What do you really want to get out of this summit today? Turn to your neighbor and tell them what you expect from this conference--just a word or two--then we’ll come back together and see what themes emerge.
Let’s learn a little more about who is in our audience today.
Okay by show of hands...
Do we have any QA directors here?
How about QA managers?
How many personnel that work on the QA team?
Others that interact with the QA department?
How many here do NOT have a QA department?
Who have I forgotten?
Today you are in the The Abundance Mentality lecture, and my name is Mathew Stucki. We always have a few people relocate after that announcement, and that’s okay…in fact I asked myself
1. What are the 2 or 3 most relevant questions in your minds today? You said some words a moment ago. What were they?
2. What aspects of QA would you predict to be most relevant to an abundance mentality? You're right!
3. You no doubt have come today with a number of questions in your mind:
“When you think of your business, what in your mind are the primary functions of QA department?"
"Or, if you could change one thing about QA to make it more useful, what would that one thing be?"
"Or, think of your very best QA experience. What was it like? What allowed it work as effectively as did?"
We can take QA to the next level of effectiveness and add greater value to your business with the abundance mentality.
Can you think of somethings that require an abundance mentality to resolve them?
I had a hotpocket the other day—you know those little burrito-looking pizza flavored (treats). The directions said to cook for 2 min in the microwave, or I could choose a conventional oven, and it would take 28 min .. which so you think I chose? Why?
So why am I even here speaking today? I don’t have an incredible resume of life experiences or hold a position of authority in quality assurance curriculum. When I look at this audience, all of you are my superiors and have many of these talents.
Then I thought, that’s exactly why I am here…we can learn from each other!
Too often we think “I can’t do that. Someone much more qualified than me is needed,” to which I respond fiddlesticks. So I stand before you today to share with you some profound news. Yeah. That is my intention anyway.
Let’s talk about you for a minute…
You’re going to have naysayers; you’re going to have people that wanna bring you down or tell you that you can’t do it. But remember…lions don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.
You can do it. Several times every day, I will tell myself “You can do it.”
So let’s begin with a story.
Over 100 years ago an American poet put to rhyme an ancient parable. The first verse of the poem begins…
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
In the poem each of the six travelers takes hold of a different part of the elephant and describes to the others what he has discovered.
One of the men finds the elephant’s leg and responds that an elephant is round and rough like a tree. Another feels the elephant’s tusk and describes the elephant as a spear. A third grabs the tail and insists an elephant is like a rope. The fourth discovers the trunk and reveals the elephant is similar to a large snake.
Each is describing truth and because his truth comes from personal experience, each insists that he knows what he knows.
The poem concludes…
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
Does that ever happen to us? We look at this story from a distance and smile. After all, we know what an elephant looks like. We have read about them or watched them on film, and many of us have seen them with our own eyes.
We believe we know the truth of what an elephant really is. That someone could make a judgment based on one aspect and apply it to the whole seems absurd or even unbelievable.
On the other hand can’t we recognize in ourselves these six blind men? Of course we can. We are all trying to solve problems with limited vision. We do our best with what we have. That’s all we can do, right? Maybe, there’s an even better alternative.
25 years ago I worked for a burgeoning computer software company, WordPerfect, for all you old timers. The company did something unique for its time: Toll-free support lines. Now with cell phones today that doesn't sound so great, but at the time, toll free support for word processing software was revolutionary. We were the only ones doing it back in those days. We helped business owners, network administrators, and system engineers. We guided students and receptionists and lawyers and taught them how to use WordPerfect. Sometimes we even helped grandmas. Everyone called our support line. It was free.
We took all calls, whether they were using WordPerfect or something else. People had questions about our software or how to best solve particular problems. And day-in and day-out, we did our best to support these folks and answer their questions.
Yup. Our customer base was pretty diverse. And because we talked with them every day we heard their ideas and documented their feedback. Instead of a new release once a year like so many computer companies, we delivered updates every few months—sometimes in just a couple months. And often the ideas the customers provided were already implemented in the new versions they purchased, or they would recognize them when they upgraded, so people felt appreciated, listened to, and invested.
Imagine with me for a moment that you contact a vendor about a problem. During your phone conversation, you provide some feedback and offer an idea that you would like to see. In the next release, your idea is already implemented. How would that make you feel? You become invested and part of the team. You are loyal to the brand because it is partly yours and includes your contributions. The idea may have come from many people, but when it was implemented, each individual contributor swells with pride.
