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Thoughts on Creating Customer Value

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How to Create One Success Every Day

Written by Linda Rolf on 3/20/2020

Ralph Waldo Emerson said "The creation of a thousand forests is one acorn."

If you're like most of us, you've had this uncomfortable conversation with yourself -- "I know I need to do something. I just don't know where to start."

When events beyond our control make it impossible to ignore this reality, starting can be even more paralyzing. The good news is you can not only confidently start but also arrive smiling at a successful finish.

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Tags: success mindset, productivity, idea execution, daily success

I'm Great at Ideas. It's Execution That ...

Written by Linda Rolf on 3/11/2020

I asked a long-time client and business leader recently what his biggest obstacle was. His answer sounded all too familiar.
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Tags: outsourced CIO, outsourced CTO, IT leadership, technology strategy, technology planning

Why Your IT Service Needs Aren't What They Used to Be

Written by Linda Rolf on 2/19/2020

Cyber attacks, information security, data protection, data breach. These are phrases that we are too familiar with today. In fact, they are becoming so commonplace that the temptation is to simply accept this as the new normal and move on. Have you dismissed the possibility of a breach happening in your own company?
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Tags: cybersecurity, information security, data security, MSSP, security service provider, vulnerability assessment

Successful People Like Elon Musk and Warren Buffett Practice the Thinking Time Rule

Written by Linda Rolf on 3/20/2019

I remember when I was a child hearing my mother mutter loudly “I can’t even hear myself think.” I thought that was very funny and didn’t make any sense. Even a child knew that what was in my mother’s head wasn’t going to magically fly out so she could hear it.

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Tags: thinking, productivity, learning, reading, Warren Buffett, Elon Musk, Bill Gates

8 Ways to Get Things Done...Even When You're "So Busy"

Written by Linda Rolf on 3/12/2019

"Someday is not a day of the week."--- Janet Dailey

If you're like time-starved professionals everywhere, at least one of these phrases sounds uncomfortably familiar to you.

Go ahead. Check all that make you nod, cringe or laugh.

____"We want to tackle that big initiative in a few months. We're busy right now."

____"I'm so busy I don't have time to stop and think."

____"Some days I just want to stay in my pajamas and crawl back into bed.."

Feel free to add some of your own.

The good news is you can reclaim your time, sharpen your focus, and get more of the things done that make a meaningful difference.

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Tags: productivity, efficiency, getting things done, mindset

How to Build Your Innovative Technology Team

Written by Linda Rolf on 1/16/2018 and updated 5/10/2018

There was a time not so long ago that technology and the IT teams that kept it all together were excluded from strategic planning discussions. Decisions that would ultimately rely on their successful technology execution were often made in the absence of any technical expertise and context.

Technology teams were handed specific results they were expected to deliver. There was no "why" to connect the "what". That missing link often led to poorly selected tools and technologies --- the "how" --- because of incomplete information and the rush to meet deadlines.

The outcome was predictable.

I remember vividly a project status review with a client's management team. It was a typical congenial closed door meeting, and the dialog went the way it usually did. "Where are we on the project? Does the development team have its assignments?" But then an interesting thing happened. It was determined that the client's development team was behind on a key task.

The group immediately leapt into problem-solving mode. "What is Dennis working on? What help do we think Karen needs to meet the due date?" This futile speculation continued until one out of patience manager leaned forward and quietly said "Why don't we just bring Dennis and Karen in here and ask them?"

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Tags: technology strategy, technology leadership, strategic growth, strategic innovation, marketing technology

6 Reasons Why I Really Value Informed Customers

Written by Linda Rolf on 10/5/2017 and updated 5/10/2018

I was sharing with a business acquaintance recently my frustration over the lack of responsiveness from a service provider. Two of my companies had engaged this new provider after promises of spectacular service, dedicated skilled resources and just an all-around delightful experience. That's not exactly how this relationship was playing out, and I was quickly reaching the end of my patience. My friend nodded knowingly and then simply stated "The problem is you know too much. I like clients who don't know anything." And there you have it.

