The movie is due to release May 2, 2008. Visit the official site for downloads, character sketches, fan art, and more.
Are you intentional about the kind of culture you create within your organization? I often find many companies are blown by the wind as they grow and expand. The culture creates itself organically and after it is embedded many leaders look around and ask, “How did we get here?” In regard to cultural creation and fit, I saw this article from Randi and had to share. If you have read WeirdGuy for long, it is obvious I am a stickler for creating an innovative and fun environment (a.k.a. culture), and encouraging would-be employees to find a culture that fits them, so this will be a helpful read. Have fun!
As a career coach, I’ve occasionally had clients come back to me for redirection after several months on the job. Often the all–too–perfect role turns sour because of the corporate culture and/or internal politics.
Most ask how they can assess these factors ahead of time. Although culture is intangible, there are a few things potential candidates can do to get a read on the environment before they say ‘yes’.
Before we begin, let’s just step back for a minute and discuss what culture is and why it’s important.
What is corporate culture? At its most basic, corporate culture can be described as an organization’s personality and the shared idea of ‘how things are done around here’. Corporate culture is a broad term and guides how employees think, act, feel, and behave. It describes the unique beliefs and behavior of a company and includes the organization’s core values, mission, ethics, and rules of behavior.
Why is corporate culture important? Culture is important because it affects the hours you work, how people interact with each other (or don’t), how people dress, benefits offered to employees (flextime, telecommuting, etc), office layout, training, and professional development. As you can see, culture affects just about everything that relates to your work.
So how do you assess the true culture of a potential employer?
The first step toward determining whether you will be a good match for a company is to know yourself and know what matters most to you (your values). You have to be crystal clear about what you are seeking from each role and each company. Are you seeking intellectual stimulation, a family–friendly environment, a social outlet, or work–life balance?
The next step is to use the job interview – and your networking interviews – to determine if the employer’s work environment is aligned with your core values. Working at a company whose value system does not match your own (understaffed, unethical, non–philanthropic) can leave you feeling unfulfilled. During your networking and/or interviewing, be sure to ask demanding questions of the prospective employer.
Here are some sample questions:
What three words or phrases would you use to describe the company/department culture?
Pay attention to the adjectives that are used to see if they fit with your values.
Does the company have a stated set of cultural values?
Often, a mission statement is a good place to start to gather insights in this area.
Can you describe the environment here?
Pay attention to the words used and the aspects of the work environment the employer mentions, such as camaraderie, career–development opportunities, and work–life initiatives.
What is the company’s attitude toward educational and professional development?
Does the company place a value on lifelong learning and advancement?
What type of employee achievements are recognized by the employer?
Pay attention to what the company values, and whether any special awards are given for outstanding customer service, sales, etc.
What type of sponsorships or philanthropic activities does the company participate in?
Does the company partner with United Way, or support programs such as Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day? Do company employees volunteer for local charities?
Another great way to assess corporate culture is to pay attention to details as you walk around the office during your interviews. Reflect on things you notice, including:
- How were you treated during the interviews? Were people on time?
- Were there key phrases the interviewers used frequently that would give you a clue as to what the company values/does not value?
- How prepared were the interviewers? Had they seen your resume?
- Do people look happy and appear to be having fun?
- Do senior management members sit with everyone else or do they have fancy lush offices?
- Does the office layout promote collaboration between departments?
- Are people eating lunch at their desk alone, or in groups in a cafeteria?
Finding the right culture is key to your career success. Think about your impressions of the corporate culture during your networking and interviewing, and capture your thoughts afterward. Pay attention to your intuition: if you have a bad feeling, it might be best to decline further interviews and/or an offer.
Randi Bussin founder and president of Aspire!, is a career coach and counselor with 25 years of business, entrepreneurial, and career coaching expertise.
Your one stop review of all things from WeirdGuy. Have fun!
A friend sent me this yesterday. I like the analogy of the “heart” of the leader and it’s effect on the “heart” of the organization. Enjoy.
