Shep21's Blog….Leadership, marketing & customer service through the printed words of many

How are the emotional bank accounts at work? February 10, 2010

Filed under: Team Building,Uncategorized — shep21 @ 7:26 pm

You can keep your work relationships productive and your work fate positive by making routine deposits to your emotional bank accounts. For example:

· Praise superior work and show gratitude when someone does their job well

· Take a sincere interest in the other person and what’s meaningful to him

· Attend to the little things, such as returning a message or acknowledging his birthday

· Deliver on anything and everything you promise

· Remember the names and goings-on of the important people in his life

· Admit and remedy mistakes without placing blame

The full article can be found here


Frightened, clueless or uninformed? February 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — shep21 @ 4:25 pm

 A blog post by Seth Godin 

In the face of significant change and opportunity, people are often one of the three. If you’re going to be of assistance, it helps to know which one.

Uninformed people need information and insight in order to figure out what to do next. They are approaching the problem with optimism and calm, but they need to be taught. Uninformed is not a pejorative term, it’s a temporary state.

Clueless people don’t know what to do and they don’t know that they don’t know what to do. They don’t know the right questions to ask. Giving them instructions is insufficient. First, they need to be sold on what the platform even looks like.

And frightened people will resist any help you can give them, and they will blame you for the stress the change is causing. Scared people like to shoot the messenger. Duck.

The worst kind of frightened person is one with power. Someone in a mob of other frightened people, someone with a gun, someone who is the CEO. When confronted with a scared CEO, time to run. Before someone can change, they have to learn, and before they learn, they have to cease being scared.

One reason so many big ideas come from small organizations is that there is far less fear of change at the top. One mistake board members and shareholders make is that they reward the scared but hyper-confident CEO, instead of calling him on the carpet as he rages at change.

When I first encountered surfing, I was scared of it. It looks cool, but an old guy like me can get hurt. A patient instructor allayed my fears until I was willing to get started. When you first start out, the things you think are important are actually irrelevant, and it’s the stuff you don’t know is important that gets you thrown into the ocean. Finally, and only then, was I smart enough to actually learn.

I’m bad at surfing now, but at least I know why.

Comfort the frightened, coach the clueless and teach the uninformed.


Top 10 Hardest Interview Questions January 4, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — shep21 @ 5:46 pm
A job interview is no easy task. In fact many job seekers have trouble with the same set of questions. To ease the process of interviewing, we’ve listed the Top 10 Hardest Job Interview Questions. Focus on these job interview questions, study them, learn them, research them, and ace your next job interview!

1. Why did you get fired/ terminated? – This question is tricky yet needs to be answered with full honesty and modest. The interviewer would want to hear your honesty and your side of the story. Support your answer with a very good explanation. In case you get fired out of legal issues, explain that you were currently working on it and that it does not have anything to do with your performance. Your explanation in your answer is very important; it should be direct and does not contain intersections.

2. Tell me about problems you encounter with Supervisors– Another tricky question that will test how you worked with superiors. I suggest not to be too honest in answering this questions like, common observations of being bossy, opinionated, authoritarian, keen observer because those are the common traits of a Supervisor. Instead, cite a personal experience that you had encounter with a supervisor so that the interviewer would understand why it became your problem.

3. What Qualities that you look for in a boss? – Do not answer the most common traits that a boss should possess like nice to employees or a good leader. You should relate your answer with your work. Like “My ideal boss is someone who can make time to hear employee’s opinions or ideas, a boss who cares to listen and make fair opinions with your work.”

4. As a professional, do you have any disappointments? – Cite the experience that really disappoints you, as you relay the story behind it make sure that you state something that you have learned after.

5. What is your edge among other jobseekers who already have professional experience?– This question is one of the most tricky questions for fresh graduates. You need to answer this question with full confidence and strut. Most answer is “because of the age and fresh ideas”, further explain your answer, and make sure that it has something to do with the company’s growth.

6. What do you know about this company? – Considered as one of the hardest question since most jobseekers failed to make research about the company such as its management, their products, etc.

7. How would you be an asset in this company? – Another tough question. Confidence is the key to surpass this one. Answer a clear two liner explanation on how you become an asset to the company

8. Why do you think you do well on this position that you are applying for? – Cite an experience where in you often get praise on the things that you do and relate it on how qualified you are in the position that you are applying for.

9. What is your observation about the company? – This question may be a trap. The interviewer expects you to be a keen observer since you want to work in their company. Make sure that you observed the company’s environment, workers, and the office. You impression matters to the interviewer.

