Quote the crowd is always smarter than the individual

There is Always a Smarter Way

There is always a smarter way.

You just have to come to grips that it’s not going to be your idea at the centre of it. The number one thing that holds most organizations back is ego, the attitude at the top, leadership believing they are the smartest in the room. When you finally realize that the people connected around you are much, MUCH smarter at solving problems, finishing projects, and finding new solutions, that’s when you can start actually running your business. The trick is to assume your connected team is smarter than any individual on the team, then start getting ideas from everyone.

Yes I mean everyone.

The Improbability PrincipleWe communicate to quickly for mob rule not to work. You can’t tell people how to feel, just like you can’t tell them to work. You can only inspire them with a challenge and put the best people you can find around them. If your employees don’t like you, all the policy in the world isn’t going to help, you can’t force people to feel different, you can only treat them different.

Even when you have the best plan in mind, after you’ve tested it in your head a hundred times, you know the weak points and you’ve mitigated them perfectly. It’ll still fail. The greatest plans in the world are always foiled by chance and rare occurrences.
From the book The Improbability Principle, incredibly rare impossible situations occur all the time. It’s your job to plan for them.

So how do you prepare for the unexpected? How do you make sure all your bases are covered?

Counterintuitively it’s not the man with the best plan that will come out on top, it’s the women with the most flexible plan that will come out the victor.
Here’s how.

1. Learn to be a better listener.

We all must learn to be a better listener, no one is born a great listener, people learn how to just like we learn how to play sports, with practice. 

So how can you actively practice listening? Ask for feedback. Even if you completely disagree with the feedback you don’t have to let the other person know. Bite your tounge and listen.

2. Put yourself in situations that will force you to be a better team player.

Join a team, a board, a group, a cult (ok probably not a cult), an organization, join something that will force you to work as a team. As we get older our vision gets very tainted with experience. Just because you think you’re a great team player doesn’t make it so. Every day you can be a better team mate, you just need to make it a priority.

3. Try to understand kids better.

Kids see the world through a different lens. They enjoy life more, are more judgemental, but forgive much easier than most adults. When a kid approaches a problem, they do whatever it takes to overcome it. The try and try and try. Like a baby learning to crawl, failure is not an option.

We learn what failure is later on in life. We find out we can make excuses for not continuing with the learning process. Could you image if a child learning to walk gave up one day and said, “you know, I just don’t have time for this” like many of us do on the road to learning something new. We’re great at making excuses

Why do they drink and drive?

What I Learned on a Research Project on Teen Drinking and Driving

During the spring and summer of 2014 I was commissioned to do a drinking and driving research project. Over the past few years, Saskatchewan can’t seem to reduce the number of drinking and driving incidents. In a country where almost everywhere the drinking and driving numbers are decreasing, here in Saskatchewan that’s just not the case.

We were going to tour the province and talk to teens about “why” they drink and drive.

The wrong way to approach a problem; ask the person with the problem “why they do it” and they are most certainly going to lie. Ask students about similar problems and how they approach them and now you may be getting somewhere!

Drinking and driving is a perplexing issue. One of those social issues that people’s attitudes and actions don’t match up. The think and do gap if you will. We all know it’s a bad idea to drink and drive but how many of those people still get behind the wheel and drive after having a few pints.

They'd love to show you a good time...

Methodology

We picked six different locations all over Saskatchewan. From a high school in Regina, to a day-time program in Prince Albert. We talked to an inner-city high school in Saskatoon, and a Narcotics Anonymous summer camp on a First Nations Reserve. We visited rural high schools and mid-sized city high schools all over Saskatchewan. We had a diverse student population and share information is one thing they loved to do.

We had a set of questions we’d ask once the students were comfortable with sharing their opinions. We knew we could just come right out and say, “hey, so really, why is it that students every now and then think it’s ok to drink and drive?” We had to be much smarter than that.

 

Some of the questions we’d ask would be:

Which do you watch more of, YouTube, Netflix, Cable?

Who do you look up to more, Celebrities, Athletes or Musicians? (Why?)

What do you use your phone for, top three things?

Which one do you like more?

Facebook or Twitter? Instagram or Vine? Snapchap or Instagram?

What’s the easiest way to communicate a message to a pre-determined audience?

