Monday, August 29, 2005

The Ladders

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American Craft Exposition

I went the the American Craft Exposition at Northwestern University over the weekend. What fun it was to talk with some of the artists about their craft, inspiration, and creative trajectory.

My faves who have websites:

Daniel J. Essig, from Asheville, North Carolina - this 'bridge' is made out of book pages!
www.danielessig.com















Ralph Prata, from Bloomingdale, New York - it all starts with a block of concrete!
www.ralphprata.com/home.html

















Chris Roberts-Antieau, from Manchester, Michigan - Wonderfully funny 'fiber decorative" art.
www.chrisroberts-antieau.com
















Jay Rogers, from Cambridge, Massachusetts - there's nothing like thinking inside the box ... and some prudent use of a little SuperGlue!
www.jayrogersboxes.com














Ken Girardini, from Sykesville, Maryland - I wish you could see his patina paintings on steel ... they're absolutely marvelous!
www.girardinidesign.com




















There was also a wood-turner there named David Nittmann who gave a demonstration of his lathe craft. One of the things he said along the way was that he believes the human spirit needs to be nurtured not just by food, love, but by inspiration, as well.

I felt what he meant.

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

You're failing to appreciate MY attention span


This is a recent ad from a company called XPLANE, the visual thinking company - providers of clarity at the speed of sight. Now I can't tell from the ad what this company actually offers, but the dialogue between the presenter and her boss is absolutely fabulous.

Boss: Why didn't you boil this down?

Presenter: We DID boil it down, Richard. You're failing to appreciate the time and effort it took to do this.

Boss: You're failing to appreciate my attention span.

If you're already a leader, you'll understand this immediately. And if you're not, well, your presentations and emails and reports and voicemails and assorted updates are probably waaaaay longer than you realize.

So the next time you have some information to share , take a moment and consider the attention span of your intended audience before you begin. Remember, the goal is to be heard, not to impart everything you happen to know on a particular topic.

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Monday, August 22, 2005

"The Marketing Gods Must be Crazy"

(... from an article of the same name by Paul Lukas in the September 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine, page 34 ...)

For a long time, the reason to drink Diet Coke was "Just for the Taste of It." Things are a lot more complex these days as Coke marketers parse demographic segmentsa nd createdrinks for each niche. There's now a new Diet Coke sweetened with Splenda and Coca-Cola Zero, which, as its name implies, has zero calories - as opposed to the regular and Splenda versions of Diet Coke, both of which have, um, zero calories. And then there's still Coke's original no-cal cola, Tab. All of which leads to some very creating marketing-speak.

Diet Coke - Diet Coke
  • Launched - 1982
  • Brand message as found on Coke.com website - "Diet Coke is your style, it's your sass. It's doing what makes you happy ... So flirt, laugh, dance, prance, giggle, wiggle - do what feels good."
  • Brand message as reported by SVP of Coca-Cola Brands - "The adult cola taste that uplifts with style - it's a very stylish brand. It's upscale. It's sophistication, but an invitational sophistication."
  • Flavor Profile per Coca-Cola's spokesman - "According to lore - I've never heard this internally disputed or confirmed - it resembles what used to be New Coke."

Diet Coke with SplendaDiet Coke with Splenda -

  • Launched - May 2005
  • Brand message as found on Coke.com website - "For those who love the wweet and intense taste of Splenda Brand Sweetener, now there's one more way to enjoy Diet Coke."
  • Brand message as reported by SVP of Coca-Cola Brands - "An adult cola taste, it uplifts with style, and it's sweetened with Splenda, which is a sweetener people say they want. It's that simple."
  • Flavor Profile per Coca-Cola's spokesman - "It's meant to mimic Diet Coke. But with Splenda, you will taste a difference, and the Splenda lover loves his new flavor note."

