don't take the credit

Don’t Take The Credit

Awards are overrated!

I received an email “sorry to bother, but would you mind voting for me? I’ve been nominated for an award!”. They were serious. I went and voted for their competitors out of spite.

Kidding!

In all honesty, it’s 2017.Who sends an email asking for a vote?

Ask on social media sure, maybe text or talk to your close friends.In my eyes the more people you have to ask to vote for you, the less you deserve the award.

I do realize this comes off as a rant from someone, who doesn’t win awards. Ha! You’d be right if you thought that, but I don’t think awards matter! Here are four individuals, who have put award winning on the back burner and focused on doing things that matter.

For every winner, there must be a loser. Every time you show, talk about, or mention an award you won, it’s simply your ego rearing it’s ugly face. Don’t do it. Don’t buy in. Don’t talk about awards you won. There’s a time and a place for it. During a job interview, on your LinkedIn Account sure, but in your social media bio? No!

Don't tell me what you invented. Tell me about who you changed

In the words of Seth Godin, “Don’t tell me what you invented. Tell me who you have changed.”

Humility is a virtue.

When you send an email asking someone to vote for you to win an award it makes you seem desperate. Awards are special, meant to celebrate something remarkable you did. If you ask others to “vote” for you via email, personally, I don’t think you deserve the award. With all the commotion about the awards out there, I thought something had to be said.

In the business community when you find out the vast majority of “awards” companies and people win, they had someone close to them apply for it, it doesn’t really seem like awards matter. Literally, an agency nominating their own client work for an award? I get a part of it, I mean, it makes them look great, but eventually unwarranted awards will ketchup to you. Results will always matter more than awards.

If you could afford to buy an award would you?

Five years ago a client asked about an ethical dilemma she was having.

“Do you think we should keep advertising in major Canadian magazine, they’re the ones who decide on Canada’s 50 Top Employers.We seem to be on the list if we advertise, but we won’t be if we pull our budget. What do we do?

If you automatically throwout the notion on advertising to win an award ask yourself, why? Sure it feels unethical, but all the major companies do it.Well at least the ones winning the awards anyway… You can choose to be a part of that world, or you can choose a different path.

How the holy hell did he get an award?

I always find it fascinating to look into the criteria for winning awards, generally someone has to apply for it. This reminds me of my 3rd year University. The Business faculty always had scholarships for “the top students”. This made no sense, because the top students were usually the kids who didn’t have to work, had school paid for, and could focus all their attention on class. Myself, on the other hand struggled to pay for school, had a terrible average and would have LOVED a scholarship. I just didn’t agree with “applying for it”.

As the story goes, my arch nemesis, the know-it-all kid, who never wanted to help out with the Business Students Society, who actually quit on us, applied for the BSS funded scholarship. Then he won. I couldn’t believe it. Why the hell would you pick the guy that was doing fine to give a scholarship to? Here I was struggling to get through classes (though I never failed one!) volunteering my ass off and the goodie two shoes just got a free ride, because he had a high average?!?

That’s when I began to mistrust “school” and any awards given away at school.

Life’s about being able to do your art, not winning awards.

Eddy introduced me to an amazing designer that he looks up to, Aaron Draplin. I’ve written about him before, You don’t need to win awards to be amazing. But I think you should watch his Ted Talk. He doesn’t care about awards, he cares about being able to do his art every single day.

What good is an award if you aren’t happy?

Aaron is a happy guy, my favourite part of his talk is when he talks about how lucky he is to just be able to do his art every day. How often we all take for granted what we do for a living? Here’s a guy, who is one of the most amazing designers of our generation and he is very open about not winning awards. I look up to people like Mr. Draplin. He could apply for awards and put that on his website and proposals, but I think his work speaks for itself.If you’re good enough you won’t need awards to make you feel better. Plus, putting syrup on shit doesn’t make it a pancake. Stop worrying about awards and start worrying about results!

pancake quote

What about BIG awards like the Nobel prize?

The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis tells the story of the remarkable relationship of two brilliant Israeli Psychologists, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. Amos wasn’t a fan of awards. For every winner there had to be a handful of losers and that just wasn’t fair to Amos.

