A couple weeks ago Brian, Joel and I gathered inside a client’s conference room to present a plan for marketing around the launch of their new Website. The wireframes and designs we created had all been approved. Everything was now in the capable hands of the development team.
We settled on a timeline and collectively acknowledged each others’ efforts. A feel good haze.
The meeting was ready to adjourn.
But then the CEO looked at us and with honest intention asked a simple question: “So guys, in your opinion, do you believe the Website we’re about to release is a 10?”
It was an E.F. Hutton moment. Even the buzz of the fluorescents hushed. After all, we had long since put the architecture and design of the site to rest following a lengthy process of trial, error and adjustment. No one in the room wanted to retrace their steps and jeopardize deadlines.
None of that mattered to the CEO. All that mattered to her was that it be the best it could possibly be.
Brian broke the silence. He gave the CEO what she wanted to hear: the truth.
The home page is not a 10
The home page fell short. Why? Because the initial goal for the site – greater conversion – was compromised along the way by a rather crowded and scattered design process. To the CEO’s credit, she allowed everyone to have their say. To her credit, she extended the design phase longer than normal hoping that we could assimilate everybody’s desires. And the final design we delivered was universally agreed upon and pushed forward.
But the home page was just an 8 by Brian’s measure due to the removal of components we originally created with conversion in mind. Perceived visual appeal had pushed them out.
The CEO allowed that voice of doubt to be heard. Because for a good leader, what ultimately matters more than appeasing everyone is making sure the highest arching vision fueling the process is reached.
A day late, a dollar more
Concern from the team ensued. Genuine concern. Would this set us back in time? Would this incur added cost? Would this delay the developer?
The CEO asked us to push for a 10 regardless. Because a day late and a dollar more is all worth it when you present a 10 to the world. This was what every leader ought to be doing. Asking questions. Reminding their team of the ultimate goal. And, if required, taking a step back to go ten steps forward.
She’s not the only CEO I know who does this. We’ve worked with and are working with others who march to the very same beat.
In an industry that gravitates so effortlessly towards mediocrity, that wears imperfection like a badge of honor, that surrenders its greatest possibilities to expediencies, this CEO pushed back.
Going from good to great requires one extra step.
Mute the noise. The static. The distractions.
Remember why you have embarked down the path.
Then follow that light all the way.