And yet we supported all calls--even those from competitors--whether or not they were using WordPerfect. People called up our support lines everyday for help, and occasionally folks called with questions about using our competitor WordStar or other word processors. And Alan Ashton, the company's brainchild and founder insisted we support them as well, so we did our best. No one else in the word processing arena was offering toll-free support at the time, so it was a big deal.
A little aside, we had lots of people calling everyday and wait times escalated. So the leadership team authorized hold jockeys to entertain customers while they waited. These were live DJs that served up music, took requests, and updated customers how long they had been waiting and the time remaining in the queue. They announced which groups were busy or those that were currently available, included brief ads, offered tips and tricks, all the while delivering the people’s music. It was not uncommon for me when I answered the phone for the customer to ask if I would put them back on hold for a minute or two so they could listen to the hold jockey.
It went viral before viral was even a thing.
The Abundance Mentality is a way of thinking, people either come from abundance or from scarcity. Abundant minded people know that the world is full of endless opportunity, the universe is filled with limitless resources, and people have unlimited potential. Scarcity minded people on the other hand put limits on everything and live in fear of running out.
Perhaps the best example is love. You can love more than one person infinitely. If you’ve had more than one child you already know this. The first child is born and you love that little soul with all your heart. The next baby comes along and you love that one with all your heart as well. Loving more children or friends or partners doesn’t diminish love or take away love from those that came before. It magically expands in infinite abundance.
You have probably already seen the Greatest Showman…(It’s a great flick)…There is a scene that continues to take my breath away; it literally gives me chills. It’s where the outcome hangs in the balance on a musical performance.
During this part in the show, the main actor, Hugh Jackman, witnesses an opera singer performing. It is a crucial time in the film, and he is betting all his marbles on this act. The music hall is filled to capacity, and the audience awaits anxiously. As the concert begins, at first he is nervous and rolls his eyes, hoping for success. What happens next blows him away .. and me.
As soon as the strains begin to loft into the air and the melody grows, he is pleased with the outcome and the satisfaction shows on his face in the form of a smile. But suddenly the song culminates and the majesty of the performance begins to amaze him. His breathing accelerates. The presentation is really getting good and has exceeded his fondest expectations, but it’s not over.
As the piece reaches its climax, he is awestruck and can’t believe what is happening. At the song’s conclusion, the applause erupts and the audience leaps to their feet. He stands breathless and astounded—stunned really—and can’t believe what just happened. It’s my favorite part of the movie.
We all have lots of emotions, pressures, and responsibilities of many types that influence what we do and how we respond in certain situations. But remember this: People will forget what you say. People won't always remember what you do. But people--your customers--will never forget the way you make them feel.
Make life easier and better than anything we know at the moment and your future is bound to be bright and your success certain.
Remember, the abundance mentality is a way of thinking. It applies to the service industry and delighting both internal and external customers alike.
Do more for your guests and employees than they expect, and they will love you for it and sing your praises… possibly for years to come.
Studies show that dissatisfied customers will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people. Happy customers who get any issues resolved tell 4-6 people about their experience.
Dissatisfied customers tell more.
Satisfied customers tell less.
Word of mouth is still the strongest form of advertising, and it happens all around us.
These all come from recommendations of people we believe and trust.
A mentor of mine is known for saying "If every time you give me a dollar, I give you two, how long are you going to do that?" His attitude is one of abundance and people flock to be around him and associate with this good man. Shawn Robotham
We implement QA strategies and devise successful quality plans that deliver results. But try as we might, problems happen so we have a backup plan when they do, and the abundance mentality turns stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
Charles Swindoll--noted author and evangelical Christian pastor and educator once wrote the following:
"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company ... a church ... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude ... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me, and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you ... we are in charge of our Attitudes."
And that is true when working with our customers as well. Customers who experience a problem but have their issue quickly and completely resolved become more loyal than customers who never experience the problem in the first place.
So you came here looking for ways to engage your QA team and figuratively speaking get a shot-in-the-arm for your QA strategy. This is it! The Abundance Mentality is what will differentiate you from your competitors, make your strategy stand out among your peers, and help your goals and objectives be realized daily and basically go viral.
Mentors do it all the time. Failures never quite get it right.
