Three reasons why it pays to be a “2nd try” leader

Are you on LinkedIn?  If so, you probably received an email, make that TWO emails from them this week.  On January 31st, LinkedIn will stop supporting a standalone Tweets Application which allows users to display tweets from everyone you follow on Twitter on your LinkedIn homepage.

Organizations make changes to their services all the time.  But what caught my attention was not the first notification but that I was notified a second time with an email that read “Earlier, you may have received a message from us about our Tweets Application. We could have done a much better job communicating about this change, so we want to clarify what this may mean to you.”  Then the message goes on to explain the changes effective on January 31st.

I don’t know about you but I LOVE that!   The company made an intentional attempt to correct what they believed to be a service error with its customers.  Now that’s refreshing.

So does this story have any relevance in your company?  If you communicate with your customers, then absolutely!  The skill of a 2nd try is an intentional one and the following three tips are key to your success:

#1  Read all company communication as your customer.
It’s amazing how easily we can forget the importance of the customer’s perspective.  It’s certainly accidental but a reality nonetheless.  In all customer correspondence develop the discipline of reading it with the customer’s voice – not yours.  So how is this done? We have to ask some questions:  How will our customer read this message? What emotional response will they have? Will they believe we have their best interest in mind?  Will they believe us?  Approaching messages from this perspective changes our approach, and it’s one that makes a difference.

#2 Have the courage to make a “re-do”.
Courage is the key word here.  How often are we as leaders willing to admit we missed the mark in our communication and hit the re-wind button and try again?  When this discipline is in place an important dynamic exists on your team.  Your team sees a leader (or leadership team) who admits not always getting it right.  And more importantly, we communicate that to our customers as well.  In today’s marketplace, customers (and your employees for that matter) are looking for companies who do the right thing.  And occasionally that means first admitting a misstep so the right thing can be done.

#3 There is power in transparency.
Most customers are tired.  They are tired of the constant need to shop for the best price, produce and service.  Competition is tough and when a customer witnesses a moment of transparency a new level of loyalty occurs.  The key for this principle however is when the company chooses to be proactive before the public asks them to.  That’s where LinkedIn scored well.  Their follow-up message came one day after the first one.  What does that mean?  Somewhere, leaders re-evaluated their previous actions and concluded a “do-over” needed to happen.  And they did it.

On January 31st, I’ll be mindful of the new look on LinkedIn’s page.  And something tells me the folks at LinkedIn are going to ensure I’m informed along the way.  So what about you?  Are there any “2nd try” moments waiting for you?  Go for it.  Your customers will thank you for it.

4 thoughts on “Three reasons why it pays to be a “2nd try” leader

  1. Great thoughts Kayla! It’s pretty refreshing when someone says “You know, I could have done that better, let’s try it again”.

    We had an accounting error with one of my clients recently and it was almost surprising how understanding they were.. we of course made things right, but because of the relationship and our communication, the relationship wasn’t hurt.

    1. Thanks for your comment Jason. When we are surprised in a positive way I think it’s important to share those experiences. They sometimes don’t happen enough. Thanks for sharing your story too!

  2. Kayla, I know you’re too young for this, but a great old book, “The Mythical Man Month,” has chapters with titles like “the second system theory” and “plan to throw one away” that are all about second tries. It’s the story of making an IBM[mainframe] computer many years ago, but it still applies to so many things today.
    http://www.amazon.com/Mythical-Man-Month-Software-Engineering-Anniversary/dp/0201835959/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1327437164&sr=8-1

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