Manage the Endless Stream of Email by Setting Boundaries

Manage the Endless Stream of Email by Setting Boundaries

Communication, Featured, Process
One of the reasons email is so hard to manage is that sending it is easy. We can fill up each other’s inboxes by just clicking a button — which is why it’s important to set boundaries around email. Harvard Business Review recommends trying three things: Use autoreplies. When you need time to focus on work, your email autoreply can tell people that you’re unavailable and when you’ll get back to them. Whether you’ll reply in a day or a week, let people know what to expect. (And in the meantime, give yourself permission to ignore messages that can wait.)Set guidelines for your team. Tell people how and when you prefer to communicate, and ask colleagues and clients about their preferences as well. Don’t forget to revisit this discussion when people join…
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No You Are Not ‘The Same’

No You Are Not ‘The Same’

Communication, Featured
In a recent conversation a sales manager told me that his product was the same as all his competitors. I was appalled. Having used his product and his competitors' products I knew this was not true. If you are the same, you have a commodity and the only factor that matters is cost. For a commodity, if you're not the lowest cost provider, you're out of business. You have to stress what makes you and your product or service different. That includes ease of use, how it ties in to other products, do you combine different services, or personalization of a product. You need to focus on what is different about your product, not what is the same. If you don't have a differentiating factor, ask yourself why someone should…
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How Much Time Are You Wasting ‘Communicating’?

How Much Time Are You Wasting ‘Communicating’?

Communication, Featured
Clear communications is important to your success. The more transparent you are and the more your various audiences understand, the better off everyone is. There is a point of diminishing returns. How much time are you wasting in your quest to be transparent? Recently I sat through a webinar detailing the changes that were occurring between my company and one of our business partners. I disconnected after 45 minutes. In that time approximately 10 minutes of valuable information was imparted. That information was repeated several times. Not only was most of the webinar wanted time, the information could have been imparted in an email. Webinars are hardly the only culprit of time wasting. How often have you had an exchange of emails going back and forth many times when the…
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Why You Should Have A ‘Personal’ Professional Website

Why You Should Have A ‘Personal’ Professional Website

Communication, Featured
The nature of work is changing. The world where you went to work after school and stayed with a company for your entire life are long gone. As more companies use consultants instead of employees, you have to treat your career as a business, and that includes how you market yourself. Having a website at yourname.com or yournamedescriptor.com gives you a place to showcase your abilities that you control. When you make a professional Facebook page, Facebook controls how many people see it, and what you can post. They can even take down your page if they decide you don't meet their standards. With your own personal site, you have control. Even if you are a small business owner, you should a website separate from your business site. The business…
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The Problem With Processes

The Problem With Processes

Featured, Process
Having a process is the best way to get things done. Following a process means you go step by step with no variations. It ensures that the same quality is achieved no matter who follows the process. Customers get the same thing they expect me and time. It's what makes McDonald's so successful. Customers know what to expect and they get it time after time. A process only works when all the pieces stay the same. In a world dependent on software and social media, change is inevitable. When there is a change in one part of the process and you don't adapt, the process is not effective. In the online world, Google and Facebook change their algorithms on a regular basis. Doing the same thing that got you noticed…
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Marketing Doesn’t Take Place In A Vacuum

Marketing Doesn’t Take Place In A Vacuum

Communication, Featured
One of the most fundamental mistakes that companies (large and small) make in their marketing is the way they divide up the responsibility. Websites and SEO are managed by I.T. departments, advertising is handled by a marketing person, social media is handled by anyone who uses it in their personal life. By not coordinating marketing channels properly you lose much of the value you are trying to create. Each channel needs to work with the others. SEO is greatly affected by social media. Social media channels should be bringing traffic to your website and vice versa. Advertising should continue the branding of the website and other digital channels. Here are some steps to make the coordination simpler: Create a branding manual. Write down what colors, taglines, keywords, and messages can…
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Why An Ecosystem Works For Your Business

Why An Ecosystem Works For Your Business

Featured, Improvement, Process
Companies offer all kinds of products and services to help you build your business. At The Modern Observer Group, we offer an ecosystem of products and services that can be used individually or in conjunction with other. What is the advantage of using services that are part of ecosystem? The fact is that no segment of your business runs in a vacuum. Each part of your business affects every other part. For example, you can focus on your branding and create exactly the brand you want to portray. However, if you don't have proper processes in place a customer can have a terrible experience when they interact with your business. If that happens, all the time, money and energy you spent building your brand has just gone out the window.…
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Staying Connected is Key to Your Startup’s Survival — Here’s How to Nail Internal Comms

Staying Connected is Key to Your Startup’s Survival — Here’s How to Nail Internal Comms

Communication, Featured
When it comes to communications, founders are often laser-focused on the outward-facing victories, like securing a splashy podcast spot or landing the coveted cover story. But while earning external press helps to add a coat of polish to your brand, it’s the day-to-day work of internal comms that keeps the engine running. When teams are in sync, it fortifies every aspect of company and product-building. Making sure that everyone understands what’s going on, the role that they play and how to prioritize helps your company speed toward its goals. It’s also the secret to employee engagement: When an employee feels bought in, informed and listened to, you’re far more likely to hold on to your best talent. On the flip side, when the internal communication lines are faulty, instability threatens the entire company. Neglecting to seek perspectives…
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Yes Virginia There Is A Santa Claus

Yes Virginia There Is A Santa Claus

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
Every year we reprint this editorial from The New York Sun. Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter asking if Santa Claus was real. The answer has become part of history and should never be forgotten. Here is the letter and editorial response. DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? VIRGINIA O’HANLON.115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET. VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s,…
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To Come Up with New Ideas, Get Out of the Office

To Come Up with New Ideas, Get Out of the Office

Attitude and Mindset, Featured
Every leader needs to come up with ideas that will separate their companies from the crowd. And to do things that your competitors don’t, you need to see things that other people miss. Find ways to expose yourself to new ways of thinking. For example, go on a business field trip and spend time as a customer — of your company’s products or another’s. Look at how employees serve people, where bureaucracy gets in the way, and whether there are opportunities to improve. You might also consider swapping jobs for a day with a counterpart from a different industry. Notice how the other company approaches engagement, motivation, and communication. What can you learn? And if you can’t leave the office, try a simple perspective-swapping exercise: Pretend you’re the CEO of…
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