Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Impressions

I don't know when the last time was that I flew on JetBlue.  This may have been my first, but even if it was not, it was "like my first time."  I have to say that the airline made a positive impression on me.  Why?  I cannot recall the last time I was on a US domestic flight that lasted just over an hour on which I was served both soda and a choice of chips or cookies for free!

That made an impression on me.

In fact it made so much of an impression on me that I decided to put a comment on Twitter about it using my professional account.

What made an even bigger impression on me is their social media strategy.  Specifically, I had hashtagged JetBlue (i.e., #JetBlue) and before I was out of Terminal C at Boston Logan, someone at the airline had Tweeted a reply.

Customer service in two ways.

First impressions go a long way.

Not sure when the next time will be that I will fly somewhere that JetBlue goes--but when I do, I will definitely take that option.

That reminds me of three other things.  First, the AACSB (a voluntary accreditation organization for business schools) has had a conference in Baltimore since Sunday that that focused on the finer points of accreditation.  I went as I am continuing to familiarize myself with the process of accreditation that I am ultimately in charge of at the school.  Yesterday, we had a chance to host a hospitality event at the end of the day.  I am waiting on a final count, but we had a great turnout and I was the senior school representative there.  I had a chance to tell my colleagues about our school in a way that featured its strengths even more than just seeing it could do.  This was the school's first impression on a lot of colleagues.  They liked what they saw and they liked what they heard.  We made a positive impression on them and they made a positive impression on our staff who helped with the event.  While the smaller schools may or may not be the ones who eventually come for the site visit, the smaller schools do serve on the initial accreditation committee.  I am hoping that this was a great way to help build our social capital with our colleagues.

Next, while the staff representative to JHU at AACSB did not make it to the event, I had an opportunity to meet with her an a colleague over lunch.  Afterward, I asked if she would like to see our facilities.  That made a positive impression on her as well.

Finally, there are the impressions I make on colleagues.  Most first impressions are good because people want to seem to continue to work with me.  My concern is further impressions.  Those are not always perfect.  In fact, I have had some colleagues not want to work with me.  In a lesson on my own branding, I have to rethink some commitments to make sure that what I commit to can actually be completed.  Otherwise, all the positive first impressions in the world will mean nothing in the end.  I am only human.  I need to learn to admit that before starting a project rahter than when I cannot finish it.  

The ups and downs of first impressions are critical to consider in the business world. 

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