September 29, 2009

How Much Time Do You Have?

Just Say Hello

I thought it was time to put aside my "busy" schedule to contact a few people I hadn't talked with in a while. There was no agenda, it just a quick note to see how they were doing.

Quite a few of them mentioned how they were "busy", working too much but doing just fine.

Work No Play

It got me thinking of how we live like our time is infinite.

Why don’t we take more chances or go for things we want? Perhaps we think it'll be too difficult to complete? Maybe it’s easier to stay where it’s nice and comfy? Maybe we're just too "busy"?

How About Now?

We are not guaranteed tomorrow. But let's hope we get there. We have a lot of busy and important things on our to-do list.

It all sounds dramatic but have you ever stopped to think about the time you spend waiting and wishing and hoping and worrying instead of doing?

Busy Busy

One of my clients says that "busy" is a victim word. We use it as a crutch or badge of honor. We also use it as a shield to hide from things we don’t want to do, chances we don’t want to take or fears we don’t want to face.

Now What?

Watch Ray Zahab speak at TED2009 about his trek to The South Pole. He is also one of three men who ran the entire length of the Sahara Desert. You can say this dude is focused.

Then think about it. How much time do you have?
I know I am.

"The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."
Joseph Campbell

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September 28, 2009

Communication Check-Up

When was the last time you had an open and honest conversation with someone?

How did it go the last time you were focused solely on their interests, their goals and their needs?

Who did you last help without their knowledge?

Why would it be beneficial to look at the ten people you spend the most time with and think about the last time you had a deep honest conversation with each of them?

What should you do if you're stuck?

Where should you start?

Would it be valuable to begin
with a communication check-up?

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September 24, 2009

Do You Have A Strategic Plan?

One Third Win
The numbers are slightly different depending on the study, but the number of businesses that launch then thrive is quite small. About 30% of all new companies actually see their way to black ink.

Why Is That?

I have worked on fifty-page Strategic Plans, it's a lot of work!

It requires people and meetings and the result is an extensive blueprint for the next fiscal year. For the most part, the Plan was followed and people were held accountable. Each tactic had dates and money and people attached to it so the Plan could be realistically and properly executed.

I would often test people’s knowledge of the Plan by asking them if they could recite our Three Strategic Objectives. Most did well on that point. But when it got to the tactics and time lines and who does what by when, their ability to recount the Plan began to decline.

But you don't need a fifty-page Plan to succeed. Trust me! Those things were behemoths. No wonder no one could remember what was in them.

Why do companies fall short of their goals?


This is often a catch-all that isn’t given the attention it deserves. If you’re in a well financed start-up, it can be intoxicating. Ideas are following, people are happy and it’s exciting. But once the balloons deflate and the actual real work begins and you experience that first difficult client, things may begin to wobble.


It’s even more essential that you are aware of your market. That includes where you are geographically, the industry you are in, what your competitors are doing and the never ending changes in customer desires and demands.

A Plan is not something you put in a pretty binder to sit alongside previous years' Plans to simply collect dust.


No matter your industry or role, you need to be constantly educating yourself on opportunities and trends. We have the world’s largest encyclopedia at our fingertips but how many of us end up at the same websites every day?


This has always been a hot button. It looks good on the wall or in your company propaganda or on your website. “We’re accountable!” Are you? In order for this to gain traction, everyone in your organization must be accountable to everyone in your organization. No exceptions.


Plans are useless without action. If you take the required time to set out a Plan, then actually carry it out.

I’m a guy, I hate reading instructions but I have often destroyed a purchase because I didn’t read the sheet of paper with the thing I needed to assemble. That is why the instructions are there. That is why you galvanize a Strategic Plan.

Then you do need to be nimble so you can react to opportunities that may not have been there when you developed your Plan. You won’t be able to do so if everything you do is by the seat of your pants.


This is the largest reason companies fail. We can discuss this at length another time but it is monumentally imperative that you keep clear collaborative communications open with everyone in your organization or the clock is ticking.


We are human beings. We mess up. We mean well. We have the best of intentions. But we miss steps and get frustrated and get filled with self-doubt which stops us from getting there. And we forget to ask for help!

Am I way off the mark?
What are your thoughts on this?

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September 22, 2009

Communications and Conversations

Let Them All Talk

I posed a simple question on Twitter: I see a trend toward DMs over emails for some people. Not a huge email fan either but still not sure I like said trend. Thoughts?

