Category Archives: Management

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Books I recommend by J.R. Atkins, MBA

Every time I do a workshop or presentation I end with a list resources including a list of books. At one of my recent talks, someone asked what other books I would recommend for business owners. I have a long list on my website but here is the short list by category.

Social Mediasocialnomics

  1. Socialnomics, by Erik Qualman

“How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business “

  1. Social Media 2.0 by J.R. Atkins

“A cliff notes version of the Big 5 of Social Media “LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and Video”

  1. Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah

“A guide to increasing online visibility and engagement”

Starting a BusinessJ.R. Atkins recommends a lean start up

  1. Cash Flow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki

“Explains your role as an employee, business owner, self-employed and investor”

  1. eMyth by Michael Gerber

“E is for Entrepreneur. Learn how to work on your business, not just in your business”

  1. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

“Before you start your business, know what is important and what is fluff”

Building your BusinessJ.R. Atkins Recommends Blue Ocean Strategy

  1. Crush It by Gary Vanerchuk

“Shows you how to use the power of the Internet and social media to grow your businesses”

  1. Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne

“How to create uncontested market space and make competition irrelevant”

  1. Failing Forward by John C Maxwell

“Taught me how to convert past failures into future success”

Personal DevelopmentJ.R. Atkins recommends Elon Musk book

  1. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

“The power of thinking without thinking”

  1. Strength Finder by Tom Wrath

“Discover your strengths, use them and surround yourself with others to cover the gaps”

  1. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

“An inside look at a visionary, entrepreneur and billionaire”

I’d love to hear what your favorite books are and why. Drop me a line sometime at

jratkins@SomethingDifferentCompanies.com

J.R. Atkins has been working with individuals, executives and small businesses since 1993 and on Social Media since 2008. He has a BA in Marketing from Texas A&M University and an MBA from The University of Phoenix, Dallas Campus. J.R. serves as an adjunct professor at Temple College and CTC. He has published 3 books Success Simplified, Social Media 2.0 and Road Map to Success.


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The Strategic Planning Process by Michael Mills

My business associate Michael Mills is great at helping companies convert their strategic plans into practical processes that deliver daily results.

Check out his latest blog post:

THE STRATEGIC PLANNING PROCESS: CHAPTER #1 – WHY YOU NEED IT & CREATING YOUR VISION

Here is a very short excerpt:

Strategic planning begins with a VISION . If you’re not certain about your future, if you don’t have a clear picture of where you’re going, how do you expect to ever get there?

Studies show, and it’s quite logical, that if you have a clearly defined goal, you communicate that goal and you track your progress towards that goal, you have a 300% better chance of achieving that goal.

We speak to thousands of business owners every year and if I ask any one of them how they see their business 5-7 years from now, I almost always get a vague answer – “I want to get bigger” most will say

Business Design Corporation Blog Post

Stay tuned to hear when we will hold out next webinar on the importance of processes and how to implement them.


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Life is a Process

Author J.R. Atkins writes about Sales ProcessDuring my early days as a salesperson I participated in many training programs, yet my favorite was taught by Jim Chandler and was based on his “10 Foundation Statements”.  #7, the Process Statement, is applicable in sales, operations, accounting, manufacturing, marketing, education, theology, construction… and life; I have used it in many ways and now share it with you.

Process Statement: Selling is a process. My job, as a professional salesperson, is to create a personal selling process that is so strong, that the pressure of selling is absorbed by the process and not by me.

Wow, what a relief I felt when I discovered that if I built a strong process, I no longer had to worry about when and where my sales would originate. I could trust the process. My sales actually improved when I applied this philosophy and my sales process. I know my prospects did not feel the pressure of the sale either. They were free to choose to do business with me or not. It was ok. I was no longer emotionally tied to the sales call outcome. I had faith that the sales process that I built would deliver. And if it did not deliver enough results at the right time, it was the process that needed tweaking, not me.

Moving on from sales, I have used the same process statement in building and implementing successful Marketing Plans. I have used it to plan events for work and non-profit organizations. When I relocated, I used a strong moving process to absorb the great pressure and stress of moving. I knew I would not be dead if I did not meet a deadline because I had a predetermined contingency plan.

