Sri Subramanian

@whoissri : High Tech Leader at work, Follower of Kids at home, Hoping to make this world a better place in small ways

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Not Showing Up Is Sometimes The Better Option

I quote Seth Godin:


You’ve probably got that part nailed. Butt in seat, smile on your face. We often run into people who understand their job to be showing up on time to the work that’s assigned.

We’ve moved way beyond that now. Showing up and taking notes isn’t your job. Your job is to surprise and delight and to change the agenda. Your job is to escalate, reset expectations and make us delighted that you are part of the team.

Showing up is overrated. Necessary but not nearly sufficient.

I am all about how we make transitions. I just want to add to Seth’s excellent post that, sometimes in order to delight, one must not show up and do what is assigned. It takes focus, energy, and time, to delight, and sometimes, the struggle is not what we want to do, but what we need to drop, in order to do it.

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*You* are special!

There are two kinds of products and services. There are those that are utilitarian. They solve a problem for us, and we just care if they do the job, and how much they cost. Then there are those that make us feel special.

If the exact same email is sent to everyone, it is not special. If everyone is wearing the same shoe, or reading the same book, it is not special. By definition, it is special, only if I can show (even if to myself) that I am special, because I have your product or your service.

Marketers have known this for a long time. So, this is not a post about marketing.

It is a post about how we come across to those we touch. How often do we meet people in an elevator, or in a shop, just to exchange a generic how-do-you-do? How often do we ask about their new hair, or the raw milk in their cart, or their new job?

I personally have a very poor memory for faces. I know you have two kids the same age as mine, that you have a bully you are dealing with at work, and that you are working on this new exciting project. It is especially hard for me to talk to you about these, till I can match your face to who you are. It is especially easy for me to treat you like one of the crowd – but I don’t want to. This is my new year challenge for myself.

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A light moment

This week has been super crazy, and so I thought I would share this actual out of office response. It made me laugh (and also made me glad to see someone able to completely unplug).

Dear Sender,

I’m currently undergoing my regular autumn depression prevention program:

When the world becomes dun, I need a lot of sun, not really a run as well as no gun, when hungry a bun, grinning at a nun, avoiding a hun, but having a beer from a steel tun while playing a xun. Doesn’t this pun sound like fun?

Usually this cannot always be achieved in the office. Therefore I was forced to leave work and get out into the world to enjoy myself. Using my remaining vacation days for 2012 I’m out of the office and not reachable through phone or mail. I will be back on November 22nd, 2012.

In urgent cases please contact <name/email deleted> for Service Provider topics or general escalation and please contact <name/email deleted> for Enterprise topics.

Kind regards

<name deleted>

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The indirect KPI – You

Good work changes status quo. Great work changes it significantly. Sometimes, status quo is revenue numbers. Sometimes, it is people touched. Sometimes, it is just who we are.

Are we a little better, in some way, than we were yesterday? A little kinder. A little more astute. A little better organized. Because, if we are, we are probably changing something more than just ourselves.

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It is not about knowing your customer’s need

“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”

— Peter Drucker

This is true, and even more so, in this brave new social world. What we often miss, though, is what we need to know about our customer.

We can know our customer’s need. We can understand our customer’s problem. However, nothing beats knowing who our customer wants to be.

People who bought iPhone5 did so, not for the phone, or for the map, but because they want to think different, in that way that changes the world, and carrying an iThingamajic gives them a badge that they value that difference.