A Twitter “DM” is simply the email platform called Direct Message.

Email me your fax so I can DM the response to your PDA

In the course of a day, I will use literally every medium at my disposal and I don’t give it much thought. Some prefer email, others like calls, social media portals for others, texts are the way to chat with some and there are friends and colleagues who don’t do anything unless it’s face-to-face.

Here are some responses to my query...

joshchandler: it's interesting, a lot of people DM me as if they were sending an email.

ethanwaldman: If the connection is meaningful- networking, NOT selling, I prefer email. 140 characters is not enough for correspondence.

clothbot: DM is the new IM replacement.

MarkBlevis: The problem is the amount of time & energy it takes to move the conversation in DM (140-char) vs. email or in-person.

knealemann to ethanwaldman: In the course of a day, I may 'converse' with someone in five different ways. #technology

Wooby: Excellent point about new communications tools giving us more choice. This is left out of social media conversation too much. I get notified of DMs via email anyway. Ditto for FB msgs. On my end, they're all the same.

knealemann to wooby: some just grab whatever is convenient and use that. I correspond with some on several medium (email, DM, phone, person) at once.

Rebelcontent: DM's to be less efficient.

knealemann to joshchandler: some want to conduct business without it going on the company email server, as an example.

SuzeMuse: Everyone uses the media in a different way. It comes down to personal preference. I've been using skype video lots. I also think it depends how well you know the person. I've had plenty of meaningful text conversations.

I'll take face-to-face over every other portal, tool or gadget.

What is your preferred form of communication?

Helping you improve your media, marketing,
bizdev and social networks

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September 19, 2009

The One Thing

What is the one thing you
will change to improve your career?

What is the one thing
you will do to help us?

What is the one thing you will read
to engage a conversation?

What is the one thing you will
affect to cause you to move?

What is the one thing
you will say to help me?

What is the one thing you will mean
that will create a positive shift?

What is the one thing you will create
that will ignite others?

What is the one thing
you will write that may cause us to think?

What is the one thing we will
act on which will affect a revolution?

What is the one thing I will do to help you?

Helping you improve your media,
marketing, bizdev and social networks

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September 16, 2009

Let's Talk. For Real!

Passion Rules

I love talking with business owners – especially ones who own small to medium sized companies. They are tirelessly passionate for what they do and they really do want to make a difference. So if you own your own company. let's chat some time.

Do What You Want

If you live in a part of the world where it is even possible to venture out on your own, hang your proverbial shingle and build something from scratch, count yourself lucky. It is terrifying and exciting all in one.

As we dig ourselves out of this world economic crisis it is my belief that the right brain economy will emerge – where creative ideas will seize the day – and small to medium sized businesses will find success by working together.

A Bag of Rice and A Goat

There was a time when two people who wanted to do business would find something they could trade. I may have the skills to fix the roof of your house and you may have a vegetables to give me for my dinner table.

Even in the world of social networking and digital marketing, portable everything and instant anything, we still need home repairs and food on the table. The future of commerce lies in our ability to find companies and individuals who we can work with to share and merge and compliment skill sets.

Death, Taxes and Finding Customers

There may are only three certainties in life. Have a look around at your network – all of it. There are people who can help you, there are people who need your help.

So send me an email and let's chat.
Let me know how I can help you.

Let's create experiences, not campaigns

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September 15, 2009

Social Media and Small Business


It is fascinating to listen to the discussion surrounding social
media in regards to the view
of some that it is a fad and to
others that it is a quick fix.

It is neither.

Now What?

So you’ve been dabbling in social media. You have a Facebook profile with a few hundred friends and perhaps you’re now on Twitter. You aren’t interested in blogging or webinars; YouTube is fun to watch but you don’t want your own channel and now you wonder if it’s time to introduce the company you work for or own to this space.

This is Business

Your social media commitment must be completely in line with your strategic objectives. You wouldn’t treat any other part of your company with this type of haphazard approach so it is not wise to do so in the social networking space. In fact, it can hurt you.

No Time - Don't Bother

Companies can get caught up in their own ‘too busy’ mentality and let things slide. Social media is not something to do ‘when you have some time’ – make time for it or you won’t see the benefits. Watch that it doesn't take too much of your time either. Yes, it is a delicate dance.

In a previous life I would consult radio stations that didn't have the money or people but wanted to do a lot of fancy things on their website to actually do very little. Do it right or don’t bother.

