Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Celebrate Success With A Reboot

Success! We all crave it and love to celebrate it. But after the party ends, perhaps that's an ideal moment to reboot and hone in on what you can do better yet.

Rebooting offers us the opportunity to discover better strategies to improve our lives and our relationships. Consider the movie version Tony Stark from The Avengers. He goes from carefree, burger-gorging playboy, to growing through the many phases of just being IronMan, and, ultimately, into the blueberry-eating, sustainable design-building hero of The Avengers.

But the story doesn't stop there. Tony continues to re-define himself, his team, and relationships. Each success becomes a jumping off point for the next venture. Individuals like Richard Branson and Elon Musk do the same, and global enterprises like Google and Amazon are no strangers to this way of continuous improvement. Continuous improvement exercises are at the core of many successful organizational models globally. Strategies like Kaizen (改善) are also often employed and embrace activities that continuously improve an organization's complete infrastructure involving all employees, from the CEO to the people on the assembly line or in the field.

Celebrating the win is never more important than the action that led you there and certainly not as critical as what you do next - this being as true for science and business as it is for politics and sports. But, if your main objective is to win, well, then, you've already lost. 

Winning is only a stepping stone. If you're not talking about the next big thing, then you're talking about the wrong thing. It's about the long game. It's about healthy, sustainable living over brand and personality. It's about standing on the shoulders of giants and reaching ever higher. It's about change. Progress takes change.

So at the end of the day, by all means, celebrate your successes - frequently and happily. But when you get the chance, reboot and set the tone for our shared lives tomorrow.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Trustworthy


We may not always agree with decisions made by others, but we should always strive to work with those decisions. In some cases, this does mean finding ways to work without them.

But if we always operate with integrity, passion, and kindness, our agreeing with others has little impact on our successes. People tend to always work for, buy from, coordinate with people they trust.

This is especially true when choosing to recommend others. To be referred is the ultimate test of being considered trustworthy. Where trust is concerned, our ability to work with others is the lifeblood of our success. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Inspired by Firsts

We are driven by firsts. 

Our first time to do something is spectacular. Growing up in Texas, I remember visiting the mountains for the first time. I remember my first kiss, my first car, my first dog, and even my first college road trip. Sorry, Jim, I still owe you money - what's the interest after 25 years by the way?

Public, professional, and cultural firsts are as equally exciting as they are inspiring. Our first trip to the moon, our first smartphone, our first planned mission to Mars. Ok. Maybe we're not quite there yet, but we're closer than we've ever been, and that's a first.



Firsts drive us. They motivate and inspire us. They send our brains a signal that something wonderful is or is about to happen. After all, we are, first and always, stewards of our future.

What firsts have inspired you?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Embracing The Local Market's Inner Customer

On any given day, embracing a specific market's customer is supremely more important than considering the customer-at-large. The local customer, with their personal preferences grounded in the every day world they live in, can be the most meaningful key performance indicator in determining the overall success of a business.

Even a mom and pop shop on Small Business Saturday can learn something from their larger corporate brothers and sisters. An REI in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the focus of living outdoors is literally achieved right outside the front doors, is entirely different than the REI in Plano, Texas, where, unless you're doing some urban backpacking, you have to travel just a little further out. Each store's appearance may seem the same, but the customer experience and general atmosphere is entirely different.

How a business interacts with their most immediate community is also a huge indicator of success. Are they active in local community events and government affairs? Yes, Corporate Social Responsibility is huge factor here, but it goes beyond that. The local community requires something different from any local business, no matter how large or small or corporately driven and regardless of the business-to-business considerations.

A business' involvement in the local community is, and should always be, inspired by something completely different and relative to the part of the world that that business serves. The takeaway isn't the revenue generation itself, but how a business' investment in the community is perceived and ultimately shared, locally and globally.

What are your thoughts on the customer experience where specific markets are concerned?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Missing the Social Media Mark

Across the social media universe, it's as easy for your messages to get missed as it is for you, as an online connection, to be forgotten. I talk with so many people who steer clear of platforms like Twitter because they feel information flies too fast and furious for comfort, or they only connect on LinkedIn for that 'professional' contact but then never actually share posts or join groups.

I admit that sharing information without regard of who is on the receiving end can congest the internet super highway with meaningless data. This approach certainly has no hand in creating publicly beneficial knowledge - garbage in, garbage out negatively impacts all of us, everyday, in our personal and professional lives.

However, social media networking, when utilized in effective ways, can not only benefit you and your business, but it also has the potential of creating powerful change in your industry and the world we build together. So, how do we look at connecting with each other in a different light and what are some examples of relevant shared messages?

On the connection side, if I'm wanting to connect with you, it's because I want to get to know you better. Not because I feel I need to but because I genuinely feel we can benefit from each other. It's another step to further our relationship when we may not always (if ever) be able to connect in person.

This caring, connective ideology isn't true for everyone though. When you only post, share, comment, and 'like' information about yourself and your company then you are not only failing yourself but also your connections. And when you don't grow from shared knowledge, your customer doesn't grow.

Where sharing is concerned, talk about what others are doing. For example, if you sell vinyl windows, don't just post about that recent award your company received or the charity they supported. Share an article that addresses alternative materials that you don't currently have or manufacturing processes that you don't utilize but improve humanity's environmental footprint. Relay an interesting article about petroleum, since that's the core material for vinyl windows anyway. Or, and this may seem counter intuitive, post what your competitors are doing to overcome obstacles.

The point is, connecting and sharing individually on social media is never self-serving (or at least it shouldn't be). But when you share information from outside your company and immediate community, you create a meaningful dialogue of online social interactions that benefits you, your industry, and the world-at-large.

What message has social media taught you?