Archive for October, 2011

Welcome to another installment (episode) of “As The Football Spirals!” My goal in writing these very custom articles is to bring everyday life using the sport of football to tell a story and provoke self-directed questions about your business and the technology that supports it.

Today, and at any time in modern history to be honest, a business needs to ensure that it is playing and competing on a level playing field. What does this mean? It’s kind of that “with all things equal.” What can you (the owner or coach), your executive coaching team and especially your entire company team do to give you the home field advantage over your competition? If someone were to wager on the success of your company at a certain sales call or year end results, would that person who bet on you be jumping up and down for joy or accept the financial loss and move on.

Coach Lombardi is recognized as one of American football’s greats. The winner of the SuperBowl is awarded the Lombardi trophy. I imagine that he had a lot of strategies, backup strategies and a bunch of alternate players to give him a “deep bench” (well, that is a baseball phrase). And, if they had the SWOT analysis back in the ’50s and ’60s, he would have had all that documented too – each and every week.

The CMIT Denver team (owners, service delivery, sales and marketing, and admin and the CMIT nationwide system) leverages many strategies to be competitive in our marketplace. Naturally, technology is a key strategy and it should be in your firm’s playbook. Understand that technology is only one of your strategies and you and your coaching team need to create a playbook or review it on a regular basis. For example, I maintain a 90 day marketing plan that is updated on a rolling basis. Each month I look back and look forward to determine what has been successful and what needs to be done to keep up the momentum for a winning season.

Unlike the college and NFL teams, I don’t have game films to review after each marketing campaign has been executed. However, I do use my CRM and eblast tools, spreadsheets and my now famous Marketing Wall for my weekly reviews. Plus, I have a buddy (not quite the same as in the movie, Brian’s Song), but still that person whom I can trust to tell me the good-commend and the bad-recommend. I will bet that your local, regional and national competitors are orchestrating some clever plays/strategies to give them the competitive edge!

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Remember the childhood game, Red Light Green Light? Well, luckily for us it has been reconstructed to work for adults and kids in a different way but with the same message. In the book Execute Without  Drama Patrick Thean, CEO of Gazelles Systems, created a system for setting and monitoring progress toward the right goals using a visual Red, Yellow and Green (R-Y-G) stoplight.  Just think of the childhood game and when someone yelled “Red Light!” This meant you better stop and stop at that moment and not do anything else until instructed. Thean has created what he calls the “Rhythm Execution Program.” So in using the Red, Yellow and Green lights, the system will tell you when you better be careful and watchful (Yellow) or when you are in trouble (Red) and hopefully when you are safe and can move forward (Green).

I have heard Patrick speak in person at two different industry events in less than two years and I enjoy hearing the same story and message over and over. When he tells the story of his daughter utilizing the RYG system to monitor the number of glasses of water she drinks in a day to help with a health issue, it’s great and hits home that this Rhythm Execution program can be used in a variety of venues whether it be for achieving sales goals or monitoring the activities that lead to a more healthy life.

It is no surprise that the R-Y-G system has been incorporated into the Gazelles “One Page Strategic Plan” that was introduced to us by Verne Harnish (founder of Gazelles) in his book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits.”  Patrick has added to the system a fourth light called “Super Green” which is a stretch goal that is intended to take you out of your comfort zone. It could be that SHAG (the Somewhat Hairy Audacious Goal) or the loftier BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). You pick.

My CMIT Pacesetters mastermind colleagues and I have been updating our annual plans, strategies, SWOT analyses and more to get ready for 2012 which will also ensure that we are using the same processes and definitions to measure our numbers and overall company goals. When I sat in on Patrick Thean’s one hour webinar last week, it was just another reminder of the critical nature of having goals that make sense for moving the project or company forward. This can include having the “right people on the bus and in the right seat” and determining the most valuable activities (MVAs) that will help you reach your 3-5 key goals or initiatives. A  marketing and business mentor, Robin Robins, constantly harps on the fact that you have to have goals that are monitored and measured in order to make progress.

What are your goals for 2012 in your business and your life?  Take advantage of the  systems used by Gazelles by clicking here to review and access free downloadable forms.  I would also recommend subscribing to Patrick Thean’s blog where you will be able to access his webinars such as the one I listened to last week and the accompanying forms. Also note the list of books for recommended reading. Take advantage of all of this in order to maintain a level playing field for your company.

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As I was trying to select a topic for this article, I went to my Inbox and down, down, down to a subfolder that houses potential topics for my e-newsletter. I found one from late May 2011 that isn’t time sensitive and can help you in leveraging Microsoft OneNote, Outlook and PowerPoint.

Stay Organized With OneNote 2010. You can store, organize and share text, images, audio and video in OneNote 2010’s electronic notebooks. Think of a hard copy, spiral or 3 ring binder notebook and how you organize your projects or tasks behind those dividers. OneNote is the electronic solution for this and you can even sync it with your Microsoft SkyDrive account so you can access it from anywhere, from any device and at any time. You can even do this using your Windows 7 Phone which has OneNote Mobile. You can collaborate on a Notebook with colleagues wherever they may be in the world. You can track changes made by anyone and see when those changes were made. If you are planning a personal trip, there are 40 OneNote TripBooks available and hopefully more to come (I am waiting for a Florence, Italy one).

Microsoft Outlook:  A Glance At Some Of The 15 Tips To Save Face At Work
Click here to read about all 15 tips courtesy of Microsoft Office Insider, May 2011.

  • Save Face With Mailtips: Have you ever hit “Reply All” to an email when you didn’t mean to? Or sent important information to someone and never gotten a response, only to learn later their email address was invalid? Microsoft Exchange 2010 and MailTips, a new Microsoft Outlook 2010 feature, can help prevent embarrassing mistakes, save you time, and alleviate frustration.
  • Stop Repeating Yourself: Do you do a lot of the same things over and over with emails? Like frequently move messages to a specific folder that you’ve set up? Or often forward messages to your team? Quick Steps in Outlook 2010 can help by turning commands and procedures that you use most often into one click actions.
  • Get In On The Conversation — and Manage It:  At work you may often have conversations over email, where several people are weighing in on important issues. Have you ever missed someone’s response in one of these email conversations? Now you can see your email within the context of the conversation, with Conversation View. See the overall conversation, including your responses, find the most recent response, and easily figure out the message that is most important to you.
  • Let Colleagues Know When You Aren’t Around:  This is a tool in Outlook Exchange that I use constantly. If you’re going to be heading out on vacation or even just away for the day, you can let your colleagues know your schedule and when they can expect to hear from you again. Customize automatic responses to emails you receive whenever you are unavailable.

Microsoft PowerPoint: Have You Learned How To Share Yet?
(courtesy of Microsoft Office Insider, May 2011)

Consider this scenario: You have a friend in San Francisco,  a partner in New Orleans, and a distributor in New York–and they all want a piece of your new business, “Awesome Pies.” You’ve built the first expansion plan in PowerPoint. You have a choice: You can send them a large PowerPoint file with no representation, or you can broadcast your presentation to them simply by sending them a link via IM or email.

Broadcast attendees don’t need to have PowerPoint installed. All they need is a browser. Whether they’re at their PC, on their cell phone, or using a browser in an Internet café, all attendees can watch a live, synchronized view of your slide show in their browser. And you can set up a conference call so they can follow along with you as you step through the slides.

Pies may not be your business, but the scenario of sharing your slides with anyone on any Internet-connected device hopefully resonates with you. Give PowerPoint broadcast a try. It’s pretty cool to be able to share your slides with anyone, anywhere, on any device.

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