Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Isn’t it too difficult?

Discipline is too hard. Too difficult. In fact, it feels forced. How can you be good at something if you forced yourself to do it?

I am sorry if that is your understanding of discipline. Forced, regimented and difficult. You must have suffered for so many years.

Try this - discipline isn’t about force. It’s about understanding. 

If you understand why you have to do what you have to do to get where you want to be? Then it wouldn’t feel forced isn’t it? You would do it willingly.

Courting your girlfriend and trying to make her your wife requires a lot of discipline. But it doesn’t feel forced does it?

So, discipline only feels forced because you don’t understand why you have to do what you have to do.

So, if you don’t understand, go understand it. Stop saying it is difficult.

How can you make it meaningful?

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Where have they all gone?

You hear that it is getting more and more difficult to get good people. Especially, fresh graduates to take up entry level jobs. Somehow, we have all not been very happy with the quality and attitude.

I wonder? I wonder if apprenticeship is a way to go for some industries. Call it chambering, residency or black ship if you like. You know the concept. Someone who works under a ‘sifu’ to learn the craft. Be it surgery or fixing a punctured tire.

One big value in apprenticeship is that it would shift some of the responsibility to the direct boss. If you are the boss looking for someone to work for you? Then you would have to be a ‘sifu’. You would need to really know your trade. Your craft. Your art. More importantly, you would have to have a system of teaching it. And know how to teach it.

That would add to the knowledge management of your industry. That would shift responsibility into your hands. So, you don’t just sit and complain.

Maybe it’s time to put what you know into a system and sell it as a set of kungfu to potential apprentice.

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What have you done to further your trade?

Friday, November 25, 2011

What will you believe today?

Across the years I believe I have seen all sorts who deal with media sales. They can be from the media owners end or media independent agencies. Respectable ones are few and in between. Majority of which are only concerned about selling you space, airtime or sound bites as the case maybe. Doesn’t matter what your marketing objectives are, their medium will fit. It can do all sorts.

If you are deft in figures and their numbers doesn’t gel with your plans, they will tell you to evaluate based on qualitative reasons. When they have tonnes of figures to back their medium up? They will tell you that the quantitative findings are not important and to look at the numbers, it’s a fact they can deliver.

Fact is they want you to choose their medium regardless of the figures. So they can meet their figures. Now that’s fiction.

Thought of a way to navigate the facts, figures and fiction yet?

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

When are you waking up from your slumber?

Personally, I feel too much credit has been given to dreamers. Especially dreamers who fail to execute. Don’t get me wrong. I am quite a dreamer myself. But dreams must be backed by action. Otherwise, dreams are fantasy. Dreams do come true. Fantasies don’t. 

You want dreams to come true? Execute. Chase down that dream like mad. A million dreams are but a figment of imagination – useless. Unless it touches people lives.

The great dreamers and thinkers were also doers from Leonard da Vinci to Jonas Edward Salk. Their dreams and thoughts touched people because they did something.

You just chose to pay attention to the dream part and dreamt of being them.

Are you confusing dreamers and thinkers?

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Which is your favorite primal feeling?

Passion is irrational.

It’s that raw primal feeling that propels us to do what our logical brain says no. So, I find it difficult to understand when people say, look for what you are passionate about and do that work.

How can your raw primal feeling want to work? It wants to rest. It wants to sleep. It wants to wake up in a hammock by the beach. It wants to have some coconut water in the mid afternoon. Maybe some sex before evening comes. Glug down some beer.

That is what passion wants. Not work.

But you can reverse it. You can learn to love your work. We all have changed our mind about something before. We have changed our mind about someone. So, learn to love your work. 

Then with love passion occurs naturally.

That will work.

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Working on loving your job?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

What will you want?

What you want and what you will do is entirely different.

What you want must be balanced with what you will. Specifically, what you will DO. Otherwise, your dreams are ashes. Burnt even before they become a reality. 

You want to be a movie star? What will you do for it? You want to make more money than the asshole boss of yours? Sure. What will you do for it?

Unless you are ready to sacrifice some sleep, skip a lot of TV (or internet or computer or iPad – whatever that you use for entertainment) and admit that your current lifestyle isn’t getting you anywhere, you won’t get anywhere. Want all you want. It won’t happen.

Oh yeah, while you are at it, admit that you are disorganized too. And be willing to do something about getting organized. Otherwise, want all you want. It won’t happen.

Do you will a want?

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Monday, November 21, 2011

What happens before money changes hands?

You want people to buy into you? You want their loyalty? Before they pay you, other payments have to come into play first.

You need to pay attention. The only way they will pay attention is when you pay attention to what they are saying. I think some smart people calls these insights.

You need not be introduced to insights via research and planning sessions. Insights are conversations your consumers are having about life, about work, about family and relationships. About fears, about love, and about dreams.

Yeah, they don’t talk about you. Until you pay them.

Are you paying attention?

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Friday, November 18, 2011

What do you stand for?

It’s funny isn’t it, your positioning statement says nothing about taking a position. If you think it does, let’s take a look. Go on, read it. Or pull it out from your computer or your brand book. Whatever that it’s recorded or written in. 
So, what does it say?

A positioning takes a position in the consumer’s mind. The best way to take a position in the consumer’s mind is to take a position on the things your community is concerned about.

Positioning is about that locus in their hearts. Not a set of coordinates written in marketing speak on your piece of paper.

Now, what’s your position?

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

How can you reach out?

