Horizon Media Point of View on Net Neutrality

Horizon Media Point of View on Net Neutrality

Our partner Horizon Media wrote a POV paper on last week’s repeal of the net neutrality policy. It provides a clearly written overview of net neutrality along with a look at both sides of the issue.

Click the image to download the POV paper.

New Neutrality POV paper

The firepower of debriefing

The firepower of debriefing

I recently had the pleasure of hearing David “Finch” Guenthner speak about a topic from which all of us in business can learn. Finch is a 2003 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and while serving on active Air Force duty, he accrued almost 2000 hours in the F-16C Fighting Falcon and the T-38C Talon (a fighter/bomber trainer). Finch flawlessly executed 80 combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan where he was awarded four Air Medals for his actions. His impressive resume goes on much further, but let’s just say that we can learn a lot about operational excellence from him. He now helps run a consulting company called Afterburner, Inc.

Finch spoke on a variety of topics including what 9 g’s feels like at 50,000 feet. However, one topic I thought was especially valuable was on the power of debriefing.

It came as no surprise that after flying combat missions, the team would meet afterword to discuss the mission. but what Finch shared was that debriefings came after every flight no matter whether it was combat, training or anything in between. And the methodology of the debriefing is far more detailed and comprehensive that I could have imagined.

As businesspeople, how much emphasis do we put on gathering the team and talking through the recent pitch meeting, proposal submission, or important internal event? Sadly, probably not enough. Finch had impressive statistics about the measurable improvement his consultancy sees in clients who embrace debriefing.

Here are seven tips Finch provided for successful debriefing:

  1. Set a time and date for a debrief soon after the event before memories fade. Have the team provide to everyone their “focus points” one day prior to the meeting. Organize the debrief room to be free of distractions. No longer than 1 hour.
  2. In the Air Force, prior to a debriefing, everyone removes their name and rank from their uniform before entering the debriefing room. The idea is that criticism is not about people but instead about execution and results. Translated to the corporation, perhaps it needs to be said and understood by all that everyone has an equal say regarding feedback and comments about the “mission”.
  3. The debrief begins with the question, “Were we successful and did we meet our objectives?” What were the results? Note both successes and errors. Were there any ‘near misses’ – in other words, things that could have gone wrong but by luck, didn’t?
  4. For each result, perform a root cause analysis: List the result, Identify the immediate and root causes, look beyond personal blame and instead identify organizational failures.
  5. Develop an actionable lesson learned for each of the reoccurring root causes
  6. Identify a single point of accountability responsible for taking actions outlined in lessons learned.
  7.  Focus on the high note by not dwelling on the negative. Always find success in the event no matter how small they may seem.

Keep in mind that debriefs should never be punitive or negative because once they are perceived as such, they will cease to be useful. Positive debriefs containing useful lessons learned will maintain enthusiasm and morale for the next meeting or event.


Exceeding my expectations…

Exceeding my expectations…

We live in an age where large corporations are strapped with original sin. They are guilty of wrongdoing until they prove otherwise. It’s an unfortunate hypocrisy when you think about how much our lives are all intertwined with the efforts of the computer makers, the clothing manufacturers, the companies that provide us gasoline, those that keep our lights on and so on. So I’m happy to sing the well-deserved praises of a $30 billion multinational conglomerate called Philips.

I left the charger to my philips beard trimmer in a New York apartment on my last trip with no prospects of getting it back for at least another month upon my return. I looked online and saw that I could get a replacement for around $20. Then I thought I might as well call Philips and see what their price was.

My call was answered quickly by a friendly voice. I gave him the model number and after he took my address I asked about payment. He matter-of-factly told me that there was no charge and that I should expect it within 10 to 15 business days. Realize that my trimmer is well out of warranty and besides that, I know of no warrantee that replaces lost accessories.

Three days later UPS delivered my new charger.

Maybe I just have low expectations dealing with so many companies that begrudgingly dole out customer service as an expensive necessary evil, but I think this is extraordinary. Who says big corporations can’t exceed their customer’s expectations? Who says they don’t have to care?

