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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Closure & A New Design ( II )...

...Don't Let "Uncertainty" Stop YOU in the New Year !
by David Bookout

Closure & A New Design

In the previous post ( link above ) I wanted to focus on being Thankful, and the exploration of individual, hidden Gifts. But, as 2008 closes, and I prepare to finalize goals for 2009, I've been closely observing the conversations going on around me. Forget the disaster ridden, gloom and doom news - I personally don't subscribe - I'm talking about personal conversations. The personal conversations we're all having with our close friends and loved ones about our feelings and speculations regarding the future. In virtually every one of those conversations the word Uncertainty quickly rises to the surface; uncertainty about the future, uncertainty about the economy, uncertainty about individual and business income, uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty...

One particularly valuable conversation coalesced my thinking into the realization that, when left unchecked, uncertainty can paralyze our own best intentions of producing the future(s) WE say that we want !

Interestingly, as I think about this further, my experience reminds me that the other extreme, certainty left unchecked, can be equally paralyzing ! Certainty, to me, is a VERY big contributor to how we got where we are today.

In taking this one more step, if both uncertainty AND certainty have the capacity to render our abilities to produce our goals useless, then where can we stand to design for 2009 ?

A few quick thoughts:

1) Certainty DOES NOT represent the same opportunity set that uncertainty represents in terms of the current, or future possibilities we can create for ourselves. Look for where YOU can seize opportunities in a way that takes care of you and others !

2) Uncertainty DOES NOT mean that we have to suspend our goals. Look for where current trends favor; the offers you can already make, your skills and your passion !

3) Uncertainty DOES NOT mean that we can abandon the use of pragmatic metrics, and the measurement of progress on our path to the fulfillment of our goals. Look for where YOU can successfully measure some type of progress !

4) Uncertainty DOES NOT mean that we have to abandon where we want to go. When we are on a journey both minor and major detours can be expected to be a part of that journey. Look to reconnect with where YOU want to go, redesign your route, and proceed !

Have a minute for five ( 5 ) questions ?

In closing, Our Best Wishes For A VERY Healthy, Happy & Prosperous New Year To YOU and Yours !!

© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Creative Commons License
The title "Closure & A New Design ( II )...", article, and contents herein, unless otherwise specified in writing - by Effetti, Inc. are ALSO licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting the author through Effetti, Inc. http://www.effettigrowth.com/about-contact.php.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Jorn Utzon...

...Rule Breaker, Perfectionist & Amazing Visionary !!!
by David Bookout

Utzon is the architectural genius behind the spectacularly beautiful and renowned Sydney Opera House in Sydney, Australia. But, until earlier this week, I'd never heard of him. I'd certainly heard of, and seen pictures of the opera house. So, I was a little surprised, when I Googled him using quotation marks to do a specific use search, and found a little over half a million uses of his name. The first five pages of links were predominately related to the fact that he recently passed away at 90. The more I read, the more fascinated I became, and the more I wanted to share what I think were some key aspects of his Personal Brand.

Breaking Existing Standards
Utzon was a rule breaker, a style that doesn't work for everyone, and one could argue didn't work for him. Despite the exquisite beauty of the Sydney Opera House there were precious few other commissions awarded Utzon causing him to remark at one point "if you like an architect's work, you give him something to build". The opera house project itself a fluke, as he had failed to comply with several of the submittal rules, which resulted in his entry originally being rejected. No cost estimates were provided out of uncertainty as to whether the building could even be built.

Today, from a Personal Brand perspective, I think it very important to understand; where to work to existing standards, where to push the boundaries of existing standards, and where to work to create entirely new, more effective standards.

Being A Perfectionist
When contrasted with his quest for total control, and the need for others to follow his rules, the difficulty others had in building the design, and in working with Utzon himself played into his departure from the project, and Australia in 1966. He never even returned for the ribbon cutting and grand opening ceremony in 1973. Upon final completion the project was 10 years late and grossly ( in excess of 1,000% ) over budget. But, to me, Utzon's quest for perfectionism was a personal ethic that has led to amazing advances in design and construction, which in turn has provided the opportunity for millions to learn new things, and forever change our world. The Sydney Harbor skyline is just one, small aspect.

Today, from a Personal Brand perspective, I wonder if perfectionism might be a welcome and refreshing change ? Let's bring back some perfectionism and pride in doing things well the first time around !! However, in the process, let's remember that; it is important to hold others to the same standards that we hold ourselves to, and equally important to creatively work together in areas where we don't have collective understanding.

