Posts

The Fox and the Hedgehog-Im not that good at a lot of things

I’m Not Very Good At a Lot of Things || Eps 41 #InTheLab

The first thing I tell my class when teaching is that I’m only good at two things, baking chocolate chip cookies (I’m really good at it) and getting excited about Volleyball, as in coaching or helping a team. Everything else I’m not that good at. When you really think about it, no one is amazing at a lot of things. I mean some people just seem to be really good in several areas of their life. But when you find someone who’s amazing at something, usually they lack in many other areas of their life. And when I say “lack” I don’t mean we’re bad at those things, we just haven’t had the practice we need. I feel a lot of people need to have the power of being “smarter” than others, be it ego, self esteem or lack there of. Anyone in a leadership role (coach, teacher, professor, manager, boss) should never deliberately act smarter than anyone else. This comes out in correcting others, arguing, overtly disagreeing, putting others down, and generally being a know it all. Don’t be that person in life. No one likes a know it all.

The Oxford Philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrote the now famous essay, The Fox and the Hedgehog. The Fox knows many things but the Hedgehog only knows one important thing. It’s an analogy that works for many different life situations. Psychologist Phillip Tetlock studied the political predictions of two different types of expert speculators, foxes and hedgehogs. Throughout the 20th century Hedgehogs were more likely to get prime time television slots on Fox political hour(they made the big bold predictions) but Foxes seems to be right far more often in their predictions. An anomaly in political predictions, the more press you get, the more you think you’re right.

“I am not very good at a lot of things.” -Jeph Maystruck

I like to look at the Fox and the Hedgehog in regards to my life. I was never the Jack of all trades growing up. I didn’t fix things around the house, I wasn’t overly helpful when things broke. I still don’t fix things around the house, I just not a fox. This amuses my family. I don’t change my own oil or winter tires. They usually bug me about it. Not any more!!

I say not any more because of what happened the other weekend. I bring my car over to my parents place and my family is going to help put on my winter tires. We get half way done when two tires won’t come off the vehicle. We literally tried and tried to no avail. I went home with two winter tires on and two summer tires. The next day I had to explain to the folks at Quicklane why I had two tires changed out already! ha! I told my family they can’t make fun of me for not wanting to be “handy”. I trust experts to do what they do best. Long live the hedgehogs.

You can get great at many things but you’re much better off to focus your attention on one thing and try to be the best in the world at it.

Roand Asmunsen at the south pole

How Companies Grow, Short Vs Long Term Profits – Episode 7 of #InTheLab

The 20 mile march

In Jim Collins’ Great By Choice he tells the story of the famous discovery of the South Pole. Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott were both vying to be the first explorer to plant their country flag at the South pole. Amundsen did a lot of prep work. He learned about extreme cold, he lived with Eskimos to see how they deal with the cold, he researched the trip, he stashes much more supplies than he needed, just in case something happened along the way. Read more

2001 Tweeters in Regina

Who Are The Top 2,001 People on Twitter in Regina? [Searchable Local Twitter list]

I’ve been there too, sitting alone on a Friday night wondering; how many people are actually on Twitter in Regina?

Well thanks to a wonderful tool called FollowerWonk we can now find out!

Followerwonk allows you to do searches for people on Twitter. You can search by location, by a word or phrase in the bio or by several different factors. Below the list is made up of people who have self selected their location to include the word “Regina”.

The list is ranked by Social AuthoritySocial Authority is a metric developed by Moz that helps cut through the vanity metrics out there and measures influence on Twitter. Who would have thought that gaining Followers wasn’t the only thing you use Twitter for.

I first sorted them by Follower count but it wasn’t cool to see all the bots and people who hired bots and the bots who hired people at the top of that list. This is a much better look at the Regina Twitteratti.

Want to find yourself or your ex-girlfriend from Highschool? Hold ‘Control’ and press ‘F’ then type your Twitter handle.

 

In other news check out some of the more recent blog posts on the Stratlab blog!

RECENT ARTICLES

Keep Thinking Different

Keep Thinking Different 

 

 

I'm not sure what do you think?

The Seven Most Important Words a Leader Can Say

I’m not sure, what do you think?The Virgin Way by Richard Branson

From Richard Branson’s The Virgin Way he talks about the 7 most important words for leaders to use. “I’m not sure, what do you think?” puts your staff at ease, makes everyone around you feel like you aren’t a know-it-all and willing to implement other people’s ideas.

