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Category: Business

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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Match the Right Intensity

If you’ve ever played organized sports at any level, you would have experienced your coach telling you to “match the intensity level” of your opponent. If they played hard in the trenches, you would need to do the same. If they trashed talked after a play, you’d trash talk back showing you aren’t intimidated.

Physical displays of domineering fortitude are commonplace in the athletic field of play and often provide a physiological advantage against your adversaries.

The same can’t be said in the professional workplace or when engaging in entrepreneurship leadership.

Contrary to popular opinion, matching the intensity from a physical or vocal standpoint in the boardroom is more of a sign of insecurity than it is a display of strength.

Stirring you passions away from an emotional reaction, and into making a strategic impact should be the focus. A well developed strategy that highlights the disadvantages or weaknesses of other suggested options (fact based of course) is the best way to match the intensity of your professional opposition.

In other worlds, intensity in the the workplace is more about brains than brawn.

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Take Time to Be Meticulous

When great ideas come we tend to put our focus on the end results. The idea of what we want to see. The picture perfect manifestation of what it should look like.

As is the case since the beginning the 21st century, how fast we can complete something seems to be just as important as completing the project itself.

Our preoccupation with being the ‘first‘ almost always leads us to skipping important details along the way. Or wanting a title because it assumes a specific social status (entrepreneur or CEO) but not being meticulous enough to understand all the prerequisites required.

But that’s just it. As much as we aim to avoid the rat race we still subconsciously compete with one another and over look some of the most important life details that need to be considered.

As I’m writing this I’m 2 months into a new role with a new company. In an effort to prove myself to my new colleagues, jumping into projects and issues before understanding all the specific nuances and inner workings of the company is something I’ve fallen prey to.

Luckily I’ve had support from multiple executive level associates, including my manager, tell me to take time to learn and don’t feel pressured to jump right in, right away.

It’s not just in business or your professional career. In the many facets of life, taking the meticulous approach in all things will provide you with the insight to make better decisions and ones that ultimately will last longer.

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