If you have worked in a well-organized operations environment then you are very familiar with processes and procedures. Yet other parts of the organization may not have a written process. Oh, did I forget to mention that my sales process was a 7 page typed and bound booklet?

A Written Process: When I mention writing down a process in the workshops and classes I lead, people roll their eyes like I asked them to pull their own wisdom teeth. There are two main values in writing your process (1) What you discover in creating a process (2) comparing actual results to your process.

J.R. Atkins uses coffee making as a processs exampleTake a mundane example like making coffee for your office and ask a team to write the process. You will discover many variations on the same theme of making coffee such as only use filtered water, only use true Columbian coffee and make sure the filters are environmentally friendly. Yet, once the process is developed and implemented you can trust that the coffee will taste the same every time it is prepared.

As for comparing the actual to the planned, what do you do when the coffee taste different? You start checking on who made the coffee, did they follow the process, and then discover that the wrong kind of coffee was delivered by your supply chain representative (aka, the person who shops for your break room).

Can you get carried away with having too many or too long a process? Yes. Is there a process for writing a process? Probably. Take the best and forget the rest. My hope is this article will spur you on to make some type of improvement in your personal, volunteer or business life. If so, please let me know ☺


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The 5 Stages of Culture from “Tribal Leadership”

“People Tribe, Fish School, Cattle Herd and Birds Flock” and so it goes, says my client and friend Kathy Dudley of Compassion Creates Change. Then she goes on to explain the 5 Stages of Tribes (below). My eyes widen and I frantically begin to take notes as the information and this model of behavior resonates with other ideas bouncing around in my head. So, I share the following resources with you in hopes of helping you and your organization excel in the new year.

This video explains the Tribe concepts as it applies to organizations

 

The Models or Info-graphicsJ.R. Atkins recommends the book Tribal Leadership

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J.R. Atkins recommends the book Tribal Leadership

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, here is an excerpt from the book which I highly recommend.

Every company, indeed, every organization, is a tribe, or if it’s large enough, a network of tribes—groups of twenty to 150 people in which everyone knows everyone else, or at least knows of everyone else. Tribes are more powerful than teams, companies, or even CEO’s, and yet their key leverage points have not been mapped—until now. In Tribal Leadership, Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright show leaders how to assess their organization’s tribal culture on a scale from one to five and then implement specific tools to elevate the stage to the next. The result is unprecedented success.

J.R. Atkins MBA Recommends the book Book: Tribal LeadershipIn a rigorous ten-year study of approximately 24,000 people in more than two dozen corporations, Logan, King, and Fischer-Wright refine and define a common theme: the success of a company depends on its tribes, the strength of its tribes is determined by the tribal culture, and a thriving corporate culture can be established by an effective tribal leader. Tribal Leadership will show leaders how to employ their companies’ tribes to maximize productivity and profit: the authors’ research, backed up with interviews ranging from Brian France (CEO of NASCAR) to “Dilbert” creator Scott Adams, shows that more than three quarters of the organizations they’ve  studied have tribal cultures that are merely adequate, no better than the third of five tribal stages.

The authors explain exactly what Tribal Leadership is, and offer a wealth of “technical notes” which explain how to implement the leadership system in any culture. They also offer coaching tips and a “cheat sheet” that provides the key action steps to building great tribes—including how to identify a tribe’s language and customs, how to move yourself forward while moving your people, and how to build a support network. “The goal is to give you the perspective and tools of a Tribal Leader,” the authors write. “The result is more effective workplaces, greater strategic success, less stress, and more fun. In short, the point of this book is for you to build a better organization in which the best people want to work and make an impact.”

TRIBAL LEADERSHIP details each of the five tribal stages and helps readers identify which actions affect it and which strategies will enable the tribe to upgrade to the next level. The authors discuss how each stage has a unique set of leverage points and why it is critical to understand them—more than three quarters of the organizations they studied have tribal cultures that are adequate at best. The five stages include:

• Stage One: The stage most professionals skip, these are tribes whose members are despairingly hostile—they may create scandals, steal from the company, or even threaten violence.

