This was the latest sticker COR had printed and left out in a container on a table just inside their office. A circular container that has the likes of stickers, postcards, magnets, stress balls, pens, you name it. All with similar bright colours and uplifting messages. The table they are on is located by the pinball machine, just down the hall from the coffee bar and to the right of the foosball table, and PS4 complete with beanbag chairs for optimum gaming comfort.
This isn’t your regular not-for-profit organization
I’ve never met anyone with the same consistent energy. COR has its own unique culture and brand. Talk to their employees family members, even people who don’t work there any more, you’ll hear nothing but amazing stories about how gentle teaching has changed their life. They don’t run the organization like a regular non-profit, they do things different and they don’t apologize for it. COR is a breathe of fresh air in an industry that was getting stuffy.
COR is an inspiring organization. You don’t have to go far to hear some of these stories:
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.
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.
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.
One of the worst parts of my younger years was ironically during the 2010 Vancouver winter Olympics. I say Ironically because unless you’re a close friend of mine, you’ve never heard this story. And it really wasn’t that bad looking back, while I was there I was going through utter turmoil .
My videographer friend (Riley Moynes) and I were hired to be the online video bloggers for the Saskatchewan pavilion during the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics! What an unbelievable experience I said, you have to do it I said to my self, at any cost. At any cost.
And boy did it cost a lot, but my trade off was I learned so much while being there, a once in a lifetime experience I’ll never forget.
When we agreed to do it we thought we could have a lot of fun doing Rick Mercer style interviews while producing Vice style video blogs. That’s wasn’t what we were hired to do. The Government representative flat out did not want this to come across as fun, no no, she had a much different idea. We were to report back to her with all video ideas before we were to shoot them. She’d send the ideas about to her counterparts in Saskatchewan and decision by committee made our lives pretty shitty for a while. Talk about micromanagement! I loathed it.
On top of terrible working situation I was staying in an apartment with a friend that was a bus, then train ride away to and from the Sask Pavilion. We didn’t have a fridge, 45 minute commute on a good day, a hour and a bit on a bad day. It was hell on earth. I know why people in big cities are miserable a lot of the time, it’s draining to commute so much. Every day the same, every day no more fun just shitty videos. I had to eat out every day on the same budget I was used to in Regina. I ended up using my credit card way to much. But I had no choice, it was a once in a lifetime experience, you don’t give up during those experiences. You bite your tung, you lie to yourself, you say everything will be alright.
I got home sick. So home sick my friend Derek asked if I wanted him to fly my girlfriend out there. It was a nice gesture, I declined.
My saving grace was Riley. He talked me off the ledge several times there, one day I had my head set on leaving early, but he convinced me to stay. We Sushi’d lots, went to a couple Olympic events, and one morning we almost lost him to a riot downtown Vancouver. He edited the videos we shot every day, he was a machine, I really don’t know how he did it. He had to work way more than I did, but that’s why I’ve always looked up to him. That’s why I still look up to him, he did everything I had to do without complaining. Incredible.
Towards the end of the Olympics we started just shooting our own thing. We thought “what the hell! They can’t fire us now, right?!”. Ironically those are the videos you won’t find on Tourism’s Youtube channel. HA! My favourite video to shoot was when Riley convinced me to wear green tights, a green cape and a watermelon on my head, we were going Rider fan hunting!! By far the funnest day. We had people from all walks of life yelling at us, heckling us with most of it in good fun.
Now I look back on it and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. A once in a lifetime experience that’s for sure. Most days we had a blast! We went to a curling semi final, women’s hockey game, and got busted one night for bringing a Mickey of rum into the pavilion. (beers were like $100, you can’t blame me, blame Vancouver!).
Stop being afraid of it and call out the pink Elephant in the room. Why is being positive looked down on? In a business setting if you come into the room excited, grinning ear to ear, people will ask if you’ve gone mad. I think we should encourage people to be happy, excited, down right ecstatic to be there. Why not, life’s too short not to have fun.
Why do we tolerate people in society that think life is about being “serious” and “professional”. Two adjectives this author doesn’t do very well with.
In the @Stratlab office if someone is being negative, gossiping, talking ill of someone else, or just in general being a negative Nancy, we won’t tolerate it. We blow the horn of negativity.
Yes you read correct. Born out of Big Idea Camp as a way to keep everyone positive, the Horn of Negativity is an air horn that rarely got used. We started it as a joke and it’s lasted ever since. The team knows now not to be negative, no gossiping or else they’ll get an ear full.
Lastly, it’s easy to be negative. It’s easy to be a critic. It’s easy to sit at the sidelines and complain. It’s easy not to put in any effort and just expect change to happen. But that’s not how life works.
It’s much harder to try to change things. It’s much more difficult to help look for solutions, to not complain without being willing to be a part of the change.
Take the difficult path, be a positive change agent in society. Man we need now more than ever.
His theory of what’s wrong with society is that we continuously put achievement before fulfillment. We’re always looking for the next big thing, the next toy, house, car, or vacation. Nothing is ever good enough and you’re destined to die a lonely death.
Tony talks about Robin Williams and how he asks about Robin to crowds all over the world. Everywhere Tony goes he says 98% of the crowd LOVES Robin Williams, the other 2%? He makes fun of them too.
He asks crowds about Williams because he trying to make a point. Robin Williams of all people had it all, he’d won every award in his field, he was widely regarded as one of the best comedians and actors of his generation. Then Tony get’s mad. “And what did Robin after all of those achievements? He hung himself. He still wasn’t good enough in his mind.”
