Monthly Archives: December 2009

Rejoice – I didn’t send you a Christmas Letter. Instead I give you a sign!

Last year I posted a note to my personal blog.  It was a bit of satire – a take off on the Christmas letters we had received.   It was silly and tongue in cheek, and it was probably the most popular blog I had written.

This year I thought I’d be a little more serious.  This has been a year where bad news has flourished – the economy, the environment — and at this time of year, once again fear seizes many and airports around the world go into security alert.  It would be tempting to succumb to the barrage.  It would be tempting to think that this was all happening to us, from forces greater that us — beyond our control.

I have to confess that I’ve skirted with that kind of thinking.  We’ve all had our share of tragedy in the past year.  Some of it is, quite rightly, out of our control.  But this year, I saw something that lifted my spirits and made me think.  It was a picture of a man, I’ve no idea who he is, who wore a simple sign that said, “I don’t believe in the recession.”

Futile?  Perhaps.   But I loved his defiance.  Continue reading

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Jan 4th – A Game Changing Social Media Strategy

It’s the new year and all that work you’ve done to evangelize about social media has finally paid off.  Remember that memo you sent your boss before the holidays?  She wants you to develop a plan and execute it.


You don’t even believe in social media, but your boss does.  You don’t know a tweet from a poke.  He’s been  listening to some radio show and now he’s come to you asked you to develop a strategy and execute it.


You know Social Media can benefit your company.   You’ve done some reading, and tried a few things.    But having a Linked In account is one thing – developing and implementing a real Social Media Strategy is another.


Your marketing budget got cut, but your revenue and sales quotas went up.  If somebody doesn’t find a way to make the marketing budget go further, there’s going to be some real cutbacks.  You’ve heard about Social Media as a strategic tool.  You want to make it work, but you don’t know how?

If you fit any of these descriptions, you probably have a lot of questions.  The first one is obvious.

What do you do? What questions should you be asking?   You know you need help.  But what help?

Don’t panic!  Help is on the way!

We’re going to give you a survival guide – to help you develop strategy to leverage social media to meet  your marketing goals in 2010!

Our guest is Janet Fouts, author, social media coach and regular Game Changing panelist.   On Monday, January 4th, Janet has agreed to sit in the “hot seat” and be interviewed by our panel of strategy, marketing and technology experts.   Here’s what we’ll be asking:

  • What do you need to know before you start?
  • How do you set meaningful goals?
  • Do you need a consultant?  How do you hire one?  (A good one)
  • How to identify the right networks?
  • What’s a social media listening tool and why should I care?
  • Metrics? What metrics?
  • Who’s going to do all this?  What resources will you need?
  • Efficiency and social media- (is that even possible?)

And any question YOU want to ask.   Our listeners can phone in, use our forum or simply tweet their  questions to us using the hashtag  #gamechanging.

Come and join Janet with fellow panelists Allan Hoving, Jim Love and our special guest, Catharine P. Taylor for a show that you don’t want to miss.  Monday, January 4, 2009 – 8 pm Eastern/5 pm Pacific   http://www/

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Wishing you less in the New Year

Too much information.  That’s the cry from this year.

I remember when we first started on the internet back in the last century.  I’d already been living with corporate email for almost a decade before the internet hit full steam.  So I laughed a little at the analogy that the internet of the early 90’s was like “drinking through a fire hose”.   Anyone else remember that line?

I was a voracious reader.  I was a quick study.  I could stay up later than anyone.  I could keep up.

No more.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to yell “give!”

For the first time in my life, this last year has overwhelmed me.  Yes, I take on too much.  Yes, my fascination with many things keeps me over-committed.  But for the first time, no amount of working harder will get me out of it.  It’s been a brutal year in that regard.

So I have to get smarter and better.  That’s not a New Year’s resolution.  It’s a necessity.

But it’s not all hopeless.  I’ve started to develop some strategies for dealing with all of this.  I’ll be glad to share them with readers of this blog.   But in the coming year, I’m going to be looking at ways of — changing the game on this issue of too much information.

I’d appreciate your help and input.

What game changing strategies have you adopted to help you cope?  How have they worked?  What obstacles have you found?  What are the real issues you are confronting.

