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stratlab video department 17

StratLab Video Production in 2017

One of my favourite videos of all time. It made me tear up the first time I watched it. The part about this video no one really knows is Andy edited it the same day and had it to pride week organizers a few hours after the parade. The response online was overwhelming and I don’t think we would have had that type of response if we would have waited a few days or the regular week or two to ship the video. Hats off to you Andy!

Tourism Regina wanted a campaign to showcase what Regina is to us. That’s easy, we call it the greatest city you’ve never seen. The idea came when we had folks visit us from Fort McMurray visiting and they couldn’t stop talking about how much they loved the city. From Wascana park to the amazing night life, it’s easy to take Regina for granted, this short video puts into perspective all the different options you have in the Queen City.

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Where are you putting in time just showing up again and again

What’s The Easiest Way To Get Along With Someone?

Just be around them more. That’s it, that’s all, no kidding. Regularly being in the presence of someone makes you more appealing. Do you want to build rapport? Show up, again and again and again.

Familiarity builds contempt? Actually it’s literally the opposite. 

From Ori Brafman’s Click, it’s not personality, likes, dislikes, personal characteristic or anything else, close proximity to someone will make you get along with them better. They reference an MIT study about dorm rooms in university, students who live in the centre of a hallway have on average more friends than the people who live at either end. Your best friend on average in a dorm room? The person who lives closest to you, your neighbour. The students have nothing special about their living arrangements accept the closer you are to people, the more friends you’ll have.

It makes no sense, you feel there has to be more to it but there isn’t. Proximity is the single best factor in helping you build a relationship with someone.

The best teams I’ve played on and coached weren’t the most skilled but the ones that got along the best. If you get along easily, you’re going to hangout more. The more you hangout, the better you know someone. The better you know each other the better the team plays.

That matters in a team atmosphere because when things are going well it’s easy to manage a team, it’s when the shit hits the fan you come closer as a team.

Same in business, the closer you are as a team, the better you’re going to perform in the long run. And now you know the easiest way to grow your team, simply make them hangout more. Want to get along better with someone? Show up to events they’ll be at more!

Where are you putting in time just showing up again and again

Where are you putting in time just showing up again and again?

Queen City Hack

5 Reasons Why You Need To Come To The Next Queen City Hack

I had the pleasure of judging the last Queen City Hack hosted by Gas Buddy. I was BLOWN AWAY! These teams created some amazing applications, working applications, applications designed beautifully, ALL IN 24 HOURS!!! I couldn’t believe what these teams created and was incredibly surprised! I left inspired, the future is looking very bright. Here are 5 reasons you should get involved with the next Hack-a-Thon:

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Three Free Google Tools to Improve Your Website

One of my favourite podcasts from a cool company called EWebResults refers to the internet as “the largest, simplest marketing tool on the planet”. Doesn’t always feel that way, does it? Increasingly I’m finding that once people have a brand-new fancy website their next question is “How do I get it to the top of Google”? WHOAH. Slow down there cowboy. That’s a long and complex process. However, if you’re managing your own SEO the first question you should ask yourself is “What’s most important to Google and why?” Because of Google’s ever-changing algorithm, what’s important to Google one week may not be the next (or, much more likely, the other way around). A sure-fire way to know that something is high on Google’s radar is if Google offers it’s own tools to measure and improve it. Here are some super helpful tools that let you do just that.

Google Page Speed Tool

As of late one of the newest big things Google looks at when ranking sites is user experience. Simply put, are users able to quickly gain an answer to their search query with minimum inconvenience and maximum enjoyment. One thing that can kill even a great website (potentially for rankings but definitely for user experience is a slow load time. Slow sites not only take a long time to load but hog memory and can slow down (or drain battery from) from whole device. Luckily Google offers a handy dandy tool which tests the load speed of any crawlable page on your website giving you a score out of 100 for both desktop and mobile, and ever offering a list of possible solutions for slow load time. Often times improving your page load speed is as easy as checking the page for unnecessarily massive images and reducing them!

Google Structured Data Tool

If you’ve never heard of Shema structured data markup it can seem awfully daunting and a little scary, but I promise it’s not that bad! Effectively structured data used very simple code to show search engines important information about your business (most notably your business name, address, and phone number) and gives it context by defining what the information actually is (a name, an address, a phone number, etc.) This allows engines like Google to quickly identify relevant information on your site, and when Google can quickly find relevant info Google is a happy camper. Tools like Microdata Generator can make the process super easy. Just plug in your information, copy the code, and paste it in the footer of your website. Google offers a tool to test any website (your own or a competitors) and see what kind of information is being marked up.