Coca-Cola ZeroCoca-Cola Zero -

  • Launched - June 2005
  • Brand message as found on Coke.com website - "A new kind of beverage that features real Coca-Cola taste and nothing else. Nothing that could potentially get in the way of your chill."
  • Brand message as reported by SVP of Coca-Cola Brands - "It's really the pause that lets them re-center in this fast-paced, time-warped world, and keep going. That's the 'just chill' part of the positioning."
  • Flavor Profile per Coca-Cola's spokesman - "It's formulated to match regular Coca-Cola."

TaBTaB -

  • Launched - 1963
  • Brand message as found on Coke.com website - "Tab has achieved a retro pop-culture status and has the reputation of being somewhat hard to find."
  • Brand message as reported by SVP of Coca-Cola Brands - "It's continuing to meet the needs of the small but unbelievably passionate group of people who continue to love Tab, but it isn't actively marketed."
  • Flavor Profile per Coca-Cola's spokesman - "It has a strong cola flavor, with that distinctive saccharine sweetness."

I knew I wasn't understanding what Coke was up to, but after reading all of this, the choice is clear ...

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Friday, August 19, 2005

Get out of jail free ... or not!

Remember the game Monopoly? Well, a number of years ago I decided to try something with my staff and vendor personnel to encourage them to take more risks. But since taking more risks often means failing more, I also gave each of them a "get out of jail free" card -

- and told them that should they ever screw something up really badly, they could give their card back to me and I'd be cool.

Time passed and I saw people post their cards on their cubicle walls and bulletin boards. They told visitors what they were about. Some even developed the ritual of lightly touching the card each time they returned to their work area. And almost everyone starting taking more risks, which was great.

But the one thing that no one ever did, was actually use their card!

Oh, there were times when they should have. I'd even tell them so. "Knowing what I'm about to say and do," I'd begin, "I just want you to know that this would be a particularly good time for you to use your 'get out of jail free' card. Do you want to?" But uniformly, the response was, "No, I want to save it in case I do something I REALLY need it for."

I didn't understand it at the time, but just knowing that they had a Safety Net gave many people the confidence to not need one.

What Safety Nets do you have that you don't use, but are still glad you have?

What Safety Nets can you offer to others to help them move more meaningfully - and confidently - forward?

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Thursday, August 18, 2005

9 Ways to Stay in the Pink

I like to scan a pretty large horizon when looking for new ideas and inspirations, so when a client sent me a copy of a new magazine called Pink ("finally a magazine for professional women!" it says on the cover) I figured why not?!

Well, the articles didn't interest me, the advertisements didn't resonate for me, and the affect of the whole thing kept screaming, "You are NOT the target market, Barry." But as there's usually something in everything, I kept turning pages to see what I'd see and, lo and behold, I found myself stopping at a section called, healthyself.

Now I don't mind admitting that the reason it caught my attention was because I couldn't tell (or decide) if it was supposed to be read as heal-thyself or healthy-self. Both ways worked, which I found kind of interesting. And right about then, a side bar caught my attention. It was titled, 9 Ways to Stay Sharp. Here's what they were:

  1. Chew.
  2. Socialize.
  3. Drink Coffee.
  4. Dance.
  5. Think.
  6. Meditate.
  7. Take Vitamin C.
  8. Eat Fish.
  9. Take Ibuprofin.

I was going to include the explanations for each of the nine, but then thought it might be more interesting to simply have them stand on their own. So there you have it.

As for me, I'm off to get a cup of coffee and maybe chew a couple of Motrin!

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Monday, August 15, 2005

What do you do with information that others give you?

Most bosses want their employees to be open and honest with them. But depending on what you do with the information they provide, you may have already found that they've stopped giving you anything more than the absolute minimum.

In fact, it's pretty well known that if you "shoot the messenger" - that is, yell at someone who gives you bad news - people will stop giving you ANY news that you might even CONSTRUE as bad. Similarly, if someone gives you some information and you use it to embarrass or discredit them, or make them feel less, it won't take long for people to realize that you just can't be trusted.

