Sunday, November 28, 2010

Something Unexpected..the Nature Story Continues

This beautiful Sunday morning I was again staring at my bird and animal feeder and being entertained by the squirrels and birds.  Then something unexpected happened..something I never thought would happen...down swooped a huge, and I don't mean a large bird, I mean HUGE, Hawk.  Ah, something I did not figure into the hierarchy of the animal feeder.

But I guess it should not be a huge surprise, for in every situation there is the unexpected.  Just when the feeder is serving the other animals in harmony, in swoops a bigger to take charge.  Wow,  it so surprised me and the squirrels too I think.  But it should not have surprised me so much.  Just as in nature and in business, there is always the next competitor waiting in the 'wings' to take over.  That is why it is so important to know your feeder, if you will.  You have to know everything about your feeder.  How it works, how it acts, when it needs fed, when it needs water, when it needs your attention, when it needs your tender loving care and when it is working just fine.

Mastering these anticipatory actions, you will never be surprised when the larger, more powerful predator swoops in and tries to take over.  With your preparation you will be ready for the invasion and you will be able to out-smart the pesky Hawk.

Be ready for the Hawk.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Of nature, man and relationships

Let me start off by saying I love nature, animals and the harmony in which we all live on this earth.  I have bird feeders all around my screened-in porch and in the fall I love sitting and watching them.  Today was a day like no ever in the life of my bird haven.  As I watched out the window I saw about 16 small birds at the feeder, all getting along great and eating the seed like crazy. These birds were of various breeds, some sparrows, some finches, a couple of chickadees and a thrush or two.   They stayed there in perfect harmony for several minutes.  Just then I heard the unmistakable call of a Blue Jay.  Now for those of you who have not seen a Blue Jay close up, they are large birds with a long-scary looking beak, almost intimidating, even to me.  The Blue Jay called out two distinct times and the smaller birds scattered in all directions.  The Blue Jay ate from the feeder for several minutes, very content to be the only bird at the feeder....anti-social and eating alone!

The next few minutes were quite amusing.  I saw them, they crept up the deck, across the stairs and headed for the feeder - not one but two grey squirrels.  They proceeded up the railing and across the cross boards of the deck then up the slats to the feeder.  Taken by surprise the Blue Jay flew off very quickly.  Ah-ha I thought  the guy with the loudest call does not necessarily win the battle, sometimes two quite fellows can take over in a split second.  Now back to the little birds.  As the squirrels ate their way into oblivion the little birds perched around the feeder and waited, occasionally picking up a morsel or two that the squirrels thew out.  They waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally the squirrels finished their feast and made their way back into the woods.  The smaller birds again took over the feeder and ate for several more minutes.

Looking at the bird and squirrel behavior left me to think there is a lot to say about working together, formulating relationships, and getting along with others.  The smaller, diverse,  non-vocal group of birds knew when to give up the feeder and let the louder more disturbing bird take over.  The loud disturbing bird ate alone, no one wanted to be-friend him, he was too aggressive, not a fun bird to be around.  Then the squirrels knew that if they ambushed the bigger bird that their tactical behavior would be a win-win for them.

We can all identify with this situation at some time or another in our careers.  There have been times when working with a large, diverse group worked out very successfully.   Then at other times there was the feeling that if you did not complete the project alone it would not get done.  Sometimes you need to make a loud squawk in order to complete the task on time and on budget.  Then again there are times that teaming up with a great partner that can compliment your expertise and will help you accomplish the goal, even faster than you ever thought possible.

Man and nature, we can take a lessen or two from this wildlife. Watch them and learn.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Do you take a tech-free day on Sunday?

Last weekend I took an entire weekend free from my laptop.  I don't really know why I did it, but I did.  On Monday I had about 100 new e-mails and several other Social Media messages to answer.  I was a little overwhelmed.  I thought to myself, wow, the tech world NEVER stops.  After I took stock of all the e-mails, answered them, filed them and acted on a few of them, I realized that almost two hours had passed.  Two hours work for two tech-free days!   I wondered if it was worth it.  So this weekend I broke down and worked on Sunday least to catch up on cyber-world.  I have some new work coming in, and that is good, I have some webinars scheduled and that is good too and I feel better about getting a head start on Monday. 
Do you take any tech-free days?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Market Like a Rock Star

If you have been to a music concert lately you know exactly what I mean.  My husband and I went to the Rascal Flatts/Darius Rucker concert last Saturday night.  I would not describe what took place that evening as a concert, it was a show. 

Now I will show my age, which most of you already know, but a concert used to be pretty different than it is today.  It used to be that the musicians hid behind a curtain, they were announced, the curtain opened (if there was not a glitch in the rigging and only half the curtain opened), the spotlights were set and occasionally changed colors, the singer and the band played and that was it.  You know what I am talking about.

Rarely did the 'star' move about the stage, never did the star come out into the audience or invite an audience member to come on stage with them.  There were no camera men sitting in the aerial spotlights, there were no silver studded pianos suspended from the ceiling then lowered to the stage, and NEVER would there be any pyrotechnics.  (unless the guy in front of you was smoking a cigarette)  No one ever even broke a sweat. There were limited amounts of merchandise for sale after the concert.
Music stars, much like anyone else in sales, and yes, make no mistake,  music stars are sales people, have changed their marketing plans to meet the demands of their fans--oops I mean their customers.  The show on Saturday night had all of the elements of a true show, because that is what is demanded of concert-goers today.  If they are going to pay well over $60 bucks for a ticket, they expect to see something more than a bunch of people standing stationary on the stage. Then after the show they want to wear the tee shirt to impress their friends, AND they will pay $40 bucks for the privilege of wearing that shirt and proudly marketing on behalf of the music star.

Your customers are no different.  They will pay for service, which has been proven time and time again.  But what they really want is a show.  They want you to show them that you know your stuff.  They want you to show them that you will go out of your way to help them.   They want you to show them that you will deliver what you promised. They want to show their friends that you will give them great service too.  They want to show off what a good deal you gave them.  They want to show off your tee shirt with pride and tell everyone how wonderful you are. They may even expect you to show them that you will break a sweat if you have to in order to win their business.   It's all about the show.
So if you expect to stand on the stage and hope the curtain goes up and the lights go on--you will soon find out that your competition is planning a full blown show--they are out on that stage performing like a music star, and if you don't you might as well get off the stage.