What do you think of these ads? (drinking and driving ads)

What do you think of anti texting and driving ads?

How would you stop drinking and driving if you absolutely had to?

Stop the violence, don't drink and drive.

 

The Three Things we learned:

Get to them younger, you can’t tell kids anything, if you have to ‘tell’ kids, don’t, ‘show’ them instead.

 

1. Get to them younger

Highschool students (especially grade 12s) have already made up their minds. You may inform them about a potential fatal decision that they’re going to make but actually changing their behaviour? Not likely. By grade 12 you’ve made up your world view, you’re not a fan of authority in your life, and the last thing you want to do is listen to “what’s good for you”. As soon as we realize that at this stage in life (grade 12 in particular) is a relatively bad time to convince anyone of behavioural change. We need to get to them first, before the social norms of high school get them.

 

If you don’t believe me, try to remember what you were like in grade 12. Were you open to other people’s ideas? Did you listen to authority? Did you always do what was right for you? If you answered yes to any of those questions you’re either lying to yourself or you didn’t have much fun in highschool. We don’t need to convince the students who aren’t a problem, we need to convince the hardest to reach.

They'd love to show you a good time

2. You can’t ‘tell’ me anything

Well if you want me to listen. “Telling” people to do something or the perception of “telling” people never goes over well. This remains true throughout life, adults generally don’t like to be told what to do either.

Create behavioural change by educating early on and allowing kids to make their own decisions (even if they’re wrong), helps learn life lessons in a much more surreal and memorable way.

The problem with drinking and driving is you can’t let kids make even one mistake, because all it takes is once behind the wheel and it could be fatal. Making younger kids more aware of the situations they are going to face when they get older, and the difficult decisions they’re going to have to make will only help in preparing them. You’ll never eliminate it completely, but you can attach a stigma to it at a young age that deters kids from even trying it.

 

This is precisely what happened to smoking. Advertising and propaganda around smoking used to be “cool”. Many governments (including Canada) passed laws (http://www.smoke-free.ca/filtertips04/tobacco%20act%20provisions.htm limiting tobacco companies the amount of advertising they were allowed to do and where they were allowed to do it. Making a much better chance a kid doesn’t see James Dean on a billboard in downtown smoking a dart. Present day (Sept 2014) smoking is on the decline (obviously not for all populations of society, I’m making an over simplification). But there is an argument that once something isn’t deemed “cool” society has a lovely way of reducing the “uncool” behavior.

 

They younger they are when they realize that “drinking and driving is not cool” the odds that they do it when they are older go down.

 

Every grade 9 class should have to put a campaign together on how to stop drinking and driving. Putting the messaging up in the school, implementing the best ideas that come up, throughout the year the students in grade 9 become the Champions of reducing drinking and driving incidents. They grade 12s vote on the best campaign and a cash prize is awarded for the best project and the most influential school. (I’m completely offering my services if you want to get this off the ground, I think it could work great helping students educate students on drinking and driving).

3. Don’t tell kids, show kids…

When it comes down to major decisions that we make in life, whenever we’re on the fence, we’ll generally look to people similar to us and see what they did in the same situation before we make our decision. The psychological term is social proof. I first read about social proof in Robert Cialdini’s Influence The Psychology of Persuasion.

 

Social proof is gaining in popularity as our world gets more confusing, more going on, demanding more of your attention, you have to make better decisions faster. For years we’ve used social proof. Before we take a look at a new car we ask a neighbor about theirs and what they like about it. If we look up to that neighbor we’re even more likely to take their opinion as the truth.

 

Social proof is a powerful influencer. In a world where it’s very simple to see where people live, what they drive, who they interact with, what they wear and what they do for fun, we don’t need to look far to get ideas on what to buy. A simple stroll through Instagram will show me a lot of information on what you care about, what you spend your money on and where you spend your time. I don’t have the answer on how to use social proof to curb drinking and driving, I do however have a couple ideas.

 

You need the students that other students look up to to be the ones making it very uncool to drink and drive. I say I don’t have the answer because I think I’d rather ask the students what would work, and get ideas from them.

 

A project at the grade 12 level creating a campaign or project answering the question: “how do you reduce drinking and driving?” again offering up a cash prize for the winner. Make it a part of a class; make it a major part of the curriculum. If you get students creating amazing campaigns addressing the negatives of drinking and driving in a new creative or different or interactive way, in time they will convince themselves it’s a bad idea.

