Archive for category leadership


The Pareto Rule is an awesome tool and can be used in many situations. Here Paul Coles shares his insights with how companies focus on the wrong side of the equation at times.

Paul Coles's Blog

When I left university I joined the British retailing institution that is Marks and Spencer, and of the many things that I learned about business, the most precious of all was that you set your business up for the 99% not the other 1%.

I know you are thinking what the hell is this guy talking about? So I will explain. Back in those heady days of the mid ’80s I queried why we were merchandising some of the most expensive product that was prone to shop lifting right next to the doorway. The answer was simple, 99% of our customers don’t steal, so make it easy for them to buy what they want, and don’t ever lose sight of this, setting yourself up for the 1% you will be destined  to fail. This lesson is beautifully illustrated in a great book “Sway: The irresistible pull of irrational behaviour” by…

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The Above Post

Excellent Post at “Five Whys”, one of my frequent sites I read, and I wanted to share this with you as well.

Enjoy and Good Hunting!

Five Whys

Damien Newman used the design squiggle to illustrate the Design Thinking approach to solving problems.

It’s a really neat way of communicating the basic premise behind design thinking, and I like it a lot. Applied to business model innovation it shows the initial chaos and movement that surrounds any new business model as the founders get to grips with their concept. But what happens if we apply the squiggle to customer development?

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Continuous Learning: New Podcast List


The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting

Image via Wikipedia

So if you are anything like me, you are in submission to the fact that there is more to learn in this world then you currently know.  The truly wise among us acknowledge that our current knowledge placed on the scale of all the knowledge will always find us wanting for the remainder of our days.

The trick is to stay on the cutting edge of information that helps us achieve our goals.  One of the ways I have tried to stay sharp on specific topics is by using podcasts.  I currently use iTunes (most convenient at this time)  and my Android phone, with the help of iSync.    There are a host of podcasts, mostly free but some cost nominal amounts, on iTunes that cover a wide range of topics.

New Updates on my Listening List

So here are latest additions to my listening list:

  • BeanCast – deep dive into marketing topics
  • EntreLeadership – Dave Ramsey‘s leadership and business podcast
  • Let’s Make Mistakes – design but irreverent with some foul language.
  • Marketing Over Coffee – quick ‘on they way to work drive’ worth of internet marketing news
  • Social Triggers Insiders – on of the authors I follow on Google+
  • This Is Your Life – leadership podcast

Dropped from my Listening List

  • No More Weak Days – Daily prayer and Bible reading.  Great concept but had a hard time struggling with the KJ and Message format in their reading plan. “1 Year Daily Audio Bible” is still my preferred choice for daily scripture reading (listening).

Lesson’s Learned

The important thing is to keep learning!  Don’t stop.  If you are starting a new project, search out a podcast and listen to it while driving or exercising.

I would love to hear about podcasts you have found helpful in your daily routine.  Share them in the comments.

Good Hunting.

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Google: Learning, Growing, and Attacking Itself


Google Plus logo

Image by Bruce Clay, Inc via Flickr

One of the guys I follow in my Reader , Gerrit Eicker, had this post “Google’s Graveyard III” (a potion of the text provided below) and it got me to thinking about another post I shared recently “6 of Apples Greatest Mistakes“, in which I suggest that mistakes are only mistakes unless we learn from them.

Marketing Warfare

I want to throw on top of these thoughts another possible activity that is going on: Google is ATTACKING ITSELF to keep it’s leader position.  My contention is that they are following the marketing principles laid out in Al Ries and Jack Trout‘s “Marketing Warfare” text, and specifically “Defensive Warfare”.

Defensive Warfare as laid out in the text is as follows:

  • Only the market leader should consider playing defense.
  • The best defensive strategy is the courage to attack yourself.
  • Strong competitive move should always be blocked.

For the sake of brevity, I’m going to layout two assumptions here: 1) Google is the leader in the industry for cloud solutions, 2) through the use of acquisitions the are ‘blocking strong competitive moves’.  These two point could be posts in themselves so I just want to state them and move on, if you wish to comment on these assumptions, fine, but this post wishes to focus on the act of attacking yourself as a form of marketing strategy.

