The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Customer Love: Listen

This example is why newspapers and TV must reinvent themselves, or die.

Obama is Lincoln v2.0

Taking a page out of Lincoln’s Handbook on How To Be A Good President, Obama is everywhere in the community: at dinner, on The Tonight Show, at the soup kitchens, in meetings, on The Hill. He’s like the “Where’s Waldo?” of Presidents. He’s also taking the regular temperature of the people and choosing questions from You Tube videos that were voted on by the public.

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Lesson: Listen to your customers

Listening to and accepting outside-in thinking is the hallmark of great leadership. Yesterday, the Washington press corps was upstaged by these 3 questions. What was most interesting was the reaction of the press. Oh how banal, a question from the public! Must we? Hearing 3 college girls who probably stayed up all night rehearsing their questions – oh the torture … 

 

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In this moment, the American People were saying: “I’m a sophomore in college, how will I pay for my college tuition?” The question, while simple, highlighted that the press hasn’t been covering what is really top of mind to the people. To be honest, we don’t care about who sat on a woopie cushion in the last senate meeting, whose suit pants are too low cut, or who is having a bad hair day. And no amount of Magic Maps (which is the ultimate PT Barnum hand waving, imo) are going to make us care.

 

My point:

  • Obama is a great source of inspiration on the topic of leadership
  • This example illustrates how important it is to always keep the pulse on the community you are trying to reach (size does not matter)
  • Insiders, for all their value on “how things work today” often lose their way from the true concerns of the organization or machine they operate in, and it’s important to always reach out and have direct contact

 

What tactics do you use to stay in touch and how effective has it been?

About the Author: Christine Haskell

Christine is a Senior Program Manager at Microsoft with several years experience in the .com industry. She recently started social venture labs, an idea incubator for those leading small mission-driven businesses or organizations looking to create relationships, share ideas and [...]

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