Archive for September, 2011

@maurilio:

10

How to Mix Patterns and Look Sharp

I remembering hearing “if you don’t want to look like a clown, don’t mix your patterns.” Most guys are comfortable putting together solid ties and striped shirts or pairing a patterned shirt with a solid tie.  Forget what your mother told about the evils of mixing patterns and put aside your fear of looking like a clown. If you keep in mind a couple of simple rules, you can look sharp in a very dynamic combination of mixed patterns. Before you decide to mix your patterns, remember this: Opposites attract. If you have a dark shirt, then go for a lighter tie. Unless you’re going monochromatic, contrast is always a good thing Decide who is boss.  Two strong patterns together comes across more like a shouting match than beautiful dissonance.  Look for dominant/subtle combinations. Much like good design, you should decide where your focus point is. When everything screams “look…

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28

Bad Advice from Church Board Members

I’ve been in a lot of church board meetings. A LOT. For the first 15 years of my professional career, I was on the staff side of the table. Since I valued my job and wanted to keep it, most of the time, I often just sat there quietly as people disguised bad advice in spiritual terms. Well, mostly quietly anyway. For those of you who know me, you understand that I don’t do “quiet” very well. There are a lot of great business men and women of faith in church boards that have inspired and mentored me throughout my career. And there are some who should never have been there in the first place. I’ve heard a lot of bad advice and theology dispensed by volunteer leaders cloaked in the guise of concern and spirituality. Here’s a short list of stuff I’ve heard through the years that have stuck…

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16

Text Messaging and Your Business

Nothing has had a greater impact on how I do business than text messaging. Not long ago, I was on a conference call with someone in Texas, someone in Sao Paulo, Brazil and I was in a car driving through New York City. The conversation sounded clear in spite of the thousands of miles and time zones separating us. However, I believe nothing has revolutionized more the face of business in the last decade since the proliferation of email than text messaging. Just a few years ago, text messaging was seeing as an annoyance designed for teens and not a serious tool for business professionals. But lately, I have seen a major shift in how my busiest clients want to communicate. Some, if not most, of my clients fit into the type A, let’s-get’em-done category. They value getting quickly to the bottom line. They prefer the succinct, and yet effective…

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8

Turtlenecks Are Back with a Punch

Turtleneck sweaters are one of those winter basics that never go out of style. Every man should have a basic black turtleneck. This Fall the turtle returns, but not in the supporting role of years’ past, but as a leading piece. Texture and bold, jewel-tone colors make this season’s version stand out. When paired with an dark suit or jacket, a bright turtleneck can breathe life back in to the drab black-on-lack from past seasons. Are you a fan of the turtle neck?

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13

Launching a Max Lucado Best Selling Book

Every Christian has a story of redemption to tell. One would be hard-pressed to find a better story-teller than author Max Lucado. Max has been a best-selling author for over two and a half decades. I remember reading my first Lucado book during my graduate school days. Chances are that if you’re a Christian, you have read some of Max’s books. I was thrilled as my company, The A Group, was chosen by Zondervan Publishers to lead in the efforts of getting Max’s latest release to the public. Our team under the leadership of Tami Heim, created a comprehensive marketing campaign that includes cover design, art direction, all traditional media, PR, social media and even a media-rich website with its own mobile app option for iPhone. Our intent is not only to market a great book, but to allow its important message to live beyond the written pages and to…

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15

Thoughts on The Southern Baptist Convention Name Change

The Southern Baptist Convention is considering a name change. “SBC president Bryant Wright has appointed a task force to explore the poss of a name change of the Southern Baptist Convention,” read the tweet from Thom Rainer, President and CEO of LifeWay. That’s the kind of news that gets a branding professional all fired up.  It’s not hard to reason that not all Baptists are southerners and therefore the current name no longer reflects the true nature of the organization. While I’m not part of the SBC decision-making process or involved with this project, I hope the task force considers these branding laws as they explore a new name. A new name does not mean you have a new brand. New packaging without changing the product or experience only goes so far. Churches that changed their names in the mid 90’s to appear more community friendly but failed to change…

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9

The Opportunity During Tough Times

We fear that Wall Street is still spiraling out of control, our economic system might in total chaos and the sky  might be falling as well. While I find myself very concerned about our financial future, there’s something about a shake down in the way we do business that excites me. In my experience, difficult times for the business-as-usual approach always opens up new opportunities for creative, nimble and entrepreneurial organizations or individuals to find a break that fat, entrenched and risk-averse big business cannot or will not pursue. I started The A Group in November of 2001, a few weeks after 9/11. Most people thought I was crazy because of the overall fear and paralysis in the marketplace. “Boy, I hope you’ll be ok; these are difficult times,” I heard over and over during the early days. And they did represented the reality of the day. People were looking…

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9

Becoming the Best Me I can Be

“That’s just who I am, and I have made peace with that.” I could not help to eavesdrop on the conversation going on next to me. The gist of the whole thing was that the man speaking those words had come to grips with himself, more specifically, with his weight and whatever other dynamics that go along with being a large person. I struggle with that statement every time I hear it. There’s something good and even healthy in realizing who you are, and as the Bible says we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” Understanding that God created us uniquely and for a purpose is a great place to be psychologically because culture tries hard to define for us whom we should emulate, how we should look and act. It’s comforting hearing from people who do not buy into all  of that. But there’s a darker side of that statement…

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16

Should Men Color Their Hair?

Men and hair coloring have been taboo subjects. For some the conversation is just as “off the table” as the “don’t ask, don’t tell” gay policy for the military. But regardless of its status, men’s home hair coloring business is booming. According to industry experts, it grew by over 10% during 2010. Men, gray hair can make you look distinguished or it can make you look old and tired. Sometimes it lends credibility and other time it lands you a date at the retirement home for a 4 p.m. dinner.  I know guys who gray prematurely and find themselves mostly gray in their mid 30’s, and I also know guys in their late 40’s that have not shown any signs of graying–not fair, but true. Whatever you decide to do about it, you should feel comfortable with the decision. Recently, Patrick Dempsey became the face of L’oreal’s new men’s home…

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8

5 Reasons Your Business or Ministry Might Not Succeed

Your dream venture might never happen not because it’s not a good idea or it’s not needed, but because it might be under resourced.  Entrepreneurs in their zeal to get their dreams birthed usually shortchange the true cost of what it takes to create a sustainable business. Here’s some of the most common mistakes: You don’t pay yourself enough. In order to get the business going, entrepreneurs will often pay themselves very little or nothing at all. That’s not a sustainable model. If the business cannot pay you a decent wage in a short period of time, then rethink your model altogether. Your financials, income/expense projections are unrealistic. I was guilty of this for years. Being optimistic, I have always projected high on the income, and being very frugal, I default to thinking things cost a lot less than they actually do. Unrealistic targets can put too much stress on…

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