Focusing on Google+: Obsolete Your Old Products

One of the principles in Marketing Warfare is that you need the courage to attack yourself.  In this case by introducing new products which cause old products to become obsolete.  In this way, you are creating a moving target for those that are trying to overtake you or one of the products you have created.

Now through on top of this the ability to absorb obsolete product capabilities into the new product, and all the new capabilities already in the new product, and you have the ability to keep your advisaries constantly trying to play catch up.

And as an added bonus, you can take the lessons learned from the previous product (in this case Google Buzz let’s say) and use them to refine your approach to market, or customer service, logistics, or whatever the lesson provides, to the new product.

A fall sweep

10/14/2011 10:03:00 AM

We aspire to build great products that really change people’s lives, products they use two or three times a day. To succeed you need real focus and thought—thought about what you work on and, just as important, what you don’t work on. It’s why we recently decided to shut down some products, and turn others into features of existing products.

Here’s the latest update on what’s happening:

  • Code Search, which was designed to help people search for open source code all over the web, will be shut down along with the Code Search API on January 15, 2012.
  • In a few weeks we’ll shut down Google Buzz and the Buzz API, and focus instead on Google+. While people obviously won’t be able to create new posts after that, they will be able to view their existing content on their Google Profile, and download it usingGoogle Takeout.
  • Jaiku, a product we acquired in 2007 that let users send updates to friends, will shut down on January 15, 2012. We’ll be working to enable users to export their data from Jaiku.
  • Several years ago, we gave people the ability to interact socially on iGoogle. With our new focus on Google+, we will remove iGoogle’s social features on January 15, 2012. iGoogle itself, and non-social iGoogle applications, will stay as they are.
  • The University Research Program for Google Search, which provides API access to our search results for a small number of approved academic researchers, will close on January 15, 2012.
In addition, later today the Google Labs site will shut down, and as previously announced, Boutiques.com and the former Like.com websites will be replaced by Google Product Search.Changing the world takes focus on the future, and honesty about the past. We learned a lot from products like Buzz, and are putting that learning to work every day in our vision for products like Google+. Our users expect great things from us; today’s announcements let us focus even more on giving them something truly awesome.Posted by Bradley Horowitz, Vice President, Product

Share with me your thoughts or any other examples of companies using the same Defensive Marketing as Leaders in their industry.

Good Hunting

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6 of Apples Greatest Mistakes


With all the ‘Steve Jobs‘ posts flooding the internet, this one caught my eye.  It is not a Apple bash piece but rather a great object lesson for those that get caught up in the “Aim, Aim, Aim, Ready, Aim, Aim, Fire” mode.

6 of Apples Greatest Mistakes

By Scott M. Fulton, III / October 6, 2011 2:03 PM

Apple III+ computer.

Image via Wikipedia

This is not an Apple-bashing piece. It is also not an attempt to cut an American icon down to size at a time when were remembering the magnificent contributions of its fallen founder. This is about how failure makes us better.Ive lost count of the number of times Ive heard, seen, or read comparisons of Steve Jobs to Thomas Edison since early yesterday evening. Jobs did not invent anything – not the personal computer, not the MP3 player, not the tablet. But besides that fact, there are certain other stark similarities. One: Jobs, like Edison, was a fierce competitor who sought to control not only the delivery channel for his products, but the market surrounding those products. Two: Like the finest scientist, Jobs studied his failures and Apples very carefully, and unlike Microsoft, built his next success upon the smoking ruins of his failures.More Steve Jobs Stories6 of Apples Greatest MistakesSteve Jobs Legacy In the Pantheon of Great American InnovatorsFrom Silicon Valley to Bahrain, the Web Mourns Steve JobsA Great User Experience: The Web Legacy of Steve JobsWhat Steve Meant Back ThenReaders will likely remind me that certain of the

via 6 of Apples Greatest Mistakes.

Marathon Not Sprint

As I mention in my “Failure is not a Title” post, we need to look at things as a long process that we learn from, a Marathon if you will, not a 100 yard dash.  Yes, the above mentioned items are on the bottom of some outhouse of ideas, but the industry learned from then and evolved into what we have today.

Good Hunting

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Failure is not a Title


Not to long ago, I got into a pointless debate with my brother (you know the kind, where one brother takes one side and the other takes another and you’ll be damned if you let him win an argument) about the topic of people’s desire to change their lives.  We began talking about how “some people just don’t want to succeed” because they don’t try hard enough.

