Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What do you think?

Perhaps as the year comes to an end, consider what Jerry Maguire refers to as “The things we think and do not say…” in your industry. 

What are some of these things that you can change and make better. Surely a corporation of conscientious people will want to make a difference.

What do you say?

Monday, December 30, 2013

Did you miss any of these?

If you did not complete what you said you would complete, perhaps you missed some of these ingredients. 

“I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time."

- Charles Dickens 

Friday, December 27, 2013

How much money is involved?

I have sat through many meetings like this. Perhaps your experience can confirm it?

The Parkinson’s Law of Triviality – “The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum (of money) involved.” 

How much time did you spend?

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Who is in charge of the game?

I think it is important to be conscious of the “Law of Unintended Consequences” in all your plans and planning. It is also important to be aware that there are 3 possible outcomes. The first - it is possible that you will get a positive beneficial outcome. The second - it is possible to get a negative harmful outcome. And the third, a contradictory consequence than of what you intended.

This is especially true when you try to manage or manipulate a complex system. I think your market is a complex system of consumers and competitors. There is a chance that you will get undesirable effects that comes with trying to swing opportunities to your advantage with questionable ethics and tactics.

What is the intended outcome?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Who wrote the rules?

There is a time to follow the rules. And there is a time to break them. In order to do both and be good at it, takes experience. It means you need to learn the rules, the basis of how and why it works. Then find the wisdom through experience to break them and make them work for you. When you do that you create the foundation of new rules. 

Who breaks the rules?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Are late nights worth it?

If you are chasing your dream and making a life for yourself, maybe late nights are worth it. That’s the price to pay. Yes, of course with the yadda yadda work-life balance conversation thrown in. Truth is - who knows what is your balance? And the price you are willing to pay for the life that you want. No one knows that and understands it. Only you do.

If you planned well and did not waste time in the day, and it takes the nights to complete what will help you crawl towards your dream, it’s up to you to decide if it is worth it.

No one can answer for you. 

How many more late nights?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Where can you start?

Perhaps a good place to start is to see what makes you weak. Start to recognize the things and situations that have a detrimental effect on you. Some of us knows this well. Others choose to ignore it.

Those who know and stay away from the things that makes them weak gets stronger.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

How much time do you have?

There are still two weeks left to the year but most would be cutting themselves some slack. The common excuse being, “it’s been a long year.” 

Have you given up on the year before the year has given up on you?

Two weeks is a long time. It’s never too late to start on the project you planned for this year. Make a last minute dash for it. Games have been won because teams did not give up on the dying seconds. 

What reasons do you need?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What have you been carrying?

One way to become better at what you do is to unlearn certain things. Across time as you age, you would have picked up rubbish that weighs you down. It could be an uncompromising way of looking at things, recognized fears that you have done nothing about or even a dogmatic ritual you do.

Once you are aware what the rubbish you need to unload, the challenge is to be able to execute the dumping. You might think it is easy. But dumping rubbish has its challenges too, especially those you have been carrying for years

To dump that rubbish means you are admitting that you have been carrying it for years. Your ego may not like it. Dumping means disruption to what you have been used to, once you are used to something, change brings pain.

Unloading this rubbish is important before it stink your life.

What should you unlearn?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What do you want to be?

Regardless of your age, what do you want to be when you grow up?

We all grow old. But some people never grow up.

“What does growing up mean to you?” is perhaps a good question to answer when planning your new year resolution.

What’s your next system upgrade?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Who should you follow?

The brain or the heart? I don’t have an answer for this. It depends on who you think is responsible for the excuses and who is responsible for the reasons.

I would listen to the one who gives me reasons to say “Go!”

What did it say?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Who are you?

Being good at your job just means you are good at your job. Nothing else. Doesn’t make you a better person. It sure doesn’t give you the right to bulldoze others.

In the work world, assholes (Dr. Bob Sutton first used this term in his book “The No Asshole Rule”) relish the opportunity to make others feel small. Sometimes, they even create the persona that they are better as a person.

Don’t allow them to destroy your day or your work. Avoid them.

Being good at their work doesn’t make them a better person. The sad thing is they don’t even realize that it isn’t an “either/or” situation. They can choose to be good at their work AND be a good person as well.

Who do you want to be?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

How much power do you have?