 

Think about it, the more research you do in a subject area the more the information you’re uncovering will affect you. This happens all the time. Why couldn’t it work for kids and drinking and driving?

 

Conclusion

Lets get to them younger, stop telling people to change their behaviour and start using social proof to influence people in a smarter, more effective manner. In the future, the status quo is going to be easy to seek out. Why change? In the future you’re going to come to this question more and more often. The smartest organizations know that change has to be a part of the plan. Try new things, try new ideas, as long as you’re sticking with the status quo, you’re never going to know what you’re missing. You’re never going to see the future of your product or service.

Business is change, and how we communicate with our younger generation is something we’re all going to need to get better at. Yes yes, try something new, who knows, you might just prove yourself wrong.

 

You can download the PDF here: Why do they drink and drive, a Strategy Lab Research Project

Bad online reviews

How To Combat Bad Online Reviews – a Video from John Taffer

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

What do you do when someone leaves you a negative online review? 

On sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, Google Reviews, a few bad reviews can ruin your company entirely. At the same time you can use these tools to give your company an unfair advantage.

I love John’s comment about the social media world not being fair. No one police’s it, no one is held accountable, it’s a dog-eat-dog online world. The smart companies are creating an unfair advantage, they’re outsmarting the competition by building a positive online brand. As Mr. Taffer says, if you have lots and lots of positive reviews and fans of your place, a couple negative people here and there will be drowned out by the positive comments.

So how do you ready yourself for the troll attack?

1. Kill em with kindness – if you’re a great company people will want to share your story.

Your employees should be brand ambassadors. They should be the ones promoting you and your story to everyone. “But Jeph, they aren’t, what do I do?”. If people aren’t sharing your story enough you have one of two problems, a) you have the wrong people on the bus* or b) your story isn’t good enough to share. Go back to the drawing board. If you story isn’t interesting enough let your staff come up with it. I love the quote from David Kelly, founder of the innovation firm IDEO “In a world filled with so much creative potential, it is dangerous to assume that all good ideas are found at the top.” -David Kelly, IDEO.

2. Make it everyones job to say nice things about your organization.

If your own staff don’t want to tell people about how amazing you are you have a problem. Why isn’t coming up with an internal word-of-mouth strategy not done by more companies? If your staff are excited about what you’re doing, if everyone that comes into your store feels that excitement, sooner than later the word-of-mouth will spread.

Why don’t more people come up with word-of-mouth strategies Jeph?!? Well I’m glad you asked. Few companies focus on word-of-mouth because its hard. It’s hard to come up with a viable plan, it’s even harder to execute it. Once you’ve executed it it’s still hard to hold your staff accountable for something that’s very difficult to measure. If you’re still have trouble with a word-of-mouth strategy move on to point 3…

3. Encourage word-of-mouth by offering an incentive.

If you’ve read any of Stephen Dubner’s or Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics series of books, shows or podcast you would completely understand why offering an incentive may be your best bet. If you offer an incentive people will keep it top-of-mind, they’ll be much more likely to share your message. Don’t assume people want to talk about you, assume you need to make it worth their while to spread your message.

*Wrong People On the Bus was an analogy coined by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Getting the right people on the bus is critical to any organizations success. 

You must have a clear vision

3 Things Great Leaders Always Do

Why is it so rare that employees look up to their boss? Why is it that most senior leadership are referred as more of the senior part and not so much the latter? How come more people don’t look up to the leader of the organization? Why is it so rare to find a visionary, humble, head of an organization?

In the future we’ll look up to leaders who understand and act upon these 3 must do’s.

1. You must have a clear vision.

If your staff don’t know where you’re going it’s going to be very difficult to follow you. If your vision isn’t simple most people won’t get it. If your purpose can’t be summed up in a short phrase, you probably haven’t drilled deep enough. If everyone on the board is comfortable with the simple vision, it’s not provocative enough. If you let a committee come up your purpose it isn’t going to get far. If you think the executive suite are the only ones who can come up with your purpose, you’re wrong. Purpose should be shared just as much with the top row and the front line employees. More often than not front line employees have a better grasp on what the company “actually” does than the executive row.

