Big Picture is Becoming Small Picture

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big picture small pictureBig Picture thinking may need to be the focus for companies in the future.

Yes – Today, it is critical to always look at the big picture and make sure decisions made today are producing results tomorrow. With advances in technology and the need to update and change on a more regular basis, it is critical that systems are in place to insure the big picture needs can be met.

It used to be that departments could almost work independently of each other in the same company. As a result, many companies allocated resources in areas that may or may not have had much return as a result of the people who were leading these areas. People were focused only on their own departments and were typically informed about how the company was doing overall, maybe once a year.

With advances in technology with the internet, mobile devices and more reliance on information, this model has changed dramatically. The companies that survive are those that can adapt to changes in the market much quicker. In addition, the employees must be well-informed as to the direction the company is going and who their clients are. All of this information used to be in the hands of a few people, now it is imperative that all employees have a good understanding of how the company is doing and what its focus is for the future.

The key here is to really look at the following:

Clients: It is imperative to seek feedback from clients and understand the value your products and services provide to them. From here, you can determine if your current products and services are standing out from your competitors offerings. What extras are you providing that your competitors are not offering?

Building More Influence: Today, people have so many choices at their disposal. It is imperative that people can find your message in a crowded world of information. Steps need to be taken to build a better presence on the internet, social media sites, and locally in your community.

Improved Communication: People need to be informed. Start with your employees and make sure a consistent message is being communicated internally. From here, an improved communication plan needs to occur with consumers outside of your company. A strong client service team is a must in today’s business environment.

Value: Going from big picture to small picture means making changes that make substantial improvements, not 10% changes. Today, it is possible to make sweeping changes to processes in a much shorter time frame.

Take time to Plan More and React Less: Too often, many companies try to react to client needs in a quick manner. The constant reaction to client needs is not a good process to be in and frankly can lead to possibly more issues down the road. Take a second and look at the whole issue and then determine a plan to address it. Taking a little time to talk about issues can go a long way and actually promotes better collaboration and communication in the process.

Take the Time to Hire the Right People: Finding the right people also makes all the difference in the world. You need people who have skills in the areas of  “idea thinkers” , “problem solvers”, “client-service type people”, “self-starters”, “entrepreneurs”.

Summary

Companies are being hit with all types of demands and issues in all areas of their businesses. It takes a solid focus with participation from a number of people to insure a company is able to address these needs on a daily basis. If you stop and look at issues from a big picture standpoint, it really can improve the way company’s approach opportunities and issues and helps insure that companies can adapt to more changes in the future. Change is happening right before our eyes, each and everyday.

How can companies better adapt to these changes? I believe each company must determine their own process. This isn’t some type of cookie-cutter system. Every company is unique.

Picture Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

Spend Time Each Day Looking for New Ideas

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Idea ManagementOver the past few months, I have really focuses on planning with respect to a number of change management initiatives.

Through this process, I have turned to my co-workers and clients and have tried to get some ideas of how they view their work processes. Through this process I have learned quite a bit.

Here are some of the takeaways I have learned through this process:

If you want the best feedback, (source for ideas) go to the source and ask a variety of questions, then shut up and listen, and listen some more.

People will share information about their work if they believe their opinion counts for something.

This information is a valuable asset that is so often ignored and never sought out.

Take the time, (days or weeks)  to really put this information together and formulate a better idea that will substantially improve a process. (Stop spending time on the 10% improvements)

Another source for ideas is to look at information that other people have written or present.

I find the best ideas from my Linkedin Contacts. A small percentage of them consistently share ideas through the Linkedin Blog Page or their own updates. This information is most valuable to me because it is backed up by actual experiences. When people share information from their experiences, you can genuinely tell that these people are writing with a sense of purpose and they are sharing information that is very close to them.

Smaller, more niche magazines. I really like the local, small business journals and specifically targeted marketing magazines like Target Marketing and Chief Executive Magazine.  These magazines go much deeper than traditional magazines.

There are a number of great videos too. I stay away from people who are only on the consulting side. I like to focus on companies who talk directly about their own businesses. Be selective here and you will find some great information.

Another great source for ideas is visiting other businesses. 

I have made it a priority to get off my butt and visit some very cool startup businesses and some well-established companies. It is great to visit companies outside of your industry. I find the people in these particular companies like to share their successes with others who are not in direct competition with them.

