Friday, December 30, 2011

What is your ambition?

One of those predictable essay titles they gave you when you were in primary school. Then again in secondary school. And you try to better the one you wrote 6 years ago.

Now that you are in the working world, perhaps it is good to write that essay again. But with a little different way of asking that question. What do you want to become?

Not what you want to be. Like a millionaire. Or a doctor or anything of that sort.
What do you want to become? 

People aren’t certain what they want to be in the future.

But it’s a question worth pondering.

What do you want to become?

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

What about the execution?

The concept is simple. Mobile Number Portability (MNP). It simply means you can opt to keep your mobile number if you decide to switch service provider. It’s that simple. Fill in form, wait for sms to switch your sim card, insert new sim card.

The complication starts when you are a supplementary-line holder. You can’t just port your number. You have to first pay a registration fee to convert from supplementary line to main line. Then wait for the main line to activate (that means wait a day). Then go back to cancel your main line. Then migrate to the new service provider that you have chosen and register for MNP.

How many customers are you turning away from this simple complication?

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How many boulders have you allowed your brand today?

Who are the boulders in your plan? Those that tells you these things …
I’ve got no time to finish your work today. Maybe tomorrow.
It can’t be done. [No solution given. No alternative given.]
This is not how we approach it. [Again. No solution given. No alternative given.]
I’m not sure how this should be done. Your brief was not clear [This is told to you on the day the deadline is due.]

Sloppy. Distracted. Laggard. Ignorant. Nonchalant. 

Seriously, are your boulders that indispensable that you allow them to have so much control over your success?

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Is your brand facing paralysis?

Do you hear resistance each time a new idea is being tabled? 
Are you allowing fear of failure to take control over your brand’s success?
The next time you are about to say no or wait, stop for a moment and ask yourself this question.

Is your brand missing the best opportunity to fear and resistance?

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Friday, December 23, 2011

People don’t read anymore?

Is it true that people do not read anymore? I have always used the example that if I wrote a one pager on "All about the snakes of Mojave desert" you are not likely to read it. Unless of course you have an appetite for the reptile. On the other hand, if I wrote a 400 page book and title it, "All about XXX of YYY" - insert your name at XXX and where you work in YYY,  then I bet you, you will read it page for page. Why? Quite simply. Relevance. If it is relevant to you, you will read it.

I am appalled at the wisdom advertisers are missing when they say; do not write a lot of copy. People do not read anymore. Do people not read anymore or do you not have a good relevant story to tell your consumers? If you do not have a good relevant story to tell the consumers then it is a very sad day for you. Because, even a picture that is not relevant will not get the consumers attention. And if the consumers do not find you relevant then they will not even like you. Logic has it that if they do not like you, why would they want to buy you? Fall in love with you and put you in their league of friends or even lovers.

What pictures are you using?

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Are you giving your customers a roller coaster ride of his life?

How did you make your customer feel today when he walked into your store? Did he get a pleasant greeting or a bark from your front liners? When he finally gets passed that, did he had to wait in the dark not knowing what is going to happen next or was there someone who attended to him immediately?

Your customer’s experience starts way before he stepped into the store. He came to the store because he was spoken to warmly and invited to come for a visit. It’s ok if he’s not buying, you said, just come and browse, no obligations. You’ve almost convinced him that this is the right thing for him. Just come to the store.

Was your customer ecstatic, sad and disappointed all within one purchase cycle? 

Are you giving your customer a surprisingly rough roller coaster ride? 

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Are you being robbed?

You’ve lived with your brand for the last decade. You’ve breathed life into it, you nurture it with your tender loving care, you’ve gone through hardships and triumphs. In fact you’ve had a ball of a time. You think you can now sit and relax a little and reap the returns.

Then the bomb came. Someone moved in last night to set up shop. How dare he. Almost identical, almost like yours but not the same. And at such a dirty low price. How dare he come rob your brand away?

Is your brand at that vulnerable point? 

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Who is your enemy?

That keeps you from growing your brand? Or that keeps you from becoming a better person? Is it your ego? Your perceived intelligence? Your sense of entitlement? 

Or is it the work involved? When the sexiness of creating the idea is gone. All that remains is the unsexy sweat that rolls down your eye brow. And that is what stops most people from executing the work that matters.

Until you know who that enemy is, you will never know what is holding you back.

Can you see the boulders you are chained to?

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Are you the rabbit or tortoise?

Almost everyone who justifies how slow they work will tell you about the story of the rabbit and the tortoise. They love that story. It gives them permission to be slow. 

But I hate the way people who do not move with speed and decisiveness manipulates the story.

If you are slow and indecisive, you are not the tortoise. You are a sloth. So stop insulting the tortoise in the story.

The tortoise in the story is the persistence, the perseverance, will and commitment to FINISH. Something – you, the slow and indecisive sloth do not have. 

The tortoise is slow but it puts one foot in front of the next. There is action; there is motion. There is a dogged determination and love of hard work that comes with hauling its hard heavy shell while reaching for its goals.

It’s OK to be the tortoise. It’s not OK to be a sloth.

Are you the tortoise or the sloth?

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Friday, December 16, 2011

When was the last time you said something nice at work?

Here, do it today. Say something nice and meaningful to a co-worker now. An email doesn’t count. A sms or an instant messenger doesn’t count. Do it face-to-face.


