Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Believing is the first step toward doing.  
As kids, we don't know what we can't do.  But our parents (think they) know.  Good parents (and good friends, coaches, managers, teachers - and I'll put in consultants since that's what I do) don't pre-assume what can't be done.

She didn't know she couldn't
I wrote this while eating lunch at a local restaurant.  I was inspired by a little girl, no more than 2 or 3 yrs old. She refused to come into the restaurant unless her parents let her open the door... by herself.  Well, by herself she couldn't even budge the door.  Seeing this, her Dad - now this is important - without letting her know, pulled the door open.  The smile on her face lit up the room as she strutted in with an expression that said, "Yeah, I did it. I did it all by myself!"  I believe that little girl will accomplish big things in life, because she doesn't know she can't.

I think this applies to business.  Let me know if you agree.
If you want people to grow, let them try new things (like the little girl opening the big heavy door).  If they aren't strong enough to do it on their own - HELP THEM!  So many great achievements have been squashed because the people around them decided to pass judgment rather than help.  Look around you.  Is there someone trying something new?  Are you going to say, "you're crazy for trying to do that" or will you ask, "how can I help?"   Or like the Dad, will you help and never tell.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Get Aligned!

The word "alignment" seems to be fashionable today in the consulting business.  I think it's a good word that well describes what branding can do for an organization.  So to me the word "alignment" is also very relevant to an organization's success.

If you think of an organization as a body you can see how making sure that everything is working together around a single concept allows each part of the body (the organization) to help the other.  Hand/eye coordination, if you will.  The world class athletes (organizations) will be the most coordinated.  The interesting thing (playing off of yesterday's post) is that bodies (organizations) that are focused on making decisions according to their brand also tend to be the most innovative.  Robert Goizeta, longtime CEO of Coca-Cola said, "We have 2 constants at Coke.  We have a constant purpose and a constant dissatisfaction with how we achieve that purpose."  Nuff said.

So, before you go tell the world about how wonderful you are, make sure your wonderful words are backed up by a wonderful body (organization).  You don't want to have the same experience that a  300lb woman had when she uploaded a picture of a super model as her profile picture on a dating site.  Initial excitement at the number of men wanting to go out with her... and then a nasty collision with reality.  It's about truth and relevance. Know the truth of who you are. If you don't like it, change it. Become relevant. Then communicate  in a way that truly engages your audience.

Get Aligned!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Creativity and Consistency

Seems like everywhere I turn these days people are talking about creativity and innovation.  Actually, that is exciting because I'm hearing it from what you would probably think of as the most unlikely organizations to ever be considered creative or innovative.  However, the interesting thing to me is that the most creative and innovative people and organizations I know are also extremely consistent.  Unfortunately, the old line organizations I run into often think that to be creative they somehow have to become less consistent.  It's an unfortunate stereotype that creativity = disorganized, scatter-brained, all over the place thinking.  Real creativity is about making connections that others don't make.  It's about seeing patterns that others don't see.  In a way its being blind to some of the rules that have no good answer to the question, "Why?" and creating new ways that are more relevant

We live in so many boxes (stereotypes, culture, industry, peers, income, government, etc.) that consistent/continuous creativity and innovation are almost impossible.  That's why I believe that while creativity and innovation are important, there are key ingredients that must be in place to help people and organizations survive the inevitable periods where they just aren't creative or innovative.  The key ingredients are "trusted relationships."  Without trusted relationships your product or service will begin to be perceived as having less value and viewed as more of a commodity.  Which is the beginning of a spiral that makes it more and more difficult to be creative and innovative.

So, I guess what I'm saying is that being creative and innovative are great things but don't take your eyes off the impact that developing consistency and forging relationships built on mutual trust can have. They are the foundation, the platform that give creativity and innovation the power to change the ways we think, feel and act.  

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Getting Results

Getting results.  That's what it comes down to, right?  It's why we do all the stuff we do, right?  Well, I'm not so sure.  We tend to justify things.  We do stuff just because it's right there in front of us, not because it leads to accomplishing anything (see Social Media, X-Box, Doritos, etc., etc., etc.)  We get distracted by things that aren't necessarily bad in themselves, sometimes we even think they are the right things to be doing (like writing this blog post when there may be [is] something more important I should be doing).  

I have discovered the main reason we do this!  Are you ready?  Are you sure?  Okay, here it comes.... We don't get results because we either don't know what we're really trying to accomplish or we're afraid of what results will mean for us.  That's right, the real reason we don't get what we say we want is that then we'd have to CHANGE to get there.  Ouch!  That can't be right because I really want to succeed.

So have you ever clearly defined what success is for you or your organization?  Thought about what success would really mean... the impact it would have on your life?  If so and you're still not getting results, is it possible you're afraid to admit that you're afraid of not being able to handle the success you think you want?  Hard questions, but ones you need to confront if you want to break on through to the other side.  Let's go get results! Not just any results, but the ones that will have a truly positive impact on our lives and the lives of others.

Stay focused!