If you are in a position of power, you need to figure out how to use it.

Managers who are in a position of power must put in the effort to figure out how and when to use this power. Otherwise, you end up abusing it.

Whether you use or abuse the power given to you depends on your ability to recognize the productive force it yields. Otherwise, destruction is the path you crave.

What great responsibilities do you have?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Did you feel uncomfortable today?

Situations that make you uncomfortable can function as a stimuli to spur you to grow. But most times, you likely react with anger, frustration and disappointment. Especially, during times of stress. Whether it is a new technology, an unexpected request or an unwarranted call, these are random acts of discomfort that can make you grow.

If you spend enough time introspecting things that bring discomfort, it can act as an examen. A realization of the deeper thoughts that drives your behavior can bring growth and with it comfort. 

Where is the challenge to make you grow?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Who should you develop?

At some point in time, you will likely want to develop others to take over your position. Or even the desire to have a protégé whom you can mentor and pass over the skills and knowledge that you have. 

But before that, how have you developed yourself?

Managers tend to manage (well, lead if you like) others and things so well, they tend to ignore themselves. Either for the fear of confronting their own ghost or the attitude of “I know I am not perfect but it got me where I am”. And if they are happy with where they are; they will think the qualities that got them there is good. Great, even. Even if they are toxic to the organization.

If you are some sort of manager or carry a word like this in your designation, you should start developing yourself first. It starts from a journey of discovering yourself which means to be self aware. Then managing yourself in understanding your strengths and weaknesses. Eventually, developing yourself, looking into areas where you should be better and could be better. Not just hard skills and knowledge, but those that has been labeled as EQ.

Perhaps then there is a chance, you will be a better manager (oh, well leader if you like). And one that is fertile to the organization.

Are you beyond help?

Friday, December 6, 2013

How many should you give?

Just like everything you do in marketing, even your sampling activity needs an objective and a strategy.

Who do you want to sample? Why do you want to sample them? Presumably, you want to give free samples out because you want to recruit a new user. So, how many samples are you willing to part with in order to get this user? Does your product or service need to be sampled multiple times before there is even a chance of conversion? Does it have to be habit forming? If it does, then wouldn’t your sample quantities go up? All these needs to be taken into consideration when giving out samples.

How many can you give?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How have you ignored the minors?

It is easy for business owners and managers to ignore the elements that they deem do not drive their business. For example, some business people do not think that it is important for them to have a website. So, they ignore it. After all, it is not a key business driver.

But they often forget, while it may be a support - the support could be an important one. One that if you delay the decision, you could be missing out on a lot of opportunities.

There must be other examples like these in your business. Things you feel aren’t your key business driver but important enough for you to take a second look. I think you need to sort those out. When enough supporting factors collapse, it will be a key issue.

How important are the support?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Where can I find you?

I am not sure about you. But I am surprised some companies still do not have a website. If I have to convince you, you need one (even if you are a freelancer), then you should stop reading this post.

If I met you via a friend or at an event and I am vaguely interested in what you do? I will look you up on the net after the meet. For us to do business, I should know what do you do exactly? Who you are? What you believe in? And tell me about your work. 

What do you do exactly?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

How rich is your thinking?

There is a cab driver I often use to get me to the airport. He is a free agent. You have his number and you book him when you need him. 

In one of those trips to the airport we discussed about his business ‘model’. I was curious how he would handle his clientele when it gets larger? How does he handle conflicting schedules?

Turns out, he passes it to his friends when he cannot attend to his clients. Isn’t that risky? I mean after all, your friends now have access to your clients. His reply to me is that, he is not worried. He is not worried because no one can handle all the demands on their own. Eventually, even the most selfish driver will need someone to help them deliver the service. 

Got me thinking, if you have a mind of abundance it’s only a matter of time you will get rich. 

What is a loss?

Friday, November 29, 2013

What does winning mean?

When you work in a company, it is important that you understand what does ‘winning’ mean in the company. Of course, the easy answer is money. Or profits. But beyond that how does the company defines winning? Or how it views itself as being successful? Match the answer to your values or what you value. This will lessen your cognitive dissonance of joining a company that stifles you.

It will also help you play the game in such a way that you win by helping the company win. Think about it. Unless you know what winning means in the company, how can you contribute positively?

