Enlightenment in the Vineyard
The region is quite small with limited production and focuses more on Spanish style wines like Temparnillo, Syrah, Grenache and "warmer" climate wines. It is reminiscent of our Rogue Valley located near the California border. Just as the Sierra appellation is overshadowed by Napa, most people associate Oregon with Pinot's. I can tell you some of the "warm weather" wines from the Umpqua region are fantastic.
In addition to getting to drink some great wine and enjoy some great company I had the chance to read an excellent book , Do You Matter and actually see some of the concepts in action.
Although the premise of the book is the criticality of design I saw significant parallels to my own perspectives on successful engagement strategy. The parallels for me included the systemic nature (both need to be included in all decisions) and the criticality of the internal in the process. We call internal customers employees.
The author said that the design is really creating a "portal" to the customer's experience with your product or service. I would submit that engagement is the same. If you think about the five levels of engagement I have discussed before, the highest level is that of pride of association. You have gone beyond a commodity to a shared experience. You have connected.
They point out that if your employees do not share this "connection" it will be reflected in their interactions with your customers. BlessingWhite and others share this perspective about engagement.
To put it in context; General Motors sells transportation, BMW or Porsche sell a lifestyle or experience. They are aspirational.
The reason I use the analogy of this wine experience is I saw several key elements represented in this particular community. The "tasting" experience is likely representative of Napa in the old days. You may have an opportunity to discuss the wine directly with the wine maker and/or owner. I recognize you can do that in Napa as well, but not for free or a tasting fee typically under $5!
One of the other things that is quite interesting is that several of the vineyards have tasting rooms located in close enough proximity to be entirely walkable. This allows you to enjoy the experience without worrying about driving or chartering transportation. There is excellent lodging and dining all in a contained area.
In the "better" wineries (MHO), the personalities of the people in the tasting room is also part of the experience. A kind of enthusiasm and ambiance is created. You are sharing an experience with others beyond just having wine.
When I developed my system of Compliance to Commitment I talked about the Human Resources Pyramid created by Roger Deprey-
- What is my job?
- How am I doing?
- Does anyone care?
- What do we do?
- How are we doing?
- How can I help?
The authors of Do You Matter ask:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Why does it matter?
Is is just me or do you see some parallels there?
So the "enlightenment" part comes in the concept that whether you approach it from the "people" perspective or the design perspective the conclusion is the same. Successful organizations build relationships, they don't engage in transactions. It is built into their processes rather than "engineered" over.
I was somewhat saddened to hear that one of the likely first casualties of the GM debacle will be Saturn. I remember when Saturn was cult like on the level of Harley. It was a culture designed from the ground up with the internal and external customer in mind. Their human resources systems were studied and copied and their customer satisfaction was on a par with Lexus. As they became more successful GM "fixed" them and demonstrated that culture eats strategy every time. In this case the GM engineering/finance culture crushed what was once Saturn.
A friend who left a large oil company told me that engagement isn't new, they have "done it" at her old company. Well, I hate to be a buzz kill, but it must have been "engineered" rather than designed in because the employees in the "stores" didn't get the message. If they have been immersed in that model they must have missed a few of the classes. To them I am definitely a transaction.
So perhaps it was the wine, but I think this culture by design and engagement thing has potential. It goes to stakeholders not shareholders and relationships not transactions. I like it.
As a consultant, teacher, and leader I would like to share the idea of organizations who seek commitment rather than compliance. I don't aspire to own it, but I think the idea of being kind of a "portal" to take organizations to a new place intrigues me. What do you think?