Imagine if you could

My Favourite Business Book of All Time

Maverick written by Ricardo Semler in Brazil published in 1993. A transformational business book from start to finish. Completely counter what you’d come to expect from a Ricardo Semler MaverickBrazilian industrial tycoon. I think Mr. Semler is one of the most thought-provoking, honest, most humble leaders I’ve ever come across.

Semco, a heavy duty industrial manufacturer has no rules to live by. You pick your own hours, pick your own pay, pick your own vacation times, heck you even vote on your own managers regularly! Twice a year you fill out a 30 question questionnaire about your management and division you work in.

No one has a long term contact. No one is employed longer than 6 months. Everyone’s salary is openly known by anyone who cares to know.

Semco is the most democratic company I’ve ever read about, and they did it in a 1980’s Brazilian economy. Not the beacon of sought after economies you once thought, on the contrary, Brazil was avoid by many businesses because of the government, high inflation rates, and a fast growing unpredictable future. It’s astounding what Ricardo and Semco accomplished during this period in Brazil.

How did they get it so right?

Ricardo lucked out in a sense, his father build a multi-million dollar company. He became of age and realized it would never last in its current state. Plus the fact that second generation wealth is squandered 70% of the time, Ricardo had to make a gamble.

He was courageous in his decisions but the theme throughout his career and the book was that he cared (and still cares) dearly about people. It’s so refreshing to see in someone like him in a leadership role, putting people before profits.

Telling, forcing, commanding, never works. Inspiring, helping, listening, always does.

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you don't have to win awards to be fricken amazing

You Don’t Need To Win Awards To Be Fricken’ Amazing

One day in the StratLab office Eddy says,
“eh, chew guys ever see Aaron Draplin’s Ted talk?!”
Me: “What did you just say?!?”
Eddy: “Just watch this….”

 

Meet Aaron Draplin. A crazy hat wearing, beard grooming, design denim god. He’s what we strive to be one day. Just happy to be able to wake up and create art every day. That’s something to get excited about.

  1. He’s genuine (I mean he wore a hat and swore in a Ted talk, haha!).

  2. He does not care about awards (they just inflate ego).

  3. He’s incredibly excited to be able to do his art every day.

1. He’s genuine

He cares. He cares so much about his audience he wants to show them how to be original. When someone swears in front of your it’s a sign of respect, they’re comfortable enough to be themselves. When Aaron takes to the stage you instantly realize this isn’t going to be your regular speech. His outfit makes him look comfortable as well, jean jacket, trucker hat? He’s making it okay to be yourself.

2. He does not care about awards

In the marketing/advertising world it’s hard to get very far without finding out about “an award you could win!” or better yet “you should apply for this award!”. Apply for an award?!? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?!? Yet it happens all the time. Agencies attach “awards” they’ve won to proposals not knowing that clients want to hire them to create value for their organization, not simply win awards.

Winning awards can send you down a dangerous path. Always striving for the next award. What there is no more? You can’t control that outcome hence why this author thinks it’s very silly to focus on winning awards.

Finally Aaron doesn’t need an award to make him feel good, he just needs to look at the team he works with and the amazing volume of work they’ve created, and smile.

Awards are a false idol you’re seeking. Their poisonous, they change people, once you are an “award winner” you’re never the same. Stay hungry, stay thirsty.

3. He’s incredibly excited to able to do his Art every day

When I met Hugh MacLeod for the first time I asked which of his cards he created was his favourite. He said he had a lot he really liked but one always came to mind.

“If you have your health and you can make a decent living doing what you love, then you have little reason to envy other people.” -Hugh MacLeod

If you have your health and you get to do what your love

The way Aaron looks when he talks about being “able” to do his art every day. That’s incredible. That’s what I want to become.

You don't have to win awards to be fricken amazing-strategy lab

whens the last time you bought something from a salesperson that you weren’t in the market for

If you want donations to your cause don’t ask for money 

If you want me to buy something the last way to do that is by trying to sell it to me. What you need to do is pitch me your why. 

I still remember the Tweet. It was from Kayla Kozan, she said “Someone trying to sell you a watch is probably a watch sales-person.” Meaning, if someone is trying to get you to buy something you should simply say no because they obviously have an interest in you buying it from them.

How do you sell in a world where Vacuum Cleaner sales people no longer exist? 

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Keep Thinking Different

Keep Thinking Different

A recent addition to Netflix “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine” is a new look at the fascinating life of a change agent. Inspiring stories, interviews with people that worked with him, and the negative side to being a visionary. They don’t beat around the bush, people admitted that at times he was a tyrant, but those same people also talk about how much they learned while working for Jobs.

