We almost did not publish the “23 Mundane Moments That Can Make or Break Your Career“. When I told that story to one of our clients who has used the Mundane Moment Series for over 100 of her staff, she said, “Oh no, that would have been such a tragedy!” So this is where I get to say publicly that Carol was right and I was wrong. The way it evolved was from a test in the family room.
It was the 25th anniversary of Change Masters. Our first book in the Seeing Yourself as Others Do Series was selling much better than we expected. People on every continent except Antarctica were buying our book. We were getting many requests for more coaching from people around the world. Most of the people could not afford our fee (or travel) for individual coaching. I thought maybe we could create videos that would share what we talk about in the coaching room. My vision was of a cost effective approach to reach people globally. I saw an opportunity, but we knew little about how to create and distribute quality videos.
We lined up our own coaches to help us learn this new business model. We were hopeful, but not confident. We decided to experiment. We remembered a ski trip a couple of years earlier. While driving the two hours from Breckenridge Colorado to the Denver Airport, we started listing the things we see in surveys that were frequently getting in people’s way. We called these the “mundane moments”. With data from over 25,000 survey participants we had a lot of to choose from. We started listing the mundane moments on a yellow pad of paper. We came up with 23 by the time we reached the airport. These topics are what we call “low hanging fruit” because they are easy to fix and have a big impact.
For creating video, I wanted to experiment to see if we could duplicate the more casual conversation over the table with clients (rather than a scripted presentation). I set up a couple of cameras in my family room with a green screen and some lights. Carol organized the topics. With the cameras on, we launched into each topic. It went better than I expected. I felt Carol sometimes talked too much of the time and she thought I did not sit up in my chair. Both things were true.
It didn’t really matter, because no one would ever see them … or so I thought at the time. Carol reviewed the videos and began to lobby for publishing the videos. My arguments were focused on not being good production value and only a practice run. She was successful in convincing me to at least edit a couple of them and ask a few of our clients to give their opinion. We received feedback that the content was great and the production quality was acceptable. The next step was to do the beta testing and eventually begin selling them.
The response has been very positive! “These are the only training videos I have seen that are suitable for our middle and top level leaders.” is an example of the feedback we received. Not only were they well received in the US, but people in Asia and Europe thought they were very valuable. This is where I need to repeat; Carol was right and I was wrong.
I was still not pleased with the production quality. Some customers agreed it could be better and some felt it added to the authenticity. It is now two years later and I have learned some important lessons about production and delivery of online video training. One is that a good sound engineer can significantly improve the quality of the sound. A good video editor can enhance the rest of the production quality….so the story has a happy ending.
We will be releasing a new and improved version of “23 Mundane Moments That Can Make or Break Your Career” this summer. The content is the same and the production value is better. Carol was right that we should release the videos. I will be satisfied because we have significantly enhanced the production quality. Sounds like a win-win.
As a side note, I told Carol that I was writing about when she was right and I was wrong. Her response was that I have a long list to choose from. I guess that will give me more things to write about in the future. 🙂