Be a Yes Man!

April 30, 2009

When people here the term “yes man” they think of a kiss-ass. Someone who thoughtlessly agrees with everything whether its a good idea or not.

Don’t be that guy.

However, when i say be a yes man i mean it in opposition to being a no man. A no man is quite simply someone who looks for ways to say no. They say things like: this won’t work because, we can’t do this because, there’s no way we can make this happen because, etc etc etc. Whether the idea would be good for the company or not, whether its feasible or not they look for ways to say no. Unless the idea is so foolproof they can’t find holes in it, they’ll look for those holes and seem them as reasons to say no.

Finding ways to say no is easy too. There’s very rarely a perfect idea and even when there is its usually not perfect on the first try. Most times good ideas aren’t easy to accomplish or convenient so its easy to reject them.

Don’t be that guy either.

Instead of finding ways to say no, find ways to say yes. Take those problems and say how can we do something great inspite of them.

When you look for ways to say yes you inspire everyone around you to think big, you encourage them to come up with new ideas and most importantly to share them. Why is this important?  Rarely has a business grown when people just did things as usual.

So be a yes man, or more importantly don’t be a no man.


Solving Problems Constitional Congress Style

April 23, 2009

On the Daily Show today was author Richard Beeman. He was discussing the US forefathers and how the Constitution came about. One of the more interesting things he said was how their were extreme and borderline (if not actually) violent disagreements. Yet they met in secret for months to get it right.

This allowed them to debate, get as heated as they want, go out to get some dinner and a drink, go to sleep and come back at it the next day.

Think about that for a second, they didn’t send out a newsletter, or a town crier, and they certainly didn’t tweet or blog about it. No reporter or constituent was badgering them about the previous days debate, they could just get back to work.

Now there were some flaws in the constitution (slaves being 3/5 a person being the most obvious) but overall i’d say there were pretty darn successful.

So the question is… is LESS transparency a good thing?

Do we need CSPAN covering every word congress utters?

As a fairly liberal person it strikes me as odd to say less transparency in the debate might actually be a good thing, but it might be. If it could foster open and honest debate that’d be great.

HOWEVER, the problem is I think it really requires a complete lack of transparency that in today’s world of 24/7 media would never work. We’d get bits and pieces of the debate which would be even worse.

So are all the lessons of the Consitutional Congress lost?

I don’t think so. I think the idea that we can get as heated as we want in a debate than go home and come back at it anew the next day is invaluable. I think we’ll learn that when we have an problem maybe we don’t have to tweet it or blog about it immediately. Maybe we let it play out a little bit and see if we can’t come to a better solution.

I think the main point is there’s always better ways you can debate, better ways to solve problems… got any suggestions?


Don’t Pass the Buck

April 20, 2009

ed_cartoon2In my last entry I mentioned the number one rule in business… listen. The number two rule in any organization needs to be don’t pass the buck.

When I say don’t pass the buck I don’t mean not to delegate responsibilities. I certainly don’t mean you should do everything or know the answer to every question.

No what I mean is when you start a relationship with a customer, business partner, employee, etc. OWN IT. What’s a relationship? It’s anything. Clearly it’s any time you reach out to someone but it’s also an e-mail sent your way, a phone call to customer service, it’s a tweet sent your way. A relationship especially in the digital age is started anytime someone contacts you.

The first thing you do is listen; the next thing you do is own that relationship.

Let me give an example of what not to do. I’m working with a team (which in our business is essentially a business partner) and they gave me a specific contact as the point person for our event. So when I need to ask him something in preparation for our event he’ll often say well you’ll need to contact this person. The stuff I’m asking is not technical questions that require a specialized knowledge that only another expert in the organization can answer properly. So while he could very well walk down the hall and ask his colleague the question and get back to me he does not.

Now certainly I can ask this person the question, but its almost always easier for people within a company and a building to get hold of each other than someone outside the organization.

Think about how much better your customer service would be if each representative took ownership of each question they were asked.If they saw it through and made sure that if they couldn’t answer the question that someone did.

So don’t pass the buck, DO take responsibility and OWN your relationships.


Better Business, Better Sex, Better Life: I’ve Got The Secret!

April 14, 2009
The only self help blog article you'll ever need!

The only self help blog article you'll ever need!

Want to have a better business?  Better sex? Heck a better life? I’ve got the magic secret! and for this limited one time offer i’m practically giving it away for  Free ninty nine. So make sure to call in now!

So what’s the secret?

Listen.

I’ve talked plenty (and so has just about everyone else) about social media being great because it helps you listen to consumers. So if you’re a social media/marketing/pr type person you already probably have a good idea how powerful listening can be. However, even if you do have you considered how powerful it can be in employee relations? In customer service? In your love life? heck everywhere in your life?

I was speaking the other day to a teacher who was upset she wasn’t allowed to take a personal day for Passover. She ended up still taking off as a sick day or some other way.  So she got what she wanted but was upset because essentially the Principal hadn’t listened to her concerns and worked with her. The Principal had essentially alienated a good worker for no purpose because he didn’t listen.

