Tag Archives: trust

Can I Ask You For Something?

I just stumbled upon this video by Amanda Palmer, it’s worth 15mins of your time. She outlines her experiences on the relationship of an artist and a fan, and how she overcame her initial feelings of guilt when “Asking” for help. It all boils down to two way engagement and building trust.

Rather serendipitously Seth Godin blogged today about evoking trust, which ties in beautifully with Amanda’s TED talk.

You’re Nicked!

Yesterday @brandshandy nicked my post about the Gulp Stop Motion Animation (their words not mine!) “Gulp stop-animation shot with a Nokia N8: http://t.co/8Yolrau original article via @brendanmitchell (but we nicked it for BS)”

Of course they didn’t actually nick anything, they stumbled across my tweet, clicked the link, thought, “Oow that’s nice, worthy of our own blog”, and simply quoted me as a source, to which I say Thank You Very Much (in my best Elvis Presley impersonation)

I’m all for being as open as possible, I’ve written about it numerous times, (Dirty Laundry, The 3 T’s Rule) plus of course there’s Bernd’s Inspired by icon An Inspired Idea … but I must admit that in this instant I failed myself, as I forgot to mention my source! which was Engadget… tut tut I know.

Anyway my point is this, if you say where you copied something from, or reference who inspired you, then you can’t exactly call that stealing can you!

As I’ve said before…  ”Copy whatever you want, I didn’t invent the words, I just arranged them that way”

In any case… Copying from a single source is called plagiarism, copying from multiple sources is called research!

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Who Trusts You With Their Name

This was originally written Wednesday 1st December.

I’m currently on my way to Heathrow Airport… I received a phone 4hrs ago, I had no idea at the time that it would result in my being in Lisbon this evening.

I won’t go into details, suffice to say, a colleague I’ve not seen in ages, has an unexpected problem, caused by the adverse weather conditions across Europe. He needs a solution, he needs it quickly and he doesn’t have the opportunity to deal with it himself… The pressure is on and he needs someone he knows he can trust… so he made the call.

I’m not saying I’m the A Team, or that he couldn’t have turned somewhere else, I myself have a select few friends and colleagues I know I can turn to, people I’ve worked with for years , people I trust 100%, with whom I don’t have a split second of hesitation putting forward or trusting my name or reputation… but it’s comforting to know that when his reputation is in the mix and he needs to reach out in a hurry, he knows there’s someone he can turn to.

A Very British Contract

I always believed and pushed for a flat hierarchy in my business structure… and yes I realise that a flat hierarchy is an oxymoron, but it’s a great way to express my approach to organising my business structure, as the entire thing is built upon respect & trust and not meaningless job titles! (a pet peeve of mine!)

We had a very British contract for all staff including myself, it contained the sentence, “Everyone Makes The Tea” what that meant, was everyone within the business was an equal, anyone & everyone was free to suggest & implement new ways of doing things, but on the flip side they were expected to perform the most mundane tasks, if they saw something was amiss, it was up to them to deal with it, not simply pass it on to someone else, it was all about being pro-active and not re-active.

We started off with a policies & procedures document, but we got rid of it in the end, as it was simply full of rules, thus limitations. I’d sooner have a frame work that everyone can work within, than hard and fast rules of what must and must not be done.

There are the nay sayers, those that say this approach never works, that you will simply end up in chaos (Anarchy is a great thing until you need a plumber!), but I disagree, allowing autonomy to flourish instills a culture of respect for those working with you (not for you), it’s highly rewarding, and you might be surprised with the outcomes!

Follow The Leader

If you’re in a position of authority, running a company or a manager etc whenever you ask someone to do something, ask yourself this, “If you weren’t the boss, would your staff still follow your lead or take your advice?”, if the answers are “unlikely” or “no”, then you need to change what you’re doing.

Dwight Eisenhower defined leadership as “Convincing someone, to do what you want, because they want to do it.” Sounds simple when you put it like that, but how do you convince someone, that what you want, is in their best interest plus something they will be willing to do time & time again? See How to be a leader

A key element is trust, of course trust takes time & effort to build, but trust is only the start, it can only achieve so much, the goal is to gain mutual respect. As with trust, respect takes time & effort to achieve, but unlike trust, respect must be a two way street, to earn respect you have to give it.

