Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Another Mile Marker i.e. Birthday

My birthday came and went this week. It made me think of a cartoon I did a few weeks ago.

While it's not as quite as dire a realization as a skateboard growing up to be a hotel cart, birthdays do remind me to stay at it. Keep my eye on the prize. While things like a down economy and mounting school tuitions force me(and my wife) to be resourceful, another passing year is a clear signal to "keep moving, keep grinding and keep having fun on the ride."

Happy Birthday to me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Two words to survive by

We hear a lot about the chasm that exists between those with a digital orientation and those who still cling to traditional ways. Yes, it has something to do with the generational gap (i discovered a recent hire in our interactive department was born the same year I graduated college, damn!), but I now know that age is a total cop out when it comes to playing in today's game. Age simply doesn't matter in the grand scheme. Seriously.

Take Brent Musburger. He's 70 years old but he's still considered among the upper echelon of broadcasters. He's still got game. Still plugged in. When asked by a younger colleague over dinner one night following a game they covered, "what is your secret for surviving this long in the business?" Brent replied with just two words.

"Stay interested."

In other words, even if you're not personally interested in things like the ShamWow, Lady GaGa, crowdsourcing or cloud computing, you have to figure out what it is that make all of these so interesting to others. What do they all mean? What trends are they signaling? What's the deeper insight into each and what is it teaching us in terms of culture and marketing? All this is crucial to success especially if you play in the innovation space.

In other words, if you want to stay relevant, stay interested. Because trust me, I've seen first hand that it doesn't take long for even young guns to turn into old farts if you don't take time to keep your head in the game.

Thanks, Brent.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Making plays in small places, eh?

The Canadian Olympic Ice Hockey was supposed to win the gold medal in Vancouver, so there's really no surprise there, right? Actually, there was. The way they did.

After losing to the U.S. early on, it was gut check time for Sidney Crosby and the Canadian team. In the final game against the U.S., the pundits identified the reason the Canadians were able to prevail: the were able to make plays in small places.

I love what this expression means: Making plays in small places. In the context of the game, it meant winning the battles in the corners and around of the net. Winning in all the pivotal places that could turn the game in your favor. I believe the same could apply to business, professional development and innovation. Companies and employees that learn to "make plays in small places" make all the difference between winning and losing. Between growing and being stuck. Between standout careers and vanilla careers. Whether we know it or not, every day we have chances to make plays in small places. In the clutch, do you battle or give in? Do you stick to your guns and make things better or do you fold up your tent and catch the first train home? The decisions we make, the battles we choose to engage in, the effort we put in to add value at any and every stage of a project. In today's "doing more with less" business world, "making plays in small places" is the answer to getting the gold. Frankly, THAT'S what doing more with less means is all about.

Great teams, great companies, great people know how to do it. It's what separates players like Sidney Crosby from everyone else. They put their mind to it every day. IN every situation. It's a part of their DNA.

What plays in small places will you make today?