Archive for January, 2011

Numbers & Business: Whose Reality Is Reliable?

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Organizations mix “facts” into a tasty Kool-Aid that everyone drinks. How reliable is fact-based decision making? What is really real, and which reality should we believe?

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SPICIER Selling: A Better SPIN

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Readers know I am a fan of Neil Rackham’s SPIN Selling. However, I’ve mentioned that his model is a bit awkward; when I am in a sales process and think “SPIN,” the N doesn’t give enough guidance to remember what comes next. So, as previously promised, here is my evolution of Neil’s theme, SPICIER Selling. Read the rest of this entry »

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5 Questions to Answer Before Starting a Social Media Campaign

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Social media experts are popping up like mushrooms, and most have a program to sell you. I mean no disrespect. Many of their programs are very good. But before you buy any social media program – or begin any marketing campaign, for that matter – please do yourself a favor: Answer these 5 questions.  Read the rest of this entry »

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The New Brand Management Model

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Consumer marketing has changed in significant ways this decade due to the growth of social media and other communication channels. Here are some of the biggest shifts.

During the classic era of CPG marketing, focus was easy. Now, not so much.

Back then, marketing managers had a handful of clear priorities: business planning and execution to deliver results, product development, research & analysis, training newbies, and advertising (which primarily meant TV, sometimes supplemented with PR, magazines, radio, POS, billboards, and sales collateral). In the classic model, one functional group served as hub of the wheel, controlling and coordinating all internal and external activities related to the product or brand. It was all about one brand, one position, one message.

Today that model has been blown up by complexity. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 3-Dimensional Customer

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

It’s easy to talk about being customer-focused. It’s less easy to focus on specific customers. There are so many, and so many different types! Here are three customer dimensions to consider when selecting your growth strategy. It’s not a trivial exercise: wrong focus, no growth. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Power of Doing Nothing

Monday, January 17th, 2011

I spent the holidays doing nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. I read the kind of mindless novels I never make time for. I skied for the first time in 16 years. I went to parties and watched football and planned outrageous surprises for the kids and conspired with them on outrageous surprises for their mom. Made playlists. Exercised.

But I didn’t read business books or blogs. I unplugged from Twitter. I didn’t write. Cancelled client meetings. Closed for business.

I felt borderline depressed for the first week. I didn’t know who I was. Then one day I woke exhilarated. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Art of Being Inconsistently Consistent

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Effective entrepreneurs keep their organizations focused on unchanging goals. At the same time, they cannot become married to specific plans because conditions change. While striving to balance consistent vision with adaptable plans, leaders must also ensure all stakeholders opt in. Whoever said it was easy?

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Vision: Finding Your Sweet Spot

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

If you could create your perfect career or company, where would you begin? If you had to choose, would you pick something that makes a lot of money over something you care about? How about something that you excel at?

Why choose? In fact, Jim Collins argued in Good to Great that the great companies don’t choose. They insist on having it all.

Regular readers know I am a big fan of Jim Collins. However, I have never been completely comfortable with the language he uses when discussing his Hedgehog Concept and the “sweet spot” where excellent companies take germinate and grow.

Here is how I explain it to clients. Read the rest of this entry »

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How to Know If You Are Resilient

Monday, January 10th, 2011

If you are curious about how resilient you are, Dr. Al Siebert offers a 2 page self-administered quiz in his fine book, The Resiliency Advantage (pg. 16-17). If you’re feeling fragile and any good at test taking, the “correct” answers will be obvious, and you will be able to reassure yourself that you are indeed good a bouncing back.

The fun part comes a couple pages later, where he offers five extra credit questions: Read the rest of this entry »

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Managing the Free Agent Job Market

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Are you old enough to remember how free agency revolutionized baseball in the 70′s? Suddenly the whole concept of “team” was up for grabs. Many of us purists were horrified as the Yankees found they could buy championships by snapping up available stars.

Today, there is no more debate. Free agency is the water all sports teams swim in. And despite our fears, professional sports remain fascinating. Despite rapid turnover of players, teams command loyalty.

Less commented on has been the revolution of free agency in the business world. After brutal rounds of downsizing and restructuring in the 80′s and 90′s, most businesspeople no longer regard their companies as family but rather as stepping stones. And you know what? It’s OK. Read the rest of this entry »

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A Twitter Manifesto

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

I love Twitter. It has helped me meet several remarkable thought leaders and given me a new venue for sharing my own ideas. So it distresses me to see how rapidly Twitter is getting devalued by junk. You know, the programs that troll for followers, push the same generic automated tweets through subscribers’ feeds, and litter the twitosphere with garbage.

This is my reply to Twitter Trolls and those folks who promise to make you rich and famous if you buy their software, program, or advice. It’s a personal manifesto. Read the rest of this entry »

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