Having Vision
The ability to see radically new and beautiful building designs emerge from; billowing clouds, ship's sails and salt crystals poured onto a table top was certainly Jorn Utzon's gift. The gift of amazing vision. But, we all have a gift, and many find it difficult, as Utzon did, to capitalize on that gift. Part of this may be that as adults we stop playing, we stop imagining, and we stop visualizing things as we did as children. Another part may be our need for instant gratification.

Today, from a Personal Brand perspective, it is important to reconnect with our ability to envision new things and harvest the energy that provides us to not only persevere, but to design and create anew.

© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Creative Commons License
The article "Jorn Utzon...", the subtitle "...Rule Breaker, Perfectionist & Amazing Visionary !!!" and contents herein, unless otherwise specified in writing - by Effetti, Inc. are ALSO licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting the author through Effetti, Inc. http://www.effettigrowth.com/about-contact.php.


The photo of Jorn Utzon may be © Copyright to the estate of Jorn Utzon, and / or Reuters. Image obtained @ Economist.com.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ron Gettelfinger...

... is he the UAW's Last Samurai ?
by David Bookout

From a Personal Brand building perspective it is always helpful to get outside of yourself. So, as I tuned to MSNBC early this morning I was presented with a swirl of information, and wondered how might this be valuable to you? First, came the story of the return of Tom Cruise, a familiar personal brand. Tom's movies have grossed an incredible $1.5B. Then came a lengthy segment on the Auto Industry Bail Out. ( Forcing two, completely random thoughts in my brain to collide - The auto industry and Hollywood have been holding hands for years. Perhaps, THEY should get more serious about their relationship, and work together to save the U.S. Auto Industry? ) The segment featured UAW President, Ron Gettelfinger, who, compared to Tom, has a much less familiar Personal Brand, but maybe not for long.

Then I wonder - What if Ron took a few tips from Tom? If you've watched The Last Samurai you know that Tom takes an incredible beating, more than once, and survives. Ron may not be so lucky. As UAW President, elected to his second term on June 14, 2006, I'm sure Ron, in his wildest dreams, didn't imagine that he would ever be in the position he's in right now. Getting a few Samurai lessons from Tom might not be a bad idea. Even if Ron submitted to a few whacks with a big stick it might be less painful than his next press conference.

Don't get me wrong, I don't even know Ron, and certainly wish him no harm, or ill will. But, I can certainly argue that Ron Gettelfinger is in the midst of THE Personal Brand challenge of his life ! For example:

What would you do if you were Ron ?

What would you be concerned about if you were Ron ?

Would you be concerned about the potential brand damaging personal attacks on your integrity, your sincerity, your motives, your competence ?

Would you be concerned for the people you lead ?

Would you maintain clarity relative to the "real customer" in this process ?

What can you learn from Ron as it relates to building your own Personal Brand ?

Regardless, Ron faces the kind of challenge that we might all agree that we would look back on before we pass on, and think either: (a) What a mess and what the heck did I do to deserve that !?, or (b) I'm proud of who I am, what I did, and I'd do the same thing all over again. Perhaps, only Ron will know.

© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Creative Commons License
The article "Ron Gettelfinger...", the subtitle "...is he the UAW's Last Samurai ?" and contents herein, unless otherwise specified in writing - by Effetti, Inc. are ALSO licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting the author through Effetti, Inc. http://www.effettigrowth.com/about-contact.php.


The photo of Ron Gettelfinger may be © Copyright to Ron Gettelfinger, and / or the UAW. Image obtained @ UAW.org.

The Tom Cruise Last Samurai image is © 2003 Warner Brothers. All rights reserved. Image obtained @ IMDB.com.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Don't Worry, "IT Will Sell Itself"...

..& other, self maiming strategies !
by David Bookout

Would you take a sharp knife to your own arm? What about a dull one? This is in effect what we do when we attach ourselves to bankrupt thinking.

The intent was to have a product marketing meeting. Like many start-ups, the product idea was really quite brilliant and the opportunity to talk to a professional, credentialed, industry expert seemed like a good idea. Especially since the expert was a doctor.

This good doctor made it quite clear that the idea had turned bad. Thinking back, the doc's opening salvo was very telling - "What do you need marketing for? This product sells itself".

The next telling sign came as the group huddled around the small waiting room and inter-office doorways, where the "conversation" turned "monologue". It seemed that the marketing lesson had begun. Thinking back I'm not sure if this resonated from the depths of my monologue induced boredom, but it must have - monologues are always a bad sign, particularly if the meeting objective is to promote speculation and enable collaboration.

But, the real issue - the main claim - Products sell themselves !??

Have you ever been in a meeting like this? A meeting where there's an over supply of; puffery, misguided claims and bankrupt thinking ???

