Archive for July, 2012

@maurilio:

4

We Must Pull The Band-Aid Before We Can Heal

Often the anticipation of the pain is far greater than going ahead and “pulling” the proverbial band-aid. We all have been there…the sense of dread, the knot in the pit of the stomach, the worry about the fall-out. I have seen organizations and individuals go through a season of angst due to an impending decision that keeps getting postpone time and time again because the decision maker fears the confrontation and whatever consequence that might come from it. Years ago I remember postponing letting a team member go because of the knowledge base that person had on a lot of different projects within our company. The longer I delayed, the inevitable the worst things got with clients and the rest of the team. In the same way, I remember being in angst for weeks over a difficult conversation I knew I had to have with someone close but didn’t want…

Read More
5

What Should Your Online Identity Be?

I was listening to a discussion today about people’s online identity. Years ago it was taboo, and even considered unsafe to have your own name in forums and chat rooms–the precursors of today’s social media. And a lot of people still create user names that allow them to be anonymous. I’m looking at my Twitter feed right now and see names such as “Shoemoney” and “Angelcollector.” Creating pseudonyms online is web 1.o thinking. Intuitively I have always used my first and often last name in chat rooms, forums, and now Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and whatever comes next. The main reason I use my real name online is because, for me, the web is not a place where I go to hide, but I place where I go to connect,  share my voice, and engage clients and potential clients. It’s a place where what I do and who I am intersect…

Read More
3

Embracing the New Normal

“I am waiting for things to get back to normal.” That’s an expression we often use when the unexpected happens…when life throws us a curve ball…when the rules of the game change mid-season and we are forced to adapt. But lately I have come to the realization that very little in life, if anything, ever goes “back to normal.” The problem with the idea of wanting the expected and familiar is that it forces us to look backwards. And by now we all know that life only moves forward. It’s the equivalent of the proverbial “letting the cat out of the bag.” Regardless of our futile attempts of holding on to the past, we are eventually forced to let it go and embrace the new normal. Whether we are dealing with fractured relationships, changing businesses environments, or even aging issues, we have to ultimately come to grips with the new…

Read More
9

In Memory of Billy Williams My Great Friend

His name was Billy, not William. He was a great friend. I had hoped we’d grow old together, but he left earth too soon. These are the words I shared at his memorial service yesterday: I met Billy almost 20 years ago in the early days of Bellevue Community Church, now Hope Park. I came in late to the church’s tiny office where Billy was painting. He heard my accent and thought I was the tile man. That’s before he realized I have absolutely zero handy man skills. We became great and unlikely friends. We travelled together, served together, even owned a business together.  Billy and I were opposites in many ways, but our differences made our friendship more interesting and fun. He could design and build just about anything. I was always amazed by his talent and skill. He loved beauty and both my home and office have Billy’s…

Read More
4

The Best Business Advice I Have Ever Gotten

When I first started The A Group, we were mostly a marketing agency focused on design, print, and some web work. Today, we are two strong divisions: a marketing agency and a technology company. Throughout our 10 years in business I got a lot of advice from friends and mentors, but one tip has paid off more than any of the others, and it has helped grow my company even in times where a lot of similar businesses have struggled. I remember telling my friend Mike Miller that I used my organizational and leadership knowledge skills as a valued added for my clients who were buying marketing services from us. His reaction was unexpected: “you’re doing this upside down! The strategy is what matters the most. Anyone can come up with design. Your consulting is what you should be charging for.” He was right. And that day I began to…

Read More
9

There Are No Small Customers, Only Small Invoices

As an entrepreneur I had to learn this lesson the hard way. It took me a while, but I finally came to the conclusion that “there are no small customers, only small invoices,” as Shannon Litton, The A Group’s President so eloquently says. As a business owner, the sooner you learn that, the better off your organization will be. Here are a few things I’ve learned about the “small customer”: They can barely afford your services, so it’s a big investment for them and their expectations are extremely high. They are not appreciative of the “extra” effort or discount you might be giving them. They lack growth potential for your business. The time you spend with them could be spent in a much more profitable way, and/or with a growth potential account. What else have you learned about the small customer?

Read More
2

Making Your Best Choice

Transition is inevitable. Sometimes we choose to make a move and sometimes we are thrust against our will into a completely new timeline, not of our choosing. But during the times we choose to make a move and to transition, whether it be a job or a relationship, I find that too often we run from something or someone into something or someone else. Too often I find people, myself included, exchange one set of problems for another…one pattern of bad behaviors for another, sometimes with even more dire consequences. Why do we do that? Why do we escape from the fire into the frying pan? I’m not a psychologist, but a bit of introspection lately gave me a hint. If I don’t know what I want, I cannot make a clear choice. I cannot say “no” to a mediocre offer or to another difficult relationship unless I know what…

Read More
14

How Do You Deal With the Email Bully?

The email bully is my nemesis. Even though you might not have heard this term before, I’m sure you have run into her before.  This is different than the hard-to-deal-with-person who is always difficult or unpleasant. Email bullies are often engaging and charming in person and over the phone; however, they use terse language and are quite demanding through their email communication. When I see a case of EB come across my screen, my first instinct is to give the person the benefit of a doubt since it’s virtually impossible to attribute “tone” to a short email message. But then there’s the inevitable second and third emails. Then the case is confirmed: email bullying. Here are the symptoms: Every situation is an out-of-control crisis. Everyone gets copied on the email. Rampant usage of ALL CAPS. Long and extremely verbose language. It’s interesting that the same person who comes across so…

Read More
3

How to Choose Your Color

Finding colors that work best on you is an important fashion foundation. Knowing what colors help you and what colors hinder you will help you look your best. While every rule has an exception, with color shades in the mix, exceptions abound. But here are a few color rules that generally work for most of us. If you have dark hair and complexion: Black, white, and jewel-tone (deep) colors work well for you. Stay away from pastels, deep green, and most browns. If you have light hair and fair skin: Black, pinks, some pastels like pale blue can look really good on you. Be careful with white because it can wash you out. If you’re very blond, stay away from yellows or you risk the danger of looking like a giant banana. If you have red hair and features: Hunter green, dark browns, plums, and some deep blues are good choices. You might…

Read More
11

The First Christian Tablet Hits the Market

No more sinful iPad or secular Kindle, now Christians have our own tablet device, and, no it’s not the stone kind that Moses sported around the desert . You’ve read it correctly: the first Christian Tablet, the Edifi. The tablet is more than a e-reader, according to a post on Foxnews.com:  It also comes with movie-watching capabilities, Christian radio stations, and even a web browser with built-in “safe search,” so the tablet is safe for the whole family. “We put that on there just in case it was given as a gift to a child, so they wouldn’t have access to things they shouldn’t have access to,” said [Brian Honorable, a technology supervisor at Family Christian, the group that sells the tablet]. “We definitely had to tailor it to our customers.” Read more here I’m still scratching my head on this one. I thought it was a joke at first,…

Read More