Friday, August 01, 2008

Customer Feedback Needed

I’m really looking forward to a week away with Annie from Saturday 2nd August. We will be leaving our two dogs and the house in the capable hands of my in-laws Eric and Pauline.

We are going on a residential acting summer school in Harrogate – should be fun!!

I was having an email conversation with David Wike and David rightly feels I should leave something ‘meaty’ on Simplicity Blog for hearty and meaningful discussion over a few virtual beers (wine for the more sophisticated among you).

So … having thought about it for at least 2 minutes I am going to ask you to discuss what sort of stuff you like to see on the Simplicity Blog – what works – what doesn’t etc.

I am always going on about my passion for finding out what customers think so please don’t be backward with your advice - as if you would have any hesitation anyway.

Discuss it among yourselves to your heart’s content while I am away.

Needless to say I'll try hard to resist visiting a PC next week but if I do manage to find an odd moment or two I may join in the conversation from sunny Yorkshire.

Enjoy the discussion and of course .... all the drinks are on David Wike!!!


Peter said...

you are missing out some of the greatest conversations that are happening. You need to get onto Friendfeed and interact with that community. I belive you will have he chance to convo with some of the brightest minds !!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Peter - hope you are well - I'll look that up!

Joel D Canfield said...

Book discussion: what to read, what value a book had (or hadn't)

Specific business challenges, and how to face them with simplicity.

More about your own work. I'd love to read specifics of your own triumphs and challenges; it clarifies some of my own.

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Following up on spinhead's point, I'd love to know what people are currently reading, what books they've found valuable, and maybe a Top 10 list of books that have changed their lives - or at least changed their mind on a significant topic. (I'm also curious if others share my habit of reading six or eight books in the same period but taking months to finish any one of them!)

Richard Lipscombe said...

I would love to hear some 'real' feedback on this site from front liners, especially those currently working in the NHS, about the issues in their workplace.

How does Simplicity help you to perform your daily activities?

What issues would you like to air here to get some practical Simplicity advice on the workplace issues you face?

What is happening that is good for front liners within the NHS right now? What are the 'not so welcome' developments and what can be done to mitigate their impact upon you (and others just like you within the NHS)?

In a practical sense, at the coal face, how has Simplicity helped you and your fellow front liners to become better care givers and better patient advocates as you strive to fulfill your NHS mission?

What catalogue of Simplicity measures do you and your colleagues, on the front line of the NHS, have to share with others in the system - what works and what does not work today?

David Wike said...

I knew the offer of free drinks would get a few people into the bar! Unfortunately I have to get into the garden to do some hedge cutting so I’ll have to leave you to help yourselves for a while. Keep on lobbing in ideas. By the way, I’m disappointed that nobody has told the bar owner to stop mentioning Manchester United!

Anonymous said...

Like the comments regarding book discussions and feedback from others, at any organizational level. Being a non-author /consultant right now it would be interesting to see how that inter-action would work. I also like the idea of topical discussions on challenges in the leadership/management area today i.e. millenials in the workplace, executive coaching etc. I also found the interviews particular interesting.

Anonymous said...

Figure out how to challenge us rather than reinforce our existing mindsets. Get some fresh faces onboard with different opinions and ideas.

David Wike said...

Just popped into the bar to make sure that the drinks haven’t run out. And to check that Trevor hasn’t been in. I told him to have a week away from blogs and the like and he agreed that he would … but I am not at all convinced!

Sorry Mark, don’t think I count as a fresh face but I do agree that it would be good to get a few different perspectives. Having said that I also look forward to comments from the ‘regulars’, especially now that I feel I know them a little better through the interviews, which I thought worked really well.

I am impressed by John’s ability to read so many books simultaneously; it would confuse the hell out of me. However, if I am reading a ‘business’ book I tend to restrict that to daytime and have another, lighter book for bedtime.

I too like to hear accounts of real experiences in the workplace. I find that they stick in my mind and then I can bring them out when appropriate. It is said that a picture paints a thousand words. Well, I think a word picture goes a long way along that road, to mix metaphors. Straight theory leaves me cold.

