In familiar water but fogged in?

Often we enter familiar markets with new products and drive ahead using the same process that got us to where we are today.  Is that always the best thing to do?  While the waters are the same, are we able to navigate a straight course using the standard techniques?

This question hit me this morning on my morning swim in the lake.  We are in that transitional period where early morning fog is prevalent in lower areas and, yes, around the lake.  I usually enter while the sun is just below the horizon and today was no different.  The key difference, I could not see a single buoy that we use to mark the course because of the fog on the water.   However, I have swum this enough that I know where they are.  Right? 

After needing to get within about 4 yards to see the first buoy, I realized that I needed to slow down and modify my stroke to maximize straightness, not speed.  The potential outcome on no change would be somewhere out in the middle of the lake in a fog.  One of my friends did not adjust until he stopped and realized he could not touch bottom which means he was farther out than we normally go.  He listened and heard the sound of others and headed that way, finding the buoys.  Good thing he picked his head up to check.    Once the sun was up and the fog lifting, we could all maximize for speed and just occasionally check buoys .

This is the same as you bring new products to market.  You need to test the market as it may not be as clear as you previously thought it was.  There are many tools out there to help you hit the buoys.  You can try a Stage Gate process, Outcome Driven Innovation®(Strategyn), or just good cross-functional three legged stool team work with marketing, technology, and operations keeping each other honest.

The key is take your time and look for the buoys.   They are there.  You need to be check and recheck your course, be diligent and be patient.  Once you clearly see the buoy, go like crazy because you will know the direction and the outcome.  Remember, there may be lots of buoys set to get you to the end.  Use them!!

Have a great week!  Contact me with any ideas or suggestions.  Always looking for that next idea or buoy to help guide me to the future.





“It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that zing”

Thanks, Scott.  You made me think about what is it that is needed to get up each morning and go out and do my thing.  Zing, fun, learning, helping others, solving big problems.

So how do we make it “zingable?”  Well, as part of marketing, we should be looking for ways to transform our customers’ products into things that zing into the market.  What is it that their product does that we could help it do better, with lower cost, with less work, ………….?  In other words, can we move them into a place where the competition becomes less relevant? 

Can putting that zing in our products do the same thing for us?  Differentiation is critical and could give us a space where we have the market to ourselves because we provide a product or service not previously considered important or wanted.  Show your customer why you are different and how you can provide them with the ability to be different too.

So, where will you put your ZING! today?  Make your life zingable!!


p.s. –  today’s post is based on a blog I read by “My name is Scott.”  He has an interesting story about networking and living life.  Hope you enjoy.  Here is a link to his new book and his blog.  Cheers.

Great teams!

What is the hallmark of great teams?  They are proactive in harmony.  Think about it.  Each person knows their role, they act with confidence, and they do their part to create an experience that is greater than the sum of its parts.  What does harmony require?  Certainly, it is not a solo.  Each voice has a role and must hold to that role and excel in that role to deliver results that are beyond expectation.  To deliver those results, they have practiced and listened to others carefully.

Two things a great leader does for the team are:

Allow each to shine and show their value.  Ever noticed in works by great composers there is a time for each voice or each section to take the lead?  Not only does this provide personal satisfaction for that person, it prepares them for when they must be a leader in the future.  It allows them to feel the support of the surrounding roles and value that support.

Allow debate but not divide.  Debate and discuss are always  good things.  They bring differing points of view to the fore and allow members to build on each other’s ideas.  A key check is to understand why you might disagree.  What is motivating the challenge?  Is it personal or is it for the good of the team?  Great leaders will work with the team the critical, potentially divisive issues so that all buy in to the ultimate vision.

So, as we look to the future and join teams, let others shine and understand what motivates you when you disagree.  In other words, check your ego at the door and focus on the win-win.

Have a great week!


How can you stay ahead?

What do you do each day to stay ahead – of the competition, of your plan, of failure, of disappointment, of your fears?

Are these actions building your brand and head to the future?

Or are do they  just help you stay in place?  In today’s environment, if you are staying in place, you are probably falling behind.

The last few weeks have been a time of  listening, learning, discussion and introspection as I continue to search for the new opportunity in my transition.  A number of people have invested time with me and I truly appreciate the input.  Thank you!  I know your time is valuable.

People and companies  have dreams or visions and achieving those has real value.   What can you do to help them reach those dreams?  Can you offer to help them is a way that takes them towards their dreams and helps you achieve yours?  You need to know your tool kit and wisely apply it to the important ideas that deliver mutual value.

How do you place value on your time?  Your time is an investment.    How do you choose to invest it?  Do you take the same care as when you invest your money?  Are investing in important ideas or just those that are urgent or currently irritating you?  You have to make choices or you will clutter your life with tasks and not drive toward your goals.

Finally, if you help people reach their visions and goals, they will talk about you.  You will build your brand and your brand will be strengthened.

So ask yourself:

  • Who is important to you?
  • How can you help them?
  • Can you create tangible value?
  • Are you driving important change?
  • Are people talking about you?  The right people?  Saying the right things?

Have a great day!  Find someone to help achieve their dreams.  Who knows, it may help you achieve yours.


p.s. – I will be back on my weekly release now.