Tag Archive | "happy hour"

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Does Government Create Incredible Experiences Or Avoid Bad Outcomes?

This morning, marketing blogger Seth Godin asked the question, “How much of time, staffing and money does your organization spend on creating incredible experiences (vs. avoiding bad outcomes)?” This really hit home to me as someone who spends time thinking about how marketing broadly defined fits into government missions.

Under the framework of what we call Government 2.0, I’ve written a bit lately about how government can use social networking and new marketing to tell citizens and other stakeholders about the great things they’re doing. I think that proactively putting out compelling content is a great tactic, and how small, innovative, engaging events can create very memorable brand experiences. I’ve also been publicly critical of the lame Facebook Fan pages that Federal government agencies have, among other “lame” aspects of Gov 2.0 – From my vantage point, a lot of effort seems to go into avoiding bad outcomes, rather than creating incredible experiences.

There are good reasons for some of the “avoiding downsides” stuff, but where are the limits? No one ever seems to know how to answer that question for me. People tell me to praise them because, well, at least they have a Facebook Fan page – it’s new media! But at what date am I allowed to criticize you because you never took the slightest risk with it? To quote Godin:

“Here’s a rule that’s so inevitable that it’s almost a law: As an organization grows and succeeds, it sows the seeds of its own demise by getting boring. With more to lose and more people to lose it, meetings and policies become more about avoiding risk than providing joy.”

I avoid meetings like the plague (unless they’re at happy hour), but I know a lot of people who have to attend lots of them as part of their jobs in Washington, DC. So I ask, particularly to those who are interested in “change” and Gov 2.0 and participatory government and all these other related topics: How often is the topic of your meetings about creating an incredible citizen experience?

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

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Happy Hours Are Meetings

Many people ask me how I’m able to attend many events, how I’m so prolific, and how I have time to tweet so much. The answer is pretty simple: I hate meetings.

Truly, I avoid meetings at all costs. It’s practically my mission in life. Luckily I have a career and lifestyle that allows me to do so. And this allows me a lot of time to read, think, and write original material.

But today I had a number of meetings. There was a meeting of our research center based around an intern’s foreign policy talk in an auditorium, an emergency meeting about task forces in my director’s office, and an impromtu meeting of three people in the hallway to talk about websites.

What was interesting about the third meeting was that we stood the entire time, and it took about two minutes – but was no less meaningful than the other two. And that got me thinking – why are meetings typically one hour, sitting down in a room, discussing a list of issues typed on sheets of paper? Really, they don’t have to be at all.

So deconstructing the idea of what a ‘meeting’ is got me thinking that I don’t so much avoid meetings, as avoid useless, boring meetings where nothing of interest to me will get accomplished. As the great business blogger Seth Godin has noted, who decided meetings take an hour anyway?

Lots of people have noted my propensity for attending happy hour on a regular basis. But it’s not all fun and games – often the person or people I’m with have some relevance to my career. And so isn’t hanging out with a socialite blogger over glasses of red wine at Proof in Penn Quarter, or having bourbon and cigars with a fellow Government 2.0 maven at Shelly’s Back Room in downtown DC just my personal way of conducting productive and fun meetings?

Maybe I shouldn’t sell myself short on the CEO route.  Wouldn’t you like to work for a company that let you think about great stuff all day, and handled the ‘meetings’ over a magnum of Cabernet or a casual pool tournament?

Happy hours are meetings. Think about that the next time you ask me about my avid social life – It’s also my avid workaholic lifestyle.

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