Anyone can lead, it isn’t about having authority, it’s about gaining trust & respect through the correct behaviour.

Look for questions, not answers

Asking the right questions, is more important than having all the answers.

Knowing how to to get higher rankings in a Google search isn’t as important as asking, will it make any difference? It’s likely your time & effort would be better invested in creating effective ways to interact with your current customers, than spending your time looking for adhoc new ones via Google. If you build a rapport & trust with customers your already have, they will recommend you and talk about your products & services to their peers, which is far more powerful & effective than a high ranking in Google, will ever be.

Having answers is great, just make sure they’re answering the right questions.

Trust Me, I’m a Blogger

While taking a break from my hectic morning schedule of making myself a cup of tea & finding some clean socks to wear I thought I’d check in and see what little bread crumbs my fellow Twits had left for me. Sure enough there were plenty, but one from Jaculynn stood out more than most “For big hearts. Please help. http://is.gd/eKbo Please retweet.” so I followed the link.

Glad I did, here’s a quick synopsis, a guy named David Armano, was asking for help, not for himself, but for a friend, a young woman named Daniela & her three children, whom were staying at his house, as she was going through a separation from her abusive husband. He was asking for $5,000, so Daniela could get her own place for her family and didn’t have to worry about a deposit or rent for a little while. David wasn’t asking for big donations, just whatever you could spare during these hard times, any amount would help & if you couldn’t donate directly then at least pass on the message.

Within 4hrs of posting the request on his blog & Twitter, he’d not only reached his target, he’d doubled it!! I think it’s safe to say that he was blown away by this, but what it shows is how much his followers & readers respect him.

So is this amazing success all down to blogs, twitter & social networks? absolutely not… it’s entirely down to David, and his skill in utilising the technologies to gain trust. He’s been writing his blog for 3 years & he’s amassed 8,000 followers on Twitter, but it’s taken him a long time & a lot of effort, but the payback has been worthwhile, as I’m sure 2009 is looking a much better place for Daniela & her family right now.

And this is all because David decided to make a difference and channel the trust he’s built to good use, or as Amie eloquently puts it in her comment to David’s thank you video “Absolutely incredible – not only have you helped a family in need, but you’ve proven again how powerful it is when just one person stands up to say, I will make a difference. You have. Imagine what else is possible”

exactly!

UPDATE:
Here’s a great blog article by Scott Drummond that expands upon what I said above, so get working on your Relationship Bank Balance! (that’s such a great analogy)

Your Identity Matters!

There are those that label a personal domain name as a vanity domain, but I disagree… having a personalised number plate is vanity, owning a personalised URL is foresight… what’s the difference? I’ll give you an example. In an interview, a young woman of 16 said, I want to more famous than Persil Automatic, that young woman was Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham. There’s no doubting that she’s accomplished her goal… but what’s interesting is that she could have compared herself to “Madonna” or another well known musician, but she didn’t, she chose a washing detergent!?! I could go into this more, but I won’t as Jeremy Bullmore does such a brilliant job at explaining why here.

So coming back to my point, Victoria Beckham knew from a pretty young age how important her image, identity & brand were to her, and she set out to establish it. Now take a look at your own online fingerprint, are you really in control of it. You’re spread across the net on Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, Twitter, Google, Blogger, Plaxo, YouTube, TypePad, Hi5, Yahoo, Bebo, Slideshare, Vimeo, EyeJot, WordPress… I could go on, but you get the picture. Isn’t it about time you consolidated all of your online identity, isn’t it time you made sure no one was pretending to be you!? Yeah it happens everyday, normally to someone famous, but it can happen to you just as easily,  a jilted ex, mates having a bit of a laugh etc

I registered my own name as a domain about 10 years ago, as things change, but my name won’t, my online identity is about me not the company(s) I work at or own, over the years I’ve owned 10 companies, merged & sold 5, each time my emails, contact numbers etc have changed, but my own personal website has always been a constant. But there’s more to it than that, I’ve been helping companies build & protect their digital brands for years, but it’s time individuals wake up to the fact that they need to protect & build their online Brand too. What does your Facebook profile say about you, photos of you with a permanent marker pen moustache drawn on you face as you lay drunk in a heap on New Years Eve? Or your boyfriend posts a video of you in your underwear while you work out on your “Wii Fit.” These may all appear as harmless bits of fun now, but they could be very embarrassing in the future when job interviews or promotions come up.

