In school they tell you to sit in a row, do what your told and don’t question authority. In university they make you memorize material from a previous decade and try to tell you that you have to be professional to make it. It’s implied that you don’t dress like a slob but why is being professional a sought after characteristic?
As I step up onto my soap box, disgusted with the way some folks are running their business, I look to the future of our world where we support the companies who are growing our community and we avoid like the plague businesses just out to make money.
1. You can’t just make money anymoreRead More›
1. The world is changing faster than you can imagine.
“Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone.”
On a single day on the Internet there are:
Over 2 million Google search queries
48 hours of new YouTube videos
684,000 bits of content shared on Facebook
More than 100,000 tweets
$272,000 spent on e-commerce
If you disappeared tomorrow, who would miss you? What distinct advantage does your organization create? Why is your mission a noble cause? Ask these questions early and often or else you may find your organization obsolete. To the Not-for-profits that take advantage of the changing online landscape and embrace technology your audience will adore you and you will attract a new smarter customer who (if you do your job right) becomes a loyal evangelist.
2. Every year, every month, every day, people have less attention than they did last year, last month, and yesterday. How are you getting peoples’ attention?
There’s a new not-for-profit starting up tomorrow who’s mission is better than yours, who help more people than you and who can do what you do for cheaper. What are you going to do about it? How will you stand out? How will you be remembered? How do you get to the point where people seek YOU out? If you don’t standout you definitely aren’t going to be remembered. You need to create a “Social Object” that people can associate with your cause.
3. You’re only as smart as the feedback you’re getting.
Not-for-profits are really bad at this. Trying to get feedback as an organization is a very forward thinking endeavour. Not-for-profits are not very forward thinking entities(rash generalization but true). Every year they talk about what they did last year and how well it went. No critical breakdown of what happened, no holding people accountable to goals set last year, and no wants to change in the future to get better. It’s that last part that bothers me the most. Because these aren’t profit generating entities it doesn’t make sense to adapt and innovate and strive to lead a market.
The only thing more risky than changing is staying the same.
Everything about business is changing at an alarming rate right now, your only hope in survival is ensuring you’re getting feedback from your customers and employees.
Since we were children, feedback has been the only way we learn. Why is that any different for not-for-profits? You need a feedback strategy, and an honest one. If you have a 56 Question Questionnaire providing your feedback for you, just know you’re basing your information on the sick twisted person that would fill out a 56 question Questionnaire.
4. You can’t change what people say about you, but you can influence it.
“Branding” in 2014 is what people say about you behind your back. As a Not-for-profit if your members smile to your face but bad mouth you behind your back that’s a terrible brand. If you have complete board turnover every year that’s bad. IF you have past board members that refuse to be contacted, that’s bad!
Your reputation precedes you. Google your name, what comes up? You have a personal brand whether you like it or not, most people don’t understand they can influence it if they want to. Not-for-profits usually have an advantage here, your reputation is what you’ve done, the people you’ve helped and the impact you’ve created. The RedCross is one of the most recognized “brands” in the world and I would argue it has nothing to do with their messaging (though the logo is pretty ubiquitous), it has everything to do with their impact. Otherwise when you see the infamous Red “+” sign you wouldn’t immediately attribute positive characteristics.
5. Face the brutal facts.
Yes this is stolen from Jim Collin’s book Good To Great. You must face the brutal facts about your organization and marketplace. People don’t have time to care about your organization, no one does. You have to pitch why your not-for-profit matters. I’ve been on a board where we only talked about the good things we did, how great every event was, and never brought up any criticism or created an urgency to get better.
Confront the hard facts, the longer you put off the truth the worse it gets when it finally becomes a reality. Business changes, Not-for-profits change. The only ignorant thing to do is assume we know what we’re doing and not seek out feedback.