Google Webmaster

If you’re in a position where just doesn’t make sense to invest in paid SEO measuring software like Moz, have no fear. Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster) can provide you with a ton of additional data that Google Analytics doesn’t totally cover. Just add the tracking code to your website’s header and this tool will give you a full dashboard information on any broken links (or “404 errors”) to your site, what exact searches your Google search traffic is coming from, and the top domains that are currently linking to your site.

Well there you do, my top three favourite free Google tools (at least so far!) Obviously not listed is the all-powerful Google analytics, but that’s another blog for another time…If you have any questions about the tools above, give us a call! We’d love to chat.

 

whats the number one class at the stanford graduate school of business

What’s The Number One Class At The Stanford Graduate School of Business?

“Touchy Feely” Class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business has been the number one class for 45 years!

“Touchy Feely class” or interpersonal dynamics class at the Stanford Graduate School of Business was the number one class based on student voting for the past 45 years! Makes you wonder about what is taught in class, what students learn, and why students like it the most.

Could it be the real world impact a class like that has on these students? Or the complete avoidance of anything to do with emotions, love, and relationships in traditional business classes? The fact remains that understanding interpersonal relationships is one of the most valuable skills in 2017 and beyond. Ori and Rom Brafman believe is has to do with the most underrated characteristic in business, vulnerability.

Click: the magic of instant connections

I first read about Touchy Feely class in Ori Braffman’s book Click. The book is about the five principles that make people click. The first and most counterintuitive principle is vulnerability, the most underrate characteristic in business. You may have heard of Brené Brown’s The Power of Vulnerability, an amazing Ted talk on how opening up and leading with the heart is the most effective leadership tool. (PS: I like this talk of hers even better: Listening to Shame.

Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.” -Brené Brown

Maybe Stanford is on to something…

From Stanford’s website:

The ability to forge strong relationships with others is crucial to becoming a more effective manager in today’s complex, global, and highly interdependent organizations.

Technology can never replace authentic relationship building

It’ll enhance it, make it easier in come respects and more difficult in others. Technology has already changed the way we build, maintain and adapt to relationships but some things will never change. Trust, authenticity, humility, all matter No matter what changes about technology, the people behind the technology, developing it and using it still reply on human beings.

In business we rarely talk about how we’re building relationships, how we’re becoming a better team, how we’re becoming better people. But why the hell not? It’s the most important part of business. If you can’t figure out how to get along with other people it’s going to a long lonely life. People are number one, they always will be number one, no matter what technology comes along we will always have to know how to build relationships with other human beings.

How are you building your interpersonal relationship skills daily?

Stop telling people you believe in “relationship building” and “networking”, show people how are you practicing that regularly. Meeting new people, connecting with old friends, volunteering to make new friends, whatever your thing is, keep doing it! If you don’t have “a way” to grow your network, ask someone for advice, you need to start making it a priority. Start reaching out to people and connecting on whatever they want to talk about, be a good listener first. We are all learning how to communicate better, take as many opportunities as you can to be around, communicate with, and help people.

Click by ori braffman

Four Lessons From “The Virgin Way”

Recently I’ve been making a concerted effort to get more reading done. My mother is a teacher librarian so when I was a kid reading was priority numero uno, but as often happens when one goes through university “reading for pleasure” is squeezed out of the equation by “required reading”. That said, (oops, ignore that) I’m realizing more and more how little I’ve actually learned about life and business from such riveting reads as “Managing Information Systems, 1st Edition”. As a pro tip if you find you have a hard time sitting down and actually turning pages I would highly recommend downloading an audiobook app like Audible, it goes a long way. Last night I mowed through Richard Branson’s “The Virgin Way” and managed to get about half way through. I gotta say, the guy knows his stuff. As I often do, I found myself texting myself some of the best quotes and biggest ideas from the first half of the book and they eventually stacked up to the point where I had to write a blog post just to get them out. So here goes.

 

 

1.”Nobody has ever learned anything from hearing themselves speak.”

The entire first section of The Virgin Way deals with the importance of listening. The best business leaders it turns out are not necessarily great orators, but rather are extremely good at actively listening to everyone who talks to them and, most importantly, acting on feedback. Richard stresses that it’s much better to listen and say nothing than to talk and say nothing (which many people are prone to do). His advice is simple and, true to form, he summarizes it perfectly in this quote. Shouldn’t you be looking to learn as much as possible in your interactions with clients or colleagues? Are you really going to learn anything from speaking yourself?

2. “The only valuable thing on your business card is your name and your contact info.”

On the subject of “rank”, the “Virgin Way” (as Virgin staff affectionately refer to their way of doing business) deals with hierarchy in a very flat way. As far as Richard is concerned your title at the company is subservient to your ideas and your work ethic. Your name (and by association, your reputation) is a much better indication of your value. Furthermore, being able to get a hold of you directly and easily is much more valuable than the letters behind your name.

