February 25, 2009

Be Essential!

Recently came across this cartoon in Tony Karrer's eLearning Technology blog. Thanks to John Brentlinger at revJohn for introducing me to Tony's blog.


February 22, 2009

Establish Daily Routines

While reading an article about Robert Caro's work habits in Newsweek Magazine, I got to thinking about my own personal work habits. I've never been one to establish daily routines. I have a fear that they lead to ruts and boredom. So I work to keep things fresh and creative, but you can't argue with success. One of the lessons from reading Snowball, is that Warren Buffet certainly has routines he follows. Many top performers do. Daily Routines is a fascinating blog that shares how "How writers, artists, and other interesting people organize their days."

Routines eliminate the spinning wheels of debate and over thinking. There's no decision, just action. Leo Babauta makes a strong case for daily and weekly routines at Zen Habits, one of Time Magazine's top 25 blogs for 2009. In areas that I have set routines, I feel like I gain time and reduce stress. My wife and I have used routines for bedtimes with our kids for years. The interaction with my children certainly prevents any boredom with those routines.

Perhaps it's time to examine and establish some work day routines. For me, the best place to start is to look at what spinning wheels I want to eliminate. What decisions can I make now, so that I don't have to make them again every day or week. I'll keep you posted. Share your favorite and most effective routines by leaving me a comment.

February 12, 2009


The following clip is a feel good prank from the agents at Improv Everywhere.

I love how in the write-up of the event, one of the agents talked about the joy of watching "victims" smile after the encounter.

Several years ago, I heard that Zig Ziglar's office answered the phone saying "It's a great day at the Ziglar Corporation." I liked that positive attitude and decide to make everyone at the office I was running answer the phone that way, but their hearts weren't in it and several shared how much they disliked being told exactly what to say. I said okay, but here are the critical criteria for answering the phone. You have to:
  • Say Shreve Hall (the place we worked at)
  • State your name
  • Make the person on the other end smile
The team bought into that criteria and each came up with a unique way to encourage a smile. My favorite was a direct young man who simply said, "Smile this is Tim at Shreve Hall." What can you do today to make someone else smile?

February 8, 2009

Your Defining Brand | Experience vs. Products

"Could you identify yourself with only 5 brands?" That's the engaging question being asked at 5brands on tumblr. Reading through the various responses, I noticed that some of the brands referred to experiences (Starbucks, ESPN, Google), but that most referred to actual products (Nike, Coke, Apple).

Then I remembered Tom Peters call for executives everywhere to manage "The Brand Called You." I saw new life in his brilliant concept when I considered what type of brand was I creating professionally. Do I want to be known for the experience I provide or for the products I produce? Now generally, I'm an experience guy. For us retailers, the only thing that can truly set us apart is the experience. But is that enough for a solid professional reputation?

In an economic climate where over 600,000 jobs were lost in January alone, I wonder which personal brand is more likely to survive a layoff. Experience - he's a great partner that you can count on; or product - his analysis and recommendations are reliable and accurate. My guess is the product brands are easier to demonstrate a return on investment and therefore more secure in their jobs.

Ideally, you find a way to build a brand that's strong in both. Krispy Kreme provides a distinctive in-store experience, and they also make mighty tasty donoughts.

Note to self:
start working on improving the product side my brand.

P.S. - here's a fun brand game to play with your loved ones. Have them write down five brands that they think define you and see how they compare to your list. Then you do the same for them.

February 1, 2009

Best Super Bowl Ads

Wow! What a great game, but more importantly here are my favorite three ads.

#3 Bud Light: Meeting
"How about we stop buying Bud Light for every meeting."

#2 Doritos: Crystal Ball
"I think that's a yes."

#1 Hulu: Alec and Huluwood
"I mean what are you going to do? Turn off your TV and computer?"

What were your favorites?