July 30, 2010

Sliced Bread and A Guy Named Seth

If you travel in the marketing world, you have heard of Seth Godin. He is a brilliant marketing guy, explains clearly, writes succinctly and has numerous bestselling books. His presentation style is thought provoking, funny and (to use his word) remarkable.

Seth publishes the number one marketing blog on the planet. At the time of this presentation, none of us was tweeting or writing on each other's Facebook walls. The blogosphere was in its adolescence and online content consumption was still that new thing people were talking about.

This is a presentation he did at TED2003. Some of the references are dated and all of the points remain completely relevant.



knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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image credit: TED

July 29, 2010

A Dozen Ideas on Choosing Your Media

What Worked? What Didn't? Where To Go Next?

You have a product or service that needs exposure.

For the purpose of this exercise, we will assume that it is fantastic and there's a need for it.

We will also make the leap that your creative messages are well focused and all the other parts are in place.

The Future Is Now

Let’s deal with where most business owners unfortunately reside. It’s where the pain is most intense – today. There is no time to look at long term plans; you need to make your next quarter. But if you do the same things hoping they will work this time, well you know the cliché.

Should you do a television campaign or a microsite? Perhaps it’s time for you to increase your social networking activities or buy radio? Has the money you spent on print become a dead end or perhaps an outdoor campaign will work?

Shiny and Sparkling

It is dicey to change strategy without sound reasons yet dangerous to stay with a bad plan. Whether you run a large, medium or small organization, you have budget constraints. It’s effortless to look at Starbucks or Wal-Mart and have an opinion on how you would spend their marketing budget.

More of the Same or Give Up?

You can throw your hands in the air and say you have no money and marketing efforts will have to wait. But before you tear everything apart or stick your head in the sand, perhaps some of these ideas may help...

• Find people who can give you honest feedback and perspective.
• Stop watching the competition (for now).
• Remember that Facebook and Twitter are tactics, not your strategy.
• Pay no attention to those who say they have all the answers.
• Keep in mind that the media sales person is compensated on commission.
• Firing people to save money is not a good enough reason.
• Ask your customers what resonated with them.
• Carefully analyze what media has worked for you and what has not.
• Get out of your office, turn off your phone and think.
• Examine all of our current business activities. All of them.
• Cutting your marketing budget to save money is not the answer.
• Educate yourself on all media options and metrics.

What would you add to the list?

knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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image credit: mysitemyway

July 26, 2010

Social Media Tools | Now What?

What Does This Button Do?

The discussion has been going on for a while. Are social tools a way for us to enhance our offering, build relationships and perhaps increase our revenue line?

Others claim these portals are simply ways to have two-way conversations. Some think selling is frowned upon. You decide.


Like every other medium, there are those who see the social web as a way to sell more stuff and some are successfully navigating that process.

So if it’s not about the tools, why isn’t every company and individual wildly successful online?

Perhaps time and respect are important factors. Possibly the brush in the hands of a talented painter will create a masterpiece while in my hands you’ll get something that resembles paint-by-numbers. Any of us can buy a Sydney Crosby stick but none of us is scoring the Olympic gold winning goal.

I need a keyboard to put these thoughts in a form, then publish them on the Internet, then tell you they are available for you to read. Are my thoughts about the keyboard? Without the keyboard do my ideas reach you?

Before we dismiss social networking websites and tools, let’s have a closer look at the entire equation.

If I told you I sold surgical supplies, would you call me a doctor?

Someone has to recognize a need, devise a solution, create a plan, design the instrument, get funding to mass produce it, manufacture it, market it, put it in a box and ship it the hospital.

I'm skipping a few steps, but you get the point.

Without the process, the doctor is unable to perform the procedure. Without the tyndaller, the head injury may be fatal. Don’t have a retractor and the patient’s chest wound could create serious problems.

Social media are tools like knives are to the chef. But can the chef create the meal without mastering the use of her knives?

knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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July 24, 2010

Busy Being Busy

Confusing Activity with Progress

The world keeps getting faster and we keep adding gadgets and technology to make it easier which gives us more reasons to stay busier and less time for each other.

One second. Hang on.
I'll just be a minute.


I once worked with a dude who was always somewhere else.

During our meetings, his face was buried in his blackberry. He would squirm in his chair. His eyes would dart back and forth. He pretended to pay attention. He couldn't sit still for a minute. He was a busy guy, don't ya know.