This customer would prefer a more business focused approach i.e. no loony left politicians, no religion, no reference to Manchester United … unless balanced by an equal coverage of Liverpool. By the way, isn’t it odd how Trevor is so impressed with United’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson? From all one can tell from the media, Ferguson’s behaviour falls a long way short of Trevor’s standards for managers/leaders.

It would be good if contributors old and new could keep this dialogue going for the rest of the week just to demonstrate to Trevor that it is OK to take a holiday as we can get by without him!

Joel D Canfield said...

I do the rotational-reading thing, too. I usually have two or three biz books, a web dev book, a self-improvement book, and some Nero Wolfe half-read at any given time.

Re-reading the rest of the comments, it occurs to me that our host is probably ready to split his personal blog off from the professional. It's grown to the point that a more streamlined brass-tacks approach for the business side would be helpful for my daily reads.

David Wike said...

Gosh, another multi-book reader! Don’t you guys get confused with so many books on the go? Of course, it is a test of a good book. If you are reading several but find yourself drawn much more to one it says a lot. But on the other hand, what is a good book? Is it an easy and enjoyable read or one that informs and educates?

It strikes me that our host is a writeaholic as it is without him having an extra blog but we’ll see what he makes of the idea. If anyone fancies a once a month business focussed short read, then have a look at my blog via the name link. Not trying to steal your customers Trevor, honest!

I had a bottle of the wine at the weekend from a vigneron of my slight acquaintance in the south of France. It was made from 50% Syrah, 50% Grenache and 10% Mourvèdre. That’s what I like, a 110% wine! Perhaps Mr Gay might consider stocking it in his bar! Presumably said vigneron had been sampling a drop too much of his own wine while compiling the label!

David Wike said...

A number of Trevor’s readers are self-employed. One or two may be considering going down that route. A while back I asked Trevor how he gained new business. He replied that it was mostly luck but then went on to convince me that luck played a very small part in his success. The Golfer Gary Player once said, “The harder I practise, the luckier I get.”

It would be interesting to get the occasional insight into Trevor’s ‘practice sessions’ with a few anecdotes to illustrate successes. Perhaps other Simplicity bloggers could share some of their ‘secrets’ and maybe we could all benefit from each other’s success.

Almost by accident, well, a little gentle practice really, I stumbled across a website that might be of benefit to those who have a particular expertise or who write the odd word or two on particular topics. The site is called Getting Ink Requests ( Journalists writing articles can request inputs from those with experience in that particular field and there is also a listing of journalists with their specialisms identified.

As Trevor has found, raising your profile through writing and media activities can be of benefit. After all, who would have heard of Tom Peters if it hadn’t been for one very successful book?

Anonymous said...

Re. concurrent reading.

A quick trawl between lounge / conservatory / study yesterday evening discovered a biography of Sir Francis Walsingham, a book about servant leadership, a sci fi omnibus and the latest edition of Mac World.

At the same time, a tidy up of the car and music room revealed my current listening to include the latest from Sparks (fantastic), an old Steve Hackett cd, the Fleet Foxes everyone is raving about (disappointing and I can't see it), a recent Sun Kil Moon cd (stunning) and the new Sigur Ros cd.

What are you folks reading and listening to?

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Since you asked, Mark JF, I'm reading "The Google Story" by David Vise, "The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich" by William Shirer (as I do every 10 or 15 years), "The End of Faith" by Sam Harris, "An Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda, "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" translated by Robert Thurman, and "A Hard Day's Write," by Steve Turner (a Beatles book). I've been listening a lot to "Pet Sounds" by the Beach Boys (my all-time favorite album), as I do every summer.

Trevor Gay said...

Great to be back – I’ve had a day catching up on emails – it is now Sunday evening 10.10 pm here in not so warm Shakespeare’s County – Warwickshire, England

Thanks again guys – some responses:

I like the ‘books discussion’ concept. I am like John and Joel – I am brilliant at starting books. I currently have about 10 books partly read. A habit I have had all my life.