My point was that fear of failure is a strong driving force to those that want to change but don’t want to risk failure.  Even the thought of failure can drive someone to avoid a positive experience by suddenly finding hours of busy work. People wants to have a better life but the fear of failing at something drives them in a direction that produces exactly the opposite.  Then I found this post from Seth Godin and it rang true with me, they take the failure personal.

How else are you supposed to take it?

“Don’t take it personally.”

Image representing Seth Godin as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

This is tough advice. Am I supposed to take it like a chair? Sometimes it seems as though the only way to take it is personally. That customer who doesn’t like your product (your best work) or that running buddy who doesn’t want to run with you any longer…

Here’s the thing: it’s never personal. It’s never about you. How could it be? That person doesn’t truly know you, understand what you want or hear the voices in your head. All they know is themselves.

When someone moves on, when she walks away or even badmouths you or your work, it’s not personal about you. It’s personal about her. Her agenda, her decisions, her story.

Do your work, the best way you know how. Is there any other option?

via Seth’s Blog: How else are you supposed to take it?.

Learn not Burn

I would advise people to learn from the experience and not get hot over it.  I caught myself the other day taking this advice.  I had someone standing before me very mad (and yes your natural assumption is to assume ‘what did I do to deserve this?’) but I stepped backed and asked myself some questions in the heat of the moment while trying to listen to the person vent:

  • What is exactly going on here?
  • How did we get to this boiling point?
  • Did I really do something to bring this on?
  • How can I learn from this?
  • What can I do to make this a teachable moment and return the person to the topic of accepting my offer.

We do take things personal.  There is no doubt about it.  If we can learn that we are in a long process and not a one time event, we have the ability to step back and learn from each event.

This is why you’ll hear me say, “Failure is an Event, not a Title”.

Good Hunting

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Make Some Magic


How many times do you find yourself in a slump.  We  need to shake off the old and create a new way of generating new ideas.  We need to make some magic, create some sparks, razzle and dazzle, have some fun!  When I read this post from Seth Godin it got me to thinking:

An end of magic

Arthur C. Clarke told us, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Head back to the 1800s with a Taser or a Prius or an iPad and the townsfolk will no doubt either burn you at the stake or worship you.

So many doors have been opened by technology in the last twenty years that the word “sufficiently” is being stretched. If it happens on a screen (Google automatically guessing what I want next, a social network knowing who my friends are before I tell them) we just assume it’s technology at work. Hard to even imagine magic here.

via Seth’s Blog: An end of magic.

How to Make the Magic

This is a fun exercise to take your team or department through.  You can read about the process in one my previous posts “Exceptionalism: Focus on the Never“.  But basically, take several idea lists you’ve created and follow the “Innovation Bonus Exercise” in the above post.  Then take some of those ideas and create you own little science fiction episode of “Stargete”, “Sanctuary”, or “Startrek” in which your team runs accross a civilazation with advanced technology like some of the crazy  items on your list and they now have to revewrse engenere it to gain the benefits of the new found technology.

You might be surprised how many of the way-out-there crazy ideas turn into actionable realistic projects for your team to investigate further.

It’s a fun off-site day, especially if you have a bunch of techie scifi geeks on your team!

Good Hunting!

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Ditch the Office: Next Week is National Telework Week


More than 35,000 companies and organizations have pledged to participate in the event. According to the official Telework Week Website, this would save an estimated $2,451,069 and more than 1,600 tons of pollutants from entering the atmosphere. Where these numbers come from is not entirely clear, but it stands to reason that fewer people commuting would help save money and reduce pollution to some extent.

National Telework Week is sponsored by Telework Exchange and Cisco, which makes telepresence and communication products, as well as other tools to facilate remote working.

via Ditch the Office: Next Week is National Telework Week.

To: Non-Teleworkers

I would suggest you spend some time understanding what it would take to perform your work outside the office.  As I would explain to past staffs, just because a weather day or some unplanned disaster occurred, project deadlines remain the same.  If you and your manager, or if you are the manager, haven’t spent enough time creating a work force that is flexible enough to handle the unique demands of performing all department requirements outside of the normal office space, you will find yourself in the awkward situation of losing value to the company.