Internal and external customers become our advocates and all are influenced by the abundance mentality.
Time is up. I wish we could talk more about the successful people that have influenced me so greatly, and how they used the Abundance Mentality to achieve this. It is life changing. It’s a lesson we must all learn, and learn well.
One more story before I close. (This excerpt comes from mega-bestseller and time management guru Stephen Covey)
We discover our potential and who we can become when we catch the vision of who we are and why we are here now. When an eagle builds its nest, it builds a very large nest and it goes very high to a high mountain or a high cliff. Eagle nests can be 4-5 feet across—some eagles have wing spans of eight feet. They are big magnificent birds. But the nest an eagle builds is different from other birds' nests. It takes long, sharp sticks and weaves them together so that the ends all stick up. And then when it has the foundation built, it flies out and gathers leaves and branches and grass from many places and weaves them together to create a comfortable nest so the feathers and the down, if you will, comes up above the sharp sticks.
Then the eagle lays one or two eggs, and maybe one or two eaglets survive. Mom goes out everyday and brings back food for the little eagles. They think they have it made. Then after the eagles begin to grow, at a certain point the mother does a very interesting thing. The mother eagle begins to pull from the nest the leaves and grass and feathers until it becomes very uncomfortable. Then the eaglets seem to say "Wow mom what happened to our home? This isn't like it used to be. (What a bummer)" When mom is satisfied that they're pretty unhappy with their home, the mother eagle does a fascinating thing. She lays her eagle wing down over the nest and says something audibly, and if we could understand what she was saying, we would hear her say something like "Get off the nest and on to my wing." The little eaglets do so and pretty soon find themselves in a warm and comfortable surrounding in the mother's wing (just like home used to be), and then without any warning mother dives out of the nest. The eaglets are holding on for their lives and mother begins to fly out over the countryside. Just as they are starting to like this new arrangement and thinking this is really great, she begins circling around and up and up she goes. And once she gets high enough without any notice, mom turns her wing over and shakes them off. And these baby eaglets come screaming out of the sky. They don't know how to fly yet, and they're tumbling head over wing screaming bloody murder. And then mom does what the naturalists refer to as a miracle of nature. She swoops down and catches them before they hit the ground (now if you saw Superman, you know that is possible). She comes to their rescue and puts them back on her wing, and when they find themselves back in the same situation they were before, they’re a little petrified and wide eyed. And what does mom do? She begins to circle back up. They know what's coming now, and they're hanging on for dear life. She gets up there and does the same thing, shakes them off and they come screaming out of the sky a second time. Mom dives down and catches them. Then about the third time when these eagles are screaming out of the sky and mom swoops by with those big magnificent wings, they say to themselves "You know, I have two of those. Why don't I use them?" And pretty soon ‘fwoosh’ those wings go out and they fly. And then they are off on their own, and they fly away and never come back again after that. They go and repeat the same thing, because they know how. They have been taught well.
In a very real sense that is kinda what happens to us. We get dropped until we discover our wings, and a lot of us come screaming out of the sky just like those eaglets. And we watch good men and women all around us .. and as we see their success, we say I can do that. Why don’t I try. And one of those trips out of the sky, our wings come out and we fly.
Remember the last really good customer service experience you had / now think of your worst customer service experience. I'll bet the abundance mentality was involved in these two extreme examples .. why? Sometimes we use extremes to isolate issues not alway recognizable in common interactions. This attitude can make or break you.
These stories are nothing more than fodder for discussion if we do not implement the principles found in them. Goals are not enough. You need mechanisms .. a mechanism is a goal with a measure that ensures the desired outcome.
One possible example I like o use could be administrators trying to employ resources to help manage the speed limit in front of an elementary school: crossing guards, red flags, blinking lights. At times they will employ the services of a traffic officer or engage the flashing lights on a cruiser to help control speeds. Still, parents in a hurry or anxious community members on their way to the office may not observe the posted speed limit. But put a speed bump in the road and presto, problem solved. No one has to be there. It just works. [1:30]
Quality mechanisms like the Abundance Mentality consistently work when you need them to.
What I have discussed here today is NOT complete. It’s just the beginning. You will use the remainder of your career and your life fine-tuning, practicing, and implementing the abundance mentality. And it will work for you, just like it does for millions of others.
Let it change your world, your business, and extend your quality assurance efforts and your life for good … you can do it.
Thank you very much.