Getting a clue means making changes large and small, from strategy to metaphor, from details to corporate body language.
This is a starter list. Contribute. Disagree. Counter-suggest. Laugh. We'll post your clues and your discussion of the existing posts.
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! Share your secrets.
Flip your 80:20 rule for keeping secrets. Instead of classifying 80% of your information, aim at classifying only 20%. Most of the secrets you keep no one would bother reading even if you delivered them with the morning newspaper.
Scott Johnson,TV Test SW Engineering, not speaking for Tektronix:
Such things as industrial espionage -- and employee theft -- still occur, so suggesting that companies disregard physical (or electronic security) in the name of openness may be wrong-headed. Security should be proportionate to the risks; no more and no less. And security should be limited in scope to what is necessary to prevent theft of property (tangible or intellectual) — NOT to stifle legitimate conversation with markets.
! Destroy your Powerpoints.
Try to do at least one presentation a week with nothing but a stack of blank transparencies and a black pen. You may start to get your voice back.
Then get rid of your corporate templates. Start with the ones for internal presentations. Then, once you feel more confident, smash the ones for external presentations. Let a 100 templates bloom.
Why does the use of prepared presentations cause the loss of voice? This only makes sense if you have not done your advance homework on the needs of the audience or your have an audience size and agenda that allows two-way conversations. Not all presentations meet these criteria. A prepared presentation, even if not used can be a valuable take away document for the audience. Especially valuable is having a number of previously prepared presentation modules that can be mixed and matched both in advance and on the fly to meet the needs of your audience. I also would encourage the use of corporate templates. Otherwise, when you mix and match modules the formatting can get messed up causing unreadable slides or an unprofessional presentation. The quality of your presentation can get you taken seriously so you can have the opportunity to open up a dialog required for a good relationship. Looking unprofessional and sloppy might not get you to that point. The key is not having the presentation materials drive the dialog, but to support it.
This quote is originally from the Sun Microsystems CEO, by way of several others including "The Computists Chronicles". It appears to be very pertinent to this 'Clue'.
We had 12.9 gigabytes of PowerPoint slides on our network. And I thought, "What a huge waste of corporate productivity." So we banned it. And we've had three unbelievable record-breaking fiscal quarters since we banned PowerPoint. Now, I would argue that every company in the world, if it would just ban PowerPoint, would see their earnings skyrocket. Employees would stand around going, "What do I do? Guess I've got to go to work." -- Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems. [SJM, 03Aug97. Keith Bostic email@example.com, QOTD, 06Aug97.]
Jonathan Peterson, Technical Consultant, IBM eBusiness Service:
The comments posted are dead wrong. The problem with canned presentations is that they are distributed to individuals who don't understand them who they use them in front of customers. Sure, I re-use MY presentations, but I never use someone else's. When presenting to customers I ask them WHY they wanted me to talk about X (personalization, publishing systems, content management, e-commerce) that tells me what they REALLY want to know.
Customers want partners who understand their business and can tailor solutions/products to their needs. This need is best met by having presenters who understand the customers business as well as their own, and letting them talk informally with customers as much as possible.
I'm with you and the IBM guy! When you're using powerpoint, you're Talking At people. This is not dialogue. You are not receiving priceless information. You're spinning a line. Give them the printed presentations days before, if you want to get your message across, but powerpoint should only consist of graphs and visual aids to discussion. Interested people are involved, and they usually stay awake.
Ulrika O'Brien, English & Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine:
I find it interesting that the guys who object the most to dumping PowerPoint are also the ones who seem to have the hardest time using a human voice when they write. If they look up, they might see a cluetrain whizzing by.
Powerpoints have strangled the life out of creative human endeavor at work. Not only is their creation, duplication, enhancement, presentation and storage a tremendous waste of productive time, but their vapid content is responsible for the dumbing down of executives and management who reproduce and regurgitate decks of powerpoints until they actually think they mean something.
Powerpoints are the hypnotic drug of management consulting firms. Remember, next time your company is paying $5000 a day for a management consultant, 80% of his time is spent going through his firm's slide archives to pull together recycled intellectual capital (old thinking) for your next meeting.
I think there might really be only one master set of powerpoints in the world. If you did a DNA test, you'd likely find them to be from from McKinsey.
Chris Erney, creative director @ surety.com:
I feel PowerPoint definitely has it's place. PowerPoint is only a tool, why "ban" a tool? Silly. Banning PowerPoint presentations that are read bullet-by-bullet by the presenter to the audience is a good idea. They are usually canned pitches not customized to the audience anyway, either extremely vague (on purpose) or entirely too detailed so they are (thought to be) universal. Good PowerPoint presentations start with a good presenter. They clearly illustrate ideas, further explaining and reinforcing (graphically) what the presenter is saying (verbally). Creating a truly good presentation requires unique skill set. I don't believe everyone can do it well, and those that can't, shouldn't.
Dave Bixler, Freelance Author:
What excellent advice! I still prefer a whiteboard and a box of markers to a prepared presentation. It forces people to pay attention to the presentation. They don't have the "Oh, I can just read it later" excuse to doze through a meeting. Even better, they have to take notes if they want to stay in the game. A lot of times in the process of taking notes they think of actual questions, and there is a discussion. What a concept.
When the first page editor (Aldus Pagemaker) was issued, everyone became an editor... instantly. Newsletters were everywhere. For the most part, very poor newsletters. The proliferation of Powerpoint is similar in impact. What used to take creativity, and indepth knowledge of your subject, now can be copied from the internet or stolen from vendors.
As an artist and writer (avocations), I don't need Powerpoint. I love simple, straightforward presentations that get to the point. I like to use whiteboards and overheads.
But those that need, or feel that they need, Powerpoint to produce presentations with 40 colors on each page, 17 type fonts, and 106 lines per slide, are fooling themselves. They have lost, or never had, the ability to get their ideas accross to the viewer. They don't ask questions, they don't know their audience, and unfortunately don't care. I am a Telecom Manager in a major insurance corporation and I receive presentations each week from vendors and internal individuals that haven't the slightest idea what they are presenting. I love to stop them and begin the questions. I have had them stop... go back to the beginning... and start again.
When I train my staff on presentations, I encourage them to have fun in presentations. I require that they know ten times more about the subject than their audience. Knowledge builds confidence. I encourage their involvement in groups that teach you to speak publically. I require them to practice in front of me and other members of my staff. They notice that their ideas are suddenly listened to.
I remind them of one concern however... to be sure their ideas are worth listening hearing.
We had a company that made a simulation product come to town for one of their regular roadshows. Six people showed up, and from the conversation before the pitch, all 6 of us made it pretty clear that we knew the subject they were going to present on better than they did, and we wanted to ask some questions about their product.
They gave their presentation anyway, blissfully oblivious not only to what their customers *might* have been interested in hearing, but to what we *said* we were interested in hearing.
Want to guess whose products I decided never to buy?
Grant Margison, Centell Ltd. :
I think we need to ban PowerPoint PRESENTATIONS and not PowerPoint itself. In working with clients I continually work to reframe their thinking that "I don't do presentations so I don't need PowerPoint". When it is used as a word in progress to share ideas, its like a moveable whiteboard that can everyone can contribute to. In this way "voice" can become more than one dimensional - Its great for sharing what needs to happen and what options we are exploring as its not limited to text - pictures, diagrams, text placement, colour etc can really bring meaning out. If anything its the "beginners mind" attitude with it that works best ie forget preset layouts etc - just start with a "blank" and treat it like a painter's canvas where we all have brushes!
! Get some teachers.
You have trainers in your organization, so why don't you have teachers?
Elizabeth Lane Lawley, Assistant Professor of Information Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology
Hire teachers, indeed! And make sure that teachers who are preparing students for "Internet: TNG" are climbing onto the cluetrain, as well.
! Burn your mission statement.
Do it publicly. How about writing one that's honest?
