10 Things I’ve Learned from Steve Jobs

Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard the news that Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple yesterday. I’ll leave the detailed reporting to the journalists, but as a fan girl of Mr. Jobs and the products developed while under his reign, I thought it would be fun to share 10 things I have learned from following his career so far:

  1. Innovate, innovate, innovate – but only if it’s useful
  2. Stay hungry – don’t give up
  3. Listen to yourself – trust your gut
  4. Thing big, talk big
  5. Stick with what works – like a nice OS
  6. Be cool – be colorful
  7. Say what you think. (Wired gathered some of the greatest Jobs’ quotes.)
  8. Don’t settle – say no if it’s not right
  9. Keep going – as long as you can, but be honest with yourself and others when it’s over
  10. Go out on top – but stick around to see what happens, if you can

“The end of an extraordinary era,” indeed. (As Walt Mossberg reports on Jobs’s legacy of “Changing How we Live,” in the Wall Street Journal.)

Seven Business Lessons from the Military

If you are connected with  me on Facebook or Twitter,
you probably know that I recently saw my brother off as he deployed to
Afghanistan. A part of the weekend was spent at a deployment ceremony
for his unit, and the other part consisted of my asking a lot of
questions about what he does, what military life is like, etc.
Somewhere along the way, I was struck by the way things worked – and
how more civilian businesses could learn a lesson or two from these
government-run entities.

Here are seven takeaways of what I think more businesses could emulate from the military:

1) Respect – the military demands it and has little tolerance when it’s not in place. I think businesses could use more of this discipline. Demand it from your employees, provide it to your colleagues and boss, insist on it from your clients. If you don’t get it, ensure consequence to force change. It may be impossible to like everyone you work with, but you can – and should – show them respect.

2) Recognition – you’ve seen the uniforms and badges. It’s about recognizing, rewarding and promoting hard work. What “badges” do you give to your employees for a job well done? Make sure there are opportunities in place for employees to be recognized, rewarded and promoted.

3) Paying Dues/Earning Your Position – recognition doesn’t come without hard work. The military has very definitive goals and milestones laid out from position to position. There’s little question as to what needs to be accomplished in order to earn your pay grade and title. Employers – are you clearly communicating expectations and milestones? Employees – do you understand and respect the process? Ask questions if you don’t, and work hard to earn your dues – understanding that doing so means much  more than simply passing another anniversary with the company.

4) Why Hierarchy Works – The “everybody wins” mentality from grade school just doesn’t work in business. Hierarchies are in place for a reason – someone’s got to steer the ship and make the decisions. Don’t look at it as a negative, but embrace your role and respect others. And let it inspire you to do #3.

5) The Importance of Ceremony – marking not only accomplishments but rituals that honor the unit as a whole. I think we could use more “ceremony” in business – again, celebrating hard work and promoting successes. Ceremonies provide a sense of unity, accomplishment and pride. Whether it’s for a promotion, a new client or a goal accomplished, create something that can allow everyone to participate in the celebration.

6) The Value in Tradition – we’re always talking about the importance of innovation in business, but don’t forget the value in traditions. Do you have any in your business? Traditions can help connect the history of the company, create a strong sense of pride in its culture and even teach us a thing or two. It doesn’t mean you have to do things the “old way,” but rather that you aren’t opposed to learning from the past as well as planning for the future.

7) A Sense of Humor – while the military is serious and deals with serious issues, humor does abound. Punches upon promotion, the “responsibility” to buy a round of drinks, a running joke – all of which help form a stronger bond among comrades, a bit of stress relief and a sense of belonging (sensing some themes here?). Don’t you want your employees to feel loyal to your business? Do you want them to be happy and enjoy working for you? Do you want them to stay inspired and motivated? Then insist they have a little fun, too – both at the office and “on leave.”