Then I realized that he answered my emails when he was elsewhere pretending to be present in that meeting.

If you live on your smart phone, it becomes increasingly difficult not to telegraph to others you are ignoring their emails when you fail to respond.

Keep moving and hopefully you don't get any on you.

Years ago, a buddy moved to a much larger city. I asked him if he noticed the pace had increased and he simply said people seemed busier but he was unsure they were getting more accomplished.

Wise Words

Success comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.
Henry David Thoreau

If you want to conquer fear,
don't sit at home and think about it.
Go out and get busy.
Dale Carnegie

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.
John Lennon

The essential question is not, how busy are you?
But rather what are you busy at and are you doing what fulfills you?
Oprah Winfrey

In the busy world no object has time to make a deep impression.
Henry Home

We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us that
we don't take time to enjoy where we are.
Calvin & Hobbes

It's not so much how busy you are, but why you are busy.
The bee is praised. The mosquito is swatted.
Mary O'Connor

Beware the barrenness
of a busy life. Socrates

The malady of our age is that the young are busy teaching us that they have no time left to learn.
Eric Hoffer

Doing nothing is better than
being busy doing nothing.
Lao Tzu

Are you busy or are you busy being busy?

knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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July 23, 2010

The Art of Prospecting

Finding The Gold.

I am always fascinated by how people build their business. I’m a content guy at heart so it’s not enough for someone to say they want to grow their company.

We all do.

I like to get into their heads to see what will they actually do to get where they want to be.

So I posed a simple question on LinkedIn in the Canadian Marketing Association group.

Q: What is your best tip for prospecting new clients?

Here are some responses…

Todd Falkowsky • The old fashioned way, get on the phone. I am still amazed at how many tools have been developed to break the ice with new clients, but the tried and true is still the best. Looking forward to hearing some other thoughts!

Ron Kipp • Todd is right on and if you outsource cold calling to a boutique contact centre you can invest your time more cost effectively.

Jody Steinhauer • Referral Referral Referral!!! If you do a great job, don't be shy to ask for a referral. We have built our entire company on referrals and no cold calls. It works! We are growing and need more people to help take good care on the inside.

Loic Jeanjean • Hi Kneale, I agree with Jody. We have also built our organization along referrals. Clients that have been happy with our services have been our best brand ambassadors since day 1. We have also been attending local conferences in our target market and provided 30-45 min educational workshops.

Dennis Meharchand • Depends upon what's being sold - Theoretically Cold calling should work well for products and services where there is not much pain associated with buying wrong whereas referrals from trusted sources should work well for high pain decisions. Given all that's changed in communications the last 10 years maybe it's time for a new edition of "How to Make Friends and Influence People"!

Ron Kunitzky • Networking and Referrals and Partnerships with companies that have relationships with your target audience.

Paul Provost • All are great comments that I agree with. We've built ourselves to where we are based on our referrals but it started with getting out there (networking) and reaching out (cold calls). One note on referrals - they work great if you have customers but if you start from zero, smart and targeted cold calling (and not just open the white pages) works.

Jeannette Marshall • Kneale, as a seasoned sales pro ... I'm going to say that there isn't a one-point answer. Many of the comments have been excellent. What I would suggest first is examine your existing customers, ask why they use your service, importantly what value they've gained (i.e. % saved, $ increase in revenue, etc.) - your best tool is those already in your tool belt.

And my response…

Kneale Mann • These are all excellent points, thank-you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. Most of the prospecting advice I see is from a mechanical approach - which is necessary - but the relational side is one not to ignore. It takes longer, it takes patience and trust, but referrals don't fall from the proverbial sky, they come from good work and nurtured relationships. Keep the conversation going!

What are your thoughts?

knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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image credit: nevada outback gems

July 21, 2010

Creating Your Social Brand

What Others Say About You

The fascinating issue about social media is that no matter who you meet you can get an opinion.

There are those who say they want to get more involved but are intimated or don’t know how to move forward. There are others who have some knowledge but have made the personal decision to become an expert and tell others how to navigate the space.

Who can forget the ever growing ‘you should do it that way’ group which is annoying beyond words. And there are vultures at every party so we have to watch out for the spam, scam and scrammers.

What do you do if you want to improve your social brand? How should you act? What should you post? Where should you go?

