When we start projects at StratLab we like to understand the organization we’re working with, the best way we’ve found is to be what David Kelly would call The Anthropologist. The most success we’ve had (and still have) is really getting to know an organization. Going to the Annual General Meeting, Christmas Party, Golf Tournament, Fundraising dinner, basically anything they will invite us to we’ll go. You get to know people on a different level when you see them out of the office in the “wild”. Don’t ever be afraid to get out from behind your laptop to do some hands-on research.
One of the most successful projects we worked on was with the Regina Police. It was an internal marketing strategy where we were to change their core values, vision and mission to better reflect their current culture. It took Six months longer than we thought because we really didn’t want to rush the research process of interviewing every level of different Police officer. It was amazing
From David Kelly’s 10 Faces of Innovation, the Anthropologist is the face of discovery and understanding.
To observe without judgement. To develop an empathetic understanding of the organization. You must look at the tiniest of details, the most mundane things can have a major impact on what the end consumer takes away in their experience.
From the book:
The Anthropologist is rarely stationary. Rather, this is the person who ventures into the field to observe how people interact with products, services, and experiences in order to come up with new innovations. The Anthropologist is extremely good at reframing a problem in a new way, humanizing the scientific method to apply it to daily life. Anthropologists share such distinguishing characteristics as the wisdom to observe with a truly open mind; empathy; intuition; the ability to “see” things that have gone unnoticed; a tendency to keep running lists of innovative concepts worth emulating and problems that need solving; and a way of seeking inspiration in unusual places.
Look into a company as if you were Sherlock on a case
Asking questions, becoming very curious, always asking “why” and never excepting “that’s just the way it is here.” The Anthropologist needs to uncover the hidden story behind what the client isn’t telling them. Remember what Sherlock Homes said, “the devil is in the smallest of details.” -or something thing like that. The little things matter. Pay attention to the little things.
Create a company “idea wallet”. Much like your wallet that you carry money around in, your companies idea wallet is where you think and pitch ideas.
How do you get to really know an organization?
By asking questions of course you silly nilly!!
Any question that leads you closer to the central purpose of that organization, generally it’s not your run of the mill questions that are going to get to the bottom of things. People never simply open up to you, you must gain their trust first. Be positive, listen to their answers, and be very respectful (no judging). You need to get creative, the more out there the question is, the more people have a chance to show you their personality. See some ideas on research questions you could use.
Vuja De thinking (from Practically Radical)
Seeing a problem for the first time, through a new lens. The definition of Deja Vu is seeing something you’ve seen before in a ridiculously clear manner. Vuja De thinking is approaching problems like you’ve never seen them before. Trying to solve your organizational problems with novel solutions we’ve never thought about trying. The next time you want an “expert” to solve the problem instead why not ask a beginner to take a stab at it, you may surprise yourself!
It’s about time we talked about the “P” word.
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.
There’s a psychological side to being positive as well. Studies show that a positive mindset allows your brain to be more creative as well as increases white blood cell count helping strengthen your immune system. You can’t argue with science! Being happy keeps you healthy and makes you smarter.
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.
How To Identify The Type of Person You Absolutely Don’t Want To Work With?
People that make fun of others.
In the service industry you get a chance to work with all different kinds of people. Some good, some bad, and yes some are freaking ugly (to deal with). This is to help you identify someone you absolutely don’t want to work with.
Someone who talks bad about others. More specifically your competitors or their competitors. People who say mean things about other companies have no place in the business community. When you associate with people who say bad things about others, what makes you think they don’t say bad things about you behind your back?
It’s happened to us at Strategy Lab Four distinct times now. It’s a textbook mistake, I should be smarter by now.
A couple weeks back I got to interview Greg Moore from Look Agency here in Regina.
I love Greg’s opinion on marketing, he’s a genuine nice guy and tends to disagree with me a lot (that’s why get along so well).
Today’s topic: is Pokémon really a thing? Greg’s here to tell us why.
I love what he says about some things don’t need a goal, a monetary outcome or a defined purpose, Pokémon is such a popular thing to a wide variety of people. Sometimes it’s okay not to know why. Sometimes these fads come for a reason, we need to learn that reason and make the proper adjustments to our own organizations.