How Will You Crush It in 2010? Gary Vaynerchuk: “Cash in on Your Passion”

Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV is an inspiration, even if you do think his story of “follow your passion” stems from receiving just a wee more help (“quite a bit more than nothing”) in doing so than most of us get – as Bobbie Carlton wrote in her blog recap of Friday’s events at The Estate in Boston. We joined up with NomX3 to celebrate Gary’s Boston leg of his tour for the new book, “Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion.”

At the very least, while our economy continues to cause stress and anxiety – as reported today by the Boston Globe – Gary’s enthusiasm for chasing your passion is a message we can all benefit from hearing. He’s energetic enough to make us believe we, too, can cash in on our passion – yet wise enough to provide advice such as “it takes hard work and won’t fall in your lap” as well as “if you’re passionate about three things, choose one and go after it.”

Smart words – and a fun event. Thanks to Jeff Cutler and Mike Langford for inviting us to work with them on hosting this event. It was a pleasure to meet many of our Twitter friends in person and to hear Gary once again. Check out our Whrrl story below for more – or watch NomX3 or BelchingMonkey’s videos for the “I was there” effect – you’ll see PerkttPR’s very own Kim Kennedy and Crystal Macaulay in the latter!

And tell us, how will you “crush it” in 2010?

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Quick Business Lessons from The Amazing Race

I hesitate to admit at all on this blog that I actually have any time to watch TV, but nonetheless… while watching CBS’ The Amazing Race on Sunday evening, I noticed some interesting dynamics of the teams that could apply to business and how you work with your agency partners. Most specifically, how you treat your agency partners and whether or not your management style is helping you to get the most out of such an integral investment. Let’s take a look at some of the team dynamics at play:

The “you can do it” partner – encouraging and supportive, yet from a distance – not getting involved but cheerleading all the way.

The “blame” partner – when anything goes wrong, despite knowing that you played a roll in the outcome, you blame the other party.

The “all for one” partner – truly working with your team members to share information, provide  positive feedback and encouragement, and sharing in both the accomplishments and the challenges.

Herbert Lang and Nathaniel Lofton - Harlem Globetrotters - came in first last night through supportive team work and cooperation

Herbert Lang and Nathaniel Lofton - Harlem Globetrotters - came in first Monday night through supportive team work and cooperation. Definitely "all for one" partners!

The leader/other half to a “yes man” partner – i.e., you provide all of the guidance and direction and your teammate just follows along.

The “naysayer partner” – any suggestion provided by your team members is met with instant doubt or a flat out “no.”

Each of these types of partnerships are on display on this show – and we’ll find out in the end which method ultimately equals winners. It may seem obvious why one works better over another – but if you don’t stop and think about what kind of partner you are, and what kind of partner your agency vendors are, you could be wasting valuable time and money. Partnerships work best when they consist of mutual respect, trust and a sense of camaraderie – i.e., we’re all here working towards a mutual goal. After all, you’ve put the work into researching and choosing the best agency partner (you did put that work in, right?!), so trust them, involve them and respect them. If you don’t, you might want to consider a new teammate.

Business Leadership Lessons from President Obama

Today was a day that should inspire and encourage everyone. Young or old, black or white, Republican or Democrat. Today was about change. Today was about progress. Today was about hope, humanity, faith and courage. It was about presence and tenacity – the welcoming of a new leader for a resolute country.

Many things that President Obama said today could be applicable to any business leader tasked with motivating and retaining a discouraged staff. The nuggets of wisdom bestowed upon us today can serve as guiding principles for business leaders and words of encouragement for budding entrepreneurs – tough decisions are necessary, challenges should be met head on, unity of purpose leads to greater success,  greatness doesn’t just happen and hard work is a privilege.

If you missed President Obama’s speech, you can read it in its entirety here. Some of my favorite parts – ones that I will lean on during what is sure to be another tumultuous year – are below. I have bookmarked this speech and will continue to go back and read it when I need a reminder to keep leading with courage and integrity – and most of all, faith that we will all carry on and prosper, especially when we work together.

Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.

With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.