Let’s examine the word “social” which seems to be a catch-all these days. I am a social guy, I don’t have trouble in most social situations but others have called me too outgoing or talkative. Yup, that’s me. Oh well, deal with it or don't.

I can navigate discussions in a wide range of subjects because I love to learn about others and that is my social side.

Perhaps you are more reserved and you are intimidated by a guy like me? Perhaps you enjoy smaller groups of friends and a quiet dinner over being lobbed in to a speed networking event like the one I attended this week?

Brand is a term that is misused constantly.

Like viral, you cannot create a brand. That happens between customers. Like reputation, it's what others say when it's not in the room.

I can’t tell you how to feel about a certain experience – that’s your job. Some claim to be “brand experts” or run a “brand agency” which is not the whole story. As marketers, we can set the table and create an atmosphere but that’s it.

No one knows how Old Spice has become the most talked about company on the social web this minute. The team behind the campaign hoped it would happen, but no one can claim they predicted the reaction.

So back to you, back to your social brand, how do you create it?

Maybe the best place to start is to be yourself.
Do you think that will work?


knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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image credit: onbloggingwell

July 20, 2010

Passion for Education

Live and Learn

I was a terrible student in high school. I got by with very little effort. I was bored and didn’t concentrate. By grade 12, I started skipping classes. No surprise, my marks went down.

Then I found my passion for media and marketing. I scored my first gig in the first semester of my second year in college.

Grind and Grow

I have spent twenty-six years climbing a steep hill and taking on new challenges has been a way of life. The route hasn’t always been smooth but I can’t imagine not getting up every day to learn and apply new ideas to my company and help my clients.

I have a colleague who has been running her own production and interactive company with her business partner for seven years. They are doing well. She has worked tirelessly every day for the past twenty years to make it happen. She is a teacher and a student of her industry and learns new things all the time.

School is For Life

It doesn’t matter if you run a software company, a classroom, a production facility or a marketing firm, you must continue to learn. Going to school or taking an online course is a good idea but it’s more than that these days. Education only helps if the information sticks and it will only stick if you are passionate about it.

My best friend started a consulting company in the mid-80s with a business partner and one desktop computer. When the company sold twenty years later, there were almost 50 employees and they were top of their industry. He then launched his next company and they are doing well. He never stops learning.

Teach and Learn

Two or three generations ago, you would go to school and get a job and climb the corporate ladder and perhaps stay with the same company for your entire career. Today, we are not only changing companies to match our skill set or ambition but changing careers is commonplace as well.

Another good friend has been a high school teacher for twenty-seven years. In his current role, he prepares elite athletes with the necessary education to get into post secondary schools while they juggle a busy schedule in their sport discipline. He is not just a teacher; he is a student as well.

Lead and Share

Many CEOs enjoy seven figure salaries and seemingly endless perks but without passion, the experience for those around them can become quite empty.

Whether you run a music store or build rocket ships, if you can find enjoyment in what you do, you will spend a lifetime honing your trade and learning how to do it better. That is education. That is passion.

The Adage Rings True

If you love what you do, you have just gained five days of time each week. And if an hour feels like five minutes, you’re on the right route and educating yourself is nonstop.

Now the guy who skated through high school helps managers and business owners - who want to learn - how to build better companies through strategy, marketing and social media.

His education and passion continues. How about yours?

knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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photo credit: suretybonds

July 16, 2010

Reboot and Recharge

This Will Be Here When You Return

It's summer in the West. For some, the pace may be slower and vacation time is upon us. We covered business in summer last week. But as I sift through the OMO archives I stopped at this short post about taking time off from the online world.

This post was from last November.

Digital Days Off

I took two days off from social media and it was fantastic.

I kept up with news and sports and info but didn’t participate in the online conversation and something strange happened...

The sun still came up this morning.

Time off gives us perspective, it reboots our hard drives and makes us realize that all too often we need to walk away, go outside and enjoy life.

Have you tried an online vacation?

knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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image credit: thedailygreen

July 15, 2010

Motivation and Movement

It's Everywhere. It's In You.

It is amazing what you will find if you head into the spare room or the garage or the basement and begin to open the boxes you so neatly labeled and placed there for another day.

I have been pouring over some 500 OMO posts for the last week or so to see what still has life.


This post was originally published last fall.

A King Is Born

From your earliest memory, life is filled with every possession you desire. Your destiny is to become the king of a nation and you will never know life as a 'commoner'.