Also, just looking around and taking in a different culture can be very refreshing. Watching people interact with each other and clients. Checking out the latest technology and innovation that these companies are working on.

There are millions of ideas right in front of us. The trick is to be receptive to these ideas and being able to take notes and remember who and where we came across these ideas. The best ideas I have presented, have been the result of taking time to document different experiences and examples from others. Each person views their work from a different perspective. Look at ideas as another task like time management. If you work at managing a list of ideas, you soon will find a wide array of options at your disposal.

Picture Source: Pixabay

 

 

Get Noticed | Stand for Something

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This week, a vendor asked me what my biggest concern was with respect to my marketing initiatives.

boxed waterAfter thinking about it for a couple of sentences, my answer was “Getting Noticed in a World of Noise”. The vendor thought for a second and said that is a strange answer. His response back to me was, “Don’t you need more leads or close the deal with your potential prospects?”. My answer, back to him was, “If clients never see our company logo and understand what we do, we will never be able to obtain any leads of deals”.

Last week, I was in Colorado and finished a workout at a local recreation center. I asked the front desk if they sold bottled water and the receptionist indicated to me that they do not sell bottled water, they sell boxed water.  How ingenious is that!

BOXED WATER  – Check out the website for the complete story!

Stand for Something 

The concept caught my attention and I began to read more on the side of the panel.  Taking something as simple as water and packaging in a way that tells a great story.  The message is certainly an environmentally, friendly one with a great message regarding the whole packaging process.  Well worth reading.

Takeaways for Me as a Marketer

People love simple ideas with a great story!  – The more simple the idea is, the better it will resonate with people and it will be remembered.

Be different than others to stand out!  – Many companies have come up with all kinds of plastic bottle models. You can see the differences at your local grocery or convenience store. But in the end, most of them are clear and see-through and there is no story involved with their packaging.

Stand for something – Make sure your new product or service offering offers tremendous value or benefit in some way. (This will help it stand out more)

Start thinking about your “boxed water” idea today!  – You never know the idea may be more obvious than you think. Start simple!

 

 

 

Work Life Balance is an Excuse

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work life balanceThis term is way over-used. Many people talk about how they need to find balance between their work and home life. There are countless books on this topic and many talk about how you need a proper balance to maintain proper health. If you only look at your life as wanting more balance, you will set your self up for failure. How do you define balance? Are you constantly looking at your life as 50-50 or 80-20 or 70-30? These are just numbers.

A better, more results focused view of this topic looks like this:

What do you want to focus on? ? | What are you going to stop doing and what are you going to start doing?

Focus

Here are some examples of what to focus on

  • Spending more time in the evenings with my wife and kids
  • Create better presentations to potential clients
  • Lose five pounds this month

Start | Stop

If you want to follow-through on the items that you want to focus on, then you need to stop doing some things and start doing some new things.  Let’s build on the examples stated above.

Spend more time in evenings with my wife and kids. 
Going to stop working on work activities between 6.00pm – 9.00pm | Going to start  talk to my kids about their school work each night.

Create better presentations to potential clients
Going to stop putting this work off till the night before the presentation | Going to start looking at better options for presenting information to clients.

Lose five pounds this month
Going to stop eating out for lunch everyday | Going to start working out before work | Going to start writing down everything I eat each day.

The benefits of this process. (This is really the huge takeaway)

If you really nail down your focus and adapt your thinking to a higher level, you will really start to feel more energy and will be a much better person in the process. Focusing on work life balance, typically leads to a negative approach because your focus is on obtaining some type of number regarding hours spent or tasks achieved. The focus needs to be on people and not on time.

In addition, if you really want measurable change, look at the process and see how you are doing with respect to the items you want to stop doing and the items you want to start doing. These items are measurable and you can see results from your efforts. Also, you have a specific action that you are trying to change or add. This is where the balance occurs. If you only stop doing things, you never really grow. If you start adding new things and never change your old habits, you will never be able to move ahead.

Focus   /   Stop    /   Start   – – Think about it as an alternative to the current work life balance mindset

My personal sidenote on this topic:

When things are looking a little bleak or I am dealing with some personal issue where I get a little down on myself, I turn to my Faith in God through prayer and I am quickly humbled to know that I am not always in control. It is at this time that I get a proper perspective and I look closer at where my focus currently is at and I look at ways to stop doing some things and start some new things.