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Tags: customer experience, marketing strategy

How to Successfully Lose a Client in 10 Words or Less

Written by Linda Rolf on 9/21/2017 and updated 5/10/2018

It’s a basic business truism.  There will be those times when things just don’t go the way they should. Whether it’s a major strategic project or just one of those random unexpected annoyances, things will run off track at the most inconvenient times. When the wheels come off, we often rely on the expertise of an outside service provider to resolve the problem with us.

What happens next can strengthen a valued service provider relationship, launch a wonderful new one or bring a trusted partnership to an abrupt end.  

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Tags: customer experience,customer engagement, customer retention, IT strategy, technology strategy

How to Build Your Successful Content Marketing Team

Written by Linda Rolf on 10/9/2017 and updated 5/9/2018

Getting started with content marketing can seem like a simple matter of creating some great content, pushing it out to your target audience and waiting for the clicks / taps / applause / connections. All too often this approach is how content marketing begins. Expectations are high. The content is good.

Why are the results so disappointing?

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Tags: content marketing, marketing plan, content marketing team

10 Tips for Delivering a Memorable Introduction Talk

Written by Linda Rolf on 9/26/2017 and updated 5/7/2018

In many groups and organizations, members have the opportunity to give a short “about me” introduction. Does the thought of public speaking leave you sweating and speechless?

Don’t worry --- you’re not alone. With some preparation and a few talking points that you are passionate about, you can deliver a great introduction.

This is possibly your first opportunity to introduce yourself to the entire membership. So let’s start with the end in mind. What is the single most important thing you want your listeners to remember about you?

With this as your goal, you’re ready to begin.

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Tags: public speaking, introduction speech, Rotary classification talk

6 Steps to Delivering Solutions Your Customers Will Appreciate

Written by Linda Rolf on 12/19/2017 and updated 5/2/2018

Have you have ever had that nagging “Are we staying on top of the latest marketing and technology ideas” thought?  If so, you’re far from being alone. The good news is the opportunities to engage with customers and prospects have never been more abundant. With this seemingly all you can eat buffet of connection channels comes a very real sense that we need to be consuming more. And this is where our anxiety really kicks in. Surely everyone else has figured it out, and we’re still back in the Dark Ages with no clue where to begin. It’s a story we tell ourselves too often.

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Tags: customer experience,customer engagement, customer retention, IT strategy, technology strategy

This Really Old Software Has to Go: Chapter 2 in the Series

Written by Linda Rolf on 3/15/2018

If you recall from Chapter 1 in this series, our first team meeting triggered an unexpected burst of energy and insights. Of the many topics that bubbled to the top, it became clear that Quoins, our custom legacy software, had earned a much-needed retirement.

Let me begin by saying that "legacy software" is not a phrase that should be shrouded in shame. Every company with a rich history has these reliable workhorses still delivering some ongoing value to the organization every day.

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Tags: software development, IT strategy

How an Old Company Is Becoming New Again: Chapter1

Written by Linda Rolf on 3/9/2018

Sometimes the best place to test that seemingly great solution is right in front of you. The right client is the one staring back at you in the mirror. In this case the client is one of my companies. We are literally living the commitment we make to treat each client's company as if it were our own.

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Tags: customer experience, growth strategy, marketing strategy, technology strategy

(Why and) How to Create a Buyer Persona

Written by Linda Rolf on 9/27/2017

I have to start with a confession. When we first began this "who is our customer and what are we doing for him" quest, the notion of buyer personas was met with more than a little exaggerated eye rolling. Some serious snickering was heard around the room. Who makes up stories about fictional people except preschoolers with uninhibited imaginations?

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Tags: content marketing,buyer persona, buyer persona template, market segmentation, buyer segmentation

5 Reasons You Don't Want to Fire Your Outsourced IT Team Yet

Written by Linda Rolf on 9/25/2017

If you’re a growing company where building an in-house IT staff makes financial and strategic sense, then replacing your outsourced IT team at the right time is a logical transition.

On the other hand, if you’re a growing company where having no internal or outsourced IT staff is your goal, then read on.

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Tags: IT strategy, IT managed services, IT outsourcing

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