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:


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!


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?

The Sales and Marketing Gap

pablo-3Why is there a large gap, a seemingly unfillable chasm, between sales and marketing?

Does it stem from different goals (or the perception thereof)?

  • Marketing’s view on Sales’ objective: They just want to earn a commission, and could care less about anything else.
  • Sales’ view on Marketing’s objective: They just want to make things look good, and could care less if it drives sales.

Bridging the gap means having the same objectives – real and perceived.

It starts with larger corporate objectives that individual team goals align with.

Sales and Marketing must explicitly understand how their goals help the overall company, and how they support the goals of other teams.

Sounds simple, right?

Way too often, in companies large and small, this isn’t happening.

Now is the time to develop your 2017 goals.

Corporate strategies must first be developed by executive management. Then team goals can be created to support the larger strategy.

Throughout the year, transparency via regular reporting will give improved visibility into how all teams’ goals support one another – thus bridging the gap.


4 Ways to Make Work a Little Easier

Implementing a few simple practices will make your work life run a little smoother:

Start the day in your Calendar

  • Whether using Outlook, Google Calendar or something else, start each morning by seeing what commitments you have that day. The, schedule time for specifics tasks or projects that require your attention. Do not start in your email inbox. It will suck you in like the lighting quicksand in the Fire Swamp.

When sending a meeting invite include the purpose for the meeting in the request

  • It’s annoying to get a meeting request and have no idea why the meeting is taking place. Even better, include an agenda. Alert attendees that an agenda has been include by adding [A] in the subject line. Attendees will appreciate having an understanding of the meeting, and your meeting will run more effectively.

Change Subject Lines where relevant

  • Email communication is great, but can become a maze of confusion very quickly. As an email chain switches directions, update the subject line to ensure it’s relevant to the most recent topics being discussed. The Subject Line field is editable for a reason.

That gray, rectangular, boxy object on your desk, it’s called a phone – use it 

  • Again, email is great; so are project management programs like Asana, JIRA and Basecamp. Often the quickest way to communicate is still verbally (mind blown)! So just pick up the phone and speaking directly. The power of spoken language is amazing.

Got any other best practices or quick tips? Please share.



As a Business Leader You Only have One Job

number-one-1256037-640x480Recently I was asked what I most needed from my boss. Not referring to my current job or current boss, just a general career question.

After much consideration I came to the conclusion that I only need one thing from my boss:

Clear the Path

That’s it!

Clear the path of any obstacles, thereby enabling me to do the job I was hired to do.

As a boss, a manager and business leader that’s what is most important – clear the path so your team can most effectively do their job. If you can’t do that, nothing else matters.


Right Company vs. Right Job

ID-10012988Starting a new job is always exciting and often has some anxiety associated with it. Having starting a new job last month I can attest to that.

In general, people accept a new job hoping it will be better than their last job – based on some number of factors.

Articles for job satisfaction evaluation are spread all across the internet. While there are some universal truths, like people want to be treated fairly and work in a humane work environment, many factors for defining job satisfaction vastly differ from person to person.

To overly simply it, job satisfaction is essentially a balance between working at the right company and working in the right job. Here are some factors that impact each category.

Right Company

  • Culture
  • Work environment
  • Industry
  • Office location
  • Companywide benefits (Ex. health insurance, PTO)

Right Job

  • Type of working being performed
  • Job role / title
  • Compensation
  • Hours worked
  • Supervisor/Management you report to

The ideal situation is to be in the right job while working at the right company. If you had to choose – which is more important to you? (Company or Job)

Another way of defining this is to weigh these two options. For example, 60% right company and 40% right job. Saying you couldn’t choose 50/50 (because that’s too easy).

So, if you had to choose which would you say is most important to YOU?

Or, what percentage would YOU give each factor?


I’d love to hear your feedback!




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