6. You can tell people’s priorities by the way they allocate their resources (time, money).
I’ve met people who give their time selflessly year in and year out. I look up to these people, they truly understand priorities in life. They put relationships before money. People before work and organizations over themselves. These people are the builders of our communities. You have no idea how much these selfless people have given in time to ensure that people they don’t even know get to enjoy (insert community event, sports team, or club here). From Brownies and Scouts to Hockey and Basketball organizations, boys and girls clubs and sports clubs. The one thing they have in common is people like you and me built them.
The unsung heros are the people who tirelessly volunteer their time to work, coach, organize, plan and do all the things that it takes to make Not-for-profits tick. If you meet someone who’s been a part of a Not-for-profit for a while just assume they’re amazing, you have no idea how much they’ve given.
If you want to find out about someone’s work ethic ask somebody they volunteered with on a board or an organization. Reputations go a long way. I find myself recommending people I’ve volunteered with and coached with a lot. You trust someone on another level when you know they believe in giving their time back to help others.
7. At any given moment, one or a few people can ruin it for everyone, you must ignore past these people.
People love to complain. You have to constantly remind yourself that it’s easy to be a critic and it’s hard to take negative feedback and actually act upon it. On volunteer boards I find this to happen a lot. People LOVE to complain without offering any other solutions. People love to tell you you’re wrong. People love to say “it won’t work”. You have to ignore these people.
Create a culture of proactive feedback, never are you allowed to say “I don’t like it this way!” without providing another plausible way.
8. There’s nothing more important than having a clear vision that everyone understands.
Those who built the visionary companies wisely understood that it is better to understand who you are than where you are going – for where you are going will almost certainly change.
-Built to Last by Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras
Many business folks I’ve met underestimate the power of a vision. But most companies try to explain “everything we’re good at” without “pissing some department” in their mission statement. Effectively making it useless. Einstein said you only truly know a subject when you can explain it to a six year old. that’s my philosophy when it comes to your organizations vision, simply down to a few words that you could explain to a six year old.
Regina Volleyball Club: Lets grow Volleyball
University of Regina Alumni Association: Build Pride
Regina Police Service: Public Servie First
Creative Options Regina: Gentle teaching
9. Fun can be a competitive advantage.
In the future the best organizations will have done the most important thing, attracted the best people. To attract the best people you have to have an amazing cause, but not just that, you have to create a work environment that people would seek out. A workplace to love. People will take a pay cut and make other sacrifices just so that they can work with people they like, and people we like are the people we have the most fun with.
Fun can be a competitive advantage.
Think about it, at a board meeting have you ever asked: “how could we make our meetings more fun?”. Most don’t bring that up because they still think doing what they’ve always done is enough to attract younger, smarter, better talent. If your meetings are fun it’s going to be easier to attract better people in the future.
If you encourage your employees to have fun more often they will respect the workplace more, tell people about how great it is to work there, and when shit really does hit the fan, employees you’ve encouraged to have fun will be there for the organization. It’s when we’re at our worst our allies matter the most. Make strong supporters out of your members, encourage them to be themselves and have fun.
We had this argument the other night.
Which is better at a young age; working at a gas station or working at a fast food restaurant?
My theory goes, at a gas station your job is very transactional. You want to pump gas, pay, and get the hell out of there as fast as possible. Making the working life of a gas station attendant one very lonely job where no one really wants to talk to you (not that it’s your fault).
At a fast food restaurant, McDonald’s till worker for argument sake, you have to interact with customers all day long. You can make people smile, make people laugh and also piss people off. But that’s a great lesson to learn at a young age, how to read and react to people.
It’s not just reading people and reacting to what they say and do, it’s being self-aware in those situations to know when to step out of what’s expected and do the unexpected. To provide a higher level of customer service is an incredibly valuable skill to learn. A skill that is highly underrated in our world.
It’s hard to over deliver at a gas station, unless you can pump the gas like 8 times as fast, then, ummm yup! You’re on to something big! How else could you over deliver at a gas station though? This is my justification that working at a service based job at a young age teaches you so much more than simple mathematics, punching buttons on a till and saying thank you, come again (not that there’s anything wrong with a friendly salutation).
