Partnership Is Essential

By Business, Jon

Why don’t more contact centers/departments employ or directly partner with marketing talent in their quest for greater customer connections? In over 100 projects in 9 years with Infinite Green, and prior to that in my corporate career, I rarely witnessed this. Yet, I had my most successful “customer movements” when we (operations and marketing) both sat down and just talked. 

Any chance that one way to insights and innovation at speed is embedding a marketing resource into contact centers, and maybe a contact center agent into marketing design sessions?

I had the opportunity to share this perspective with wicked smart people in my Geek Squad days and during our “customer centricity” growth times at Best Buy. The results were magical. Insights were desired, brand focus and a look ahead was valuable currency, and much-needed linkage to a “higher purpose.” 

At Infinite Green, we advise our clients to bring these two groups together, and then just let the value of the collaboration spring to life. Some of the best co-designed experiences happen when CX, Brand, and Operations come together. So why don’t more companies do it? 

-Jon Blum

2 min check in – Do you have an inner circle?

By Business, Jon

Chances are you have had an influential leader or mentor over your career who has provided good advice, thoughts on changing jobs, how to work on being promoted, or ways to approach a difficult situation. These people tend to be relevant in the moment and serve a singular purpose, but do you have an inner circle “team” or a few individuals who can inspire, give critical feedback, can open up their network to you, or challenge you to grow beyond your own comfort zone?

Jordan Spieth is a very famous 22-year old professional golfer and has grown to great heights in a short period of time. He is a perfect example of having a professional “inner circle” or team of supporters that balance inspiration with personal fitness, wellness with management consulting and leadership, and wealth management with philanthropy advice. Needless to say, Jordan’s golf coach Cameron McCormick works on different areas of Jordan’s game than his clothing and outfitting provider, Under Armor. His equipment sponsor Titleist is going to ensure his clubs and balls for tournaments are tuned and available, and yet they also watch him to ensure he is performing up to the Titleist brand and continues to win so they can sell more products.

Last Sunday, I attended a dedication service for my niece Harper and the pastor of the church talked a little about this topic. His point was that on our best day, we are outcome oriented people who sometimes need affirmation and sometimes need direction. If we are left up to our own thoughts, we are typically our own worst critics and may not be able to see beyond our own inadequacies. I equate it to my professional life and in short, a few things I have learned over time can be summed up in my list of “I need,” and “I don’t need” items:


So my challenge to you is this. Who do you have in your inner circle? If you don’t have one, find one or two people who are invested in you and willing to work with you. If you have one already, then make sure you have your list of “I needs” and “I don’t needs” figured out so you can ensure you have the right outcomes defined for you.  And if your current situation isn’t working for you, change it out.

Try something new!

Jon is a co-founder of Infinite Green which has served over 70 clients in 7 years, with a return value of over $800M in sales growth and cost reductions during that period.

How I found an extra month of time in Q1, and in addition, greater business clarity in 2017!

By Business, General, Jon

Back in December I went through my typical reflection of the past 12 months, what could I have done differently/better, who’s businesses were better because of Infinite Green, and was my personal life more balanced and more fulfilling? After a few deep thoughts, I pivoted quickly into “looking ahead” because I am typically an optimist. I was just about to fall into making a few resolutions, but this time I wanted to do something different.

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How obvious are you?

By Business, Jon

How would you describe your approach or attitude at what you do? Are you an optimist? An achiever? An enabler? What word best describes your skills, your passion, and your work product, all in one? I wake up on most days feeling empowered to go “slay the dragon,” and am excited about the challenges put in front of me, but is that a successful perspective on the days where I may not be so optimistic?

I want to share something that changed my way of thinking and I hope it gives you perspective as well.

Infinite Green is in the process of hosting networking events over the next few weeks. As part of our brand, we bring people together and focus on what it takes to create great customer experiences. We help companies elevate their environments to obtain recognition in their verticals resulting in improved customer satisfaction, brand awareness and financial success. Well, in 6 years of “selling” our services, I just got schooled around how to be more on purpose about customer experience and what we claim to be “experts” in at Infinite Green, and personally was taught a lesson on how critical this is to being more successful every day. Let me tell you a story about something cool that happened at our office a few days ago. Here is the truth…

Around noon the other day, Dave, who owns a small local printing shop and was hired by one of our technology partners to make a few signs, knocked on our door and walked in. He came right up to where I was sitting and held out the signs he was asked to make for us. Not being one to shy away from a quick connection and possible add to my LinkedIn database, I commented on how it was a great day to be outside and he replied that it was a nice walk over from about 4 blocks away. I was immediately impressed that he took the time to hand deliver our signs when I fully assumed we would pick them up in the next day or so for our event more than a week away. The signs were done very well, he delivered them with care, and took the time to personalize his visit by shaking my hand, asking my name and thanking me for our business. Obvious, right? Simple yet value-added and effective service. Seemed legit.

I asked him for his card (which he had left back at the shop), gave him mine, and asked him to email me when he got back so I could follow up with another printing request just presented to me not more than 10 minutes before and greatly needed for the next day’s event. He made a funny comment about having no problem printing “a million color copies for me” and of course followed through over the next hour by contacting me and pricing out my rush order, giving me an ultra-competitive bid and then agreed on a 24 hour turn. I thanked him for his service, and he responded with an amazing reply. “Not ashamed at being obvious – we want to earn your business.” He had me. He earned my business and everyone else whom I could tell. But it didn’t stop there.

About 2 hours later Dave showed up with my rush order signs in hand. Obviously, this is a guy who exceeds expectations. What’s the catch? The story? You see, Dave is not just a printer. He is a connector. I had to know what his motivation is and where his drive comes from.

