By k | November 20, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Recently, I told a loved one
he was being too negative.

This wasn’t a spur of the moment sharing.
I knew he wouldn’t be happy hearing this truth
but it was hurting his relationship with others
and his career.
I loved him enough to point out
that his first response on everything
was negative.

His response?
A vehement no, of course.
He listed all of the reasons
why I was wrong.
(which confirmed my statement)

Hearing feedback like that
is always difficult
but hearing it, embracing it,
and changing
is part of everyone’s road to success.

If someone cares enough
to give you negative feedback,
think about it,
truly THINK about it.

By k | November 19, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I was on perma-hold
waiting to make restaurant reservations,
and listening to the marketing message
replayed again and again.
The restaurant promised to
provide the best product
at the best price.

Best Product?
WTF does that mean?

Internally, we call our products
… well… products.
Externally, we shouldn’t.
We especially shouldn’t
in marketing materials.

Customers don’t refer to
what they buy from us as products.
At the restaurant,
I’m buying a meal
or a dining experience
or a night out.

Yes, it is challenging to think
of a word or phrase
to represent a range of products
or experiences
but the reward is worth the effort.

Don’t use the word product
with customers.

By k | November 18, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

The concept of growing
using only the resources you have
(namely the revenue you’re currently earning)
is great in theory.

I had that plan when I started writing.
I’d only advertise
using the royalties I earned.

The challenge with that tactic is
growth is slow
and it assumes growth is smooth.

In the publishing world,
as with many industries,
growth isn’t smooth.
There are levels
and getting to the next level
requires additional resources.

As Les McKeown explains

“In reality, growth is never seamless.
There’s always a point at which
a step is required to get
to the next stage
(in moving from solopreneur
to microbusiness
or small business,
that step usually involves
moving out of the home office,
committing to employing someone,
or purchasing expensive
but needed equipment).

And it’s at this point
that all sorts of subliminal stuff kicks in,
testing the solopreneur’s commitment
to building their business.
Do I really want to do this?
Is this worth it?
Is there a financially viable future
if I make this commitment?
This is a key inflection point -
the point at which what is now
a source of additional income
may (or may not) become a business
in its own right”

At some stage,
if you want to grow,
you WILL have to invest resources
the business hasn’t yet earned.
Yes, even in the writing business.

By k | November 17, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Many companies think
of branding as a marketing function.
Marketing owns it.
It doesn’t really affect
the rest of the company.

The companies
with the strongest branding,
however,
LIVE the brand.
They hire employees
who believe in the brand
and uphold the brand’s values.
Every role supports the brand.

Branding starts with the job posting.

Julie Rains suggests companies…

“Develop job descriptions
that detail position requirements
and performance standards
consistent with your tagline.
As a result,
employees can focus on doing
their work tasks correctly,
rather than trying to remember
and follow brand-promise guidelines
that may not seem relevant
to their job functions.”

Strong brands
have total company involvement.

By k | November 16, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Before I send out an important email,
I often run the text through
a readability test.

Why?

Because if the email is too complex,
it won’t be understood
and if it is not understood,
it definitely won’t be
acted upon.

As Steve Roesler states…

“Truth comes in sentences.
B_ llS_it comes in paragraphs.
If you can’t say it with a noun, verb, and object,
you aren’t clear about your thought.”

Intelligence is communicated
through the use of small words.

Keep it simple.

By k | November 15, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

It is half way through NaNo,
I have rewrites for two publishers,
edits from all three,
and a book release this week.
I’m stressed,
crazy stressed.

When I’m stressed out,
I’m tempted to rush, rush, rush,
getting tasks done
as quickly as possible,
hoping none of the deadlines are missed.

That’s a recipe for disaster
because deadlines WILL be missed.

What I need to do is
stand still,
take a deep breath
and rework my to-do list
including my often self-imposed deadlines.

Is ‘winning’ at NaNo
necessary to achieve my goals?
If the same editor is looking at
my revisions AND my edits,
is it necessary that she receive
both manuscripts at the same time?

If you’re stressed about
meeting your numerous deadlines,
it is time to look at these deadlines.
Look at your task list.

Take a breather
and reorganize for success.

By k | November 14, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

One of my buddies
is organizing an event.
Some lucky person is
to drive the guest speaker
to and from the airport.
This person will have
precious one-on-one time with the VIP.

My buddy has worked her ass off
organizing the event.
She’s given the event time
she could be spending with family
or… gasp… sleeping.

Someone told her
she should hold a drawing
and give everyone in the organization
the opportunity of driving the VIP.

No f**kin’ way.

Leadership HAS to have perks.

Leaders spend their time and resources.
They make sacrifices to get the job done.
They make the difficult decisions
no one else wants to make.

There HAS to be rewards.
There HAS to be perks.
Treating everyone equally
is only appropriate if everyone does equal work.

If you want great leaders,
reward them for leading.

By k | November 13, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I had someone tell me yesterday
that she couldn’t lead a certain change
because she was ‘just a writer.’

“Bull shit”, I replied.
“You’re not JUST a writer.
You’re a writer who knows there’s a problem.
You’re also a mother, a wife,
a university educated woman,
an entrepreneur
and the list goes on.
If you don’t lead this change,
who will?”

She used ‘just’ as an excuse.
Others use ‘just’ as an insult.
“She’s just a financial analyst.
What does she know?”

Mike Figliuolo’s view on the word ‘just’
is quite a bit stronger.

“No one is just anything.
The phrase is demeaning
and pejorative.
We’re all people
– we happen to have different responsibilities.

The connotation of just
is that someone is worth
less than someone else.
As if that just someone has a defect.
One of the most powerful leadership skills
I’ve seen and used
is valuing everyone’s contributions equally.

How do you do that?
Simple
– treat everyone like a person
and an equal first and foremost.”

Think before using the word ‘just.’

By k | November 12, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Some of my buddies and I
were discussing
why Tiger Woods would put up
with a possible racist caddie.

My theory is…
he knew the caddie was racist
(working so closely with someone
for so many years
would make that almost impossible
to hide),
but he tolerated the racism
because the caddie was so damn good
and Tiger’s focus was
on winning championships.

(This theory would explain why
when his focus changed,
his tolerance of the caddie’s attitude
changed).

If we really want a goal achieved,
sometimes we decide to
tolerate non-ideal behavior or attitudes
in the people
who can best help us
achieve that goal.

That isn’t a bad decision
but it should be a conscious decision.

By k | November 11, 2011 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’m currently managing a writer’s group.
I’m experimenting
with different processes,
finding a process that works.
While I’m testing,
I’m documenting.

Why?

Because I don’t want to manage
this writer’s group forever.
Documenting processes is key
for training replacements
or for delegating.

As Todd Nielsen states…
“If you have to explain something
to someone more than once,
then it probably needs
to be written down.
Want to be able
to empower your employees
with greater ability to get things done
without coming to you,
write processes.
A process can be
as simple as a checklist
or as complicated as
an ITIL compliant flowchart.
Even if you area 1-man shop,
you can start writing processes.
You cannot have scalability
and exponential growth
without a solid foundation of processes.”

Document your processes.