By k | December 31, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

If you’re in new business development
or marketing
or sales
or just about any career,
you’re a creative person.
You get paid for creative solutions.
Creativity is expected.

Creativity has to be nurtured.

The best way that I’ve found
to nurture creativity?

Experience new things.
Change your routine.

Every year,
change is my number one resolution.
A never missed goal
is to go to one new country,
experience one new culture,
a year.
I read new-to-me authors.
I pick up new-to-me skills.
I get off at a new bus stop.

I don’t change everything at once
and often I don’t even make
permanent changes.
I simply want enough change
around me
to force me to think in a new way.
It inspires me.

Make change a resolution for 2010.

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

The latest version of Heartwild Solitaire
has a story
I wrote specifically for the game.

I didn’t get compensated.
I don’t expect any marketing buzz
from it
(other than the marketing buzz I create).
I did it for one reason
and one reason only…

Because I was asked.

Darek at Orchid Games asked (nicely)
and I said ‘why not?’
I thought it was a cool idea
and I wanted to be a part of it.

If your idea is cool enough,
you WILL get people volunteering
their talent and labor.
If your idea isn’t cool enough,
then why are you launching it?

By k | December 29, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Most marketers have heard
how Rage Against The Machine fan
Jon Morter
organized a Facebook campaign
to stop a favored X Factor single
from being the “Christmas number one.”

Supposedly it started
as a way to stick it
to Simon Cowell.

It didn’t end that way,
even though Simon Cowell was ‘defeated.’

Why?

Because Simon Cowell phoned Morter
before the winner was announced
to wish him the best.
Cowell was nice.
He was charming.
He won Morter over.

So much so
that when Morter did the interview circuit,
he had only nice things to say
about Simon Cowell
and about X Factor.

Simon Cowell may have lost
the contest
but he won the PR game
and he won over an influential.

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

Many of my placements
are in challenged companies.
These are companies going through changes.
There are layoffs and restructurings
and other stressful events.

One company communicated nothing.
Employees would hear of layoffs
only when they tried to contact co-workers.
Managers were there one day,
gone the next.
They were shifted to groups
without explanation or warning.
There was constant unease and worry.
Employees relied on gossip
and the gossip was always the most dramatic alternative.
Work didn’t get done.
The caring level was low.
Star performers left.

Another company was in an even tighter spot.
They were heading to bankruptcy.
The employees knew the situation was dire
because their managers held weekly, sometimes daily, meetings.
Whenever there was a change,
managers would call their group together
for a quick huddle.
Employees weren’t told everything
but they were told a lot.
This surprisingly built more loyalty to the company,
not less.
A division knew they were being closed down
yet the night before,
they put in extra hours
to ensure customers weren’t inconvenienced.

Employee morale is not about external factors.
It is about management.

By k | December 27, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I’ve been in quite a few bridge positions.
During the interviews,
I always tell the managers
that I do NOT want a full time job
and that they would do better to hire
someone who may be interested in one.

The managers all insisted
that they didn’t want to hire the contractor (me).
The managers also all ended up
offering me the full time job
(and being unhappy because I wasn’t interested).

People (including yourself) are lazy.
Once you find a great employee,
you’ll want to hire them.
Use this opportunity
to try out a prospective employee
on contract.

Don’t promise a full time position
but
do ensure that they WOULD consider one.
Keep that possibility open.

By k | December 26, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

I’ve talked about bridge positions
from a contractor’s point of view.
I thought I’d now talk about them
from a manager’s point of view.

There are two ways to handle
a vacant position.

The first is to hire a contractor
for the vacant position.
This contractor will learn the job,
document the duties,
and then train the new person.

The upside of this
is that no other positions are affected.
There is only one problem spot.
You’ll have a set of fresh eyes
evaluating the role
and suggesting changes.
Also, if the position is suddenly vacant,
an outside person may have the skills
to figure out what the hell
the original employee did.

The downside is
that, if there is some overlap,
the original employee is transferring her knowledge
to an outside person
(one solution to this
is to have another employee sit in
on the training).
The outside person (who may or may not care)
is given the responsibility to transfer
that knowledge to the new employee.

In a happy, happy world,
that transfer would be smooth
and the new employee would stay
for a long time.

The harsh reality is
that the contractor could be bitter
about being replaced
and/or the new employee doesn’t work out.
If the new employee leaves,
you’re left with no one knowing the position.

The second option
is to move another employee into the vacant role
temporarily (or full time)
and have the contractor fill that employee’s position.

The upside to this option
is that the knowledge stays within the group.
You can hire a lower level (i.e. less expensive) contractor.
You don’t have to oversee this contractor.
Your employee can do that
(given her some management experience).
You have expanded the skill base
of one of your employees.
This employee is more likely to have continued access
to the wisdom of the departing employee.

The downside is
you may not have an employee
with the necessary skills or desires
and you’re disrupting two positions.

I prefer, as both a manager and a contractor,
the second option.

By k | December 25, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Last year,
I received clothes and business books
for the holidays.

This year,
I received writing books,
romance novels, and promotional supplies.

What does this tell me?

That last year,
I either wasn’t serious about my writing
or I didn’t communicate effectively
that I was serious.

This year,
my loved ones know I AM serious.

What you are given
represents what your loved ones
think is important to you
(on average,
there are always a few wacky present givers).

If you’re not happy with what you received,
the fault isn’t with your loved ones.
It is with your communication
OR it is with your priorities.

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

33% of all Canadians,
50% of all Canadian men
wait until the last minute
to buy Christmas presents.

I haven’t opened all my presents yet
but I can guarantee
that nothing will top what my husband gave me.

He gave me the gift of his time.

After work,
he picked me up.
We went to a restaurant,
just the two of us,
no cellphones, no blackberries.
We ate dinner
and then we went to the movies.

I had his undivided attention
for the entire evening.

When was the last time
you gave a loved one
your undivided attention?

Wouldn’t that make a wonderful gift?

By k | December 23, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Mary Schmidt points out
“How many engineers
(or research scientists or software developers)
do you know who are also killer salespeople?”

I know of one
and he has job security for life
(not necessarily with his current company).

The best in the business
are usually salespeople plus.

I do well because
I’m a finance gal
and I can sell.
I can sell myself as a project manager.
I can sell my projects in to management.
I can sell the best in the company
into working with me.
All this makes succeeding easier.

If you have one resolution to make in 2010,
consider making it
learning how to sell.

By k | December 22, 2009 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I enjoyed Tim Sanders’ post
on making a great second impression.

The most important
of the five points
is to remember the details
of the first meeting.

You’ve been invited back
because you made a great first impression.
Your prospect should feel
that they made an even better
first impression on YOU.

I have a horrible memory
so what I do is make notes on any key meetings.
I note EVERYTHING.
How they took their coffee,
the color clothes they were wearing
(those are the colors they like
so I tend to use them in presentations),
EVERYTHING.

Then,
before I meet with the participants involved again,
I review these notes.
It shows that I care.
It shows that I pay attention.
It shows that they’re important.

All this helps with relationship building.