Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hit the Road, Jack!

Philippine Rabbit Nissan (417), UD Nissan CVK-...Image by express000 via Flickr

It's been a while since I've posted an update here, but not for a lack of interest - I've just found myself to have been extremely busy the past few weeks.

One of the things (and there are many!) that have taken up my time has been traveling to meet with customers, partners, prospective clients and other individuals within the GRC ecosystem. As I was being told I could feel free to unbuckle my seatbelt and walk around the cabin on a flight earlier this week, I was reminded of a conversation I had with a colleague at a different company many years ago.

I had just had a blowout argument with my CEO (long story...) and was really questioning whether I wanted to stay with the firm. My colleague suggested I hit the road and meet with customers, as doing so always rejuvenated him. I took his advice, and came back exhilarated! As a marketing guy, I always find it inspiring to talk with my customers and prospects - even if they're unhappy. These conversations give me so much insight into the challenges my target audience faces, ideas for how we can improve, but also how what we offer makes life easier/better for our users. I really don't see how you can't come back fired up!

For those of you who agree with me, I'd like to point you to an article written in 1995, but one I find to still be relevant today. It was written by Edward F. McQuarrie, a professor at Santa Clara University (coincidentally, an EthicsPoint customer!). The article is titled, Taking a Road Trip; Customer Visits Help Companies Recharge Relationships and Pass Competitors. I highly recommend it!

Some notes on my recent (and upcoming) travels:

  • I had an opportunity to speak at the annual ACFE conference last week. I have to hand it to the organization - I thought the conference was one of the best run events I have attended in my career - they really do a good job! Harry Markopoulus spoke during lunch one day - most people found his speech to be one of the highlights of the show. Personally, while I enjoyed it, he left me wanting much, much more. There is a big story behind the Madoff affair that has yet to be told, and Harry is a central figure in it. He did mention a forthcoming book - I will definitely be putting my order in ahead of time on Amazon!

  • One of the things that keeps coming up in my conversations with organizations is that they want a way to capture all the important reports of conduct violations that are conveyed in face to face meetings between employees and managers. I'm happy to report we announced an easy way for our customers to do just this via EthicsPoint Issue and Event Manager Report Forms yesterday.

I've gotta wrap this up - need to head to my afternoon meetings with a couple of customers here in the Cincinnati area and then plan for our Portland and Bay Area User Forums next week. If you'd like to share your comments or thoughts with me, please just reach out!
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