Explore Experience Audit…


dolphins group blog

When was the last time you went to a supermarket and watched customers look at your product?when was the last time you were a mystery shopper for your own products or service?

If managers would call their own customer services lines and have to wait forever,trapped in “voice mail jail” those truly committed to serve their market will make changes.

Not long after Tim became CEO of a major school bus manufacturer,he asked many of their customers what they should improve about the school buses that they constructed.Some school buses drivers from rural areas told him they didn’t like their buses because they had dust problem.When Tim asked what that meant,they described how,on unpaved roads,a great deal of dust would enter the interior.

Tim returned his office and called in his engineers.They responded ,”No way.We build them to specifications that wouldn’t allow that.”

Rather than argue,Tim took a couple of the engineers,traveled to a small town in Indiana,got on a bus ,and rode an after-school route.On a hot day with kids packed in the bus,the vehicle started to fill with dust.The engineers-used to their air-conditioned offices where they only saw the buses on the asphalt pavement of the plant-now had to endure the customer” experience.

“Guys,”Tim asked them as they bounced along the unpaved road,”would you put up with this every day?” They looked down and shock their heads.”Then our customers shouldn’t have to either.”The engineers went to work to solve the problem…



The 3 Decisions That Made Mandela a Truly Great Leader

Dolphins Group articles mandela-eric_32276

Only a handful of people in a century command the global authority that Nelson Mandela does. These three crucial judgments cemented his greatness.

Nelson Mandela’s life story has long since become a legend, one that transcends borders, race, language, or culture. His leadership truly belongs to the world.

It would be absurd–let alone disrespectful to Mandela’s achievements–to suggest that the issues you face as a business leader are as grave as apartheid, or that the stresses you encounter compare with his decades of imprisonment. Still, Mandela’s decisions at key points in his career do hold lessons for everyone who aspires to be a great leader. In my opinion, these three decisions especially stand out.

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Solving the problem isn’t the problem…

The problem is finding a vector that pays for itself as you scale.

We see a problem and we think we’ve “solved” it, but if there isn’t a scalable go-to-market business approach behind the solution, it’s not going to work.

This is where engineers and other problem solvers so often get stuck. Industries and organizations and systems aren’t broken because no one knows how to solve their problem. They’re broken because the difficult part is finding a scalable, profitable way to market and sell the solution.

Take textbooks, for example. The challenge here isn’t that you and I can’t come up with a far better, cheaper, faster and more fair way to produce and sell and use textbooks. The problem is that the people who have to approve, review and purchase textbooks are difficult to reach, time-consuming to educate and expensive to sell.

Or consider solar lanterns as a replacement for kerosene. They are safer, cheaper and far healthier. But that’s not the problem. The problem is building a marketing and distribution network that permits you to rapidly educate a billion people as to why they want to buy one at a price that would permit you to make them in quantity.

Sure, you need a solution to the problem. But mostly what you need is a self-funding method to scale your solution, a way of interacting with the market that gains in strength over time so you can start small and get big, solving the problem as you go.

Run your own race…

The rear view mirror is one of the most effective motivational tools ever created.

There’s no doubt that many people speed up in the face of competition. We ask, “how’d the rest of the class do?” We listen for someone breathing down our necks. And we discover that competition sometimes brings out our best.

There’s a downside, though. Years ago, during my last long-distance swim (across Long Island Sound… cold water, jellyfish, the whole nine yards), the competitiveness was pretty thick. On the boat to the starting line, there were hundreds of swimmers, stretching, bragging, prancing and working themselves up. By the time we hit the water, everyone was swimming someone else’s race. The start was an explosion of ego and adrenaline. Twenty minutes later, half the field was exhausted, with three hours left to go.

If you’re going to count on the competition to bring out your best work, you’ve surrendered control over your most important asset. Real achievement comes from racing ahead when no one else sees a path–and holding back when the rush isn’t going where you want to go.

If you’re dependent on competition then you’re counting on the quality of those that show up to determine how well you’ll do. Worse, you’ve signed up for a career of faux death matches as the only way to do your best work.

Self motivation is and always will be the most important form of motivation. Driving with your eyes on the rear view mirror is exhausting. It’s easier than ever to measure your performance against others, but if it’s not helping you with your mission, stop.

Adopt vs. adapt….

An early adopter seeks out new ideas and makes them work.

An adapter, on the other hand, puts up with what he has to, begrudgingly.

One is offense, the other is defense. One requires the spark of curiosity, the other is associated with fear, or at least hassle.

Hint: it’s not so easy to sell to the adapt community.