By k | March 21, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

A common theme in movies
is fresh-faced employees
fighting over a big project.

It always makes me laugh.

Why?

Because
there are usually far more projects
than there are skilled employees
to lead them.
If you don’t get one project,
and you have your shit together,
you’ll get the next one.
No big deal.

Plus true leaders
don’t wait for projects to be assigned.
They CREATE projects.

Don’t waste your time and energy
fighting over projects.

(Resources on the other hand,
especially skilled team members,
you may have to fight over)

By k | March 20, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I first started working
with one of my editors,
she’d give me vague instructions
like
“I want more world building.”

It was very frustrating.
I didn’t know what she meant by more
so I’d often give her too many
or too few words
and these words would be
in the wrong scenes.

Now she says
“I want 300 more words of world building
in this scene.”
I’m happy
because I don’t have to guess
at what she wants.
She’s happy
because I give her exactly
what she wants.

As Cheri Baker shares,
direct is clarity.

“I had a very soft and collaborative style
when I started as a manager,
and I was so worried about
wounding the feelings of my staff,
I wasn’t as direct as I needed to be.
I would point out problems
and give suggestions,
but I balked at saying
“I need you to do X”
or “I expect you to do Y”
because I felt such directness was unkind.
On the contrary,
my gentleness resulted
in a lack of clarity in some situations,
which didn’t benefit my team.”

Be direct
with your requests.

By k | March 19, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I watched an interview recently
with a consultant
and he said
that loving a business
shouldn’t be a factor
when deciding which business to start.

I knew right away
he had NEVER started a business
because at some point
in every business startup,
ALL you have left is
love.

You don’t have cash flowing in.
You’re working nonstop
so you don’t have quality of life
or time with friends/family.
All you have is love and passion and hope.

Yes, even Nickelback,
one of the most popular
(and as a result, the most hated)
bands in the world,
at one time
had every reason to quit.

As Mike Kroeger shared
“You get every reason
in the world to quit.
And this job
like a lot of jobs
that don’t pay well
in the beginning
you get a lot of reasons to quit
one after the other
which is hard and it sucks.
Not only is it hard and sucking
but it’s not really cutting you a check either.
It’s actually costing you money.
We were down in the six figures
at the point when it was the hardest for us.
We had our own money borrowed.”
“We were deep.
If this thing didn’t go off,
we would have been basically paying off a house.”

(the entire interview is well worth
watching
especially for their comments
on being the most hated band in the world)

Do you have a strong reason
NOT to quit?

By k | March 18, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

The media LOVES IPO stories.
We regularly hear about start ups
going public
and making their founders rich.

We don’t often hear about the companies
that decide to remain
family owned.
That is unexciting,
boring,
and…

Often the right decision
for the company.

Bissell Homecare Inc,
founded in 1876
and still going strong,
is a family owned company.

As Mark Bissell,
the great-grandson of the founders
and the company’s current CEO,
stated in March/April’s The Costco Connection

“It’s part of who we are.
Being family owned allows us
to take a long-term perspective.
We can make decisions
knowing it’s the right thing
to do for the next generation.”

Deciding to go public
should be a conscious decision.
Staying family owned IS an option.

By k | March 17, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I’m an optimistic person.
I have to be.
I launch products
(recently these products are books),
believing they will succeed
when the odds are stacked against
that success.
I believe people can change
(i.e. buy a product they haven’t bought before).
I believe the world can change.

If I didn’t,
I wouldn’t create new products,
I wouldn’t try to change the world,
I wouldn’t do.

Mark Miller,
Co-author of
Great Leaders Grow: Becoming a Leader for Life,

believes that optimism
is an essential trait for leaders.

“Men and women in leadership
are generally optimistic.
They see a preferred future
and can envision a path
to make it a reality
– despite the obstacles.”

Nurture your optimism.
It is one of your tools for success.

By k | March 16, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Whenever one of my stories does well,
I can easily predict
that I’ll soon be hit
with a slew of terrible reader reviews
and horribly low ratings.

Why?

Because writers know that
negativity is the easiest way
to zap creativity
and a competitor who doesn’t produce
is a competitor they don’t have to
worry about.

They don’t bother blasting
the books that aren’t selling.
Those books aren’t a threat.
They only blast the books
that may attract readers away
from THEIR books.

Bad reviews, bad ratings,
and even bad press
are part of success.

If you can’t handle bad reviews,
you don’t have the balls needed
to be successful.

By k | March 15, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I have crazy deadlines this week.
I had a story submission to complete on Tuesday,
second edits to complete on Wednesday,
and deep revisions due on Friday.

I’m staying up all night
to meet these editor-driven deadlines.

Why?

Because missing a deadline is
career suicide for a writer.

Editors, copy editors, and proofers
schedule their time
around these deadlines.
Miss one
and the writer pisses everyone off.
Editors don’t buy stories
from writers who piss them off.

Project launches are the same way.
If your piece of the project launch
is needed by other people
and you miss your deadline,
you’re forcing everyone else to rearrange their work.
That pisses people off.
Skilled people don’t want to be on a project team
with disorganized people who piss them off.

When given a deadline,
MEET that deadline.

By k | March 14, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Yesterday, I resigned from a role
at one of my writing chapters.
I loved that role,
I REALLY loved it,
but it had evolved
(partially due to my leadership)
to a higher profile board position.

As I travel constantly,
I won’t be able to attend board meetings
so I’m giving the role
to someone who will better fill it.

I could have clung to the role.
I could have forced the organization
to bend the rules for me,
to make exceptions,
but that ego-propelled move
would have damaged the organization.

As Jeff Immelt,
CEO of GE,

recently stated to
60 Minutes
“It’s not my name above the door.”

One of the most challenging tasks
of leadership
is choosing what is good for the business
over what is good for ourselves.

Are you leaving your wants and needs behind
and choosing
what is good for the business?

By k | March 13, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

What is the most important
real estate
on a magazine cover?

David Zinczenko,
editor of Men’s Health,
shares
in the September 2011 edition
of Men’s Health
“About 15 years ago,
we were trying to figure out
how to squeeze more information
onto the cover of an upcoming issue.
But the bar code
on the cover’s left side
- the most visible and important side -
was eating up a lot of space.
Then one of our editors asked
a dumb question:
“Why does the bar code
have to be on the left?”
After some investigating,
we discovered…
that it didn’t have to be.
We switched,
and almost every magazine in the world followed.
That small change probably sold
thousands of extra magazines
over the years.”

Maximize the most important
real estate.

And always ask why
something is being done.

By k | March 12, 2012 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of the most successful authors
at my largest publisher
writes one type of story
(beauty and the beast).

Currently, she has
21 beast stories released.
Her publisher wants her
to write 60 more.
Yes, 60 more.
The publisher isn’t dumb.
They know her readers
will happily read 60 more beast books…
IF the author writes them.

But it is human nature
to want to change.
We tire of our message.
We wish to tweak the product.
We wish to change our brand.

This happens to managers also.

Former CEO and president
of Verizon Wireless,
Denny Strigl
names lack of consistency
as 1 of the 9 reasons
managers struggle.

“Managers are the first
to get bored with their message.
The people who work for you
perform their best
when what you say
is consistent and frequent.”

Yes, consistency is boring
but consistency is also a component
of success.
Just because you’re tired of your message
doesn’t mean your customers are.