Thursday, December 30, 2010

Little Green Book

Thanks to a tweet from Disney Institute today, I discovered this quote from Walt Disney - “We developed so many talents as we went along that I lay awake at night figuring out how to use them. That's how we become so diversified. It was natural branching out."

How many times have you had a great idea in the middle of the night or while sitting relaxing at the pool, beach, or back porch and told yourself, “I’ll write it down later”. How many times has “later” never come? I wish I had a nickel (or a dollar, to account for inflation) for every time I said that but forgotten the idea 15 minutes later.

Ideas, and thoughts on how to develop them, begin streaming when we’re relaxed - when we don’t have the stresses of phone calls, meetings, and people popping into our offices. And, because we’re not prepared, we lose many ideas. We have to be equipped for these instant concepts at all times.

That takes me back to my Navy days. I ALWAYS carried around one of those little green, government-issue memorandum books in my back pocket - constantly at the ready to record my thoughts or work schedule of the day. It was a great asset (and great application for CYA).

These days, that little green book has been replaced by a smart-phone. It can record thoughts just as easily and they can be converted directly to memos or emails.

Make sure you have the available means to record your instant thoughts and the next time you can’t sleep, at least be productive and pull out that “little green book”.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Share The Milk and Cookies

Who's one of the greatest manager/leaders of all time? Look no further than the North Pole. Yes, I'm talking about Santa Claus.

One of my favorite leadership books is "The Leadership Secrets of Santa Claus-How to Get Big Things Done In YOUR "Workshop"...All Year Long". It's very easy to relate to.

Santa says that one of his biggest benefits of being him is the fact that he's on "the point". All of the elves and reindeer work their "ears and antlers off" all year so the mission and vision can be fulfilled, yet Santa's usually the one that gets all of the credit. He's the one that gets to travel all over the world, attend meet and greets, and have his picture plastered all over greeting cards. The elves and reindeer don't get to experience all the fun so "their feelings of satisfaction and accomplishment must come in different ways".

Just like you as a leader, Santa must help his elves and reindeer see the "positive differences" that they're making. He practices MBWA (management by wandering around) just like you should be doing. He shares thank you letters and posts them on a bulletin board labeled "SEE WHAT YOU MADE HAPPEN" - just like you should be doing. He uses crayons to draw diagrams showing the link between the elves and reindeer and the smiling children that get the presents - that's communication that you should be providing (maybe not with crayons though).

Nothing motivates an employee - whether elf or not - more than actually seeing that they're contributing and making a difference for the organization and their customers. So look for ways to make it happen for your staff.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Suck Em In

I looooove Chinese buffet's. I could eat there about every day. General Tsao's Chicken? . . . The bomb. Anyway. Earlier this year we had found a buffet pretty close by. What a find, right? Wrong. It was close but the price was $10.99 for a buffet that was the size worth MAYBE 2/3 of that price. And not all that tasty. Of course we never returned.

So, last week we happened to be doing some Christmas shopping at the strip mall where this buffet is and I noticed a sign on the door that said $6.99 all day on Tuesday's during December. BINGO. So guess where we ate last night? A Mexican restaurant . . . just kidding. We went to the Chinese buffet.

Well holy cow. They had, at least, doubled the size of the buffet and added a made-to-order sushi counter. It was fantastic . . . and now worth the $10.99.

But on the way out we spotted another price sign that says beginning January 1st, the everyday price would increase to $11.99! Ahhhhh, the hook.

This restaurant implemented a few great marketing strategies. They:
- lowered their price for December to bring in more customers that have less expendable cash due to buying Christmas presents,
- lowered their price to bring in more customers to learn about their great strides in improvements, and
- informed their customers of the price increase following their great meal - in which they devoured more food than they normally would in two days - making $11.99 seem more justifiable.

This seemed to me like a well thought out marketing plan. Many times these types of establishments (buffet's, etc) just throw things at you - $6.99 one day, $11.99 the next - with no warning or justification. My hats off to New China.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Why Work Doesn't Happen At Work

If you want to understand the true feelings about office work at your organization - take a look at this video.

I came across this video, "Why Work Doesn't Happen at Work", by Jason Fried, through a post on the Disney Entrepreneur Center group on LinkedIn. I thought it sounded like it might be interesting so I clicked on it. I quickly found myself smiling and nodding my head in agreement while I watched . . . especially because here I am sitting in my "man cave" at home . . . working. *after watching, you'll know why that's humorous.

Take a look (click on the blog title) and think about what Jason is saying - it's so true. The office is basically, not a conducive place to do work. Those of you in "cube farms" know exactly where I'm coming from.

Maybe there are things that you can't change, for one reason or another. But after watching this video I think you'll have a brand new understanding of how things (people) actually "work".