The Reluctant Hero

From the ashes of a relationship at the hand of an abusive husband, you raised your son on welfare and a part-time job at the gas station. You put yourself through university night school and achieved a bachelor degree in business administration. Your company now employs thirty people. Your son has been accepted on a full university scholarship.

Silicon Son

You were a smart kid with a penchant for numbers. You saw a chance to revolutionize the personal computer. Forbes Magazine names you the richest person on earth.

Green Thumbs Up

After declaring bankruptcy for the second time you discover your love of gardening. Leaving the fast lane of stock trading and money management, you open a local nursery with two high school friends. Life couldn’t be better.

Chicanes and Hairpins

Some say you were born in the cockpit of a race car. With almost flawless technique you become world champion seven times and the highest paid athlete on the planet for over a decade.

Fear Of Nothing

After working hard for more than twenty years to make money for the corporation, you are handed a severance package and a box under your arm. On the first day of freedom you begin to do all those things you were afraid to try. First on the list: skydiving.

A Living Inspiration

You lived your life helping the poor and helpless. You won the Nobel Peace Prize. You were beatified by the Pope and given the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.

Flying High Again

Faced with unthinkable odds you endure four agonizing years of reconstructive surgery. The plane crash almost ended your career, your private airline business and most certainly your life. Earning your pilot’s license again and buying your new Lear Jet feels like a new beginning.

Success: Earned and Replicated

Your parents divorced when you were seven years old. You brought yourself from the brink of personal bankruptcy to a current annual salary as a motivational consultant of $30 Million a year.

Thanks Dad!

Your wife was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder a year after your second son was born. The company you built for eight years is going under. Twelve months later, the company is profitable again and your wife is fine. The talk with your dad about staying positive and focusing on the good stuff seemed to work.

Born Leader

Your mother struggles to put food on the table. Before his death, you met your father once. You become the first African American President in U.S. history at the age of 47.

What motivates you?

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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photo credit: coach5150

July 14, 2010

Customer Service | Dead or Alive?

Here is another post from the archives that is not only an illustration of how customers feel, I felt it. Originally posted this past January. True Story.

Is Customer Service Important To You?
Marketing propaganda can backfire.

I am not the type who enjoys hopping in the car and heading to the mall to have a look around.

Strategy is not just part of my day job. An actual map and a plan help with such excursions.

Research and strategy are requisite.
The urge to shop is rare.

I had one such day this weekend. I had two specific items I wanted to purchase. I scored the first one in about twenty minutes. Four hours later I returned home having failed to accomplish the second one.

First Store (0-1)

The first store – which I found online and researched extensively – was out of stock. The "customer service rep" was quickly on to his next avoidance.

I pushed my cart of about $75 in impulse buys next to the counter and walked out of the store.

Second Stop (0-2)

Store number two was part of a larger chain where all items are featured on a central website. To find the location nearest you, just click the "store locator" tab on the top of the screen. Items and location confirmed.

After scouring the store for half an hour, I inquired about said item. “Yeah, we don’t carry any larger items in this location, we don’t have the room”, quipped the woman behind the counter. She was quick to get back to counting a list of something clearly more important than serving a customer.

Third Shop (0-3)

The third store was also out of stock.

The manager told me that she was expecting more “in a couple of weeks”.

I thought to ask about going on a call back list. No can do.

She walked away quickly flashing her forged half fake smile.

Busy Busy.

I have worked in retail - it is very tough to be on your feet and deal with guys like me who "saw it on the website".

Are these just strange random accidents? Is customer service alive and well? Are customers important to you?

knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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image credits: brandingtheman | thesun.co.uk

July 13, 2010

Asking Questions

Have you tried everything on the Denny’s menu?

For the past few days, I have been digging deep through the OMO archives. Interesting discussion has arisen from looking at what I wrote as far back as two years ago and how much of it still holds true today.

Yesterday, we discussed your social media checklist and one comment kept coming back was the importance of human contact.

Here is a post that was first published last July.

Box of Silly Questions

During my 20+ year radio career, I had the absolute privilege of conducting over five hundred artist interviews. The biggest were the most nerve wracking but for the most part the easiest to chat with once you got rolling. They had done this before.

Do you double down on 16?

They knew you knew they knew you knew who they were. It was the snotty arrogant half-song no names that were the crap shoot.

I had done this enough times that it became apparent that I needed to make the process more interesting to me and hopefully to the audience.

What was the first album you bought?

