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A consultant from Calgary was in town working with one of our clients. As the marketing arm of this organization I was interviewed by the consultant. After asking a bunch of topical questions to what the organization was going through he then asked me a rather interesting question I thought;
How are you staying current? I’d never been asked that before. Well not in that context, I’m sure I’ve questioned my age and opinion’s relevance more and more over the past year. But every now and then I get a little too preachy and the coach in me comes out. It’s a bad habit I’m trying to stop.
The question at hand, “how are you staying current?” is a wonderful thought experiment. You ask yourself, “what IS current?”, “how would one stay current?”, “what’s the number one sign someone isn’t “staying current”?” I’m pretty sure he was wondering whether or not I was a growth or fixed mindset person. You know, someone who believes in the future and is bettering ones’ self. The growth mindset allows you to improve no matter what. If you have a growth mindset you’re probably staying current in a number of specific ways.
I’m definitely a growth mindset person. Growth mindset people never have to worry about a job, they’ll always be valuable because they can learn as they go. Reminded me of a podcast with an eerie subtext called: How Safe Is Your Job.
It’s worth a listen. Read more
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 Brazilian 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.
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. Read more
From 8 of my favourite books comes these inspirational quotes. From shipbuilding to eating order, you’ll find a beautifully selected cross section of smart, inspiring and quotes that simply make you smile. Enjoy.
I love this quote because I think most people are driven to shoot for the moon. They’re told to have a modest life, sit in a row, do what your told, don’t talk out of line, and hopefully after 13 years of this they’ll want to work in a factory taking orders from people in big offices. Well it turns out that’s no fun, especially for those just starting at the bottom of the totem pole.
Have a vision, have a big hairy audacious goal, have something! Go on now, create your wild and crazy expectation.
The other day, Brandon and I went to a Campbell entrepreneurship class taught by Jordan McFarlen. Mr. McFarlen invited us to talk about how we started Strategy Lab and the entrepreneurial experience. The way Mr. McFarlen teaches the class is he divides them in two groups and they have to start companies which over the semester they will run like an actual company (last years company actually imported iPhone cases from China, pretty awesome). Mr. McFarlen is one in a million and the Campbell Business program is very lucky to have him. The passion and excitement for learning he has is such a bright light in our ever troubled education system.
Instead of talking about ourselves for an hour, we decided to do something different.
In the first 15 minutes we talked about as a company what we believe in, our 10 values, and the story of how Brandon and I met.
Then Brandon went to work.
This first thing Brandon did was made each company decide on a domain name and he bought for them. Then he set each website up on WordPress and give them the login. There’s a lot of technical work that Brandon didn’t do (like 18 hours worth of work he’d do on a regular website) but the students will figure that out, they can learn how to hack WordPress to get it to do what they want.
It was amazing to see the looks on their faces. Something that most people think takes days, weeks or even months, Brandon created in front of their very eyes. It was amazing to witness. A website doesn’t have to take months to create, you can have one in an hour, it won’t look great but you’ll have your very own online publishing platform.
Websites don’t take that long to build. Yes there is a lot of technical and design elements that you should trust a professional on but for the most part people spend an insanely long time on design. Why? Because they’re trying to appease everyone. But when need to build a bridge, you don’t ask a committee or a board, you hire the best dam bridge builder around. Something to think about the next time you want to “re-design” your website.
I’m really excited to see what the students at Campbell will end up doing with the websites. The last thing we said on our way out was, experiment, try new things, and try to break the website. Get Creative.
Hopefully they teach us an entirely different way that websites should look and feel.
If you want something in life you have to work your ass off for it. Anything worth having is worth working for. So to be successful, to get what you want in life, you have to do an unhealthy amount of work for as long as humanly possible. Then you might have a fighting chance.
Whether it be your sports team, your health or your career, it’s difficult to see the results of hard work in the short term. But the only way to guarantee long-term success is to work unbelievably hard in the short-term. Sometimes it’ll feel like an endless upward climb going nowhere.
The harder the squeeze the better the juice.
Here’s the paradox.
When you’re done, when you ship, when it’s all over, no one will recognize the work you put in. No one cares about the amount of hours you’ve put in, the sleepless nights, the psychological battle, nobody cares about it. All we care about is the result.
It’s going to be up to you to determine if the juice is worth the squeeze.
Begin with the end in mind. You must shy away from busy work (this won’t get you anywhere). You can’t just do work for the sake of work and expect to get somewhere.
Doing the difficult work is a recipe for success, but when you get there don’t expect people to be patting you on the back and praising you for how long you’ve been working at it. All they care about is the result.