Philips Consumer Electronics did something memorable for me that, given my habit of brand loyalty, will probably pay off 100 times what that little charger cost them. Take heed corporate America and beyond!

P.S. Tonight I received a customer survey from Philips asking how they did. Pretty damn well!

Three critical lessons football can teach you about business success

Three critical lessons football can teach you about business success

flat-footballAn interesting article published in Entreprenuer magazine recently caught our eye. The article was written by Matt Garrett, CEO of TGG Accounting, and is called “What I learned in Business from Failing in College Football”.

Matt talks about his college football career at Vanderbilt where, for all his talent as a wide receiver, he failed. Looking back, he understands where he went wrong and applies to business the lessons he learned from the mistakes he made as a player.

Click here to read the article.

A massive energy shot for you of “Just do it.”

A massive energy shot for you of “Just do it.”

Gary Vaynerchuk is best known for his successful company, Wine Library. But did you know that he is also a motivational speaker and best selling author of business books?

Gary's personal philosophy is that life is short, and if you're not doing what you LOVE for a living, go do it. Discover in yourself what you are passionate about and figure out a way to be wildly successful at it. What are you waiting for?

I ran across this funny and inspiring high energy talk Gary gave five years ago at the Web 2.0 Expo. Pacing freneticly across the stage, he delivers a passionate stream of consciousness talk on the imperative of doing for a living what makes YOU happy.

Watch this colorful talk, and see if it stirs in you the inspiration to follow your dreams to achieve your ideal life. I'm pretty sure Gary would tell you there's no better time to start than now, and that there's no obstical you can't overcome.


Discovering your inner genius: A video interview with Seth Godin

Discovering your inner genius: A video interview with Seth Godin

Icarus deceptionSeth Godin’s most recent book, The Icarus Deception continues his departure from authoring breakthrough marketing books by creating an ambitious work on individual achievement and personal greatness.

The title of this book refers to the legend of Icarus and the warning he was given by his father Daedalus not to fly too close to the sun with the wax wings created by his father enabling both of them to escape prison.

The word Deception in the title ties to the second, lessor known, warning Icarus was given. Godin laments that we are only taught the first half, that of not flying too high. Yet, Daedalus also warned his son not to fly to low – too close to the sea – because the water would ruin the lift in his wings.

The deception is that while most of us grow up believing in the dangers of flying too high, Godin reminds us that it is more dangerous to fly too low. The result of that ingrained fear of flying too high is that we settle for low expectations and small dreams and, therefore, guarantee ourselves far less than we are capable of. Godin admonishes each of us to find our art – a term he uses to describe anything we are capable of creating. Your art could be a new way to think about your company’s next product line, a new business venture, or your jazz quintet’s upcoming concert.

The Icarus Deception is an inspiring collection of insights from Seth on thinking differently about our lives, our “art”, and the potential life offers each of us. Here are a few examples:

  • “The safety zone has changed but the comfort zone has not. Those places that felt safe – the corner office, the famous college, the secure job – aren’t.”
  • “Creating ideas that spread and connecting the disconnected are the two pillars of our new society, and both of them require the posture of the artist.”
  • “Seizing new ground, making connections between people or ideas, working without a map – these are the works of art, and if you do them, you are an artist, regardless of whether you wear a smock, use a computer, or work with others all day long.”
  • “Correct is fine, but it’s better to be interesting.”
  • “What’s scarce is trust, connection, and surprise. These are three elements in the work of a successful artist.”

The video interview enables Godin to further illustrate his ideas. I found it particularly interesting to hear him talk about the frequency with which he gives birth to new entrepreneurial ideas and how he evaluates their success or failure.

Dale Carnegie’s great advice – mind mapped

Dale Carnegie’s great advice – mind mapped

It has sold over 15 million copies since being published in 1934. How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the great classics in the business self-help category. If you lack the time necessary to read the book, we found a mind-map containing its most salient points.

Click: http://www.mindmeister.com/da/40950677/how-to-win-friends-influence-people

Innovation at odds with Procurement?