 

3. “Delegation is better than relegation.”

When it comes to leadership in management, Richard stresses the importance of handing things off to trusted people, and then trusting them entirely. The Virgin Group is made up of over 30 companies, each with their own team of C-level executives and Richard rarely gives them input on how to run their respective companies. The Virgin Way makes the firm distinction and relegation. Delegating passes the full blame or praise for decisions along with the unfettered ability to make those decisions and respond to the outcomes. Relegating in contrast passes the blame but takes away full control of the decisions, or puts the other party in a box (think: “I’m passing this along to you, pick the best bad option).

 

4. “Sometimes not knowing the correct way to do things and doing them anyways opens up the most amazing doorways.”

One of Richard’s most well-known “catch phrases” and consequently the title of his first book, is “Screw it, let’s do it!”. Think about the diversity of the Virgin Group of companies. You’ve got everything from records production, to air travel, to cell phones, to the ill-fated Virgin Cola (yes, that was a real thing). A product offering this diverse comes from jumping in with both feet, having only a “pretty good” idea of what’s below. Often times, approaching a situation you’ve never dealt with puts you at an advantage, because you’re not pre-trained to achieve predictable (and often mediocre) results. Take risks, try things, fail and learn, says Sir Richard.

I’m very much looking forward to finishing The Virgin Way tonight. Branson writes in a very personal tone, and you can almost hear the smile behind every word. It doesn’t hurt that the guy reading his audio-book has a voice like butter. Part 2 will be coming soon!

You can judge a company by the way their people treat you

You Can Judge a Company By the Way Their People Treat you

You can judge a company by the way their people treat you

There was a moment I’ll never forget that made up my mind we needed to unfriend them on Facebook. A Stratlabber was on the phone with one of this companies main people and the conversations went something like, “do you think I have time to figure out where you’re going to setup your camera’s? I have more important things to do with my time.” It was harsh, it was completely uncalled for and I couldn’t believe someone would be so pompous. The ironic part was we were doing a video on this companies new and innovative approach to their industry. Wow, did we feel dumb. We trusted them. We put their logo on our website as a pride piece (have since taken it off).

It’s 2017 if you want to berate someone over the phone because you think they’re wasting your time all the power to you, but just know there are consequences. You can’t yell at someone too many times before they stop listening and stop caring all together. It’s a sign of your culture, if your people are that stressed out on the job that they scream and yell at the folks they’re working with, something needs to change. I don’t think you can operate like that for very long. Turn over increases, quality decreases, and anyone working there isn’t doing because they want to, but because it’s just a job.

You're never too important to be nice to people

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that said

Two Words You Should Never Use In a Conversation

“That said”

the Devil is doing just fine on his own

That said, is the phrase you use just before you disagree with whatever the other person said.

Example: 
Brenda: “This new martini shaker is really the bees knees! You can take it completely apart to clean it and it has a handle!”
Tom: “That said, the handle is bulky and makes it look dumb and it’ll probably fall apart because of all the different parts to it.” 

You see, being the “Devil’s Advocate” makes you sound like an ass. Stop it.

That said, maybe it’s good to be an ass every now and then?

No, it’s not.

Don’t do it. It makes you sound argumentative, you lose rapport and that person doesn’t want to talk to you anymore. When you disagree with someone, which whether you admit to it or not, that’s what you’re doing when you play devil’s advocate, you’re giving them a great reason not to ask you never time.

I heard this first from Richard Branson in the Virgin Way. He talks about how these two words should never be uttered in the context of business. The exact opposite of the 7 most important words a leader can say.

As you prepare your speech being the Devil’s advocate remember you’re going to lose all respect from the party you’re arguing with. As Seth Godin once eloquently put it, “the Devil is doing just fine on his own, he does NOT need you to advocate for him!”. 

It’s easy to disagree with people, it’s hard to find common ground where you can agree. Try to take the high road, stop disagreeing with people, you’ll be much more fun at cocktail parties!

 

What I learned at the Royal LePage Headstart Conference

What I Learned at a Royal LePage National Conference


This September I had the pleasure of speaking at, hanging out in the pool, and MCing the Royal LePage National Headstart conference. I didn’t have any expectations going in other than I knew Realtors liked to have fun, and well I like to have fun so I thought we may just get along!

I was blown away.

The people were incredible. I’ve only spoken at a couple of conferences, this was by far my favourite. I basically made 300 friends that week.

As I was reflecting on an amazing couple of days it was it dawned on me, these Royal LePage folks really get it, I learned a TON. And here is what I learned.

If its not fun its not worth doing

1. If it’s not fun it’s not worth doing!

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