Well, Washington has given us yet another poster child for bad Brand behavior.
The recent meltdown in the launch of the website for on-line enrollment to obtain health insurance required under the Affordable Care Act has shone a spotlight of Brand incompetence brighter than all the lights on Broadway. The technical problems, most of which were avoidable had the project been properly managed from the get-go, were only compounded by the behavior of the players in response to the web-site problems, from the President on down.
So many others have delved into the analysis of this debacle from a political perspective. I don’t wish to go there. Rather, I’d like to point out the lessons to be learned relating to building and sustaining a strong Brand. Actually the mistakes were so blatantly basic that most of us probably already know them. So calling them lessons is probably an insult to the intelligence of most everyone. Instead, I will call them REMINDERS.
Reminder 1: ALWAYS focus on the customer experience you want to deliver. Design, build and deliver with the desired customer experience in mind – AND EXCLUDE ALL THE IRRELEVANT CRAP that serves only as a distraction. Don’t be consumed and diverted by what your competition is doing or saying. Focus on brilliant execution; it’s the truest path to success.
Reminder 2: Under-promise and over-deliver. It seems our government has gotten it backwards – almost always. There is no surer way to destroy your credibility and trustworthiness than by making promises and commitments that you are late in meeting and that don’t deliver the results you promised.
Reminder 3: Learn from past mistakes (your own and those of others) in ways that enable you to continuously improve. If you are attempting something that has never been done before, it’s normal to make mistakes. Those kinds of mistakes are the result of creativity, of experimentation, the bold breaking of new ground. But if, instead, you use past mistakes as substantiation for continued poor performance, if you somehow try to point to those mistakes as defining what is normal and to be expected – then I have no words to adequately describe your incompetence.
I can feel my blood beginning to boil as I write this, so I’ll leave you with this thought:
Politicians, promoters and con artists deliver promises. Real leaders deliver results.
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