Stop Admiring the Problem…Get Thee to a Customer Advisory Board Meeting!

I live in New England, so amassing snow every winter is no surprise. However, our most recent storm —which was inches of ice, not snow — was unexpected. But, I did what I always do — went outside to start shoveling. I quickly realized that with a sheet of ice covering my entire driveway, a shovel and ice melt alone wasn’t going to cut it. I had to improvise.

I walked into my garage, grabbed our landscape edging tool and began to slowly chip away at the massive amount of ice that was before me. I took frequent breaks and stood for minutes at a time just pondering — there must be a better way! I dazed off, but came back to reality and realized that the ice was not going to chisel itself, and something dawned on me… I was wasting time admiring the problem. What I really needed was a quick brainstorm-sesh with my fellow neighbors to hear what was working on their driveway / ice rinks. Everyone in the neighborhood was taking a different approach — one was using only a shovel, another was using his snow blower, and another was using a push-broom. While it appeared that none of us were making progress, it might help to huddle up and hear what was working best. Should I spend time firing up the snow blower? Or head to the attic to get my push-broom too?

I know brainstorm sessions can prove to be extremely valuable. Why? Because we hear it often in our work at Farland Group — whether in a customer advisory board meeting, or in a working group session in between board meetings. Sitting around the virtual meeting table and having a therapy session to collectively discuss a particular problem is beneficial. And taking that problem and turning it into actionable items and a set of next steps is even more valuable for everyone involved.

Have a peer-group discussion to hash out a specific, industry-wide challenge and hear what others are thinking and doing, and why. What has worked for others and what hasn’t? What are the next steps we can take to move X forward… it’s why customer advisory board meetings are important for you and your customers.

I challenge you to stop admiring the problem — any problem really — and start turning it into a set of actions to progress as a group. And in the meantime, if anyone finds a solution for snow or ice, other than the obvious shovel or snow blower, do let me know!

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