Thursday, October 20, 2011

Everything can be re-imagined!

I read and re-read this article multiple times.The camera has been re-imagined, again! (link via @lukew)

And that too without a megapixel notation next to its name! And it is not too long ago, in this generation, that the camera went digital from analogue. We barely have said goodbye to film cameras, haven’t we? And I purchased my first digital camera in 2000 – and felt good to be part of a digital revolution. The camera was the Sony DSCP something – which gave me a grand 2 megapixel resolution. Today that camera would perhaps command a place in a museum – given its rather chunky design and weight. And now this – the Lytro camera is almost a requiem to SLRs and all those knobs and buttons and things that you needed to create a great picture.

Hell. This is crazy is it not.

Just a few years back, we saw those chunky keyboards on phones being replaced and now they are all over. Even as we speak, the PC and laptop era is going away - and giving way to the tablet revolution and those keyboards we grew up with will be history. And before we take a breath to pause, voice recognition “Siri” is promising to be the first of many steps in which our interaction with machines will change drastically and dramatically.

Think about it. Everything can be changed. Everything. Everything that you thought as ubiquitous is disappearing.

And when was the last time you dusted your training that you plan to offer to those unsuspecting audiences yet again?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Staying contemporary II

So, if that is not the way to training people on customer service what is? I have not crystallized on an idea right away, but there are some formative thoughts.

But more than that, as a trainer, it is important that a training deliver cutting edge stuff to you. Especially when it comes to senior managers. Usually companies have a culture of service (by and large) - when you train frontline management it is important that we reinforce the culture (how do you do it - therein lies a later post). But as you go higher up, what does one do? What do they expect out of it? What can we give them that we already dont know? Most senior managers would be well read in those usual suspects - the HBRs, the McKinseys and other magazines. So, giving them anything out of any of these publications would be a waste of time for them. And mind you, most of these publications are not necessarily ahead of the curve as much as they are on the curve.

So, what constitutes your trainings? How do you get them? How do you keep your trainings contemporary? How do you stay contemporary as a trainer?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Staying contemporary

I recently underwent a training on something related to Customers. I forget what it was - Customer Focus or Customer Corner or Diagonal or something. And I came out of it feeling quite lost. The first half an hour into the program I could sense that it was not getting anywhere - but at that point I asked my intuition to stay put and tried to see if I could get through to what the person was going after. After all, an open mind is essential for any learning to happen. So I tried.

The examples of exemplary customer service offered were the same. Nokia, Google, Apple, Fedex and Southwest airlines. Well, trainers, grow up.

Nokia was big 10 years back. Today it is being chased by Micromax at the lower end and Apple at all other ends. HTC and Samsung have redefined itself and me, a Nokia loyalist myself for many years now switched to Samsung. All around me - friends are opting out of Nokia and its market share is steadily dropping. Hardly an example of great customer service.

Apple, yes - but really at Apples core are its genius products - not really the traditional notion of "customer service" - which, really, if you asked any customer for their needs - nobody would be able to define the iPod or the iPhone or iPad in the way that we see it today. Google, slightly different, but not very - it is mostly about technical genius.

Fedex and Southwest - well, how many of us use Fedex on a daily basis and as for Southwest, they dont fly in India. And this is what gets my goat. If customer service is only about regurgitating what is found in textbooks - then it is not a training on customer service.

I could go on and on. But think about it - how does one teach customer service or customer focus or customer whatever to your participants? Surely there is a better way?

Learning from Steve

Perhaps the one person who has captured the imagination of the learning community in recent times - is an unlikely man. But of course, he has inspired everybody. From rocket scientists to ordinary trainers. I am talking about Steve Jobs - who needs no introduction.

What if our vision for trainings were like Steve Jobs vision for Apple? What if our trainings made people go wow when they went through it? What if we could make people wait for our trainings and book it in advance and wait for their turn with bated breath? What if every upgrade of our trainings (and I know most trainings are not upgraded in centuries) made people drool? What if...

Thank you Steve!