Here’s what Greg taught me: everything doesn’t have to have a defined “why”. Just because you don’t Ike something doesn’t mean others will follow. No matter how you feel about things, the crowd will always show you some truth to your idea.
As always, thanks Greg!
I was going to start this blog with a quote about how precious time is, but after a quick Google search for “time quotes” that seemed kind of unnecessary. Just about every majorly quotable person has said something about time and how we use it (or don’t use it) and it seems pretty clear that we’re all on the same page: Time is the most valuable, fleeting commodity we have and, much like Bill Murray movies, there never seems to be quite enough of it. We all marvel at that select group of high-functioning individuals who seem to be able to achieve so much with the exact same 24 hours afforded to us every day. Perhaps my favourite response to “I don’t have time” comes from Gary Vaynerchuck. There’s some language that’s a little NSFW, but the sentiment is real: Everyone has time, stop watching f***ing Lost.
Now, does this mean you should live your life like a non-stop automaton, never allowing yourself a second for personal growth or relaxation? No. But it does highlight the importance of taking real stock of how much of your time is spent inefficiently, probably without you even knowing it. Now I’ve never been a big fan of the “self help” mentality, but over the past few weeks I have challenged myself to follow three things to make better use of my time and so far I gotta tell you, they’re helping a lot.
1. Stop Procrastinating
As an avid, life-long procrastinator I know full well that this is easier said than done, but completing tasks immediately as opposed to letting them pile up can take a mountain of stress off your shoulders and save you time in the long run. Things always seem to take longer when you leave them until the last possible minutes. Start with small things. Wash a dish right after you use it. Make a phone call you need to make when you think of it, not a few hours later. You’d be amazed at how these small behavioral patterns will eventually form broader habits that will save you time.
2. Identify your “Peak Times”
I have never been, and will likely never be, a morning person. Between the hours of 9 and 10:30 am I might get a half hour of real work done on a good day. My most productive hours fall between about 7 and 9:30 pm after I’ve worked out and had a few hours to wipe my brain clean from the rest of the day. This is when I get the most work done, so this is when I work the most. It seems logical, but I’m sure you’ve felt it. The restless dread that comes from knowing you have the motivation to do something but convincing yourself that outside of your nine to five isn’t “work time”. Figure out at what point during the day you’re likely to achieve the most and DO IT. You’ll find yourself getting three hours of work done in one simply because of your mental state.
3. Make a Checklist
Putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and actually writing out exactly what you need to get done in a given week is just what the disorganized monkey in your brain (don’t kid yourself, we all have one) needs to find a track and stay on it. The more detailed and step-by-step the list, the quicker you will accomplish the task at hand. Imagine you’re putting together Ikea furniture if that helps. With a few vague illustrations and a general idea of what the thing is suppose to look like, you’ll probably be able to put something resembling a dresser in a few days. Throw in some actual detailed instructions and you’ll have that puppy done in an hour.
Write yourself better Ikea instructions.
Well there you have it, my three ways of skinning the cat that is the average work week. I can’t imagine a point in the foreseeable future when any one of us will get more that our allotted 86,400 seconds in a day, but what we do get is to choose how we manage those seconds in order to get the most out of our day and ultimately, our lives. Time is precious and, much like change in the couch cushions, we typically have more of it than we think. It’s just a matter of believing that and knowing where to look when the pizza guy arrives.
Read more from Conrad Hewitt.
Why it sucks being a coach….. some days
At a given Volleyball tournament of 12 teams, the first three teams go home happy. One, Two or Three are a nice finish, but anything after that really sucks. So the average coach has a 25% chance of going home happy?!? That’s crazy! Now I’m obviously over exaggerating but your win loss record is only one of many things to focus on as a coach. The problem is that’s the easiest thing to single out as a parent, athlete, spectator, did you win? Why not?
