What Did I Just Learn From MBA Candidates?

I just learned what I know is an important lesson.  I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it is though, and what to do with it.  First, some background…

My extra-business passion is trying to make Acworth, my adopted home town in Cobb County GA, the coolest community there is.  I’ve chosen to help do so by serving on the board of the Cobb Symphony Orchestra.  In that role, I’ve had the great good fortune of meeting and working with Dr. Tim Blumentritt, the Director of the MBA program at Kennesaw State University’s Coles School of Business.  He engineered and executed a new independent study course for MBA candidates to learn via real-world consulting for a non-profit organization.   Tiffany Tooley, Calder Harris, Monique Wilson, Rachel Godbee & Marlan Crawford delivered nothing less than an extraordinary result.  THANK YOU!

I’ll “wax eloquent” on the CSO’s blog about their amazing contribution, but here on the SPE blog, I’ll stick to B2B selling and the power of the E-Rep.  (Click here for more on what I mean by that.)

OK, finally, here’s what has me scratching my head.  One-on-one after the final presentation (at an Irish pub on Cinco De Mayo) one of the things Tim asked was what I’d change if I had a do-over.  I told him my regret was the limited amount of time I had been able to invest in talking to these 5 great scholars.  Tim screwed up his face and said that all five were really jazzed about how I had been so “available and responsive.”  Huh???

My perception and their perception were 180 degrees out of sync.

How can this be?  Well, they’re all 20 or 30 something.  I’m 56.  I’ve made my living connecting and working face-to-face.  What to me were impersonal, cryptic, electronic responses to questions and requests were evidently business-as-usual for them.  They’re obviously WAY better at connecting, communicating and producing results using web 2.0 & social media tools.   Should I be impressed with myself?  Or I am really just another baby-boomer who only thinks he “gets” it?  Is it possible that I’m “wasting” a lot of time doing so much of my business face-to-face?  What exactly is the lesson here?

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • I think what it comes down to is that communication, or the art of communicating, is subjective. We each have our own idea about how much information we need and how/when we’d like to receive it. In light of the instantaneous access we now have to all sorts of information, courtesy of this world wide web of data, you can see how this way of thinking about communication becomes even more relevant. The real key to successful communication is in understanding who you’re communicating to and how they prefer to communicate. If your clients prefer f2f time, than most likely you’re doing exactly what you need to meet your clients’ needs and get the job done.

    • Tiffany – You’re right, of course. What fascinates me is that for years & years I’ve been in the habit of asking my customers their preferred means of communication. A bit embarrassing that I never asked that simple question of the KSU team. Luckily stumbled blindly down the right path! – Todd

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