If you want people to read and act on your emails, begin with your request. In management training classes, I’ve taken this test. It guages your instruction-following skills. The consists of about 30 steps over 2 pages. The first step: Read this entire test before starting. The last step: Write your name at the top of the page and skip the rest of the test. The test is tricky. Your emails shouldn’t be. If you want your email’s recipient to do something, state the request as early possible. That usually means the subject line. Here’s the same request presented two ways. The first imitates most of the requests by email I get at work. The second, a far more effective request. Normal From: firstname.lastname@example.orgTo: email@example.com Subj: Favor Body: Are you coming to the 10:00 with the Johnson folks? If you are, I need a favor. We’re doing this exercise with them that involves four teams
I heard a classic the other day. A business executive claimed that the reason his company is losing market share is — are you ready for this?: “We haven’t done a good job of communicating our objectives.” Really? Do you, Mr. Executive, believe that customers give two pro-formas about your objectives. Unless you’ve reached true loyalty (which very, very few organizations have), your customers don’t even care if you’re in business next week, as long as someone’s handling the warranty. So get over yourself. Get over your objectives. Get over your goals, your proformas, your strategies, and all the other buzzwords swimming round in your ego-dominated brain. Instead of asking your customers to understand your objectives, try satisfying your customer’s objectives. Take the advice of a man who made lots of money and developed true loyalty without an MBA or a team of lawyers. Never forget that absolutely everything you do is for your customers. Make
Ninety percent of American workers believe that their bosses are unethical. That’s just one of the many mind-boggling finding in a study by Maritz, Inc., of St. Louis. Here’s Rick Garlick of Maritz appearing on MSNBC to discuss the alarming findings http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640 Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy At issue: values. Too often, people don’t believe what their employers’ believe. More and more people believe that naked pursuit of profit can lead people and companies astray. In his new book, Anything You Want, CD Baby founder Derek Sivers describes how one Las Vegas cabbie reveals the danger of the pure profit motive: I was in Las Vegas for a conference, taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel. I asked the driver, “How long have you lived here?” He said, “Twenty-seven years.” “Wow! A lot has changed since then, huh?” “Yeah. I miss the mob.” “Huh? Really?
Every day, people look at what their competitors are doing. Then they decide which of those activities are worth challenging. Then they create a project to match their competitors. At first, this strategy works. If my company leads the field in one or two areas, I can keep opponents in check by matching their breakthrough attempts. Over time, my strategy fails. While I’ve been busy matching opponents, someone else has ignored all of us and introduced something totally new. While many company worked on better customer profiles, gamification (Zynga, Foursquare, others) revolutionized the business. (Never saw that coming, did you?) While many brands looked for better e-commerce tools, social commerce emerged and changed everything. The good news: social commerce is easier than other kinds. That’s because we’re people, not demographics or segments. Social commerce is about buying form people you trust. Get to know people, give them reasons to trust you, and you win. Your competitors
I was 18 and a college freshman. It was a Tuesday night in October. My 1970 Chevy Impala felt wide open in the fifty-degree air and the smell of freshly fallen leaves. I drove through Forest Park feeling the rhythm of the yellow street lights as I moved between light and dark. “Memory” from Cats came on the radio. I lit a Camel (no filter). I was free. In America, we often think of independence as a collective thing. That’s bassackwards, isn’t it? Independence is individual. July 4th is Independence Day–the day we celebrate breaking free from Britain. We broke from a nation, as a nation. The collective celebration makes sense. But we did not break free because of some philosophy about groups of people; our philosophy, embodied in the Declaration of Independence, is about the rights of individual human beings. We do need other people. We are social animals. But we are free to
Henry Ford refused to add a new model to his line-up of cars. The Model T came with a guarantee ROI. Investing in new models, more colors (the Model T cam in black), or even new features seemed too risky to Ford. What Ford steadfastly denied—the very essence of his denial—was that despite making the same product in the same way, his company was headed in the wrong direction. Tedlow, Richard S. (2010). Denial: Why Business Leaders Fail to Look Facts in the Face–and What to Do About It (Kindle Locations 339-340). Portfolio. Kindle Edition. Ford Motor Company nearly went out of business for lack of innovation. The Quest for ROI Are you tired of hearing about “proven ROI?” I read in magazines and hear it in interviews. “We’re only making business investment with proven ROI.” As if 20 years ago, companies bet the plant in Vegas every Saturday. Sounds
But I had to. This blog is about simple solutions, not complete control. The amount of extra meaning I could create with the control I had in WP just didn’t make up for the comlexity I had to manage. We make trade-off like this one all the time. We give up something that we think we need to get more of what we really want. Giving up total control of my blog was painful, but the freedom to let someone else worry upgrades and plug-ins is worth it.And Posterous is very well put together. What controls have you let go of?