When you ask others for their ideas you get more options to choose from. You incentivize people coming to you with innovative solutions to organizational problems. Today’s best businesses empower their people to share ideas up the chain of command. As a leader, the less ideas you come up with to implement, the more champions you’re building up around you. Also, when you adopt your staffs’ ideas, you’re creating a very important incentive for your people to want to offer their ideas (very few organizations actually care about what their frontline employees think, let alone ideas they have).

When you ask others what they think, what you’re really saying is “I actually care about you and what you think of this organization”. As funny as that sounds, unfortunately most organization leaders don’t think their people are that smart, they’ve built up a facade that business is run by executives and the people who where suits to work everyday. When it really comes down to it, the best organizations have the best people on the front lines, and no, for the most part they don’t where suits.

I think we all can learn a lot from what Mr. Branson has taught us about business. Below are a few of my favourite quotes. Read more

Can I give you some feedback?

The Phrase You Hate To Hear But Have to Say Yes To

Can I give you some feedback?

If you’re like me this is one of the worst phrases to hear in the English language. What they’re actually saying is “would you like me to tell you how I actually feel about you? And oh yeah, if it was good we would have already told you so it’s almost guaranteed to be negative.”

Without feedback we never learn, we never get better, and we never progress.

The extent of your management career will largely be based on the amount of feedback you’re willing to take.
I’ve said to Brandon many times that we will get as far as the feedback we’re willing to take.

I still love the Tim Sanders analogy of “how” to process feedback. He says it’s like eating an almond. Not all of the feedback is valuable, find the nut at the middle (the learning moment) and discard everything else. Rarely do we receive 100% true feedback.

Three reasons why you need to get feedback from your team:

 

1. If you currently think “my team loves me though, I don’t need their feedback to know that”. You need to ask for feedback soon, you’re worse off than you think. It’s always those managers who “think” their staff can give honest feedback but don’t. Instead there ends up being a revolving door for staff, lots of turnover and no long term employees.

 

2. It underhandedly shows your team that you care, that you aren’t a know-it-all, and that you’re not too egotistical to change. You don’t have to listen to everything you hear but you do have to make yourself available to hear people when they want to give some feedback. Listen to people shows you care, even if you know you aren’t getting the best feedback, listen, don’t talk, don’t interrupt, just listen. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

 

3. The teams that communicate up the hierarchy just as efficiently as down the hierarchy will be the most sought after and in turn the most effective.
If your team doesn’t have a feedback strategy soon, your competitors will. They’ll be able to turn on a dime, adjusting to feedback they’re receiving. Today it is relatively simple to setup a feedback strategy, 10 years ago a lot more difficult. 5 years from now it will be baked into the strategy of the high performing teams, and I’m sure it’ll get easier and easier to track, manage and act upon the information acquired.

Bad online reviews

How To Combat Bad Online Reviews

On sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, Google Reviews, a few bad reviews can ruin your company entirely. At the same time you can use these tools to give your company an unfair advantage.

So how do you ready yourself for the troll attack?

kill em with kindness

1. Kill em with kindness – if you’re a great company people will want to share your story.

Your employees should be brand ambassadors. They should be the ones promoting you and your story to everyone. “But Jeph, they aren’t, what do I do?”. If people aren’t sharing your story enough you have one of two problems, a) you have the wrong people on the bus* or b) your story isn’t good enough to share. Go back to the drawing board. If you story isn’t interesting enough let your staff come up with it. I love the quote from David Kelly, founder of the innovation firm IDEO “In a world filled with so much creative potential, it is dangerous to assume that all good ideas are found at the top.” -David Kelly, IDEO.

2. Make it everyones job to say nice things about your organization.

If your own staff don’t want to tell people about how amazing you are you have a problem. Why isn’t coming up with an internal word-of-mouth strategy not done by more companies? If your staff are excited about what you’re doing, if everyone that comes into your store feels that excitement, sooner than later the word-of-mouth will spread.

