On Jan 19, 2010
This is the first blog of a 10-blog series about Changing For The Better.
The Purpose: (1) to introduce the important role habits play in performance and (2) to provide some examples of ideas and 'tools' to help people create success-directed habits.
People only do 3 things: (1) Good Habits, (2) Bad Habits, and (3) New Things.
Some may argue that's an oversimplification…however, as yet, I have not felt the need to expand the list.
Good Habits contribute to our betterment.
New Things may or may not contribute to our betterment.
When we set goals defining what 'our betterment' means we generally wish to use our Good Habits, reduce our Bad Habits, and perhaps do some New Things.
When we do New Things we end up either turning them into Good Habits or Bad Habits or we stop doing them.
It makes sense to try doing New Things to create new Good Habits.
Often, and this is important to this blog series, we choose to do New Things in a conscious effort to remove Bad Habits and replace them with Good Habits.
New Things are often the only mechanisms that will help us to move from Bad Habits to Good Habits.
Enough theoretical stuff…at least for now.
Here's a video clip of how I picture Good Habits, Bad Habits, and New Things…
Some things to think about…
- There's a 'thin line' between Good Habits and Bad Habits
- One good way to move from Bad Habits to Good Habits is - Doing New Things
- Doing New Things: the choices are essentially infinite
- Doing New Things = Change
- Doing New Things that lead to our betterment = Changing For The Better
Changing For The Better…that's what this 10-blog series is about. The next blog will talk about Habits and introduce some of the ways we can expand our Good Habits, effect Change, and achieve our goals.
On Jan 14, 2010
This is blog #8 in an 8-blog series about Powerful Answers to 7 important business questions. The series is intended to be an introduction to strategic intuition and planning.
Preamble: As we have talked with hundreds of businesses, from time to time, we have come across situations where unnecessary disasters happened. I mean disasters that took companies to bankruptcy. Three examples of company-killers come vividly to mind: (1) partner dysfunction, (2) faulty raw materials, and (3) foreign exchange volatility. While it is not possible to foresee every company-killer risk, it is possible to foresee things/risks like the 3 company-killers I just mentioned.
A group of advisors with a range of experience in different business sectors can help, for example, at the Board of Directors level. This is an underlying premise at our company…a role of our Activestors
Question 7: How do you manage your CRITICAL risk factors every day?
'We do a SWOT analysis at least once a year. We identify Critical Failure Factors. And we place those CFFs into our Vital Signs plans and action. That ensures we keep them in mind. Here, let me show you on my BLackBerry'
SWOT - analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, & Threats has been around for 5 decades.
CFF - analysis of Critical Failure Factors is a more-recent activity, however, it is well established.
We can and should anticipate the worst-case scenarios. CFFs are not something we should be agonizing over. Well, actually, we do have to agonize over them a bit at the planning and training stage.
Business CFF tests will not be life-threatening like Navy SEAL tests. [U.S. Navy SEAL metaphor
] However, some business challenges will cause us to stall and some will cause us to panic. Thinking about such situations, planning around them, and writing plans down reduces the likelihood of surprise-stall and surprise-panic. [And, we don't have to go under water to do it.]
This is the last blog in the 7 Powerful Answers series.
The next blog will be the first of a series titled - Good Habits, Bad Habits, & New Things
On Jan 12, 2010
This is blog #7 in an 8-blog series about Powerful Answers to 7 important business questions. The series is intended to be an introduction to strategic intuition and planning.
Preamble: In blog #3 of this Powerful Answers series I wrote, Business is about People and Process. And I wrote, People do only 3 things: good habits, bad habits, and new things. Considering the 3 things People do, business leaders want their People to do Good Habits and New Things to help the company accomplish its Vision , Mission, and Goals…and do those things in a manner aligned with the Corporate Culture.
This is a broad topic so I will limit this to two examples: the first is a tool designed to promote a Good Habit and the second is a written statement intended to guide how people should act and make decisions.
- P=2S+O©, covered in earlier blogs, is a tool we designed to promote both Good Habits and ideas about New Things [P=2S+O blog]
- At Spirited Investors, our Corporate Values are - Courage, Confidence, Conviction, & Creativity - were selected to promote Good Habits and New Things [Spirited's Corporate Statement]
Question 6: How do you prove your people do the RIGHT things EVERY day?
'Let me show you. Here, on my BlackBerry . This web-link takes me to my Daily Vitals Journal. I can access this web-based journal from my BlackBerry, my desktop, my laptop, and my notebook. My Daily Vitals Journal keeps my actions organized and aimed at my goals. Everyone at our company has a Daily Vitals Journal, customized to help them achieve his/her goals.'
Postamble: John Medina* said people have about 5,000 thoughts per day. While listening to the audio CD, I did the quick math. Rounding it off I calculated that's about one thought every 10 seconds, every waking hour, every day. That little voice, which for most of us sounds just like our voice, is active all day long…perhaps, presenting a different thought about every 10 seconds. Even if that's half-right, that's an awful lot of distraction. No wonder we have trouble concentrating. No wonder things slip from our memories.
Processes and tools can help.
We recommend processes like Monthly Vital Signs, Weekly Vital Signs, and Daily Vital Signs and tools like the PlanBudget© and the web-based Daily Vitals Journal©.