It's a thin line to walk. But an important one because having access to NEW INFORMATION is a key component of being a better boss. Without it - or without much of it - you've got nothing to synthesize into new insights and ideas. (Read: no value-added.)

Since it's so much harder to solve a pesky problem if all you CAN know about it is what you already DO know about it,

  • How do you keep the flow of NEW INFORMATION coming?
  • How do you maintain your trustworthiness even though you sometimes have to use the information you receive against the very people who share it with you?
  • What do you do to encourage people to continue communicating with you notwithstanding the consequences?
Please share your insights and ideas so others may benefit from them.

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

Blog Spam

< begin rant >

Argh! Spammers have found my blog.

And as a result, I'm spending more time deleting bogus comments left by automated spamming machines than reading legitmate ones from any of you.

Very frustrating. But you can help. Just take a moment to post your thoughts about one of your favorite GottaGettaBlog! entries. I could really use your help here.

Thanks.

< /end rant >

New Search Function at www.ggci.com

You can now search GottaGettaCoach!

Retrieve all relevant posts and pages from GottaGettaBlog!, the NotJustTalk! newsletter archives, and the entire GottaGettaCoach! website based on a customized keyword search. Here's how:

Hope you find it useful.

(A special thanks to Art Tursh for the suggstion/recommendation.)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Getting Unmet Needs Met - Redux

(From time to time an older blog entry pops with renewed relevance. As such, here's a reposting of an original GottaGettaBlog! posting from Tuesday, November 04, 2003. Thanks, Art.)

Getting Unmet Needs Met.

This, in a nutshell, is much of what's need to lead a happy, healthy, successful life. The thing that makes people 'nutty,' if you pardon the continued metaphor, is that they all-too-often try to get their Unmet Needs met in the wrong places, like the workplace.

Let it be known that your place of work is NOT the place to get most of your Unmet Needs met.
  • Got an Unmet Need for RECOGNITION? Instead of trying to grandstand at work, why not spend some quality time with your kids instead?
  • Got an Unmet Need for APPRECIATION? Instead of trying to hog the credit at work, why not do some volunteering, or be particularly kind to a store clerk instead?
  • Got an Unmet Need for POWER AND CONTROL? Instead of trying to boss everyone around at work, why not pick up a challenging hobby that you can master, or do some exercising?
  • Got an Unmet Need TO BE RIGHT? Instead of making others wrong at work, why not do crossword puzzle, or buy your significant other a nice little gift?
  • Got an Unmet Need to be the CENTER OF ATTENTION? Instead of spending countless hours mindlessly chatting with coworkers, why not get a puppy or cat, or host a party instead?

The less you use your workplace as a place to get your Unmet Needs met, the easier it will be to do a better job - with less stress and strain. So the next time you feeling out-of-sorts, do these three steps:

(1) Figure out what Unmet Need of yours ISN'T being met.

(2) Name it.

(3) Go do something about it - outside of work, that is.

You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Solution: Have an even BIGGER Problem

Procrastination is pretty common. So I was eager to learn how a relatively new client would handle a task he agreed to take on ... one he'd been meaning to finish (and start, too, for that matter) for the better part of ... a year.

To our mutual delight, he reported just this morning that he not only started, but finished, the task in its entirety! (Again, congrats, D.)

When asked what helped him finally get it going, he summed it up in this way:
"When faced with an even BIGGER problem, the stuff that seemed impossible got a whole lot easier to just go ahead and do."

In other words, he realized that in order to solve this new problem, he needed to take care of that original thing first. So he did. And just like that, he started ... and finished ... a project he had be putting off for the better part of a year! Just like that, it moved from the impossible ... to completed.

Dependencies and inter-relationships of things can be a real pain sometimes. But in this case, it turned out to be a cure for procrastination.

So, what BIGGER problems can you use to help clear out the backlog of your procrastination?

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