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Archive for the Leadership Category

The Future of Capitalism.

The Future of Capitalism.

marketing capitalismMcKinsey just posted a very interesting commentary from Unilever C.E.O. Paul Polman.   It’s definitely worth a read.

Capitalism has served us enormously well. Yet while it has helped to reduce global poverty and expand access to health care and education, it has come at an enormous cost: unsustainable levels of public and private debt, excessive consumerism, and, frankly, too many people who are left behind. Any system that prevents large numbers of people from fully participating or excludes them altogether will ultimately be rejected. And that’s what you see happening. People are asking, “What are we doing here? The amount of resources we currently use is 1.5 times the world’s resource capacity. Is that sustainable? A billion people still go to bed hungry. Is that sustainable? The richest 85 people have the same wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion. Is that sustainable?” Digitization and the Internet have given consumers enormous abilities to connect and aggregate their voices. Power is dispersed, but wealth is concentrated. Further development and population growth will put a lot more pressure on our planet.  Capitalism needs to evolve … (Read the rest of the article here)

What are you doing in your business and your personal life to re-think sustainability and the future of capitalism?


Paul Polman’s Speech on Sustainability



Business Rule # 23. Check to See If the Spaghetti Stuck to the Wall.

Business Rule # 23.  Check to See If the Spaghetti Stuck to the Wall.

Spaghetti CarbonaraWhen I was in college and the only thing we could afford on most nights was spaghetti.  We tossed it at the sickening green wallpapered walls to see if it’d stick.  If it stuck, dinner was ready to go.  Turns out that this astounding culinary ‘rule’ doesn’t even work.  But, I have to admit that it made kitchen duty kind of fun.

 Tossing the proverbial spaghetti at the wall now seems to be part of the recipe for business decision making.  And, it’s sometimes a good idea.  In fact, sometimes it’s a great idea.  Now, a company with a $100,000 promotion budget would be foolish to spend $80k tossing spaghetti.  But spending $10k to try something new could not only bring surprising results, it may also up the ante on innovation, enthusiasm and excitement in the office.

However, tossing spaghetti at the wall without ever checking to see what sticks is a bad idea… it’s always a bad idea.  You have to check to see if the spaghetti stuck to wall.  Making spur-of-the-moment decisions is OK.  Doing it without any objectives is not.  Doing it without checking performance is as wasteful as air conditioning an empty warehouse.

Here are the 2 essential rules for ‘spaghetti toss’ decisions:

  1. Have an objective.
  2. Measure results.

Notice I said measure results.  Don’t figure out your feelings about the results.  Don’t just say it did (or didn’t work) without some type of rational, logical, valid reliable measurement.  It’s not too different from the carpentry rule ‘measure twice, cut once’.  Without measuring, you’ll never learn what works and what doesn’t.  You’ll just end up with a wall full of dried-up spaghetti and no dinner.

The 3 Most Important Words in Life… and They’re Not “I Love You”

The 3 Most Important Words in Life... and They're Not "I Love You"

I Love You Market IncI just read an article from a very reputable digital marketing firm this morning and they advise that direct mail marketing doesn’t work on millennial. The supporting data was tied to a preference for digital music and the apparent assumption that millennials don’t value the touch and feel of a product.  Huh?

 It’s not that I’m a big fan of direct mail, but I’m not convinced that that this organization, tasked with digital marketing, is ever going to be a big fan of direct mail.  So, I went to a website that promotes direct mail.  They propose that there’s great value in using direct mail to drive millennials to digital sources.

Neither argument was particularly persuasive.  And then I remembered #2 on the list of the “3 most important words in life”.  “Consider the source”.  Self-serving, self-preservation is a big thing.  As you’re reviewing the volumes of advice you can receive on any given day….Consider the source.

“Social media will bring you thousands of new customers.” … from a social marketing agency

“PPC advertising will boost your online traffic by 30%.” … from a digital agency

“Our new web design will increase your new clients”….from a web designer


Some of this information will be true for some people, some of the time.  But, before you follow any advice….Consider the source.

7 Steps to Getting Customers to Like, Love & Lust

7 Steps to Getting Customers to Like, Love & Lust

Having employees and customers who like your business is nice.  But, let’s admit it.  Being nice is like being that blind date with a nice personality.  Don’t you want to be the one with a great personality  that people fall in love with and that many lust after?  If you’re going for mediocrity, just don’t bother reading any further.

