My Top 5 Articles From Last Month

The top five articles of the month

1. Dubai Police will use facial recognition and Google Glass to look for wanted criminals

Why is this important? The next step in the interconnected web is using software and hardware to better serve at our jobs. For Police enforcement this means facial recognition software. It’ll some time before it comes to Canada but I’d be willing to bet not as long as we think!

2. Select seven to hold ‘Internet reboot’ keys

Why is this important? Did you know if the internet goes down due to a terrorist attack or natural disaster 7 people hold keys of which 5 only have to meet in the U.S. to re-boot the internet. Have you ever thought what would happen if the internet goes down? I’ve never until now. We assume it’ll run forever, uninterrupted. But have you ever been working and the internet went out, what did you do? It happened last week at a clients office, I was lost, scared, lonely and I didn’t know what to do. I hope you never face that desolate situation ever.

3. The Psychology Behind Costco’s Free Samples

Why is this important? This article was fascinating, basically if you want to increase your profits, offer free samples, well for Costco it works quite well. When speaking with young marketing minds they usually jump to

4. The best Canadian Business schools for Marketers

Why is this important? The Globe and Mail decided that ranking Canadian Business schools might be of interest, well you’re right, it isn’t. UNLESS you’re in highschool, love marketing, and want to go to the school where most people like you would go. A neat little experiment that the Globe has tried here, the real question is do you trust the rankings?

5. Starting today UK citizens are free to copy MP3s, CDs and DVDs for personal use

Why is this important? The first major country to revamp their copyright laws to reflect the change that the Internet is caused to the music industry. You can now download songs and movies for personal use in the UK. It won’t be long before more first world countries follow in the UK’s footsteps.

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Coaching Is Just Management Sped Up

Coaching is just management sped upWhen you coach you have to take in feedback and make decisions affecting other people in real time. You say one thing in the wrong tone and your team is turned off. Trust is lost. You have to be extremely careful in how you treat them at first, once you have trust though, it’s much easier to get them to buy-in to your system.

When you manage people in a business situation it’s very similar to a sports game with some obvious differences. The decisions you make as a manager will affect how your staff (team) view you in the future. If you’re a demanding asshole most of the time, your staff doesn’t have many reason to stick their neck out for you or really do the right thing for the company.

When you’re coaching you don’t have weeks to get things done, you have minutes. Generally you coach youth or kids much younger than you, who are less mature than you. You’re forced to abide by the nobler motive, you can’t argue, name call or act childish under any circumstance for fear of losing the trust of the team.

You see managers all the time who’ve lost the trust of their team. I like to ask managers what their staff would say about them behind their backs after several cocktails. If the answer is “not good” we have work to do. You can’t manage in a bubble, people talk, your reputation precedes you. It’s all to common these days to find disengaged staff and a leader who is completely delusional. It’s sad really.

I think the business community could learn a lot from coaches, especially management. Do you want to become a better manager? How about a better leader? Try coaching a team. You think motivation in the workplace is difficult, try convincing a bunch of 10 year olds to pay attention long enough to learn about Volleyball, that’s difficult.

Coaching forces you to be a leader, you get better by default. The more you try to learn to be a better coach, the better leader you end up being.

Coaching is the one area where the athletes provide instant feedback, you can look at the faces of most athletes and tell if they are enjoying practice or loathing it. That is a skill all on it own, I’m not good at it yet, but I’m learning.

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What Have I Been Up To At Strategy Lab?

Get a website that turns visitors into customers

Well I’m glad you asked! We’ve been busy working away on project like the Prairie Spruce Commons Cohousing Project (a first of it’s kind in Regina). We’ve been doing some fun work with KSP Technology that involves potlucks and Nerf gun fights.


Also made friends with a Saskatoon local grocer called SaskMade Marketplacejust another ridiculously cool story of a home grown Saskatchewan business. Born and raised in Saskatoon. They’re big supporters of supporting local, helping grow our community and sourcing many other Saskatchewan based companies. They do these amazing corporate gift baskets that include all Saskatchewan wares. Pretty sweeet!!

And we’ve had the pleasure of working on one of the coolest projects we’ve ever been a part of, it’s called “4 to 40“. Yup, 4 to 40, that’s the amount of hours you need to hire someone for to be considered an “inclusive employer”.

4 to 40 – A New Partnership from Strategy Lab on Vimeo.

It’s a project we started working on with Sasktel, the University of Regina Campus For All Program and Creative Options Regina (COR).

I am still on the Alumni Board, and have gone from just being on the Regina Volleyball Club board to President this year. I have a vision to grow Volleyball in this city and province, taking ownership is the only way I know how to create change. (actually I just complained too much and when you complain too much in a no-for-profit you end up doing the work). Brandon just put a website together for the Regina Volleyball Club. See below.

RVC's brand new website

We’ve been busy! Possibly another conference in Regina coming up soon too. We need to follow up what we did last year in #Awesome13 (How to be Awesome Online). We’re thinking How to be Awesome Offline in an Online World”. Counterintuitive I know. Deep right? That’s what we were going for.

