How I interact with a product or service, tells me the value I should place on it. If you read Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, you see early on in the book the three-pronged approach to apples marketing and you can still see these things played out in there business today.
Empathy – An accurate understanding of the needs of the customer. This is not drawn from a survey or a focus group, but a combination of feedback and some would say prophesy. Steve was quoted as saying “the customer doesn’t know what they want until you show it to them.” And there is some truth to that….if the iPhone was designed by focus groups, it would resemble at TV remote more than a phone with any number of options available.
Focus- a search to establish what you can bring to a product or market and say no to everything else. This is more difficult to do than you think.
Imputation – a customers interaction with not just a product, but everything that has to do with that product tells them the value they should attach to that product. That’s why there’s such detail that goes into even the packaging of apples products….and more times than not, people keep that packaging, it seems to have too much value to throw away.
It’s the third one that seems to be the most difficult to consistently perform in church work…imputation.
We work hard many times at the product, hours and hours and then the effort to which we create an environment for that product is minimal. A quick example…..it does no good to start a new program, if the information about that program is ran off on the copier on Friday afternoon. The usual response is a something like “they’re just going to throw it in the trash anyway, don’t put any effort into it.” And at face value, that sounds right. I’ve even caught myself saying things like that, but the reality is, they will throw it in the trash because you didn’t put the care into the presentation of the program that you put into the creation of the program. The best initiatives have both a high value on the product itself, as well as the presentation of the product. When you create something, as you create you must be thinking of the “packaging” that accompanies it in a parallel fashion to the product or program itself.
In church work, the greeters and parking lot team tell me how I am to feel about this place. The brochure or bulletin and hand outs tell me the value I should attach to whatever they are telling me about. The quality of the presentation, regardless of style, will communicate a value. That doesn’t mean everything should be overly polished and produced. Above all, be yourself, be authentic, but be the best version of yourself that you can be…it speaks volumes…and values!
I experienced something today that I haven’t experienced in quite some time. I was moved, surprised and almost giddy by the end of the apple event today announcing the new iPhone and Apple Watch. It hit me at the end what it was…(keep reading, I’ll get to it).
We got so used to it with presentations from Steve Jobs. Say what you want about him and his “Reality Distortion Field” (RDF) or his insane treatment of his staff…they guy knew how to deliver a presentation. He could build anticipation, keep you on the edge of your seat, and rally you to his team like few others. I realized today what the special sauce was…..
I remember seeing him pull an iPod nano from the “fifth” pocket on his jeans. I remember him sliding the Macbook Air out of a manilla envelope. I remember the presentation of the iPhone back in 2007…it was masterful. And then there was the category he created with the iPad; we were all awakened to the need we didn’t know we had.
What was so special about these? they were his.
Today we saw what Tim Cook’s apple will be and how it will present. I’ll admit that while being a fanboy of apple I have found myself underwhelmed the past few keynotes since Jobs passed almost three years ago. Today that was not the case, and one major reason?….this was Tim Cook’s day. The iPhone 6 and more specifically the apple watch were his. At the end of the presentation, Cook stood on stage thanking various designers and key players, and he was emotional and almost misty eyed…just like a grandfather is a Christmas when he looks around the room and see his family. Today was a different day for apple….I saw ownership for the first time since Jobs death.
There are two things I learned about ownership today:
1) It can’t be faked. There was a definite difference in the Tim Cook we saw today vs. the Tim Cook of prior presentations. Not that he wasn’t excited, but a the end of the day, he was bringing to fulfillment that which he did not create. You can’t fake ownership.
2) Ownership inspires. I was in a room with other people, and we all left not only ready to figure out how we can get the things presented today, but we left as volunteer salesmen for apple….ready to wave our apple flags and stickers with a pride we haven’t felt in a while.
So, think about that as you plan, work and create this week. “Do I have ownership in what I’m doing?” Because if you don’t, you can’t fake it, and you can’t inspire others without it!
