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When the future finds us

The future never arrives, of course, but it has a powerful force that’s impossible to avoid.

We can see it as a threshold, a doorway toward something new.

Or we can fight it as an unwanted change, and discover that it has traction, tenacity and leverage.

We can influence the future, but we can’t pretend it doesn’t exist.

Who is undermining your brand?

There’s a high-end grocer in a very expensive neighborhood of New York–and they focus all of their energy on Italian food. Everything is imported, and they spend a lot of time and money earning the premium they charge for an authentic Italian shopping experience. And then a lazy brand manager decided to plaster “Sale-A-Bration” signs all over their windows. Is there anything less Italian than that?

Or perhaps it’s the front desk person who can’t be bothered to bring the extra energy that the architect, real estate professionals and builders brought to the hotel you just opened.

Or the paralyzed UI group in the software department who undermined the work of the new car’s designers.

Or the fearful security people at the bank who belie the hard work you’re doing on customer service by creating herculean barriers between your customers and the transactions they seek to execute.

In every case, people are just doing what the boss permits/encourages. Ultimately, the brand is the story we tell, and sooner or later, it’s up to the person who did something that touched the customer.

Actionable feedback

“Do you want to know what I think?”

The best answer might be, “no.”

Because this person is not very good at offering useful feedback.

Because you didn’t create this product or service or performance to please this person. They’re not the customer.

Because you’re not going to revise this any time soon. The movie is made, and specific feedback isn’t going to get the movie remade.

Just because criticism is on offer doesn’t mean you have to seek it out or even listen to it.