Disaster Recovery Planning

OK, maybe it’s because my first job in a large IT organization was helping implement the annual remote disaster recovery test plans that I seem to gravitate to this fact.  I ask all my clients, if your office burned down this weekend, what you do on Monday.  Close shop?  Declare bankruptcy? Put everything on hold until you get a new office leased?  What about your paper records?  How about your leads?  How about your contracts in progress? Are you’re files stored off-site, and if so how long would it take to get them back and running at the new location?

These are all questions that should bring a leader or manager to the point of understanding how important teleworking can be to this scenario and their organization.

Improved Productivity

An important factor in improving your productivity is to design a work environment that helps you accomplish your work faster and smarter then your competition.  Well how about all the time you are not in the office?  Are you tied to a paper filing system … how could you change that? (Evernote.com)  Can your assistant and team members update file and get them to your quickly? (DropBox.com) Can your team, partners, and client see your calendar and plan accordingly?  (Google Calendar)  Can you conduct training sessions without having to be on-prem at the client’s location? (WebEx) Can you brainstorm with your team, partners, and clients regardless of their geographical location? (MindMeister.com)  Can you manage your To-Do list, or better yet, can your assistant manage your list for you? (Remember the Milk).

My guess the most difficult thing to change in your work space is the paper trails you live with.  You probably have become so accustomed to getting something in paper, working on it, then passing it on.  Reguardless, it is possible to go paperless.  It’s worth the time to implement also.

My Office

Over the past 10 years I have moved to a paperless process.  That is how I had to look at it.  I focused on the process, not the piece of paper or some other physical object.  Many of the web based applications I mentioned above I use today.  It allows me to complete my client requests while knowing that all the items I need are right at my fingertips.

So what have you done to make it possible to telework or telecomute?  I’d love to compare notes some time.

Good Hunting.

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Marketing Success – Jackie Chan Style


In “Success” magazine (Success.com February 2011) I found a great article on Jacky Chan. In this articles they list Jacky Chan’s 7 Traits for Success.  I found his thoughts fit nicely into internet marketing as well.  So I’m going to take his traits but add my own thoughts to each of his traits.

1) A willingness to crash and burn

I can’t stress enough that each internet marketer should try to fail, often, and big.  Two phrases come to mind “Go Big, or Go Home!” and “Failure is an event, not a title!”  Your embrace of risk might be the deciding factor that helps you find your niche.

2) A discipline for fitness

The key word being discipline.  Fitness is needed for everyone, but in marketing, we need focus, intentional creative disruption.  We often try many tactics for our clients.  We need to perform our duties in such a way that our measurements tell us which tactic produced the results and then build on them.

3) A disdain for wasted time

As Zig Ziglar wrote in his “See You at the Top” recording your activities and understanding what it takes to create positive results in critical.  Equally important is understanding what is not helping you create success.  Avoiding time wasters are equally important then improving skills.

4) A need for alternative opinions

It’s important we seek out and study other disciplines and build on the lessons of those.  Reading materials from other continents, or cultures.   Subscribe to blogs from other marketers on other countries.  Spend time discussing ideas on twitter or in blog comments.  It will improve your ability to communicate your positions to clients and prospects.

5) A set of high expectations

Never be afraid to say “That’s not good enough” and demand more of the outcomes of your tasks and tactics.  With internet marketing it often a series of “shoot, ready, aim” moments, but that doesn’t mean we can expect some impressive marksmanship!

6) An accurate moral compass

A marketer with no moral compass is simply a politician.  Enough said.

7) A relentless sense of humor

By all means, have some fun.  If you can’t laugh and laugh hard at your work, you will often find yourself  ‘chasing rabbits’.  I know we call it work, but push the limits, always create a version of your latest project that is an exaggeration of the client requirements.  By creating this outlier, you will find your other ideas less risky and at the same time take some risks.

So which one of these traits caught your eye?  Which of these traits are you doing well at?  Which one of these traits do you need to work on?  I’d love to get your feedback.

Enjoy!  Good Hunting!

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YOU 2.0 – The Storymaker


For the last several weeks I’ve been thinking about the concepts of influence, purpose, drive, and accomplishment.  As it turns out the topic naturally surfaced while reading books, reading blogs, posting my comments on blogs,  the podcasts that happen to be next on my iPod nano, and even the keynote speech at the ‘Opening Days’ event at the college I teach at.   I simply couldn’t escape the topic so I started documenting my thoughts and this post is the outcome.