Business strategy that’s written by mbas is business strategy for mbas. Real people want simplicity, they want to know you care and they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

2. Actually care about people.

Don’t just say you care about people, that’s cliche and every company says they care about their people, very few actually show it.

You can tell what people and organizations care about by how they allocate their resources.

You can tell what people and organizations care about by how they allocate their resources.

You show people you care with your actions and how you spend your time and your money. Every company says they care about their people but how many create a bottom up feedback system? How many leaders actually have an open door policy? How many leaders would actually encourage employees to speak up when they disagree with a decision?

You show employees or members that you care when you listen to them, when you actively seek their feedback, when you truly want them to be a part of the decision making. If you truly do care about the people you work with, you’ll try to help them. When employees feel their voice will be heard and that they can make a difference, it’s like they’re working with a super power.

Anything becomes possible when the people we look up to empower us to achieve more than we are capable of.

3. Be the hardest working person in the organization.

Be the hardest working person in the organization

Leadership is service. Leaders work harder than everyone else, they rarely take credit and they put more fires out than anyone else. Leadership isn’t glamorous, it’s hard work.

Having people look up to you, rely on you, being a part of your team, is a small reward. The larger reward in this situation is watching the people under grow into a better leader, manager, and team player than you ever could be. Leadership is the humble act of always putting others first. When you find you’ve groomed a candidate that people look up to, are inspired by and that works harder than you do, you know you’ve done your job.

The goal of leadership is not to be indispensable, it’s quite the opposite. The goal of leadership is the day you don’t show up, everyone knows exactly what to do and the sustaining work to keep the organization is done.

Leadership is the highest form of service. Never forget that.

Leaders wanted.

Leaders wanted

Blackfish

3 Must Do’s To Tell a Compelling Story

1. Start off with a big bang

Introductions mean a lot in documentaries. They set the stage for what’s about to come. The intro can either turn the viewer on, having them beg for more, or can work against the film by boring the $!%$ out of the audience.

Searching for Sugarman begins with the controversial story of how Rodriguez killed himself. Some say it was a gun to the head, some say it was the most gruesome suicide in history, where he doused himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire in front of an audience. The beginning of this documentary in incredibly captivating, you can’t turn it off or switch the channel. You desperately want to know what happens. A sign of a great story is you can’t turn away because it’s so spellbinding.

2. Introduce Controversy

K2 is one of the deadliest mountains the world, far more dangerous to climb than Everest, for every four people who summit K2, one dies trying. This is the story of the fateful day 11 climbers never returned home from K2. One of the deadliest expeditions in mountain climbing history.

There are conflicting stories on how some people made it off K2 that fateful day, not every agrees to what happened. Were some people hero’s? Or were they just trying to be selfish. In desperate times, people do some strange things.

You can’t help but be at the edge of your seat the entire time the movie plays. The camera shots, the epic story that changes back and forth, and the mysticism around this life altering mountain that is so very hard to summit.

3. Tell an emotional story that pulls on people’s heart strings

Whenever a movie or documentary comes out that features animals, it’s hard not to get emotional. Yeah, I cried in Babe, Homeward Bound, and maybe The Lion King, didn’t everyone?

We have a natural (biological) tendency to care for babies and animals (and animal babies). When a documentary like Blackfish comes out you know it’s going to be an emotional ride but what you don’t know about is how these beautiful creatures are treated in captivity. It’s horrible. It’s hard to watch. You’re going to get emotional.

The good news is is that this documentary actually is influencing change in how the public views SeaWorld. Several articles have touched on the protests and how angry people are over SeaWorld, and even a bill introduced in California that could introduce the end of Killer Whale shows in the state as well as importing and exporting Killer Whales.

All of these documentaries can be found on Netflix. I strongly encourage you to watch.

To recap, telling a compelling story in the media, to a friend, on your website, in a video, in an article, remember these three things:

1. Start off with a bang 

2. Introduce controversy

3. Pull on peoples heart stings.

13 Grievances For The 2014 Social Media Season

How-many-twitter-followers-do-you-have-

1. Don’t ask me to like your page, Retweet you or buy something.

If it’s important I’ll find it on my own or a friend will tell me about it. I’ll buy it when I’m good and ready, stop asking me to do ‘something’ for you, and start doing things for others so that you may get something from them one day.

