PepperMill July 2018
It doesn’t happen very often, but this month I had quite a few ideas for my Mill article. I’ll keep a few for the future, but the one that rose to the top is timely and vitally important to your company’s success.
About nine years ago, I went to a seminar through my entrepreneurs group and the speaker was Cameron Herold. If you’ve never heard of him (and I hadn’t at the time), he was the COO who took 1-800-GOT-JUNK stratospheric. At the time I saw him, he had recently left Got Junk and was starting a new consulting practice and becoming an author.
While I had many takeaways from his speech, the thing that really stuck with me was his concept of a Painted Picture. Here’s the basic concept: share your vision with your team/company in an imaginative format, so that they can understand it and be able to make their own decisions based on that vision.
It wasn’t long after the seminar that I had a chance to apply the concept to an actual situation. We were moving our Pepper Group offices to a new building and we wanted to distribute the responsibilities of all the details among everyone in the company. They would all be on a team: INTERIOR DESIGN, COMMUNICATIONS, MOVER LIAISON, TECHNOLOGY, etc. There were at least two people on each team.
I wanted everyone to understand my vision for what our new offices would do for us, what we wanted visitors (i.e., prospects, clients, employees, vendors, recruits, family members) to feel and experience, how we could stimulate our creativity and how we could be efficient. By thinking two years into the future, I wrote a Painted Picture of how I pictured life would be in our new confines.
It worked! Each team was able to make decisions themselves regarding all the details their team was responsible for, creating much less mayhem than the average office move. Proudly, when I revisited the Painted Picture at one of our quarterly meetings two years later, the Painted Picture had been realized. If you would ever like to see it, I’d be glad to share.
Fast forward to today. I just saw that Cameron has a new TEDx Talk explaining this same concept, rebranded as the Vivid Vision (also the title of his newest book). Please invest 16:23 in watching this video. You’ll see the logic and opportunity in how you can personally use this technique in business or family life.
In addition, you can turn people on to this. If you’re not the leader in your company, pass it on to them. We’ve been consulting with business owners for 24 years, and it never ceases to amaze me what great intentions and passion they have with their own vision—but they are challenged with sharing it with their teams. This presentation can be an “Aha Moment.” I haven’t read it yet, but I’m thinking Cameron’s book will be a Master Class on how to create and implement a Vivid Vision.
If you believe communication is one of the keys to success, hopefully this can be a breakthrough moment at your company. Pepper Group is creating all kinds of cool tools and techniques to help companies with their culture. Please contact me if you’d like to learn more.
“We go where our vision is.”
“True originality consists not in a new manner but in a new vision.”
RedMane employees love to solve meaningful problems and create software that improves businesses and lives.
The company was founded with a desire to be different from many big corporate environments. By building a better culture, they knew their employees would be happier, more engaged and deliver the right results for their customers. It would ultimately allow RedMane to build a great team that does outstanding work. It’s been very successful.
To share their message, we worked with RedMane to create an award-winning video, built to speak to both prospective customers and prospective employees. Watch RedMane’s “See Us Roar” video here.
Would you settle for a website that said, “Here’s the stuff we sell…” with no marketing message?
Of course not.
You want customers to understand why they should buy from you and the value they get from doing business with your company.
But why is it that 70% of the websites we review have the equivalent of, “Here’s the stuff we sell…” when it comes to careers? These pages usually feature some sort of introduction like, “Here are the jobs we have...”
What is the environment like? What’s the value to me from being associated with the organization? Why should I want to work for you?
Today, just like you have to market your company as a supplier, you have to market your company as an employer. It’s called Talent Marketing.
Oftentimes, however, company leaders think about all the things they have to fix or improve first…benefits, policies, training, etc.
Compare your employment offering to your product or service offering. Are you done innovating and improving your products and services? Never! As far as your company as a place to work, you should have the same mindset, knowing there’s always room to do better and to be continually improving.
The correlation is staggering. Companies that are successful at Talent Marketing have a 50% lower cost per hire, a 28% lower turnover rate, and realize 16% higher profitability. Does that sound interesting?
We’ve created a powerful tool that uses our proprietary Talent Marketing Framework to uncover your company’s strengths and weaknesses in this area. Want to try it out and see how you stack up? Contact us.
My wife, Lauren, is a big fan of punctuation (yes, we are a family of grammar geeks) and she introduced me to “Eat, Shoots and Leaves” by Lynne Truss.
In the book, Truss bemoans the state of punctuation in the United Kingdom and the United States, mixing in examples, astute comments and humorous barbs.
Some of Lynne Truss’s examples are broad, and some are very specific. For example, she has a whole chapter devoted to commas—commas have long been sources of grammatical conflict. (I’m not sure if any wars have actually broken out due to comma arguments, but I think it’s just a matter of time.)
Lynn, our long-standing Production Coordinator (I call her “longstanding” although she is usually sitting), and I have had many conversations about various punctuation issues, but most especially the Oxford comma. (In “red, white, and blue” the Oxford comma is the comma after “white”—whether you think it is necessary will go a long way in determining whether we will ever go out for coffee.)
An errant comma, Oxford or not, can dramatically alter a sentence. Consider these two examples, which I am lifting from Lynne Truss’s book, although this example also throws in a colon for good measure. I’m all for a good colon every now and then:
A woman, without her man, is nothing.
A woman: without her, man is nothing.
But in this era of text messaging, tweets, memes and so on, does grammar really matter? In advertising or marketing, correct grammar should always take a back seat to communication; it’s better to look right than to be technically correct. But you need to be somewhat careful—a company or a person can look bad if they/he/she uses a there for a their, a period for a comma, or an over-abundance of exclamation points. Good grammar is never noticed, but faulty grammar jumps out.
Fortunately, we take our grammar seriously at the Pepper Group, which is why our long-standing Lynn (not to be confused with the book-writing Lynne) and I have passionate comma conversations. We just want to make the brochure or website or ad correct, or at least as correct as it should be.
So we’ll continue to fight for our commas, but nicely. In the end, after Lynn and I come to an agreement, I’ll always say, “Thank you,” and Lynn will smile and say, “Your welcome.”
Or rather, “You’re welcome.” