Friday, October 29

To Do List for Nov. 2 

From Tom Peters:

To Do List for November 2
1. Vote
2. Remind family members to vote.
3. Remind friends to vote.
4. Remind co-workers to vote.
5. Repeat steps 2-4.

'The only thing wrong with the democratic process is the failure to use it.' -Seymour Graubard

Thursday, October 28

Write the check! 

Coaching, consulting, mentoring, training, teaching, managing, supervising, directing, guiding, advising, and rehabilitating all have one thing in common: the person on the receiving end must, ultimately, write the check.

A CPA, a bookkeeper, and a coach walk into a bar... wait a minute! Rewind. I was talking with a CPA, a bookkeeper, and a coach and they all mentioned to me that with certain clients, it doesn't matter how brilliant the tax strategy, how wise the coaching advice, or how effective and up to date the books are, the client can still not follow through and the results are disastrous.

Let's take the accountant as a real clear example. The CPA gets all the tax paperwork done, sifts through all the receipts, expenses, income, and statements, and finds some brilliant ways to save the client money, both in the short term and the long term. End result: the client goes to prison.


What happened? We just established that the CPA did everything right, and even beyond that, did an exceptional job. What didn't the CPA do? He didn't write the check.

I started with 12 participants in a 4-week marketing program. Only 4 of them "wrote the check" at the end and put the system into practice. Nick, Marc, Gerrie, and David will all be successful not because of what I taught them; not because of the tools and strategies I shared; not because I'm a genius or know more than they do (I don't - see my earlier post) -- but they will ultimately be successful because they "wrote the check" and put the plan into action.

Whether you're a professional coach, consultant, manager, or therapist, look for people who are not only willing to show up and pay you money; look for people who are also willing to "write the check" and ACT.

Wednesday, October 27

Innovate Shminnovate! 

BusinessWeek (10/11/04) says, "We've walked on the moon, built the Net, and decoded the genome. Have we run out of worlds to conquer? No. As a matter of fact, we're on the cusp of a fresh innovation boom." And in that issue, they blew the doors off business innovation and innovators.

Frankly, I'm sick of people who refer to Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, and Fred Smith as if they knew these guys personally and they reel off stories from their books or writings, almost as if these nuggets of wisdom were shared over dinner at GE or Apple or FedEx headquarters after a tough day on the innovation playground.

Well, good news for those people - and for YOU - because now you can dig deep into the minds of these great innovators with in-depth profiles, courtesy of BusinessWeek.com. Check out the stories about great business innovations over the past 75 years, and the people that made them happen here:

Pretty cool, huh?

Tuesday, October 26

Know more vs. Know different 

As I was preparing for a marketing seminar last week, it occurred to me that there are very few people who know MORE than you do. Sure, they might know more in a particular area, but then YOU know more in different areas than they do.

So, perhaps a way to cross-pollinate ideas, surround yourself with "smart" people, and learn from your peers is to seek out NOT people that know MORE than you do - but to seek out people that know DIFFERENT than you do.

When's the last time you spent some time with a college professor? I walk with one on my way to school each morning to drop off my son. When's the last time you spent some time with a storyteller, actor, or improv comedian? Not to hear stories or jokes, but to exchange ideas and think WITH them. Do you know the Guinness Book record-holder for balloon sculptures? I do. He's a great guy. How about a puppeteer? Psychologist? PR guru? Web designer? Pastry chef? IT geek? Nurse?

Talk to these people. Seek out people that know DIFFERENT. Very few people actually know MORE.

Thursday, October 14

Cultural gut instinct 

From the musings of consultant Michael Aschenbach:
Over the hood of a lawn tractor, my teammate and I had a fascinating debate
with a tough-minded Bush supporter. Although it was clear that we were not
going to convert him, it seemed valuable, in the present climate, that we
three were able to have an honest give-and-take there in the middle of his
driveway. He agreed that Kerry was smarter but preferred Bush’s aggressive
directness. “Too bad we can’t cut up pieces of candidates and put together
one perfect one,” he mused. Turned out all three of us were consultants and
often agreed on the facts; we just came to different conclusions about what
they meant. What seems clear to me from this discussion is that many people
vote more on cultural gut instincts rather than on rational analysis or
personal self-interest.

My two cents on this one: it's amazing to me that "people
vote more on cultural gut instincts rather than on rational analysis or
personal self-interest." And it seems dangerous and foolish and blind.

Speaking of dangerous and foolish and blind, in one of my public seminars this
week, I mildly berated a rather unimaginative group of entrepreneurs for
wasting time, money, and effort on traditional "me-too" advertising (which
to me is the LEAST effective way of communicating with prospective
buyers of your product or service). They were all excited about their
cold calling plans, mass mailings, and ads in various publications after
we had just spent a good deal of time talking about separating yourself from
the crowd, and how advertising is the LEAST effective marketing tool for the
small or entrepreneurial business. This idea is not new. It's not revolutionary.
It's a FACT. Remember Guerilla Marketing? HELLO???

Why do people do sales and marketing this way, despite paying consultants
like me exorbitant sums to tell them it's the WRONG thing to do?

Simple: "cultural gut instinct rather than rational analysis or
personal self-interest."

In other words, they don't care if it WORKS; it's what they KNOW.


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