Archive for 'love'

Eight Weeks To Business Change

by André Taylor

Searching for the right business strategy, many organizations fall in love with big concepts. But for many, it stops there, as “doing” can be an elusive concept. In my advisory work, I suggest a systematic approach to tackling change comprised of an 8-week period of intensive focus, followed by a repeat of the process in 8-week increments throughout the year. Here are the eight big questions to explore during this process:

Week One:

What are the next 5 things we must do to get closer to our vision?

This is the hardest part for many organizations. We often have too many objectives. It is important to have a crisp vision, but even more important is developing a crisp daily focus. This focus should consist of a handful of clear objectives.

Week Two:

If we keep doing what we’re doing will we achieve our vision within our timeframe?

During the first week of our program, you’ve defined your focus and you’ve begun to take action. But once you begin, you are bound to see adjustments that must be made. You must now take inventory of where you are.

Week Three:

“Who are the people and partners best suited to help us reach our vision?”

Creating change in an organization requires the participation of many people with different talents, backgrounds and perspectives. Vendors, advisors, partners, mentors, and customers are all needed and we need multi-generational team members to shape our approach.

Week Four:

What are our potential and current customers saying to us indirectly?

Develop an attentive ear. Your audience is often telling you things indirectly about their likes, dislikes, tastes, and preferences. We may think we’re listening, but instead we are really thinking of our customers as a group, rather than individually.

Week Five:

How do we create a new, distinctive relationship with our audience?

Our objective is to reach a level of interaction with our audience that reduces and ultimately eliminates boundaries. We want to penetrate and understand the customer “psyche” and discover what’s beneath the surface.

Week Six:

How do I move into the view of new customers and partners?

New audiences want to feel like they’ve discovered you. Your role is to help them do this, by moving into their view. By partnering with other organizations, you will expose your business to new audiences.

Week Seven:

How are we managing the natural conflicts and complexities that arise?

Dynamic organizations are comprised of people with differing views, experiences, and competencies. We need a composite of organizational talents to advance our mission. We must also change the perception that disagreement is bad, or that there should be a penalty or stigma associated with failure.

Week Eight:

How do we follow through in the most efficient way?

Today’s environment requires highly focused periods of evaluation, ad hoc teams, a rapid assessment of the situation, and quick decisions. We must also trust individuals with an uncommon understanding of the situation who can “run” with their creative vision.

© Copyright 2007 – André Taylor – Taylor Insight Group, LLC. Go to http://www.andretaylor.com and get Andre’s free newsletter.

André Taylor is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, and advisor to growing companies and one of today’s dynamic voices on business and personal success. He’s the author of a collection of audio and video programs reflecting more than 25 years in enterprise management and the discipline of personal and organizational development. He provides an uncommon understanding of the lessons of business and personal resilience, and extraordinary insight and commentary on the subjects of entrepreneurship, leadership, sales, marketing, innovation, and growth.

Book Review: Success Built to Last

By Michael Wade

Success Built to Last: Creating a Life that Matters by Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery, and Mark Thompson mentions plenty of famous names but its main emphasis is on how ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

Although some of the book’s findings are predictable (Successful people maintain a high level of passion for their calling), one of the book’s strengths is its willingness to challenge conventional wisdom – they’re not big on balance and love obsession – or give it some new twists, such as noting that if you don’t love what you do you’ll be at a competitive disadvantage to someone who does.

A listing of traps that can keep you from responding to your true career desire includes:

  1. Getting too practical.
  2. Letting things (“Bright Shiny Objects”) own you.
  3. Being seduced by competence; i.e., beng simply good instead of great.
  4. Pleasing others instead of yourself and creating false choices (“ors”) when you can have “ands.”

Those are only sidelines. The main theme is the necessity to find a cause that will engage your passion and your efforts and, regardless of your personal charisma, provide you with the charisma of its mission and the self-esteem that comes from achievement. The cause is all. It gives you drive, sustains you when setbacks occur, and is far more realistic than mere positive thinking.

Persistence and a rock-solid determination not to act like a victim bolster the commitment to the cause. But so too is the pragmatic willingness to drop projects that are failures if they prove to be inadequate avenues to furthering the cause.

There were many times when I found myself arguing with Success Built to Last. “But what about this event?” and “There are exceptions to that!” came to mind more than once. I have to admit though, that the book’s most powerful appeal is not the Big Hairy Audacious Goals (from Jim Collins’s and Porras’s Built to Last) or its interesting personal success stories.

It’s the power of The Cause and how finding one can unleash creativity, strength, and energy that a quest for mere personal advancement will never unchain.

Seriously Kule Color Tools

I found this over on the Duct Tape Marketing Blog:

Adobe Labs released a very fun and useful tool for anyone that would like to learn about combining colors or creating what they call color themes. The tool is called kuler. (Requires the latest Flash player to view)

kuler is a designer playground and community that allows anyone to create color combination palettes and publish them for the community. Voting happens and the best palettes rise to the top under the “most popular” tab.

On top of being a very cool app, any business owner can go and find professional grade color combinations that can help set the mood for any print or online project. Need to know what subtle accent colors might go with your 2 color logo but still have trouble picking out what shirt and tie go together? Visit kuler, go through the popular combinations, and click on one that contains your base colors. The tool then gives you all information you might need for RGB, CMYK, and Hex settings.