10. Are you open for criticisms? How do you take it? – Your attitude will be attest in this question. The interviewer wants to know if you are open for suggestions and how strong you are in handling pressures.

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Inspirational Lightning Rods December 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — shep21 @ 3:01 pm

The following is repost of  a blog by Don the Idea Guy  (I recommend you subscribe to his RSS feed) which I found from a tweet by Guy Kawasaki @GuyKawasaki (I recommend you follow this guy on twitter). Social media is great isn’t it 🙂

As my own minor act of creative philanthropy, I’d like to share a few “lightning rods” of inspiration. They will help provide an easy path for creativity to find its way to your brain, but you have to be holding them — using them — in order for the creative lightning to strike YOU, causing innovative explosions and creative fires in your mind.

1. Read more stuff
Magazines, books, blogs, cereal boxes… it doesn’t really matter (at least at the beginning) what you read — just that you’re reading at all. Just 15 to 20 minutes every morning and every evening is enough to feed your brain with enough new ideas to make you more strikeable. To increase the quality of ideas your reading generates, increase the quality of the writers you are reading.

2. If you have to watch TV, watch some good shows
You’d be surprised at the number of lightning strikes that can be had by watching an episode of Mythbusters or Wild West Tech. The Biography, Discovery, and History Channels are worth a watch now and then.

3. Go see great speakers
Go and see presentations of the best public speakers as often as possible. Listen for the message within the message. Find one great idea that you can take home and put into action tomorrow. Become a speaker yourself. Joining Toastmasters and jumping up in front of an audience in an effort to share your own message is much more challenging than simply writing them down and hoping someone reads them. The energy that comes from a really good speaker on stage can generate a roomful of lightning bolts.

4. Collect quotes
You can start by purchasing a collection of quotes from your local bookstore, but I find the quotes that have the most impact on me personally come from the middle of books I’m reading or from speakers on stage. Never be without a notepad in which scribble something worth reading again in the future. Record them in a journal (a physical notebook or an online version) and start categorizing them according to the way they words make you feel when you read them. Save them under headings that mean the most to you: Monday Morning… Kick In The Ass… Need An Idea… Feeling Blue… and review your collection whenever you need some brilliance on-demand.

5. Listening to music
One of the earliest ways I discovered to create a lightning strike of inspiration was through the music I collected. I could actually control the kinds of ideas I came up with by the type of ambient music playing while I was drawing, writing, or brainstorming. Jazz, New Age, Soundtracks, Classical, and even 80’s Hair Bands (sometimes you just gotta ‘Ratt and Roll!’) can bring down the lightning of creativity.

6. Play word games
Get your brain primed for those bolts from the blue by shining up those mental receptors. Solving crossword puzzles or challenging your friends to a game of Boggle or (my favorite) — Scrabble, is a great way to warm up your mental engine. One of the very cool things about social media is the way it allows you to play these sorts of games online at all hours with people all over the world. You’re never at a loss for a competitor. After all, the person on the other side of the virtual game board may also be trying to increase their strikeability.

7. Visit museums
Art museums, history museums, science and technology centers, as well as zoos and aquariums are all fantastic ways to bring the lightning. The artistic images and hidden histories crank your creative generators into overdrive. Personal fav: go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio (is Ratt in there yet?) and check out the display containing the pages from musicians’ notebooks. You’ll see raw versions of handwritten lyrics to some of the biggest hits of all time — scribbles in the margin, cross-outs and corrections. The pages seem singed with blasts from their own lightning strikes.

8. Find heroes
Disney, Edison, Franklin, Houdini, Siegel and Shuster — learn all you can about the lives and creative process of your own heroes. You’ll find they were also often in search of lightning strikes. Once you know how some of history’s most creative minds made themselves more strikeable, it is a simpler thing to try and do for yourself. Keep in mind that everyone’s combustion point for their personal creative fire is different. What worked for Disney will not work for everyone (or else we’d have a lot more Disney-quality creativity in the world.)

9. Express yourself — journal, sketch, paint
Often times the problem of a creative mind is not the lack of ideas, but an over abundance. There are so many ideas swimming around in your noggin that you don’t know which one to act upon first. Work through your brain blockage by getting all those ideas out of your head. Use journaling, blogging, painting, photography, cartooning, or whatever to simply get that log jam of ideas out of your head and onto paper/canvas/etc. It can get congested up there, and if you don’t find a release valve your brain can get more clogged than a summer sinus infection. Remember this: to get new ideas into your head, you have to get the old ones out. There is a finite amount of space between your ears, and if you don’t write all those ideas down — even the bad ones (especially the bad ones) you can’t make room for new and better ideas.