Why don’t more people come up with word-of-mouth strategies Jeph?!? Well I’m glad you asked. Few companies focus on word-of-mouth because its hard. It’s hard to come up with a viable plan, it’s even harder to execute it. Once you’ve executed it it’s still hard to hold your staff accountable for something that’s very difficult to measure. If you’re still have trouble with a word-of-mouth strategy move on to point 3…

3. Encourage word-of-mouth by offering an incentive.

If you’ve read any of Stephen Dubner’s or Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics series of books, shows or podcast you would completely understand why offering an incentive may be your best bet. If you offer an incentive people will keep it top-of-mind, they’ll be much more likely to share your message. Don’t assume people want to talk about you, assume you need to make it worth their while to spread your message.

*Wrong People On the Bus was an analogy coined by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Getting the right people on the bus is critical to any organizations success. 

Simon Sinek Managed out of a crisis

The Next Book on Leadership You Have to Read is…

Simon Sinek: Why Leaders Eat Last from 99U on Vimeo.

Simon Sinek on Leadership

I think Leaders Eat Last is one of the best books on leadership that has ever been written. Just the concept, putting others before yourself, is such a simple yet powerful principle to live by. Yet the majority of the worlds most inspiring leaders don’t see it as service, they see is as their destiny, they see it as what they were meant to do. Some people were meant to serve.

If you were born to lead that means you were born to serve others.

The true price of leadership is to place others needs before your own

Strategy Lab Logo - Purple cow

Want To Make a Change? Kill A Sacred Cow

Change doesn’t “just happen”. In any environment forces combined to create friction or resistance which changes the environment over a long period of time. In nature, sacrifices are made to ensure the long term stability of the eco system. You can’t have change without sacrifice.

Change and growth don’t happen without some sort of friction.

If life is difficult that means you’re sacrificing short term gain for a long term payout.

I love the Hugh McLeod quote of “choosing an easy life rarely ends up with much of either”.

The most successful people in our world made more sacrifices than everyone else to get where they are.

Have you ever asked a truly successful person about their work ethic? The vast majority of people who are a living success will tell you how insanely hard they had to work to get where they are. It was all about the sacrifices they were willing to make.

Change in your business is just like change in your life. You can’t get physically fit by saying you’re going to workout and eat better. You get physically fit by doing something difficult. By changing your daily routine, working out for two hours a day and eating right. Fitness isn’t easy (for some it is, not my fat ass) but anything in life worth having is worth working for. With hard work comes the results. Like in fitness, like in work.

So you want to make a change? Kill a sacred cow, it’s the easiest way to create change. From the book The The Chaos ImperativeChaos Imperative Ori Brafman and Judah Pollack tell the story of when Mayor Bloomberg was first elected Mayor of New York City he didn’t like how everyone worked so closed off from each other. His solution to create a change? Move his desk down to the second floor, right in the middle of 51 NewYork City staffers. His desk wasn’t any larger than anyone else’s. Every cubicle wall on the second floor came down, effectively making the Mayor’s perfect open office space. It even got the nickname Bloomberg’s ‘Bullpen’.

Sacrificing the privacy of a cubicle was the perfect way to create an open workspace.

So you want to make change in your life? What are you willing to sacrifice? What are you willing to give up? Better yet, what aren’t you willing to give up? Maybe if you start there you’ll understand that it’s your own life style that’s actually holding you back.

Give Me a Reason to go to Your Website – A Lesson From [IHeartCultureDotca]

Brandon recently completed a website for Regina Culture Days titled “iHeartCulture.ca“. Then they did the most important thing, they gave me a reason to check it out.

I love when people actually care about their website.

On their launch day at the downtown city square plaza you couldn’t miss this bus:

Iheartculture.ca bus

“Win packages to Saskatchewan Festivals. To enter visit IHeartCulture.ca”

They didn’t go the “field of dreams” route with their website like so many do. Spending a small fortune, you know, the if you build it they will come mentality. Stop it!

Building a website is easy. Getting people to your website again and again is difficult.

You must try harder every day to get people to your website. Obviously you’re going to need to measure what people are doing once they are on your website, but that’s for another blog post you silly nilly!

Good on you iheartculturedotca

Good on you IHeartCulture!

Changing the Mission, Vision & Core Values of a Public Organization [Case Study]

Regina Police On Twitter

One of my favorite projects of my professional career so far has to be working with the Regina Police Service. I was hired to help with their marketing, in the months leading up to the project the Regina Police were really making a name for themselves and it was time to capitalize on their newly found online fame. Read more