2. Your website sucks, so does mine.

I’m updating and improving my website today, what are you doing?

3. You can’t judge someone by their Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account.

You can only judge a person’s Twitter account, Facebook profile, Instagram account after meeting them in real life. Paradoxically you can lose all respect on social platforms by saying one thing wrong. And no, tweeting a couple things ‘right’ or automating your tweets gains you no respect whatsoever.

4. Giving people recommendations on LinkedIn for the sole purpose of increasing your own recommendation number is lazy and if you do that I hate you.

Just clicking a button to vote for a certain someone to be an “expert” in something is just lazy. Never talk about your recommendations on LinkedIn, it’s nothing to brag about. Now, instead why not write a couple of paragraphs about the person you work with that never gets credit but is one of the best coworkers you’ve ever had.

Bosses and manager, write nice thing about your people. If you can’t find nice things to say you’re not looking hard enough.

5. Nobody cares about the amount of Twitter followers you have or what your Klout score is. Stop bringing them up.

Didn’t think I had to mention this, but if you mention “Klout” or your “Klout Score” you are a huge nerd. Stop doing that.

6. It can be terrifying to face the metrics, but if Buckley’s taught us anything, things that are awful are good for us.

As Jim Collins says, you must face the brutal facts, what’s the most important thing to measure that determines success?! The ironic part of measurement is once you start measuring yoy really don’t need to do much further. Just the fact that you’re measuring results, humans tend to perform much much better when they can correlate what they’re doing with the results.

7. We get it, you have a Facebook page, now stop inviting us to your events.

Remember, there’s nothing easier than starting a Facebook page, creating an event, and inviting people to said event. If it’s “easy” EVERYONE IS GOING TO DO IT!!! Making your event no different than the other hundred events we get invited to on Facebook every day.

8. Nobody likes the “new” social network until everyone likes the “new” social network.

Be picky about where you spend your time but not too stubborn that you’ll end up still using a Blackberry in 2013.

9. Don’t ever use the phrase, “OH GOD YOU HAVE TO BE ON (insert any social platform)!”

To each their own. Stop thinking you’ll know exactly what someone else would prefer.

10. If you think being on Google plus is beneficial to your websites search engine optimization show me why, don’t just tell me to get on.

That goes for all social platforms by the way.

11. I get it, you like Vine.

But if you’re a person who’s in charge of your company do you think your best time is spent making and editing extremely short videos? (if you’re the exception to the rule please let me know in the comments below)

12. If you’re not on a social network or don’t know much about it don’t make fun of it or discount its legitimacy.

Few things make you look more unintelligent than poking fun at something you don’t understand.

13. If you still think Facebook and Twitter are good demand generation tools you’re way off your kilter.

They’re customer service and brand building tools. They are horrible at creating demand.

 

How Do You Scale Customer Service?

You Can't Scale The Un-scalable

Three not so simple steps to scale your customer service strategy.

1. A core attitude change
Keep Austin Weird

You need a set of core values. A set of guiding principles you can fall back on when times get tough. Sometimes it’s just a phrase, usually the simpler the better. The more simple the new attitude is to take on, the better chance of by-in.

Without a new attitude (which starts at your core) you’ll never create the change you need to, to be a proactive leader in customer service. Austin Texas has one of the most vibrant business communities in the United States and some of the coolest nightlife I’ve ever experienced. When you talk to locals they always mention how Austin is much different than most of Texas cities. They have a different attitude. I’m not sure what they had first, the coolest marketing slogan for a city or the coolest city to create a marketing slogan for. Either way, they get it, and the entire city rally’s around keeping Austin weird.

Read More
Professional Stock Photos-the wait a minute, i have one more really important something to tell you

3 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Won’t Exist In Five Years & What To Do About It

Underwhelming leadership, a reactive approach to technology, and a communications strategy that hasn’t evolved since 1999. This is the sorry state most nonprofits find themselves in. Leadership’s difficult to change, technology changes too much to understand, and marketing teams with a bad case of the “but it’s what we’ve always done!’s” syndrome.

You’re worse off than you thought if you don’t admit to having a problem.