• Stage Two: The dominant culture for 25 percent of workplace tribes, this stage includes members who are passively antagonistic, sarcastic, and resistant to new management initiatives.

• Stage Three: 49 percent of workplace tribes are in this stage, marked by knowledge hoarders who want to outwork and out-think their competitors on an individual basis. They are lone warriors who not only want to win, but need to be the best and brightest.

• Stage Four: The transition from “I’m great” to “we’re great” comes in this stage where the tribe members are excited to work together for the benefit of the entire company.

• Stage Five: Less than 2 percent of workplace tribal culture is in this stage when members who have made substantial innovations seek to use their potential to make a global impact.

The authors also offer an in-depth look at Tribal Leadership strategies, and discuss how leaders can identify the tribe’s core values and the noble causes to which they aspire. They then explain how to use those principles along with the tribe’s inherent assets and behaviors to foster success based on the tribe’s goals and objectives. As the authors explain, once the tribe sets its strategy based on these factors, a palpable sense of excitement begins to emerge. “Every member of the tribe knows exactly how to succeed and what each person must do to make the tribe effective,” they write. “That’s the promise of tribal strategy.”

Leaders, managers, and organizations that fail to understand, motivate, and grow their tribes will find it impossible to succeed in an increasingly fragmented world of business. The often counter-intuitive findings of Tribal Leadership will help leaders at today’s major corporations, small businesses, and nonprofits learn how to take the people in their organization from adequate to outstanding, to discover the secrets that have led the highest-level tribes to remarkable heights, and to find new ways to succeed where others have failed.

I look forward to reading your comments, receiving your emails, chatting on the phone or in person about these concepts.

 


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How Successful Startups Hire

Check out this short video on “One Minute MBA” on how to hire people for your successful start up. Thanks to Emily Stewart for shaing the content. Please add your comments below.

 


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Now that you can work all the time, leave work at 5:30 like Sheryl Sandberg

Professional Speaker J.R. Atkins comments on Facebook COO Sheryl SandbergI’ve been talking about the 24 hour work day for a while and how since we are connected and can work all the time, we MUST set boundaries or go crazy. The article below is a good example of what I’m talking about. Sheryl Sandberg is COO at Facebook and was a Google before that. As mother and wife, she leaves work at 5:30 each day and says “you should too.” Men, listen to the end of her video where suggest you to should be free to be with your family. Original Article

Somewhere along the line, ending one’s workday before 8:00 p.m. became a source of shame and sign of laziness — or at least that’s what many of us have tricked ourselves into believing.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is familiar with the funny, uncertain feeling that comes with checking out soon after 5:00 to be with family, and although she used to worry about what others thought of her departure time (which is a completely reasonable hour to head home, by the way), she has finally reached a point where she can take off at 5:30 p.m. without the lingering concern of how others are perceiving her.

“I walk out of this office every day at 5:30 so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids,” Sandberg said in a new video for Makers.com. ”I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it’s not until the last year, two years that I’m brave enough to talk about it publicly. Now I certainly wouldn’t lie, but I wasn’t running around giving speeches on it.”

To make up for ducking out at 5:30 p.m., Sandberg said, she would send emails to colleagues late at night and early in the morning as proof that she was still giving her all to work:

“I was showing everyone I worked for that I worked just as hard. I was getting up earlier to make sure they saw my emails at 5:30, staying up later to make sure they saw my emails late. But now I’m much more confident in where I am and so I’m able to say, ‘Hey! I am leaving work at 5:30.’ And I say it very publicly, both internally and externally.”

Many of us know the stigma against going home early all too well, especially in competitive work environments in which many judge work ethic by the number of hours spent in the office. There should never be any shame associated with heading home before 6 p.m. to eat dinner with one’s children and spouse, and Sandberg is sending a much-needed message to parents everywhere that it’s OK to leave work before dark for family time, especially since research has shown that children are healthier, happier and better performing students when they eat with their families.

