The Talking Story (occasional) Sunday Paper

An issue for September, 2009
Some commentary on recent reads I felt compelled to pull from my learning links Tumblr, Ho‘ohana Aloha, just in case you missed them, or because I keep thinking about them: Perhaps they will resonate with you too, and we can talk story.

So let’s catch up on this September Sunday, shall we? These are the sub-headings which follow:

The Customer is NOT Always Right, and Ho‘okipa
Learning from Leaders: 9 Pen Portraits and Strengths Management
9 Fantasy Careers and Ho‘ohana
More from Ho‘ohana Aloha — What does it offer you?
Add your Mana‘o: We talk story

Still wanted in print

The Customer is NOT Always Right

I have newly updated this posting, originally written for Talking Story back in July of 2005:
The Customer is NOT always right.

My trigger was an article written this past week by Seth Godin called, Win the fight, lose the customer. He writes,

smart marketers understand that the word ‘right’ in “The customer is always right” doesn’t mean that they’d win in court or a debate. It means, “If you want the customer to remain a customer, you need to permit him to believe he’s right.” If someone thinks they’re unhappy, then you know what? They are.

Our post titles may seem to be at odds, but Seth and I agree. Agreed back then, and still do: I updated some old links in my article, but did not change much else. This is an issue about having empathy for the customer, and not one about being right or wrong. Where Seth refers to smart marketers, I talk about us being good people. Have a look, and add this one to your value files on Ho‘okipa [hospitality], Ho‘ohanohano [dignity], and Ha‘aha‘a [humility]:
The Customer is NOT always right.

Learn to write Pen Portraits

Absolutely loved this posting that Work/Life Fusion career coach Paul Diamond wrote for us at Joyful Jubilant Learning this week: Learning from Leaders: 9 Pen Portraits

Below you will find 9 very brief pen portraits of managers past and present. Each one recalls a character ”“ some I met directly, others I encountered via story alone ”“ and tries to answer questions like: Who was this person? What were they memorable for? What did others learn from their leadership? Have a look and see what you think…

Most of the pen portraits which follow are about 50 to 70 words long at the very most, and Paul’s descriptions are marvelous:

Stuart was a law unto himself. A prince among men who ran his offices like a royal court. His word was law but it was also thoughtful and considerate. He showed the best face of old paternalism to some of his subjects. No one who experienced Stuart’s largesse could ever forget it.

As I commented there for Paul, I can imagine so many coaching applications for this method. Two examples would be, a) helping managers appreciate their peers in looking for complementary partnerships, and b) helping managers identify strengths within their staff in terms of activities and results instead of using conventional labels.

Paul inspired me to write an imaginary one for Ally, further developing her character introduced in my #fridayflash fiction series:

Ally was femininity personified, carrying herself with elegance and poise, and speaking with calm and grace. When she walked into a room you noticed her immediately, and when she started to speak you were drawn to her, feeling you were gratefully pulled in by some invisible magnetic force. She was known for choosing her alliances carefully, seeming to live up to her name, and to be known as one on her team was to brandish your own reputation for quality and success.

However how much better would it be, to write a pen portrait about a real person, someone you seek to appreciate for the strengths and spirit they add to your workplace?

I strongly urge you to read Paul’s posting and the comments which follow there: Learning from Leaders: 9 Pen Portraits. These are positive profiles of strengths or compelling behavior predicators: Think about how you could use this writing exercise, adding the tool to your file on MWA Key 7: Strengths Management.

Turn your thoughts into positive action right now: Write a pen portrait about one of your stars here in my comments (or over at JJL for Paul) and then send them the link to let them know how much you appreciate and admire them.

9 Fantasy Careers and Ho‘ohana

The effervescent Karen Swim of Words For Hire gave us another winning post at Joyful Jubilant Learning this week which recalled the fantasy careers of her youth. From her introduction:

As children we all indulged in a bit of   fantasizing about careers. It was our way of exploring and trying on the idea of professions   until we found one that fit. I certainly had my fair share of career dreams that ranged from the wild to the wacky. […] The great thing about being a writer is that I can indulge myself   in multiple careers while my feet are firmly planted doing what I love.
Nine Fantasy Careers.