The good news is that there is hope for you. Change isn’t fatal, not adapting is. Below are three thoughts on why I think many nonprofits are becoming obsolete. Agree or disagree, let me know in the comments below.

and make it a better place. it is in your hands to make a difference.

1. It’s never been easier to create a nonprofit.

It’s easier to start a business today, for and not for profit, than it was 20 years ago. The fact that you can start a nonprofit without leaving your couch (over simplification) is bound to increase the amount of entities that are started. The ease of entry to the market has caused an influx of nonprofits starting and subsequently dying before they had the chance to see the light of day all because some other organization with a more pressing issue moved into town. They cannibalize the publics’ wallet share for donations, with more and more organizations asking people for charitable dollars, the more difficult it is for charities to acquire the donations they used to collect with little to no effort.

Solution: Create loyalty. I weird concept for a nonprofit? Not anymore. How do you create loyal contributors? How do you increase repeat donations? How do you set up a referral engine for giving? Every organization is a little different but if you can Answer these questions for your nonprofit and you’re half way there. Keep reading for the other half.

2. There’s a nonprofit overseas needs more help than yours does.

The worldwide need for nonprofits is much more apparent. We communicate worldwide in real time now, problems on the other side of the world are now our problems too. As we learned with “Kony 2012”, within a couple clicks (or Retweets) I can see what some of the most important issues are today. And yes, we’re not always right in our first impression and sometimes we support organizations which later we regret (insert Kony 2012 into this category).

In the future we’re going to be exposed to the horrors of our world overseas and in the furtherest places on Earth from where we currently reside. Geography doesn’t matter. When humans need help on the other side of the world wallets begin opening and all those charity dollars that went to the local chapter of the Lions club all of a sudden left the city, province and country. 

SolutionMake an emotion connection with the problem you’re solving and the intended audience. The only reason donor dollars are going out of country is that there is a major perceived(real or fake) need for aid in other parts of the world. Rarely do local nonprofits make a compelling case as to why you should donate to your local food bank versus feeding children in a third world country. Find peoples heart strings and gently tug on them. First and foremost we Canadians need to ensure the wellbeing of our people so that in the future we can help other areas of the world.

3. We’re all looking for something to believe in and your organization isn’t doing it for me anymore.

As countries develop and generations get older, people look for ways to feel fulfilled, a purpose per se. This is getting increasingly more difficult. But more and more people are looking for alternative ways to get that rush in the bottom of their stomachs. That moment when you realize you’ve actually changed someones’ life for the better. Volunteering for an organization is one way to achieve this feeling.

Our world isn’t about to get less confusing (quite the opposite actually) and “giving back” is still an easy way to get that feeling that you’re putting a dent in the universe. With the decline of traditional spiritual/religious paths, the Y Generation and Millennials need a new outlet to find their own spirituality, a feeling found through serving others. But we’re not loyal to a fault. If your mission is getting stale, if your strategy has never evolved, if you’re behind on technology, you’re giving people a great reason to check out your competition.

Nobody wants to board a ship that’s sailing nowhere.

SolutionDefine (or redefine) your why. The reason your nonprofit exists. Develop the model of how you’re going to scale the impact you’re creating. Remember, a nonprofits ‘brand’ isn’t the logo or the advertising, or the website, the ‘brand’ is what the organization has done. Events ran, program put on, people affected. If you want a forward thinking brand set a BHAG, empower your people, try new initiatives, acquire feedback, and constantly improve upon last quarters results. Simple as that.

It always seems impossible until it's done.

Sources:

Nonprofits Are Growing, What Is It That They Do?

Nonprofit Fundraising Study – Covering Charitable Receipts at U.S. Nonprofit Organizations in 2011

Why Don’t the Best Nonprofits Grow?

Growth in the Non-profit Sector and Competition for Funding

 

The Best Problems Are Impossible

Impossible-Quotes-impossible-is-nothing

I love impossible problems. I love when you solve a once seemingly impossible problem and then have this realization of “wait a minute, if I was wrong about ________* what else could I be wrong about!?”.

People use the word never a lot. I could never do that. That would never work. You’ll never get there. It’s easy to say it won’t work. It’s easy to be a critic.

If only we all had the mind of a child. To children, there are no limits, no barriers, no hesitations, no red tape, no reason not to try the impossible.

Read More
Page 4 of 512345