February 25, 2008

My Blog Has Moved

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mark Sanborn @ 10:34 am

With the relaunch of www.marksanborn.com, I’ve decided to do all my blogging there. To read my latest thinking, click here.

January 2, 2008

Which Candidates Are Up to this Challenge?

Filed under: Uncategorized, Observations, Leadership — Mark Sanborn @ 10:20 am

Lyman Bryson said “…the purpose of a democratic society is to make great persons…”

I was reminded of this while reviewing Renewal, a book by John Gardner (Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare in the 60’s) I had read some years ago.

I’m not sure our current leaders are even aware of this concept much less actively working to achieve it. And I haven’t seen a stand-out candidate from either party that appears to be addressing this challenge.

December 6, 2007

Faith and a Future President

Filed under: Uncategorized, Leadership, Politics, Moral Leadership — Mark Sanborn @ 11:57 am

In 2008 will we be electing a president or a pastor?

Peggy Noonan makes a good point: we’re supposed to be electing a president, but if you watch the news you’d think we were electing a national pastor.

I believe faith is important, but I don’t believe it is the most important criteria for electing a leader. Competency and character are critical issues, but I know people of diverse faiths and beliefs who exhibit both.

Mitt Romney is going on national television to explain his Mormon beliefs. Other candidates are wearing their religion on their sleeves these days and spending much time either defending their beliefs or casting criticism on the faith or lack of it in their opponents.

A campaign staffer from the Clinton camp was fired for sending a false email claiming that Barack was a Muslim.

In my perfect world, would a president I vote for share the same faith is I do? Of course. But I don’t live in a perfect world. I don’t even expect a candidate I vote for to completely agree with me. I love my wife and I know she loves me we don’t even agree all the time. What we do share are common values and commitments. Those trump differences of opinion.

I suspect we’ve let the issue of a candidate’s faith become more of a distraction that part of constructive dialogue at this point. Let’s keep the primary focus on competence and character, and on values and ethics.

November 28, 2007

Extraordinary Design

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mark Sanborn @ 11:49 am

I’m looking at a picture of the Delahaye Type 165 V-12 Figoni Cabriolet (image). It doesn’t just make me smile; it evokes pleasure. That’s extraordinary design.

Delahaye was established in 1894, and the Type 165 first appeared in 1939. Joseph Figoni, the designer, liked bodywork that characterized the image of captured motion, and the sweeping lines of the Figoni Cabriolet do just that.

Delahaye reminds me that extraordinary design, while fixed to a period of time, is timeless. The paradox of looking at the company’s cars is that they are dated yet fresh.

Timelessness, emotion…just two elements of extraordinary design.

October 1, 2007

Customer Service Quote of the Day

Filed under: Uncategorized, Customer Service Strategy — Mark Sanborn @ 10:17 am

From the New York Times, September 26, 2007, a restaurant owner was quoted as saying:

“When everyone’s a blogger, hospitality is essential.”

September 30, 2007

Your mother died? That will be 50 cents.

Filed under: Uncategorized, Customer Service Strategy — Mark Sanborn @ 10:06 am

In one of the most insensitive customer service stories of the year, the daughter of a recently deceased woman in Harrison, NY¬†returned her mother’s library book. The man at the desk said it was overdue and there was a 50 cent charge. The woman explained her mother had just died. The man responded that she still owed 50 cents.

I’m a big fan and supporter of public libraries. The screw-up was with the individual, not the library. Unforuntately this is what happens when any organization hires¬†employees without basic common sense or courtesy, or doesn’t adequately train those employees for the important nuances of service delivery.

This guy in Harrison would have flunked the turtle test (see the September 17 post).

September 19, 2007

Bad Ads

Filed under: Uncategorized, Observations — Mark Sanborn @ 9:41 am

We’ve all got our pet peeves, and one of mine is stupid advertising, the kind that insults your intelligence and makes you think the ad creator is smirking about how clever he or she is and how dumb you are.

My favorite example right now is the slob and his dog on the sleep number bed. I’ve got nothing against sleep number beds, but my goodness, what a distasteful ad.

This guy, who looks like what you and I hope we don’t even vaguely resemble even in private, is lounging around on a gross looking, unkempt bed with his large slobbery dog talking about the fact that he and his dog both choose different sleep numbers. Talented dog to be making numerical choices. The guy points out that he has two ex-wives (no surprise there) and that if he ever found a woman that would take whatever spaces if leftover when he and Rover are in the sack, she is might become future ex-wife number three.

This ad is supposed to make me want a sleep number bed?
Then there is the clever UPS or FedEx ad (bad sign when you can’t remember who the ad is for) that is based on the premise that “ground” isn’t “slow” like it sounds. To make the point, everybody in the ad has a name that exactly describes them: Harry (hairy guy), Eileen (leaning), etc.

To be sure, it is kind of clever, but the ad demonstrates exactly the opposite of the premise. In this case, everybody IS exactly what their name sounds like. Somehow this is supposed to help me remember that “ground” isn’t as slow as it sounds.

These are relatively unimportant observations in the big scheme of things, and I’d classify these as “things that make you go hmmmm.”

But at least these ads have nothing to do with O.J. Simpson.

September 17, 2007

Easy Dislike Mode

Filed under: Uncategorized, Relationships — Mark Sanborn @ 12:19 pm

My wife Darla and I are part of a small group bible study and we have just begun a series on relationships.
As we were talking last night, I was reminded of how easy it is to like or dislike someone if you don’t know them very well.

Sometimes we have an unrealistic view of someone–a celebrity, leader or well-known person–that isn’t based on much more than a superficial knowledge of him or her. If we find out something troubling, we quickly move from the “easy like” mode to the “easy dislike” mode.

There have been those people who, for whatever reason, I initially disliked. As I got to know them, my opinion changed drastically and a few have become my closest friends.

I believe one of the quickest ways to connect with someone of a different opinion is to get to know the person behind the point of view.

Getting to really know somebody doesn’t assure you will like them more or less, but it will increase the odds of a meaningful relationship. It takes time and effort, and that is one reason why relationships are difficult.

September 14, 2007

Household Income

Filed under: Uncategorized, Observations — Mark Sanborn @ 8:41 am

Are things better in the U.S. now than they were 25 years ago?

One indicator is median household income. Adjusted for inflation, it was $40,573 in 1982 and $48,201 now. That’s an increase of 18%.

August 21, 2007

Larger Than Life

Filed under: Uncategorized, Success, Difference Makers, Relationships — Mark Sanborn @ 10:29 am

This past weekend I attended a special event honoring my dear friend and legendary speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. A nickname like “Tremendous” might seem over-the-top, but not if you’ve met Charlie. His enthusiasm for life and love for people is authentic and makes him quite unlike anyone I’ve ever met.

In my tribute I said that the phrase I most often associate with Tremendous is “larger-than -life.” To me, people like him remind me that life can be larger than the way I experience it each day. Larger-than-life people stretch my thinking and inspire me by their refusal to play by the rules. Their over-sized commitments and passions inspire me, so when I say someone is larger-than-life it is a compliment of the highest order.

I hope you know someone who is larger-than-life, and that you get to spend time with them on a regular basis. If you do, you’ll know what a “tremendous” experience that is.

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