If you’re in the business of dealing with your clients Brand, Marketing, PR etc then what happens when they type your name into Google, if you can’t demonstrate that you can get yourself to the top of search engines, or more importantly, protect your own identity online, then how do you expect your client to trust you to do the same for them?

So coming back to personalised domains, for an individual Web 2.0 is all about making connections, creating relationships & building trust, and I see the next shift (call it web 2.5 / 3.0 if you want) will be centred around the “individual” aggregating their numerous networks, thus allowing them to leverage the trusted connections they’ve invested so much effort in building. So how better to do that, than to put your own name to it!

Think about it, Your Identity Matters!

Dirty Laundry

We’ve heard it so many times from clients & suppliers… “we’re customer focused… everything we do is with the customer in mind… we’re number one for our clients… you can trust us to deliver… we won’t let you down… yawn yawn etc” Then they proceed to say “But don’t take our word for it, listen to what our customers have to say” then they role out a series of amazing client testimonials which cover them in glory.

Brilliant idea, that’s what you should do, it’s what everyone else is doing so it must be a good idea, wrong, wrong, wrong! Don’t do it, as you’d be wasting your time.

If you want to encourage or build a new client / customer relationship I’m afraid there’s no quick fix, no matter how good your testimonials make you sound, we know you’ve edited out the mediocre or bad ones, you’re only revealing half the story (in fact probably only a 10%, as you’re unlikely to ask every client for a testimonial, only the ones that you already know are going to write something good about you). So testimonials won’t do it for you.

So how do you build trust, how do you get a customer to use you or trust you? The answers quite simple actually, you have to honest with them, you have to be open, but not just saying you are, you have to be truly transparent!

How? Ever used eBay? If you had two sellers selling exactly the same things, same price etc and one had a 90% “unedited” good hit rate and the other had a 100% “edited” hit rate which would you choose? My point exactly, the “unedited” completely open & honest seller.

So if you say you’re customer focused, and you put your customer first, prove it. Ask every single customer to give you honest & open customer feedback, at the end of every project ask your clients to fill in a satisfaction survey… but don’t ask them, why did you choose our product or how good was the project delivery, ask them why would they choose a competitor, what was wrong with your delivery, how could you improve it next time, what other things would they like you to offer!

But here’s the really good bit, if you’re truly customer focused, then put your money where your mouth is, put it ALL on display, hang your dirty laundry out on your website, the pristine white shirt hanging pride of place alongside your socks with the worn out heels & holes where your toes stick through. Nobody’s perfect, so don’t pretend to be. You’ll soon become focused on getting more of those white shirts on your line, that the holey socks will become a thing of the past, rather just hidden away when visitors come round.

If you can be honest with yourself, then you can truly be honest with your customers, they’ll respect you for it and over time, they’re really trust you!

I can’t get no…

Go on admit it, you know you jutted your lips out just then and said “mmm, mmm, mmm satis-fact-shun”

Well maybe you can now… if you have a niggle about something, or want to ask the guys that actually make the products you’re using, check out Get Satisfaction

What better way is there for a company to improve it’s products or services or head off disasters before they happen, than to take part in open discussions directly with their client base. Years ago you’d have paid a research company £,000′s to poll your customers, now you can do it online for pennies! Putting your dirty laundary on display by being transparent & open is the only way to ensure your customer loyalty and build their trust. But you have to become engaged, fobbing them off with pre-written FAQ’s won’t do it, invest your time to engage with them directly, as you’ll earn their respect & gain a follower for life in the process.

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