Instead of ignoring, or burning, your company's mission statement, live it! Most have great values — respect for individuals (aka human beings/customers/workers), integrity, creativity, honesty. When those around you / above you in the chain ignore or violate those values, simply point to the ever-present mission statement and say, "Haven't you read this?" It really works, honest.
Peter Seebach, Pres., Plethora Internet:
We were talking about our "mission statement" at a company meeting (we've never had one), and I proposed: "Our mission is to provide our employees with challenging, interesting, jobs."
In response to suggestions like "Burn Your Mission Statement": While it might be fun and exciting to work in a mission statement-less environement, a company full of employees beating their own drums is not likely to successfully harness each employee's power to get anything useful accomplished. Having run a company in laise-faire mode for a while, I've come to realize the importance of a "Corporate Doctrine" which keeps all the company energys focused in the same areas. The result...quality output. My suggestion, from personal experience: run your company for a while, then come up with a mission statement. A mission statement borne out of experience and passion will be an integral part of a company, and need not be burned or disregarded.
Ulrika O'Brien, English & Comparative Literature, University of California, Irvine:
A mission statement doesn't have to be bad, but most are. They're poorly written, vague, abstract, airy things that fart around not doing their jobs. A good mission statement tells you one thing: what are we trying to do? Knowing your goal is basic to getting to it. Long lists of the kind of values we would embrace if we were better people are nice, but they don't do the job that a mission statement is supposed to do.
An analogy: Did you ever see Candid Camera ask a bunch of second-graders to recite the Pledge of Allegiance? The joke comes from the kids' various mistakes with the words. That's not because the kids are dumb, but because the Pledge is so abstract that it's just a series of sounds to them, without anchor in their lives. So they say things like "one nation, invisible." A bad mission statement is like that; it's empty noises, disconnected from the work people do.
Another analogy: Ever see those "Visualize World Peace" bumper stickers? Did you actually ever succeed in visualizing it? I never have. Nobody knows what peace looks like, because it's too diffuse. It's either too abstract or way too many different concrete things: everything but war. Now try visualizing war. Got that in one, didn't you? War is concrete. It's specific. This may have something to do with why it's easier to get to war than it is to get to peace. Goals need to be concrete and specific. Mission statements that are not concrete and specific should be burned. Stick vague, warm-fuzzy values on bumper stickers on your car so you can show other people how swell you are.
! Tell stories.Without a story, you have no company, just as a family without a story is only a collection of relatives. Aim at telling it so often — and hearing it so often from other people in your company — that it transcends story to become myth.
! Hire a historian.Get someone who knows history to tell yours. Capture your narrative.
! Screw deadlines.
Empower the people who can get it done. Ask them to work on it as hard as they can.
In such an environment, deadlines are nothing but a power trip.
Laura Olinger , independent contractor (management consulting and coaching):
A commitment actually gives us freedom to work as much as needed, and play the rest of the time. It provides some clarity about what to do with our time. How we relate to a "deadline" is what usually gets us into trouble. What if a "deadline" was known as "Bastille Day" after which the team is liberated?
Susan Johnson, Partner, Horizons Unlimited:
Deadlines are not optional in many situations, as companies often compete on time (products to market, orders to customer, etc). Deadlines work if they are self-imposed. A better approach than "screw deadlines" is to empower the people who can get it done, then ask them when they can do it by. Once individuals have committed to a deadline, they will usually do whatever is necessary to meet it.
Peter Seebach, Pres., Plethora Internet :
This isn't Star Trek. No amount of management can change physics.
"People who get it done" usually do so with deadlines, both self and externally imposed. If deadlines are "a power trip" they are not being used properly. Are you not attacking the symptom (the deadline) and not the disease (poor management style)?
! Stop pretending to your customers.Invite your best customers into your annual sales meeting.
Then speak as frankly as you would if they weren't in the room.
On a related line, how about going one step further and invite the industry press to your customer events? You can take advantage of the free publicity and they would be more likely to get the story right without filtering by the middleman.
! Evaluate your competition honestly.Make a 2x2 grid of the competitive landscape that does not put you in the upper right.
While you're in the mood, make a checklist of you versus your competitors in which not all of your boxes are checked off.
! Guide your market.Write a guide to your industry that actually serves your customers' interests.
! Value losing.Your salesforce writes up win and loss reports, frankly explaining the outcomes of your major sales efforts. Make sure everyone in your organization reads some of both.
! Retire the fashion police.Cancel dress-down Friday. Instead declare Uncomfortable Monday, Pretentious Tuesday, Phony Wednesday, and Tight Shoes Thursday.
! Be a bit off.Encourage your eccentrics. We all are, if you dig deep enough.
! Reward failure.When you give out your company awards — gag! — establish a category for best bad ideas, best wrong turns, best lost causes.
! Disqualify me.Respect my time and intelligence by making it easy for me to find out who your products aren't great for.
! Dropkick the sports metaphors.
A business isn't really much like a sports team. It's more like a, what?, a town? A church? A life? (Choose wisely, grasshopper, because metaphors count more than market research and taglines.)
"Touch base" with me at your peril. Try check, talk, ping, buttonhole, catch up, harangue, pester, link, connect, remind, chivvy, appeal, or vex instead. The language is rich and deep, so mine it and make it yours. Say what you're really doing, even if you're pestering. The honesty would be so startling I might actually listen to what you're pestering me about.
Sports are comfortable for most managers, since they are male, and dropping them would be a good argument for leveling the playing field for women and minorities. However, how about going one step further? One reason they are used so much is that they play to the average, male managers comfort zone. But change requires challenging the comfort zone. Therefore, how about changing the frame of reference each week where everyone is encouraged to think and write within that new frame of reference all week? You can rotate in some sports to ease the transition and make the change less threatening. For example: football this week, then family, followed by camping, high school, dating, tennis, education & learning, children's games, etc. Might be fun and the choice can be used to point out a cultural issue that is unseen by many in the organization.
! Be funny.If laughter is the sound of truth emerging, why isn't your business much funnier than it is?
! Steer us into discussions.Point your prospects and users to the Usenet discussion groups where your products and your services and your support are being discussed. We'll find 'em anyway.
! Speak for yourself.
Let your employees enter into the discussions on Usenet, identifying themselves as people who work for you. We all know that they don't speak for The Corporation. (How do we know this? Because they're actually saying something. Duh.)
Sounds great, but many legal departments would disagree. While we "know" they don't officially speak for the company, lawyers see large companies as an easy mark and often use such comments out of context. I would truly like to support your position, but have seen too many cases where it is easier to cut the loses early. Even when they go to full trial anything can happen. You have heard about McDonald's coffee. How about this case: A drug deal went bad and the dealer was shot. Unfortunately for us, this was behind a gas station. Our crime is that our TV advertising implied a safe place to do business, and we should have therefore protected the drug dealer from being shot by his customer. We lost and had to pay the drug dealer's medical expenses.
Gunther Voet founder, Similar Dreams Corp.
Do not dress yourself like every other gray mouse, do not change your clothes because of the Fashion as standard, wear your Hat, talk in your language and in your words, be yourself!
! Skip the boilerplate.Fight the urge to put the mealymouthed legal boilerplate into every public statement. Surely your lawyers can find a different way to handle the liabilities without making you sound like a frightened child everytime your yap opens.
! Don't let dignity get in the way.Management MBO: Look foolish once a month.
! Lower security.
Unless you are really a defense plant requiring Defense Department clearance, stop pretending you are by asking visitors to sign in. Have you ever even once used the sign-in log? Why not just put up metal detectors and check body cavities so that you'll seem important?
You seem to have something against the sign-in book. Ever been in a building that's on fire? That's what the book is for, to check the evacuation is complete, security is a secondary function.
Iguanashit! So far I have not had to sign in to the Hospital, the department store, the indoor sports arena. Sign in is a power trip.
! Turn intranets into extranets.