By Mike Hyatt
As a leader, you pump possibility into every person and every project. Possibility is what keeps the organization alive. Your organization can survive without your experience, your knowledge, or your skills. They, too, are important but not essential. However, your organization cannot survive without your heart. The most important thing you can do as a leader is to keep your heart open. What do I mean? Think of it this way. When your heart is closed:
- You are distant and aloof.
- You don’t connect to people.
- Communication shuts down.
- You leave people to fend for themselves.
- You focus on what people are doing wrong.
- You are critical and demanding.
- People feel oppressed.
The result? Possibility dries up and the organization begins to die.
Conversely, when your heart is open:
- You are fully present and accessible.
- You connect to people.
- Communication is wide open.
- You are a resource to your people.
- You may focus on what is missing, but not on who is wrong.
- You are affirming and encouraging.
- People feel free.
The result? Possibility flows through the organization and the organization grows and develops.
The bottom line is this: it matters if your heart is open or closed. It will have a tangible impact on your organization. The good news is that you can open your heart. This is the leader’s most important work. It is foundational to building a healthy organization.
The key is two-fold: awareness and discipline. With regard to the first, you must learn to discern the condition of your own heart. Is it open? Is it closed? Is it somewhere in between? I find that I have to check-in with myself several times a day. I call this a “heart check.” I ask, Where is my focus—right now? Is it in the past, where I am grieving over loss or regretting some situation? Or is it in the future, where I am worried about something that hasn’t happened yet. Either way, I am not present to what is happening now. If I sense that my heart is closed, I have a choice. I can either leave it that way or open it up. This is where discipline comes into play. I literally make a decision to open my heart up. I force myself to think about what is possible. I choose to see this situation—these people—from the lens of possibility. As a result, I am fully present, available to the potential that exists in any given situation or relationship.
Maintaining an open heart—pumping possibility through your organization—is the most important thing you can do as a leader. This is foundational.
I saw this article on Power Teams by Lorraine and it resonated with me in regard to relational business development. This is more than just having a group of “bread-and-butter” clients. I have been on the receiving end of that type of relationship and it is not relational–it is convenient. I do not want a convenient client nor do I want to be one. I want to help clients succeed and want to attract clients that reciprocate. All that said, enjoy Lorraine’s article below.
Not too long ago, I met with a friend who had just started a new job as a salesman. In the course of the conversation, he told me his new boss wanted him to make 100 cold calls a week. I didn’t know what to say. I don’t think I have made that many cold calls in my entire career!
He continued to talk about the calls, and how his boss believed if made the 100 calls he would be able to have about twenty viable conversations, set five appointments and make one sale. He asked me if this sounded reasonable. I didn’t know what to tell him, because I don’t make cold calls.
After five years of actively networking in the local community, my business is referral–driven. When I need to increase my sales volume, I make calls, but not cold calls. I make warm calls to my Power Team.
My Power Team consists of other business professionals offering complementary services to my target customers. I schedule one–on–one conversations over coffee and lunch. And without directly soliciting a referral, things happen! As we talk about projects and customers, opportunities arise.
To survive and thrive, without cold calls, I told my friend, you need a Power Team.
How do you build your own Power Team?
Start with your customer. Regardless of whether your product or service is for an individual or a business, your target customer has needs beyond what you can provide. Think about other products and services your customers could or would purchase on a regular basis. For example if you are an electrician, a plumber, roofer, carpet cleaning company and landscape company would all be potential Power Team members.
As you attend networking events, be on the look out for great Power Team members. While customers are always nice, a great Power Team member will create more opportunities for you in the long run!
It takes time to build an effective partnership, one which brings value to both parties involved. Don’t rush the process. The closer you work with this strategic partner, the more your image and theirs become entwined together in the mind of potential clients.
Carefully evaluate potential partners; select companies which will treat your clients the way you do. Build relationships with companies you will be proud to send your best customer to.
Power Teams Require Work.