Wonder Woman 02 on Flickr by bbaltimore
Wonder Woman 02 on Flickr by bbaltimore

Her fantasies (yep, the photo is a clue!) are a fabulous way to explore one’s Ho‘ohana [intentions within worthwhile work], easier than (and different from) the pen portraits: Our values emerge in this happy blending of dreaming and playfulness, and when we list some practical answers it begs the question, “Well, why not do it now?”

I grew up in a generation anticipating that like our parents we would devote our lives to a single career, and that is not at all the case today. It still amazes me that I myself became an example, going from manager (of a couple different incarnations and stripes) to published author and workplace culture coach, and you can bet I’m dreaming up my next one (and hoping it includes independent wealth, but you know what? Not a requirement.)

Read Karen’s post, and the exuberance and imagination of the comments there will not be lost on you. Add this one to your value file on ‘Imi ola ”“ living your best possible life, and creating your own destiny. “No way, can’t do that!” isn’t an iron-clad truth, but it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy IF you allow it to be.

Ask yourself if you are dreaming enough, and if you are willing to reinvent yourself: Think about the unlimited capacity of MWA Key 9: Palena ‘ole. Challenge those you care about to dream more and explore their career fantasies too.

If you are wondering more about Karen’s story, there was some great serendipity in the timing of her Nine Fantasy Careers for JJL and a two part interview that Rick Cecil did with her on Ruzuku: Karen Swim from there to here: Another Step Forward.

More from Ho‘ohana Aloha

The link for Ho‘ohana Aloha can always be found at the base of the Talking Story banner up top with the primary blog navigation: It is noted as Tumblr, the name of the web-based software it runs on. I mostly use it for link-sharing, (and for the Ho‘ohana Publishing aggregation I had talked about here: 10 Publishing Lessons for Summertime 2009), however Ho‘ohana Aloha also will offer short Text postings, Photos, Quotations, Video Clips, and the occasional Audio file.

My purpose is a kind of bookmarking: I use Tumblr as a treasure box that I continually add to as I do web-reading. For instance, I use it quite a lot as I follow the links others share on Twitter, and I decide that my first read of that link discovery will not be enough — I’m sure I’ll want to return to it for some reason, investing more fully in the learning opportunity it offers me. Thus for me, the Tumblr saves learning links in a type of digital library, albeit in somewhat random form — my time of discovery.

I would love to do posts like this one about the highlights there each week, but it simply isn’t possible, so I encourage you to take a look on your own occasionally. Here are five other titles you will find there at the time of this writing:

  • Branding: The Future of Publishing? on the Vroman’s Bookstore blog
  • Showing vs. Telling from Nathan Bransford
  • Lessons Learned from Peter Drucker from J.D.Meir at Sources of Insight
  • Feeling the Community from Chris Brogan
  • How Much Does Talent Really Matter? by Chris Bailey

Why not click over right now?

You might also want to consider getting your own Tumblr! It is free, and very easy to use, and there is a follow feature there by which you can connect to other Tumblrs and see their newest updates scroll by on your dashboard (you can include Ho‘ohana Aloha. Good idea to follow the Tumblr Staff Blog for their tips as they beta test new features). If you have a Tumblr, let me know in the comments so I can follow you too!

Add your Mana‘o: We talk story

Ho‘ohana CommunityAnd as always, the comment boxes here at Talking Story are intended for you to easily share your mana‘o with others in our Ho‘ohana Community. Consider yourself a contributor to our Talking Story (occasional) Sunday Paper, and drop in a link today: What learning did you come across on the web lately, and why did it appeal to you?

Let’s talk story, for we Ho‘ohana kākou, together,
— Rosa