Do not show us pictures of models posing as workers (especially if they are leaning over computer monitors) on your web site. If you want to show us your workplace, then link us to your internal intranet.
Catherine Buzzell, self-employed technology consultant, Savior/Ass Pain/Guru/Bloodsucker
...remind(s) me of how pissed I get going to a tradeshow and talking to spandex-wearing booth bimbos (male and female) about products they can't even pronounce. It insults your employees and your customers. Why hire the whole staff of the local Hooters when you've got knowledgeable employees to send out to mingle? You catch my drift
Ken Rossi, Director of Public Relations, BaseSystem, Inc.:
Make your website your intranet. Put up a discussion board. This enables you to talk to your market and your employees. You may be surprised what an admin asst. and a 15 yr old hacker may come up with.
! Publish intranets.On your central intranet — the one with all the unread official pronouncements — make it easy for your people to register (voluntarily!) their own intranets and easy to find everyone else's.
! Don't have 2nd class team members.
When you "outsource" knowledge work, why not assume that it's going to be a successful relationship and provide the outsourcers with as many contacts into the community as possible? Put 'em on the corporate intranet, invite them to sales conference, put their pictures and contact info into your directory.
Betsy Craz, freelance copywriter
Contract/freelance workers can become valuable members of your organization. My relationship with my client is entirely determined by my performance and results-not my tenure. I'm more than willing to extend myself: to talk to clients, research competitors, immerse myself in their business, so that I can give clients the best possible product and get repeat business. Plus, because I'm less burdened by the company's internal political pressures I'm more willing to offer an opinion or perspective that's not popular among my counterparts on staff. After all, being a maverick is why many of us are out on our own.
! Reward the workers.To reward the great work of a team, do not expect the rest of the team to bask in the reflected glory of the Cross pen you award to the team leader. Or are you stimulating class warfare on purpose?
! Fractalize startups.Entrepeneurship is fractal. Enable every tendril of your organization to try, fail, and maybe succeed wildly.
! Give up on red tape.Do not expect anyone ever to do anything simply for the sake of the organization. For example, if filling in a form would make the organization work better but individuals see no benefit to them or their team, it will seem like nothing but red tape.
! Distrust discipline.What you can do only by discipline should not be done. The resistance you feel is the friction of good sense.
! Don't flinch.In your waiting room (by the way, why do you have one?), put out the information that a visitor would otherwise have to hunt for — the good reviews as well as the bad, the analyst reports, the whole truth.
! Do something useful.The next time you're tempted to engage in a team-building exercise, instead of going white-water rafting, build a house for someone who needs one or paint a school.
! Find teams.Why isn't your work a team-building exercise in the first place?
! Read the writing.Read the fine print on the products you build and the collateral you send out. It's the real you.
! Help users talk.Do whatever you can to help your users talk to one another: users groups, discussion boards, email lists. Then listen.
! Trash the Teleprompter.
Fire your speech writers. Learn to talk.
Doug Lavender, Toronto Speaker's Notebook (Caveat: This is a grizzled business writer speaking.):
"Trash the Teleprompter"? Definitely. Only a select few actors can read lines verbatim and sound credible. The teleprompter is the root of more incredulity than all the rosiest Q4 projections in the world.
"Learn to Talk"? By all means. Nothing sells better than language from the heart. Or from the gut.
But "Fire your speech writer"? Maybe yes, maybe no. Here's the problem: if you find yourself at the podium in front of external audiences more than once or twice a week, let’s be realistic. There is no way you can make time to properly research and tailor your remarks for every crowd-- addressing THEIR particular situations; answering THEIR particular gripes. Tailoring your message isn’t only sly marketing; it’s a show of respect. And respect is what this whole exercise is about.
When speakers read my work and ask, ‘Does this sound right’ my answer is always the same: ‘How would YOU put it?’ That’s all your listeners really want to hear. They deserve nothing less.
! Share the wealth.Of course every employee is a shareholder in your company, right? Jeez, that's why you're there, isn't it?
! Hear the pitter patter.The sound of children is distracting. That's why they should be in the workplace.
! Browse.You can't assume that what matters to your industry will be discovered first within your industry. So, encourage folks to explore widely. Let them roam the Web and count it as part of their job. Aimless browsing isn't the point, but healthy curiosity is.
! Screw benefits.
Stop reducing all conversations with customers to the "benefits" your company's products or services bring. Ultimately, all benefits are the same. Your customers want to know what your stuff does and doesn't do. And, often more important, they want to know what it'd feel like to be your partner.
These clues were submitted by visitors to Cluetrain.com. To contribute your own, click here.
! Upend the food chain.
Okay, so the secretaries and the IS department don't actually have any billable hours. Do you really think that makes them unnecessary? Really? Then why are you paying them a salary? If they help you do your job better, by doing something you can't or won't do, you need them more than they need you.
! Think like a human.
Examine your rules, forms, policies, ethos. What possible relevance/benefits do they have to me, your customer/partner? Do I not think? Am I not human?
Tom Williams, Chief Poobah, Messy Productions
! Go home!
Introduce yourself to your family and listen to them. This is who you are. This is who we all are. This is where we begin. Try taking this thought to work.
Thomas Anderson, President/CEO SearchAtHome.com, Inc.
! Think global, act global.
In a global market place, don't advertise to one country. I have lost track of the numebr of times I have gone to a site and thought "Oh, I like that.", spent ten minutes clicking to get to the end of the invoice and see "US Only".
! Expect the best.
Raise the bar and we will leap over it. Lower it and we will dig a hole beneath it. Let us all raise the bar...
Stephanie Moffett, web developer, Modus Interactive
! Pick up a pen.
It's about time people realize that the market is people. How odd that we've lost sight of ourselves and the fact that everyone else is pretty much like we are. Numbers? They are for those who are not willing to look you in the eye. And for those who dare look you in the eye, pick up the phone, and write a thank you note on real paper with a real pen with their real hand... the world is yours.
Jared McCarthy, president, Buyers Research firstname.lastname@example.org
Focus groups don't work. Marketing research don't work. 'Let's take a poll...' they say. I say, stick with your convictions. Give things a try. Individuals have creativity, insight, vibe — organizations, by nature, do not.
David Gaffen, deity, http://www.thefelixes.com/
! Face the cost of cost controls.
"Cost controls" are often a false economy. In hard times, they may be necessary. But actions undertaken to cut costs — adding layers of bureucracy who watch pennies; centralizing support functions then cutting them to the bone; micromanaging schedules and budgets — are often counterproductive. They inhibit producutivity nine times out of ten, and they often don't produce real savings. Honest schedules and budgets turn into wildly optimistic ones; budgeted costs may go down but overhead costs grow; schedules turn from a useful planning tools into a noose around employees' necks. One cannot achieve stellar growth in profits without stellar growth in revenues; cost-cutting reaches diminishing returns quickly.
Scott Johnson,TV Test SW Engineering, not speaking for Tektronix
! Cancelling isn't failing.
Cancelling a product — at the right time — is not a failure. This is another example of fear of bad news. Project managers may be afraid to be truthful about a doomed project (early on) because they fear for both their reputations and for their careers. This is unfortunate; if a company realizes that an undertaking is ill-advised and stops it early on; this should be regarded as a positive thing, not a bad thing. A good manager (or any employee) should be able to tell his/her boss that what he/she is currently doing is a joke.
Scott Johnson,TV Test SW Engineering, not speaking for Tektronix
! De-cloak and dagger.
Office politics is poisonous to a company, and thrives in a culture of secrecy. Where communication through public channels is discouraged; communication instead occurs in backroom conversations, in whispered tones. And what is said is often intended to advance the careers of the office politician, not to advance the interests of the company or its customers. Such self-serving conversation is much less prevalent in open and public communication; instead one hears the truth. Words whispered in secret only thrive when the truth stays hidden. And a few concerns and comments, however.
Scott Johnson,TV Test SW Engineering, not speaking for Tektronix
! Say the magic words.
