Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Put me in, Coach

I had an interesting encounter yesterday. I had my first assessment done by a professional leadership coach. The assessment was designed to measure the types of energy I project at work and in my life.

Anabolic, good. Catabolic, bad. Very bad.

The strange part was that the coach was someone I met at one of my workshops. She had recently become a licensed coach and thought it would be good to lead me through her process.

I found it very interesting. I took an online test, and followed it up with a two-hour phone conversation to go over my assessment results.

I found out some very helpful things about the energy I generate at work, home and in my life. I definitely need to look at some specfic areas and relationships, including the expectations I set for myself. In particular, I tend to project certain types of energy at times that may be undermining my own progress and the way I interact with others.

The two-hour follow up phone conversation was very intense and pretty complex. Honestly, I don't know if I gave her what she was looking for, and I'm not sure what the exercise told me about my skills as a leader. The one thing our encounters made clear to me was that for a guy, I can be pretty high maintenance.

Who knew?

PS If anyone is interested in getting an Energy Leadership assessment done for themselves, let me know and I'll put you touch with my friend. She's very good, and a great listener.

Why they don't return your calls

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I heard something on MPR this morning about the experience job seekers are having at job fairs. What they were saying underscores once again how traditional methods of doing things today are not necessarily the way to get things done moving forward. The report stated that very few of the companies at the fair actually had job openings. Most of the companies at the fair were there selling products that were meant to help job seekers find a job.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

humans vs the hype

This brandtoon to the left was inspired by a recent article I read in Communication Arts. It was written by Baba Shetty, a strategist at Hill Holliday, and talks about what he describes as the "hype cycle" of new technology.

In a nutshell, the hype cycle is the progression of any new technology from "hot new thing" to "been there done that" disenchantment. Or as Mr. Shetty describes it as, "either the recommendation of a technologcial approach just because it's fashionable or the dismissing, out-of-hand direction that's judged by the cognescenti as being all too common."

Net net, the piece poses the question about how new technology tools (toys) might play into the way we plan our work, and suggests that the best interactive experiences always have less to do with technology(or the hype around it) and more to do with what makes us human.

Amen, brother.

Thoughts, anyone?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Marketing 2.0

The Activation Economy

Activate interest, involvement, affinity, affection, loyalty, awareness, empowerment, energy, adventure, ambition, confidence, comfort, competition, value, health, engagement, enthusiasm, professionalism, romance, anger, pride, patriotism, individualism...

Marketing 2.0 is about activating a connection with people. What connection are you activating with the work you're doing?

Disruptive Brands

Friday, June 12, 2009

face the enemy

Ideas that stick

My name is Gary...Hello, Gary!

Okay, I admit it. I have a problem and I blame it all on 3M. I have this thing about Post-It Notes and their private label pool partners from Staples called "sticky notes." I'm constantly writing things down on those little yellow (sometimes orange) sticky notes and putting them everywhere. My computer. My office walls. The dashboard of my car. My forehead(don't ask).

I believe there's nothing more exhilarating than reviewing the work of a group I'm facilitating. To do this, I often ask the group to rapid fire their ideas on a wall via Post-Its. As a creative facilitator, I encourage people to think out loud by writing everything down and putting it somewhere you could it see...move it around...combine it...evaluate it.

So if you're working on project with your group, have them gather around a wall and begin churning out ideas or pieces of ideas, writing everything down on Post-Its. Just beware. Creative thinking can be addictive. Once you've done it and see the value in writing everything down on those little sticky squares, you'll start taken a pad with you everywhere you go.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Breakfast of Chumpions

1. Bridge traffic
2. The price of gas
3. Clients that don't answer emails
4. Clients that answer emails, then cut your budget
5. Car salesmen
6. Negative people
7. People who overpromise and underdeliver
8. Drivers on cell phones
9. Self-proclaimed "social media" experts
10. Male enhancement radio commercials