In high school, my friends used to always say they envied my family for making it a rule to have dinner as a unit at least five nights a week, and I honestly feel I would have become a different person had my parents not prioritized it.

 

[H/T The Grindstone]

Thumbnail image courtesy of World Economic Forum, Flickr

This article originally published at The Jane Dough here.

The Jane Dough is a Mashable publishing partner that is the go-to site for news, insight and commentary on women in the business world. This article is reprinted with the publisher’s permission

Original Article


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Changes in Worker / Business Models

The cover story on the February issues of Fast Company Magazine discusses Generation Flux and addresses the changing work model; specifically to be successful Dallas Marketing Concultant J.R. Atkins disucces Gen Fluxwe must learn to thrive in chaos. They describe Generation Flux as “… less a demographic designation than a psychographic one…a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates–and even enjoys–recalibrating careers, business models, and assumptions.“ One of my favorite quotes in the article comes from the CMO at GE, Beth Comstock, who says “our traditional teams are too slow. We’re not innovating fast enough. We need to systematize change.” This is validated by the success that small nimble companies are having in the area of Social Media and Mobile App Development. I hear terms like lean start-up, pivot, and crowd sourcing associated with new companies, not the Fortune 1000. This got me to thinking. Is the traditional, large corporate model losing its footing as “the way to do business” or “the ideal kind of company to work for.”?  Below I have identified a find few other trends and shifts in business and employment models. I welcome your observations and comments.

Trend #1 – If you are over 45, someone can do your job cheaper. Since wisdom and experience do not show up on the corporate balance sheet, it’s easy to look at this group as an unnecessary expense; their salary and benefit packages cost too much. Many in this group have been laid off and will not find the same job in another company. They will be forced to learn new skills and work for an SMB – Small Medium Business as the large corporate structures retool and redefine themselves with a younger workforce. (See “Age Discrimination”)

Trend #2 – The 24 hour work day. With proliferation of technology and low cost global communication it is getting easier for people to do their critical work duties far beyond 8:00am Eastern time to 5:00pm Pacific time. As a result, business culture will shift from rewarding those who put in extra hours for the “team” to those that can get better results in less time. When it is easy for anyone to work 12+ hour days I hope we quit wearing it like a badge of honor. The badge of honor goes to the people who get more results with less time. Besides, putting in long hours is an idea associated with the industrial era, not the knowledge era. (See “Sleepless in Silicon Valley”)

Trend #3 – Value for multiple jobs on your resume. Do you recall being warned not to “job hop?” This has changed to where employers look for skill building that may take the form of several different companies on your work history. According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, “the median number of years that wage and salary workers had been with their current employer was 4.4 in January 2010.”

With this trend, I hope we see a change in employer language and expectations about “permanent positions.” What is a permanent position in today’s climate; 3 to 5 years? Who are we kidding? How can an employer say “we’re looking for someone for the long hall” when they know they need someone now and have no idea what the future holds.

Professional Speaker J.R. Atkins recommends Linchpin by Seth GodinTrend #4 –Become a Linchpin. In his book Lynchpin, Seth Godin describes changes in the corporate business model as the industrial age gives way to the digital age. He tells us that the person that is most employable is either an artist (creative), innovative, a connector of people or a combination of the three. With these skills you are often the key person (linchpin) on projects as you are indispensible. Leadership comes to you for the big important projects because you are very valuable (and you get results).

Trend #5 – I am responsible. For my healthcare, retirement, career path, and continuing education. How will we prepare the workforce for this? Some will take to it, but many others will need help. What kind of new business model will spring up? Or, do we have an existing model to fill the gap? I see staffing firms as a part of the solution. These firms can help many of us get the next project as our current project winds down. They can also be a source of benefits such as healthcare, retirement, paid vacation and continuing education. If we are not associated with a staffing firm then we must think like a contractor and always be looking for our next project within the company.

