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What will the world look like in 2025?

By Phil Verghis on November 23, 2008

Every five years, the National Intelligence Council provides the President of the United States and senior policymakers with analyses of foreign policy issues that have been reviewed throughout the (US) intelligence committee. (Those of you who have heard my talk on ‘Possible states of the support world in 20XX’ know that I have tapped into research from the NIC and scenario planning in general.)

A few days ago, they released  Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World with four preliminary assessments. (Don’t worry, this well written report is declassified.)

  • The whole international system—as constructed following WWII—will be revolutionized. Not only will new players—Brazil, Russia, India and China— have a seat at the international high table, they will bring new stakes and rules of the game.
  • The unprecedented transfer of wealth roughly from West to East now under way will continue for the foreseeable future.
  • Unprecedented economic growth, coupled with 1.5 billion more people, will put pressure on resources—particularly energy, food, and water—raising the specter of scarcities emerging as demand outstrips supply.
  • The potential for conflict will increase owing partly to political turbulence in parts of the greater Middle East.

What does this have to do with service and support? A lot. I’ve always advocated that in order to be the ‘Ultimate Customer Support Executive’ you have to know a lot about groups that you don’t normally think about, but are crucial to the customer experience. It is the same with geopolitics. The more you know about possible scenarios of the world in 2025, the better you can help your organization’s strategic planning.

Need to take a giant screwdriver and … restart a jet engine?

By Phil Verghis on November 23, 2008

Yup, that’s exactly what the pilot of the Lufthansa plane said last night as we sat on the frozen tarmac at Logan International airport in Boston. We had stopped short of the runway, and the pilot said that the number four engine wouldn’t start up. He then said the mechanics needed to get a giant screwdriver and kick the engine, then it would run smoothly. He assured us it was a routine problem and once it started, there would be no problems. There weren’t, except for some bumpy weather over Iceland, but no one could blame the engine or the heated debate in that country over the banking crisis for the bumps.

It did get me thinking though. What if that announcement was made by the pilot of another country’s flagship air carrier. I’ll let your imagination run wild in terms of which country’s airlines, but I suspect there would have been far fewer people smiling at the pilot’s joke if they didn’t have faith in German engineering.

The power of your brand, and the faith your customers have in you can leave your customers laughing with you or shivering in their proverbial boots waiting for the situation to resolve itself. What kind of brand do you have?

Reach out and connect

By Phil Verghis on November 18, 2008

Yikes. Based on the number of emails and calls I’ve been getting recently, the economic downturn has started affecting a number of really good service & support executives. This ranges from “I see the writing on the wall, what’s available?” to “We downsized two weeks ago, and I’m looking.”

Often people ask for advice on what to do. If  you think I can help you in any way in your job search, feel free to reach out and contact me.

What about the rest of you who still have jobs? Here are three tips:

  1. Read the article titled ‘What to do in tough times’.
  2. Give back to the professional community by speaking/participating/becoming a local chapter officer in conferences, seminars or local chapter meetings. (If you are in the New England area, you shouldn’t miss out on the First Wednesday Group.)
    Yup, I’ve heard all the excuses. You really want to, but don’t have the time. Work (and more work), family — heck what about all the things you want to do for yourself but don’t have the time? My only observation is: you may be superb at what you do and your company may value it highly. At a point when your paths diverge, the better connected person will always have an edge.
  3. Stretch out. Use your knowledge of customers and company wide processes to see if there are other ways you can help out your organization. (This is how I ended up running a 15,000 server network, global operations and most of IT in addition to Global Services at my last corporate gig.) Have you considered working internationally? Why not?

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