February 26, 2009
Today I made the decision to hunker down and have a conference call in a closet. Why? Fighting traffic is dangerous, unnerving and bad for the soul.
February 23, 2009
What this country needs is a psychic stimulus package.The current focus is only part of the solution. The “system” that the government is trying to fix is comprised of a set of rules, regulations and transactions that comprise the banking system and central economy. The government’s stimulus package pours adrenalin into the system, along with a few sparks, and waits for a beating heart. Meanwhile, the individuals crumble as they conduct their in-house run on the piggy bank. They break open 401ks, and then stuff the cash into a mattress. They turn in their car and buy a bus pass. They cancel the family vacations, new fall clothes and their church tithe.
Each act of prudence on their part reinforces the gravity of the situation. The shopkeepers that served them see the till getting skinnier every day. They start to layoff the newbie’s and non-relatives. The newly unemployed turn in their cars, put off any new things like clothes and the downward spiral deepens by a factor of one family.
Eventually, all of our creativity is poured into shrinking the flow of pennies out the door. If things are really as bad as the news-folk are telling you, this is only going to stave off your bankruptcy by weeks. You think you are rearranging your finances to survive the storm. I think you are rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
The politics of scarcity haven’t served us well, and the nonstop fear-sell has worn us down to a spiritual nub. For the first time in our lives, we truly have to have faith to do anything: spend, lend, invest or replenish. With each passing day, the dread inside us drains energy until, at some point, we just glaze over and adopt a new
Meanwhile, scarcity spreads from stuff to success. Jazz idols (Etta James) and blockbuster writers (Stephen King) lash out at young successful competitors in the new
world of “there’s not enough to go around.” While this example comes from the entertainment pages, you likely see this at work as the employee of the month is slagged at the break room table by forlorn office mates who’ve lost their ability to share a little success. Eventually, scarcity will spread to our concept of time as we are asked to do twice as much with half the help. We’ll go from hustling to frantic scrambling as we feel like we are sinking in the sands-of-no time. We’ll cancel meetings, special dinners, Saturdays with the kids and the summer getaway. Checking email at the dinner table, we’ll resent our employers (who put food on the dinner table) and sink further down into the spiral of helpless self-doubt.
At some point, this psychosis will snake its way into every company, city and church—until the entire nation is embroiled in personal competitions for all remaining scraps: Jobs, profits, friends, awards, lover and time. It will be dog-eat-dog.
I get that our evolution is more environmental than genetic as I again point to the need for a psychic solution to our crisis of scarcity think.
Person by person, or family by family, we need an injection of confidence and daring-do back into the collective consciousness of this nation.
We need to spread the message of abundance: that we can find enough to go around. To really stimulate the economy, we need to restore their ability to trust and dream. We must help people find a better perch or perspective, one that gives them the confidence to declare “there’s enough to go around”, even when the manna has not fallen on their yards (yet). We need to promote a new way of thinking. Currently the gurus of personal finance promote a new way of acting. But that’s not addressing the root of the issue. We’ve got to react to the outside world from a different starting point: “If we are willing to work, adapt and trust each together, I believe that there’s enough to go around.”
Over the course of the next few months, I’m going to talk about the “how”. Please join this conversation with your thoughts on how we can promote this paradigm shift
in everyone we know. I’m especially interested in your personal stories of how scarcity has impacted your life, or the life of someone you know. I’m really interested in your stories of how people are rising up like a Phoenix from the ashes, and inspiring you to believe in abundance.
This is an important conversation for the times.
February 18, 2009
In the next few years, we are going to see two kinds of companies emerge from this mess: Saints and Sinners.
A very recent survey indicates that CEOs are less popular than politicians -- a sign of things to come. In my book, Saving The World At Work, I predicted that the Responsibility Revolution would reshape branding as we know it.
My research indicated that the 2002 scandals, such as Enron and WorldCom, gave rise to the corporate social responsibility movement. Consumers began to gravitate to companies that offered a social value proposition: Green, community focused or good to employees. This is a natural psychological reaction to scandals and the resulting landscape.
This will only get bigger.
This is why a recent article (Surprising Survivors: Corporate Do-Gooders) indicates that leading companies with sagging stock prices are holding firm to their commitments to the Triple Bottom Line.
Expect to see labels on products tell a compelling story in the future. Pepsi just put R&D dollars into seeing how green their orange juice product was -- and planning to make this a labeling issue in the future. Analysts say this is a good strategy because in this climate, beyond price, we need to give consumers a reason to buy from us ... and today! (Check out: How Green Is My Orange)
So don't give up on your commitments to connect your company with a cause bigger than surviving. Your future brand depends on it. Also, many companies will cement a social reputation over the next year or two, based on their ability to continue to 'do the right thing', when media pundits are suggesting they jump the shark instead.
February 17, 2009
This is targeted to sales, small business owners and entrepreneurs:
February 16, 2009
Until a few years ago, working out a technical issue for your computer, program or gadget was a real hassle.
You needed to find the support page on the manufacturer's website and then pour through an extensive knowledge base to find answers. If you got desperate enough, you lobbed a call into the support center -- only to spend large blocks of time trying to resolve the situation.
Thanks to the largest searchable database in the world, the Internet, those days are over. If your printer, iPhone or new fangled application doesn't work as advertised, just ask the Internet and the answer will likely show up on the first page. It's a matter of asking the right question.
For example, I recently bought a new MacBook Pro laptop. My wireless AT&T broadband card is the Sierra Watcher. When I transferred my data from my old Mac to my new one, the Sierra Watcher stopped working. Every time I tried to launch it, it had a fatal error. So, I asked the Internet. I went to Yahoo's search engine and typed in "Sierra Watcher" and "new MacBook Pro" and "fatal error". In the first ten results, the answer appeared (uninstall the old software, download the newest update, reinstall). It worked!
This has worked for me dozens of times in the last six months. A few quick tips: 1. Use exact queries, with phrases in " " marks. This eliminates useless results. 2. Describe the issue simple terms, as you'd say it to a support person. 3. Be patient. In many cases, the best answer did not come from a manufacturer's website. In the case of Sierra Watcher, it was actually a Mac user website for new owners.
In the future, I believe that search skills will be the new mad skills required to bring out the best in our gear and software.
February 11, 2009
I've just finished reading Sir Ken Robinson's fantastic new book, The Element: How finding your passion changes everything.
February 04, 2009
No one that I know, except Raytheon's CEO, kills their Inbox everyday.
February 03, 2009
February 02, 2009
Super Bowl ads are a great study in effective marketing.