10. Radar up!
There’s a book titled “Personal Brilliance” in which the author lists four catalysts for creativity: Awareness, Creativity, Focus, and Initiative. Before reading the book I would have bet that my primary source for attracting creative ideas was Curiosity (asking What if? Why not? etc.) But, it turns out after learning about these catalysts, I would attribute most of my idea generation to Awareness — simply being attuned to what’s happening around me (remember the books, speakers, and music?) and absorbing these influences and seeds of ideas into my mind. To keep our lightning strike analogy going, think of your brain as a magnet and all those innovative influences as metal shavings — collect enough metal and you can create one helluva lightning rod!


Be Simple. Be Good. Be Kind. December 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — shep21 @ 7:47 pm

It’s not the gifts, it’s the giving. It’s not the singing, it’s what you say. It’s not the party, it’s the people. It’s not the snow, it’s the snuggle. It’s not the shopping, it’s the sharing. It’s not the food, it’s the feeding. It’s not what and where, it’s who and why. It’s not one season, it’s the whole year.

Be Simple. Be Good. Be Kind.

 Thanks to Steve Hartman at Creativille, Inc.


How to get great testimonials in 15 minutes

Filed under: Uncategorized — shep21 @ 5:27 pm

By Andy Sernovitz on December 29, 2009

I wrote about what a fantastic sales tool a great testimonial can be and how the best ones are short, specific, and from influential sources. This time, we’re talking about how to quickly capture this love from fans that you can use on your Web site, your brochures, and your newsletters. Quick ways to get testimonials:

Put fans on camera. A quick, authentic video testimonial can be a powerful motivator for a new customer. Whether in your store or at your events, be ready to interview anyone who wants to offer some praise.

Ask on Twitter. If you’ve earned friends on Twitter, they’re a great way to get a nice, short testimonial you can use. For an example, check out how FreshBooks did it.

Call happy customers. Sometimes, a good old-fashioned phone call is the best way to find out what you mean to customers. Start by asking if they’re happy with their service, and if they say something nice, ask if it’d be OK to use it as a testimonial.


Spike Jones’ 11 Lessons to ignite a fan community

Filed under: Uncategorized — shep21 @ 3:01 pm


By Merritt Colaizzi; picked up link on twitter from @guykawasaki

At Gaspedal’s Word of Mouth Supergenius conference in Chicago this morning, Spike Jones outlined a few lessons learned from Brains on Fire’s work with Fiskars — the orange-handled scissors company that has successfully ignited a crafters movement.

Spike’s basic premise: Don’t talk about marketing campaigns (us v them); talk about movements (we’re in this together).

  1. Movements are not a product conversation, they are a passion conversation.  In the case of Fiskars, it’s not about the scissors, it’s about what people DO with the scissors.
  2. Movements begin with the first conversation. As you’re creating products, ask your customers what they think.
  3. Movements have inspirational leadership.  Passion cannot be created but influence can.
  4. Movements should have a barrier of entry.  Skin in the game is important.
  5. Movements empower people with knowledge. Brains on Fire taught “Fiskateers” how NOT to be sales reps, but rather how to be ambassadors, transparent in everything they do. This includes talking and blogging about their own lives.  That’s what hooks people and brings them close to you and your brand.
  6. Movements have powerful identities. We all want to believe in something bigger than ourselves. It’s marketers’ jobs to fill in the blank in customer’s identity statements, “I am a…”
  7. Movements encourage shared responsibility.  Build something like it has to live forever and you’re going to run out of money tomorrow.  This way, you will spend less and less money as the movement grows.
  8. Movements make advocates feel like rock stars.  Listen to people, love on them. To make Fiskateers feel connected with the brand, Fiskars created a limited edition pair of scissors with uniquely colored handles and blades engraved with each Fiskateer’s number.  And the crafter blogs went wild.
  9. Movements live online and offline. 90% of WOM happens offline.  It’s important to get people together offline.  In terms of b-to-c, customers want STUFF.  In b-to-b, business people want KNOWLEDGE, often in the form of best practices.
  10. Movements move the needle.  Measure your WOM success in terms of online mentions, and how much *less* money you’re spending on focus groups, advertising and product development.
  11. Movements fight an injustice.  What is your injustice? What are you or your products fighting against?

Bonus: In closing his whirlwind fans-on-fire session, Spike referenced this seduction of cults whitepaper. Fascinating stuff, all this.  People have been buzzing about this session all day long.