All posts written by Johnflurry

Connection Check

Take a break and ask yourself one question: What is my level of connectedness? I was looking through Linkedin today and realized there are three categories: A mile deep, vacant, and thriving (I am sure we can think of more but these are the ones that stood out to me). LinkedIn is just one example. This applies to any connection tool like Facebook or Twitter.

The mile deep are those who have hundreds of connections but little to show for it. Think of the card collectors that come back from conferences with a large rubber banded stack of business cards. We probably have one of their cards buried someplace in our obsolete cell phone cord drawer. They are experts of getting you to take their card but often don’t have much influence when it comes to collaborations or knowing anyone beyond title and profession.

Next, the vacant ones have about 20-50 contacts. To clarify there are plenty of friends who have this number but are incredibly connected (see the next class). This group though has probably out of obligation created a LinkedIn account and dabbled in adding connections. In my opinion an account like this is more damaging than not having one at all. What it broadcasts to the world is a simple message: I am not really showing up.

Last is the thriving group. They continue to grow their influence through true connection. They build new relationships while strengthening the ones they already have. They see opportunity to help their network out at every new meeting or innovative discovery. Usually because they are aware, they often think of others to promote. High numbers have little power here. They continually tightened their tribe instead of bloating it by playing the number game. They use their best connections to spread some remarkableness. Not only are they true leaders, you can be confident that several people in their network have the same level of connectedness.

So again what category are you in and where do you want to be?

What is in it for me?

One of the most quoted lines in movie history is from the The Godfather, “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business”.

Do you accept it? Yesterday, for the second time in a week I overheard nearly the same statement in a business meeting. Good business has more to do with the economy of trust and relationship than “what is in it for me”. While the bottom line is important, lasting business, business that changes the world, changes people’s lives has to come from trust and relationship. If it doesn’t, at the end of the deal all we have is money in the bank. As we build those two we also widen our influence. Others come to see us as trustworthy. If I like you and I know you treat others well, then I want to do business with you. Will I look at your business record and practices? Of course I will. But after the downturn and shady business that was exposed, we can’t afford to navigate without the economy of trust and relationship. It takes time, investment, and risk but in the end we have relationship. Sorry Micheal, it is personal even in business.

And the cards were flying

Last night I arrived in San Francisco and the team at Soma Games decided to get out and meet up with friends. We are here to attend the 2011 GDC (Game Developers Conference). Our first stop was the Facebook party. At first glance it looked like it was going to be fun. Plenty of industry workers and company owners were enjoying themselves. As we settled in I soon realized that one thing after the next was going to happen. I would meet someone and they would hand me their card. Then they would ask “so what games have you done”. And that was basically it. It felt scripted. After the third time I began to get bored. Many of the people in attendance were young but it didn’t dawn on me till later that these were all either college students or recent graduates. And they were playing the classic game of networking.

I did get a chance to explain a bit about the communities I have helped build and how I they formed. A bootstrapper asked us how we find our talent as well as our for-hire gigs. From what I could tell he really had not tried to build a community yet. I was honest and told him it was all about friendship, trust and enchantment. I went on to share that ninety percent of the time I am just visiting with clients and partners. We talk about our families and our hobbies. We share our struggles and stories. Yes we talk shop but it is rarely about selling and mostly about life.

Know your short pitch about who you are and what you do and then calm down and ask the other person about their life. Find out how their trip to the conference was, where else they have travelled recently, where they went to school. Find some way to connect their world to yours. Think of who in your circle of friends they just have to meet. If there is an obvious connection, you will never need to hand someone a card because they will ask for it. Most of all don’t strive. Nothing is more unbecoming.

When I get home and all I have is your card it will usually go in the trash. If you told me a great story or I got to know a little about your family and what makes you passionate you can be sure I will look you up, check out your work. If I can’t find a way to work with you then I will make sure I find someone who can.

Most of all remember it is about people. For more on that read Surprised in Vegas.

Gun Shy

As we checked into The Beverly Hills Hotel last Friday, my wife and I both noticed how nervous but nice the front desk staff appeared. We were informed that our room was not ready yet and since they were fully booked for the weekend they did not know how soon it would be. A guest had over stayed and they were trying to get her out. Even after reassuring them that we were easygoing they continued to apologize. You see, they were gun shy.
I had assumed that the staff was accustomed to regular screaming and fit throwing by guests who did not get their way. That was confirmed today when I saw three separate interactions in the lobby where guests accosted the staff over petty details.
The hotel staff has world class customer service. Coming from a family of restaurant and resort owners I know great service when I see it. As a five star hotel you would expect that, but after visiting with security staff like Pete and the warm, friendly and kind staff of the cafe in the basement, front desk and room service I can say they truly deserve respect. I have written several drafts on the responsibility of the customer, but post by friend Mark Jones Jr. inspired me to finally post one.
The staff, server, or attendant you treat with either kindness or cruelty may very well be the person you serve one day. Why not leave them enchanted instead of gun shy?