When the Nobel committee called Amos to notify him he was on a very short list to win the Nobel Prize in Economics, Amos didn’t even take the call. He was quoted later saying winning the Nobel prize wasn’t one of the things he was going to miss when he was gone. The Nobel Prize comes with a $1,000,000 cash prize. Not a small prize to be walking away from. Amos died far too early, the behavioural economics community and the world lost a brilliant mind on June 2, 1996.

This was coming for a guy that was offered a job for the rest of his life from one of the top Universities in the world. Amos, was one of the greatest thinkers of our time! On his deathbed when the President of Stanford was preparing a last lecture and celebration for Amos, he quickly called and negotiated out of the big celebration. He never wanted to credit for what he did, it just wasn’t important to him.

undoing project quote-amos

How smart was Amos Tversky? Really?

The Tversky Intelligence Test.

In 2013 in Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath, Gladwell tells a story about how highly Amos Tversky was regarded among his peers. As told to Gladwell by psychologist Adam Alter, the Tversky intelligence test was, “The faster you realized Tversky was smarter than you, the smarter you were.

Don’t take credit for what isn’t yours.

Shep Gordon never needed the credit. (I’ve written about Shep Gordon, the Supermench before). When a music manager works on an album or with an artist they are entitled to royalties for perpetuity of the sales that album makes. Shep never signed contracts with artists to guarantee royalties. He never thought he needed to, he trusted the people he worked with. This created loyalty with the artists and groups he worked with. Shep’s reputation proceeded him, after he is referred to as the Supermench. He did admit there was a fine line between smart and stupid when using contracts though. Not to claim royalties on an album like the Beatles Anthology (he worked on it) would fall into the category of the later.

Shep is still doing fine, instead of all that money he’d much rather have Mike Myers refer to him as “the nicest person he has ever met”.

Being a good teammate is better than winning an award.

From the book Give and Take, Adam Grant tells the story of George Meyer a habitual ‘giver’ that has never worried about receiving credit, even though he was involved in some major television productions in the past 30 years.

If his name – George Meyer doesn’t – sound familiar, the shows he’s worked on will; Saturday Night Live, Late Night With David Letterman and The Simpsons. Many people involved with The Simpson’s production agreed that Meyer was a pivotal part of the team, a linchpin really.

Your reputation is far more valuable than receiving credit or an award.

Seeing your name in the credits is an ego boost.

Many people in the entertainment industry thrive off the mention of their name in the credits. To be a part of a major production even as a small role, most people would demand their name appear in the credits. George Meyer was not one of those people. Meyer was a writer and producer on over 300 episodes of the Simpsons and was only mentioned Twelve times in the credits. Having his name mentioned in the credits wasn’t important to him, being an integral part of the team was. We should all strive to be a little more like George Meyer.

being a good teammate is better than winning an award

Congratulations StratLab! You won an award!

Finally if you don’t believe me that awards are something you should never focus on or put time in to, because you never know when someone just makes something up. Look to the top right hand corner of this page (sorry not on mobile). “Canada’s 50 Most Inclusive Employers” was an award I made up to celebrate the first 50 companies participating in the 4to40 initiative. See even you can make up an award and give it to whoever you choose.

Thanks to Aaron, Amos, Shep and George for setting an example for future leaders.

I look up to these four individuals for the courage it took to focus on what really mattered to them. Instead of idolizing pop, culture icons or TV stars try putting up a poster of Amos Tversky in your office. Or maybe it’s a Draplin original, to keep yourself humble at work. I love looking up to people like this, people I want to be like some day. After all, we become our hero’s in the end don’t we? Just make sure you pick the right hero’s to emulate.

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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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!

supermensch-the legend of shep gordon

10 Business Lessons From The Amazing Supermench, Shep Gordon


Supermench, the legend of Shep Gordon. So I’m listening to the Timothy Ferriss Podcast and this guy who Tim’s about to interview has one of the coolest introductions, Shep’s done a lot. He’s cooked for His Holiness the Dali Lama, entertained who’s-who of Hollywood, and managed some of the most amazing musical acts, then the most amazing chefs in the world. He was a brilliant story teller and had accomplished so much. He seemed content, I wanted to know more. So i bought the book, They Call Me Supermench: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing Worlds of Film, Food, and Rock’n’Roll. This post is inspired by the book. I highly recommend it. Entertaining, funny, and thought-provoking, one of my favourite books this year.

