When MIT talks, people listen. Okay, so that’s a bad take-off on the old EF Hutton commercials, but there is a comparison to the old EF Hutton commercials. If you remember from back in the 1980s, EF Hutton (a brokerage firm) had a series of television commercials where one person would be talking to a friend in a crowded place (like an airport, a classroom, a restaurant, a golf course, etc.), and once they stated “EF Hutton says…” everyone around would stop what they were doing and listen intently to the person talking. They wanted to hear what EF Hutton said (to see some of the old commercials, go to www.youtube.com and search on EF Hutton). But I digress…
MIT does something on a biannual basis that all companies should listen intently to and consider. They perform student satisfaction surveys (http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2010/student-satisfaction.html). While that may not be an earth-shattering revelation, keep in mind that MIT is a preeminent university. They have a fantastic reputation and brand. They could operate with the assumption of their own self-worth, but instead they ask students – those 18-21+ year olds – “How are we doing?” They ask “How can we do better?” And they ask their research partner “How do we compare to others?”
They ask because, like their students, they want to learn. And who better to learn from than your customers.
MIT asks about its impact on the student over time at the University (a true outcomes-oriented focus) in terms of the improvement in student’s analytical thinking abilities, their knowledge, their communication skills, their ability to plan/execute projects, their ability to function independently, their ability to relate to others, their self-esteem, and their ability to write.
If the student is – to some extent – both customer and product, than one of the best ways to measure outcomes is to see how that student has grown in these ways and many others over time.
MIT is outcomes-focused. What outcomes do you measure in terms of your impact on your customer?
MIT’s students talk, so MIT can listen. We should listen, too.
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