Effective Power Team members touch base regularly. Phone calls, emails and the occasional face to face insure you are always top of mind for each other, sharing information on projects, great networking events, and business connections. To make this type of marketing work, you must be willing to create opportunities for your partners if you want them to create opportunities for you!
Building a Power Team Has Benefits!
In addition to creating a great source of referrals, the right strategic partnerships may lead to cross–promotion opportunities, ideas for new services, or joint promotions as a way to generate business for both companies. In other cases, the partnership may allow you to share advertising expenses, such as trade booths or direct mail cost.
If you’ve picked the right team members, over time they will become an integral part of your business success! And you will never need to make cold calls again.
Lorraine Ball is an accomplished marketing professional and founder of Roundpeg, a national firm to help small business owners build awareness, connect with new customers, and close sales. Her articles on marketing planning and business development have been featured in Contracting Business, The New York Forum, The Indianapolis Business Journal, and The ACH&R News.
I just saw this slide show on Communication Nation. As I have stated before, you do not have to be an artist to be creative and exercise your creativity. The author, Kelsy Ruger of PopLabs, explores many of the popular myths about creativity in the workplace and how to overcome them.
Have fun and enjoy!
By E. Brown
NOTE: This is for those hosting their blogs for free on WordPress. If you are not sure, you can check your URL. It will read something like name.wordpress.com
Like you, I frequently monitor the Blog Stats page on the WordPress Dashboard. It’s a barometer of audience participation and whether articles are of relevance. To make it easy for my readers to find the “Best Of WeirdGuy” I would manually go through the posts and note the lifetime views until I had a list of 10-20 articles. Then I would load the links into a Text widget. Needless to say, this process was cumbersome and time consuming. I emailed WordPress and after some back-and-forth correspondence Alex and I found the statistics pot of gold. Now creating a “Best Of…” widget is much easier.
I have had several bloggers comment on the “Best Of…” widget in my sidebar and some have asked me how to do it. For posterity, I decided to create this How-To so that you can share your best-of-the-best with the world. Enjoy!
Step 1 – Gather Your Data
From your Dashboard > Blog Stats Admin page, click on Top Posts & Pages.
From Top Posts & Pages you can view summaries of top posts from the last week, 30 days, 3 months, or year. For this exercise we want to click on the line Summarize: All Time. This will give you a summary of the top posts for the life of the blog.
Collect your data here for your top 10+ articles and posts.
Step 2 – Format Your Widget
I like to open a second window, or if you use Tab Browsing, another Tab. Navigate to your Presentation > Widgets Admin page. Use an extra Text widget and title it, Best Of… (or something else snappy).
You will need to know some simple HTML for this next part. You can create a bulleted list or numbered list — the choice is yours. I like to use a bulleted list, or in HTML, an unordered list <ul>. Here you will move back and forth between your two Tabs or Windows. Return to your All Time stats page and Copy the link location (PC: right mouse click or Mac: CTRL click). Move back to your widget and Paste the URL for the article within your <a> tag. Type the article title, close out your tag and move on to the next link. Copy the next link location from the stats page and move back to the widget until you have added all your links.
Your HTML Code should look something like this:
The <li> tag is for each List Item and the <br> tag puts a Break after the line.
Step 3 – Save Changes
Finally, close your widget and Save Changes from your Admin page. Click View Site to review your handy work and make sure it looks the way you expected and is placed on your blog where you want. If you need to tweak it or add/change more, just repeat Step 2 — That’s it!
What I have outlined here is “one way” of doing this. If anyone has used another method please feel free to share in the comments section below. Thanks.
By E. Brown
One of the questions I often ask speakers is, “Are you enthusiastic about your topic?” Whether it be a professional speaker, teacher, manager, or CEO the power of enthusiasm has a remarkable effect on people. When you are enthused and excited about a topic or project the people around you get excited too. When you are not enthusiastic about a topic or project — guess what? Yep, the people around you pick up on it and are not interested either.