If only all supervisors, bosses and anyone with people working for them or with them could learn how to sincerely say two simple words...."thank you". This makes employees/co-workers feel appreciated and that, my friends, go a long way
Kelly Stine, account manager, PearlNet, LLC
In addition to saying "thank-you" use "please" when asking for something to be done...sure they know you are telling them but isn't so much nicer to be asked for something and being appreciated at the same time?! The old saying "do onto others" carries allot of weight. With that in mind, if it sounds like "crap" or "a waste of time" what make you think it'll sound any different to your "fellow workers, customers or family and friends"?
! Invite the whole person in.
Encourage your diverse workforce to bring their uniqueness to work with them. Their intuition, their soul, their families, their voices, and their ideas. Most days it feels as though we are expected to leave all of these things at the door when we come in.
Chris Archuleta, Motorola SPS
! Dump voice mail.
A good beginning would be voice mail. Dump it. Talk to the public. Take your kudos and take your lumps. It's part of life, part of business, part of humanity.
Evan Mahaney, columnist, Monitor Computer Magazine (Austria)
! Be positioned.
Position themselves? Position is a noun (but not the point). A company's position is determined by its customers, not its marketing department. Listen to customers, decide if your position is not only profitable but humanly valuable, and work to harmonize the two. Now THAT's a position worth having.
Ed Alexander, vice president, business development, K.J. Harding & Company url: http://www.kjhco.com email: email@example.com
! Take a position, don't be positioned.
Take a stand on what your company is all about. Don't change your positioning statement to reflect the buzzword of the day. Ultimately, customers will see your honesty as refreshing. But don't sit in a committee to come up with the perfect phrase. Throw a stake in the ground and say proudly "This is who we are."
Sachin Shah, Sr. Account Executive, PR@VANTAGE
! Imagine you're talking to a real person.
When you get on the Net, don't forget that you are not talking to a wall but to human beings who are maybe smart or smarter than you are, who may be having some real problems in their personal lives, and who in any event should always be treated with respect. So when you write anything that people are going to read, be sure to conjure up a vision of someone who is maybe bigger, stronger, smarter and more responsible than you are — but who still is 100% willing to listen, learn and share.
Eric Britton, ecopl@n
! Lower the Web hurdles.
Three anti-Clues: a) Make sure you leave out your prices so no one will ever ask you b) Require a whole bunch of registration information before you let anyone see what you are selling c) Design your catalog so that the pages take at least 5 minutes to load -- it keeps 'em guessing
Michael Colucci, Chief, cook, webslave, etc., Dominion Systems/EnetX
! Scrap HR.
Scrap the Human Resources department. A resource is a raw material which is used (up) to generate profit. Humans are properly employees, not resources.
! Talk and listen.
Get out of your chair every now and then. Talk to the rest of the company, express your ideas and listen to theirs. Can you do something to help them achieve their goals? Is there something they can do to help you achieve yours? You're on the same team after all, right? Most of all, listen and then listen some more. Talk when you have something to say, not to revisit your point of view, or defend against a perceived slight. Carrying the conversation outside the corporate environment is great, but there has to be a healthy conversation to begin with...
Eathan Mertz - Manager, Online Marketing, AlphaShop Network Services
! Reset Chemical Balance.
It is a known fact that chemically balanced people are more productive under deadlines then their unbalanced counterparts. It is a medical fact that people suffering from hangovers can temporarily reset their body chemistry by consuming a small quantity of alcohol. Beer contains less alcohol then most other over the counter forms of relief. Beer has even less alcohol then Nyquil, the industry standard for alcohol relief. Stock a few beers in a small cooler or refrigerator next to the medicine cabinet. A sure way to get the product back on target.
Dan James, Sprawl Support, Tom-Tom.Com
! Get positioned.
Companies do not position themselves. They can't. Like it or not, their position is determined by their customers. Position is and always has been a noun, not a verb. Companies need to find out what position they're in, decide if they like it or not (hopefully along the lines of human value) and change if they need to. This is called getting a clue.
Ed Alexander, Vice President, Business Development, K.J. Harding & Company
The word "no" is opportunity; it hastens the pace of change.
Enlightened business is not "war."
Ethics in business are transformational commitments to be kept, "inside" and "outside."
True "selling" is an interactive, values-centered process, not a score in need of keeping.
Michael Wood, Pres.& CEO, Tuttle-Wood Assocs.
! Forget span of control, minimize depth of confusion.
Layers of management introduce noise, concealment and disinformation. You can coordinate and guide 30 people, giving each an hour a week, spend ten more hours being coordinated or communicating with others - and still have a life.
C.A. ("Al") Levine, President, Eclectic Solutions Corporation
! Communicate, don't spam.
When I give you contact info, I'm asking you to communicate with me. Marketing isn't communication.
Peter Seebach, Pres., Plethora Internet
! Take direction from your "underlings."
You hired those people because of their expertise, right? Once you have set meaningful goals for them, cleared obstacles from their path, and turned them loose, you've done most of the job of managing "your" people. Why not ask them how you can pitch in?
Dave Demko, Manager for Documentation and Training
! Change the rules.
Not everyone can change the rules, but successful rule changers are the stars of the market. If you can not change the rules, recognize that they are changing and adapt accordingly: you will still be among the winners if you can do that..
If you manage to change the rules, make it easy for everyone else to play by those rules. Sony (with the Betamax) and Apple Computer tried to keep it all for themselves. See where they are now!
Using the government and the courts to restrain the rule changers will work for a while - even quite a long while - but for less time than it used to. Then, when that technique stops working, you really are toast!
Hugh Elliot, Management and Business Finance Consultant
! Get rid of executive parking.
The first employees to arrive in the morning get the best spots.
! Involvement, not just focus.
Everyone talks about customer focus when developing marketing programs. But there is a world of difference when you experience customer involvement in the process. One last parting comment: where are the comments on organized labor? As we move forward to new styles of management there is a great deal of gain possible by the low level employee. However, labor unions often oppose such change due to their attitude toward change and management in general.
! And but...
... (S)pend time getting people to make a simple language conversion, to substitute the word "and" for the word "but," especially in conflict resolution. "And" is affirming and its use helps foster communication. "But," quite simply, is what one sits on.
Michael Wood, Pres.& CEO, Tuttle-Wood Assocs.
! Listen to users.
Listen to your end users. They probably don't know computers the way you do (that's why you get the big bucks!). They know what they need. You might even hang around them and learn what they really do.
Joel Eisenhandler, Computer Consultant
! Use ?
Use question marks instead of exclamation marks. The former stand in the way of communication. The latter encourage it.
Zsolt Pekker , http://www.pekker.com/
Ted Rokicki, Freelance Copy Editor:
I've read Zsolt Pekker's clue (!Use?) several times and I'm pretty sure that "former" and "latter" have been reversed. If not, the message is definitely over my head. As written, the clue tells us to use punctuation that stands in the way of communication. Kind of ironic, huh?
! It's the connections, stupid!
Conversations are the most important activity... it is via conversations that we learn, make sense of what is happening and create relationships. We connect thru conversations. Learning is a social activity... what you know depends on whom you know... grow your network! A famous CEO's last vision before he was 'replaced': "Stop talking and get back to work!" Duh! He proclaimed this to employees who were talking, trying to make sense of what was happening in their rapidly changing industry.
Valdis Krebs, http://www.orgnet.com/
! Build learning communities.
Build learning communities (communities where people get together to help each other learn) both inside and outside the organization. Build learning communities - not merely teams - to encourage discussions within the organization. Build learning communities to truly help your clients and prospects."
Paul Siegel, LearningFount
! Listen to stories.
Listen to the stories your customers and employees tell. Are they positive or negative? Do they value people or things? Do they tell about successes or failures? Do they idolize one person or event, or do they give the entire organization credit for achievements? As a company, this is who you are! If you want to change the culture, you need to change the mythology. To do this, you need to change the stories people tell about you.
