Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Setting expectations

screws
It’s a terrible thing for an outstanding job to be met by a skeptical or disappointed client.  Time devoted to managing client expectations before job completion can help avoid this fate.
I often turn to this real world example to remind me what expert expectation management looks like.  Maybe it can help you, too.


I watched anxiously as the repair technician took apart my laptop.  This machine, splayed across the dining room table, represented a hefty investment and was my main tool for work. 
Stanley Consumer Storage 014725R 25-Removable Compartment Professional OrganizerImagining that it was probably unpleasant to be watched so closely, I excused myself to the kitchen to grab a glass of water.  When I returned to offer him something to drink, he was already done!  Everything, every tiny little piece was put back together.
Before handing my laptop over, the technician pointed to a plastic bin filled with a variety of tiny little screws.
“I have every size of screw I could ever need in here.”
He then went on to explain that when he was reassembling my laptop, one of the original screws was nowhere to be found.  He replaced it with one of his own, from his plastic bin.
“Good as new.  I just wanted to tell you so that when that screw turns up, you’ll know that there’s not a screw missing in your laptop.”

Isn’t that brilliant?  I’m pretty sure I would have been suspicious of the quality of his work had I found that missing screw without any word about it from him.  My confidence would have been shaken enough that a response of “Don’t worry about it, I replaced it with one of my own” would not have eased my concern.
This is only one aspect of expectation management, but it had a huge impact on my experience as a client.  Because of this encounter, I am even more careful to manage my projects in such a way that my clients are not likely to run into an issue without knowing about it first.  I hope the same is now true for you.


(note, this post was originally published on 3/10/2010.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Peekaboo

PeekabooThis morning, idling at an extra long, red light, I reminded myself that I had plenty of time to make it to my next meeting and there was no reason to get upset over the commute. As I took a deep breath and a look around, my gaze landed on something that appeared to be gazing right back at me – something cute and puppet-like.


It turned out to be a rusty pipe, protruding from behind a column at just the right angle to trick my eyes. Needless to say, my mood immediately shifted from “why am I stuck here?” to “I’m so glad I had to stop”.


Can you see it?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sharing: A little tied up

PurseLocks

Up until a few weeks ago, I was living in a choking, rat’s nest of cables. Every time I expended effort untangling whatever cord the specific gadget I wanted to use at the moment called for, the voice that I usually ignore would pipe up. For years, it repeated versions of “You really ought to do something about this!” or “Why haven’t you bought cable ties already?!

A few weeks ago, the sympathy I felt as I watched my running-late partner frantically dive into the  pile of knotted nastiness amplified my inner nagging. I hopped onto Amazon and found what’s referred to as purse lock cable ties and bought a 1/4 inch pack of  50.

Oh my gosh, these things are awesome. I put them to work as soon as they arrived in the mail, and bought the 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch 50 packs later that same day. I’m a little embarrassed to admit, but I find myself looking for additional things to bundle up with these suckers.

What do you use for this kind of thing?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

But you can’t ignore my techno*

Today kicked off week one of the Technovation Challenge, an Iridescent program which focuses on inspiring girls to expand their view of themselves from merely users of technology to entrepreneurially-spirited technology inventors, designers, and builders. I’m excited to be participating as a mentor!

Teams, made up five girls and one mentor, met for the first time and worked on a few tasks together. The girls on my team are awesome and I look forward to working with them over the next 9 weeks. We haven’t come up with a name for ourselves yet – until we settle on one, I will refer to the group as D2SEL2 (the formula represents first initials). The girls will be meeting this coming Monday, at which point they might come up with a team name and/or ideas for our team project. I will find out by next Thursday!

(*Yay to those of you who get the reference to Electric Six!)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Tutu cute

Something on the way to work today made me smile.

tutu

Can you see what it was?

Monday, June 06, 2011

I heh heh heard that

On the termilink in Houston, I overheard a husband teasing his wife. His seemingly sweet, "Look, she takes after her Mom" could have been taken as a compliment if the daughter he was holding hadn't been firmly grasping the vertical pole he was standing next to.

I couldn't help but laugh, prompting his wife to assure me he was kidding.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

So... where ya goin'?

Am I on crack or were all the folks working security at Logan airport more chatty than usual today?

One uniformed man stood to the side of the line, making friendly eye contact and bantering with people as they walked by. A business casual attired man stood just before the security screening area and pulled aside every third or fourth person with "Do you mind if I ask you a few questions?"

Both men asked about travel plans and both managed to engage the folks they talked to.

I find it a little sad that living here 1/2 my life has trained me to see this behavior as a bit out of the ordinary. Then again, if I still lived in Texas, I might not have noticed what is most likely the outcome of some sort of TSA training.

I imagine these TSA employees were utilizing a new method for sniffing out suspicious behavior and therefore the friendly exchanges were just part of their job.

I appreciated it anyway.

In my opinion, it's a more pleasant way to be interrogated. But more than that, these guys were most likely using an unnatural skill set. Striking up conversations with  strangers is part of the culture in Texas. In Boston, it isn't.

I can't help but wonder what born and bred Bostonians will think.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This is a mobile test.

I've had the ability to post from my phone for a few months now, but it's taken a new input method (SwiftKey) to inspire me to try it.

SwiftKey X Beta is an Android keyboard application that uses a prediction engine to come up with likely options for the next word in your sentence.

I thought I loved Swipe, but I am coming to understand that it was merely a crush.

The only downside, other than a few beta glitches, is that this app highlights just how predictable I am...

-elsa

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Give me a high two point five!

pandulceI recently spent a few weeks visiting family in delightful Del Rio.  When I booked my tickets, I was determined to stick with my new eating and exercise routine.  My sneakers and exercise clothes were packed along with plenty of hope that my magic app would maneuver me passed years of bad childhood habits.

Sweet bread, atole de arroz, barbacoa, and many other yummy treats later…  I had to admit that the pull of food in my parents’ house had clearly won.  (To be honest, there hadn’t been much of a contest.)

It was a different story regarding exercise.  I had two major excuses that I would use to put off starting a workout -- “it’s too hot” & “I don’t want to miss out on time with my family”.  Luckily for me, the sun goes down in the evening and every member of my family eventually has to get some sleep.

No matter how tired or stuffed full of homemade enchiladas I was, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night I walked the heck out of my neighborhood.

If I had managed to eat well AND pull off those workouts, I would ask for a high five.  Since I did half, how about a high 2 ½?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

At the gym, on the phone

I recently got a new phone.  My old one was on its last legs – crackling through phone calls and texting a few too many stucccck keys.  Although I was hesitant to replace my previously reliable, little Centro, I have to say I am absolutely digging Android.  In fact, with just a tiny dose of exaggeration, I could even say that it’s already IMPROVED my LIFE.

Perhaps it should be too embarrassing to admit that an app I downloaded for my phone is ultimately what got me to join a gym again.  And who would believe that a complimentary set of apps are what’s behind the fact that I’ve been consistently eating more vegetables than ever before?

But it’s true.  CardioTrainer, Calorific, and Weight Loss for CardioTrainer by WorkSmart Labs somehow manage to make the whole process behind working out and eating more consciously interesting and fun.  Fun?

The little incentives programmed into these applications managed to spur me into action when knowledge and intention themselves weren’t doing the trick.  In fact, I’m in the middle of my 5th week and I haven’t missed a workout badge yet.

Yay!

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