If you think you have what it takes to be that business that people like, love and lust after… then here are the rules.


 1. Satisfaction is thebarenaked minimum

Satisfying customer needs is mediocre.  It’s the bare minimum you need to do.  When A client calls me at 2:15 on a Tuesday afternoon and asks me to help on a (unplanned) project  that afternoon, I do it.  It’s the least I can do and it’s not deserving of life-long love.  When they call at 2:15 on a Saturday afternoon and ask me to be at their offices that afternoon to help put together a sales meeting presentation that afternoon because they just forgot about it.  That might start the ball rolling on love.


 2. Don’t make customers work for it

A Harvard Business Review article suggested that delighting your customers could be a waste of time since, “ what matters most to customers is the amount of effort they put in to interactions: 96% of customers who report putting in high effort in their service interactions are more disloyal, while only 9% of customers who expend low effort are more disloyal.” 


 3. Empower everyone to wow customers

Your customers interface with your front line.  Make sure that yours is engaged, excited and looking to make your customers life easier and solve their problems quicker.


 4. Pre-solve problems

Remember rule #2.  The point is to save your customers time and energy.  The objective is to remove stress from their lives.  Solve problems before they happen.  And, be sure you tell them about it!


 5. Make the “2 ears , 1 mouth” communication strategy a religion

You know the drill.  You have 2 ears and 1 mouth… listen twice as much as you talk.  Remember that listening is not just a matter of not talking.  Listen to what your customers say.  Listen so hard that you hear the symphony between the lines.


 6. Know when to hold-em… know when to fold-em

Realize that you’re not going to get every customer to think that you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread.  I haven’t figured out the hard rules of how to do this, but sometimes you’re going to have to just let it go.


 7. Let everyone know how much your customers love you

Who do you want more – the one that everyone else love (or is lusting after) or the one that’s just OK?

When new customers learn how much your current customers love you, they’re going to expect more from you.  But, that’s OK because we both now that you’re prepared to deliver!

The Once & Future King

The Once & Future King

I was struck by something today.  An article from Wired came across my screen – Software Is Still King. Hardware Is Just Along for the Ride” .  I realized that we are bombarded with news that “Phil Intheblank  is the king” or “Sowan So Rules the World”.

We are constantly in search of a leader.  Do you really think that pledging allegiance to a “great one” will give you focus, clarity and direction along with a healthy dose of self-importance?  Perhaps you should looking much closer to home.

Think about all the times you hear about new royalty.  The new King. The Queen.

     “Software Is Still King. Hardware Is Just Along for the Ride” 
    “Myspace: The Once and Future King of Social Media?”
    “Content Is King – But Context Is Queen And Technology Is The Royal Household!”
    “Blogs are the King of Social Media Marketing”
    “Content marketing is king”
    “Facebook is king for social conversions”
    “Here’s the Secret to Facebook Staying King of Social Media ”
    “Why Email Marketing is King”
    “Android Remains President, but Apple is King”

Social media, blogging, content marketing, Facebook, MySpace, Apple, Android, technology or email marketing are not kings, queens or princesses.  [pause] [pause] We are.

Why are we so special?  Well, most other beings adapt slowly.  It’s a generation by generation evolution.  Sure we do that.  But, we do more.  As humans, our capability for symbolic thought, combined with our ability to cooperate in groups makes us uniquely suited to quickly adapt to a changing environment.  This is a big thing.  A very big thing.  That quick adaptation enables us the luxury of timely responsiveness.  We can be the change we want to see.  We are the seeds of our own reclamation, our redemption, our success.  Listen to this fellow humans, that glass is half-full – – and we have the ability to fill it up!  The power of the individual to make timely changes that affect our lifetime  is astounding.  The power of people working together to do this is mind-blowing.

The FearLess Revolution, founded by Alex and Ana Bogusky, explores new, more meaningful relationships between people, brands and culture.  They’re all about wanting more – “more from ourselves and more from the people who make our stuff.”  It’s crazy, radical stuff like supporting the ‘MADE in America’ movement.

Intertwined with all of the things we claim to be “kings” of the business world is the potential to be human.  Enmeshed in humans is the potential to be queens, kings and masters of the universe.  Humans are the ‘once and future king’.

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