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Category: Business

Like LEGO, Be Yourself

In 2003 LEGO sales dropped 35% in the US and 29% worldwide, combining to be the biggest annual loss in the company’s history.

This was new territory for a company that saw generations success decade after decade. But how exactly did it happen?

Like many other business trying to stay ahead of their competition, the iconic toy brick manufacturer attempted to pivot into an untapped market. Problem was they pivoted wrong.

LEGO tried to innovate without researching or simply asking their faithful customer and fan base what they really wanted. This resulted in a product that was very un-LEGO like. Items that were mostly prebuilt and had minimal assembly factor.

LEGO eventually rebounded and has since experienced steady growing sales, leading to several full length feature films and other entertainment expansions like streaming tv series and gaming franchises.

All because LEGO returned to their roots of success. Which was relying on their proprietary brick building system as the foundation for new innovation.

The moral of the story? When others seem to be growing in new experiences, opportunities or innovation, don’t be afraid to continue being your authentic self personally or professionally. Especially when you’ve had success doing so.

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That’s How We Scroll!

On average we scroll through 300 feet (90 meters) of social media content daily. As a business owner or content creator that poses two major problems.

One, how do we go about creating something meaningful that will grab the attention of your target audience enough to make them slow their scroll?

And two, how do we stop ourselves from getting stuck scrolling down the social media content rabbit hole, which ultimately leads to a lack of true productivity and originality in our own work.

The addictive nature of social media makes it an ideal source for marketing to audiences (and an ideal source for wasting time.). But the sheer amount of content consumed in a day is shortening the attention span of that same audience. And more importantly our own.

What’s the answer? Purposeful content.

Purposeful content should lead our audiences and ourselves to do 3 things: Stop, think and eventually take action.We need to create it and we need to consume it. Everything else needs to be discarded.

In the digital age, people spend countless hours throughout the day on social media and at the end of the day have absolutely nothing to show for it.” – Germany Kent

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Just Start Your Own Holiday

December 26th is Boxing Day. The day after Christmas when we decide it’s time to do something for ourselves by waiting in line for hours for the door crasher deals we’ve been eyeing.

Like so many other events, COVID-19 lockdown precautions took away our Boxing Day experience forcing the closure of most retail businesses.

Where many other businesses prepared for lost sales, LEGO saw an opportunity to fill the void by officially declaring December 26th as LEGO Build Day – a celebration of creativity, imagination, and togetherness.

If families weren’t out shopping, they could be home doing something together. Like building LEGO sets. More likely ones that were unwrapped on Christmas. Which, we’re probably the sets bought in anticipation for LEGO Build Day in the first place.

The biggest times of crisis can bring out the genius we never knew we had. Whenever you get stuck always remember LEGO actually created their own holiday for the win.

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The Right Way to Build Intrigue

KFC, formally Kentucky Fried Chicken, is planning to release a gaming console.

No, really. This isn’t fake news.

The KFConsole is a real console with real specs. KFC partnered with tech company Cooler Master to deliver gaming power in the form of 240fps on select titles at 4K resolution and 2TB SSD based storage solution with Seagate BarraCuda SSDs.

Oh, and it also has a built in warmer to keep your chicken hot for those late night weekend gaming sessions.

Whether or not the KFConsole will compete with market leaders Microsoft and Sony remains to be seen. For now KFC’s risky investment into the gaming industry has put their brand back on the pop culture radar. A place KFC hasn’t been since the launch of Toonie Tuesday back in the 90’s

All this from the fast food giant who arguably doesn’t currently offer the best fried chicken in the market today. But the idea is too intriguing to not pay attention. And that’s exactly the point.

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Who’s Your Successor?

When you take a bite out of a Snickers chocolate bar do you realize you’re eating a product manufactured by a brand that launched over 100 years ago?

In 1911 Frank C. Mars started selling butter cream candy from his kitchen in Tacoma WA. From there he eventually grew that small start up in to what we know today as Mars Inc. Home of iconic confection brands like Twix, Snickers, M&Ms and of course the Mars bar.