What I’m about to explain is my observation of trends, fashion and popularity. There is also no moral attachment to outcomes of what’s described… I don’t believe there is a better or worse, this is just the way I see things happen.
I’ve started seeing it happen in my Facebook feed. A couple weeks or so ago I began to see random people (of some connection obviously or they wouldn’t be in my FB feed) start posting videos of themselves dumping ice cold water over their heads. Then more and more, day by day I saw people, some now that I knew, start posting those videos and challenging others to raise money for ALS. And then it became pretty much my entire feed, on Facebook, and twitter…..everyone was raising money by putting ice cold water on their heads. And it was on the morning shows….it has now reached the tipping point of mass awareness and consumption.
…..cue the haters.
I don’t mean that in a bad way, but its just a reality. If you have ever read the book “Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell, you are familiar with the phrase and how he dissects how certain things, whether its a catch-phrase or TV show, can reach that tipping point and cross boundaries into the populous of the majority.
Now for whatever reason, when this happens, there is inevitably an accompanying dark side that comes along with “acceptance by the masses.” It happens all the time in the entertainment and arts world. There’s a new breakout show that “everyone” that is “cool” or “hip” is raving over. As a result, more people watch, and more people watch, then all of the sudden….too many people watch and its no longer this minority of cultural creatives that know about it, but everyone is talking about it….and it gets flipped on. The most recent example of this I can think of is “Duck Dynasty.” Once they were everywhere….and I mean everywhere, it wasn’t the thing “you gotta watch.”
You’ve probably heard someone say “I finally decided to spike my hair, and now everyone’s parting it again,” or “why are they rolling up their pants….I thought we quit doing that?!?” It happens in fashion especially. Things are really cyclical, so once something is a definite “no-no” across the board….get ready to see it again :)
In music it can be a bitter-sweet pill to swallow. I remember when Coldplay first came out. All of the cool kids were going bonkers over “clocks.” Then after about a year, you couldn’t get away from “clocks”….it was everywhere: intros to TV shows, radio spots, commercials, etc…. And then “clocks” was no longer cool.
For whatever reason, for something to be trendy, it can only be cool until that point where it is accepted by the populous at large, then it is not. I don’t know why this is, but this has been my observance in our culture for the past decade.
So what does this mean in the world of church programs and presentations? It doesn’t mean we should chase cool….thats futile and really not what guiding peoples spiritual formation is about. It conversely doesn’t mean we ignore cultural trends and stick our heads in the sand about where people are at, what they are watching or listening to. It means more than ever, we have to be in our world, but not of it. Knowing the trends that are taking place, knowing the cycles that happen in our communities and using them as an engagement point to draw people’s attention to the timelessness and steadfastness of Jesus…that’s what we do.
I am not an authority on this, and the wealth of knowledge you can find on great ways to increase productivity is larger that the GDP of some nations. All I can tell you is how I get stuff done.
I started using this method a while ago and while where the information it is stored has migrated over different platforms, the last, and most important step has stayed the same.
Everyone is familiar with a to-do list. Some keep them electronically with apps, and some keep them in a notebook of some kind, and others find random peices of paper to write their lists on (I’ll spare you my thoughts on the ineffectiveness of this method for now).
There’s one more step that I take. Some call it the “tomorrow list” and others the “big three”. Call it what you want, it’s a simple thing that I do just about everyday. I look at my large list, which can be exhaustive and intimidating as a whole, and pick the 3 things I know I can get done with the time I have today. My weeks look more the same than my days. By that I mean the monday(s) of each week looks more alike than the Monday and Tuesday of a single week. Therefore, I have varying schedules from day to day which limits the time I have to knock out things on my list. Therefore, the three I pick for some days may be small, but if I have 5-6 hours of meetings, I pick what I know I can get done in the left over time.
I can get overwhelmed by everything on my list, but three things? I can do that, and then I can take them off the list and tackle 3 more again tomorrow.