Think of the conversations you have with the people you just meet. Your drinks haven’t arrived and you have to say something. Work chat is easy but is that all you got?

How many shirts do you own?

There were some serious questions and frivolous ones. This was a place to put the topics unrelated to the artists’ work.

This was a list of those gems that brought real life in to the interview. Rock stars do live in the real world; they have families and drive cars and have dreams and all that was represented on the list.

Did your father own a train set?

Do you still have your first royalty pay stub? Are your parents proud of you? Has it turned out exactly how you figured it would? What are all those people who made fun of you at school thinking now?

Can you name your grade three teacher?

Over its lifetime, the list grew with topics that spanned as wide as the human mind and beyond. Everyone participated and the answers were priceless.

As the chatter increases around social media, something you may want to pay close attention to is your ability to navigate social situations. Once past the blogs and tweets, we eventually have to operate real human interaction.

Addendum

This is not to suggest each meeting turns in to a fuzzy discussion but rather a reminder that we are all just people. And perhaps better than weather chat.

Do you have a box of silly questions?

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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image credits: 3dissue.com

July 12, 2010

37 Social Networking Ideas

Recently, I began to sift through previous posts. We don't have enough time to consume new content, who has time to revisit older material?

With close to 500 OMO posts, I've been sifting through the archives.

Our fascination with social media continues to grow. The reason is because it's a part of our lives and not about any particular website.

This is a list that was published eighteen months ago.

Does it still ring true?

37 Things About Social Media

• This is not advertising.
• Trust is earned over time.
• There are no short cuts.
• Do something.
• Spam is not content.
• Let us get to know you.
• Never fixate on the numbers.
• Have patience.
• Ask a lot of questions.
• Share. Often.
• Don’t get caught up in stats and surveys.
• Be helpful.
• Integrate social media efforts with business efforts.
• We need you to lead.
• Write well.
• Have fun. Always.
• Navigate the digital space like your life space.
• Contribute to the conversation.
• Be yourself.
• The answers won’t land on your lap.
• Never take yourself too seriously.
• Tighten your helmet and get in there.
• It’s up to you to decide what you need from this space.
• Engage don’t just broadcast.
• Tell us what you learned so we can learn from you.
• Twitter alone will not save your business.
• Respect your community.
• Read others’ profiles don’t just expect others to read yours.
• Open your mind and imagine.
• Learn the tools. Then understand it’s not about the tools.
• Educate yourself. Constantly.
• Treat us with respect. We'll do the same.
• Learn from others. Then carve up your own thing.
• There is not only one way to do this.
• If you want others to join you, ask yourself why.
• You get out what you put in.
• We are in this together.

What's on your list?

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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July 11, 2010

Inspiration

It is the game changer.

Mediocre teacher tells.
Good teacher explains.
Superior teacher demonstrates.
Great teacher inspires.

William Arthur Ward

It's interesting to look through sealed boxes in the basement marked "important" and "fragile". I've been doing the same with the almost 500 OMO posts here.

I found several posts marked "inspiration".

The last three years of my life have been quite a journey and inspiration has been important to me. I have learned hard lessons about business, people and myself.

In the last year, I have met some fantastic people and lifelong friends.

Inspiration has gotten me through, kicked my butt and gotten me going again. I don't think we put enough importance on inspiration as a crucial element of life. That is how the lesser skilled athlete wins in overtime or the company with less resources wins market share.

This is a mashup of two previous posts...

What Inspires You?

A piece of music can heal and transport you. A great book has the ability to let you travel to far off lands to meet new people and read great stories. A phone call from a long lost friend can transport you. A few kind words can lift you from a bad mood.

Where do you go for inspiration?
you an inspiration for others?


Think about someone you have met who left such a positive impression you had to tell someone else about them. Why was that? What made them remarkable?

Do you enjoy meeting inspiring people? Does it help you grow to be around people who share their positive energy? Do you strive to do the same with others?

Do you think if you surround yourself with inspirational people who want to help each other, tell the truth and work in the same direction, you have the makings of a successful venture?

Addendum

When something or someone inspires you, breathe it in, cherish the moment and use that fuel to get you through those moments when you feel the hill seems too steep to climb. When someone tries to deplete your strength for their own gain, move aside. No matter how much they try, their shortcomings and character flaws cannot be transported to you like the common cold.

Never underestimate your ability to inspire others.