Innovation at odds with Procurement?

harvard-business-review-ipad-digital-magazine-229x300We recently ran across an article in the Harvard Business Review blog written by Michael Schrage entitled, “Procurement’s Best Priced Deal May Stifle Innovation“. The provocatively titled piece makes an interesting point about the alleged conflict between Procurement’s focus on lowering prices, and the business unit leaders, product managers, and marketers desire for more innovation from their suppliers.

The author claims that seeking out innovative solutions is rarely viewed as a priority by Procurement, who sees their role limited to choosing vendors based on price. Schrage makes the interesting point that in certain cases innovation itself can provide organizations with a greater cost efficiency that simply identifying the cheapest among the standard contenders.

We believe that corporate trade is one such innovation that can add millions of dollars to the bottom line of organizations willing to look at an alternative method of achieving real cost savings. We’ve frequently made the point here that there are only so many tools available to most procurement professionals to achieve greater savings in the direct and indirect goods and services purchased by their organization. You’ve squeezed what you can from price negotiation. Now what? For those organizations who have never taken advantage of corporate trade, this an innovative financial solution that can provide substantial cost savings for virtually any good or service sourced by the organization.

To learn more, download and read our paper entitled, Savings Beyond Price Negotiation.


Leadership by Seth Godin

Leadership by Seth Godin

There are a few people in this world who, whenever they open their mouth to speak, priceless gems fall out. The question we all should be asking ourselves is: “Are we catching them”?

In this brilliant seven minutes by Seth Godin, the gems are flying. His thoughts on leadership and on the future should be heard, and then of course, acted upon. To watch this video, click: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xx2SV2bYSfU

We would be remiss not to credit the good people at Chick-fill-A who put this together. In fact, Chick-fil-A has created an entire series of videos and conferences on leadership featuring innovators and great thinkers like Seth. We are not affiliates and make nothing from your participation, but strongly recommend that you check out their “Leadercast Network” nonetheless. It can be found at: http://www.chick-fil-aleadercast.com/

A humanitarian and personal journey up Mount Everest

A humanitarian and personal journey up Mount Everest

Evergreen Trading is proud to be a sponsor of Christine Regan in her climb to base camp one on Mount Everest. Her climb will take her 18,192 feet to the south base camp in Nepal.

Her climb and that of her climbing companions will raise money for CARE to assist in their fight against global poverty. The Evergreen Trading Giving Fund has donated money to support Christine in her challenging but very worthwhile effort.

While you may have heard of CARE, you may not realize that CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor women because they believe that, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of disease, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. CARE also delivers emergency aid to survivors of war and natural disasters, and helps people rebuild their lives.

There is also a symbolic reason for Christine’s trek, and that is to provide her with a personal challenge that will require her to overcome fear and great physical difficulty by embracing a team and her own uncompromised resolve to reach a challenging goal.

Sharon Wood, the first North American woman to summit Everest and to do so on a new route and without Sherpa assistance, serves as inspiration to Christine. The following principles promoted by Sharon will serve to propel Christine 18,192 feet, and should serve the rest of us in our daily lives to achieve our personal challenges and goals right here around sea level:

  • Harness the power of passion and curiosity
  • Maximizing courage while diminishing fear
  • Learning to LEAD from where we ARE
  • Fostering a SHARED VISION
  • Embracing the value of diversity
  • Accomplishing more with less
  • Being and living our potential
  • Thriving through change and adversity
  • Performing versus conforming
  • Integrating personal aspirations with the teams aspirations
  • Recognizing, giving and receiving support
  • Looking outside the box for creative solutions
  • Maintaining momentum and staying the course
  • Believing BETTER is POSSIBLE
  • Expanding possibilities

The team at Evergreen Trading embraces these principles, and recognizes them as critical to achieving success in business as well as in one’s personal life.

We will be following Christine and providing updates and photographs as she makes her way through this arduous 2 week journey which will begin this Sunday morning. If you wish to learn more, visit Christine’s site dedicated to her climb.