Hey! There Are Humans In Here!

And you will need patience and all those other traits that make you a bright business person. It’s tricky to resist the temptation to use the social web as a giant advertising medium but figure out a way to curb that desire.

Social media is not a campaign and your company will not gain millions in revenue after a handful of tweets – though there are a couple of stories where this has happened, those are rare. And if you aren’t willing to pay attention to how people interact with your company online, this may be a struggle for you.

Metrics and Missteps

Oh yes, and this is paramount. Grasp this immediately. Metrics are not the same as the ‘sleep at night’ estimates from other mediums. Just because you put up a billboard at the corner of East and South Sts., doesn’t mean anyone saw your message. That is the same with social media, it takes time and commitment.

It Begins Within

You need a corporate champion. If someone in your organization is committed to online social networking, you can begin to be a part of the conversation where your customers and potential customers may be as well.

Focus the Funnel

There are many social networking spaces but it’s difficult to keep profiles and contact on each because of the law of diminishing results. You simply don’t have the time!

Pick the channels you want and do them well. Skip the rest.

Congratulations if you are in the space with your business. If you haven’t but are thinking about it, have a blast!

Let's create experiences, not campaigns

This Weekend: PodCamp Montreal

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September 12, 2009

Are You Multi-Medium?

Did You Get My Email?

I was emailing someone the other day and realized it was the first time we had corresponded that way in months. There had been land line calls, cell calls, texts, Twitter DMs, Skype and probably even notes via Facebook. Sometimes all in one day. But we hadn’t sent an email to each other in ages.

Have you experienced the multi-medium conversation? You may not even stop to think about how you are communicating because the message is more important than the gadget.

Where is this all going?

At best guess, the Universe is about 14 billion years old and humans have been on earth for about 200,000 years. So the latest iPhone app may not be a big deal in 100 years, or even 100 days. Sorry!

Millennial Influences

In 1999, A&E produced an outstanding series featuring the one hundred more influential people of last millenium.

The list included the famous and infamous, the evil and angelic, inventors and politicians, sculptors and philosophers. It spanned from Martin Luther King Jr. to Nicolas Copernicus and Michelangelo Buonarroti to Bill Gates.

Human Networking

From caves to 3G networks, what remains most important is our ability to communicate. My wonder about email seems rather silly now.

And if you didn’t see the A&E series, any guesses on the most influential person of the last millenium?

It was Johannes Gutenberg who introduced the printing press to the world around 1450. His invention revolutionized communication and helped increase literacy.

What is your favored medium of communication?

Let's create experiences, not campaigns

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September 11, 2009

9/11: Where Were You?

August 27, 2001: I confirm my flight time for an upcoming trip to NYC on the 11th, booked on the 8am flight.

August 31-September 2, 2001: I enjoy a weekend with friends at a cottage and inform them of my upcoming trip. My buddy Mike suggests the two of us should do the trip some time and enjoy some Yankees’ games and bad food.

September 5, 2001: After a pretty busy summer of travel, I decide to cancel the NYC trip. The decision is to reschedule in a few weeks.

September 11, 2001

8:13: American Airlines Flight 11 bound for Los Angeles has its last routine communication with the FAA's air traffic control center in Boston.

8:14: Flight 11 fails to heed instructions to climb to 35,000 feet.

8:14: United Airlines Flight 175 departs from Boston Logan airport, also bound for LA.

8:21 Flight 11's transponder signal is turned off but plane remains on radar screens as a blip without additional information.

8:25: Boston Center flight controllers alert other flight control centers regarding Flight 11.

8:30: Management meeting begins on time as usual. Anyone late has to buy coffee and donuts for the dozen or so in the room. There’s a lot to cover as all three of our radio stations have just entered big ratings periods. We will need to review some budget items as well.

8:46: Flight 11 crashes into the north face of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

8:51: Hijacking begins on Flight 77.

8:54: Flight 77 deviates from its assigned course turning south over Ohio.

8:56: Our news director gets a call and quickly leaves the room. Our General Manager wonders why he's interupting but keeps the meeting moving along.

8:58: Flight 175 takes a heading toward New York City.

9:03: Flight 175 crashes in to the south face of the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

9:10: Our news director returns to inform us that the aircraft that hit the World Trade Center which was originally thought to be a twin-engine plane was actually a commercial jet. Meeting over. We race to the nearest television and watch as if we are viewing a horror film.

