management

Terrible Twos

My son is "two half" as he puts it. Silly boy doesn't realize he's actually closer to three.

Not too long ago, we found ourselves deep in the throes of the Terrible Twos, that mythical point in post-infancy when, despite having perfect parents, a child is just out of control. I didn't realize how much of a universal truth this is until I started telling people his age. "Ah, Terrible Twos" they utter almost automatically.

My first instinct is to backhand the speaker, often a stranger. "Who you callin' terrible?" But then I take a breath and reflect on how much better a parent I must be than this poor slob. Or at least how much better my child.

So here we are last month, in a foreign country, and my son is having one complete meltdown after another, losing his ish at seemingly the minorest of details.

Took me a little while to catch my breath with this one. But when I did, the message came through louder than a bomb. My dude is evolving at breakneck speed. Couple years back, he couldn't even burp without our help, much less sit up or eat. Nowadays, homie rides a bike. He speaks in paragraphs, in multiple languages!

We adults, on the other hand, don't like change. We adapt really slowly, and sometimes not at all. And we usually don't like it. What's "terrible" in this equation is how out of sync we are with our son.

So what's the lesson here for you, dear reader? As my main man Stephen R. Covey puts it, “As long as you think the problem is out there, that very thought is the problem.”

How are you doing this in your work?

- Have you branded the Gen Y among your staff as entitled, lazy, ADD, and all of the other bullshit you read in the literature about generation gaps in the workplace?

- Are your customers spoiled? Or maybe you're in the entertainment business and have accepted the idea that customers are just  pirates who would steal the shirt off your back if only they could download it.

Regardless of how much truth there may be in those generalizations, somebody else in your business is on the way to being more successful than you by figuring out how to adapt his own behavior.

By the way, since we realized what was going on and changed our behavior (including eliminating all TV watching from his daily routine), Justin's behavior has improved dramatically. He thinks the TV is broken and has offered to fix it using his plastic hammer.

Wasting Time

Found this on the Touchstone site. The average person wastes 150 hours a year. Don't be one of those people!

Think about where you are wasting time that you can get back, for yourself. That time you could be sleeping, working out, practicing your art, traveling, or putting to good use to make more money for yourself and help Rebel Industries build a better company. You could be learning, exploring, growing. Or just having more fun.

How many meetings are you in that you don't need to be in? Or that don't need to happen at all? How much time are you spending commuting to an office you don't really need?

How many conversations are you having more than once with the same people? How many times do you have to repeat yourself because other people aren't communicating?

How much time is spent because someone was out of the loop? Because expectations were not clearly communicated? Because what was said was not understood?

It's amazing to think about what we might be able to accomplish if we could just get out of our own way.

Zappos Insights

If you've heard me talk about companies that get it, you've probably heard me talk about Zappos. Although the company is famous in social media circles for effective use of Twitter, the real genius behind Zappos is its approach to customer service and company culture.

Zappos knows that company culture is at the heart of business success. Read more about this in The Cluetrain Manifesto, or drop me a line and I'll talk your ear off about it. Basically, there are a bunch of reasons why this is true and important, but as it relates to marketing let's assume that the people who work for your company probably love your brand, or at least they should love your brand, and empowering them to help you spread the word is essential in this word-of-mouth era.

But I digress. Zappos gets it so right that they've launched Zappos Insights, a membership community through which they're teaching other companies how to learn from what has worked for them. Why would they do this?

1. It will probably help them sell more shoes. After all the new brand is still called Zappos, so time spent with them thinking about your business is time spent thinking about their business, which means you may be more likely to use them next time you need a pair of kicks.

2. They really believe in what they preach, and want to help other companies. This is abundance mentality at its finest — the idea that the better we all do, the better we can all do in the future.

3. They'll make money. The service is fee-based, and while the price is pretty reasonable, a lot of the materials will be distributed through the cloud (no doubt new-parent Amazon's cloud) and are constructed from what they're already doing.

To quote Merlin Mann, this is just another great example of "the opportunities that come out of being excellent at what you do."

I joined, and I'm sure I'll be sharing insights throughout the year. Excited to see what they have in store. Leave comments here and I'll be sure to keep you updated.