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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photo credit: smashingapps

July 10, 2010

Will Your Customers Line Up?

If you are from or have ever been to Canada, you know of a phenomenon like few others on earth. It is a cultural and business marvel. And it is named after a legendary hockey player who was one its co-founders.

Tim Horton’s (not a client) is one of the most successful franchise models in North America.

What the company does best is stick to what they do well. It amazes most experts that they can introduce new products all the time and all the while sell hundreds of thousands of gallons of coffee each year.

What is equally amazing is that most of their customers (present company included) have perfectly good coffee makers at home, but prefer to line up with their fellow java junkies for a cup of Tim’s finest.

The future of building relationships and product awareness is through brand experiences customers can share with each other. It is getting increasingly more difficult to rest a sound business plan on financing options and color selection. People want more.

But in the case of Tim Horton’s, it’s not the most exotic coffee on the planet; it’s certainly not the fanciest joint on the block. While others try to dress up the customer experience with high back padded arm chairs and CDs featuring acoustic compilations, sometimes the right model is to get your customers in and out of your store with exactly what they want and expect from you.

For that, they will line up.

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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July 8, 2010

Can You Help Me?

Four Simple Words

Why do most of us have trouble saying them? Most people I know are good at offering a hand but tend to be more reluctant to ask.

This is about gaining a new perspective on a certain area of your business or career. You may need others to hit the restart for you and clear your vision.

Online Etiquette

We can get stuck in a world where we are supposed have our act together. If you travel in the social web, you know that you can't go online and complain about prospecting or revenue or being stuck. No one likes a whiner. Conversely, the fine line gets finer because few like anyone who brags about themselves all the time.

This is why a personal advocacy group is essential. Find five people who can give you real advice, clear direction and objective perspective. In return, offer that help back to others. This needs to be taken seriously and people's time must be respected.

This is not a dumping ground for grievances.

This week, I sent a note to seven people and simply asked for fifteen minutes of their time. All seven agreed. Thanks guys! The help has proved invaluable. It was tough to ask for help but as a friend of mine who is a psychologist reminds me - asking for help is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.

The little things become the big things and your advisers can help you keep them small and manageable. Suffering in silence or pretending you have it all covered will significantly affect your career and business in a negative way. It will also affect those around you. Been there, done that.

Where are you stuck? Who can you call? Who can you help?

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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photo credit: teacherinthemaking

July 7, 2010

Business in Summer

It happens every year.

For most people, it begins to creep in around the time the kids are out of school for the year.

But it may be something that stems back to when we were in school. You had the entire summer off.

No school, no homework, no responsibilities.


If you live in a climate where there are three or four distinct seasons, summer time is when things get a little bit lazier.

All Work and No Play...

Shirt sleeves shorten, patio meetings increase and everyone seems a bit more calm. The desire to hammer 10-12 hour days isn’t as common and that’s okay, it’s summer!

Take your time off. Enjoy family and friends while the weather is nice. Go to barbecues and functions. Eat yummy food and enjoy cold beverages. It’s summer, after all.

But How Does Summer Affect Your Business?

The 'summer hours' model is quite common. Casual Fridays turn in to long Noon hour lunches and disbursement of team members to an early weekend. Summer begs for time outside and a more restful pace.

It’s okay, your competition is doing the same. Clients don’t want you around as much because they too are trying to steal away as much sunshine and warm temps as they possibly can.

But just for a moment, imagine how much your business would grow if you stepped it up just 10% from summer mode and took the work hard-play hard approach.

Could you see the benefits of giving that a try?

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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photo credit: stefaanvercamer

July 6, 2010

Martin Streek | 1964-2009

A Year Already?

I received a disturbing call on July 6th, 2009. It was from a friend informing me of the passing of a former colleague.

Numb.

I called a few friends then posted something on Twitter and wrote something here.

Reality Sank In.

The next few days were foggy and strange. It was good to rekindle relationships that had gotten lost in busy and connect to the memory of a funny and smart man.

As the anniversary approached this year, friends reached out and celebrations about Martin's life were planned. I even had a dream the other night that Martin and I were on the radio together again. He was cracking jokes and sharing his passion for a new band. That was Martin.

He was not just a great colleague and solid friend but a connector of so many people. Today we remember him.

@knealemann


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photo credit: Pete Nema

July 5, 2010

Clichés and Experts

I’ve been thinking more about an excellent presentation at SobCon hosted by Amber Naslund.

