I spent 4 days in orlando last week at the North American Conference on Customer Management. It was a really good time. I’m going to just shoot out a kind of stream on consciousness type of post since I’ve got a lot of impressions.
Good Speakers: Rudy Giuliani Tom Peters Jackie Freiberg Marise Kumar Pete Winemiller Tony Robbins
Rudy had a really good speech, and while I don’t really like some of his politics, I really got the feeling he enjoyed being a real leader, and cared about people. He made it a point that you have to love people to be a leader.
Tom Peters had a couple of great points. Old people have all the money. Women spend all the money. Stop marketing to 14-33 year old males. Women make 80% of purchasing decisions.
Jackie Freiberg was really really good. Hammered on taking care of your employees relentlessly. Going to get her books.
Marise Kumar had the best, most precise presentation of how Whirlpool has taken a commodity business and make it something special. She also had an awesome colonial british accent.
Pete Winemiller is from the Sonics and also hammered on taking care of your front line people. Focused hard on finding little ways to improve your business. Don’t make 1 thing 100% better, make 100 things 1% better.
Tony Robbins as many of your know from TV, was nothing like on TV. He cussed. A lot. It was awesome. There was a good bit of hokeyness, but he did an excellent job of explaining why he would have us jumping around like monkeys. Everything he had us do he backed up with explanation for why we were doing it and got our buy in. He had a room full of stogy business people hugging each other like old friends. His reality distortion field is amazing. You might write him off as a motivational speaker, but if nothing else, you have to admire his effectiveness as a speaker. He’s amazing. His life coaching I’m sure is excellent as well. I came in with a lot of skepticism for him, but he’s really effective. BTW, he’s a fucking huge guy.
One thing that really struck me while attending the conference is how much positive reinforcement leaders, and just general well-to-do people get and the effect it has on you. At the conference the message was unrelentingly positive, and there was the general attitude that we were all leaders, intelligent and at the top of our games, and that things look good. And this wasn’t just all sycophantic, there was always a message of developing the people around us, and creating environments for people to thrive. It made me think of the attitudes of many of the middle class and how little positive reinforcement they get. I was amazed at what it must be like, from childhood, to truly believe you can be anything you want and do anything you want, with no restraints. Sure middle class kids get told “you can be anything you want” by by high school, most kids are pessimistic of that view. Upper-class people who really have few material constraints must really have an inviting life, even without the money as a central factor.
Ken Blanchard looked very beat up and very tired. He spouted a lot of platitudes. Most of them good messages, but nothing backed by examples or a structured way to deliver them. The last half an hour or so literally became a Jesus-fest, which apparently some people enjoyed, but it just switched me off. I always question the motives of people dragging J.C. into non-religious venues. Leaders can be genuinely good people, and interested in making the world a better place without being religious.
The leadership track of the conference was much more interesting for me than the rest, and unfortunately I had to attend another track. The customer experience management track proved that most people aren’t really sure what the difference between customer satisfaction and CEM are. Although I did get a good peek at the metrics that many companies keep, and they are impressive. The adage “what gets measured gets improved” is one that successful companies take very seriously and invest a lot of money in.
Another big point in the conference was about being engaged, both yourself and your employees. You can’t have “dead men working”. It just doesn’t cut it. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about for the past few months and it was good to hear it coming from the mouths of big business leaders.
Okay, that’s enough for now.