The next blog will consider Question 7:
How do you manage your CRITICAL risk factors every day?
On Jan 7, 2010
This is blog #6 in an 8-blog series about Powerful Answers to 7 important business questions. The series is intended to be an introduction to strategic intuition and planning.
Preamble: I created a word to cover the last 2 questions, Question 4 and Question 5. That word is Tarmarvalproda©.
Tarmar: Target Market, also known as Market Niche
valpro: Value Proposition, as seen by the Client
da: Differential Advantage, also known as Unique Selling Proposition, as seen by Client
Tarmarvalproda© is the heart of Marketing.
Question 5 is aimed at What? - What Marketing & Sales work must be done? Many experts have influenced my thinking…to name just a few: Jay Abraham, Tony Parinello, Jeffrey Gitomer, and Malcolm Gladwell.
Some introductory thoughts about Marketing & Sales plans:
- Think before doing
- Think about how best to use multi-pronged actions
- Measure and test…everything…be selective
- Network well
- Use pictures
- Use video testimonials
- Be creative
- Inject humour…just the right amount, with the right timing
Question 5: How do you PLAN to connect with those people who care?
Let me show you. My written plan is here in my briefcase.
: About 15 years ago, I created a template for s
lanning programs. I called it SMP Programs
©…here's a link to a sample of that template [SMP Template
]. Putting the plan in writing: that's a good start. Using plans as benchmark-tools - so useful and so important to us they are in our briefcases and in our BlackBerrys - that's proof of a deep-rooted motivation to succeed.
The next blog will consider Question 6:
How do you prove your people do the RIGHT things EVERY day?
On Jan 5, 2010
This is blog #5 in an 8-blog series about Powerful Answers to 7 important business questions. The series is intended to be an introduction to strategic intuition and planning.
Preamble: There is a direct linkage between Question 3 and this Question 4. Question 3 is about Differential Advantage over competition and Value Proposition [both, as seen from the Clients' perspective]. Question 4 is about Target Clients or Market Niches. When faced with the question…Would you rather assume or know your Clients' needs? …everyone we talked to said he/she would choose to know, not to assume.
The challenge is - between assume and know sits a whole bunch of work. It's the sort of work Sherlock Holmes, Lieutenant Columbo, and those FBI profilers would be good at.
Some keys to doing that work are:
- Listening to what existing Clients have to say
- Listening to what prospective Clients have to say
- Working to understand people: in general and one-on-one
- Understanding psychographics [emotional drivers…definition below]
- Understanding demographics [physical things…definition below]
Question 4: Who REALLY CARES about what you do best?
Powerful Answer: in the last blog, I provided a reference to Jay Abraham's website. Here are the first 15 words readers see when they visit that website…
My goal for www.abraham.com
is really very straight forward. To help you make money.'
Postamble: Embedded in those first 15 words is Jay's answer to Question 4. People who want to make money and need help…that's who Jay believes REALLY CARES about what he does best. In demographic terms, he is aiming at business people…ie, because business is about making money. Within the population of business people who want money is a sub-set of people wanting help getting that money. Wanting money and wanting help to get money - that's the general psychographic description of Jay Abraham's target market.
Psychographics def'n: psychographic variables are any attributes relating to personality, values, attitudes, interests, or lifestyles
Demographics def'n: the physical characteristics of a population such as age, sex, marital status, family size, education, geographic location, and occupation
The next blog will consider Question 5:
How do you PLAN to connect with those people who care?
On Dec 31, 2009
This is blog #4 in an 8-blog series about Powerful Answers to 7 important business questions. The series is intended to be an introduction to strategic intuition and planning.
Preamble: Question 3 is about Differential Advantage, also known as Unique Selling Proposition, and about Value Proposition. During the last 30 years numerous experts have advised us of the need for uniqueness and holding a differential advantage over our competitors. Tom Peters, for example, went into detail in his book Thriving on Chaos . Jay Abraham and many others provide guidance and ideas. However, for most business people at most businesses this is a real challenge.
Differential Advantage: the potential Buyer asks - Why should I buy from these people instead of buying from their competitor…or doing nothing?
Value Proposition: the potential Buyer asks - What value do I get when I buy this thing?
At the surface it seems it should be easy to answer these questions, However, that is not what we have seen when we talk to hundreds of business people. When it comes to understanding and describing Differential Advantage and Value Proposition, it is appears the grass may be greener on the other side of the street. Often, it is easier to answer the question for another company than it is for our own company.
Question 3: What do you do BETTER and DIFFERENT than anyone else?
: an excerpt from the SWOGG Canada Inc website www.swogg.com
We guarantee your order will be delivered RIGHT! ON TIME! OR FREE!
Postamble: When we decided to invest in SWOGG we understood the decorated-apparel industry was fraught with over-promising and under-delivering. Examples: (1) corporate golf tournaments would happen before the shirts with logos arrived and (2) children would be wearing white T-shirts for the opening game of their soccer season…all because decorated apparel did not arrive on time. So, in reaction, we created the above statement of difference…a differential advantage.
The next blog will consider Question 4:
Who REALLY CARES about what you do best?