The power of enthusiasm affects us all. Henry Ford said it well:
You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes rise to the stars. Enthusiasm is the spark in your eye, the swing in your gait, the grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of your will and your energy to execute your ideas. Enthusiasts are fighters, they have fortitude, they have staying qualities. Enthusiasm is at the bottom of all progress! With it there is accomplishment. Without it, there are only alibis.
Are you enthusiastic about…
- where you are in your job?
- the place that you work?
- the position you are in?
- your particular role on the team?
- where you are headed in your vocation?
- your personal relationships?
- what you are studying?
- the direction your life is headed?
- what will happen tomorrow?
As you can see, enthusiasm touches all aspects of our lives. Don’t settle for mediocrity. If you’re in a place that you are less than enthused about, what options or opportunities do you see around you? Can you get excited about what you’re doing or do you need a change of place and pace?
Life is and can be fun! Take a look around, assess the situation, and choose today what kind of enthusiasm you are going to show and teach. Enthusiasm is a powerful thing.
Your one stop review of the week in WeirdGuy.
Great Japanese Monster Collection
From BoingBoing, comes this wonderful collection of Japanese monster figures made by Bandai. A wonderful display of creativity and design.
iPhone With More Memory. Apple Almost Has It Right.
The “cool factor” is starting to wane and many iPhone adopters see their friends with inexpensive phones and iPod’s with lots more memory that still get the job done.
New Children’s Book Idea
Here is a project I have worked on for a children’s book. The book is for the Pre-K through Kindergarten markets.
5 Keys To Success In Work And Life
Although these 5 keys were originally aimed at the workplace, you will see that they have application across the broader spectrum of life.
WeirdGuy Blog In The Top 10 Blogs To Boost Your Learning
Amir Ahmad from Passion-Based Learning, recently posted The Ultimate List of 50 Kick Ass Blogs To Boost Your Learning Experience…
Bring Back The Word “Sticky”
Sticky was a word used to describe a Web sites combination of architecture, UI, and content. If a site was sticky it kept the attention of visitors. Today I use the word sticky…
By E. Brown
I was telling a friend about the various projects I consult on. When I brought up online learning and performance management, I used the word “sticky”.
“Wow, now that is a word I haven’t heard since the early days of the Web,” my friend exclaimed.
I knew what he was referring to. Sticky was a word used to describe a Web sites combination of architecture, UI, and content. If a site was sticky it kept the attention of visitors and kept them coming back often. In essence a site retained it’s audience.
Today I use the word sticky in regard to learning. Learning is sticky when:
- It is fun and enjoyable.
- It captures imagination and stirs creativity.
- It engages the learner through interaction and team work.
- It excites and drives the learner to know more.
- It encourages the learner to apply “fun approaches” to work and more.
- It creates a positive and practical experience.
- It increases mental flexibility and agility.
- It is a fresh and new approach to common learning methods.
Ultimately, when a person retains and applies what they learn, then the learning content is sticky. If you are in the business of teaching, training, and development don’t be satisfied with only spreading information. Look for creative, out of the box, and fun ways to make learning…well, Sticky.
Let’s bring back the word “Sticky.”
By E. Brown
Amir Ahmad from Passion-Based Learning, recently posted The Ultimate List of 50 Kick Ass Blogs To Boost Your Learning Experience of which this blog was part of the top ten. Amir says:
I’m a huge blog junkie and truth be told, I spend a minimum of 10 hours a week feeding my ferocious appetite. In doing so, I have gone through hundreds of blogs related to the simple philosophy of “passion-based learning”.
The following categorized list contains the cream of the crop. Go through them and check out those that are relevant to your needs. Then add the ones you like in your RSS feed and enjoy!
Thanks Amir for selecting WeirdGuy to be part of the list. Keep blogging, learning, and above all — having fun!
Author and coach, Dan Miller, offers these often overlooked factors that can become the keys to success in all you do. Although, these were originally aimed at the workplace, you will see that they have application across the broader spectrum of life. I hope you find them as encouraging as I did.