With a proper focus, you will feel more energized and you will have a much better outlook on your current environment. You will become more productive and people will notice a change in the way you approach your work and family life.

I attribute this article to my continued focus to grow more in my Faith in God and serve others.  I could not do this all on my own. Thanks for reading and I hope you, too will find comfort in this article.

Picture Source: Pixabay

 

 

 

Build A Quality Network of Connections

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networkingIn today’s world of building follower count numbers, achieving more likes and stars, it is imperative to not lose sight of working directly with people.

Over my lifetime, I have been fortunate to meet a lot of people through family, work, school, organizations and church. I really value these type of
relationships and for the most part I try to keep in touch with many of them.

In the last 10 years, I have been fortunate to develop acquaintances with other people online. Some great people and others not so great. There is a wide range of opinions on this topic and a case can be made for each of these groups:

  • Some people would say these are superficial contacts.
  • Others, would say they are just contacts with no strings attached.
  • Still others would say these contacts are a bunch of fluff and stuff and no substance.
  • Some others would say these are the people I engage with
  • Some other people would say that anyone who is willing to connect with me, I will connect back with them.

The best part about these groups is “you” are in control.  (Please stop debating this topic! It really is a matter of choice!)

Some tips I have learned over the past few years

On Linkedin, I try to get my name in front of  connections I want to work with, and learn from. The only way to connect with other people is to get your name and company in front of others. Too many people only connect with the people they truly know. This is fine, but if you want more influence or exposure you need to take more action like sharing updates, writing content for a blog or joining a group. Linkedin is much more than a job search site. Spend time on the home update screen. TREND: People are sharing more valuable company information each day. 

On Facebook, I use this site to connect with my closest friends, family and relatives. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing your pictures with people outside of this group, why are you connected to them. That is the philosophy I use.TREND: Some people share way too much. Too many strong opinions, political statements, judgements, etc. Be wary of who you are connected to. Lockdown your security settings.

On Twitter, I respond to people who may have read some of my content or send me a note. I use lists to sort out the people I want to lean more from and follow. The tools are there to organize the people that you come in contact with.  Some people really like twitter chats. To me, short phrases have too many interpretations. A lot of work for very little learning. Look for people who share quality information. Stay away from people who post information every hour. More news is being shared here. TREND: People like reading good news information from reputable sources. 

Pinterest, GooglePlus, Instagram, Vine, FourSquare and other sites – These sites are more like dashboards. It is good to spend some time on these sites, but don’t overdo it. This is my opinion and I know other people have great experiences on these sites. TREND: Watch your time, be aware of other sites, but cut back if you are not seeing return. Pinterest in my opinion is the best site out of this group for business.

Here are the “Real Takeaways” of this Article

Connect Locally – Make note of those people you have met online who live close in your community. Invite these type of people to connect. In the last year, I have really met some great people who have contributed to my knowledge in a number of ways.

Have a Presence – Get on Linkedin and share an update or comment on a blog or write one for that matter.

Share Quality Material – I have actually cut down on the material I share over the past year. I take a few days and really think about information that has made a difference in my life and could help someone at their location.

Take Social Media to Another Level with an Analytics Program– This year, I have been working with HubSpot. I had no idea that so many people were coming to our site on different occasions, but never wanted to open an account until I talked to them directly through email or phone. Don’t rely on system-generated emails either. Get Personal!

Learn More From Others Outside Your Industry – Connect with business people who work with a different set of clients or use completely different processes to produce results. If you always go back to the same people in your industry, you may be missing out. One of my favorite contacts works with furniture.

Identify a Group of Innovative Leaders – Going Digital is huge. Companies are going to need to address this topic today. Start looking for great leaders of companies who are making real advances in the way they do business.

Start Building a Network of Younger Leaders – There are lots of great young leaders with great ideas for the future. Stay young and connect more with those rising leaders. Learn about new technologies on the horizon. Make sure you have an understanding of what values the next generation brings to the table.

Summary

If you want to get ahead today, you can try to implement new technology, but if you want to make huge advances, look to connecting with the right people and connecting deeper with them. Show people that you offer something of value to them and start getting your name in front of people. At the same time, be a recruiting agent and look for people who make a difference in their workplace and community. Get to know these people in a deeper way and continue to grow personally and professionally. Remember, you are the person in control!