By k | August 31, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I went to a family party on Saturday.
An adult was talking to a kid.
He made a joke
using a long word
and everyone laughed.
Everyone except for the kid.

She scrunched up her nose
and said
“I’m in grade four.
I don’t know that word yet.”

The adult explained the word,
she then laughed
and we heard her using the same word
later on that evening.

The thing is…
most people,
your customers included,
wouldn’t admit to
not knowing that word
(or, yikes, acronym).

Not knowing all the words
makes people uncomfortable.
People don’t buy
if they’re uncomfortable with the purchase.

When I prepare any written piece
or any speech,
I always look it over
and ask myself
“Does my listener/reader know all the words?”
(yes, I do this for my novels also)

By k | August 30, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A big part of successfully managing
a product development team
is working with
the different personalities.

No one is perfect.
Every member of your team
has foibles and weaknesses.
It is NOT your job
to ‘fix’ these weaknesses.
That is almost impossible
and will distract you from your real job,
launching the product.

You work WITH the weaknesses.

If one member of your team
is always late,
you have him present
later in the meeting.

If another forgets meetings,
send out reminders.

Work with your team members
as they are.

By k | August 29, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I recently was a first round judge
in an amateur romance writing contest.
The submissions that I thought
were ground breaking, original,
and likely to be published
did not final.
The submissions that made it to the finals
were competent but safe story lines.

If I was an editor or publisher,
I wouldn’t be looking at the finalists.
I’d be looking at the entries
with the widest range of scores,
the entries that both delighted
and offended.

Years ago,
I attended a science fair.
The kids that won had
competent, time tested experiments.

Then there were the entries
that didn’t quite work.
Why didn’t they work?
Because they hadn’t been done before.
The kids were trying something new.
THAT was where the excitement was.

Different doesn’t usually win awards.
If you are looking for different,
you may want to look at ALL entries.

By k | August 28, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

One of my best buds
presented incorrect figures.
They weren’t her numbers
but because she presented them,
she is taking responsibility for the mistake.

It’s called
taking the beats for the team
and the higher up in the organization
you climb,
the more you’ll do it.

There is no avoiding mistakes
(especially if you’re trying to do
something world changing).
The key is to learn
how to best communicate these mistakes.

You always use ‘we.’
You never finger point or call people out.
You clearly outline the mistake,
you share what the impact is,
and then you say
‘this will never happen again because
we now have this and this in place
to prevent it.’

This is done as quickly as possible
because the last thing you want
is to have to manage the ripple effect
(i.e. your CEO relaying the incorrect information
to shareholders or the media
and looking like a complete jackass).

By k | August 27, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A large ePublisher has a call out
for stories
with poetry somewhere in the plot.
I LOVE these calls for submission.

Why?

Because there is nothing
that makes creativity flow
like a constraint,
the more unusual the better.

You would think it would be the opposite.
It isn’t
because constraints force you
to come up with different solutions.
I can’t hand in my same ol’ story line.

In the superb post
101 Tips from 50 Small Business Bloggers
(well worth the read),
Garr Reynolds shares
“Embrace constraints.
Constraints and limitations are wonderful allies
and lead to enhanced creativity
and ingenious solutions
that without constraints
never would have been discovered
or created.”

By k | August 26, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Minutes ago,
I received a call from a telemarketer
(I, of course, am NOT
on the Do Not Call list
because being pitched to
is an easy way to perfect my own pitch)
and was told
“I’d like to follow up on some
correspondence we sent you.”

“Thank you, no.” Click

Correspondence means nothing to me.
If you send me something in the mail,
why don’t you mention when you sent it
and the general topic?

You have those specifics
(somewhere),
use them.

Specifics sell.
Saying 72% of dentists prefer that toothpaste
is more convincing than saying
most dentists prefer that toothpaste.
We trust specifics.
Use specifics and
we’re more likely to trust you.

By k | August 25, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I unintentionally posted
a controversial piece of writing
to a non-business blog yesterday.
I spent the entire day
managing the fallout from this post.
I didn’t do much else
and because I posted it for fun,
I didn’t benefit from it.

One of my loved ones is a drama queen.
She spends her whole day
in crisis mode,
either creating one
or managing one.
She barely does the job
she is paid to do.
She seldom finishes a project.

Drama intentionally created
and funneled into constructive areas
(promoting a cause
or launching a product
or creating entertainment people want to see)
is wonderful.
It can be powerful.
It can change the world.

Drama created simply
for the drama
is work.
It is distracting.
It can prevent you
from changing the world
the way you want it to.

Manage the drama.

By k | August 24, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Seth Godin has a great excerpt
from his book Tribes
on the scarcity of leaders
and why that scarcity makes them valuable.

I disagree with his premise
that not anyone could do it.
Anyone COULD be a leader.
I believe everyone has the potential.

There’s a leadership shortage
because…
people don’t WANT to be leaders.

Why?

Because leaders are hated.

If you want to be
President of the United States,
the job comes with having
either the Republicans or Democrats hating you.

If you lead an organization
fighting child prostitution,
you’ll have the pimps, johns,
and other ‘fans’ of child prostitution
hating you.
They could hate you so much,
they kill you.

If you want to lead a business blog,
you’ll deal with stalkers, haters,
and people who disagree
with every word you write
just because you wrote it.

These haters are relentless
and because they’re relentless,
they can break the spirits of leaders.

UNLESS…
the leaders’ fans are as relentless.
That is one of the secrets of success,
having relentless fans
to offset the haters.

If you admire a leader,
an organization, a movement,
send them a fan letter today.

By k | August 23, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

One of the perks of
leading without authority
is that those formally in charge
usually have a clear agenda.

Often this agenda
is not driven by them
(unless they occupy the C-Suite).
They don’t have a lot of choice
about what they’re trying to achieve.

When you don’t have official authority,
you usually don’t have an official agenda either.
You can be more neutral
(everyone always has some sort of bias)
when you investigate possibilities.
You can choose which goals you wish to pursue.

In other words,
you have more freedom.

Eventually if you’re good at what you do
and you create results
or even waves,
someone is going to give you
official authority
so enjoy this sweet spot
for as long as possible.

Go out there and make a difference!

By k | August 22, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I received two big rejections yesterday.
They didn’t bother me.

Part of my reaction stemmed
from experience.
I know there are plenty of opportunities
out there.
Some will work out well.
Some won’t.

The bulk of my I-don’t-care attitude
came from not having time to care.
I once again have way more opportunities
than free time available.
I don’t have any time to waste
feeling sorry for myself.

If you’re depressed over a rejection,
you may not be busy enough.
Grab one of those wonderful opportunities
floating around
and work on it.