As I looked around I remember thinking: (a) This must be a dream, and (b) That's the most arrogant / ignorant thing I've heard this week !!, and (c) What does a doctor ( and a Dentist at that ) really know about sales, or even marketing for that matter ?, and (d) Completely as a hedge - Hmm, was there ever, or could there really be a product / service that sells itself ?

So, I wanted to open the topic up for discussion here. Please tell me if you think that it's possible for a product, or service to "sell itself". If you think so, please share the URL, or some other way we can all directly connect with the offer, and come to our own conclusions !!

Also, I wanted to offer the following to bring more value and accomplishment to your meetings:

1) Don't extrapolate. Things that worked once, or have worked in one ( 1 ) place, don't necessarily work anywhere else.

2) Get connected to what YOU know. We all have unique experiences and backgrounds and specific areas of study. Stick to that.

3) Be humble about what YOU don't know. A posture of not knowing actually opens possibilities for new learning.

4) Be open to the possibility that YOU might not even know that YOU don't know quite a bit about a lot.

© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Creative Commons License
The article and contents herein, unless otherwise specified in writing - by Effetti, Inc. are ALSO licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting the author through Effetti, Inc. http://www.effettigrowth.com/about-contact.php.


The displayed image is © Copyright to James Donnelly.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Personal Brand Review - J.G. Mikolajczyk...

...The Value of a Balanced View !
by David Bookout

There are two things that you would immediately notice when meeting J.G. ( Jerry ) Mikolajczyk, Chairman and COO of Minecore International, Inc., and former Interim CFO of Silicon Valley's Valley Transit Authority ( VTA ). First, is his big smile, which is difficult to miss even though he is sitting at a remote table at a local Peets Coffee & Tea, and then you notice that he is wearing a blue suit, fresh white shirt and colorful tie. If I didn't know better, I would think this was all just for the interview, but if you know Jerry, you know that he always smiles a lot, and that he always dresses for success.

As we move into the interview I ask him how much formal marketing and branding education he has had. He quickly responds that "We are all marketers". I know Jerry as a finance guy, and quickly rephrase - he adjusts and confirms my speculation that his study of corporate marketing and branding, as a percentage of his total course work, has been relatively small. As I assure him that my opening question was in no way intended as an insult he relaxes and we move into the interview.

? - What is a Personal Brand?

A - "It's my label. It's how I want others to see me."

? - Do you have a Personal Brand, and how would you describe it?

A - "Sure, integrity. Get the job done. Do it now."

? - Did you happen to do the exercise? I remind him hopefully ( writers just want to know that someone is reading and taking their work seriously ), the one at the bottom of the last post? The one about starting to "Define Your Personal Brand"? I hold my breath as he answers.

A - "No, I didn't." His smile broadens, and he adds - "But, you could ask anybody that knows me at VTA and they would tell you that I have integrity, and get the job done."

Jerry goes on to describe an issue he encountered early at VTA. The Federal Transit Administration ( FTA ) endorses a specific set of values each year that greatly effects VTA's revenue calculations. When Jerry started, the values had not yet been endorsed and there had been quite a bit of back and forth, mostly via eMail. After checking with staff Jerry decided to request a meeting with FTA's Region 9 leadership. Jerry reflects - "The meeting lasted less than 1/2 hour and the issue, which had been open for over a year, got resolved right in that meeting!"

As I listen I think about how effective it can be to go straight to the source. I also realize that Jerry has just unknowingly broken the first rule of Personal Brand development. In brand development of any kind, and particularly in Personal Brand development, it is critical to review, understand and move with exactly what the customer ( your boss ) and the others around you think!

As I know Jerry, and there is no pun intended, he has a very balanced view when it comes to business and financial strategies.

But, I call what Jerry has done, in terms of thinking about his Personal Brand as being "internally focused". There is no doubt that internal focus ( in this case what we think of ourselves ) is a part of brand development, but it can not be the only focus. Why? Because "brand", if we have a brand , lives externally. Brands live in the minds of others, and we don't know what others think unless we open a dialog and ask them. We need both an internally focused, and an externally focused view! Coming at brand development from this perspective effectively balances the vision we have of, and for our brand. The dual observation allows us to not only see where we are in our brand development, but where we need, or want to go.

Check back as we continue our interview with Jerry over the coming weeks and learn more about his views on Personal Brand, becoming successful, and get his quick tips on being successful in an increasingly competitive market.

© Copyright 2008 - Effetti, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Creative Commons License
The article and contents herein, unless otherwise specified in writing - by Effetti, Inc. are ALSO licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available by contacting the author through Effetti, Inc. http://www.effettigrowth.com/about-contact.php.


MineCore International, Inc. is publicly traded as an OTC.PK stock under the symbol MCIO.


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