Friday, May 09, 2008

"There always comes a time when one must choose between contemplation and action." Camus

"Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or doing it better." John Updike

"A lazy man is never lucky." Persian proverb

Today's image: Colors_II by gabsriel. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Steal This Stuff

Readers of this humble blog are aware, posts here typically start with an image and three quotations, usually ending one or more items later.

Each day it's a work in progress. As things are discovered (or thought) they're added. It's a process not an event.

So, I'm talking with the legendary Fred Winston. He's just back from giving a talk in Nashville where he addressed radio programming execs. His talk was about coaching, getting the best out of talent and making amazing things happen on the radio. Subject matter about which he is a world-class expert (Fred happens to be, in his own right, an incredibly gifted talent, exceptional voice actor and inspirational coach).

"It all comes down to the basics. The fundamentals, blocking and tackling" Fred tells me.

So later, I'm talking with a CEO, my client on the day job. He's just back from a planning session for their upcoming senior leadership retreat.

"We would like you to give us another 'One hour Martinizing' and need a title for your talk. Got any ideas?"

After a few seconds of hesitation I say "Blocking and Tackling."

So, there I am, at 35,000 feet, heading home, reflecting on this week's guest blogs by Kelly O'Keefe and Joel Denver. Then, it becomes obvious. When you boil it all down, the eloquent words of Kelly, the unvarnished wisdom of's blocking and tackling.

Time to outline the upcoming talk.

Use the best format, the one experience has taught me is the most effective...

Prep conversation > Have conversation > Encourage transfer of conversation

Prep: Send materials to those attending that gets them into the mindset of the conversation

Conversation: Deliver the talk in an interactive fashion

Encourage: Follow-up conversation with materials that prompt thought and action on the job

The goal of every talk given is exactly the same - make something happen back on the job. If something happens back on the job then the talk was a win, if not then it's a loss. A purely digital equation. One or zero. W or L.

So, back in the office, talking with serial entrepreneur and marketing ace Lee Arnold. A master storyteller, Lee shares a lesson and concludes "Getting it done was really all about being great, really great at blocking and tackling."

Lesson of the week: Blocking and tackling wins.

So, here are some of the items being considered for the prep portion of my upcoming talk. These are basics, fundamentals, the blocking and tackling stuff. My notion is you can put these to good use, make them your own. Please, steal them.

For the past five years John Spence, executive educator, consultant and speaker, has been working on his next book. In process, he now offers a fine article titled Achieving Business Excellence. John provides a list of six keys to success...

1. Vivid vision: A clear and well-thought-out vision of what you are trying to create that is exceptionally well communicated to everyone involved. A true vision is an exciting, focused, realistic and inspiring picture of what you and your people are all trying to accomplish together - it's the reason you come to work every day, the impact you want to make on the world, the kind of company and product you aspire to build.

2. Best people: Superior talents who are also masters of collaboration. The future of your company is directly tied to the quality of talent you can attract and keep. "...talent that does not play well with others is not talent." You need to put in the systems, processes and programs necessary to build a product pipeline that delivers a steady stream of bright, sharp, creative and hardworking people.

3. A performance-oriented culture: One that demands flawless operational execution, encourages constant improvement and innovation, and completely refuses to tolerate mediocrity or lack of accountability. The #1 issue that inhibits execution: Holding onto the past/unwillingness to CHANGE. "Once you start accepting mediocrity in your life, you become a magnet for mediocrity in your life."

4. Robust communication: Open, honest, frank and courageous, both internally and externally. Great companies do everything in their power to maximize the Voice Of the Customer (VOC).

5. A sense of urgency: The strong desire to get the important things done while never wasting time on the trivial.

6. Extreme customer focus: Owning the voice of the customer and delivering what customers consider truly valuable.

Read John's entire article Achieving Business Excellence by downloading or viewing in your browser via the free PDF here. Kudos, John. Well done.

But wait, there's more...

Hugh MacLeod, ad exec, uber-cool blogger, soon to be published author and official artiste of N=1 offers his 26 tried-and-true tips for being truly creative. Here are the first six...

1. Ignore everybody

2. The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to change the world

3. Put the hours in

4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being "discovered" by some big shot, your plan will probably fail

5. You are responsible for your own experience

6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten

Read Hugh's How To Be Creative by downloading or viewing in your browser via the free PDF here. Bravos, Hugh. Well said.

My thanks to
ChangeThis for both of these offerings.

Congrats & cheers: Cory Bergman joins as director of biz dev. Peter Burton and Dave Beasing join Bonneville in LA.

My sincere appreciation and thanks, a tip of the chapeau to Fred Winston, Kelly O'Keefe, Joel Denver and Lee Arnold for their contributions this week. Thanks to my client for the opportunity and the challenge to make something happen. Finally, thanks to you for stopping by.

Don't even tell me that you are reading this before you checked out Spence and MacLeod. Scroll back up and please deal with it, now. I'll wait here. Thanks.

Bonus: "All science is either physics or stamp collecting" Physicist Brian Cox speaks at TED

See you next week in a brand new show. Remember Mom. "My mom was fair. You never knew whether she was going to swing with her right or her left" - Herb Caen. Have a wonderful weekend.