Preventing resentment

From Six Months Off:

Lee Belfiglio, a viola player in the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra and the mother of two young sons, spent more than a year planning her family’s three-month cross-country car adventure, making sure she involved her family every step of the way.

“The first thing we did was get this huge map of the United States, which we hung on one of our family room walls,” she says. “And then we just started planning our route and filling a huge, monster notebook with ideas for our trip.  It was really this great family project.”

I’ve said before that you shouldn’t listen to people, because most of them are selfish idiots who care nothing about your vision and are more than willing to compromise it just so they’ll be happy.  However, I still think there’s tremendous value in assuring these people that they’ve been heard.

All of us want to be respected and understood as individuals — it affirms our significance.  So when we feel like we’ve contributed to something we’re emotionally invested in, it makes us content.  We don’t want the rug to be swept out from under our feet; we want to get acclimated to the impending change, understand why it’s better for us, then help the transition along.  Even if the customers don’t ultimately get their way, at least someone heard them out.  And that’s usually enough to prevent resentment.

Of course, the really smart companies / marketers work to make the customers feel like the change was their idea to begin with (much like Lee did with her kids).

By Charlie Hoehn

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