Vol.12 No.18 December-31-2012

December 30, 2012


The 8020Info Water Cooler

Highlights from the latest information
for managers, leaders and entrepreneurs

1. The Year Past And The Year Ahead: 12 Questions

Career Coach Eileen Chadnick, of Big Cheese Coaching, recently compiled on her blog 12 questions that will help you reflect on the year past and the year ahead. It starts with noting highlights from the past year, and then moves on to considering goals for the coming year and how to achieve them, in a systematic manner:

  • What went well? What’s worth highlighting from this year?
  • In what ways did you grow and evolve? How were you tested or challenged this past year, and how did you grow as a result? “What new skills, knowledge, ideas and insights (life, work, other) have made you better or different from the beginning of the year?” she writes.
  • What were your favourite moments of 2012? She notes that savouring positive experiences will help to build optimism and well being.
  • What do you need to clean out or let go of right now to start afresh in 2013? Consider your physical space as well as emotional and mental mindsets.
  • What and who are you most grateful for right now? Think broadly, she says, and make it “a juicy list.”
  • If a theme emerged for you personally in 2012, what was it?
  • What are your goals for 2013? Consider small, medium, and big audacious goals.
  • Which of your strengths and assets will you deliberately use more to achieve those goals in 2013? Look not just at personal strengths but assets such as knowledge, networks, and experience.
  • In what ways will you take care of your personal well-being to maintain your inspiration, energy, and resilience?
  • In what ways will you take care of your professional well-being to maintain your work-life aspirations and career progress? What new challenges will you take on and what new skills will you need to acquire? What support can you call on as you pursue your professional goals?
  • In what ways will you contribute something to the greater good of the community, or communities you identify with and would like to help?
  • If the year ahead were to have a personal theme for you, what would it be?  Fill in the blank: This will be The Year Of ______.

2. What Every Marketer Should Master for 2013

In his new book To Sell Is Human, published today, best selling author Daniel Pink argues that most of us these days are marketers, selling our ideas if not our products.

As you contemplate that notion and a new year, take time to also ponder how successful you are with the 10 things marketers must master for 2013, which consultant Sam Geist recently presented in his QuickBites newsletter:

  • How to listen better.  
  • How to find new customers. 
  • How to manage what you can manage and let go of the rest. 
  • How to stay in touch with customers.  
  • How to focus on your priorities.
  • How to delegate.
  • How to give effective feedback.
  • How to find golden opportunity.
  • How to communicate clearly and kindly.
  • How to keep moving forward and not stall out.

“Thinking about these things is my first step. Beginning to do them is my second step,” he writes.

3. A Simpler Business Plan For The New Year

Most businesses don’t come up with a business plan each year because it seems such a daunting task, notes marketing consultant Drew McLellan. On his blog, he offers you a one-page template that nudges you into a broad-based view of your business for 2013.

For next year, he asks you to outline a single goal for each of these six areas: leadership/management, staffing, internal systems, financial, new business, and marketing.

So six goals in total, which is manageable — particularly when you outline the biggest obstacles and your first two steps for each one, as he suggests. “If you grow all these different aspects of your business together, your business remains stable and strong,” he says.

4. Tech Trend For 2013:  More Mobile Transactions

Don’t forget about Android users. That’s a vital message for 2013 from Mary Meeker, the respected digital analyst who is now a general partner at the famed venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers. On Inc.com, staff writer Eric Markowitz notes that, according to Meeker’s calculations, iPhone adoption has exploded in the past four years but Android has ramped up nearly six times faster.

That means if you sell a product, your e-commerce approach will also have to focus on tablets and smartphones. Meeker noted that about a quarter of all Internet shopping traffic this year on America’s shopping spree day — Black Friday — were made on either mobile or a tablet.

5. Zingers (For Starting 2013)

  • Stretch: Not having run more than three miles in 20 years, Jon Gordon was probably foolish when he agreed to join two friends for a run through the battlefields of Gettysburg. After the first mile he wasn’t feeling too positive about his decision, and at the three-mile mark wanted to stop, but that wasn’t an option and he managed to complete the last two miles, mostly uphill. What’s more remarkable is two days later he ran three miles by himself. “What I thought was once hard was now easy because I had stretched myself,” he reflects. “So what area of your life do you need to stretch?” (Source: JonGordon.com)
  • Push At Your Peak:   When you use your best energy, you can produce exponential results in a record time. So push the bulk of your most important work into the power hours when you are at your peak energy. (Source: J.D. Meier’s Blog)
  • Decide With Values:  When Zappos has to choose between two job candidates who seem equally qualified, it determines which best embodies the company’s 10 core values. Consultant Joseph Michelli says your company should stand for something, and that means distinguishing authentic values that will guide your decisions – like hiring. (Source: ThoughtLeadersLLC.com)
  • Weak Drinks:  When it comes to doing business in bars, weak drinks are helpful drinks – something and soda. “The weaker your drink, the stronger your position,” says journalist Ross McCammon. (Source: Entrepreneur.com)
  • Good Rivals:  Consultant Lisa Haneberg says we need good rivals to challenge us, make us think, and motivate us to do our best. (Source: ManagementCraft)

6. Q&A with 8020Info:  Changing Habits (1)

Question:  We face a tough challenge in the coming year — changing our culture, and replacing old organizational routines with new, better habits. Any tips?

