Archive for the ‘business’ Category

@maurilio:

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Marketing and the Conversation Strategy

In the new world of marketing and advertising, it’s not as much about your message as it is about engaging your audience in a dialogue about your message. Long ago marketing was all about exposing a product to the public. As competition grew and more products and services continued to vie for our attention, exposing a product was no longer enough. Marketers then began positioning it within a category or industry. They strived to place products in the minds of consumers by creating an unique promise, claim, or even story. But in today’s social-media drive culture, position is not enough. Consumers want a conversation with their favorite brands. Consumers now want, and will soon demand, marketing that gives them a chance to dialog with their brands of choice. It’s not enough for us to know the story behind our favorite car, soap, or burrito. We now want to be able…

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To Build a Winning Team, Talent is Not Enough

Sometimes the team with the most talent loses. The 2006 Brazilian National team was the favorite to win the World Cup. They were touted as, potentially, the most talented soccer team ever assembled. Yet, the world favorite was eliminated during the quarter finals much to the disappointment of Brazilians worldwide, including yours truly. What happened? How can so much raw talent, experience, and stardom result in such a poor performance? While some blame Brazil’s coach, Parreira, most of us saw clearly the problem play itself out on the field: superstars who could not play together as a team. It was obvious that the players were more preoccupied in looking good individually than winning games together. Individually, they were the best in the world; together, however, they were less than the sum total of their talents. All the talent, pride and praise of Brazil’s “jogo bonito (translated, “the beautiful game”), could…

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How Your Promising New Hire Can Hurt Your Organization

Strategies and implementation tactics are too often built on a single person’s skill set instead of built on a plan that takes advantage of his or her skills and experiences. While some might call such differentiation “semantics,” it is an important principle that when violated can slow down growth and even derail an organization. Unfortunately I have seen this happen time and time again in business, not-for-profits as well as academia. The bright new  head of  “blank” (fill in a key position: IT, marketing, sales, development) comes in and wants to put his or her mark on your organization, and so, too often, all current plans, ideas  and systems are replaced by the new hire with his “better” ones.  While I understand the need to allow your new hire freedom to do his job in a way he can succeed, I also find the wisdom in protecting the organization from…

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Critical Brand Mistakes You Must Avoid

Your organization’s brand is more important than you might realize. Branding is not the “voodoo of marketers” but the sum total impression of everything you are as an organization. In a nutshell it is the essence of who you are organizationally. Communicating it properly is essential; not doing so can be disastrous. Here are the most critical brand mistakes you should avoid: Assume your target audience understands your brand promise. Whether you manufacture guitars or lead a local church, you must always fight the insidious thought that…just because you have been around for a while or just because you are the biggest building on your side of town…your target audience understands and even cares what you have to offer. Successful brands know they need to continually tell their story to an ever-growing population faced with an increasingly noisy and crowed world. Assume those closest to yo, your consumers or constituents,…

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Without a Clear “How” Your Organization Vision is Irrelevant

Your organization might have a good grasp on its vision: you know where you want to go. Most business or ministries I have worked closely with have a very well-defined vision statement. Some talk about their calling, and some still have what I have heard described as a “sense of destiny.” But in my experience an organization falters or fail to reach its vision not for the lack of direction, but by not having a clear understanding of the “how.” Vision, by its own nature, is the “what” question every organization must answer. What are we all about? What are we accomplishing? What defines success for us? All these are important and even primarily important, meaning, without clearly answering them, the following questions do not matter. But once that’s done, every organization must answer the next and critically important question, “how are we going to do that.” In my experience…

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Work Smarter Not Harder

Working hard and working smart are not synonyms. Yes you can work both smart and hard, but you can also spend a lot of effort and fail at the end of the day. Here are a few principles on how to work smarter that I have learned by watching successful leaders and managers as well as those who got them wrong. While these principles are simple…even obvious…they seem to elude us quite often. Do what only you can do for your organization. Just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Once I was the technology expert for my company–doing everything from troubleshooting network connections to installing printers and drivers. Granted, there were only 3 of us in the early days. Today I don’t even know how to use the fax machine or get a conference call started. I had to let those things go or I could never…

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Five Professional Types That Can Derail Your Team

You don’t wan to mess with these guys, much less have them on your staff. If any of these professional types finds his way into your team, make sure you deal with them swiftly and remove them from power as soon as possible. In my experience, the longer they stay, the faster your business or ministry will be derailed. It’s not a matter of if, but of when. Old School Board. No these are not school board members who are old, but old board members who have lost touch with anything current. “Social media? That’s just an0ther fad.” I have seen more dynamic ideas die during ministry presentations due to board members’ inabilities to grasp the importance and significance of communicating with digital natives. If your board has more people in their 70s and 80s than people in their 30s and 40s you might be in trouble, serious trouble. IT…

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The Art of Selling Creative Services

Selling new ideas can be tough. If you are a creative type, that’s even tougher. Usually people who need your services realize they need help but often don’t trust the young, creative professional because, by and large, creative people scare them. From the way you dress, to the language you use, all the way to your non-corporate haircut, you can make your potential client nervous. The sooner you realize this dynamic, the sooner you can overcome it. It happens to me quite often. I’m creative, opinionated, and Brazilian. I make a lot of people nervous. Here’s a simple strategy I use when dealing with those non-creative professionals. Understand where their pain is. What do they “think” they need from me? Sometimes what they need and their perception of the need are not the same. Regardless, you must always start from their perspective, no matter your assessment of the situation. Speak…

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Leadership 101: The Team is More Important Than Any One of Its Members

I’m responsible for my team. Anything or anyone who threatens the well being of my group becomes an issue I must deal with it. That is true even if the problem happens to be a team member…even a friend. That was a difficult lesson for me to learn. As a young manager, I remember coming to the realization that a good friend I had hired for a leadership position in the organization I managed was misplaced. While he had the temperament and personality for the job, he lacked the organizational skills to be effective at a  high level. No amount of training or coaching would bring him up to par. I agonized for months about what to do, even though intuitively I knew he could no longer lead that program. In the meanwhile I saw his performance continue to falter, his team flounder, and the entire organization under-perform. I was…

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In Business, In Order to Grow You Must Give Up Control

In business, you need to learn when and what you need to control. Figuring out this formula can be the difference between growth and stagnation. One day I came to the realization I was stifling the growth of my business because the very skill set that allowed me to get to a certain success level could not fuel the growth beyond that point. Even worse, I was having a difficult time attracting and keeping gifted and skilled professionals on my team. The wake up call came several years ago as I found myself in the ER with chest pains. I like control. My family refers to me as “Captain Schedule” when we go on vacation. However, being a control freak has its advantages. After all, if you control everything, you can never blame others for a failed project, a bad hire, or even a flat soufflé. As an entrepreneur, I…

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