Every day someone provides unbelievable service to someone who wasn’t expecting it.
Everyday we all have the chance to over deliver on something, to make someone smile, to make someone’s day. The easier your job allows you to help other people, the happier you’re going to be working for that company.
What do you think? What is a better job, working at a gas station or working at McDonald’s?
that’s why most events aren’t that good. How many presentations, conferences, lecture’s, speeches, keynotes, and guest talks have you been in that have completely bored you to death? It’s become an epidemic, and I hate it.
If you don’t intentionally try to create a memorable event why do you think people will remember it?
Start with: why will people remember this? Why will my event be different? How do we get people walking out after the event saying “holy $#!& that was amazing!!”. Maybe therein lies the secret: to create “holy $#!&” moments.
Most events aren’t meant to be remembered, but why not? Don’t you want your next event to go down in history as one of the best _________ of all time?
When planning you must ask how are we going to get people to remember this? If you don’t you’re almost guaranteed that people will do the opposite.
In every relationship on the planet, whether that be a strong or a week tie, there’s a power balance in each and every one.
By power I mean authority but not in the traditional sense. You can have contrived power, this is classic dictatorship. This power balance is highly skewed towards the dictator and the further down the line you get that less respect they have for the person in charge.
In the 1993 classic, Schindler’s List, Oskar Schindler talking to Amon Goeth (a notorious Nazi Army Commander) about what real power is, Schindler defined it as “power is when we have every justification to kill, and we don’t”.
Power isn’t exercising your right to punish someone or do something negative. Power is realized or increased when one holds restraint and shows compassion.
Here’s a video we came across one day scouring the annals of the internets. It makes a clear case as to why you shouldn’t be buying Facebook likes. With every fake like added to your page, every real person liking your page
will see less and less of your content. Basically, if you artificially inflate your your Facebook likes, you’re hurting yourself in the long run.
Many people can’t do it and Facebook isn’t for everyone. Brandon and I have agreed that Facebook isn’t something we want nor should be focusing on right now. Hence we don’t have an undated Facebook page. If you can’t put the time in, it isn’ worth it.I think this is a brilliant lesson for any situation in life where you have the choice to either a)work hard for something or b) take the easy way out and pay for it. The former is always the harder choice but it comes with a larger reward as well. It’s hard to come up with current and consistent content for Facebook. But if you do it for a long time you get faster and more efficient at it and over time you get a name for yourself. The keywords there are “over time” nothing on social happens over night.
On the other hand, if you do put in the time, you’re going to create a following and inspire a lot of people (COR does a great job of this on Facebook). COR doesn’t pay for likes on Facebook, they acquired them organically from people who love what they share. (that’s why I liked their page, go check out the images they share)
Anytime there’s a choice of the hard way or the easy way, take the hard way. You’ll be happier in the long run. And for crying out loud stop trying to buy influence on Social Media sites, be that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Buying influence never works.
What do you think? Can you buy influence?
Have you ever sat and wondered why your website isn’t getting the traffic you think it deserves?
The key to good traffic stems from many core parts, one of them being:
You could have the most outstanding content in the world, with videos that look like they were directed by Michael Bay (minus the scantily clad women of course), and writing that would bring a tear to Shakespeare’s eye, but if your website is not optimized properly you may not be getting the traffic you deserve.
One key part of optimization is the use of keywords on your page, in your blog, or anywhere else relevant on your website. We tried a little experiment in the lab here to see what the Top Home Construction Related Keywords in Regina are and this is what we came up with.
Now, if you are in the business of homes and you want your website to have more traffic, knowing which keywords perform best and optimizing for those keywords is your golden ticket!
Of course, optimizing is not the only thing that needs to be done to get more traffic to a website but it is definitely a step in the right direction. If you think your website may be lacking and might need a little boost, we might be able to help! Just fill out the contact form on the Contact page and we we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.
Three not so simple steps to scale your customer service strategy.
1. A core attitude change
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.