I’m still torn about turning my Blog into only a ‘business only’ Blog – I need to ponder that one a little longer. I guess I do not want the Blog to become too serious minded – I like ‘lightness’ within the ‘serious’ business of business.

I love Richard’s thoughts about getting feedback from folks at the front line in the NHS. I have very few readers in that position which is a great shame. I must try harder to get those folks on board – thanks Richard.

Glad to know the interviews are popular and I intend to pick that up again soon – I have at least another 10 folks to interview over the coming months.

Getting fresh faces on board is a great challenge Mark and I love it when new folks appear. I equally love the regular contributions from people who have supported my Blog since it began over three and a half years ago. There is plenty of room for both – I want to reach new readers and I try hard to spread the word.

Great idea to have more real life experiences at work – real stories are brilliant … as David says they ‘stick in the mind.’

No promises from me that I won't mention Man United or Sir Alex occasionally I’m afraid. I can only speak as I find about Sir Alex. The man has written to me personally twice – wonderful warm letters clearly from him and not his PA! In addition I received a personally signed photograph from him when I left the NHS. Frankly I do not believe 99% of what I read about the great man in some newspapers. Of course he has upset some people on his successful career journey – who doesn’t? There are sections of the press that detest Sir Alex – and of course we cynical Brits are the worlds best at knocking down rather than celebrating successful people.

No promises about me not mentioning Christianity – it is an important part of my life. As reagrds ‘looney left’ politicians – if what they say makes sense to me it makes no difference where they allegedly sit on some totally artificial left/right spectrum.

Far from worrying about losing ‘customers’ I highly recommend David’s ‘monthly business focused short reads’ – they are brilliant and I hope all of you guys will spread the word about David’s writings – he deserves wider readership.

I’m happy to mention stuff that I do that works out to be successful but I have to be careful. Many people are much more successful than me. I never wish to appear arrogant or conceited – everyone’s contribution in life is important. I do love the idea of we regulars – and newcomers of course - sharing our successes and if Simplicity Blog can be a vehicle for that I’m delighted.

As regards Mark list of music – I’m impressed even though I don’t know any of them!! … I’ve obviously lived a sheltered life! … The Eagles will do for me for starters. John is the expert in this area!

David Wike said...

Don’t worry about becoming arrogant or conceited Trevor, we will keep you in your place if you start to get out of hand!

Glad you had a good week and are now a fully-fledged thespian. Did you remember your lines? I expect that you did, although in your haste to get them out I can imagine that they weren’t necessarily all in the right order!

Thank you for your very kind words about my writing. I was very pleased when Enterprise Nation agreed to use extracts from my Ramblings and hope that other publications will follow suit. Incidentally, is a website dedicated to those of us who operate our businesses from home, so it may be of interest to some Simplicity readers.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks David – I screwed up one line which was not a problem … I was happy with that!

Annie was 100% word perfect …

I am pleased your writing is getting more coverage – your deserve it

Charles Rapson said...

You will be back by the time I add a comment so hope you had a great holiday.

I'd like to see or hear about the things people have tried that worked when faced with b******t from senior execs who are trying to avoid answering a question. Otherwise just keep adding the stuff you do. For me, its all useful.

I think the best question I ever hear is "where is the customer in all of this?"

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Charles - I like your question 'where is the customer in all this?.... This Bombay Hospital Motto from Mr Gandhi is one I use in all me presentations about the NHS. Says it all really about 'customers' don’t you think?

Bombay Hospital Motto

A patient is the most important person in our hospital. He is not an interruption to our work. He is the purpose of it. He is not an outsider in our hospital; he is a part of it. We are not doing a favour by serving him; he is doing us a favour by giving us an opportunity to do so.

Mahatma Gandhi

Anonymous said...

I go through a comany called Mindshare. They are all about focusing on good customer service and going back to the basics. It has been VERY helpful to me and my success. I would highly recommend checking it out for yourself. You are doing the right thing by asking for feedback so your on the right track!! :)

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks - I'll check it out