Instead of Using a Translator, Partner With a Co-Facilitator

We finished up the Satir Model training today. It was a successful workshop, with every participant feeling like they got much more than their money’s worth. This post is about what a great job my friend Sasha did with translating between Russian and English. Sophia also did well when Georgian translation was required, and the four of us worked great as a team, but I particularly want to admire Sasha for now.

What was great about his performance is that he did not function as a translator. He was an integral part of the facilitation team. Steven was clear with him before the workshop began that he was not here to be a translator. That what we needed was someone who was going to be part of the facilitation team – which was Steven, me, Sasha, and Sophia.

About half-way through the workshop Sasha asked me how I thought he was doing. I told him I thought he was doing an amazing job. I could tell that he was not just translating literal words. Sasha has a PhD in Psychology and has been studying the Satir Model for many years with Steven, Laura Dodson, and others. When I or Steven would explain a concept in English, then Sasha would transform it into words that convey the message in Russian. A direct translation would rarely, if ever, suffice. When this happens, it is like having two people saying one thing.

For example, teaching is a creative art, and when I communicate a concept, the original words in English contain my creation of how to teach the topic. Then Sasha adds his creativity to the message as it is communicated in Russian. In this way, that set of words has meaning that makes sense and is able to be assimilated by more people, because it encompasses two people’s teaching style.

20141014_132911Because of Sasha’s high level of competence, there were also plenty of times where he would be able to give important information in Russian without me or Steven saying a word. There were a couple people who at times were not able to understand the concept in Russian, and needed to hear it in their native Georgian. Then, it would start with English, and Sasha would transform to Russian, and Sophia would transform to Georgian. That was interesting. And surprisingly, not a hinderance. This is due purely to how good Sophia and Sasha are.

Here is a picture of  Sasha (aka Dr. Alexander Cheryomukhin), who is not only an excellent facilitator, but a dear man who is fun to be around and has a great sense of humor. He humored my photographer-self when I requested this model pose of my euro-friend dressed in euro-attire standing in a euro-city.

 

Satir / Young Dot-to-Dot

Another good workshop day here in Tbilisi. During the day, I had a couple connect-the-dots moments, where I saw the how different Satir vehicles and Steven Young lessons connected horizontally and vertically. Here, I explain two of dot-connections: how credible images map to the Ways of Seeing the World model and how liminality and change are related to specific Satir vehicles.

Mapping Credible Images to Ways of Seeing the World

During the day, Steven and I introduced the Ways of Seeing the World model. Below is a picture of it in four languages – English (black ink on top), Ukranian (blue), Russian (bright red), and Georgian (light red or black on bottom).  We explained that the basis for everything we do as helpers and healers is to move people from a hierarchical view of the world to an organic view of the world.

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After that, Steven led a very good piece for a woman whose grandfathers had died in wars. Since we are training therapist / psychologists the biggest part of the group processing is to discuss the process, not so much what people learned personally (although there is a lot of it, for sure).

One woman commented how she noticed toward the end when Steven said “let me show you what didn’t happen” it really changed the dynamic and how it deepened the learning for the star (the person who offered themselves as the “client”). I explained that this was Steven presenting the star with credible images of how she could make the change in herself that she desired. I wove in that every time you hear those words, you know that a credible image of change is being presented, and that the change will move the star’s way of seeing the world from Hierarchical to Organic. I invited the trainees to consider which of the four aspects of the Ways of Seeing the World model (the rows in the chart above) we are presenting a credible image of each time we say “let me show you what didn’t happen”. It was a great connect-the-dots teaching, that was very helpful to the attendees.

How Liminality and Change are Related to Specific Satir Vehicles

In the evening, we presented a special seminar on Liminality for people who paid in advance. During that, Steven explained that when you get to the point in working with someone where they need to change the meaning about themselves and accept how deeply they love instead of feeling worthless, that is the sacrifice required for change to happen here and now in the liminal space. For those more familiar with the work of Virginia Satir, we are talking about the Feeling about the Longing in the Anger Model.