We have a duty in the life to help others. One major way is to focus on fulfillment and forget achievement. How can you do this? It’s hard to forget about achievement, we’re built to want ti achieve. It makes us feel good, it’s an ego boost. But the problem with achievement is that it can get addicting, you can want it at all costs, sacrificing things you never would have. Eventually simply focusing on achievement will lead you to disappointment.
The wise owls always worry about fulfillment before achievement, for achievement is but a fleeting emotion, fulfillment feeds the soul.
Fulfillment is sustainable. Fulfillment is that feeling that makes you smile when you wake up in the morning and the reason you’re happy falling asleep. It’s challenging, it’s spiritual, it’s something personal, it’s your journey. It has nothing to do with anyone else, it’s your art and only you know if you’re putting in 110% all the time. When you do, you’ll get a weird feeling of contentment.
Welcome back to another exciting season of #SocialTV. With your hosts Greg Moore and Jeph Maystruck.
A couple years ago at Access Communications for channel 7, Greg and Jeph hosted a show together called “Social TV”, the show about local social media stories. We had a riot!! But our viewership never really took off much past my friend Garth. Garth PVR’d every episode. So between Greg’s family and my friend Garth we didn’t have a major following. That didn’t deter us!
Now our dearly beloved Social TV is now onto Season Two of social media madness on air. This time around we’ll be able to share the videos ONLINE, in a medium that doesn’t attempt to control the message. Funny how it took us this long to truly make social TV, well, social.
Greg has a brilliant mind on marketing(works at Look Agency) and he does a podcast on hockey too. He also sends me articles like this….will this be on the test?
The hard thing isn’t usually what you think it is. In the entrepreneurial journey there are a lot of emotions, life gets down right shitty some days. There is hope though. You’re on a journey only the greatest minds of our world start out on. A journey that most won’t try make. The journey of a true entrepreneur is plagued with disappointment, triumph, and even more let down. As long as you stay a little more positive than those negative thoughts you’re going to come out the other side a winner.
When you’re in it, it sucks. There’s no way to describe it. It’s a necessary evil, without the years of failure there is no learning, and no learning means no company.
What is the struggle?
Something every entrepreneur human being goes through. The longer you can last, the further you will go. A lot of people don’t last. The Struggle eats them up, destroys their soul, and all they’re left with is a scared, hurtful attitude towards anything outside of what is expected. Protectionism sets in the status quo is the only way of doing things.
Why do we have to struggle?
Simple, the universe doesn’t give you anything for free. Nothing in life is easy. The more you struggle, the better the reward.
There’s a famous quote from Bill Gates “Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.”. You have to struggle, there’s no easy way about it. You have to go through the bad to appreciate the good.
How long has the struggle been around?
The struggle has been around since the dawn of civilization. Our ancestors went through it. Anyone who has done anything worth talking about has been through it. Anyone who has that crease near the corner of the eye, you know the one, the one that lets you know they’ve been through a lot.
When we’re in the struggle our minds are our greatest enemy. We tell ourselves lies, we’re delusional, we create a reality in our heads that’s just not true. Humans are amazing at finding every possible way a plan can fail. We find every loophole that might come back to bite us in the ass. In this horrible state of mind we never look for the positive horizon with the attitude of it gets better. No instead we try to warn our subconscious with these thoughts, it’s a defence mechanism sounding the alarm bells.
This week on #InTheLab I get to talk to Kirstin from Wiegers Financial & Benefits. I’ve talked about them lots over the past year. They do things differently, they aren’t afraid to zag in a market of a lot of zigging going on. They do things like “Wiegers Care For Kids” which this past year raised $225,000 for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan. They have a very dedicated staff, they seem like a high level sports team. They just click.
I asked Kirstin about culture in the video above and what it’s like working at Wiegers in beautiful Saskatoon.
It’s a “Work hard, play hard” mentality around the Wiegers office
“It’s really hard here some days”, Kirstin says, “it’s a demanding job and you work a lot some days but that’s what makes the fun days so worth it.” They’re a very busy financial and benefits firm that has been doing business in Saskatchewan for over 20 years. Started by Cliff and Deb Wiegers, they’ve built the company from the ground up. It’s truly a Saskatchewan entrepreneurial story.
Start a social committee
Scavenger hunts, dress-up days, office valentines, potlucks, and BBQs just to name a few. The Social Committee collects a fee from every employee (approximately $24 per year) and with it they plan themed days that get the team outside the office and outside their comfort zones!
Unapologetically have fun at work
I thought for sure they would have some pushback from employees who may not think a scavenger hunt is a “professional thing to do” for a business like Wiegers. But Kirstin said everyone loves to be a part of a “fun” office. It allows people to get along outside of the workplace walls, where you can really get to know someone.
We all need balance in life
If you expect unbelievable results from your employees you better be able to provide unbelievable culture. All these little “perks” add up to create a career It’s a lot easier to try and over-deliver at work for a company that cares about you and is willing to The heavy workloads are followed up with lots of training opportunities and of course all the different team building days they host.
The best employers understand what their team values
I think all organizations can learn something from Wiegers. They aren’t the “norm”, they are anything but boring, they care about company culture. If you expect people to perform at a high level day in, day out, you better be prepared to treat them at a high level.
For the cost of $24 per year, the staff pay into a fund that creates the coolest team building experiences possible.
***Side note about teams. I can relate. Every year a Volleyball team of mine doesn’t do so well, it 9/10 is because they didn’t get along good enough. A team that doesn’t get along off the court will never get along on the court. I discovered it the hard way. Don’t make my mistake, make sure your team gets along before playoffs start!