Plenty of crows-feet: My shoot with Ali

It was a bit funny that I had just read about the science of smile the morning I met Ali of Thistledown Photo for the first time.  I contacted her to take a few business shots for the blog and we had chatted via e-mail for about two weeks.  Guy Kawasaki in his book Enchanted explained that in order for your smile to win people over, it had to be genuine.  One of the defining anatomies of a genuine smile is crows-feet the lines leading out from your eyes on both sides of your face.  These lines, it turns out are very difficult to fake.

Last Saturday when we met for the shoot the wind was blowing and the temperature was low.  I had to alternate between the shots and warming up in my coat.  Ali’s personality was definitely warm though.  I had picked her based on her portfolio but as soon as I met her I knew I was going to get my moneys worth.  She was accommodating, creative and energetic.  She constantly made me laugh.  The whole experience was enjoyable.  As I drove away I tried to define exactly what Ali had that allows her to connect with her customers so easily.  What I think it boils down to is that she puts them at ease, she is professional and has her shoots well planned out.  Not only is she easy to visit with she takes what can be uncomfortable for most and gets the best possible shots.  Really though I think she just loves her work and that translates to the customer.  The result? Everyone of my shots have plenty of crows-feet.  What’s your special way that helps you connect to your customer, reader or co-worker?

Looping back around

When we meet someone a conversation begins over a question, shared interest, or a collaboration. The relationship goes from acquaintance to another level of trust. Like all good conversations, it will eventually end. Sometimes the relationship will transfer to other conversations but you will have gaps between them. It is difficult to maintain a high level of friendship at all times with everyone in your greater circle. That is how what I call the loop-around comes in handy. In Trust Agents, Julian Smith and Chris Brogan talk about this as Basic Touch. It is the art of connecting personally with individuals in your network on significant days or on a recurring schedule….

Calm and cool over hot head and stupid?

A friend challenged me last week to be more edgy in my posts. Why though? Here is some back story. I am passionate about a few things. I use this blog to vet out those passions and thoughts. Some posts are wrought out of frustration. Sometimes I just need to air an idea. It usually unfolds like this. I write unedited (kind of like now) getting the words onto the page. I don’t hold anything back. I edit a draft once or twice. If it is a topic that might be sensitive, or I am struggling with flow, I will ask my wife to take a look at it. She will usually point out a snarky or elitist tone. Neither of wich are my intent. I used to get defensive, arguing that she didn’t get my point, that I was being contrary on purpose. I have softened to her wisdom though. She will remind me that people listen to calm and cool over hot head and stupid. And she is…..

40 Days Forward: Simple, digestible, doable

I have been reading Tara Rodden’s blog posts for over a year now. Each one has left me challenged to live a more balanced and productive life. But with that challenge she has also offered practical ways to achieve it. So when I was sent her new book I knew I was going to read something valuable. That assumption was confirmed. 40 Days Forward: Your Journey to a Life of Abundance and Meaning, is in it’s entirety, simple, digestible and doable. I have read many books on success, both for private and professional life. Many are good. One thing that most of them have in common is complexity to the solution they present. We all face challenges …..

Taking control of your Facebook feed

Most of the world already knows that Facebook is one of the best ways to stay connected. What many people don’t understand is that what they see in their main feed on either the top news or most recent feed, is not a full account of their friend’s updates and activities. Facebook has an algorithm it uses based on activity level, conversation and other factors. Facebook is in control of who’s updates you see.

That can be tweaked though. Like Twitter, you can create lists of your family, co-workers, or all of them. These lists are managed under drop the down menu when the “Most Recent” tab is clicked. It takes some navigation to see list though. I have devised a….

Old boots and lasting customers

n the early 90’s Eddie Bauer was still trying to uphold the great customer satisfaction guarantee their founder established back in 1922. He basically said that you could bring back any item no matter how worn or old, for a full refund, no questions asked. The customer’s satisfaction came first. It was that policy that made me want to work for the company back then. Over the years as stock manager and floor salesman I met many lifetime customers that stayed with Eddie Bauer for the integrity of that policy……

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