Get out and walk around
Get out and walk around to: solve problems.
Today I was stuck. I had a programming/design problem that seemed to only get more complex as I sat at my desk staring at the screen. Then, during a quick 5 minute walk with the dog, the solution just popped into my thoughts.
When you are stuck or just seem to be slowing down – that’s the time to get up. Take a break. Get out of your mind’s way and let it keep working on the problem while you enjoy the sun and fresh air for a few moments!
Get out and walk around to: discover your product or service through your customers’ eyes.
It’s one thing to get feedback and look at log files, and a completely different experience to see your product or service in use . Things you cannot see unless you are out visiting users at their sites include:
– What is the mood of your customers’ offices and is your product or service improving it? This is important because you want to be cultivating raving fans. Organizations with toxic moods will never be your biggest fans – some people are just not fans of anything. Once you visit these toxic customers, you will not want to go back often (if ever), because…
– It is the customers with engaging, positive environments that are prime candidates for cultivating fans of your product or service. You’ll best know who’s toxic and whos not when you get out and walk around. Get out and help them see how you are a big part of their success.
– Are they multitasking while using your product and is there anything you can do to help (make it faster/less wait, make it more engaging, etc?)?
– Are they doing stuff manually that you thought your product or service covered (e.g. do you see people printing too much stuff?).
You can tell if your efforts met specs when the check clears. But you can only really tell what impact you are having by getting out and talking with customers.
Get out and walk around to: discover opportunities.
Even in this internet-connected world, there is a lot of opportunity in people you shake hands with.
This fall I attended a local chamber event and browsed the booths of a variety of vendors ranging from promotional product companies, lead providers, insurance providers, and other companies catering to small business. I handed out business cards and went home with a stack of cards. A surprising thing happened.
One of the vendors there called me. You say “that’s not surprising” – you’re right. What is surprising is that he called to see if I could provide services for him! He and I are just starting on a couple efforts together, but I think it will turn out to be a good working relationship and it came from getting out of behind the desk. Get out there where you can look people in the eyes, shake their hands, and let them know that you are a real person.