Our province is on a growth spurt right now and it’s amazing to see. We also filmed a few new videos for our marketing page (you can thank Brandon for that).

Enough about me. how he hell have you been?!?

 

Find a bunch of Strategy Lab’s Resources here:

Remarkably amazing videos you need to watch | Strategy Lab Video’s page | Jeph’s Speaking page

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Why Using an RFP to Hire a Company is Fundamentally Flawed

Regina recycling not recycling glass

RFP=Request For Proposal. When a public institution needs to contract a company to do a job they aren’t capable of themselves, they send out a Request For Proposal (RFP). The RFP outlines what needs to be done, what tools should be used and some contain a whole lot more. A RFP is basically the project outline for any company that wants to bid on the project. Just like the recycling service in Regina, the City put out an RFP and Emterra won it.

When it comes to RFP’s the cheapest company usually wins. In business, simply going with the cheapest solution is rarely a good idea for your business.

Case in point: City of Regina hasn’t been recycling glass food containers

Turns out the “recycling” company (Emterra) the city hired doesn’t recycle glass. Doesn’t recycle glass?!?  What do you mean? Isn’t that a major portion of what we recycle?
When the city put the RFP out about recycling pickup, Emterra responded (conveniently leaving the glass part out) and quoted a cheaper price to do the job.

The city went with the cheaper option, without reading the fine print.

RFP’s suck. It’s a race to the bottom. It’s undercutting everyone else to get a job, that’s not right nor is it sustainable. Even if you do win the RFP, you have no budget room whatsoever, you have a slim chance at making this project successful, you’re forced to cut corners to make it work. Sadly it is the public entities that use RFP’s that pay the price.

That’s exactly what Emterra did, they didn’t exactly come out and say they weren’t going to recycle glass but with how little they’re getting paid per bin pickup there’s a reason they can’t process glass. And from the cities response you KNOW they didn’t catch it, if anything it sounds like it was directly the city’s fault.

Lets stop using RFP’s they aren’t helping anyone.

** I am making an assumption here that Emterra mischievously left the glass recycling out to create the cost savings. I recognize that they may have found it in hindsight and been an honest mistake. But if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it’s probably not a chicken!!!

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Your Privacy vs Being Accessible

Eric Schmidt quote on privacy

The new world is I’m Googling you the second you email me. I’m going to find everything I can about you. Google can find almost anything these days. I should be able to search your name and contact information and find all relevant information about you. I mean it’s 2014, you have to assume everyone is going to Google you at some point, right?

Now the privacy pundits will tell you to stay as anonymous as you can, as Lloyd Christmas once said, “lot of bad drivers out there!”. But REALLY, really?  How many people do you know who have been stalked?  Is that even still a thing?  We’re too concerned about privacy that we’re losing out on business opportunity.

I had a meeting booked with an organization, the night before the meeting I search the person I was meeting with on Google (I do this with a lot of people surprisingly) the only site other than LinkedIn said she was in Swift Current not Regina. I sent an email asking about her whereabouts, I receive nothing in return. I Googled the organization to find a phone number but there’ only a Regina contact. The “Contact Us” page had a form to fill out, no numbers. Finally I search for her email because for sure her phone number would be in the salutation at the bottom of the email right?  Wrong.

It was 30 minutes till a meeting with someone in another city that I had no number for, what would you do?

I didn’t make the meeting.

The lady called, she was upset. I didn’t mention the difficult time trying to find her contact info let alone a phone number. She didn’t want to hear what I had to say, her mind was made up.

I hate offending people. I don’t like upsetting people. I really try hard never to miss a meeting. By that time I think it was for the best. To help someone with social media when they won’t as much as publish a phone number is relatively impossible.

Answer the new phone. Be accessible, especially your workplace. Nothing says we hate our customers like not being able to find a phone number to call.

Google yourself. Google your company. Google your company name and “contact info”. See what comes up. If it isn’t exactly what your customers want then change it.

Oh yeah, how your customers find information about you will change, it will always change, it’s in your best interest to ask them periodically if you’re still providing information where it is most easily accessible.

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No One’s Listening, Get Over It

No one's listening, get over it

If you’re not selling as much as you think you should be, or your business isn’t doing as good as it should be, stop trying to tell more people about yourself. Stop trying to yell louder than everyone else, stop trying to make more commercials about yourself. No one cares about your business.

Your business isn’t growing, not because people don’t know about your company, your business isn’t growing because you’re not willing to sacrifice what really matters to make your organization what it could be.

If you think all you need to do is tell more people about what you’re doing you’re missing the point. If you have to tell people about what you’re selling it’s not going to scale and you aren’t going to experience the growth you want. If you can change your product or service to make it SO incredibly valuable that other people want to share it without you there, you’ve done it.

The new marketing is changing your service offering based on the feedback received from customers and employees to cater to them more effectively over time.

No one’s listening, get over it. Start creating a better message.

Stop trying to shout louder than your competition and start creating something worth shouting about.

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