8020Info President and CEO Rob Wood responds:

A couple of books published this year offer some helpful insights into the psychology of changing habits and switching to new routines. We’ll start here with Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit and continue in our next Water Cooler with tips from Switch – How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath.

Automatic Behaviours:  As Duhigg explains, individual and organizational routines are forged in our past, reflecting what we learned to get along in the best way possible, and then they harden into habits. In 2006, a Duke University researcher found that more than 40% of daily actions weren’t actual decisions, but habits.

Decisions and choices that were once made deliberately become automatic behaviours – a result of the natural human tendency to conserve mental effort and reserves of self-control. But when circumstances, pressures points or goals change, we often need to change our culture and rewire habits.

Habit Loops:  A habit is actually a loop with three key parts: a cue, a routine and a payoff, which in turn reinforces the response to the cue. For example: When a client calls (cue), you may have learned to automatically respond to their request immediately (routine), earning their appreciation (reward).

But “dropping everything” may seriously disrupt work underway for other clients – a habit you’d like to change.  Duhigg’s findings suggest you can’t extinguish a bad habit, only change it. The golden rule is to focus on shifting the routine that occurs between the cue and reward (i.e. focus on the easier part to change).

Continuing with our example, clients will continue to call (hopefully!) and you still want them to be satisfied with your response – the cue and reward. But you can change your routine: perhaps when you get unscheduled calls in future, you might just take down the basic details and promise to get back to them at a more appropriate time, providing a prompt response as well as preserving your workflow for other clients.

Leverage Key Habits:  Certain new habits — “keystone habits” — can start a chain reaction as they percolate through the organization. It helps to focus on just one or two selected priorities that can be leveraged to remake other patterns and routines. Duhigg gives an account of changes at Alcoa, the giant aluminum company, that first focused only on worker safety. That emphasis soon led to improvements in other areas, such as communication habits, labour relations, cost savings, quality improvements and better productivity.

Other Tips:

  • Believe, and Go Together:  When the goal is to change habits permanently, people must first believe that change is feasible, ideally with the help of a peer community that believes in the change.
  • Write it down:  Chances of success improve when you write down your goals and specific next steps to build the new routine.
  • Build on small wins:  There is also evidence that “small wins” have enormous power, even when they seem experimental or scattered rather than progressing in a consistent direction. The momentum created fuels larger transformative changes.
  • Use tools:  New habits take discipline. Checklists and training can help make the right habits automatic, bolstering willpower and self-control in stressful situations. One routine used by Starbucks, for example, is called the LATTE method for handling customer complaints: Listen to the customer, Acknowledge the complaint, Take action to solve the problem, Thank them, and Explain why the problem occurred.
  • Use networks: In larger organizations, it’s important to realize that a movement starts because of strong, friendly social ties between close acquaintances. Change works through the network, not necessarily the official chain of command.
  • Take advantage of a crisis:  Finally, remember that a crisis may set the stage for change and present an excellent opportunity to remake organizational habits.

Watch for more on switching routines and changing culture in our next edition of the 8020Info Water Cooler.

7. News From Our Water Cooler:  2012 Shout Out

It’s been another busy year jammed with fascinating projects, and we’d just like to say thanks to those special people, our clients, with whom we’ve had a chance to collaborate in 2012 — to undertake research/consultations, develop strategy and plan communications. Best wishes of the season from all of our team to:

  • Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education (CCAE)
  • City of Kingston Arts Advisory Committee
  • City of Kingston Cultural Services Department
  • Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority
  • Cantabile Choirs of Kingston
  • DTZ Barnicke
  • Eastern Region Community Network of Specialized Care
  • Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation
  • Gananoque BIA
  • Interprovincial Lottery Corporation
  • John Howard Society Kingston
  • Kingston Association of Museums
  • K3C Community Counselling Centres
  • Kingston Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO)
  • Kingston Frontenac Public Library
  • Kingston Military Family Resource Centre
  • Kingston Police
  • Lennox & Addington Domestic Violence Community Coordination Committee
  • Llynlea Fine Homes
  • McMaster University Advancement
  • Modern Fuel Artist-Run Centre
  • Northern Diabetes Healthcare Network
  • Ontario College Advancement Committee
  • Queen’s University Administrative Systems Replacement (QUASR)
  • Rideaucrest Home
  • The Great Waterway (Tourism Region 9)
  • St. Lawrence College Foundation
  • St. Lawrence Youth Association
  • The Tett Centre for Creativity & Learning
  • Township of South Frontenac


8020Info helps teams develop and implement their strategic plans, research and marketing communications more effectively. We would be pleased to discuss your needs and welcome enquiries at (613) 542-8020, or by email at watercooler@8020info.com 

8. Closing Thought

“Objects in the calendar are closer than they appear.”

— Anonymous