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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Welcome to Hogwarts!

People look for what to expect before they try something new. They want us to signal a level of excitement, clues to what is good, something they can believe in.

When was the last time you met a car salesman as exciting as a car commercial?

“But I was taught to listen to the customer...” So was the door at Macy’s, but at least it opens as I walk up to it. Show some action, some optimism!

The bad news is not all offerings are leaders in every way. The good news is no buyer has time to listen to everything. They are looking for someone to give them the buyer’s summary. What you choose to communicate is important.

The losers call it “spin,” but I’d rather have spin than a depressed definition. If you talk about false things, you’ll be discovered, but I can define a belief structure that differs markedly from what the doubters think, that customers will use to defend their choice forever. Optimism becomes the reality for those taking action.

The crime is when internal representatives are too tired or too “professional” to extoll the good. Why show up for work, when you could just fax it in?

I have been accused of only representing exciting offers. Here’s a secret, they weren’t exciting before I got there, and that excitement became a key part of each buyer’s beliefs.

I was part of the name tag table for a user group, and the people from the sponsoring company were just bored, tired, worn out.

Did I understand their best whatisit? I’m an English major! Would you like fries with that?

But as we got each person registered, tagged and goody bagged, as they walked into the main show I kept saying, “Welcome to Hogwarts!”

Smiles, straightening up, looking forward.

Setting Expectations. The neighborly thing to do.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

BOTR - The Other Side Of Project Management

I'm fascinated by people who can tell when others aren't doing their part. Defining fault is to them a higher value alternative to contributing.

I go into a project figuring I'll do it all, if it comes down to that. Now that’s a key decision criteria!

Get more than half of the project team feeling that way and you've got it licked. Leadership is not exhortation or blaming, but demonstration.

If you can get everybody pointing fingers, you've got a classic project meltdown. "I don't think it was my wasting time in the constant meetings, some other guy who musta caused it!"

Lord Of The Rings was thirteen losers who could never complete the project...but they did. If you want to read how it would have happened had they used best practice project blamemaking, get a copy of Bored Of The Rings, now available as an ebook.

Join us at DevFestDC September 28th, for awesome new technologies and resources for building projects and companies!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Rules Baytus

The term for someone fascinated with rules, not changing outcomes, obsessing over imagined possible violations. A spectator at life.

Their work product is a shifting, unprioritized list of what could go wrong, real and imagined. It’s a task that doesn’t ever need to end, a full time occupation without effort.

I was playing in a golf tournament and was admiring an old guy’s line of chatter. One of our group took me aside and said the guy was a cheater, he fluffed his ball.

I said, “That’s no problem, it’s just a stroke. Did you call it?”

He said he had never personally seen it, but he had heard...

After the round, one of my playing partners was describing my birdie. His wife asked me, “Did you cheat?” Lady, I didn’t hit the ball enough times to cheat.

I was ordering a keg. Someone, not attached to the group, asked me, “Did you consider the less fortunate?”

I said I was ordering a keg. What did they want me to consider? Again, “Did you consider the less fortunate?” I missed their point, again.

This gets into focus. If you don’t choose your path, you probably won’t get where you want to go.

In crew settings, I watch some people attach value to delaying launch. I guess that’s because when no one is moving forward, they look like they are making an equal contribution. After others start producing, the rules baytus’ lack of contribution becomes obvious.

Launch is required to find out which possibilities are real. Completion is getting past the obstacles, forecast and random, that truly stand between you and the goal.

Time costs, rust never sleeps.

What did I miss?

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