Monthly Archives: March 2013

Cell phone cameras, social media, and your next big event…


Social media and cell phones offer a unique opportunity for people to share, in real time, pictures while attending an event.

The awesomeness of this, especially for the event producers, is that pictures typically capture so much more attention on social sites than just a status update or basic tweet.

But there’s something to be aware of if you are an event producer. You should be allowing attendees access and freedom to take pictures throughout the entire event, conference, workshop, or forum. Trust me, you want them to.

But allowance isn’t enough, they should feel comfortable to move around, get close to the stage or speaker(s) so they can take really intimate shots. Because as Chelsie Hadden so unintentionally wisely pointed out at a recent tweetup, “There’s a difference between ‘hi, I’m here’ pictures and ‘this is an awesome shot’.” Your event wants the awesome shot.

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It’s what advertising can’t always get (buy) you, but a referral almost always can.

Work smart, work hard, work with integrity, serve those around you, and let the world tell that story for you. The referrals will be a byproduct.

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Pump the Brakes

The other night I was helping my son with his math homework as he was struggling to understand a problem. When the question asked to find the perimeter of a square, he wanted to solve for the area. I soon realized his biggest challenge was that he was thinking too fast. When he slowed down to think through the question, he was able to solve it with ease.

Too many times I see people that are in such a hurry to make money, put out a fire, complain about a disaster, or sign a client that they never take time to pump the brakes.

There are times when being foolhardy can be an invaluable asset. That said, understanding the landscape of a specific situation is never a bad thing. Especially when the solution you keep trying always lands you right back where you started.

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Incremental Change or Transformation?

Editor’s Note: The following blog post comes from good friend and great scholar, Michael Poutiatine. Hopefully, this is not the last time we hear from Mike.

There once was a big school district. This district, like most, was facing big budget cuts for the third year in a row and had to find ways to reduce costs, again. After years of cutting all the things that were easy, they started to look carefully at the organizational processes to see if there could be further cuts there. They found that consistently across the district every building was over budget on copies, every year.

So, they decided to centralize their copy work. Take the machines out of the buildings and put them all in one big building to serve the whole district. This created efficiency, and also an interesting byproduct; they now could see, in real time, exactly where all the copies were going. They discovered that every kid in the entire district was receiving 11.2 copies every day. That meant they were making over 165,000 copies per day! At 1.5 cents a copy that is over $2,500 a day in copies. And they learned that number was increasing every month.

“This is crazy” the Superintendent said. “We need to do something about this.” So, the Superintendent convened a special meeting of all his building Principals, Program Directors, Curriculum Supervisors, etc, to ask “what do we do about this?“

Well, the Principals were outraged. They could not believe this was true. This meant that in just a month of school the district was spending the equivalent of one teacher salary and benefits on copies. What was their response to this outrageous data?

“We have to find cheaper copies!!!” They all cried. We have to get this under control, 1.5 cents is just too much.” Much debate ensued about how much the district should pay per copy. The Superintendent shook his head.

One quite Assistant Principal finally spoke up over the fray. “Why are we making 11 copies per kid a day, again?” He innocently asked. He was immediately met with the argument, “well that is the curriculum, that is how we deliver it – you cannot do the job with fewer copies. This is how we do business.”

“Maybe we have to re-think our business then” was the Assistant Principal’s response.

Incremental change deals well with symptoms, it almost always requires real transformational change to deal with causes. And those changes always start with one simple and astute question about habitual assumptions:

What assumptions do you have that limit your ability to see?

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The Hardest Part

I was taking a shower the other morning. Nothing uncommon about that, except that on this particular morning I was dreading getting out. It had been cold the night before and I was up early before the heat had come on. Sometimes, the hardest part of taking a shower is turning off the water. I knew that once I did, I’d be cold and uncomfortable.

Often, the hardest parts of life are the things that make us the most uncomfortable. But, that’s if you take the most cynical and narrow view of the situation. Because before the water was turned off, I was warm and cozy. And within a few moments, I was dry and fresh feeling. If I were to get caught up in the uncomfortableness of turning off the water, I’d forget about where I just was. More importantly, I’d forget about where I was going to be.

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