Perspective – Walking in my clients shoes

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There’s an old saying that goes, “You don’t know a man unless you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.”  Yesterday I start a new venture that is certain to give me a new perspective – that of my clients.  As the CEO of a website services company, I see things from the perspective of my sales and web design staff.  This week I am starting a new project as the client for my own company.

I am leading the redevelopment effort for my church’s website.  I’ve asked my sales and web design staff to treat me like any other client (just keep in mind I sign your paychecks, just kidding).  What’s cool about it is the way that working on the “other side” will help to build understanding and create synergy in so many ways.

First, I get to put my 11 years as the CEO of a website services company to work for my church.  I would hope that the insight and experience I’ve gained over the years would give me some unique insight into what works and what doesn’t, priories, and so forth.  As a result, I hope my church will end up with a great website and avoid many of the pitfalls that other organizations have fallen into.

Second, I get see my company’s processes from the client’s perspective.  I’ve already found two things in the sales process that I thought were really confusing, spoke to our director of sales about them, and changes are being implemented.

Third, while leading the redevelopment of the church’s website, there are a lot of things that have to happen within the church to make the new website successful.  I need to find out what functionality the site really needs.  I need to get “buy in” from the people who will be updating the site.  I’ll need to train them as well.  I need to get “buy in” from the people who do other forms of communication – verbal announcements, programs, letters, etc – so they will mention the website.  I need to get people in the congregation to use the new website.

Right now our clients are on their own when it comes to these things.  We develop the website, but it’s their job to keep it up to date and get people to use it.  That won’t change because of this project, but we should be able to advise people on those issues.  We want to do everything we can to help our clients more successfully use their websites.  So, I’ll be blogging about the project from start to finish on our our company blog.

So, what can you do to give yourself a new perspective?  What can you do to better understand the people around you – your spouse, kids, neighbors, co-workers, those in need?  The experience and insight gained can be extraordinarily valuable.

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