Dave’s message, like his work product was obvious. Dave is an architect by trade who has designed places all over the world. He got into printing because of his love of design, active pursuit of seeing his designs come to life, and through an introduction to rapid prototyping and fabrication at one of the first “Fab Lab” locations at Century College – . After seeing this lab, he immediately wanted to design them in schools across the country to connect in a way that the next generation learns, and at a greater level.  Dave is obvious about his passion, he is deliberate about doing something about it, and fortunately doesn’t back down from a few roadblocks. Other schools would surely want this for their students, right? Well his concept and design landed in a few places, but mostly got hung up in political, budgetary, and less than progressive decision-making in many school districts. So how does Dave take these challenges and manage to stay focused through the noise? He remains obvious about his passion, and is relentless about the end game.

Dave sees 3-D printing and 2-D printing as a way for people to realize their ideas faster, test and try a concept, and then see it in practice again, and so on. He is obvious about wanting to lead the charge and institute this vision as far and wide as he can, but he also sees the bigger picture. He saw PostNet  as a way to share his idea for printing solutions in schools, to connect people to their ideas and dreams, and as a means to foster this test and try attitude with businesses. He bought a franchise and is living his dream. When I looked up PostNet’s core focus, here is what I found:

“Helping Others Succeed is Our Passion. Building Relationships that Make Business Easier is What We Do Best.

As Dave finished his story and left our office, I was brought back to my waking moment that morning and the fact that no matter what gets in my way, I am going to be obvious about my service to our clients, obvious with my relationships and passions, and obvious about removing barriers for any and every one I can help. I don’t need optimism every day to do my best, but I have found a different word to describe how I will start my day.  Obvious and intentional about whatever I am doing, or whom I am doing it for, is how I focus or refocus during the day. It’s a better frame than sharing how boring my lunch was, or how someone wronged me, or how bad my favorite sports team performed last night.

What are you going to be obvious about today?


Chief Illuminator

Have you ever?

By Business, Jon

Have you ever had someone take credit for your ideas? Have you ever found out later and then wanted to get even, or did you take the high road and let the past go?

In 1794, Eli Whitney patented the cotton gin and unfortunately at the time, due to infringement issues, he made very little money on the invention while others got rich. On this day (January 14) in 1799, he was awarded a government contract to produce 10,000 muskets and was the pioneer in mass producing standardized interchangeable parts, and is listed as one of the fathers of American manufacturing.

The point here is that in the 5 years between introducing his first major patent and having others steal his ideas, he was able to channel his energy into new and better ideas instead of getting caught up in a long fight and focusing on a losing battle. I’m not saying don’t fight for what is yours, but in all reality, taking the high road and focusing on the next idea should teach you a few things, puts your efforts towards a positive outcome, and keeps the control in your hands. 3 things that we can all rally around, right?

You may be known for the “cotton gin,” but will benefit from the “musket.”


A True Example Of Great Experience

By General, Jon

I recently had a chance to tour a small local college during an open house event, and noticed several ways that the coordinators and students who volunteered, deliberately created meaningful experiences for us around one goal – shifting many of the high school seniors from “on the fence,” to “I want to go here.” A tour of the campus, free dinner at one of the 3 “non-cafeteria style” campus locations, free tickets to a college basketball game, and the opportunity to discuss their future goals with advisors, professors, and deans were the hooks for the 4-6 hour event. But that wasn’t why this was so successful.

We were on the tour when a group of students passed us and a few of them under their breath said, “You should come here. It’s a great place!” and “if you want a great education and to hang out with cool people, come here.” When we were in the dorms looking at a “not so large” room, a student who was trying to navigate through 30 of us who were crowding the hallway said “oh my gosh, we never get his many visitors, but come back when the tour is over and say hi!” “We would love to see you here!” As we passed one of the administration wings, our tour guide mentioned she had struggled with her major in the past school season and had such a good experience figuring out her next step with her “careers” advisor, that she stayed in school and was doing great now.

Now I started to get what made this day so successful. The coordinators of this event found students and professors who had PASSION about what the college meant to them each individually, which included being encouraged to share why they had such a great experience while being honest about their journey. And it wasn’t just about the school name or mascot. They were real, talked in their own language, and cared. Not scripted. No tag lines. When we debriefed on the day, my daughter talked a little about the name or the facilities, and we didn’t stay for the meal or the basketball game, but she did mention the people and the culture of the students who were around us when we toured the campus. She was hooked!

  • Does your company set the expectation of what great experience looks like?
  • Does your company hire people who have passion for the brand?
  • Does your company give you the ability to connect with your customers on a meaningful level, and reward you for that?
  • Is your company genuine and honest with your customers, even if the situation isn’t a great one?
  • Does your company listen to your customers and change based on that feedback?

Chances are, that companies who talk a good game but fall short, aren’t starting with the things that mean the most and cost the least. Customer feedback and voice should guide the work, while the real marketing and loyalty (and new acquisition) comes from the real experiences and passions of the employees.

Communication in 2015

By Business, Jon

Thinking about new ways to add value this year? Whether personally, professionally, or both, you may not have to look farther than your own words to make a positive, major impact in 2015, and it is probably much easier than shedding those extra December pounds at the gym!

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The Power Of Failure

By Business, General, Jon

I can admit freely that there have been times in my life where I have not tried something due to my fear of failing, but I have learned that the benefits to trying something new far outweigh the feeling I get in not giving my ideas the air they deserve. This was probably one of the life lessons that took a little longer to sink in, but channeling it has been one of the best things for me personally and professionally, hands down.

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