kolsky how I’d know if “Going Consultant” was the right move for me. I was feeling very fragile as this was in the first weeks of having made the move. I probably looked like a human version of a newly hatched bird experimenting with its wings for the first time. Sad. Uncertain. Needy. Gross.
Anyhoo, Mr. Kolsky looked into my eyes and said (essentially): Give it a year. You’ll never look back.
On Going For It
I’ve given it a year and I’m not looking back. I love the velocity of the SCRM industry. I an thrilled to know and to meet and to work alongside the incredible people who are making magic happen every single day. I love that this community is so connected that in almost any city in almost any country I can reach out to folks I’ve connected with through our shared passion and have lunch, dinner, or coffee with a friend.
I’d wager Mr. Kolsky doesn’t remember this exchange. However, I won’t forget it. His (probably polite) encouragement coupled with my desire to strike out into new frontiers and the support of a truly amazing mentor all helped me to quiet the monsters of doubt. These monsters were the voices in my head who derided me for walking away from the Corporate America sure thing on the fast path to VP-dom. They’re silent now.
Have I been too busy this year? You bet! Have I (still) been a workaholic struggling with work-life balance? Absolutely. But I’m working on it. I really am. And in the meantime, I just love this stuff and I can’t wait to see what the next 365 days holds.
Next Stop: The Hat Store
To those who are on this ride with me: thank you. For your support and encouragement and patience. You know who you are (and if you don’t, I’m taking the next week or so to let all of you know!). Without you, I’m nothing. Really.
So, what do the next 365 days hold? Who knows! I can wager, and I know what I’m excited to work on…but the industry is accelerating and life just isn’t guaranteed. My goal: hang on to my hat and swing for the bleachers.
We’re breaking out the big guns this year: MVP-led sessions, content galore … and TWO community members will win Dreamforce Global Gathering conference passes. I must say: that’s #AWESOME! Thanks to the rest of our incredible Event Team for their tireless work – working alongside you is a true joy. I can’t wait for Dreamforce to YOU – Florida!
We’re so excited to tell you that two (VERY LUCKY) Dreamforce to YOU – Florida attendees will win a conference pass to this year’s Dreamforce (Salesforce.com’s AMAZING Global Gathering) courtesy of our Platinum Sponsor, Silverpop. Yes, that’s right! We’re giving a conference pass to the Global amazing-ness that is DREAMFORCE (‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ here aren’t really considered over the top) to two of the Cloud enthusiasts attending Dreamforce to YOU – Florida. Of course, there is some fine print, but all of it is created to ensure we’re sending the folks that this event is intended to support – our Florida Salesforce.com Community.
You may be asking right about now: “How do I win?”
That’s a fair question. You get a ticket to Dreamforce to YOU – Florida and show up on March 31. That’s about it. So long as you are eligible to win, you’ll be automatically…
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Honestly, I consider this a HUGE Coup! Can’t wait to see @MikeGerholdt and @SteveMoForce in action at DF2UFL.
We’ve been dying to spill the beans (and now we can)!
Want Another AWESOME reason to attend Dreamforce to YOU – Florida? No problem! We’re announcing today that two Salesforce Community Rock Stars will be making the journey to join us, share their wisdom, and generally inspire the Florida User Group Community to continue to evolve.
Meet our Guest Speakers: Mike Gerholdt and Steve Molis
Mike Gerholdt (@MikeGerholdt) is the CEO of ButtonClick Media and Manager of Social Enterprise for one of the largest educational companies in the United States. He is a Certified Salesforce.com Developer who is responsible for developing their social business properties to facilitate online interactions with individuals in target audiences. Mike’s popular blog, ButtonClickAdmin, is geared toward those of us stuck between the uber coders & users who can’t log in.