This quote pretty much sums up Shep.

hero

Shep Gordon is one of my hero’s, here are a few reasons why.

1. Create history.

Don’t wait for it to happen, you can create history. Most people believe all you have is what you’re dealt, like you can change your future if you want to. What a lie! Create history. When Shep first started managing his first artist, Alice Cooper, these were his marching orders, to create history. Quite literally working with Alice they didn’t try to “market” Alice Cooper, he didn’t “advertise” Alice Cooper. No that’s what the other managers would do, if he really wanted to stand out he needed to create history. 

Whether it was wrapping an album in Panties or shooting Alice Cooper out of a cannon, Shep tried nearly everything. The first time Alice was to play in the UK they needed a really aggressive stunt as ticket sales were nonexistent. Shep got a flatbed truck with a giant billboard on the back displaying Alice wearing nothing by a large snake. Oh and he paid the driver handsomely to ensure the truck “broke down” several times in Piccadilly Square downtown London during rush hour. The driver was subsequently arrested, but they sold the show out! Create history. 

Or the time that they promised to shoot Alice out of a cannon on stage in Pittsburgh. The problem was the cannon didn’t work. The night before the big show, Shep invited media to a “pre-concert party” where they were going to demo the cannon shot, how exciting! Shep was up to something, because when the cannon fired, Alice (or a dumby, who knows!) fired but only went ten feet. Panic strikes, the star is injured! Rush him to the hospital!

On the news you’d hear of the “accident” and how Alice was hurt with “non-life threatening” injuries. He played the show the next night in a wheel chair with hospital staff on stand-by if anything should go wrong. But how could it? It was all staged, Alice wasn’t hurt at all. It worked perfectly.

Create history, don’t wait for it to happen.

Create history

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You can judge a company based on how many thank you cards they get

You Can Measure Success by The Amount of Thank You Cards Received

We have a row of cards at the StratLab office we keep there as a reminder of why we do what we do. A hand written thank you card is something so precious because you rarely see them anymore. Think about the times you’ve given away a hand written card, and think of the times you’ve received one. Those moment are very special here’s why.

It’s hard to fake a thank you card. Generally people who give a hand written note REALLY mean it. You never write a nice thank you note because you “ran out of time to thank someone”, or “you couldn’t figure out what to get them!”. No you wrote the thank you note because you actually care. Something very rare these days.

It’s hard to take time out of your day to write something using your thoughts, that’s why it means so much more.

In a world where a tweet, snap or post on Facebook is so simple to do, write a hand written note, you’d be surprised as to how far it goes.

Learning Friday

Learning Friday(s) 2017

We want to be one of the most caring, smartest, driven companies in the world. How can we do that? By working on the team!

Every Friday after lunch our team gets together and learns something about work at @StratLab. We invite clients to learn with us and so far it’s been awesome!

Week one was “All About Dat Measurement”

This coming week (January 27th) is “Learning About Your CreativEddy” -with your favourite @edwardoalvaro.

  • Learn how he uses Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Learn what goes though his mind when he posts on Instagram
  • Learn how to put simple text over a photo as well as make simple edits
  • Delve into the awesome world of Edwardo Alvaro

February 3rd – 5 Minutes Question Roundtable, no question is off limits.

Business Card-goes good with your face

February 10th – Eddy (Illustrator) Alvaro is leading down another creative rabbit hole. 

  • Reviewing Photoshop quick keys (lets make a checklist!)
  • Troubleshooting in photoshop
  • Creating freaking amazing Instagram moments

Photoshop Phun

 

February 17th – Creating your own business cards/team building

  • You business cards should reflect you, your personality, your beliefs. Let’s create some!
  • Similar to the Hugh cards, we make personalized business cards by illustrating and putting quotes on the back
  • What’s on the front you ask? Well lets decide as a team!