Roger Loeb, CEO, The MarTech Group
! Enable, not empower.
People don't need empowerment...they love enablement. Teach your child a skill, provide your fellows tools and *training*, provide your customer a long-lasting value that enables *them*. Enabling is where it's at because it helps people...help themselves...help everyone and everything THEY care about.
Mike Richards,,Home or IBM
! Fall in love with your business and customers again.
Remember when you were passionate about what you did ? Find someone in your organization who is excited about what you do. If you can't find anyone hire a consultant who makes your head spin with ideas and fresh insights into your business and how to service and reach your customers.
Peter Hern, Innovative Music Marketing & North Country Faire Recordings
! Trust trust.
Trust in trust. It builds productivity.
Allison Majure, PeopleSoft
! Dump jargon.
Dump all jargon, whether it is psychobabble like "body language" when you mean demeanor or attitude, org charts, mission statement (purpose?), or initials. Especially initials and even more especially electronic alphabet soup such as URL, html, FRP, ISP, none of which I understand even although I use the Internet every day. Jargon is 1) a method of concealing the truth from others, or 2) sheer laziness.
Chris Reed, Bulletin magazine
! Share the competition.
Your sales force knows who your competitors are, your customers know who your competitors are, management (usually) knows who your competitors are. But nine times out of ten, the rank and file have no real idea of WHO your competitors are. Tell them - share the competition! Why should knowing your competition be a secret? Unless, of course, you are afraid of losing employees to them ... which says a lot in and of itself.
Ben Shofner, Senior Software Consultant, Information Management Division, Aspen Technology, Inc.(Insert usual weasel-word boilerplate disclaimer here)
! When "all is said and done" be sure something was done.
Too often "doing something" about a problem means surveys, meetings, talking - resulting in a declaration. This is not action. It doesn't matter. It is counterfeit management (looks like management, but is useless). Make sure a lasting change for the better occurs.
! Do what you say.
Do what you say you will do, when you say you will do it. Return telephone calls - and reply to e-mails. If you bother to publish an e-mail address, have the courtesy to have it manned.
Dianne Bayley, Director: Marketing Services, 24-Seven Global Interactive Marketing
! Put a warm body behind your voice...
ALWAYS include a "press '0' to talk with a representative" on your customer service phone-line menu selections. Seems like common sense, right? Think about how many major "service" corporations don't (not mentioning any names, of course).
Joy Zimberlin - Marketing Consultant
! When consulting, don't hold back your opinions.
While you may feel that clients are hiring you for your methodology, sometimes they just want to hear your opinion
William Sokol,General Partner, BedRock Ventures, LLC
! Dump "ABC" priority codes.
There are two priorities: what you're doing right now, and everything else. Change what you are doing based on intuitive surrender to the part of you that knows best.
David Allen, President, David Allen & Co.
! When assigning responsibility, give the authority along with it.
Nothing annoys your customer more than dealing with someone who must say I have no authority to do that. Don't kill the brilliance in your company! When giving your workers the responsibility to produce, give them the authority to modify the paradigm, the authority to solve the problem, the authority to access their own creativity.
Victoria Duff, Duff New Media Associates
! Hire creatively.
Don't look only for someone who has done exactly the same job for another company. That company's mediocrity might become your own. Why not let the person who requisitioned the employee filter through the resumes rather than leaving it up to a Human Resources person who has only a vague idea of what is needed?
Victoria Duff, Duff New Media Associates
! Treat employees like customers.
Supervisors of those with the most contact with customers have to treat these employees in the same manner that you would like them to treat the customer. If you are a service industry, the effort needs to be at least doubled by the supervisor.
John Constantine, Ph.D,. Community Hospitals of Indianapolis
! Remember round earth.
Get positioned so that all people, overseas, multilingual, can have a voice. Remember multiple perspectives. Organize to be generalists to let information flow quickly through your organization and network of people. Do one favor that has no advantage to you daily, so that the whole group benefits.
Judith Gilbert, Lobasoft
! Hire managers that hate politics.
The best managers care about the customers they serve, the products they produce and the people in their group. The worst managers get lost in the quest to build enough power to do what they think is the right thing, if they remember what that is. The worst of the worst managers do whatever they think will please whoever they think currently holds the most power.
Ed Harp, software engineer
! Honesty is the best policy.
Tell your employees what is really going on. If you find that the group is turning on a less than effective individual, let them know they are screwing up. Pushing them down or out only passes the problem on, and even worse, does not give them the information they need to improve
Ed Harp, software engineer
! Laugh out loud.
Face it...corporate life's become a parody of itself. Why keep pretending that the status quo's the way to go? Try to laugh out loud at inappropriate times during meetings. Pass out whoopie cushions to your clients at meetings. Use those fake ice cubes with flies in them at press events. Do what humans do...laugh!
Sean Carton, managing partner, Carton Donofrio Interactive
! Don't be afraid to tell people they made a mistake!
If you notice someone making a mistake, tell them! (and offer a solution) If possible, tell them right then and there! Quite often, people don't realize they are making a mistake - that's why they are called mistakes. Most people want to fix their mistakes or avoid making them again. A good worker will appreciate you telling them. A bad worker won't like you telling them (and they probably don't need to be working with/for you.)
And don't be upset when someone tells *you* you made a mistake. It means they care about the job they are doing and the job that you are doing. This is a Good Thing.
! Dive in, head first, eyes wide open.
With the war among the frighteningly smarts, the wacky brilliance, the guys with the animal energy, the net-freaks, what do we have to do to out-run them?
Take a seat and be silent for a moment, think about it for a while, think what can happen, what it mean to you. Distance is already dead, this is now a friction free world, 7 x 24 economy, and the Internet is the greatest equalizer of all. The net *hyper time* travel seven times faster than regular business time, we really do not have the luxury of time. This is just year FIVE a.i. (after internet), yet the change has been so profound. If we do not act now, we'll die.
The *digital dreams* never promise anything, just like other dreams, but can we afford to ignore it? Are you sure? Wanna bet your future against it?
Attitude and the willingness to DIVE IN, HEAD FIRST, EYES WIDE OPEN will be crucial to one's internet endeavours success. We may succeed, we may fail,... either way, we live!
Tanadi Santoso, Chief Directive and Catalyst Officer, SAM-Design, Bali
! 10 Guides for the Year 2000 and Beyond.
Life at the fast-lane is sometimes exhilarating, but always exhausting. Only passion is likely to see us through the 18 hour day, month after month, and the painful mistakes that are part and parcel of the success process.
- Passion! Passion! Passion!
WOW-projects, obsessions, the love that was tainted with insanity! You gotta want it bad enough and Heaven Forgive! You will find a way to get it. Passion is the single most important factor is any type of success! If you do not have it, forget it, do your regular-works, which will usually amount to nothing special.
- FREE YOUR MIND, BREAK THE RULES
In the crazy times like this, it requires the crazy attitudes to succeed. To break the barrier, to try something different and special. The times are revolutionary. A creative approach toward business (and life!) is more important now than ever. And believe me, innovations are in a very short supply, so if you do get it, go and BANG!Rules are guidelines. When they stop working, break them, change them or get rid of them. Bad rules only slow people down and give them an excuse not to pursue the best solution for the customers. Rely on your intuition. What is your heart and mind telling you. If intuition goes against a rule, break it.
Paul R. Belleau, senior copywriter, AMG Advertising and PR
- BE DISTINCTIVE
The new millennia needs a Distinct Brand You, something special. Do you have it? Can you explain why you (and not your friends or competitors) should succeed? The world is insanely competitive, -me-too- products and services are all over the place. If you are not distinctly different and insanely great, you will get nowhere fast. The marketplace does not need anything usual, but it cry out for that special someone or something that can deliver excellence, and nothing less that that.
- TAKE INITIATIVES.
