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Archive for the ‘Observations and Inspirations’ Category

The Art of Following Up

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

Annoying calls, relentless emails. They just won’t stop following up. Another sales rep trying to close the deal, another recent college grad looking for a job. Another person who wants time that you don’t have to give.

So, we ask ourselves does following up really accomplish anything? Or does it just make potential buyers more annoyed and the reporters we’re pitching less likely to pick up a story that they’re tired of hearing about?

Truthfully, following up is essential and effective when done tactfully, but only then. Have you ever been in a personnel hiring crunch and the right person just happened to follow up? There may have been 20 other qualified candidates in the stack of resumes on your desk, but the one who made it easier for you to schedule their interview got the job. You just saved hours of sifting through resumes.

Maybe you’re a news producer trying to fill your evening news slots. You have 50 segment pitches in your inbox, but you don’t have time to read all of those. It’s the person who follows up that gets a spot, because they accelerated the process for you.

That’s the key –– make following up beneficial for all parties by simplifying the process for the person you’re trying to persuade. If they need what you’re trying to sell, then it won’t be annoying, it will be helpful. If you know they won’t be interested in what you’re trying to pitch, then have some tact and lay off. You’re not only wasting their time, you’re wasting your own time too.

A strategic follow up will create opportunities, while an irritating one will inhibit them.

Not Enough Time? Choose Your Battles.

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

America – The land of the voluntarily overworked, the home of the stressed out. We binge extreme work habits, only to then overindulge in relaxation routines. We don’t drink a glass of wine, we need the whole bottle. We don’t watch one episode on Friday night, we watch the whole season.

So, why do we go to such lengths to perform at extremely high levels when at times they lead us to a lifestyle that compromises our health and sanity? The answer is simple, competition.

If you’re not willing to work harder, there’s someone else who will. Whether there’s someone more committed to fill your role, an improved product to fill your target consumer’s need or another service provider willing to be more attentive to your client’s requests, competition is at the root of our extreme work practices.

As a driving factor for progress and innovation, competition is highly invaluable, but how can we use it to reinforce healthy work habits and stop worshipping the 4 cups of coffee and 4 hours of sleep lifestyle?

By choosing our battles. By being intentional about the time we set aside for rest and relaxation, so that the time we spend working is laser-focused and efficient. We can win the important competitions by working efficiently, verses working senseless hours just to check off a box. Of course, there will be weeks when working long hours is a must, but there will be other weeks when taking time off to recharge is equally important. And to succeed in both your work and personal life you can’t have one without the other.

Creativity Block: Inspiration vs. Deadlines

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

We’ve all had epic moments when inspiration just hits. Whether it’s in the shower, at the gym or at work, the words and ideas seem to flow so quickly and eloquently. Conversely, moments when the deadline is knocking and there’s no creativity in sight are just as common.

So how do we press on to produce quality, creative and innovative content & ideas even on the days when the only creative idea you can think up is what you want for lunch? (if that!)

When the pressure is on, sometimes our ideas are less and less inspired. We start to factor everyone’s opinion in. What would a client want to see? What about a manager? How would co-workers and peers view the idea? While it’s not bad to have your end goal in mind, simply creating something that you think would “check all the boxes” may hinder your creative juices and prevent you from developing an idea of real value.

If it doesn’t make you a little nervous to press “send” on the idea – then chances are it’s not as innovative as you think. Be willing to discuss ideas that may seem out of the box. The worst thing that can happen is that no one likes it, but your bravery to try something different could be received well and your idea can be further developed through the brainstorming of others.

Don’t let the stress of an impending deadline leave you frozen. Take a walk, get some coffee and reevaluate what the main goals of your project are. The creativity will come.

Women Can’t Meet their Full Potential Until They’re Married

Friday, July 27th, 2018

They don’t have to say the words – we hear it in their tones and see it in their eyes. The subtle questions of whether or not we’re participating in the right activities, so that we can meet the right people,you know –professional, serious minded individuals that can “support a family.” The awkward, ever-present “Let me set you up with my brother’s wife’s accountant so we can all go out together” spiels.

That’s what we hear from friends and family who are just concerned. Because marriage is apparently the only thing that brings happiness and stability to a woman’s life. Sounds oddly similar to monotony and compromised dreams but call it what you want.

Realistically, when given the right match at the right time, marriage has a nice ring to it. But NEWS FLASH: When it comes to life, should “Do you have a 401K?” actually be discussed on a first date? Should we wait for our lives to begin until we’ve met the right partner? Should our opinions be less valid if they’re not backed by a man? Having to repeatedly explain why getting married to then immediately have a family to then quit your job as soon as possible is actually not your top goal in life is exhausting. The responses received are even more exhausting; there’s nothing like the sly… “Yes, that’s what I thought too until I met…” Good for you; no one cares about your unfulfilled dreams and unmet potential.

Sometimes in life we can’t have everything. Life can be a series of tradeoffs. Maybe the choice is between stability and passion or adventure and security. And the truth is that we’re not all going to choose the same way or be provided with the same choices.

But the bottom line is that you should never have to wait to fully live until you’ve found a partner. Every woman deserves equal rights and an equal feeling of fulfillment regardless of her tax marital status.

Does Following the Rules Prevent Progress?

Wednesday, July 18th, 2018

Rule following comes naturally to some. Without rules or guidelines, there is chaos…. Rules have benefits for safety, security and order; for personal integrity and ethics. But, we are all faced with moments when blind rule-following only breeds inefficiency and mind-numbing dullness.

Rarely have innovative ideas followed the so called “rules” of the era. At some point we all naturally begin to understand which rules are incontestable and which are up for debate. Think back to grade school. You were asked to complete busy work every day and those assignments in total made up, let’s say, 10% of your grade –even though they took up majority of your class time. If you had only completed a few of those assignments but aced the tests and projects, you would have saved hours and still gotten an A. But it wasn’t about efficiency, it was about learning to follow the rules.

We’re taught about the vitality of rule following from the very beginning. It’s ingrained in us strongly by parents, teachers, even peers. But is this deep-seated convention inhibiting creative thinking, innovation and efficiency?

While a child is taught that a rule is unavoidable; an adult may identify a simpler process to attain the same or improved outcome. Sometimes the comfort of a rule or a process that is set-in-stone prevents people from even searching for a better way. A commitment to innovation and progress requires some level of openness to changing the game and breaking the rules.