Many thought we should stop leaning on certain terms.

The challenge is to know when sayings become cliché and when cliché becomes a crutch.


The session featured a room full of heavy online users, marketers, consultants and media makers. The common thread, we were all business people.

Two-way Conversation

If you are in the financial industry, you may talk about the facilitation of standing orders. If you work in insurance, annuity considerations may be mentioned. Hockey players discuss the trap and pinch. Mechanics concern themselves with final drive ratio. And doctors know the difference between fungal and viral.

After the discussion spilled in to the next break, it was clear that some felt these and many other social media sayings are overused by people who can’t back them up or define them.

No matter your industry; you have ways of explaining things which may be exclusive to your discipline.

The challenge to all of us, whether we are consulting our doctor about that thing on our arm or a mechanic who is examining that strange clang in the back quarter panel, is to ensure those tossing fancy terms around can back them up with meaning and experience.

Relationship Economy

I doubt you would let an unlicensed financial, medical or mechanical individual near your money, body or vehicle. So it is doubtful you would do the same with someone who has memorized a few phrases and has a couple of thousand tweets to help you build your business.

Right?

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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photo credit: istock

July 2, 2010

How’s Your Boat?

Broken Windows

Most people have some sort of grievance about their work and it’s often something they can’t quantify.

Bars are filled every night with colleagues grumbling about their situation and those chats are often not about product line.


The Bottom Line

Companies spend most of the time refining their offer and trying to increase revenue. Time is spent more in the business and what suffers is time on the business and more importantly on the people.

All too often a 'less is more' mantra is adopted. Supplies are thrown from the boat in the hopes the survivors will make it home safely.

The email blast this morning was more bad news in the U.S. with another 125,000 jobs lost and unemployment down to 9.5%. That makes managers and owners nervous. Perhaps they need to make cuts and get lean and people are often the first to go.

Product development, marketing and sales drive the dreaded bottom line. If cuts are to be made sadly the first items to be slashed are head count and marketing budgets. And those are fatal mistakes.

Sometimes cuts need to be made but before you make them, have a close look at what’s going on in your organization. Handing out severance packages and carving marketing budgets to shreds is not always the best solution to an under performing situation. But doing it the way you've always done it is dangerous as well.

Without superior talented and well directed strong people, the amount of money you think you are saving from the bottom line by making knee jerk cuts will evaporate over time. While a competitor who values people and internal customer service over a quick fix may win the day.

As you reach for the axe, take another long hard look at your organization and the money you spend on everything before you accidentally grab a life jacket and lob it over the bow.

How’s your boat?

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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photo credit: markgroot

July 1, 2010

Canadian Fun Facts

Happy Canada Day!

Today is Canada’s 143rd birthday.

I was born in this wonderful country and proud to call it my home.

Through the worst economic crisis in eight decades, many have looked to countries like Canada for ideas of turning things around.

With stringent regulations, our banking, financial and real estate industries are among the most secure on earth.

Nous ne Parlent pas tous Français.

The Human Development Index ranks Canada 4th of every country in the world behind Norway, Australia and Iceland.

Our second official language is French but most of us don’t speak it. Most French speaking Canadians live in areas such as New Brunswick and Quebec though the majority of government jobs require you to be bilingual.

Canada is the most multicultural country on the planet. I lived in Toronto for twenty years where over 150 registered languages are represented. Which means fabulous restaurants and culture to sample for all!

Some other Canada fun facts...

• Canada’s name comes from a St. Lawrence Iroquoian word, kanata, which means village or settlement.

• A sofa is a couch.

• This country has the longest coastline in the world, about 243,000 kilometers
or about 150,000 miles in length.

• We have butter tarts, clamato juice and ketchup chips.

• It has the fourth lowest population density index in the world with around 34 million people in the second largest country in the world by land mass. About 9.9 million square kilometers or 3.8 million square miles.

• Silverware is cutlery.

Canada is in the top five producing countries of
gold, copper, zinc, nickel, aluminum, and natural gas.

• Soda is referred to as pop.

• Basketball was invented by James Naismith who is a Canadian

• When someone says thank-you, we do not reply uh huh, cheers or no worries; we simply say you're welcome.

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canucks!

@knealemann
Helping you integrate all you do with all you do.

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© Kneale Mann Professional Strategist Facilitator Coach Speaker 613.983.5009 knealemann@gmail.com
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