The 5 Keys To Success
1) Passion – Without passion a person drifts aimlessly through life taking each event and day as it comes. Fire fighting and rolling with the punches from week to week. But, a person with passion is a person with goals. They have a target and they are on the road to achievement.
2) Determination – Many talk about purpose today. Having a purpose in life and a purpose for the things done on a daily basis. When there is a purpose, there is determination to see it through. If an obstacle arises, it does not send a person spinning into other directions. An on-purpose person has the determination to stick it out and work through the obstacle to keep moving toward the goal.
3) Talent – There is a lot of talk today about talent. Finding your unique talent and strengths make you a better employee and person. As Jim Collins said in his book Good To Great and Marcus Buckingham said in his book Now Discover Your Strengths, not everyone is talented in every area. Yet, everyone has a talent. Wise is the person who discovers their talent and maximizes it.
4) Self-Discipline – Many dislike this word because it does not come natural. I struggle with this as well, but without self-discipline a person can be easily swayed. This is often the foundational character quality that the other keys are built upon.
5) Faith – You have done your research, you have crunched the numbers, you have talked with various people you trust, but there is still the uncertainty of the unknown. This is where faith comes into play. Sometimes you just have to step out. You cannot reach new heights by having both feet on the ground.
Here is a project I have worked on for a children’s book. The book is for the Pre-K through Kindergarten markets. It covers character development while also teaching about fireflies. The idea spawned from a friend and fellow writer who saw her young children reading either books for entertainment or books to learn, but nothing that bridged both worlds in this younger demographic.
For the illustrations I used a mixed media approach. I liked the bold and textured style of Chinese painting techniques over watercolor backgrounds and color pencil. I used a few digital enhancements on some of the drawings, but for the most part I wanted the energy of the drawing and painting to come through.
The main character’s name is L.B., short for Lightening Bug. He narrates the story and gives background information about fireflies, glow worms, and lightening bugs. He talks about the special characteristics and talents of his species and how, like him, children have special abilities and talents too.
All the focus group information shows this to be right on target. It is fun, entertaining, and captivates the attention of children while teaching them at the same time. I recently presented the book (in story board format) to my son’s kindergarten class. All the kids loved it! Too bad I didn’t have plush dolls of L.B. to give away afterward. Maybe some day, huh?
Let me know your thoughts about L.B. in the comment section below. Enjoy!
Alright Apple, spin this however you’d like, but the fact remains people want more memory at a better price. The “cool factor” is starting to wane and many iPhone adopters see their friends with inexpensive phones and iPod’s with lots more memory that still get the job done.
So, Mr. Jobs, get off your high-horse and eat the bitter pill of unmoved iPhone inventory. Yank out the low memory guts and replace it with more. Then you’ll be able to recoup some of your production and marketing costs.
Like I said in the article, Your Virtual iPhone, what I have works great and I am not switching until this product gets where it needs to be — and it will get there. To bad many will spend 2 to 3 times over what it would have cost to wait for the “right one.”
Your one stop to review all things on WeirdGuy. Have Fun!
Steve Jobs vs. Amazon’s Kindle
Is Steve out of touch with reality or is he onto the next “insanely great” idea? Read for yourself. Read More
Can Starbucks Come Back?
Wise up Starbucks! You are no longer the only player in this space. Read More
USA Today and Creative Learning — About Time!
Hmmm…sounds vaguely familiar. How can we use these tools to creatively teach and communicate? Read More
Designer Chair For Dr. Evil? (PIC)
OK, this made me laugh. I mean, it is a legit design and I am sure it is very comfortable, but… Read More
Eco Friendly Creative Learning Game
Here, from Sust, is another creative learning game. Teach your child how to build an Eco-Friendly house and more… Read More
Creative Ways To Make Complex Information Simple
I applaud the creativity used and out-of-the-box presenting of complex information. Take this for instance — an org chart. Typically they are presented… Read More