You Can’t Always Do It Alone, Your Team Is Strength

Mar. 09

Think you can do it all alone? Anyone who’s been in business for a while understands that this is impossible. As you navigate business and life, you’ll face challenges. Especially in a fast-paced corporate career, hurdles will present themselves. I enjoy the hurdles because they help me grow, build character, and are often exciting puzzles worth solving. However, what happens when things get truly challenging, seemingly impossible in nature? Look to your team for support. The best teams support each and every member of the team, the best teams offer each member of the team strength.

Support

I wrote a post a while back called The Values-Driven People Manager. That post was all about creating a great team environment and building your leadership skills. Today’s post is meant to be a continuation of that one, but a little broader in scope.

The lesson is simple: Everyone will face challenges. It doesn’t matter if you are the leader of the team, and hold a high title. It does not matter if this is your first job. It does not matter if you have been working 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years. Challenges present themselves.

The secondary lesson is also simple: Every single person on the team offers incredible value, ideas, and strength. The best ideas will come from anyone on the team.

Whenever a challenge presents itself to me, I tackle it with great strength, attitude, persistence, agility, and creativity. After all, challenges offer the ability to learn and grow, and they can be fun. However, what if a challenge becomes overwhelming? Don’t hesitate to tap into your team. Build a culture of helping others, especially those on your immediate team. Treat each team member like family. Think you don’t have the strength to overcome a challenge? You do, especially through your team. Share your challenge. Band together. Find creative solutions. Support each other. There is true strength in numbers, friendship, and collaboration. You would be surprised how much power and strength the team has collectively, it’s almost infinite.

(Of course, I’m assuming here you’re on a great team, one that wants to support each other. I navigate towards those types of teams, and hire those types of team members. If you do not find yourself in that type of environment, you will first need to either create or find that special team-oriented environment.)

My advice today is for everyone on the team. While I happen to be blessed as the team leader, I too face challenges. I know I’ve built a truly amazing team when I’m able to call up various members of the team to acquire the strength to overcome challenges. It makes me proud and honored to be part of that kind of team. The team is much greater and more powerful than any single person. Approach challenges as a team, and you will never fail. Most importantly, don’t feel discouraged. Recognize that you always have a great team that’s ready to support you along the way.

Image of Support © iStockPhoto – VCTStyle

Great Ways To Exercise During The Workweek

Feb. 04

I have a lot of goals this year (check out my 2014 goals). Goal 8, one of my favorites, is working out at least 4x per week. As a busy professional, I find that my personal free time is less and less as each year passes. As such, it’s sometimes a challenge to find time to exercise. This year, I’m going to have to get a little clever. Below are some tips on how I plan to exercise throughout the workweek in 2014.

Jogging 1 Mile

  • A while back, I wrote a post about Taking Advantage of Surges In Energy. When I wrote this post, I was mainly thinking about getting work done, and taking advantage of bursts of energy for hyper-focus. This year, I hope to do the same for workouts. If I’m feeling particularly energetic, I’m going to try to do a quick workout. It will be all about quick, intense exercise.
  • Certain days, I plan to bring my running gear to work, going for quick runs either during lunch or after work. Depending on the day, the office I’m heading to, and my overall schedule, my commute can be either be long or short. On those variable days where I expect a longer commute, by the time I get home, I’m sometimes too tired to exercise (driving in traffic can drain your energy). My solution? I’m going to run before getting in the car to drive home. That way, I can truly relax once I get home.
  • I’ve been conducting 1:1s with my team while walking around the neighborhood. Walking is super great exercise. This is a fun way to brainstorm, while making sure my team and I get some fresh air during the workday.
  • I’m looking forward to hiking with my wife on weekends. Check out my recent video blog post about Taking A Hike.
  • I’ll strive to get in some quick pushups or situps whenever I can. Strength training is just as important as cardio. Even if I don’t have a ton of time, I can do a few reps here and there, throughout the week.

Exercise is important. It keeps your mind clear and focused. It increases your longevity and health. It’s all about keeping perspective. Do you have any clever ways to integrate workouts into your busy work schedule?

Image of Jogging 1 Mile © iStockPhoto – jpimages

Happy Holidays & The Spirit of Giving

Dec. 25

Happy holidays, and Merry Christmas! Today is a special day. It’s a day to spend time with family, reflect, enjoy great times, and open a few presents. The last two years, I shared some of the cool digital marketing gifts I received from partners (2011 gifts, 2012 gifts). 2013 was no exception, with a multitude of generous gifts coming my way from treasured partners within the digital marketing space. Rather than share pictures of those gifts, however, I wanted to take an opportunity to share an image (and a story) of some very special gifts I gave this year…

Family Giving Tree Gifts

What you see above are gifts that Nicole and I donated to the Family Giving Tree. My amazing employer sponsored a huge Family Giving Tree drive and we took this opportunity to select three gift packages for in-need children. How does Family Giving Tree work? They are really amazing… They find families and individuals who cannot afford gifts this holiday season. They determine the gift wishes of those in-need and then share those gift wishes with elfs. Nicole and I decided to buy gifts for three children this holiday season. We purchased Star Wars action figures, a Thomas & Friends train set with extra train, and a doll stroller system. We had so much fun shopping for the children, and know that these gifts will bring joy to three special children today!