What would you say?

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

What’s your figure?

Most goals can have a figure to it. The amount of money you make. That’s an easy one. The number of people you want to make a positive impact on. That’s another. The number of people you want to date before you get married.

Or the market share your brand would garner before you kick the marketing plan up a notch. Drive that new strategy.

Figures can be a good measure of goals. Not all goals must have a figure but if you are at a lost what to set as your goal. Perhaps it is time to ask, what is the number when you say, “hell yeah”, or “It’s time to go” or “damn, that little more.”

Figures can give you something to aim for short of a proper definition of your goal.

Isn’t it time to figure out your goals?

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Are you a chicken or a pig?

My brainiac brother who is a professor sent me this interesting true story that he heard from a visiting professor.

An established professor was asked how she recruits good researchers for her team. The professor replied she makes it clear to the candidate that she needs the researcher to be committed, not just involved.

The difference between committed and involved?

She explains:
It's like the egg and bacon on your breakfast plate. The chicken is involved, the pig is committed.

Are your people involved or committed?

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How in touch do you have to be?

You know keeping up makes you tired and doing more stresses you out. But you refuse to let anything go. You want to tweet, get on FB, and check your Gmail. Read all the e-newsletters you subscribe to, digest every business book that is launched and listen to the business news every morning. You tell yourself I need to be in touch, to be in the know.

Try this – you already have enough information. To be in the know is to reflect and contemplate on the wisest move for the issue at hand. To contemplate and reflect, you need a quiet mind. 

A muddy pond does not reflect. A clear one does. Stop stirring it and let go. Then you will truly be in touch.

Don’t worry, all these things will still be there when you come back.

What are you turning off?

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Which moment do you wish to have unlimited reruns?

It could be one with your family, when you were young or with your best friends.
We reminisce good times, even without our love ones with us. In fact, that’s how we miss them and that’s how we put in the effort to be in touch with them.

Those we have most good memories with we have deeper relationships.

How can your brand create more good memories with your fans? They really need to learn.

How deep is your love?

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ever wondered what happened to John Doe?

It’s easy now-a-days. When you wonder about someone, you just google them up. FB them. We are all caught with the memories of people we have shared an experience with sometimes. Ever wonder what happened to those who have used your service, bought your products some time ago?

Ever wonder if they wondered what happened to you? Perhaps it’s time to reconnect?

What would you say first?

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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What are you happy about today?

In Malaysia, we see a lot of congratulatory ads. You know those that say, “Wow! Great factory you opened today.” And its various other incarnations. They are usually paid for by suppliers and business partners.

Nothing wrong with that. It’s the way we do business here. I just wonder if they can be more productive.

Somehow, these ads are like Tarzan swinging through the jungle screaming “Orrr eee orrr” half naked and no one paying him any attention. The only people who would listen are his animal friends. The rest of the jungle becomes awfully silent.

Better I think to spend the money on ads that can further your brand message. Incite a change. Change a perception about your brand. Have you ever asked yourself who these ads are for?

How good did your consumers feel?

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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Do you want a whetstone?

You are too busy fighting fires. Too busy managing crisis. Too busy doing the things incompetent people in your team are doing.

Maybe you should be too busy implementing a plan to get rid of these people who keeps you busy.

Start with relooking how you recruit, how you reward, how you retain good people. Perhaps your salary is too low for the kind of quality people you are looking for. Perhaps good people are frustrated by your inaction. You constantly turning of a blind eye to people with conscious incompetence will eventually crash your company.

Stop thinking the disruption and financial compensation from sacking a few bad apples will be bad for you. 

It’s like saying having a curable cancer surgically removed is bad for you. Sure, it costs money and you have to lie in bed in the hospital for a set amount of days. But it will save your life.

Too busy doing what?

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Monday, December 5, 2011

Do you think it’s an opinion about you?

When you get a “like” on your Facebook, is it a vote of like for your brand? Or is the act of clicking on the like button on your FB page a statement this person is saying about his thoughts, attitudes and behavior?

Knowing that difference can make a huge difference in how you communicate your brand.

Could it be they are doing it for themselves?

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Friday, December 2, 2011

What do you know?

Good intention must be balanced by great wisdom, in-depth knowledge and precise action. Otherwise, you may think you are doing a great deed but you end up killing someone.

Recently, a friend died from colon cancer. This friend was young, healthy, and had an excellent prognosis.

I wonder if my friend could have been saved if he had taken up adjuvant chemotherapy as the doctor suggested.

Unfortunately, sometimes doctors aren’t good storytellers. Quacks and well-intention people are better at it. So, sometimes lives are lost.

What’s the next wise move?

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

When are you starting to live?

Do you know people who like carpe diem as a concept only and not as a lifestyle. It’s fun to see how they live their lives. Lots of clutter, little clarity. They live in the land of buts and ifs

I think a good tool to remind ourselves to live in the now is to set a countdown clock of our lives. After all we have countdown clocks when we build Olympic stadiums, when the rainforest will all be gone, etc. Just to give people perspective and urgency.

So, what if there is a countdown clock to your life? So, 43 years, 5 hours and 35 minutes and 10 seconds from now, you know you will die. What would you do for the rest of the 43 years? How would you do things differently

Why wait till you are diagnosed with a terminal disease? Life is a terminal disease in itself. We all have our prognosis.

What time have you wasted?

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