Friday, August 31, 2007

 

MoM Links for August 31, 2007

The Not-To-Do List: Nine habits you probably already have, which you should stop doing NOW to increase your productivity (and reduce your stress level)

"One Time, at Brand Camp...": Great blog, brilliant cartoons. Worth scanning.

Avoiding Random Visits: Inter-office networking and kibitzing is fine, occasionally, but use this list to minimize the long, lingering visits that will cut into your productivity.

The Gobbledygook Manifesto: Join the movement, and pledge never to use these terms again!

Stand Up to Your Email: Use these tips from experts quoted in the Wall Street Journal to get that inbox under control.

YouTube is Merely A Tactic: Want to incorporate video into your marketing plan? The answer's not the channel, it's the content (surprise, surprise)

Finding New Ways to Communicate: Bring a good pen with you when next you visit your favorite singles bar.

The Stories People Talk About: Need a good story angle? Try one of these tried-and-true story lines for your business to get people talking.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

 

Finding your True North

The output of effective leadership is often the same. Good leaders rally their teams around a vision, inspire them to action, and achieve incredible things through the proactive, willing activities of their teams.

The output of leadership is success. What goes into effective leadership isn't as consistent.

In True North, Bill George and Peter Sims explored the roots of effective, authentic leadership. By interviewing and studying effective leaders across the country, they found few universal characteristics, skills or styles that led to their success. Instead, they found that most effective leaders were successful because they had discovered their true inner strengths, and had harnessed those strengths into leadership qualities.

Those qualities or dimensions, George and Sims found, were actually quite consistent, and typically broke down into five areas:

- Pursue purpose with passion
- Practice solid values
- Lead with heart
- Establish enduring relationships
- Demonstrate self-discipline

If true leadership is found less by studying best practices and textbooks, and more by discovering and leveraging what we're each individually and naturally best at, then it stands to reason that effective leadership is actually self-taught.

Effective leaders, over time, study themselves, become intimately aware of their strengths, and learn how to leverage those strengths to lead those around them. It's not a fast and easy process, and the road is paved with mistakes and hard lessons. But the end result is the kind of authentic leadership that can accelerate your success like nothing else.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

 

Catching Up

A primary reason we often stop working on goals (personal and professional) is because we fall behind.

That may seem straightforward, but it's really not. When we fall behind, we get anxious. The work we had to do previously, plus what we were supposed to get done right now, gets intimidating. and then it just keeps getting more and more intimidating as more "past" work piles up.

It gets so intimidating that you just stop doing it, and start focusing somewhere else.

But every goal - no matter how long-term, no matter how complex - can typically be picked right back up where you left it. Just adjust your timeline, and keep going. This applies to projects at work, your weight-loss goals, that marathon you've always wanted to run, etc.

Sometimes, getting back on track means throwing away the entire backlog. Have you stopped reading magazines because they're stacked high on your desk? Intimidated because you haven't read magazines from three months ago yet? Put them all in the recycle bin, and start reading again with the next issue that comes in the mail.

Same with your blog RSS feeds. If you've fallen behind, and see hundreds, maybe thousands, of unread posts, throw them away. Start fresh when the next post is written.

Sure, you'll likely miss something. But you're already missing it by not reading, and you'll just keep missing more if you keep not reading. So why not eliminate the intimidating, stressful stack and start fresh?

Sometimes catching up means just starting where you left off. Catching up can also mean ignoring what you've missed, and simply stepping back on the train - right now - and starting anew.

What do you have to lose?

 

Why innovation is so hard

Had coffee with a wickedly smart consultant last week, whose focus & passion is helping companies unlock their ability to be truly innovative.

Small and/or new companies often have an easier time being innovative, usually because the decision-making infrastructure is far smaller, and the company was likely built on a new, innovative idea to begin with.

Larger companies often struggle more with sustaining innovation, but that doesn't mean it's not possible. Unlocking innovation in any company means many things, including the a culture that rewards new ideas, accepts failure as a means of finding innovation, and constantly injects the company - at all levels - with opportunities to discover new ideas.

Each one of us, no matter where we work, gets complacent. We take too much for granted, and make too many assumptions. It's not our fault, really, just the reality of doing something every day, from the inside, with an insider's point of view.

Key to turning complacency into innovation is surrounding ourselves with resources that challenge our assumptions, to help us think about things in a dramatically new way.

Sometimes that means hiring consultants who bring fresh perspectives. Sometimes it's as simple as reading what others are thinking, or hiring fresh minds into your business who bring their own experiences and worldview to work against your current challenge.

Simply being aware of your inability to constantly be innovative on your own is a big first step. Surrounding yourself with the resources to explore and unleash your innovation potential is harder, but well worth the effort.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

 

Customer Service Advice from Guy

August's issue of Entrepreneur Magazine featured a short but powerful column by Guy Kawasaki, detailing his 10 best practices for treating your customers right.

Worth a read here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

 

Pressure vs. Opportunity

Do your goals scare you, or excite you? Do your sales objectives motivate you, or stress you out?

If you're in sales, do you begin each month with a sense of anticipation, or a sense of dread? Do you attack your quota and objectives with zeal, or do you immediately fear falling behind?

We can argue the value of fear as a motivator all day long, but that's not really the point. No matter what job you do professionally, or what goals you have in your personal life, there are really two ways to think about what needs to be done.

You can see it as a pressure situation, or as an opportunity.

Pressure leads to stress, stress leads to anxiety, anxiety leads to physical breakdown and fear and resentment and a longer, spiraling list of reasons why things don't get done.

Opportunity is endless. It's all about what's in front of you. The past can only help, at worst it's context for what you need to learn to be better moving forward.

We're halfway through August, and most of us have set goals for ourselves that chronologically should be almost halfway completed. Are yours? If not, does that scare you - or motivate you?

How can you turn pressure situations, throughout your life, into opportunities? And how would that perspective change how you approach and execute upon those situations?

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

 

I wish I'd thought of that!

One of the smartest bloggers today is Andy Sernovitz, former president of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association and now CEO of gaspedal. His advice is quick, direct, important and, well, mostly right. His mix of experience, creativity and instincts is quickly producing the best collection of guerilla marketing advice on the Web today.

I recently asked Andy a set of quick marketing questions, and his advice was equally quick - but extremely relevant and insightful. Take his answers, chew on them, and think about how they apply to your business. Then spend a little more time on Andy's blog, and chew on more.

1. What's the biggest change you've seen in marketing over the past five years?
Marketers "get it" faster. We're adapting to change better.

2. If you were building a marketing plan from scratch, what's the first thing you would do?
Ask "Who would tell a friend about this?" That's your target.

3. If you could only spend marketing dollars on one thing, what would it be?
Thank-you notes.

4. What do most marketers today do wrong?
They sell instead of having conversations.

5. What's the most important marketing lesson you've learned in the past year?
Happy customers are your greatest advertisers.

6. What's your one, most important piece of advice to fellow marketers?
Have a good laugh.

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