What does it take to win?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

How do you find balance?

Balance is a very “in” word. It especially likes to be banded around work and life.
I am not sure if there is a formula to finding balance. But I can suggest an inspiration for finding the balance that may lead you to tipping to the right balance.

The answer may lie in our daily experiences – hunger and fullness, tiredness and alertness, being active and inert, boisterous and subdued. How do you find the balance? When you are mindful, you adjust. When you are not and you tilt over to either side, there are consequences. These consequences make you rethink and you adjust.

You can call it “Go with the flow”, you can name it “Being mindful.” Whatever it is, balance is achieved by doing. Not talking.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Who wants to win?

Contests are great for creating excitement. Might even attract some new users. But sometimes it can attract the wrong crowd. You get contest hunters or professional contest participants instead of genuine users to participate.

One way to neutralize these professional participants is to make the contest so exciting that genuine users will want to take part. It takes a lot to move the real users. It takes even more to move the potential users. So work harder on your contest mechanics and yes, prizes too. Don’t bother if it is too small or too low in quantity. When you get a mass of people taking part in your contest it will drown out the professional contest participants.

Professional participants as they are will always be attracted by prizes no matter how small. They hunt down contests. They feed their Brobdingnagian greed with even the most Lilliputian of prizes.

Who loses in your contests?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Who does your consumer want to be?

Your consumer may not want to be the person you want them to be. Or do the thing you want them to do.  Now everyone can be Ronaldo doesn’t mean everyone wants to be Ronaldo – some people love to be Ronaldinho.

When digging for the holy grail of insight, you need to truly understand what your tribe wants and needs? Its aspirations and fears. You start with them and if that’s what they want and it can really position you uniquely in their minds; then take that position.

Taglines don’t come out from thin air. It starts with your tribe, taking into consideration your competitors and what your brand can truly deliver.

Monday, November 25, 2013

How hard can you hit?

Worth another watch even if you have seen it before. I suppose, what Rocky says works for people as well as for brands.

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are. It will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that!” – Rocky Balboa (2006)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Who defines your company?

Is it the board of the company who have big discussions about brand direction every financial quarter, or is it the aunties who gossip about whether your claims of no artificial flavourings, no added MSG and no whatever is true?

Get real. Get relevant. Speak to your consumers now and then. Get to know them - not in your sterile rooms but on the dirt of the wet markets. The image you want may not be the ingredient they care.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Are you the only one who cares?

Is your company so ingrained into culture, that it would be a big shock to consumers if it one day went bankrupt? Or would it be forgotten and it's just another article in the newspaper?

Striving to be ingrained into the community’s culture is one way to create an enduring brand. You will need to work hard to build trust via great quality. Staying relevant to your users. And being loyal to your consumers and not your cash.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How does your competitor contribute to the industry?

You rarely think about this – how does your competitor contribute to the industry?

To answer this, you need to see where their positions are in the industry. Yours as well.

Where do you sit in relation to each other? Once you know this, you can better answer the role each will play to expand the industry. How would you position yourself against them? What would you echo together with them?

If you are the category leader, what should you champion? And thereby benefit the industry but benefiting yourself more.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What brings results?

Consistency – that’s what brings results. 

Some say it is the difference between failure and success.

Think about all the things that needs long term commitment to see results and the reoccurring theme is consistency.

Unless you are consistent, you can hardly benchmark it well. Comparing a onetime event with another does not give you very rich data to work on.

In a campaign, consistency gives the brand a chance to gain traction and build on the previous campaign. It keeps your message and communication relevant to the people you are talking to.

Whether you are courting your dream partner or building muscles, consistency is key. So is your branding campaign. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Friday, November 15, 2013

How do you end it?

There is no need to win every argument. Or have the last word in every discussion. “You are right. That’s one way of looking at it.” Unless your ego is blocking your vocal cord, it’s easy to say. It’s easy to end a draggy discussion that is going nowhere.

Can you say it?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

How good is your scholarship?

I think marketers should add this as something to worry about - “How good is my knowledge of marketing acquired through study and practice when compared to my peers?”

I suppose this doesn’t just apply to marketers, does it?

I shouldn’t have to tell you why you should worry about it. If you don’t care enough then it’s pointless to convince you. 

How good are you at your job?