Monday, August 31, 2009

Service Platforms

THEME: Transformation in the Midst of 2009

FOCUS: Service Platforms

Monday morning: August 31, 2009

Dear friends,

When our two sons and I get together, they sometimes kid me about my “man purse.” A long time ago, I used to carry a wallet in my back pocket. When I started experiencing lower back pain in the early 80’s and went to a chiropractor for help, he suggested I remove the wallet and see what happens. Viola! In days, my lower back was much better. Nevertheless, I still needed to carry a wallet. Therefore, I purchased a small green nylon travel bag and am still using one today.

I remember many years ago in a workshop with bank presidents and senior banking executives explaining that creating financial solutions can not be an abstract concept but needs to be an actual, real live solution. I then pulled out from my man purse two check books, two credit cards, two debit cards and two wallets - one for the business cash, and one my family and personal life cash. Balancing the needs of being a father plus a small business owner meant that I was flooded with personal and business financial solutions but in reality not one of them had truly improved my life. It just meant that soon I was going to need to get a bigger man purse to carry them all. There was total silence for a brief moment when it sunk in, and then an explosion of small conversations all over the room as those gathered realized that the true solution was improving lives, not just creating more solutions.

This week, as more and more children are headed back to school, I think we need to pause and realize that we are seeing an explosion of many different service platforms. For example, years ago a child went to school with a book bag, a new notebook with paper, and a set of #2 pencils. Now, many of them are headed off to school with a cell phone, PDA, iPod, lap top computer plus a Kindle if the family funds are available. At home, in order to be successful, these same children use a desk top computer, broad band internet service as well as access to a TV, radio, sound system, etc. They clearly need more that the man purse or a back pack to haul all of this stuff. They need a roller bag!

But for us here today, we have to realize one small and amazing thing. It is the content, not just the technology or service platform, that is the key to the future. We as executives need to move from thinking about separate service platforms, and separate systems into a single unified service platform. With the complexity of digital devices and experiences present in the market place, people are still wanting their lives to be convenient and productive. Rather than being stranded on separate islands of technology, they are seeking common solutions that are applicable across their entire life.

As I have mentioned before in previous Monday Thoughts, a large of amount of strategic planning and dialogue has been happening during this recession. In successful companies who have remained profitable and focused, they have been discussing what is and is not essential to their long term success. During these in-depth and private conversations, I have listened to more and more people explore how to assist their customers and their employees to live and work in a less fragmented manner. While there has been some creative thinking and some emerging solutions, the key is that the strategic dialogue about service platforms is taking place. Realize that all things are created first in the mind and second in reality. It is this transformation through dialogue that is generating fresh perspective and creative strategy.

This week, contemplate how to create a less fragmented work experience for your employees and how to generate a less fragmented service platform for your customers where the technology is secondary to the ease and content that it delivers.

Have a marvelous week,


This Week’s Blog Question:

What would a unified service platform look like in your organization? What difference would it make?

Geery Howe, M.A.
Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in
Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change

Morning Star Associates
319 - 643 - 2257

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