Events worth Attending

3/1/12 Tech Execs Discuss Steve Jobs Biography

3/2/12 Social Media & Leadership

3/2/12 Cultural Intelligence for Leaders

3/6/12 HBO Premier “Game Change”

3/8/12 Angel Investing Trends

3/8/12 The Coming Invasion; Drug Wars

3/9-3/12 South by Southwest Interactive

3/11-6/17 The Age of Impressionism

3/13/12 The Rivalry between Biz & Gov

3/20/12 Career Pathing in ’12 & Beyond

3/21/12 Membership in the Digital Age

3/21/12 SXSW Recap @DigitalDallas

3/22/12 Creatives in DFW Event

3/23/12 Dev Your Biz Social Media Strategy

3/27/12 Mobile Apps, the Next Big Wave

3/27/12 Last Tuesday @ The Ritz

3/31/12 Membership in the Digital Age


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How do you manage your time as a knowledge worker?

We live and work as knowledge workers, always connected and paid for what we can do with our minds. As I look at when I accomplish the most or do my best work, I find that it is in the evening, after 5:30, when most people have left the office or other opportunities when I have blocks of un-interrupted time.

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins discusses time managementDuring the day my time is very fragmented with:

  • email communication
  • connecting with others by phone
  • reading articles to keep up with current events and trends
  • reading and posting on social media
  • mentoring and coaching members of my team
  • meeting in the hallway with other executives, shaping thoughts and practices
  • eating lunch
  • prospecting
  • meeting deadlines
  • addressing issues
  • solving problems
  • and yes, some socializing

 

But then the quiet time comes. In the evening and on the weekends, I get 3 or more hours in a block of time, this is when the best work occurs. As I visit with other professionals I find that I am not alone. So, what are we to do? Here are few ideas I’m working on applying.

1. Managers vs. Makers schedule – Check out this article titled: “Maker’s Schedule, Manager Schedule” by the folks at “Y Combinator”, a start up group in Silicon Valley.

This article defines the maker as someone who makes something and needs big blocks of time. Their day is divided into 3 blocks of time: breakfast to lunch, lunch to dinner, dinner till sleep. A Maker needs these big blocks of time to make something.

A Manager thrives on a fragmented day, usually divided by meeting after meeting often in one hour blocks of time. But what happens when we need to do do both?

Recommendation: Add this article to the social structure at your office and see if you can create a morning or afternoon block of “maker time” each week. During this time, there would be no meetings, no interruptions and work would get done. What would it mean to your group to add 2, 4 hour blocks of productivity each week?

 

2. Log out, headphones and signs – Occasionally I can reproduce a block of quiet time by logging out of email, chat and social media. I then tell my co-workers that “I’m going in” to the quiet zone. That means don’t bother me for a while. Then I put my headphones on, the noise canceling kind from Bose, and that helps. I have even gone as far as to put up sign’s that says quiet, do not disturb.

Recommendation: Invest in a set of noise canceling headphones. they will pay for themselves in productivity in no time at all. Besides, the music is great too.

3. Leave the office – Working at home or another location can also help to avoid disturbance and interruptions. I have a friend that goes to the library. It’s one of the few places in our society where everyone is suppose to be quiet yet you can still use a computer. And, they usually have free wifi. I have worked from home and Starbucks but they offer their own form of interruptions and distractions. I’m trying the library next time.

Recommendation: Check out the local library as a place to work in quiet, with out interruptions and distractions.

I look forward to hearing form you as to how you get your best work done.

June Events:

Dallas A&M Club – Aggie Business Luncheon

Social Media and Your Career @Southlake Focus Group

AAF Dallas – Optimized Media Mgmt – Determining Key Campaign Metrics

Taking the Mystery out of Google Tools for Small Business

Stretch Your Career: Networking @Times Ten Cellars

What the Heck is Sales 2.0? @ Untyed Las Colinas

DFW Start Up Weekend June 17-19, 2011

Social Media and Your Career @ Watermark Community Church

 


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The Cost of Clutter

What is the cost of clutter in your life?

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins suggest a less cluttered workspaceI have become aware that clutter exists in several areas of my life and by clearing the clutter away I can have a more productive and peaceful life. Here are a few clutter areas worth considering.

Awards – Awards are a good reminder of our past achievements but they can also hold us back from your future accomplishment.