In addition to making a sacrifice yourself, it is the practitioners job to judge the sacrifice of the client – is it enough the create the change desired? If it is not enough, you don’t judge it as such. You cannot ask for, let alone demand, the sacrifice. You can explain what is required for the desired change to occur; but you cannot ask the client to do it. You can only judge the sacrifice they make and not let something go that will not suffice for the client.

 

Does IT need a Customer Success Team?

Is it time for IT in non-technology companies to create a Customer Success team? I had coffee yesterday with the managing partner at a technology consulting firm. They focus on strategy and methodology, primarily for business technology consumers. It’s a successful practice with over thirty customers, and she had not yet heard about Customer Success teams.

Is it time for IT in non-technology companies to create Customer Success teams? I had coffee yesterday with the managing partner at a technology consulting firm. They focus on strategy and methodology, primarily for business technology consumers. It’s a successful practice with over thirty customers, and she had not yet heard about Customer Success.

In the technology product space, Customer Success has reached a tipping point. Customer Success is the evolution of account management and professional services, combined. It is a big enough shift in how to approach customer relationships that it warrants a new name. When I first had the title “Vice President Customer Success” in 2006, it was not something people had heard of. People wanted my business card so they could see it in writing. Nowadays, if you are a technology company and don’t have a Customer Success group, you are behind. There are Customer Success meetup groups, and SaaS solutions that are “Customer Success” solutions.

If you are in IT, and you were to create a Customer Success team, it would mean the following:

  • A dedication to knowing who your customers are. I would expect this includes the other departments of your company, probably some of their customers, and hopefully the customers that provide your company with revenue.
  • Understand how your customers determine value. Don’t just think about their label (Accounting, Store Managers, etc…) – understand the persona – what they do and how they derive value from technology.
  • Know how you are providing value to your customers. What actions of yours help your customers derive that value from technology. Do you maintain systems, customize solutions, run a help desk, etc…
  • Create ways to track and measure your value delivery. Not just with questions and surveys, but also by such means as how many help desk tickets they open, and the average response rate, how much they use the technology that’s been implemented or built, how many projects have they requested, etc…
  • Maintain proactive relationships with your internal customers. You not only understand them, but are able to suggest solutions and solve problems before they may know they need them.

If you are looking for a holistic view of your internal customers, what they need, and how well you are delivering it to them, then you either need a Customer Success team, or something that acts a lot like one.

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This was originally posted on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/article/20140903131504-4190039-does-it-need-customer-success-teams. I am experimenting with different mediums to get my messages out. I will report on my findings when I have something to report.

 

Presenting at Customer Success MeetUp Session on Sep 11: http://bit.ly/1CyMbM8

I’m excited to be presenting at the Colorado Customer Success MeetUp Group this coming Thursday, Sep 11 in Denver. I’ll be presenting the model that I am building on the Developmental Stages of the StartUp ~ Customer Relationship. Since this is a group of people who enjoy thinking about Customer Success and know something about it, I am going to make this an interactive session and use feedback to improve upon the model. If you would like to participate in the discussion, or just sit back and listen, please come.

From Passive to Active: A Case Study

I am reading this book, Sin and Syntax, by Constance Hale. It is a marvelous essay on how to write – fun to read, and educational. I just finished the chapter on verbs, and have learned more explicitly about the difference between passive and active voice. One big sign of passive is how often the verb to be and its conjugations (is, are, was, etc…) appear. Using static verbs displays less action, and creates a less enticing story – the reader is more apt to loose attention when more static verbs are read.

Dynamic verbs on the other hand, demand attention, and when spoken with the mind’s voice, grip the reader to the words as they are heard by the mind’s ear. By reducing the time between spoken and heard, dynamic verbs cleave a path through all distractions clamoring for the mind’s attention, and create an easy to follow path of thought that engages.

(Can you tell that the first paragraph contains passive voice, while active voice drives the second?)

Hale states that some writers dedicate an entire draft review to eliminating the passive, or static, verbs, and replacing with dynamic verbs. I looked at my introduction to Forman Consulting that was in my previous post – and found a high ratio of static to dynamic verbs. I rewrote it, eliminating all static verbs. I have displayed it below. I may have gone to far, and should maybe reintroduce some static verbs at key points, but I wanted to see how it came out. I can definitely feel the difference. I have also included my original first, so you can easily compare for yourself.