But Frank C. Mars wasn’t there to see the entire journey. Sadly Frank passed away in 1934. But as we can see from the success of the Mars company today his vision didn’t go with him.

To this very day his descendants, the Mars family, oversees the privately owned global organization that employs 80,000 plus associates in over 180 countries.

In the process of building we can’t forget that succession planning may be the only way our dreams and visions actually come to fruition. Not naming a successor will consequently lead to our blueprints being buried with us.

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What’s in Your Playbook?

Maps. Navigational systems. Playbooks.

Getting to our destination requires using one of these tools to make it happen. So what’s in your playbook?

What books do you have listed to read next year that will get you to the next level in your career, or help you expand you business? Or how about books for being a better spouse, parent or friend?

What courses are you planning on taking to learn a new skill or sharpen an old one? Maybe a course on health and wellness?

Do you have a mentor or coach that can help you see the blind spots in your life or push you become a high performer in your life and career?

What tools have you invested in to track your progress? (Note: investing could mean just downloading an app)

You rarely get to your desired destination by chance. Setting up your playbook in advance is the prerequisite for ensuring you get there.

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There’s Room For Your Idea

There’s a reason why a wide selection of red wines are available in the market. You can pretty much find a wine in any price point, multiple flavours, textures, and imported from regions around the world.

Whatever fits your budget and personal taste, you can be sure you’ll find what you want, even if you have to pay a high price for it (like rare aged imports).

That’s the way market share works. Companies find opportunities to steal a piece of that market by expanding on an existing idea.

Our ideas don’t always need to be revolutionary in order to be successful. We just need to ensure there’s a low cost yet full body bottle of Australian Cabernet available on the market for those specific customers looking for it.

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Thinking Outside of the Soapbox

In my early days of working in transportation, I had the opportunity to work with one of the largest soap brands in the world.

They were my main logistics account for the company I worked for, and I was their point person in charge of coordinating their freight.

Because of market share losses, senior leadership wanted fresh creative ideas to stimulate business growth. Most companies of their caliber and size would limit that conversation to the sales and marketing team. This company sought out a different approach.

They ended up inviting partners from all over their supply chain as well as their general office staff to participate in a group strategy session. Participants included personnel from accounting, customer service, contract warehousing, contract transportation (me), sales, marketing and senior leadership.

The idea was to get a different perspective from individuals who had a alternate vantage point for how the business was operating. First we had a brain storming session to flesh out new ideas. Then we went in groups of two to scope out the product layout at major retailers across the city. We returned to discuss innovative ways to make product placement more appealing to shoppers.

Its no surprise that businesses, large and small, who see year over year growth are usually the ones willing to take an unorthodox approach to creating growth potential and continuous improvement planning.

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3 Steps to Creative Transformation

The barebones approach to any level of organizational creative transformation can be accomplished in 3 easy steps:

1. Clearly understand the current operational setup of the business process. Why is the process working the way it is? How do you go from idea, to execution, to customer transaction.

2. Identify opportunities to drive efficiency. Start with the ‘low hanging fruit’ then review the more complex items to initiate creative changes to the process.

3. Put a system in place to track progress. Implementing a systematic way to know whether or not the new process is working. Are tweaks needed or will the proposed changes need to be completely abandoned in favour of starting again?

A word of caution: A simple approach to creative transformation still requires a diligent focus on the details. Even barebones processes need ‘meat’.

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Projects Come in Many Sizes

Why do we need Project Managers when we have corporate VPs, directors, managers, assistant managers, coordinators and other skilled associates?

Because some projects take longer than others to execute and require the skill set of being meticulous when everyone else wants immediate results.

Project Managers are really architects of patience. They understand results mean more than just getting it done. The slow grind is essential to ensure the job is done with excellence.

Like Project Management our lives and careers need to be centred on substance and not speed. That can only be done when we focus on our singular purpose and not look to keep up with the pace of those around us.

Building bigger, better, stronger, more effective, and sustainable comes with an awareness that the most important projects are the ones that will need a deeper investment in time and patience.

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