Dive in, Head First, Eyes Wide Open**. The era of ready-shoot!-aim is here to stay. Time is sliced into nanoseconds and we are always at the deadline! Decisions cannot wait, and you got to do it now, do it fast and move on. Things change in real-time, we manage in real-time. There is no place for reconsideration and rethinking. Time is sacredly valuable, it is your most precious capital. Be stingy about it. **Good things come to those who relentlessly pursue them. Waiting is for bus stops.** (Mario Vittone). Take initiative, be proactive, jump in, now !
- FOCUS ON OPPORTUNITIES, NOT PROBLEMS
We always have problems, difficulties... We focus on opportunities, we seek the 10 times way to do things better. Incrementalism is a goner, jump-start is in! We create new way of doing business, we seek a striking change to do things w-a-y better! Do not waste our precious energy (even when we got that animalistic energy in our veins, save it!) on mundane and trivial things. Focus!
- GROW YOUR NETWORK
Friends, friends, friends, the best weapon one can have in the path toward success. We have to grow our network, our friends, our chain of links. There is professionalism, there is ability, skill, hard works, but still the friends that will help you when you need some helps (and believe me, every too often you will need them!). Sweetness and willingness are the keys. Mutual benefit, mutual trust. We need them and they need us. Grow your network religiously.
I hate people who are too lazy to learn. It sucks! What are they thinking? The world will stand still? Every second new inventions emerge, new technology evolves, and nobody can have enough. Learn, learn, learn. By priority, by passion. The world is now an open book. What it really needs is only our appetite to digest it.
- GO INTERNET
Yes, The net changed the world of business with more force that the rock that offed the dinosaurs. You gotta be involved, now! As of 01.01.00 today, we only know about 2 percent of what we can do with it (says Jeff Bezos). What will happen when that 98% prevails? Do you really think you are not going to get involved into the Internet in your future? Are you sure? Now is the next best time to get our feet wet (the best timing is 5 years ago!), our head wet, and our soul wet. Gotta do it! Now! Bet your future (and life) on it.
- HAVE FUN!
Life is already too bitter, too grey, too scary to live by. Yet we want to live out loud, so fun! is mandatory! With the war among the frighteningly smarts, the wacky brilliance, the guys with the animal energy, the monumentally impatient, we gotta have fun when we fight ahead. Sometimes even the best is not good enough, so fail if we must (at least we tried!), and we have all the fun along the way. That relieves me.
- TOMORROW IS ANOTHER DAY.
What has to be done today, has to be done today. Tomorrow has its own worries, its own works and its own projects. Do it today, do it now! Do not delay!
Tanadi Santoso, Chief Directive and Catalyst Officer, SAM-Design, Bali
! Do the RIGHT thing.
Your head and your heart are always in agreement when its the right thing to do. They both urge you to do it, but fear holds you back. Aww, heck. Do it anyway. Sure, there might be some hell to pay (probably from your boss, certainly not the recipient) but the hell will be worse once the right thing comes to light. And it will.
RAD, Richard A. (Rick) Davis, Senior Consultant, Columbine JDS Systems, Inc.
! Be Still.
Here is a clue from ancient China that most companies should apply when thinking of how to control the Internet and employees use of it: "Who can make the muddy water clear? Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear." - part of the Tao te ching
Eric Vessels, Cluegiver
! Rely on your intuition.
To many people rely on other peoples opinions. And often other people are wrong. Do what you feel is right. Most of the time it will be, and when your wrong, that's okay too
Paul R. Belleau,senior copywriter, AMG Advertising and PR
! Value your employess! Be honest!
Watch the lip service-- when you make a promise or agreement with the employees, count on them to think about it and think about it-- waiting and watching and when it doesn't happen, then the employees become poisonous to the company and to the customers around them. Be sure to take note of what you agree upon or promise and to follow through. Don't give job titles which say something it isn't. Don't call me a consultant and stick me by a phone to answer questions all day. That's called tech support and I wouldn't have taken the job then. A reason is not a hurdle. Employees deserve to know why from decisions which affect them personally. Saying, "I can't increase your pay now since pay increases can only be given once a year," is a reason and the employees won't buy it. They knows that if you value their work and try, you can find a solution. But if you tell them "I can't increase your pay so I would like to escalate it to someone who might be able to," it will show you care and are willing to show them and help them over the next hurdle.
Pete Herzog,SAP Ag, Germany
! Get Rid of the 3 P's.
Personnel (or whatever they're calling themselves today), Purchasing,and Public Relations, the 3 P's, are overburdened.
The people who are actually going to have to live with you (the job seeker) should interview you and make a decision. I realize that organizations have health and investment plans, etc. But real interaction comes at the local level. You may cross all the t's and dot all the i's; but if you don't carry your weight, or p*** people off for no good reason, you're ousted, quickly. One good clerical staffer can handle the rest.
If employees are truly considered stockholders, as they should be, they will be far more scrupulous in preserving and using resources. They will generally get the minimal best needed to get the job done. If not, see Personnel, above. One good clerical staffer can handle the rest. A large aircraft manufacturer in the Northwest had "Purchasing" insist on, and get, superior facilities for staff "because we need to impress vendors." The cost of this "middleperson" group must override any possible savings. Let my co-workers decide what I need to get the job done.
If you do the right stuff the right way, the real public will make you a standard your competitors will envy and, rightly, fear. One good clerical staffer can handle the rest.
David Holliday, Manager, AT&T Wireless Services (speaking for myself, although I truly believe I work for a great organization...they actually let me *do* a lot of the things brought up in this group.)
Butts-in-seats is a recipe for success in theater, not in business. If you can't deal with your employees being out of your sight (or unchained from their cubies) you don't deserve the good ones. How many great potential employees have you lost by insisting they play by outmoded and stupid rules, like being on-site to do a virtualizable job?
! Ditch the awards!
It's not about the awards, it's about the work.
Jason Fried, 37 Signals, INC
! Learn languages.
Ous voices sounds all human, but we DO speak some other languages then english. Latins, orientals, germans, eskimos, aliens, we are the market too! And we are on line.
There is somebody in your compañía que me pueda ayudar en algo muy importante para mi?
Kiko Tatijewski, CEO (Clown Executive Officer) Latin.Partners
! Examine your processes!
Are your processes a straightjacket? Are your process designed to stop anyone doing anything wrong, or are they designed to make it easy to do things right? If you don't think there's a difference, you are already in trouble. And while we're on processes, don't imagine that the mere existance of a process will solve *any* problems.
Graham C. Norris
! Rule Number one: There are no rules.
Sure, it's a paradox...but, what isn't?
Timm Pilcher Director of Research & Communications New Iowa Schools Development Corporation
! Death to the autoresponder...
The web is a great way to advise people on how to use your service.Instead of an autoresponder (noncybernatic life form) why not build your website into a selfexplanatory service tool so that people don't have to ask... You no longer bother people with irelevant news in their mailbox, and increase communications at the same time! (P.S: saves time as well)
Ben Koot, http://www.travelcompass.net
! New Tech.
New technologies only allow people new opportunities to be people.
Tom Streeter, Assistant Professor, Electronic Media
This one is not mine, but nevertheless very relevant:
"Integrity has no need of rules" - Albert Camus.
Create trust, not fear. Allow people's creativity to flow. Allow people to share in a common human destiny of mutual growth. That way we raise the energy of everyone. The best leaders are the ones who realise that they serve, not the subordinates serving them.
! Be a servant.
If you're a manager, your job is to create an environment where "your people" can do what you hired them to do. Be their chief servant.
Joseph Appler, Director of Administration, City Mission Network International.
! Reflect and brainstill
In all learning there's a need for reflection. Two sides are needed for critical reflection. Reflection goes hand in hand with creativity and brainstorming. Build tools for brainstilling and reflection and you'll gain a better view on life and a better business (what ever that is...) And remember: Reflection tells stories about life.