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Original, More Passive Voice Draft:

My mission is to drive penetration of technology products into customer organizations. Sales creates first impact with the customer, but that is only the beginning of the lifelong sales process. Once the sale is made, the product must be continually resold to drive product value further into the customer organization.

More customer stakeholders using more of the product is the goal. This will drive expanded sales and ingrain your product in the organizational business processes. The deeper the product is driven, the more the value is realized, and the harder the product is to remove.

A process has been defined to achieve this goal. The four basic steps of the process are:

  1. Identify Customer Stakeholders
  2. Determine Stakeholder Current State
  3. Educate on Product Capabilities
  4. Build Future State using Product

By following this methodology, you can get more of your customer stakeholders using more product and help them build better processes using your technology so that it would be detrimental to remove it.

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Active Voice Draft:

My mission: drive penetration of technology products into customer organizations. Sales create first impact with the customer, and that only begins the lifelong sales process. Once sold, the product must be continually resold to drive product value further into the customer organization.

You want more customer stakeholders using more of your product. This will drive expanded sales and ingrain your product in the organizational business processes. The deeper the product penetrates, the more value realization occurs, and the more detrimental to the customer to remove it.

I have defined processes to enable the product organization to lead customers to realize greater product value.

  1. Identify Customer Stakeholders
  2. Determine Stakeholder Current State
  3. Educate on Product Capabilities
  4. Build Future State using Product

Services offered range from leading Services organizations, consulting and training, and working with Executive and Sales teams to enable Services and Product sales through messaging, collateral creation, and process development.

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Thanks to my wife Toni, for leaving the book lying around so it could catch my eye, and for activating this post with her edits.

Forman Consulting Re-Launch

In May, I left ILANTUS full-time and started a consulting practice. My ideas around “the intersection of customers and technology” are growing and I’m working on a written intro to the new train of thought, and have put it below. If you have any feedback, please let me know.

The Forman Consulting mission is to drive penetration of technology products into customer organizations. Sales creates first impact with the customer, but that is only the beginning of the lifelong sales process. Once the sale is made, the product must be continually resold to drive product value further into the customer organization.

More customer stakeholders using more of the product is the goal. This will drive expanded sales and ingrain your product in the organizational business processes. The deeper the product is driven, the more the value is realized, and the harder the product is to remove.

A process has been defined to achieve this goal. The four basic steps of the process are:

  1. Identify Customer Stakeholders
  2. Determine Stakeholder Current State
  3. Educate on Product Capabilities
  4. Build Future State using Product

By following this methodology, you can get more of your customer stakeholders using more product and help them build better processes using your technology so that it would be detrimental to remove it.

The Imagination Modification

My on-again off-again relationship with meditation is back on, for the time being anyway. I appreciate Brad Feld for recently writing about his meditation journey and inspiring me to start meditating again. For the last week, I’ve meditated almost every day.

In a previous post I wrote about the Patanjali Yoga Sutras and how Patanjali teaches that yoga is about stilling the five modifications of the mind – memory, imagination (fancy), right knowledge, wrong knowledge, and sleep. At the time, I was fascinated by the predominance of memory in my meditation. I have noticed that my tendency now shifts toward imagination – thinking about the future, or watching visions/dreams play out in my mindscape. Today, I even imagined writing this blog post, until I stilled that thought.

I also learned a lesson about being gentle in meditation. When it comes to discipline, I’m usually a bit harsh – on myself, and others. In meditation, I’ve learned that when one of these modifications arises, it’s a good practice to bring your awareness to your breath. Today, rather than abruptly trying to bring my attention to my breath, I first noticed my breath was there, and this of course brings attention to it. I then gently let my mind go of the modification which was consuming it (imagination mostly), and brought more awareness to my breath. In doing this, I noticed that even when the modifications came back, there was more space in my mind. Every time, there was less and less of a crowd.

That additional space kept me absorbed in watching. I usually set a timer to make sure I meditate for a certain amount of time – usually twenty minutes. At some point in my meditation, I have the thought “I wonder when the timer will go off”. This morning, that thought never came, I was absorbed watching all the way until the timer emerged.