C’mon.  Share.  Leave a comment on the blog.  It only takes a few minutes.  Spelling doesn’t count.
Let’s work this out together.

And have a great Christmas — and a wonderful, stress free New Year.

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They are never going to know…

I was at a local restaurant the other night.   It’s a Thai place near my house.  Very convenient.  Great atmosphere.  The people are very friendly.  I mean it.  The service is great.   The waiter/owner is jovial, entertaining and makes you feel very welcome.  The prices are really good.

It’s just too bad about the food.

It’s not that it’s terrible.  It’s okay.  Sort of good.  But not great.  Which is why I don’t go there often.  Who wants to go out for “okay” food when you can go another 10 minutes and get really great food.

Now, if they knew this, they might be able to do something about it.  But they don’t.  In fact, when I went in there the first time, the owner proudly told me that this was the best Thai food anywhere.  So I went in and had dinner.  One of us was wrong.  It wasn’t me.  I’ve taken other people there, and the reaction is the same.  Too bad about the food.

The crime is that not only don’t they know, but they never will.  How can you tell someone who is so out front about the food — someone who is so nice to you — how do you tell them that the food is so so.

Maybe some people can be that direct.  I really can’t.  And I suspect neither can anyone else.

I’m good if the service is lousy or the food is lousy.  I’ll complain, I’ll let it be known – I’ll leave a crappy tip.  Somehow, I’ll get the point across.  Strangely enough, when the company is a total bust, even if they hear that their service or product stinks, I wonder if they would really even care.  But if it’s just good enough? These guys have a shot at having a great place. They might be able to use the information.  With a little research, a little trial and error, they could really do well.

I started to think about this.  How could this restaurant have found out what I was really thinking?  Well, they could have invited the feedback.  They could have made it easier for me to comment.

How about if they’d served the food and instead of “is everything okay?” they’d asked different questions.  What if they’d asked, “what did you most like about it?”  “How could we improve it?”  Asking these two things would give me the opportunity to offer comments on what is good and what is bad.  In fact, it would solicit them both.  And you really do need them both.  You want to know what you should do more of and what you should do less of — or do better.

I think if things were asked in this manner, it would make me feel better about letting them know that the eggplant was nice, but a little tough.  The spices were okay, but I think that good Thai eggplant should be a little spicier.  Armed with that, they could have simply thanked me and accepted the feedback.  No falling on a dull knife, just letting me know I’d been heard.

Why? Because they shouldn’t take a data point of one.  They should gather feedback.  If they could do a mass customization, then they’d learn the range of things and be able to ask and decide.  Restaurants do this all the time for non-vegetarians.  “Would you like that steak rare, medium or well done?”  “Do you like a dry white or something a little sweeter?”  We know how to ask these questions.  Why can’t we do the follow on and ask — “What did you like?  What could we do better?  Help us get better.”

My friend Dave Howlett uses the phrase, “what’s one thing that I could improve?”  Again, he’s only asking for one thing, so it gives you permission to open the discussion.

The bottom line here is – make the customer comfortable about telling you.  Invite the comments.  When you do, you can move from good to excellent.  Which of us doesn’t want to do that?

So why don’t we do this?  Well, one reason may be the fear of feedback.  I don’t know about you, but if I’m honest, I really don’t want to hear negative feedback. I’ve taught myself to take it.  I’ve taught myself to not be defensive.  But it’s not fun.  I put my heart and soul into my work.  To find out that it is fallen short of the mark is not a pleasant feeling.

I had to let that go.  I don’t know any other way to say it.  It gets in the way of ever becoming excellent.

How did I do it?  I think of myself like a champion athlete.  If I was an Olympic sprinter, the difference between good and gold is a fraction of a second.  So no matter how good I am, I have to keep looking to shave off that hundredth of a second.  If I can find something that gives me half a second, that’s incredible!  Just that reframing makes feedback so much easier.

Am I fooling myself?  I don’t think so. I’m allowing myself to get feedback that I can process.  When I can process it, i can invite it.   Knowing that can make me a better coach.  And it might make me more coachable with both my peers and my customers.

We’ll see.  Love to have your comments and strategies.

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