9:13: We suddenly grasp the gravity of the situation and move in to action. Three radio stations, three studios and ours half a block away on the street level.

9:15: Bush leaves the classroom and enters another one commandeered by the Secret Service.

9:28: Hijackers storm the cockpit on Flight 93 and take over the flight. The entry of the hijackers is overheard by flight controllers at Cleveland.

9:29: President Bush makes his first public statements about the attacks in front of an audience of about 200 teachers and students at the elementary school.

9:32: Our morning show producer dials up news feeds while five of us each grab a computer and start to dig for information.

9:35: Flight 93 reverses direction over Ohio and starts flying eastwards.

9:36: Based on a report that Flight 77 had turned again and was circling back toward the District of Columbia.

9:43: The White House and the Capitol are evacuated and closed.

9:45: United States airspace is shut down.

9:48: Our studio is full of people trying to gather as much information as possible. It’s numbing to be in the media while the world is panicking. The usually busy Yonge Street in downtown Toronto is virtually abandoned.

9:53: CNN confirms a plane crash at the Pentagon.

9:57: Passenger revolt begins on Flight 93.

9:59: The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.

10:01: A brief silence – which felt like an hour – fell over the studio. Our morning team held it together but thoughts of leaving to find loved ones overwhelmed us all. Something made us all stay and do what we could.

10:03: United Airlines Flight 93 is crashed by its hijackers southeast of Pittsburgh.

10:10: Part of the west side of the Pentagon collapses.

10:15: We turn our radio station over to the CNN feed and let the experts take over. Our morning team makes sporatic local announcements over the next hour.

10:28: The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.

10:50: Five stories of part of the Pentagon collapse due to the fire.

11:30: Our morning team goes on the air with fresh information from a local perspective. There are concerns that many of the Toronto landmarks would be targets – including the world’s tallest free standing structure – The CN Tower.

11:55: The border between the U.S. and Mexico is on highest alert.

4:28: I return to my office and notice my voice mail light is flashing. The electronic voice says “You have 52 new messages”. Among them were concerned listeners, all of my cottage buddies who hadn’t heard I cancelled my NYC trip, my entire immediate family and two friends I hadn’t seen in years. The office was eerily quiet. I was numb. The world was numb.

4:51: I realize that if I had taken that 8am flight to NYC, I would have landed at LaGuardia at around 9am and watched it all unfold in the airport or perhaps worst, in the back of a cab on the bridge into Manhattan.

Lost friends reunited, the important things became important again and the next month was a blur for everyone. Eight years later, the topic of September 11th, 2001 still comes up almost on a weekly basis.

What have we learned?
What has improved?
What has changed?

Let's create experiences, not campaigns

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September 7, 2009

Call Me In September

It begins with the usual signs. Traffic is a bit more congested on the way to the office in the morning. Ah yes, school is back and the unofficial end of summer is upon us. Depending on your region or level, school goes back on different dates but school is back for everyone as of tomorrow. It is Labor Day in the U.S. and Canada and there is no denying it – school is on.

Fall is on its way in North America. It’s September, a month of transition and rites of passage. It is a time to remember school summers of yore or the one that just passed. It is the month that turns summer in to autumn and projects in to deadlines.

Ah yes, dear sweet September. Call me after Labor Day and we can discuss it. Let’s revisit that in September. A month filled with many expectations and new beginnings.

As we gaze upon the Halloween displays in stores and thousands of additional cars on the way to work, reality sets in.

But let’s remember with fondness, the lazy hazy days of call me in September.

Let's create experiences, not campaigns

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September 3, 2009

Communications: Bark Speak Meow

Speak to the dog, about what matters to the dog in the language of the dog
Jeff Eisenberg

True open honest collaboration is something that many enjoy. It can be a rare experience but magical when it works. This is where the entire team is working as a team.

There are no hidden agendas and everyone at the table is able to put aside the temptation of promoting their cause or business for the purpose of the team.

Woof Woof

Eisenberg reminds us that we need to read the room and talk to what matters to the room. It’s not enough to show people our skill set without applying it to their situation.

What Do You Think Of Me?

If we can put our agenda aside in place of those we are helping, we will be much further ahead. Our experience is drawn upon daily but understand it is in context with someone else’s need. And we do the same.

What barks you?

Let's create experiences, not campaigns

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leadership development business culture talent development human capital