Professional designers, or those that play them on TV, will love the fact that you can download the themes right into CS3. You can get the kuler release notes from Adobe Labs. If you really want to stay on top of color trends, get the widget for Mac users at MacUpdate

And just when you thought you were having too much fun with color: Check out this tool that allows you to upload an image and let the tool suggest some colors you might use as accents. Color Palette Generator

The 10 New Rules of Branding

By Derrick Daye on Walmart

1) Brands that influence culture sell more; culture is the new catalyst for growth.
Look at Google. They are changing the way we behave online. Nike is a brand that has become a part of all culture. If you get into that split screen, you become part of the lexicon of life.

2) A brand with no point of view has no point; full-flavor branding is in, vanilla is out.
Love or hate Fox News, you know where it stands on issues. And Ben & Jerry’s is more than just ice cream; it’s a company that stands for a cause. Younger consumers have grown up in a consumer world. They’re flexing their muscle, and they want their brands to stand for something.

3) Today’s consumer is leading from the front; this is the smartest generation to have ever walked the planet.
Today’s consumers are more discriminating and more experimental. They have very strong opinions on brands, and a lot of brands are getting consumers involved. Take Converse and the Converse Gallery, where consumers can make a 24-second film that will run on their site. It’s consumer-generated creativity and a natural savviness.

4) Customize wherever and whenever you can; customization is tomorrow’s killer whale.
The second advent of the Internet has consumers wanting something all their own. Consumers say, ‘I need something that is mine, not mass-produced for everybody.’ The best example is Apple’s iTunes Website. Instead of buying a CD, consumers are buying the tracks they want and putting them on their iPods. Look at Starbucks, which creates whatever beverage a consumer wants, and Nike, which allows you to design a shoe online.

5) Forget the transaction, just give me an experience; the mandate is simple: Wow them every day, every way.
Apple and Coach found that the best way to give consumers a brand experience wasn’t just to sell product in store but to control the entire experience. This is why they build stores in major cities. Looking for the other brands to soon be involved in the ‘experience.’

6) Deliver clarity at point of purchase; be obsessive about presentation.
There’s an “option overload” in the supermarket aisles, and anything that simplifies that for consumers is welcome. If I’m a consumer and I stand in front of a shelf, I see a wall of product. Brands are beginning to recognize that you have to be clear about what they are selling at the point of purchase.

7) You are only as good as your weakest link; do you know where you’re vulnerable?
Today’s younger consumers show zero tolerance when a brand makes a mistake. If a Website isn’t good enough, they will ignore your brand, and if you get negative PR about something, it will stick no matter what you do to rectify it. Brands like Wal-Mart and Nike are still connected to negative PR about alleged abuse of foreign workers.

8) Social responsibility is no longer an option; what’s your cause, what’s your contribution?
Consumers now expect corporations to get involved in cause marketing. Businesses are doing a better job at getting behind causes, for example, Timberland (“Take a stand against genocide”), Target (“Every day Target gives back to the community”), eBay (its Giving Works program, for starters), and GE (which this year launched its Citizenship Report, an annual report of sorts regarding the company’s environmental and safety initiatives). Not all businesses promote these efforts, however, because they’re worried their efforts will be seen as commercial.

9) Pulse, pace, and passion really make a difference; had your heartbeat checked recently?
We’re in a crazy world. We keep piling more devices upon us. The more you have, the more you need. If your business does not have a high metabolic rate, you’re not going to survive. Companies like Google move fast, and that means the older, slower companies are doomed.

10) Innovation is the new boardroom favorite.
Brands are inspired by Apple more than anyone else. They transformed the music business, and people are taking what they did seriously. Procter & Gamble and GE are driving this and have made innovation the core of their corporate strategy.

Name tags

from Seth Godin’s Blog:

————————–

Nametags
I love name tags.

I think doing name tags properly transforms a meeting. Here’s why:
a. people don’t really know everyone, even if they think they do.
b. if you don’t know someone’s name, you are hesitant to talk to them.
c. if you don’t talk to them, you never get to know them and you both lose.
d. if you are wearing a name tag, it’s an invitation to start a conversation.

One summer, I led 90 people, some strangers to each other, through a three-day training. Every single person had to wear a hat with his or her name on it until every person in the group knew every other person’s name and could prove it. It took two days. Worth it.

Doing a name tag right isn’t easy. Here are my rules:
a. BIG first name
b. positioned in a place where you can see it
c. ideally two-sided, on a short lanyard (why on earth would you make a one-sided lanyard tag?)
d. a piece of information that is an ice breaker. Here’s my latest example. Every single sticker had a different picture. No real logic behind it. But what if there was? What if attendees picked their favorite movie star, metaphor, state capital, political gaffe, Saturday Night Live skit… anything worth talking about?

Grand_brut Mormon evangelists all wear name tags. Great idea. Doctors used to. Too bad they don’t. Now it’s almost like a Prisoner thing, where the only purpose of the tag is to enable you to tattle on someone who doesn’t give you good service.

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