Balance this with a dream board and some white space, or why not place an empty shelf with a sign, future awards? (Resource: How to Create a Dream Board) 

Walls – Wall clutter such as pictures, awards, books shelves, even art, can contribute to making a space feel small. Lack of “white space” also detracts from the perspective of art.

Why not rotate the wall ornaments like some people do with seasonal decorations? Art galleries do this all the time to show different works of art. You too can do this with your home or office space. (Resource: Random Interior Ideas)

Kitchen – Some people love gadgets like food processors, food steamers, bread makers and other kitchen appliances that can add to kitchen counter clutter.

Why not approach your kitchen appliances another way: What one or two items will do multiple tasks? Now if you are a specialty cook or maybe an avid cook or baker this may not work. But for the average American, we can usually do with a few less items on our kitchen counters. (Resource: Real Simple)

Closet – Almost everyone in America has too much clutter in their closets. There are people who earn a living just from helping you with your closet: organize it, build a bigger one, select what not to wear and select cloths to get rid of.

Why not take it all out and only re-hang what you really wear or really like. Then give the rest to Goodwill, sell to a ‘gently worn’ store, or on eBay. It might be easier to do it one section at a time to keep from getting overwhelmed. (Resource: My Home Ideas)

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins points out that a cluttered garage is an unwelcomed distractionGarage – Can you park your car in your garage? I am surprised to see how many Americans park their $30,000+ automobiles in the driveway or in the street. For some of us, it is due to an abundance of “stuff” that just won’t fit in our house.

Why not get rid of the items you really don’t need or use and organize the garage like a professional. It’s nice to pull into the garage on a rainy day, especially with an automatic garage door opener versus parking outside in the rain. (Resource: The Family Handyman)

Work – Is your desk or cubicle a tool for efficient work or a place where things stack up and get in the way? There are many books and blogs on the subject of organizing your work space with principles like “only touch a piece of paper once.” In our digital age it can be written as “only open an email or document once.”

Why not block out time for specific task, especially the high pay-off ones like strategy or creativity? Also, try to remove all distractions from your view. I use head phones to block out distractions and close my email, Skype and Social Media sites. (Resource: 10 Ways to Remove Clutter from Your Life )

Life – Do you lead a busy life? Most of us do. We find ourselves “running” from event to event in work, social and family life. We even fill our vacations with tasks like Chevy Chase in the movie “Vacation.”

What would it mean to you and your family to have “down time” or “quiet time”? How might life be richer? So many of us are running to or from something that if we slow down we have to face the reality of life. But the reality of life will eventually catch us. Why not address the issues of life in a “head on fashion” so we can enjoy quiet time? (Resource: Simple Living Manifesto)

Dallas social media speaker J.R. Atkins recommends NAPO of organizational helpIn closing, I suggest you give yourself some time to remove the clutter of life. It did not build up overnight, so it might take longer than one weekend to de-clutter your life. My goal is be in a place of less clutter by this time next year. When I move, I want to have less to move. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

P.S. A great Dallas based resource for help de-clutter your life is Misty Keown

Future Events of Worth

April 20          DFW AMA: GameStop – Designing a Loyalty Program for Today’s Consumer

April 20          World Affairs Council: Ending Iran’s Quest for Nuclear Weapons – Barry Blechman, Ph.D.

April 21          Untyed Arlington: What the Heck is Sales 2.0?

April 25          iPhone Dev MeetUp: A Tour of the AT&T Foundry, Plano

April 26          Dallas Business Club: Bell Helicopter President & CEO John Garrison Jr.

April 26          Dallas Harvard Club: From Social Media to Mobile Apps: The Next Big Wave

April 27          DFW AMA: Google 2011: Impacts on Local Internet Marketing

April 27          Digital Dallas: “Moroch: Be Curious”

April 28          AAF Dallas: Happy Hour at Blue Mesa Addison

May 3             Aggie Business Luncheon: Rachel Hayden, P.E. President of Hayden Consulting Inc.

