The best of the best practices

I overheard someone asking for “the best of the best practices.” This just goes to show you that many so-called “best practices” are just noise. Sure, they may have been valuable for the company that first discovered them. But over time as the practices were passed around from one company to the next, the sharp edges that made them effective were worn down. By the time they reached mainstream and were called best practices, they had been reduced to “safe practices” or “boring practices.”

At best, best practices are simply minimal requirements. Best practices are to effective strategy as Wikipedia is to curing cancer – it’s a starting point. Never lull yourself into believing the pleasing (but false) notion that best practices will cure what ails you. You’ve got to go well beyond best practices and forge your own niche.

Agree? Disagree?

Flash of Insight: Principles over policies

A flash of insightEmployees who are schooled only in company policies will never learn. Principles make for better teachers. That’s why Principles rule the school.

Seinfeld on Marketing: Make ‘em feel it

felt_monster

It’s time once again for another stirring rendition of Seinfeld on Marketing. In this episode, Kramer is talking to Jerry about helping out a local hospital by pretending he has a diseases and allowing the medical students to practice diagnosing it. But when Kramer is given the chance to act out the symptoms of gonorrhea, he feels slighted. He feels that gonorrhea is only “a little burn” and does not show his true range as an actor. In this scene, Jerry is talking to Kramer about how he can still make his small acting part work:

KRAMER: See, showmanship. Maybe that’s what my gonorrhea is missing.

JERRY: Yes! Step into that spotlight and belt that gonorrhea out to the back row.

KRAMER: Yes, yes I will! I’m gonna make people feel my gonorrhea, and feel the gonorrhea themselves.

All things being equal, STD’s are a hard sell. Maybe you have something equally hard to sell – pimple cream or the Snuggie (it’s just a backwards robe, people). Or maybe you are trying to sell an idea – like convincing your boss that investing in SEO would benefit the company or encouraging a tribe to rallying around your idea.

Whatever you are selling, make others feel your idea, and feel it themselves. In essence, we all want to feel – to feel a connection to something that helps them to grow, to learn, to aspire, to understand and to make their world better. JFK was good at making others feel a connection and so is Steve Jobs.

So the next time you give a presentation, write an ebook or present your product to a prospective customer don’t forget to inject feeling into what you do and belt it out to the back row!

This post is part of an ongoing series, Seinfeld on Marketing.

Photo credit: simplybecka

I heart Café Rio

On the weekend I found myself in my favorite local restaurant, Café Rio. I gleefully strolled up to the counter to pickup my phone-in order with a smile on my face, a gut ready to be satisfied (I could literally feel my stomach sucking up against my spine) and unfortunately an empty spot in my back pocket where my wallet should go (doh!).

Now, let me remind you that most restaurants have a strict policy about not allowing customers to leave the restaurant without first paying for their meal (sticklers, I know). But after flashing the cashier the universal sign for “me so stupid” (Randomly checking your various pockets like 10-15 times in a desperate and halting sort of manner) and mumbling something about not wanting to make the 15-minute trip both ways, the cashier said, “Let me see what I can do.”

Do?” I thought to myself. “You mean my stupidity may not lead to utter destruction?” (Did I mention I was hungry?)

The cashier talked to the manager about my plight. To my surprise the manager took pity on a poor soul and said, “Just put your name and phone number down on this paper and just pay us the next time you come in.”

Without a computerized system to track visits and the fact that my wife almost always picks up the orders, I don’t think the manager even realized that I frequent Café Rio more than all my other restaurant visits put together (I need serious help people).

This just goes to show you that it pays to act small (even if you are), trust is a beautiful thing and leading by principles instead of rigid policies can get you a whole lot further (especially in this economy). So the next time you may find yourself in Salt Lake, give me a call and I’ll treat you to the best salad you ever had. Thanks Café Rio! (And I’ll drop by today or tomorrow to pay for the salads).

Happy Monday!

Voice Your Opinion: Woo or Wow?

Voice Your Opinion

I’m going to try something a little different here. I am going to give you all a topic and I want you to drive the conversation.

So here’s the topic: Would you rather “woo” or “wow” a potential customer? Why? Is there even a difference? What’s your definition of each?

Now it’s your turn to grab the mic and tell us what you think.

Efficient or Effective?

Tony Hsieh of Zappos.com:

“We run our warehouses 24/7 which is actually not the most efficient way to run a warehouse, but it gets the shoes out to the customer as quickly as possible.”

Effective doesn’t necessarily mean efficient. Efficiency tries to use the momentum of the status quo, but make it faster or cheaper. Effective tries to produce an effect (a change or disruption) to the status quo to make it better.

That’s why Zappos.com runs their warehouse 24/7, Rackspace answers their telephone by a live person in one ring, and busy Seth Godin personally answers every e-mail sent to him (and in my experience, usually within a hour or two).

Are you being efficient or effective?

BTW, why do we say something is “cost effective” when what we really mean is that it’s efficient?

The status quo has feelings too!

Have you heard someone advise others to “not upset the status quo” as if it were a hormonal teenager with a zit on prom night? I have. But the thing is, the status quo has no feelings – at least no feelings for you.

So your goal today, right now, is to disrupt it, dismantle it and make the status quo beg for mercy under your unrelenting push for greatness.

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