Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Be The Best In What You Do!

All people want to be good at what they do but very few hit the target. What would our lives be like if we were the very best at what we do - the best in business, the best in investing, the best in HR, the best in sports or the best in sales? There is a saying, "The harder I work the luckier I get." Hard work with the right technique can help anyone become "the best" at what they do.

To become the best - focus on a single objective and put in the time and energy to hit the goal. Robin Sharma shares his thoughts on this as well.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Gary Vaynerchuk on Social Media's Multiplier Effect

Gary Vaynerchuk has some great video presentations online. I watched one today that struck a chord with me and thought I would share it here. His main point, to me, was that with social media the good and the bad reports from our customers become multiplied. Ten years ago if a customer was happy s/he may have told a handfull of people. Now with social that same thought could spread to hundreds or thousands.

This gives us the ability to do great things for our customers and then have that shared with large groups. 2013 should be the year to do great things for customers - things that are special and personal so they know they are important to us.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Principle of Subtraction

Often times I find myself committing to more and more in all areas of my life - more at work, more with the family, more around the house and more with my friends. The weeks come and go and the weekends come and go and life becomes a blur. In a 24/7 world where information and activity can be a never ending occurrence - how can I keep my life under control?

One of the topics I enjoy reading about is personal effectiveness and how I can get more done with the same or less energy. In reading on this topic, I came across the principle of subtraction and how it is often more important to focus on what I say "no" to as well as what I say "yes" to in my life. There is no shortage of activities in our world to say "yes" to and no shortage of information overload to invite in to our lives - so at some point we have to be able to say "no".

Recently I was reading an article about this entitled The Art of Adding by Taking Away by Matthew May. Matthew also wrote a book entitled The Law of Subtraction. So he must have some knowledge on the subject. In the NYT article Matthew focuses on subtraction and how that improves our output and outcome. He begins with a personal story of how he improved his performance by using this concept and then he looks at some examples of how businesses used this principle. Below is part of what he had to say:

The principle of subtraction carries over to the corporate world. Here are some examples: W. L. Gore, recognized as one of the world’s most innovative companies, eliminated job titles in order to release employees’ creativity. When it started out, Scion, the youth-oriented unit of Toyota, decided not to advertise, and it reduced the number of standard features on its vehicles to allow buyers to customize their cars. The British bank First Direct operates successfully without branches, relying instead on Internet, telephone and mobile transactions. Steve Jobs revolutionized the world’s concept of a cellphone by removing the physical keyboard from the iPhone. Instagram, acquired last year by Facebook, grew quickly once its first version, called Burbn, was stripped of many of its features and reworked to focus on one thing: photos. 
THINK about what you could do — or rather not do — in your own life that would put these principles into play. There are two easy ways to begin subtracting things every day: 
First, create a “not to do” list to accompany your to-do list. Give careful thought to prioritizing your goals, projects and tasks, then eliminate the bottom 20 percent of the list — forever. 
Second, ask those who matter to you most — clients, colleagues, family members and friends — what they would like you to stop doing. Warning: you may be surprised at just how long the list is. 
The lesson I’ve learned from my pursuit of less is powerful in its simplicity: when you remove just the right things in just the right way, something good happens.
I have found in my job and in my life that when I remove the actions that don't bring value and I focus more closely on what brings value, I can get more done with less energy and time. It's a principle worth considering.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Are You A Writer? Ask David Ogilvy.

Last week our company had a marketing consultant in to work with us on our 2013 Marketing Plan. She and her husband had built a printing company in Georgia and she had focused on the marketing and sales side of the business. When they sold the company she began a consulting company to help other printing companies improve their marketing efforts and that is how she and I got connected. During her time with us she said that everyone had the ability to write and communicate with the written word. The more I thought about this the more I find myself agreeing with her.

Many people say they are not "writers" which is true in most cases. But this doesn't mean those same people can't become writers. Writing is like so many other skills in that it takes time, work, energy and training to become good. Other than going to school to improve, it is always possible to find good information on how to improve in any area. The other day I came across 10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy. David was one of the classic advertising men that Mad Men was patterned after.

Here are his 10 Tips:

The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well.
Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.

Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:

1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
6. Check your quotations.
7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.
8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.


Anyone can improve and become a "good writer" by spending the time and energy needed to improve.