One last additional thought…..take on your toughest challenge first. Whether it’s a phone call you’ve been dreading (sometimes for no reason at all) or a lengthy email reply, take it on first….it will set the tone of accomplishment for the rest of the day.
If you don’t do something like this, give it a try next week. Three things a day….everyday!
First off, lets have a brief moment and remember when John Mayer made music like the afore mentioned song in the title…..Ok, now we can continue.
Lets face it, it happens…our services and our spiritual formation tend to drift self-centric. If we’re not careful our spiritual growth, and more commonly our church services can be about what appeals to me. Some of the most popular teachers on TV usually present messages about making your life “better.” Ironically, you don’t see that much in the teachings of Jesus. I digress….
I say this because yesterday we sang “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.” Not a cool – re-written version (which I actually haven’t found yet due to the songs intrinsic make-up), or with a new chorus added or anything other additions. Just they Hymn…pretty straight forward. And at face-value, you’d look at the order of service and sing the sesame street song in your mind….”one of these things is not like the other one.” But on a deeper level, I think theres something healthy about singing a song that’s 400 + years old. At that moment, we are singing to our Savior the same way believers for hundreds of years have been singing to Him. There’s something very un-self-centric about that, and healthy in my mind. Sometimes it is good to do things that remind us not only is it not just about me….its not just about “my” church. We are joining the song of the church through the decades and centuries to give praise and gratitude to the One who has redeemed us. And its good to remember that this is bigger than what I like, or even what our churches do…its been happening for a couple thousand years, and we get to take part in that, which is pretty remarkable.
Keep pushing, keep changing, but also look for ways you can guide your people to a thought process deeper than just the “right now.”
Garth Brooks is coming out of retirement. Thats good news for us country fans from the 90’s. I went to a Garth concert when I was in high school. I’m not sure what the album was he was touring, but it was the one with the song “Two Pina Coladas”….I remember that much. I’ll never forget moments of the concert….incredible. It’s no wonder that we won entertainer of the year, year after year! There were two significant things that happened at the concert.
I can’t claim this thought at all… I can’t even claim the lesson from this…it was taught to me. Therefore, its just my job to pass it on.
Most of the time I usually put my own thoughts here on this page. Using the other resources of the interwebs (Facebook/twitter) to share interesting articles and insights from others. But I got this today in my inbox and thought it too good to not share. As someone who likes to think of themselves as a problem solver, this was a new paradigm.
Are you solving a problem or creating a problem?
Uber solves a problem. You always needed a reliable way to get from a to b, and Uber does that, in many ways better than a cab.
Lady Gaga solves a problem. You have neophilia when it comes to music, and she’ll bring you new music to satisfy your curiousity.
Same thing goes for Zara. They solve the ‘what’s new in fashion’ problem for a lot of early adopters.
On the other hand, Uggs created a problem for people who aren’t necessarily fashion forward but want to wear what everyone else is wearing. Once “everyone” was wearing Uggs, these fashion-laggards had a problem—if they wanted to keep up, they had to go buy a new pair of boots.
In most successful business-to-business selling, the big wins come from creating problems. Once the competition is busy using your new innovation, the other companies have to buy it to keep competitive. Once other brands are using your social medium, the laggard brands do too—not because you’ve solved their problem, but because you’ve created one. The people in a traditional bureaucracy buy something new when they have to, not when they want to.
(It’s interesting how we recoil from the idea of creating problems. Of course, progress is about creating opportunities, and opportunities always bring along their close colleague, problems.)
Or consider the case of a non-profit seeking to raise funds or gain government support. Without a doubt, they have to create a problem in the mind of the donor, or there will be no funds or no support to solve that problem.
It is clearly more fun (at first) to solve problems because everyone is happy to see you and the discussion is simple indeed, “You know that problem you used to have? We just solved it.” The innovations that change the world, though, often create (or highlight) problems before they solve them.
This one’s tough for me. It’s something I don’t think ever gets resolved. As Andy Stanley puts it….”its a tension that must be managed.”