Magnus Hoppe, Mälardalen University, Informationsdesign, Sweden
! To ensure your future, ensure your customer's
Stop trying to develop products and services in a vacuum. Go out to your customers, find out what customers they serve, and how you can help them serve THEIR customers better. Look at the future of your customer's customer, and help your customer face that challenge. Examine yoru customer's work and production processes, with the intent of helping your customer change, enhance, and streamline what they do. The best ideas don't come from focus groups or survey research, or verbal interiews. When it comes to breakthrough ideas, customers can't tell you what they need. You discover it by studying and observing what customers actually do. Get out of your lab, and into theirs. It's a lot more fun out there!
Neil Gillespie, Infinity Strategic Consulting
! Do some empowering
Let's channel more of this "New Economy" back into our society & environment. Our grand scheme of leveling playing fields with open communication and shared information--is swiftly leading to the isolation of knowledge workers; while the youngest of us and the most disenfranchised among us are literally consuming our young.
Let's clean up the playgrounds, let's level some crack houses--let's commit to raising the bar for all members of the world. While establishing our new PowerBase, let's do some empowering and educate future generations--including the groups that have no interest in knowledge. It's easy to share knowledge with those of us who desire it & grasp its value. The challenge here is to educate the difficult kids dealing with more immediate realities like poverty, hatred, racism and violence.
We, in the midst of creating a new world order, are running the very real risk of succumbing to cultural entropy and stagnating as full-bellied, wellfed elitists.
! Fire the jerks
Fire the jerks, the ones that everyone hates. They waste more productivity than they could possibly make up for by their efforts. When a prospective employer calls and asks why this person was fired, tell them the truth. Let the rest of the people in the group know that the reason that the jerk is no longer with the company is because they were annoying the other people. The only ones who will be worried that you're firing all of the jerks are the other jerks.
[Not my clue, Scott Adams's, from the Dogbert Management Handbook. Not even similar to a quote, I never read the book. A former manager espoused this as a fundamental management principle.]
Here are some more clues:
1) Lose the doubletalk. If you're going to lay people off, don't "outsource" them. Whomever came up with the even-more-neutered alternative, "sourcing", should be hung on a tree for the crows.
2) Make work fun. The hours at work count, but they don't count nearly as much as productivity over time. If we're playing hard, you can be sure we're working hard.
! Share the wealth.
I've been burned by people who hired my company offering stock options in ventures that went nowhere due to their ineptitude, or in place of agreed monetary payment. Keep your shares, I'll take the cash, thanks, and preferably up front. If the shares perform, THEN I'll still have the money to invest if I choose.
Andrew Nerlich, Strategic Operating Solutions Pty Ltd
! Share and live your values.
1. What's best for the group comes first
2. Always be open and honest
3. Have a passion for unsurpassed quality, continuous learning & personal excellence
4. Work for and trust each other
5. Deliver more than promised
6. Seek responsibility, and share recognition and rewards
7. Respect and value individuals - clients, associates & supplier - and their differences
8. Keep a balance between family and work
9. Give, without expecting anything in return
Gerry Wadsworth, V.P., Creative Director, Carter Ryley Thomas, Public Relations & Marketing Counsel
! Add News.
Add an "industry news" button to your web site that contains articles that does not include your company but does educate the customer about the industry and issues.
Rob Gelphman, Gelphman Associates
! Put on your boots.
If your client is wrong, tell them. If you go along with the decision, and it is wrong, chances are it will fail and severly affect the company. Then you will be layed off.
If you tell the client directly, you might be fired. Either way you lose your job. If you are going to go, go with your boots on.
Rob Gelphman, Gelphman Associates
! Throw out "shift" work.
Shift work, i.e. working the 9 to 5, is an outmoded, archaic system that comes from the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution two hundred years ago. Granted there are times when people need to be "at work" at the same time to meet, but it's really about communication, which can take place in so many other ways. Let your people work hours that are comfortable to them...if someone wants to work at 7 a.m., but another doesn't want to do work until 10 a.m., let them. Business, especially in the new global marketplace, and on the 'net, is now a 24 hour/day, 7 days a week operation. And let people telecommute, too, if it makes sense to do so (obviously a truck driver hauling goods can't telecommute to drive the truck to a destination).
Mark Boltz , Network Security Specialist, Stonesoft, Inc.
! Knock down the walls.
Knock down the walls! Throw open the doors. Stick your management, your executives, your boardmembers and owners smack in the middle of the room at a desk with everybody else. Doors and walls are non-idea-permeable.
! Clues are clueless.
How about "Don't assume a collection of catchy soundbites can teach you how to run a business"
;-) - or is it? :-|
! Art is business.
Go to the best art gallery in your city and buy the ugliest thing you can find. Then live with it until you know why.
Brian Judy, Creator, Booga Holler
! Don't play favorites.
The best way to get ahead in an organization is to make yourself invaluable to as many people as possible. This flies in the face of the "office politics as usual" which requires the strategic teaming of some individuals against others. After all, aren't we all supposed to be on the same team?
Joy Sander Business Development
! Network with your competitors.
The best way to find out why your competition is winning business is to ask them. If you can befriend your counterparts from another organization and share some of your best approaches, you may both benefit. Besides, who are you going to turn to when you're looking for that next job?
Joy Sander, Business Development, www.oneco.net
! Tear down the walls.
Allow communications by tearing down the walls. Don't compartmentalize your people by constraining them into cubicles. They are going to talk anyway, make it easy for them; open up the work areas! And while you're at it, get rid of your private office. If you have an "open door policy", that means that you have a door. A door is a barrier. Why aren't you out there working with your people??
! E-Mail as a sneak attack.
If someone is doing something you disagree with, don't email them with a cc to their supervisor. That's a game. Talk to them one on one. You may discover you've misconstrued the situation. You may enlighten the other person without embarrassing or alienating a co-worker.
Claudia Caplan, Editor-in-Chief, eParties.com
! When in doubt, walk the earth.
St Augustine's advice - and still solid after all these years. A short walk away from the office can clear heads, reconnect people, open up ideas or simply remind you why life is beautiful.
! Look back.
We look forward with great excitement, understandably, but a lot of humans have been doing a lot of stuff for a long time. Sometimes the oldsters have it righ. Desiderata, for example, is timeless advice. In our rush to the future, we shouldn't lose sight of the tree roots that helped feed our present.
! Talk from the heart.
My clue is very simple, and even obvious. But for being that way, people usually forget it: Whenever you have to speak in front of many people, forget the Powerpoint ( I agree on that). Just be yourself and talk from your heart. Don't worry if your don't use the most inteligent and sofisticated words, or if your drable during your talk. Make sure that everybody understood what you talked about, by being very simple, and didactic. But you can do all of this, only if you know what you are talking about!!! So make sure you study the subject or do´nt even think about speaking in fron of many people!!
Olga Montealegre de Urdaneta, General Manager, Foote, Cone & Belding, Colombia - South America
! Expect the unexpected.
Expect the unexpected, it is the only constant To expect to remain constant, ignores the realities of new knowledge. Every person or internet hit is expecting something different, as knowledge goes exponential when multiplied between people, therefore contribute the unexpected.
! Personality makes a website.
People want to visit people. They want to know who's behind the website. They want the look and experience of that website to match the person behind it. Create a cartoon character, be yourself - doesn't really matter. They'll support your site if they know they're supporting a person.
Most of the promotion of our community site/ shopping portal is done by the people of the community. They want to help in any way they can. They know me. They know I'll answer their emails, listen to their suggestions, and even send em birthday gifts. My workload is cut down because they do the promotion, they buy through our links because they like us/ the site/ the rest of the community. Moreover with a product like adult DVD, they don't feel like a pervert for enjoying porn - they know that I, too, watch porn (my being a woman probably helps too :)
Steph Dunn, Owner/ President, Adult DVD Talk
! Stop underestimating people.