Mike brings his passion for social enterprise technology and experience in communication…
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Ten years ago on this date, Americans were attacked in an extraordinarily brazen, disgusting, and shocking way. It was, to Americans as well as to our allies, a seemingly debilitating blow that in its nature changed the American mindset immediately. We were vulnerable. We were fragile. We were wounded. We lost our innocence in the moment we lost our beloved friends, family members and our paragons of prosperity and strength.
I thank first responders all over the world for choosing their role. I thank the families of these brave men and women for offering up their support and for their bravery which is of a tensile strength unimaginable. Ten years on, my heart breaks for each firefighter, police, and citizen who were directly and indirectly impacted by 9/11.
I’d never before and never since been so completely apart by mankind’s overwhelming abomination against himself. In the same emotional space, I was and still am inspired by the indomitable resilience and love mankind offers toward mankind. As staggering the loss, the sheer bravery and tenacity of the United States in our recovery was equally astonishing.
Today, I offer you this short (and by no means comprehensive) list of 9/11 resources and the challenge to use your skills and love to honor the 9/11 victims, survivors and those brave souls who act in service each and every day. I also challenge myself and you to engage your representatives in Congress to act on the recommendations delivered in the 9/11 Commission Report.
I was sifting through some blast-from-the-past project management coursework and I stumbled upon a note I’d taken on a ubiquitous 3×5 card. It read: Conflict is 80% miscommunication.
I wrote this note to myself at the time because it resonated strongly with me. Fast forward to today and miscommunication is the wrinkle that stands between the ability making the numbers and smashing them. In that wrinkle you’ll find reduced efficiencies, limitations for clear analysis, and missed opportunities for customer engagement. All of which all boils down to a reduction in revenue realized. In that wrinkle, the depth of our customer relationship is defined.
This post is the first in a series covering the idea of Communication as a revenue generation tool and brand differentiator. In this post, I focus on the customer experience as it is tied directly to effective connection with the service / product / or brand. In upcoming posts, I’ll turn that around and focus on the exciting customer-driven communication as a channel, and then move to internal communications and finally will cover some very exciting tools that are available to cultivate this communication.
Communicating well with your prospects and customers is about connecting with them. You can’t misfire, ignore the misfire, and expect your customers to have faith in you or to promote you. The trust we all work to build can be broken by a missed opportunity to do the right thing, offer a targeted message, be human. I have a loyalty to Delta Airlines that spans years. Last week, it took me 14 hours instead of 4 to fly home from Boston. I had to take an additional flight – almost had to take 2 additional flights – and had literally hours of confusion and frustration as I tried to navigate my way home.
Delta, who has always proven to offer me incredible service stumbled big time throughout the day. Ultimately, I know I was not the only person having troubles, and that Delta had a lot of irate people and tough situations to work through. However, I am the person in the moment on the other side of the desk and I deserve service in the same way the rest of those weary travelers do. I made it home, but felt sad to watch my chosen brand falter as they did. I’ll cover my experience with @DeltaAssist (a social monitoring service provided by Delta) as well as the usual and customary channels in another post.
If Delta had treated me with respect and clearly guided me to the correct and most logical next step, I’d have been a happy camper. I know things happen and I am a roll-with-the-punches type of gal. Instead, I was left to try to piece together the puzzle from the back of line after line with a cancelled plane full of other disgruntled folks. This is the definition of conflict.
The art of communication is the ability to connect what’s being conveyed with the unspoken details that are left out. This burden should not be handed to your customers. They’ll find it frustrating at best and will likely leave you in search of clarity and service.
What can you do today to improve your communication to your customers? What opportunity do you have to serve your customer the details they need to realize your love for them and to deepen their love for you? If you can’t see any room for improvement, ask someone you trust. Then listen. It really makes all the difference in the world. An investment in this type of service and transparency from the top down with clear guidance on the “HOW” is directly tied to your Customer’s loyalty, lifetime value, and overall likelihood to promote what you’re selling. Plus, it just feels harmonious to give great service.
It’s all about communication. In fact it’s ONLY about communication.