Overall, 2013 was a record year for us in terms of charity/donations (and was one of my major goals going into the year). Those of us in the digital marketing space are so incredibly fortunate. Take a moment to reflect and help others. Do everything you can throughout the day to help your team, co-workers, partners, and really anyone you interact with. Outside of work (or as a work/team activity), donate your time to those less fortunate. Outside of work (or again as a work/team activity) find ways to donate money and gifts. This truly is the season of giving. It’s time to give back and help others in need. As an industry, we can make a truly positive impact on this world, not only through our work but through our kindness and spirit of giving!

Image of Family Giving Tree Gifts © PPCIan.com

The Values-Driven Business Professional

Nov. 12

Are you a values-driven business professional? Following are some of my favorite core values, those of a true leader in business. The values-driven business professional:

Core Values

  • Arrives on-time or early.
  • Has a positive attitude.
  • Strives to help others – co-workers, business partners, clients, everyone.
  • Truly believes in their company, and is a proud member of the team.
  • Is willing to do any task, no matter how small.
  • Sees someone in the lobby at their office and goes out of the way to help that person, even when already in a rush.
  • Avoids complaining, no matter what the circumstance.
  • Stays late and works long hours.
  • Creates opportunities for others.
  • Celebrates the success of others.
  • Finds new opportunities to grow the business.
  • Uplifts others and finds ways to motivate.
  • Is a fearless leader.
  • Drives stellar results without taking shortcuts.
  • Has an unbelievable level of focus and execution.
  • Thinks about the short-term and the long-term.
  • Takes a stand when something is being done incorrectly, or could be done better.
  • Does the right thing.
  • Never gives up, no matter how difficult it gets.
  • Thinks about their job all the time.
  • Constantly thinks about ways to improve and grow.
  • Commits to their employer for the long-run, stays the course and drives long-lasting results that take years to build.
  • Treats their team like family.
  • Rewards those on their team.
  • Places trust in others.
  • Writes everything down so nothing gets forgotten.
  • Enjoys and thrives in a state of challenge.
  • Portrays an incredibly positive image of their company.
  • Is trust worthy.
  • Checks their work email 24/7, and responds right away.
  • Finds ways to help others each and every day.
  • Looks for the best in others in an objective manner, even during challenging times. Sees situations from all perspectives.
  • Admits when they are wrong, proactively apologizes to others when they make a mistake.
  • Is not afraid of failure. Learns from their mistakes and shares their own lessons with others.
  • Truly loves what they do!
  • Is an “iconic” brand/leader in their industry and at their company, not because of self-promotion but because of what they have accomplished.

Image of Core Values © iStockPhoto – cosmonaut

Customer Service: It’s The Little Things

Oct. 27

If you’re a marketing professional, you should be incredibly aligned with your customer service organization. Great customer care is often the foundation of a great brand. Moreover, you can learn so much from your customers. Partner with your customer service team and you will learn new and exciting insights about your customers which will help your overall marketing strategy.

Donut and Coffee

The moral of today’s post: Always strive for excellence in customer service. In my opinion, customer service is just as much about the little things, as the big things. The smallest of changes/optimizations in your customer service program can truly delight and dazzle customers.

One simple observation: I enjoy dropping by Krispy Kreme on the way home from work once in a while. I’ll treat myself to an original glazed donut, one of my favorite deserts around. I’ve noticed something really amazing about the Krispy Kreme Silicon Valley drive-thru. No matter who is handling my order, they always give me the donut(s) before taking payment. Even if I have payment in hand an I’m passing it through my car window to the employee, they still hand my order to me before receiving the payment! This is such a small nuance/change compared to the typical fast food model of taking payment and then giving you the food, but it makes a huge impact! It makes me feel, as a customer, like the brand has so much more trust in me and values me as a customer. I believe this may be part of Krispy Kreme’s customer service protocol – give the food before taking payment. What an incredibly smart and clever, yet simple, move.

Building one’s brand is not only about great marketing. It’s also about great product and great customer service. Partner with your own customer service team to see how you can collaborate! Take your customer service to the next level and that brand equity will truly come thru in your customer acquisition efforts, making the job of the customer service marketer easier. And, remember, it’s often the little things that set your brand apart from others!

Image of Donut and Coffee © iStockPhoto – kgtoh