Are You Productive?

AreYouProductiveI remember once when one of my direct reports told me “This has been one of my most productive weeks.” He told me about all the projects he’d worked on. He was doing a lot of good work.

I’ve always worked on teams full of talented people who work hard to be productive. Good teams focused on being productive, not just busy. But, the definition of productive often is misconstrued.

(Warning – football analogy)
A “productive” football may chalk up amazing stats – tons of rushing and passing yards, passes completed, yards per carry, 1st downs and more… and yet, all of those stats don’t mean a thing if they lose the game.

Great teams focus on results!

In football, there’s only one stat that matters – the final score. That’s it. Did you win or did you lose?

To win, everyone on the team needs to focus on how their role contributes to overall success. Their focus should always be helping the team win.

The first question to ask is:

“ARE WE WINNING OR ARE WE LOSING?

If you don’t know – that’s where you start:

  • Determine if you’re winning or losing
    • And by how much
  • Document what it will take to start willing –or- increase your lead
  • Develop strategies accordingly
  • Ensure everyone on the team understand how what they do contributes to overall success
  • Then go and do it!

Strategies, projects, marketing plans, and sales materials should all be driving results that contribute to the overall success of the team.

Do the work that drives results. Have the courage to turn down work or projects that don’t contribute to success.

Why focus on being productive, when you can focus on being GREAT!

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A Marketing Department is Born

It Starts NOWMy lack of focus on writing has led to a lack of article this year. I’m hoping to turn that around and start writing more frequently.

Weekly? Hopefully. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Two months ago I transitioned from my role in product marketing to a new role taking over marketing for a sister company. Same parent company. Same building. Different business unit. Different floor.

A great opportunity!

Coming to work each morning is…

  • Exhilarating
  • A Rush!
  • Stressful
  • Nerve-wracking
  • A Roller Coaster
  • Exciting
  • Totally Awesome!

Our parent company is great to us giving a sense of stability, while as a business unit we are like a start-up. Every day new challenges come up. Each day is different than the one before.

So yeah, I‘m loving it.

The new marketing department consists of me…. and me. A department of one. I continue working with my old marketing group as they support our efforts, almost like an internal agency. They continue to be great to work with.

The focus here isn’t on projects and staying productive. It’s all about results! Building brand awareness to drive revenue. That’s it.

So I’ll be writing more, documenting the process of marketing and branding – from the ground up!

It starts now!  

Reaching the Top

IMG-20170702-WA0013I recently hiked in Arches National Park in Utah. It was 102-degree Fahrenheit with only 7% humidity. An energy sucking, dry heat unlike what many people are used to experiencing.

One highlight of this trip was the climb to Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch.

As the sun pounded down it drained both energy and spirits. Having visited the Arch before, the vision of arriving at that magnificent mark fueled my trek. My Brazilian friend, Pacall, was visiting the National Park for the first time. He’d seen pictures of the Arch and wanted to see it in person.

Arriving at the top of the trail and beholding the beautiful Delicate Arch made the journal worth it – both in seeing the massive Arch and in defeating the brutal conditions required to do so.

Success in our personal lives and careers also takes a vision of what the “Top” of the journal will look like and a passion for getting there. While challenges and obstacles may line our path – an eye single to reaching the top will drive our ability to overcome.

Close your eyes – envision YOU succeeding and reaching the top.

Now open your eyes and take the first steps forward to making it happen!

 

(In full disclose – this is a picture of me and Pacall, but at another arch, not Delicate Arch. But I think it’s a cool pic. Haha)  

 

Go Beyond the Checklist

Checklist IILet it be known that I’m a fan of checklists. There’s a certain excitement felt by checking off items as they’re completed.

Recently I met with several managers in the company regarding a specific project. Each of them, myself included, owned a portion of the project. One by one they told me they had completed their portion. Each person truly had checked off their assigned task.

However, the overall project wasn’t progressing.

Too much focus had been placed on the tasks – and not the overall goal of the project. Each step was being done but without a visual of what needed to be achieved.

Communication, coordination and a drive for project success (not just completion) were lacking.

Look at your to-do list this week – which tasks are achieving higher, overarching company goals?

I’m reviewing my checklist, updating my priorities, and emphasizing success that exceeds my individual tasks. We’ll see what improvements this makes over the next few weeks.

Book Review: Think Big, Act Bigger

think-big-preview-02In 2015, I heard Jeffrey Hazlet speak at a breakout session during  Hubspot’s Inbound conference. He discussed the concepts from his book Think Big, Act Bigger.

Admittedly, it took me several months to purchase the book and several more to start reading it.

Mr. Hazlet is opinionated. That bold stubbornness makes the book interesting and more valuable.

My Top Takeaways:

Thinking and acting big feels risky. Not thinking and acting big far riskier.  

  • The idea of acting big, pushing boundaries and stepping out of your own comfort zones feels dangerous. As business accelerates so quickly, we need to be thinking about how to go BIG, what ELSE can we do, where can we PUSH the envelope. That gives us the best chance of success.

Always be evolving.

  • In a world where “change” is the new status quo, your ability to adapt and change may be the most important indication of your ability to succeed.

This is one of the better books I’ve read this year. And it’s not too lengthy. – so, you can read it over just a few days. The book gives great, real-world examples that make the concepts tangible.

My Recommendation:

Get it. Read it. Make your team read it. And re-read it often.

If you’ve read it share your thoughts?

What book(s) have you read this year that was valuable?

Why So Negative?

Banish NegativityThe world is full of challenges. So is your company and your job. The news is laden with ten negative stories to every one positive story.

One of my favorite affirmation from Huffington Post’s 35 life-changing affirmations is:

I am superior to negative thoughts

Read all 35 affirmations here.

Entertaining the negativity only fuels gloomy and despair.

Positivity can also spread like wildfire – if someone just creates that first spark though.

So TODAY, let’s go be:

  • Awesome
  • Fun-loving
  • Happy
  • Productive
  • Compassionate
  • Understanding
  • Forgiving

Lukas Graham says it best in his song 7 Years

I only see my goals, I don’t believe in failure
‘Cause I know the smallest voices, they can make it major

Have a good, great, terrific, outstanding, and amazing day!

-DJ

The Daily Choices We Make

Choose joy everydayThe daily choices we make are what add up to a lifetime of true joy and happiness.

“Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” – Henri Nouwen

Wishing you a successful, prosperous, and joy-filled day!

DJ