May 5             World Affairs Council: Richard North Patterson, Author of “The Devil’s Light”


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Work Space

What is a work space? I take it to mean a place, where work gets done. But what does it take to get work done? Consider the environment, from lighting, to decorations, to sound, to light, to co-workers and fellow tenants. Almost anything that can and does contribute to you producing your best. Yet, as I visit with clients, I see a wide variety of work conditions.

My favorite work space exists at one of my clients locations, [x]cube LABS, where I am performing work “on-site”. I am filling an employee-type role, working “full time” to generate the deliverables for the project.

 Dallas Social Media Speaker helps the xcube LABS team

The company occupies space in an Art Gallery/Studio environment. At the front of the building, there is a successful art gallery, Marty Walker Gallery, with artist studios occupying the rest of the building. As my client is in the design business, they chose to rent space with other artists. This is very different for me. I’m used to the glass and steel structure of “Class A” office space and I found this new environment both refreshing and productive.

Here are topics I consider to contribute to being your best and producing your best.

1. Creating & Thinking: This is what many of us get paid for. Anyone can just do a job but to progress in your role, it’s your thoughts and creative contributions that count.  So, create a space that is conducive to creative work and thinking. Is your desk cluttered or clean, do the items on your desk contribute to or detract from your thoughts? What about the walls, lighting, plants, music, a candle burning, your chair… If your work space is not conducive to your creating, then change it. If you cannot change it enough, find a place at a park, a library, a book store, a zoo, or an art gallery that is conducive to your creative process.

2. Resources & Tools: Whether it is a computer, books, a white board, a tablet, colored markers, or a musical instrument, find the tools and resources you need to be productive and make sure you have them at your finger tips. We get distracted and off task when we have to hunt down our tools.

3. Others: Sometimes we need to collaborate with others to produce results. Other times, someone can block us from producing results. Don’t let anything stand in your way of being the best you can be. Go the extra distance to seek those you need to collaborate with. I will schedule lunch with certain people and take notes while we are together. Later, these notes form ideas for projects, blog posts and speaking points.

4. Measurement: How do you measure your results? Of course we can use money, as it is the measure of the market place. Our annual income is in direct proportion to how the market is valuing our contribution. Another big measurement for me is satisfaction. Am I satisfied with my life, my growth, the work I am producing and the people in my life?

5. Mobile Work, on the go, hot cubing: Many of us are working mobile. This can mean working from home, on-site for clients, in the office some, traveling or hanging out at Starbucks. “Hot Cubing” is like Hot Bunking in the Navy. Your work space is being used by a co-worker when you’re not in the office.

All of the above mentioned forms of working can create stress, (and detract from your productivity), or you can turn this variety of locations into a strength. By being able to work away from an office you can seek out those creative spaces mentioned above. Do you take any pictures with you for your traveling work space? My desk top on my laptop is a slide show from my last trip to the BVI. This gives my space a home like feeling where ever I work.

6. Fragmentation: One of the biggest killers of productivity is interruptions. They can take the form of email, social media, Skype, cell phone, office phone, people walking into your office, outside noise, smells …almost anything that keeps you from being your best. Sometimes I turn off my devices and set aside a specific amount of time to contribute focused time to a task. I also have to write myself a note to turn the devices back on when I am done.

What Really Matters is that you are happy, challenged, growing and have a sense that you matter, that people value you as a person and your contributions. When you can pull this off and make a good income, then you have “arrived”.

Upcoming Events

01/04/11                     Aggie Business Luncheon, Dealing with Change

01/06/11                     DFW AMA Meet-N-Greet

01/08/11                     Art Show: Lee Mascarenhas at Craighead Green Gallery

01/10/11                     Social Media & Your Career, Ft Worth Career Network (J.R. Atkins presenting)

01/11/11                     Social Media for your Business, Summit Networking Group (J.R. Atkins presenting)

01/14/11                     Israel iPhone MeetUp

01/24/11                     Dallas iPhone MeetUp

01/25/11                     The Last Tuesday Happy at the Ritz-Carlton Dallas

01/27/11                     AAF Dallas Happy Hour

01/28/11                     World Affairs Council: Ambassador Marcc Grossman


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