February 24th – Brooke on how to create a following on Instagram

  • How do you make pictures look GOOD?
  • What frequency do you post at? Time of day? Day of the week? Are those annoying questions?
  • How do you gain a following?

March 3rd – Andy on how to make you a better videographer with 5 tips

  • How can you take a simple video, add music, a title and post, AND still make look good? ………..You can’t.
  • How do you prioritize what to do when creating a major video? (Walter Scott as an example)
  • What have you changed your mind on in regards to video in the last three months? What trends are happening currently?

March 10th – Conrad on how to be a better, faster, smarter writer

February 24th – Brandon on how he designs a website and where websites are going in 2019

If Vacuum Cleaner Sales People No Longer Exist How The Hell Do They Sell Vacuums

If Vacuum Cleaner Sales People No Longer Exist How The Hell Do They Sell Vacuums?

Ask Dyson or Roomba.

You don’t sell by selling anymore, you sell by doing something different.

Different enough to get someone to talk about you. That’s it. Not different to be goofy, no, different to be top-of-mind in your market space. That spot is left to the most innovative companies in the world, and you can do it too.

Vacuum cleaner sales people no longer exist. At one time what a great profession! Think about it, you choose your own hours, you get exercise while working, you get to meet new people all the time and you choose how much money to make. Based on the amount of hours you put in, you can make a lot in a very little amount of time.

You can see why many people went into this profession, good wages, fun work, what more could you ask for. The better you could manipulate sell people on a vacuum, the more money you were to make. The problem is that way of thinking doesn’t work anymore.

i am the future

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At least you tried

The Next Time Someone Doesn’t Like Your Original Idea Remember….

They just don’t get it yet.

John Cleese’s advice is so perfect for creatives, “if you do something a bit original nobody gets it at the start”. You can’t be discouraged when someone doesn’t like your new idea. They just don’t get it yet.

I used to have the wallpaper on my computer of a Seth Godin quote: “All the creativity books in the world aren’t going to help you if you’re unwilling to have lousy, lame and even dangerously bad ideas.”.

No one understands an original idea in it’s first form, that’s why you shouldn’t get discouraged when people don’t like your ideas. The trick is to keep coming up with ideas, that way, when someone doesn’t like one of your ideas that’s just fine, tomorrow you’ll come up with another and the day after that another. As long as you keep creating, keep trying, and keep pushing yourself to get to that “one” person to say, “I get it”, you’ll be just fine. It’s that endless pursuit that makes it fun isn’t it?

If you do something a bit original nobody gets it at the start

the-whole-basis-of-gentle-teaching-isnt-trying-to-change-the-individuals-behaviour-but-rather-changing-our-approach-on-how-we-serve-the-individuals

Capital C the Movie

The Sharing Economy: The Biggest Change Since The Industrial Revolution

Presented Nov 24th at the Regina Realtors Association Business builder day. Here are some of the videos we had a look at.
From the documentary on Netflix, Capital C comes the story of “Freaker USA”. One of the coolest Kickstarter success stories.

Freaker Kickstarter from freakerusa on Vimeo.

Next to put into perspective what goes on in a given year of search on Google.


Finally when you get depressed about when someone says something bad to you online watch this:

Country Music artists read out angry tweets written about them.

I don’t think you can find a better song about the new online world. And Alanis Morissette just had a way speaking to my soul. Hope you enjoy!

 

Want to see a brand new website the @Stratlab team just launched? Welcome to Normanview Dental

At Normanview Dental we want to see you smile-dentists regina

I'm sorry I'm just too busy

Stop Saying You’re Too Busy || Eps 37 of #InTheLab


When ever someone says “I’m too busy” I’m always reminded of a story I heard about from a Volleyball coach I look up to. In grade 11 leading into grade 12 I wanted to get better at Volleyball. I told my coach I wanted to play pepper (simple volleyball drill) more and he offered to come in the morning twice a week to play pepper at 7:30 in the morning. We did this for a couple months and I really think it helped my Volleyball skill in the long run. But more importantly, he was willing to volunteer MORE of his time to make me better. That’s dedication.

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