Storymaker vs. Storyteller

“Chance favors the prepared” – Louis Pasteur

The term “Storymaker” surfaced in a Duct Tape Marketing podcast in which the authors of the book Content Rules were being interviewed.  The podcast itself was not about this topic solely but rather the concept of preemptive content creation planning and activity  out before it happens and making a story out of it.  The premise was that ‘content rules’ and the best content comes from a planned approach to the situation at hand.

Around the same time, the Manager’s Tools podcast had a topic on “assumptive goal setting” which immediately had me thinking about the Storymaker concept.  In this case they were talking about managing projects and staffs but it easily fit into the thought of managing situations you are in.  Before we begin a set of tasks, let’s say talking to  Southwest Bell on a problem, we would make certain assumptions of what we want to accomplish and how we will do it and of course how much we are willing to spend in time, energy, and resources.

As you can imagine, I listen to podcasts when I’m on the move (much to the disgust of my wife who thinks I’m being very rude!).  But at the same time I ran across the above two podcasts, I also was reading Zig Ziglar’s “See You at the Top”, and as it happens, I was in the section on Goals.  This is a great book to get if you still can find it.  I know it’s dated but well worth the search and addition to your library.  Oh, and i have to throw in a little inspirations from “Clue Train Manifesto” as well.

Here are some of the characteristics of a Storymaker:

  • Intend to Make a Story –
  • Build your Assumptions
  • “That’s Not Good Enough” is a phrase spoken often
  • Finds meaning and purpose in everything
  • Believe every next event can be a work of art

Important: You are the SAME

You are a brand.  Your brand hasn’t changed.  I don’t want anyone thinking they have to change who they are.  (I fully expect you will change something when you think ahead before doing something though.) I’m not asking you to reinvent yourself, simply understand how your role impacts others in your story.  You now have the ability to influence others more then they have in any other time in history.  Technology has opened the door to allow a common person (small brand) to interact with large company (large brand) and shape the outcome by using tools like social media.  We have moved from the time of Word of Mouth to Word of Keyboard to Word of Friend List / Followers / Subscribers / Contacts.

If you Make a Story that is sharable, compelling, and inspiring, you have a stronger likelihood of having your social network share that story then if you are simply passing along a story.  If your social network passes it on, your influence is now exponential rather then the old linear word of mouth.

It is a matter of INFLUENCE.  It is a matter of improving your influence.  Chris Brogan had a great post on “Improving Your Influence“.    It’s also good to understand that technology now has the ability to help you understand how you are doing with your reach by using simple reports.

Thought Provoking Quotes

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose” – Viktor Frankl

“Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.” – Leonardo da Vinci

“With definite goals you release your own power, and things start happening” – Zig Ziglar

“No matter what your job is, no matter where you work, there’s a way to create a project (on your own, on weekends if necessary), where the excitement is palpable, where something that might make a difference is right around the corner. Hurry, go do that.” – Godin (emphasis added)

Application

Ok, so what do we do with this?  How can you take the Storymaker concept and apply it to YOU 2.0, the brand?  Can we take everyday life and transform our navigation through it from a passive, powerless, storytelling existence to a assumptive, empowered, storymaking role?

Here are some thought:

  • Work – in the next week, month, year – plan out what story you would want to tell, not only that, but what story someone starting in your field would be motivated by and willing to embrace as an example of how they want to be seen. Analyst, Assistant, President, Janitor – makes no difference – Make A Story!
  • Sports – Plan out your story, game by game, season by season.  Create a story that someone starting in your sport would be motivated by and willing to embrace as an example of how they want to be seen in the future.
  • Society – create a story for your community.  Write a story that motivates your fellow citizen to get off the sideline and become a positive player in their world.
  • Self – Your next chapter begins today.  Decide now what you want written about your life.  Become a motivation to your next generation.  Be something that others would be willing to emulate.  Create a story that others would want to share.

I would love to know your thoughts on this post.  Let me know what stories you are now planning to create.  Become the Storymaker, leave behind the storyteller.

Good Hunting.

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  • Reading Goal

    2012 Reading Challenge

    2012 Reading Challenge
    Tim has read 7 books toward his goal of 24 books.
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