Similarly I messed up a hotel reservation on Priceline last week. I had made the reservation last minute and had to change it last minute. The mistake was mine I don’t blame Priceline for that and yet I’m mad at Priceline. Why? Because it seemed they were completely uninterested in listening to my problem and trying to help me.

Think about sex. Aside from maybe gymnasts there aren’t many people who can physically do too many things that everyone else can’t do. Yet some people are better than others. If you’re bad or your partner is bad, and effort isn’t the issue, maybe the issue is really just listening?

It all sounds so simple all you have to do is listen. But surely you have to take some sort of action right? Here’s where the secret REALLY is. No action is required. As long as people feel they are being listened to, as long as they feel like you’re taking their concerns truly under consideration often that will placate them. Often that’s enough.

It’s tough in a world where we’re fighting to be heard, but want a better life?

Listen.


Apparently This Blog is The Shit (or maybe just shit)

April 13, 2009

Everyone wants to be something or someone. Until recently I had not achieved that.But today i can proudly (?) say I’ve become someone!

Sports marketing guy? business marketing blogger? All around just nice guy? Nope, nope and nope. Apparently I’ve become the Diarrhea guy!

How did i become this and how did i find out i’ve become it?

Well lets start out with how i found out.

Having not written an entry in nearly a week I figured I wouldn’t have much traffic the last week. Yet to my surprise I got a decent amount yesterday. Twice the traffic i’ve gotten in a couple weeks. Naturally i was curious where this was coming from.  So i checked to see if people had been linking back to me. Unfortunately that was mostly not the case.

They had in fact found me through searches. Now normally this would be cool, it’s always nice if your blog is ranking highly in the search engines after all. However then i realized what they were searching for… diarrhea.

Apparently the image i posted for an article on twitterhea aka twitter diarrhea is the first image you get when you search for google images for diarrhea.

I don’t mind personally, if i’m helping people out who are looking for funny photo’s of diarrhea great. I’m just worried people are going to be coming here looking for hot diarrhea photo’s and unfortunately… i just can’t help them out.

Sorry.


Get Your Priorities Straight

April 6, 2009

Marketing is great, business even better.

Gotta make money if you want those little things like food, shelter etc. Ideally you’ll enjoy what you do but at the end of the day you have a choice to make are you working to live or living to work?

I’ve decided that I’m unquestionably working to live.

Now that doesn’t mean I don’t and won’t work hard. However I’m also going to try to get out on time so I can attend to whats important to me. I’m going to make time for staying in shape, seeing friends and family and writing in my blog. If occasionally I need to stay late to meet a deadline I will do so without hesitation, but if it’s the end of the day and something can wait til tomorrow then it will get done tomorrow.

I think this perspective is an important thing to share. Sometimes we lose sight of it with long hours and neglecting the things that make us happy.

So I challenge you to think about and maybe even list what your priorities are.

Even in the things we do enjoy we need to prioritize. While I enjoy blogging I prioritize family, and friends over my blog without hesitation. For that reason this will likely be my only entry of the week. I’ll be working all week, I’ll most likely be seeing a friend tomorrow and Passover Sedar’s are Wednesday and Thursday night.

So while I’ve worked long hours in the past, I’ve worked weekends, and will do so where neccessary in the future, I think I’ve got my priorities straight; do you?


Is Microsoft Wasting Cash?

April 2, 2009
Who doesn't like to burn a little cash?

Who doesn't like to burn a little cash?

Microsoft is a company that for years had plenty of cash to spare and i would guess they probably still do. However when I saw their logo on my TV screen during the NCAA tournament this past weekend I couldn’t help but wonder is Microsoft wasting cash?

Let me explain.

On the top lefthand side of the screen CBS shows scores of other games that are taking place at the same time as the one you’re watching. Right next to that they put up microsofts logo. As far as I know they didn’t do other advertising during the games and there wasn’t a message associated with the logo just the logo. Assuming Microsoft paid for this ad/sponsorship, was it really worth it?

Now previously I’ve talked about how sponsorships can work and how I think bigtime ad spends on the Super Bowl can be effective. So the amount of money or the fact that they’re doing the sponsorship isn’t the issue. The real issue is their goals/audience/products.

Back before AIG did a bunch of stupid shit, when they sponsored the Manchester United Jersey it was good. When I see the jersey I think AIG and if I’m thinking about insurance I’ll think AIG. When McDonald’s buys a big billboard alongside the court during tonights Cavs-Wizards game it works. I have a ton of food choices and this brings McDonald’s to the front of my mind.

Yet when I see the Microsoft logo does that make me more likely to buy Vista or install Silverlight? There aren’t a ton of choices, so remembering that Microsoft is around is really not an issue.

The only thing I will say is that the online streaming broadcasts of the games did use Silverlight. So maybe Microsoft didn’t really pay anything as it could have been a trade agreement or as part of a sponsorship package. However that’s fairly doubtful and if they did pay you have to wonder… is Microsoft just wasting cash?