Uncommon Service Blog

Thursday, July 19, 2012
The low point of a service experience is often the part where we have to hand over our money.  Here are ten ways to make it as painless as possible: Keep it simple, transparent and fair. Respect our humanity. We know one company that refers internally to customers as RPUs (Revenue-Producing Units... more ►

Thursday, March 22, 2012
Post originally appeared on HBR.org. Silicon Valley's been cracking with activity in the last few years — along with Melbourne, Australia and Santiago, Chile. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, there's been a sharp uptick in entrepreneurship around the planet, with the number of... more ►

Sunday, March 11, 2012
Post originally appears at HBR.org here. Silicon Valley's been cracking with activity in the last few years — along with Melbourne, Australia and Santiago, Chile. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, there's been a sharp uptick in entrepreneurship around the planet, with the number of... more ►

Saturday, March 10, 2012
In the NYT's article this week about Dell's recent decline, what struck me most was how far Dell had strayed from its original obsession with customers.  My sense had always been that Dell's  low-cost fanaticism was in many ways similar to Wal-Mart's -- their mission was to deliver the absolutely... more ►

Saturday, March 3, 2012
Author comments:  There's no universal definition of excellence, in any service business, and the "perfect haircut" is a great example of this.  Customers will judge you according to their own standards, and your job is to uncover those standards quickly and painlessly. That usually means you have... more ►

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
In today’s column David Brooks tells a riveting story about rapid change in the culture and mindset of the U.S. Army, in response to bad news coming back from the Iraq War.  The story itself is fascinating — he chronicles the rise of the “COINdinistas,” a small group of leaders led by Gen. David... more ►

Friday, February 24, 2012
Your generosity of spirit betrays your divisive posturing -- be who you are. We all have small and large versions of ourselves. Rise to the size of your growing platform. Eat right and exercise. You can be a righteous force in the world if you stick around for a while. Love your neighbor as... more ►

Friday, February 24, 2012
  It's not easy to jump into the public leadership game. It's arguably even harder for women and other "diverse” leaders, or for anyone carrying the burden of a spotlight they didn't earn. Most political children go quietly into the political night, despite our fixation on the high-profile... more ►

Friday, February 24, 2012
One of the more remarkable sentences I've seen in a long time appeared in an article by Michael Lewis on  performance measurement in the NBA: “Battier’s game is a weird combination of obvious weaknesses and nearly invisible strengths. When he is on the court, his teammates get better, often a lot... more ►

Friday, February 24, 2012
In an article in the LA Times this weekend, Sam Calavitta was celebrated as an extraordinary high school math teacher. The author wrote "think drill sergeant and trusted advisor" in his description of Sam.  In an earlier post I wrote about the need to set both high standards and be on the side of... more ►

Friday, February 24, 2012
Have we moved beyond these cumbersome divisions we call states? In a recent Op-Ed Tom Brokaw proposed that local governments blur their administrative lines and work together to deliver services more efficiently. In discussing North and South Dakota's 17 colleges and universities, he made the... more ►

Friday, February 24, 2012
A truth about the human experience is that the needs that mothers strive to fill – our need for unqualified support, for people who can handle both our audacity and insecurity, for people who believe in the possibility of our triumph, despite the sometimes overwhelming odds against it – these... more ►

Friday, February 24, 2012
Business Week recently described how Marvin Ellison, Home Depot's newly-minted Executive Vice-President of U.S Stores, improved the store experience in the wake of Bob Nardelli's infamous tenure.  Nardelli made several decisions that have been widely criticized, including some explicit cost/... more ►

Friday, February 24, 2012
The decision to lead is not particularly complicated, at least not on the surface.  It's a simple, often quiet commitment to create the conditions for other people's success. The NYT had a great illustration of this philosophy in its article on Clarence Otis Jr., the CEO of Darden Restaurants.  In... more ►

Friday, February 24, 2012
Anna Deavere Smith is best known for playing diverse characters in powerful, thoroughly researched, one-woman shows about events that shake us at the foundation such as the L.A. riots.  Smith is among the great observers of our time.  She holds a mirror up at an angle that always illuminates and... more ►

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