Your story doesn't need to be dull.
Unless of course you want it to be...
What if we made this something that people would go and seek out? (True story)
Our biggest competition is not the other company, it’s the status quo.
What if we got creative?
What if we were able to make this fun?
One definition of creativity is being appropriately disruptive. Grabbing the attention.
You can have all kinds of plans in your system for your customer, but you need to start at the beginning, getting the attention of your prospective customer.
So I travel from time to time and have to fly…there is a bunch of things I could comment on here, but I will try to stay focused.
I was blown away last week with my trip on a Delta flight( I usually fly American).
In an industry that has been truly commoditized, I experienced a breath of fresh air that really grabbed my attention.
They had taken a task where the bar was set so low and asked what if…?
They have completely raised the stakes.
I have ranted for years about the way most airline companies handle the safety portion before takeoff. A necessary evil to be endured by the poor professional giving it and ignored by all those passengers trying to settle in.
Here is the example of how they chose to handle it. Click here. I watched with no sound,
listening to a podcast with headphones on ...and then...
They got me.
Not only did I pay attention, but the next day I googled to watch the parts that I had missed and found a few others.
They even developed thematic trends reoccurring in each of the videos. There is an 80’s themed shout out (Click here)and after all of those, I even watched the outtakes.(Click here)
Looking at the clips in more detail a few takeaways…the humor is never at the expense of the professional on the plane. It was creative commentary modeled by the others.
I am left challenged by the things in my world that I am merely tolerating. What can I look for to turn around and upside down.
Who would win. We all would right?
A win for the customer and creativity.
What can you change today, what are you tolerating? What if you took it, and got creative?
The sky could be the limit, enjoy the flight!
You can be content but not happy,
Or is it happy but not content?
I can’t remember.
I do remember in the early years of my marriage my wife and I having a long discussion or debate maybe even an argument about this. Whatever it was, I am married long enough now to know she was correct.
There has been a lot of conversation about the semantics around each word.
One seems to be a mood, while the other is more a disposition. One an effect the other a choice?
Which is which and what does it matter?
I have found that as I get older, a quite discontent has driven me. I was not always driven.
In my younger years I was discontent through immaturity, this stage probably lasted longer than it should have. Actually it definitely did.
Every coin has two sides. Most things can be channeled for positive or negative means.
Through the intervention of some wiser mentors (see more about mentors here), I was influenced to change.
Seeing happiness modeled in other people’s lives allowed me to be able to set about changing for the positive.
The difference began to be clear.
It was around about then I started to read Covey and Earl Nightingale.
I learned that I could be discontent with situations or outcomes and yet still learn to be happy in my life.
I could allow the discontent to be fuel for the engine that drives me to achieve greater results.
The trick is to not allow the discontent to bleed into other areas of your life.
Regardless of what we still have left to achieve we must never lose sight of the fact that we have so much to be grateful for. Gratitude is the catalyst that allows us to keep it positive.
After all life is short.
The most valuable resource available to us all is time. With the finite resource of time we must ensure that we leverage it to maximize every day.
Our days are too rich and full regardless of the balance left to achieve…
So today, stop and be mindful for the gratitude we must have…
Then filled with gratitude, allow that discontent to be our fuel.
Attack the day and tackle the list, just remember to be happy that you have the privilege to do so.
Be happy !
So I have the picture above on my blog. It is a Picasso.
As an artist he had a series of line drawings of animals…see them here.
I like this one for a few reasons.
First I have turned into one of those guys that rescues Dachshund from the pound. They are great.
About the only downside is that every once in a while you will be taking them for a walk and someone will drive by and yell “wiener” really loud.
Not great for my wife as she walks the kids to school, although the kids think it is hilarious.
The main reason I love the drawing is for its simplicity. It conveys all of its essence in a single line drawing.
There is an idea I have heard that if you can’t explain something simply you don’t understand it well enough.
The better the idea the more simple the explanation.
Art has known this for years…this picture speaks to me.
Can you explain your business simply to a prospect?
Can you explain your department’s role and mission to your team? Is it a unifying call to the team, something they hear, internalize and then act upon?
This is the gift of simplicity.
In the simplicity comes the power.
Science knows and backs this up. They even have name for it. Ockham’s Razor or the Rule of Parsimony.
"Don’t do with more, what can be done with less". (Read more here)
The idea is that if there are competing ideas that may work, then it is generally best to pick the simplest. The least assumptions needed the better.
The plan or idea with the fewest moving parts is preferable.
Easiest to communicate.
Easiest to feel, and ultimately act upon.
Communication is easy, in fact it is impossible not to communicate.
However,effective communication is actually quiet hard.
There is a story that when Cicero spoke people said “How well he spoke” When
Demosthenes spoke, people said “Lets march”.
If action is the key then we need to grasp the concept of simplicity.
So, as you set out to communicate with your team, customer, or loved ones remember to strip away the complexity and keep it simple.
Think like Picasso, strip away all the excess till what you have left is the great idea.
Cut away the unnecessary and leave only the essential.
The pure distilled idea.
It’s the lesson great art can teach us...
P.S. rescue a wiener-dog here
Seriously, I am asking…for a friend.
I guess I should explain what I mean, I am talking about the busyness that seems to creep into our lives.
You can see it in the way we run around. The way we pass each other on the way to more busyness.
I guess there is a security that comes with being busy.
If I seem busy no one can accuse me of not trying, right? The downside is that there is only so much time in a day.
We see it in the way we make an effort to “Manage time”. Look at all the books committed to trying to manage time.
I think it was Stephen Covey’s that said it best “you can’t manage time, only yourself”. Yet, that is what we try to do, we download the latest app or get another planner.
Each New Year.
All with an attempt to manage time.
We make the effort because things do need done, but which things.
Covey talks about the idea of urgent vs. important. (Here is a template).
We all have many important things that need done. Big things with long term consequences. Yet we all have urgent things in our life. The next email, the ringing phone. We must decide which we will pay attention to today.
Perhaps if we changed the measurement we would like what we see more.
It is a simple shift.
From Activity to Productivity.
Shouldn’t it be less about how much stuff we are trying to get done and more about what we get done?
The author Tim Ferriss writes about this in detail much better than I do. The ideas of minimum effective input for maximum output (see here for one of Tim’s excellent blog posts)
He discusses the universal Perato Principle or 80/20 principle. 80 percent of any of our results come from 20 percent of our efforts. (See here)
Until I decided it was more important what I got done than how busy I appeared I could not develop the discipline required to change.
It is scary giving up some of the busyness…but to accomplish things that is what it takes. Maybe that’s you too…
Maybe today you want to get more done, take a brutally honest look at your calendar and take an axe to anything that might hold you back…be brave.
The world need less busy people and more people that bravely get things done.
these are just the thoughts of someone who used to know more but now knows less...
I would love to hear from you on your thoughts and feedback...