It’s an interesting watch, I hope you do! We all need a little inspiration every now and then, this documentary reminds us that we need to keep thinking different.

Big Idea Camp 2.alright alright alright-regina

Big Idea Camp 2.Alright Alright Alright

Last year’s Beta version of Big Idea Camp blew our expectations. The participants, the companies involved, and the sheer creativity these students brought to the camp was inspiring enough to grow it even bigger.

Enter Big Idea Camp 2.Alright Alright Alright!!! 

4 days, 8 competitions, 9 corporate sponsors, 2 teams going head to head in the wildest, most creative business competition in North America.

All the fun starts August 2nd and goes till August 5th. Thanks to Cowork Regina for the office space they generously donated for the week. Some of what to expect for the week:

  • The Carmichael Outreach Diaper Challenge. Who can acquire the most amount of Diapers and donations for Carmichael Outreach!
  • The Creative Options Regina (COR) Postcard challenge. Who will design the winning postcard that we’ll print for COR on behalf of you! 
  • The What The Food Truck Downtown Regina challenge. Who will win the Chop style “cook-off” in the park for lunch! 
  • The Capital Auto 30-second spot competition. Which team with create the commercial that Capital Auto actually uses for their marketing material?!? 
  • The Association of Regina Realtors Snap Chat Challenge! Who will complete the Snap Chat Scavenger Hunt first?! Get your filters ready!!!! 
  • The #PulseCity Challenge. How do you sell an amazing superfood that widely unknown but a staple in our local farmers fields? 
  • Financial Friday! A trip to Conexus Credit Union for several competitions with the topic being financial literacy! How well do you know #FinLit? Test your teams knowledge not only on financial literacy but also teamwork and creativity. 

Huge thanks for all our sponsors who make Big Idea Camp happen. Conexus Credit Union, Association of Regina Realtors, The Home Expert Team, Carmichael Outreach, Capital Auto Mall, Creative Options Regina, Regina Downtown, Cowork Regina, and of course Strategy Lab. 

Want to learn more about the funnest week of Summer? Check out the Big Idea Camp Schedule here.

Why Podcast?

 

Over the past few years the podcast as a content piece has seen a major resurgence. Much like the rise, fall, and rebirth of blogs (remember the early Blogger sites?) podcasts have found new life. But why should you as a business or as a person care? Why should you podcast? If you’re reading this instead of listening to the recording above, you’re probably a little skeptical. Here are six reasons why you should stop reading right now and hit that “play” button!

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Better and Faster Book

Better And Faster: The Proven Path To Unstoppable Ideas [7 Quotes]

No matter what business you’re in, to thrive you must fight the presumption that you know your customer

“No matter what business you’re in, to thrive you must fight the presumption that you know your customer.”

As soon as you claim to “know your ideal customer” you’ve lost. You no longer try to impress, you develop a standard operating procedure, you try and stream line your operation at the detriment of your customer. Always, always, ALWAYS ask for feedback and never shut down a customer from speaking their mind, even if you disagree. The fact that you are willing to open yourself up to feedback it a step ahead of everyone else.

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You Dont Have to be Goofy to be Different

You Don’t Have to be Goofy to be Different // eps 43 #InTheLab

Being Different Doesn’t Mean Being Goofy

It’s bothered me for a while now. I give people my business card or a lottery ticket, they smile and the first thing they say is, “Oh we can’t be goofy like that!!” Well no $!%& Sherlock!! I don’t expect you to outright copy what we do, it’s the thought that matters. It’s the intention of being a little bit different in a lot of little ways.

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Upliftingstshirts dot see eh website

The Aftermath of UpliftingT-shirts.ca | eps 40 #InTheLab

“It worked, it really worked!”

We went into this class not knowing what to expect. It was my first time teaching entrepreneurship and I wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity for some hands on learning!! A few weeks back before we started UpliftingTshirts.ca I filmed this #InTheLab episode asking the question, how do you teach entrepreneurship?  At that time I had no idea what would happen with our newly founded company disguised as an experiment disguised as a class.

A business disguised as an experiment disguised as a class

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Why It’s Always Better To Be The Underdog | Eps 39 #InTheLab

David and Goliath

In Malcolm Gladwell’s critically acclaimed David and Goliath he starts the book off with an interesting story about the Biblical account of the famous underdog parable “David vs Goliath”. In class Gladwell style, he completely changes your mind about what had happened many, many years ago. Several factors contributed to the odds not being against David but were actually in his favour.

David vs Goliath

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