People who consume your products and use your services are humans. You already know that. If you know that then the conversations you have with them should be human as well. Not contrived marketing speak. You don’t convince your mother and sister and best friend to buy your product that way. Why should you speak to someone else’s mother, sister and best friend that way you write your ads?

To convince someone, you reach for the heart. To touch the heart, you need something hearty.

Hearty means genuine, affectionate, sincere, warm and nourishing.

Do you speak from the heart?

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What did you deposit today?

It’s tough to become an entrepreneur and not think about money and material wealth. It’s also tough to work for someone and not to think about money and material wealth.

So, in all these strategizing, planning, objectives, and implementation somewhere the energy of accumulation digests the need for cultivation.

Seek all you want externally. But it should not be at the cost of sharpening what you can internally.

Cultivation rather than accumulation.

Would you prefer growth instead?

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What are previous successes doing to you?

One of the biggest threat to your personal growth is whatever halo effect you carry. You should be quite aware of this. If you look quite good, you probably know people think so about you too. You are also likely to know that whatever work you do, people tend to think you do it better than the others.

If you graduated from a very good university, people likely think that you are good in all that you do. That’s the halo effect at work.

If you are conscious of the halo effect and exploit it? Be careful that it breeds hollowness.  If you sit in a position of power, the hollow effect created by the halo effect becomes worse. 

If you think you know a lot. Be wary of the area between humility and self confidence. In the fogginess of praise and compliments, you may lose the plot.

Who's evaluating you?

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Monday, November 14, 2011

What do you choose to say?

Action steps have to be owned. Personalized.  Which means taking personal responsibility for the work that needs to be done. It is the responsibility to the collective group. 

If your wife asks you to buy a loaf of bread on your way home and you forgot? Saying you are so busy that you forgot is just as bad as saying the dog ate your to-do list. Too busy, too stressed, too many things to remember – these reasons? Everyone can use them.

Admitting to not doing what you are assigned to do and lying about not doing is just as bad.

Both means there is no bread on the table.

When will you take it personally?

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Friday, November 11, 2011

What makes you feel alive?

Hunger keeps some people real. From the type of hunger that can be placated by putting food in one’s stomach to the pangs that can be appeased when projects see the light of day.

What keeps you real?

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Where is your learning opportunity coming from today?

When you sit across the table and are presented with a case that you can potentially learn from? Resist saying “…but it’s a different category”, or whatever similar angle like “…but we are selling at a different price point.” Or “…but that’s in a different country.”

Ifs and buts kill learning opportunities.

Of course the case presented to you or the example shown to you is of a different category, place, price point, consumer segment and what have you.

Your dream case study others will use as a fine example of marketing magic? The exact category and in the exact situation you are facing now? That, you and I are crafting as we speak.

Why choose to be egoistic when you can choose to create magic?

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How did you get here?

Too often if you are the guy that carries that big title, you need to know what is it that you have skipped. Perhaps, you are where you are because it is a family business, for which you have not learned the hard way up. Or you may have climbed that corporate ladder because you were good at that one solid thing. It propelled you to the top.

All too often, big guys at the top forget there are many things they may not know. Too egoistic to ask, too busy to know. It spells disaster for you, your customers and your company.

What’s your unfinished business?

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Which big effort got you somewhere?

Do you laugh at little efforts? Small little things people do? What is better? Someone dreaming of big things and never got moving? Or someone who starts to move even that small little thing.

In everything there is latent energy. The potential in every small effort. Do not look down upon what in your big dream is defined by miniscule.

“Drop by drop an empty bucket is soon filled with water.” – The Dhammapada.

If little birds start questioning every tiny straw it carries to make a nest, it would not have a resting place.

Do you see the potential of small things?

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Is your effort in cash or credit?

Compounded interest earns you lots of money. It can earn you lots of dividends too when applied to your – hate to-do list, someday I will do list, I am too busy to attend to it now list.

If you can compound your interest on the things that needs your attention now but you are forever procrastinating, the returns will be satisfaction in its many forms.

Why do you believe in compounded interest when it comes to your banking accounts but not on your whatever lists?

What would compounded interest bring you?

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Is your work art?

Sometimes I wonder. People say work sucks. Of course work sucks. That’s why it’s called work. You have other words for the fun things you do. Or love.

But it also depends on the way you look at things, no? Your work I mean. Whatever it is. You look at other people’s work and say, “Wow, that’s a work of art.”

How come other people’s work can be a work of art? 

What have you been doing wrong? Let me suggest this.

It’s what you expect work to deliver. It’s you not accepting that the discovery of your passions and motivation is a beautiful process, not a painful one. It’s you expecting a single leap to career heaven. Not knowing it’s the rites of passage that will elevate you there.

How can you master the art of work?

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Who’s the barb wire?

Are you in the way of your best people’s performance? How else do you want me to ask that question?

Are you in the way?

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An excuse to treat you less?

Do you ever wonder when you pay less, you are actually giving a reason to whoever that is serving you to treat you worse than if you were to pay full price?

For businesses to grow the usual idea is to convert the consumer to bigger ticket items or for the same customer to buy more.

Why then would a budget whatever (airlines, hotel, whatever) treat you like they are only doing business with you once by treating you like cattle?

Perhaps if they treated you better, you would buy that red cap of theirs. Have another can of Coke, or order the air condition to be kept on another hour.

These budget whatever dream of ancillary income from your pockets to theirs, but the service they give you indicates it’s a privilege for you to be doing business with them.

The stewardesses – in the instance of budget airlines – does not seem to realize just because you fly cheap doesn’t mean you don’t have money to buy that t-shirt, shawl and plane you are flying in.

Does budget equals value?

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