I cannot add another posting here without FIRST saying a HUGE mahalo [thank you] to those of you who are reading these words.
You’re still here, and I am beyond overjoyed. Here’s why.
This past week has been uncharacteristically nerve-wracking for me.
I’m normally someone who is very definite about my decisions. I make them fairly quickly, just a few breaths beyond impulsively, knowing when I need to sleep on them before I act. Once I make my decisions there are usually no regrets, and rarely any turning back; I’m already working on my next set of intentions.
This past week I made, and acted on a decision which was the exception to my normal m.o. for I’d been thinking about it for months now, and I’m still thinking about it although it’s essentially done. At first-take the decision seems like no big deal: I dumped the email newsletter editor I’d been using for the past six years, because I decided that the program was no longer serving me or my subscribers as well as it could. I’d been waiting for some leadership in email communications which never came from them; they were my supplier, but not my partner, and I expected more, and was tired of waiting for it.
However I did not replace them either, for I couldn’t find the leadership and innovation I was looking for emerging with any of their competitors. So what I did this past week, was send a final letter to all my newsletter subscribers saying that my Ho‘ohana ‘ÅŒlelo email newsletter would be on an indefinite hiatus. To continue in auto-pilot mode when I was less than happy with the service just wasn’t acceptable anymore; I’d let it continue long enough. Thus my decision not to give someone my business any longer morphed into a bigger decision to put my newsletter out of commission as well, perhaps temporarily, but perhaps in a manner which ultimately means that bringing it back at some point amounts to starting from scratch.
Here’s why I feel this was a big decision. Where would my subscribers go? Would they feel I had abandoned them? I wasn’t just rejecting a so-so supplier, I was fragmenting and possibly invalidating what is pure gold to any business owner, or any person valuing a personal network of relationships: A data base of contacts who were never purchased from some list, but had opted in, giving me permission to send them email. I have essentially asked my email subscribers ”“ some for as long as the past six years ”“ to change their habits in communicating with me, and still remain connected to me through their own initiative and willingness to follow-up, taking the huge risk that many may choose not to.
I have not rejected email totally, but as I wrote in my final newsletter this past Tuesday,
“Email in particular, is something I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with: I still love it for communicating with people privately, however it has dramatically fallen out of favor with me as a broadcasting medium, and the way you respond to me has demonstrated that the great majority of you largely feel the same way. Membership in our Ho'ohana Community of Managing with Aloha practitioners continues to grow, yet I can no longer trace our most effective communication with each other as a consequence of my emailed newsletters to you.
The last thing I want to do is create more inbox clutter for you, and I feel I am very accessible; thanks to search, it is very easy to locate me online, even if you were to lose every email address you ever had for me.”
People could have taken my truthfulness in that last sentence as arrogance, and gosh I hope not, for that would be awful. I have to hope they feel they know me better than that, and have appreciated my honesty.
Here’s what happened so far.
I decided to share the results of this week’s decision with you for two reasons.
1. You did follow up! You are hugely important to me as the select group of people who are reading these words at this moment, and I want you to have the evidence why, evidence of how special you are besides me just saying so.
2. We Ho‘ohana together. Many of you face similar decisions in your own businesses, and if learning from my decision’s case study can help you at all it will make these results all the sweeter.
I mentioned fragmentation. As far as I can tell, my final Ho‘ohana ‘ÅŒlelo missive this week was opened by 40% of the people I sent it to. That number is a bit better than the track record of the past year’s worth of newsletters, and is a measurement which had significantly factored into my original decision. Experts will tell you that after awhile monthly newsletters do hit the downslope of diminishing returns (i.e. getting read at all), and that downslope motion has accelerated in recent years as a) spammers cause email firewalls to be more aggressive than ever before, and b) as our informational reading increases: We are all living in the age of digital bombardment.
Out of the 40% who opened my email, read it and took action:
- 46.5% are those of you now reading: You joined the ranks of my Talking Story blog subscribers via email, as I most hoped you would!
- 20.1% went to check out my new Ho‘ohana Community Group on LinkedIn, and connected with me there (or as a LinkedIn connection separate from the group)
- 15.0% opted for following one of my 4 Twitter accounts
- The remaining 18.4% clicked to one of my websites (SLC, MWA, JJL, or Say “Alaka‘i”) and I hope that means they opted for bookmarking or an RSS subscription, but I can’t be sure.
Update: To be clear, some of you took more than one, or all of those actions above, for we do communicate in a number of different ways. The percentages add up to 100% as the first trackable action you took which I could trace.
So now what? Nānā i ke kumu ~ we look to the source.
So now you are here, and I want to do more than say “thank you” to you, I want to show you how much I mean it.
I am newly committed to making Talking Story the primary voice of our Ho‘ohana Community. I will be challenging myself ”“ and I hope you will join me in taking up this challenge ”“ to take Talking Story to ‘Imi ola ke Ho‘ohana Aloha, the best possible form for the Aloha we share as the Ho‘ohana Community of our future.
It feels right. We started here in so many ways, for Talking Story has been a source, pre-dating the thriving neighborhoods we now have for our community at Joyful Jubilant Learning, on LinkedIn and on Twitter, and even for Managing with Aloha Coaching (which had been MWA Jumpstart Second Edition).
That said, I don’t want to be bombarding you either, and I won’t be posting every day. Speak up, and let me know what resonates with you, what you appreciate being here and what doesn’t matter, and we’ll figure this out together, kākou, just as we always have.
In other words, we’ll talk story.
Mahalo nui loa. Thank you so, so much for being here.