Put eight employees from different areas of your business at one table. Give them information. Ask them to discuss it, to pick it apart, to find something exciting about it, to explore alternatives. Do this with groups of eight employees until you've done it with everyone at your company. Then try it with your customers and vendors. They will blow you away. They will teach you. They will reshape the way you want to run your business. It's a beautiful thing... (Then start over. The conversation never needs to stop.)
John Sarvay, communications guru, Luck Stone Corporation
! Don't publish an org chart
Assuming you are in a business that wants to make money, make everyone in the organization responsible for making the customer happy. That may mean that everyone top to bottom better know the customers, how they feel and how to serve them,,, not just the front line warriors,,,by the way if your company wants to "take the hill", send in more than enough resources to do that.
! Locate yourself.
The internet is global. People are local. When you advertise on the 'Net', let people know where you are and what currency you are using. We need to know how much something will cost and how much it will take to get it home. Otherwise we will look for it elsewhere.
P.S. We are also curious about who we are dealing with and where they live.
! Nothing is free.
Nothing is free and everything else has a cost. Please realize that those at the top are not giving anything away. You also work for a wage and cannot give stock options or benefits to others. Demonstrate fairness. Be responsible. Agreements are binding. Please do not make agreements that turn into expectations which are unclear. Stop using employees' time as a stage to act on your "wishes and desires" which are ill defined. Wake up! Come to the real world! Pay attention! Free yourself! Give up on the strange notions acquired from TV, books, or others that affirm your antisocial behavior. Get out there and experience life! Only experience can provide certainty and thus build character. Then show your character. It is an act of egotism and selfishness to begin to ponder other workers' characteristics in order to push them out. Someone hired the person. Make it work. Dump the notion of failure. Move on.
Many individuals have been striped of self-esteem and income and opportunity because a member of the organization acting out in an attempt to create an organization that is not organic! Creating a patchwork of "realities" where none can thrive.
Laugh a little! "You" have not done it all! All is not predictable...particularly if based upon inaccurate data. Stop talking yourself into being "right" and, in keeping with the false premise, someone else is "wrong".
...start using arc degress in your thinking and the dimension of experience has infinite room to grow.
(this is not a feeling)
! Educate your customers.
Technology changes rapidly. It's easy for even the best intentioned customers to get lost. Take advantage of your expertise to help your customers make well informed decisions. As a result, not only will you demonstrate understanding of the market, your customers will also be happier with their purchases.
Glenn Booker, Drexel University
! Don't make us wait.
If your customer service is going to take longer than a day to get back to us, we'll find what we need somewhere else--and the answer we find may not be what you want us to believe.
Ric Mershon, Marketing Manager, SGI
! Ask your employees.
Remember that your employees are people. Ask them what they think and act on it.
Involve the union. These people are employed to represent your employees and look out for them. Why are you scared of them if you care what your employees want? Are you afraid that your employees are only out for what they can get rather than helping the company succeed? If so, why do they need a union to help them do that?
! Change your perception.
"Change the way you look at things - and things will change the way they are"
This is a physical rule. Energy flows parallel with attention. Try it! If you don`t like your boss: Try and think something positiv about him (her) (I`m sure she or he is good at something!) everytime you see her or him. You will notice. Slowly things will change. And she or him will act more likeable than before. Don`t believe it. Try it!
Christa Kiefer, Change Management Manager, Andersen Consulting, Austria
! No rules.
I have a button on my backpack/briefcase/knapsack/satchel/whatever. It would always piss people off (especially management; especially when I was one of the management) wherever I worked because they thought I had no respect for authority. Let's face it: I don't. It really pissed off my colleagues when I was I high school teacher, not to mention the administration.
It says, simply:
There are no rules
And, let's face it, there aren't. I'm not talking anarchy here, I'm simply saying that the "game" changes too often to get locked into any one way of thinking.
Use can use this as a clue, a comment, or as the liner for the bottom of your electronic birdcage. I don't care.
Timm Pilcher Director of Research & Communications New Iowa Schools Development Corporation
! Dare yourself to speak specifically.
Don't fall back on fuzzy buzzwords (fuzzwords) that aren't specific and don't clearly illustrate your point. If you mean to say "We need to ship the Kazoos come hell or high water by March 31st.", don't say "Our timely delivery and current revenue projections are mission critical to our financial landscape as well as distribution and sales channels with a late first quarter date for our engineering and production teams."
Tim Donahue, Founder, CoolHomepages.com
! Let the people who answer your phones be human.
I love the overly creative job titles: "Customer Care Specialist" or "Client Service Engineer." I picture a sea of cubicles filled with beleaguered, underpaid people with headsets who are instructed to respond only in a carefully choreographed manner. I am meticulously referred to as "Sir" in every sentence (I hate that! Even the youngest children know when they are being patronized!). In response, I speak in a colloquial and friendly manner to these folks in order to elicit a normal interaction. I rarely succeed, but when I do, I feel as if I've actually been "cared" for. If these specialists actually care - like the word in their title - let them show it by being intelligent, creative, and human in solving the problem I've phoned about.
Roger D. Placer, Software Engineer/Manager, Lucent Technologies - Bell Labs
! Exceed expectations (hidden and expressed). Always.
The secret to any successful relationship is to listen and understand customer's/colleague's/spouse's expressed and hidden expectations, needs and wishes - and then deliver more.
Patrick Svenburg http://www.svenburg.com
! Don't let artifical goals get in the way.
This morning, I got an email from an employee of a company I deal with - someone who prides herself on answering every phone call/letter/email/message rock within 24 hours. To accomplish this laudable goal, she answered my query from her home, at 9:00 pm last night, with a message that started with "I'm at home and don't have mynotes", and asked me to repeat my request, which she would not be able to act on before this morning, at which point she would be able to "check tomorrow when I have your card in front of me."
She attained her goal, all right, and probably worked her way closer to some management award in the process, but she did it by wasting both her time and mine. I have seen far too many companies whose well-meaning "goals" (such as "answer inquiries promptly") have been twisted into unrealistic absolutes by weak disciples of "management by quota" (such as "answer all inquiries within 24 hours, or else") and rendered useless by employees who are then rewarded for achieving "the letter of the law" with little or no regard for how their actions appear to the outside world or whether or not those actions actually accomplish anything useful.
J. Weaver Jr. Owner, Factory Enterprises (and yes, I _am_ speaking for my company!)
! Be selfless.
When talking (or writing) to people (customer, employees, partners, kids), ask yourself "What do i want them to learn?" NOT "What do I want to teach them?" If you walk into a meeting with 15 pages of notes, and you're determined to "teach them" then, by golly, you'll get through page 15 in 45 minutes no matter what. And that "what" might be an audience who's completely lost. But if your goal is for them to learn, then you may get only halfway through page 2, but they've learned!
John Sturtevant, Vice President, Marketing, The Strategy Factory
! Send your customers to your competitors.
If you don't have the product your customers are searching for, find it for them at one of your competitors and send them there. They'll never forget the humanity you have shown them by shortening their excruciating web travail!
Suson Bonett, Widerview Village
! Listen to stories.
Company culture is co-created by people. Employees and customers are like the 'young generation' of any culture - they ascribe their own meanings to what they experience. The story is not 'manageable', except by freely interconnecting staff and customers. Is there any company in the world whose 'marketed stories' match its internal stories? If you want to know the real story, shout your staff out on 'neutral territory', and listen to them openly. Hire a communication expert, not a public relations consultant.
! Watch your language.
Forget industrial age terms like employee, executive, manager, wages bills. If you want a dynamic team building your business, call them what they are - partners. This change has to become entrenched at the top, before you'll get real partners all along the way, contributing actively to the bottom line. Jeanette Garnett, Communication Student.
! Own up.
Don't say one thing and do something else. Not to partners, peers, employees, or customers. Changing your mind for legitimate reasons is one thing, but there is NO excuse for being deceitful or for going back on a verbal agreement. Own up to what you say! If you made a mistake, take responsibility for it. If business could be conducted on a hand-shake and a promise, the cost of doing business would be much less.
Paul Maloy, website mgr
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