Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of participating in my daughter’s wedding. As typical for fathers of brides, I just showed up and did as I was told so as to contribute as best I could to her having the complete experience she wanted. Obviously, my participation fulfilled an essential role within a “wedding framework” my daughter spent years envisioning. However, it became obvious as the day unfolded that my role was only one of many within a complex blend of activities and sub-routines among people, businesses, and processes over the previous six months that led to the wedding framework “realization” we shared at that time.
This speaks volumes for the necessity of an envisioned framework upon which to define and queue critical activities. It is also a classic example of what happens along a virtualization — realization continuum as a total solution is put into play. As they began their wedding plans, my daughter and her then fiancé chose to get married in a small town along the coast of Maine even though they lived in the Kansas City area. I found out later this is called a “destination wedding,” or as a friend of mine termed it an “announced elopement.” In their case, neither of them lived in Maine, had been to Maine, nor knew anyone in Maine; but that was no deterrent. Enter virtualization!
Successful virtualization relies on three key elements: presence – visibility on websites, blogsites, profiles, and listings wherein a person, business, or organization can be found through routine searches; networking – chatter, buzz, references made by others that corroborate what a person, business, organization claims about themselves; and interactivity – responses in timing and content to emails, voice mails, site comments, etc.
My daughter and son-in-law brought these three elements into play right from the start of their planning. First, they tapped into their personal networks and searched the Internet for information about Maine. Their particular interest was the coast of Maine then small towns on the coast that have white churches in stereotypical settings of rural New England, followed by requisite splashes of fall colors dotting the countryside in early October. A combination of affirmative statements from family, friends, co-workers, and others within their trusted networks who had realized experiences in Maine, what they gleaned from online sources, and what was learned in exchanges of email and phone conversations with people in Maine, the destination was targeted – Camden.
Finding the location was only half the challenge. The second step entailed populating the envisioned overall “wedding framework” with virtualized pieces that nested together to create a whole virtual experience of the total solution. The same networking — web-surfing — loop-closing communication patterns used to find the location were repeated several times over the course of the six-month planning horizon with one critical difference – secondary trusted networks were available.
One of the outcomes of the initial round of site selection was the discovery, “testing,” and subsequent addition of those who passed the test into their trusted networks. These new members were local to Camden. Of course, those Camden locals knew others in their trusted networks who had the necessary qualifications and availability to fill-in the missing blanks on the wedding framework. As a result, church, pastor, bed and breakfast rooms for guests, photographer, baker, florist, marriage license office, etc. were found, their roles clarified, and their commitments sealed – the virtualized total solution was completed slightly ahead of the realized form. As a backup, the local trusted networks had sufficient redundancy that in the event of failure with one of the contracted parties another was quickly available to step in at the moment of realization to assure success.
My daughter and son-in-law had a wedding framework in mind from the start. They went through the steps necessary to find and integrate the people, businesses, and organizations required to first virtualize, then realize their “total wedding solution.” Such an integration role is central in putting together and carrying out any complex project or initiative. Successful “integrators” build new, penetrate existing, and connect interrelated networks. This skill enables them to take a framework of their or another’s making, organize it into a latticework of interconnected cells, and then pull from dense webs of resource networks to “fill” each cell with multiple layers of possible responses. It is a skill that is becoming THE key differentiator among those who are seemingly equals. It is one that my daughter and son-in-law executed flawlessly.
Just as “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder,” my description of a virtualization — realization process that was wonderfully done means nothing unless the one it is about agrees with the result! When describing the experience as her wedding day was winding down, my daughter said, “It was PERFECT!” There is nothing sweeter to the ear for a dad than to hear his daughter say this. So, indeed, it WAS perfect!
Originally posted to New Media Explorer by Steve Bosserman on Friday, October 14, 2005