Trying to Decide Which Products to Keep? Ask Your Customers.

Trying to Decide Which Products to Keep? Ask Your Customers.

Post-pandemic, many companies are faced with the challenge of ending product or service lines. When they think about which products and services to keep the natural source of information is the income sheet. Did the product or service make money? Transactional. Many times the income sheet gives a clear answer about which products and services to keep and which to get rid of. A clearly wrong answer.

A restorative leader will consult the income statement but before making a decision will ask the stakeholders. A distinguishing characteristic of restorative leadership is that the definition of stakeholder is necessarily fuzzy. Many businesses conduct customer surveys but the definition of stakeholder may extend out much further than the customer. It may include, for example, the end-user, the third-party beneficiary, the customer’s spouse and family, the community the product or service will serve, and on and on.

A restorative leader will listen to the stakeholders empathetically rather than try to convince the stakeholder that they are wrong about something they say. When a restorative leader feels offended or disgusted by a stakeholder, they seek to dig deeper to better understand the stakeholder’s position. This requires creating a safe place for the stakeholder to share. It requires leaders to receive what is shared as a gift. It is a gift — even if the leader didn’t want it — it is a valuable gift.

What restorative leaders often find is that the products or services are fine but the way they are delivered or installed or services needs to be changed. They often find that a small change to a product or service makes it more profitable. They often find that packaging existing products together makes them more profitable. They often find that stakeholders would be more loyal or would recommend products and services more if they simply received a little gratitude. They often find that stakeholders are willing to be partners and allies when they feel heard.

Trying to decide which products to keep? Don’t just ask your customers. Restoratively ask your stakeholders.

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Brandon Blankenship
What Can I Do When I Get Stuck?

What Can I Do When I Get Stuck?

Maybe I had it perfectly memorized but I got stuck. Maybe I prepared for hours but I got stuck. Maybe I never saw this question coming and I got stuck. About the only way to never get stuck is to never leave home and if you never leave home then, you are stuck. So, what can I do when I get stuck?

Spontaneity is the spark that ignites creativity. Spontaneous action comes from the limbic system. The limbic system is a set of structures in the brain that deal with emotions and memory. A lot of spontaneous action comes from the limbic system. So, action matters. One thing you can do when you get stuck is move. To the degree possible, move in the context you are stuck in. Stuck telling a story? Put the story in action. Stuck because you are speaking to a large crowd from the front of the room? Move to the back of the room.

What can you do when you get stuck? Get spontaneous.

What is one way to get spontaneous? Action.

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Brandon Blankenship
Regretitation

Regretitation

A regretitation is an apology concretized into a physical action or item. It is a concretized restorative action.

If someone harms another by running over their mailbox, a regretitation may be showing up the next day to restore their mailbox. A regretitation may be showing up with a new mailbox altogether. Or both.

Regretitation is a restorative leadership practice.

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Brandon Blankenship
Being Brave – Celebrating Humanity Builds Celebrated Communities

Being Brave – Celebrating Humanity Builds Celebrated Communities

Treat everybody like it’s their birthday.
-Kid President

The practice of celebrating humanity is first personal. It begins with acknowledgment. It begins with not looking away.

A couple to three times in my life I have been in a new group of people and the person that brought me introduced almost everyone else but me. I certainly didn’t feel celebrated. Had they forgotten my name, it would have been better if they would have said, “And let me introduce you to this fellow who will have to tell you his name.” The simple acknowledgment is the first step. How can you ever celebrate someone’s humanity if you have never seen them or heard them? You cannot. The practice of celebrating humanity is personal.

Finding ways to celebrate humanity — best you can — is restorative.

We easily celebrate the humanity of the special guest, the monied, and the celebrity. Restorative celebration is finding something to celebrate in the person perceived to be the least of these. It often requires being brave. Acknowledging people that up until now I have not seen, heard, or acknowledged requires being brave. If they are people who I find disrespectful or disgusting, acknowledging them requires being brave.

And this personal practice of celebrating, like all celebrations, grows publicly. Celebrated communities are made up of celebrated people.

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Brandon Blankenship
Sympathy or Empathy

Sympathy or Empathy

Sympathy is dropping coins into the beggars cup. Empathy is becoming the beggar.

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Brandon Blankenship

Leaderboards Make the Unseen Seen

Leaderboards Make the Unseen Seen

I’m not sure that leaderboards are appropriate for children’s early development years

There is some value and leaderboards for children as they transition from child to adult. Leaderboards make seen something that is naturally happening to children but is unseen. It concretizes the experience of distribution so that they see what they have and will experience in the world around them.

As long as there is scarcity, there will be an ordering in society. Some will have more and some will have less.1 This may even be true, just less impactful in an abundant society. That is an exercise in futility to consider, however, because we know that during this age there will never be a society without poverty. And as long as there is poverty, there will be an ordering of society. Some will have more and some will have less.

And this ordering is not limited to money. Someone will always be safer, have more love and belonging, have more confidence and more self-actualization.

The question then becomes what are the reasons why certain people have more and certain people have less. And this is magnified around the breaking point for a sustainable life. It is magnified when we are considering who gets more food and who gets less. Who gets more water and who gets less? Who gets more healthcare and who gets less? Who gets clean air and it gets less? Who gets fuel for warmth in freezing temperatures and who gets less?

We know these questions are being considered because we hear them when people ask, “how come?” How come they get this and I don’t? How come they get that and I don’t? The hard answer to that question is complex. I can answer some of the parts of this question, but not all. At least three forces are at work: natural consequences, personability, and luck or blessing.

Leaderboards make the unseen, seen. When someone’s name is ordered on a leaderboard their position is ordered so they can clearly see where there are. Perhaps more importantly, the criteria for movement on the board is clear. If the person wants to change their position on the leaderboard, they need only follow the criteria.

In most of life, the leaderboard is unseen. The criteria for movement are not clear. A response might be to see the leaderboard as an object lesson for life. There is a leaderboard and there are undisclosed criteria for movement on the unseen leaderboard. Maybe it would be better to learn the skills to discover what the criteria are and change our place on the leaderboard rather than sit where we are and ask, “how come?”

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Brandon Blankenship

  1. See generally, Matthew 26:11