Monday, November 4, 2013

Do Things Really Change

As a strong advocate for change, there seems to be a cosmic force that just repurposes certain mechanisms, adapted to the current time, that we can’t deny. I read where Facebook is losing the tween and teen demographic. This makes sense, as the article explained this group doesn’t want Mom, Aunt, Grandma to see private posts to their friends. My mind immediately jumped to why this will not be a loss for Facebook.

Once this demographic jumps to whatever they find suits their social network desires, Facebook will just buy it. After all, that’s what you do when you have more money than god. You buy the competition. It’s analogous to when the big three Detroit auto makers predominated the car industry. They would buy their competition and either absorb them or shut them down (possibly this still occurs, but I have no proof; just think GM Evo). 

More closely related to our industry,  some of you may remember when a media buy consisted of several independent newspapers, radio and television stations. Then, conglomerates started buying them up and you could place your ads from one source and selecting the “media group” from the rate card. Today, this situation is now applicable to web marketing. Only the medium has changed, from print/broadcast to digital. Your ad purchase will select web or social media properties from Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Twitter or whoever else appears with a group of digital channels.

The media procurement process has not changed, only the channels. The old adage, “the more things change, the more they stay the same,” applies here.

Note: I know media buying groups have never faded away and still exist for all current marketing channels. My Blog comparative is directed to direct buys.

Friday, September 27, 2013

How Do You Define Success?

Listening to this Wharton professor is worth 30 minutes of your time. It's insightful and allows you to define success.

From the subhead: Wharton professor G. Richard Shell‘s new book, Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success, encourages readers to embrace major transitions in life, from college to a first job, from one career to the next or from work to retirement. Based on a popular course Shell teaches at Wharton, the book departs from the conventional “how to succeed” formula by challenging readers to define success for themselves.

What Should I Do Next with My Life? New Ways to Define Success

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Great Quote

"The way you organize talent has an impact on a company's ability to innovate and evolve. Executives need to design structures that amplifiy, rather than encumber remarkable talent."

~Sam Yagan, CEO, Match, Inc.

This is my motto and basis for success at The J. Frost Group. It amazes me everyday, when I see companies inhibit their own talent with poor structure, and more importantly, poor leadership. Just because you're a genius, doesn't make you a great leader. Great leaders give power to associates, not take it away.

How do you empower talent?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How Do You Define "Above and Beyond?"

Your answer may not be as simple as you may think. I heard four out of five people answer the question with this response, "I will do whatever it takes to complete the project on time."

Sounds like a great answer, doesn't it? One we would most likely say ourselves. But is it the best response? Ponder this just for a moment. Isn't this what we get paid to do? Deliver our projects on time?

How do you perform, or your associates, depending on your position, that seems truly "above and beyond?" In our industry of marketing, branding and advertising, working overtime, "doing what it takes" are common workplace norms. There is nothing exceptional about it.

By now you're waiting for my answer, so here it is: doing something that is not in your job description or an industry expectation. I hate to give examples, because to define it any deeper only limits the answer, but here are some guidelines: doing someone else's job, that is not the same as yours; presenting an observation or recommendation that benefits the company that is outside your position's scope; exemplifying personal latent skill sets applicable to your department or company.

If you're a hiring manager, ask this question and carefully consider the correct response. If you're a job seeker, carefully consider your response. If you're actively employed, start working above and beyond.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How To Write a Production Schedule

Whatever project management software you use , there are two key immutable factors in setting a project timeline. There is today and then the due date. All goals, milestones, tasks, to-dos, steps, (insert your PM software nomenclature), must fit between these two unmistakable dates.

Rhetorically, I state production schedules are easy to write, because you have the above known factors, but now comes the negotiating part. If everything fits, fine, and consider yourself blessed. If all the steps' durations don't fit, what happens? I call it C & C. Compression, the durations that must be shortened, and Compromise, the effect caused by the Compression.

Compression exists, if your goals, milestones et. al. are predetermined and consistent. Compression does not exist, if you already have float time built in to your durations.

Compromise will take one or more of the following forms:
  • Extending the timeline
  • Cost overruns, due to personnel overtime, rush charges, anything that exceeds the cost of the project to achieve the deadline
  • Quality, by holding the timeline, process and costs, most likely this will suffer
  • Other - fill in the blank
My experience has shown:
  • Costs to be the chosen element to give
  • Deadlines don't typically change
  • Compression is common
  • The process should never change, especially approval steps
  • It doesn't matter if the  project is internal or external, the compromising forms are the same
Customers, internal or external, are more likely to forgive if it's late and never forgive if it's wrong. The key is to communicate all schedule changes, and their effects, to everyone in the stream, especially the client.

I hope you can use this blog as guiding principles for project management. I may have saved you $500 for PMP certification.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Smart Hiring (Somebody Gets It)

This was the title of one of my posts in April 2009, without the parenthetical addition shown today. That blog emphasized the job role (blending) and leadership to build an effective structure and team. I followed up with "Hire the Best", identifying over-qualified candidates as a hiring benefit.

After four years, the world of hiring is finally showing improvements. I have just signed onto a company providing production, process and business expertise. Their selection process involved a panel interview; five candidates and seven company members. I entered the foray at the last minute, due to overcoming the initial over-qualified perception.

There are several articles touting the benefits of hiring older people, including Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, Inc. A Forbes article last fall compares young verse old(er) entrepreneur's advantages.
This selection format was new to me, but I liked it. You get a brief brain break to formulate the question's answer, as the other candidates respond, except when you're first on the rotation. This beats the rapid fire questions one-on-one (of course, this style is appropriate, if the position requires quick thinking and response skill sets). You also know the interview ends, when the last person on the panel asks their question.

After the panel interview, the company team immediately meets to select those worthy of returning for individual interviews and a screening test.

Two days later, I received a call to have lunch with the company president. During lunch, we discussed my motives, intentions and deliverables. He offered me the position on the spot, without further steps in the process.

Why this works:
  • The playing field was level between candidates
  • The playing field was level on the company side
  • Time was efficient -  no long hours with individuals or return trips (see "Are You Smart Enough Not to be Stupid, my last blog post)
  • The company gave me the opportunity one-on-one with the president to clarify my goals and motives, rather than be dismissed

Most importantly, they recognized the value, abilities and contributions beyond their current needs.

The question today - Where do you stand in your best hiring practices? You might be missing out on the best candidate, using preconceived, or worse, antiquated beliefs.