Monday, March 28, 2016

The art of follow-up

It’s always amazing to me how it’s the simple things that matter.
A prime example is follow-up. Simple, yea? Yea! Yet when I look at some of the best projects and/or clients we have or do work with, it’s the follow-up that’s set us apart.
So why is that? Why is follow-up so important? It’s important because it says you matter. You’re important. I want your business. I’ll do anything to get it. This is the way we do things – we stick to it. It’s important because it says a lot.
Want more business?
Want a first or even second date with that special someone?
Want that house you made an offer on, but got turned down.
Two words. Follow-up.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Learning as a lifelong practice

Every Jan01 I’m inspired. I’m inspired by the newness, the blank slate that lies ahead, the potential and possibility.
We discovered in early December that one of our largest accounts of 2014/2015 had decided to make a shift in their organization and we would no longer be part of that equation.

I understood it, the rationale, and there were absolutely no hard feelings. There was, and is, simply a wish you well.
I for one do not believe in worry. I’ve always lived under the “one door closes, one door opens” mindset, though often not having to put it into practice. I made the decision then to go through the holidays without worry and to start fresh Jan01.

Jump ahead to Jan01. I sat at my desk looking through new and old emails, documents, current and past work, and made the decision to instead evaluating with whom potential business might be cultivated, look at what we really offer and what might we hone our skills in more--- I looked at potential. I looked at the things we, or I, had shied away from doing the last couple of years, because they weren’t in my skillset or expertise and they certainly weren’t in my comfort zone.

I began furiously, fearlessly, diving into the unknown. I looked at what we’d done, how we could do it better, and what we knew nothing about, but could master. I looked at our model from A – Z, what works, what doesn’t, all of it. I did an audit. Audits are not fun. They’re revealing.

What I realized is we’d become a wheel. A complacent, comfortable wheel with the work we had and the opportunities we’d been awarded. We were managing the business, not growing the business. We were not seeking out (furiously and fearlessly) better ways of supporting our client’s success. We instead were just doing the work in front of us, servicing it, billing it and getting paid.  It was a revelation. It was that big. We needed a jump-start, a refresh, a new beginning.
Jump ahead to Mar01. We redesigned and launched a new website. Our company’s other administrator, and myself, are engaged 2+ hours, daily, in online training sessions, webinars, online discussions, new certification programs and have made curriculum a mandatory part of our business practice. We hired two young, bright associates to work on the team. We are seeking new and better ways of partnering with service providers.

In essence we are evolving.

What we’ve realized during this evolution is that we can never be complacent. We should never be comfortable and to truly advise and service our client’s best interest, we must put our oxygen mask on first, save ourselves. Only then, when we’re breathing, alive, can we be our best for others.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Fear of… what exactly?

Scrolling through Facebook today, I saw a video on a social experiment that asked random New Yorkers to write down their biggest regrets. Interestingly enough, they were all centered around not doing something.
I think we can all relate. It’s a sad fact that potential is often squashed by paralyzing fear. Fear calls us to be still and wait for the moment to pass--- for our more practical selves to return, instead of calling us to take action, to go out on a limb, to listen to our bravest self, the self that yells and screams “just go for it”. Fear of failure, mistakes, the unknown, etcetera as we’d say in the south, is hogwash. It’s nonsense.
The reality is that failure, the unknown, getting hurt is all inevitable. The real decision, and question we must ask ourselves is whether we’re going to live courageously or cowardly.
I for one, want to be a lion.

Artwork by:

Monday, March 7, 2016

Ethics and being a grown-up

So many are under the false pretense that being a grown-up means abandoning our ideals and moral code in order to make it in the ‘real world’.
The fallacy in this is the belief that the ‘real world’ is a cold, scary place, where good ‘ole fashioned “goodness” isn’t seen or appreciated when in fact it’s full of people, just like you and me, who hopefully recognize and appreciate the good in others.
Our own personal set of ethics make us who we are. Carrying those ethics into everything we do, our personal and professional lives, our relationships, and how we manage the day-to-day are the foundation for strong, meaningful relationships that last.
Trust, credibility, reliability, all of these things can’t, and shouldn’t, be built overnight yet they are the invaluable assets that make us who we are and who we will become.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why a blog

I remember when blogging became “the thing” a few years ago. I honestly couldn’t get my head around it. Why would people just start writing about cooking or decorating or really anything they were passionate or knowledgeable about, but more importantly, why would anyone read it? Hmm. Conundrum. 
Blogging seemed very personal, and though it might make sense on a personal level to share ideas, experiences and so forth, it was again personal. So IF blogging made sense, it made sense as a personal tool--- a way of sharing. 
You see, though I don’t consider myself to be old school, blogging and my not being able to get my head around it for such a long time, showed me that in fact in some ways I am. 
When I began my career some 20+ years ago, I was taught that “personal” and “professional” didn’t cross paths, at all, ever. They were singular unto themselves. As a young, idealistic person, this was very hard for me to adopt. I thought I had so much to contribute, so many great ideas, yet I got beat up over this way of thinking enough times to realize, I was wrong and everybody else was right. So sharing ideas, experiences, knowledge = a no-no. Do the work and give input when asked. The end.
Well, what I’ve realized since, is that the model of segregating personal and professional is GONE. Gone, gone, gone, who knows if ever to return. It has instead been replaced with a world eager to share, eager to explore other people’s experiences, knowledge, and ideas. It’s refreshing. There are a couple of blogs I read every day that have taught me just that. (Thank you Seth Godin.)
During this awakening of the way our world turns today, I realized I too might have something to offer. Therefore, I am officially inviting you to our first blog. I say “our” because though I am the proprietor and president of CCS aka Creative Communication Services, and will be doing a lot of the writing, this blog will be heavily influenced by others on our team, and sometimes written by them. We have some incredibly bright, and young team members and I’m going to ask that they share their thoughts, experiences and perspectives on this platform as well. 
I hope you’re excited. I hope you’ll continue reading. More importantly I hope in some way, as we get this blogging party started, you’ll get something meaningful and insightful from it and that you’ll give a shout out every once in a while.