It’s not just coaching, in life we often forget what the purpose is. Is the end goal really just to win the tournament? At what cost? What are you willing to sacrifice? When will one more win be enough? In life, how much do you make? How much did you clear last year? How Any time I hear conversations like that I feel a little worse for man kind.
The money doesn’t matter, just like the win doesn’t matter.
Your goal is to get your team to focus not on the win but the bigger issues at stake in sport.
- Are you a team?
- Are you contributing to that team?
- Are you getting better every day?
These can be very hard to focus on when everyone around you wants a win.
It’s hard to focus on creating something amazing in life when everyone tells you to get a “real job”.
As long as you don’t give up you’re not a failure.
The 75% of the tournaments you leave without a medal makes the other 25% all that much sweeter. There’s a romantic side to sports that Billy Beane talked about in Moneyball and I see on coaches faces time and time again. It seems delusional how much these coaches and volunteers put in just to help the younger generation see a sport through their eyes. It’s really quite amazing to see.
Don’t give up.
I talk to amazing teachers, mentors, and coaches all the time. I feel everyone is on the brink of quitting and getting more “me” time. I crosses every volunteers mind I guarantee it. But the tittle of this post is “It Sucks Being a Coach….Sometimes” because there are these magic moments where you see kids come together, do things they never thought possible, and learn life skills in a completely different way.
This past weekend we has Nationals in Winnipeg. We didn’t do as good as I thought we should (in the tournament), but throughout the weekend I witnessed a bunch of thirteen and fourteen year olds become a team. As a team they cheered on our arch rival at Provincials, Meadow Lake in any game they watched them play in. It’s like they grew up. The crux of the boys coming together was after cheering on a girls team they all went on to the court, lined up to shake hands, and congratulated the girls team on a game well played.
I couldn’t have been more proud.
Life gets hard to teach us a lesson. As long as we don’t cave under the pressure, as long as we don’t throw in the towel, we’ll be okay. The harder the challenge the more important the lesson.
Why You don’t Need a Marketing Strategy
How many small startups have a marketing strategy? I’d venture a guess as very few. No I don’t mean a “marketing plan” I mean an actual strategy with tactics, objectives, and intended outcomes. Rarely do startups care about marketing because if you have to rely on marketing to make your product or service successful you’re not going to be.
How many recent extremely successful products or services have grown exponentially because of a marketing strategy? I’d guess very few. The reason something catches fire is one part luck and one-part remarkability.
Remarkability: The odds that someone will talk about your company, product, service or organization.
Most business owners think of marketing as logos and commercials when really it about getting people to spread your story. There’s nothing traditional about marketing in 2016.
You don’t need a marketing strategy. A lot of people will tell you you do. Professors of marketing, those who’ve never practiced their theories just taught them in the classroom are the worst at spreading the lies about why you need a marketing strategy.
They’ll say you can’t be “off brand” and that every communication you make needs to be consistent.
“Mind your four p’s!” they’ll tell you, even though three out of the four are almost obsolete or useless for your company. Price, Place, Product, Promotion.
Marketing needs to start at the beginning of the planning process of your product or service.
I love the Seth Godin quote “Advertising is the tax for the unremarkable.”
Why You Should Run Your Business Like a Good Landlord.
Yasher Zareh, Director of Operations at Nighthawk Properties in Regina (a property rental and building management company here in Regina), is interviewed by our very own Conrad Hewitt Chief Social Officer at Strategy Lab and a current renter in Regina. Conrad asks about the relationship you have to keep as a landlord. With the assumption you want to maintain the best relationship as possible with your renter.
It’s a delicate relationship. As a landlord you deal with family emergencies, building emergencies and whatever other kind of emergencies you have to deal with.
You can’t be a jerk anymore! You have to maintain a positive relationship with your renters.
Communication is so vitally important. In 2016 where everything is digital and you can text anyone anything! We get lazy in our communication. We don’t use a phone call when we can text and no context is shared in a text message Nd we have a communication breakdown. It IS 2016 that’s what makes phone calls so much more important to use.
“Your property is your brand. Every time someone comes into contact with your brand(property) they either like it a little more or a little less.” -Conrad Hewitt
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.
Don’t like us on Facebook!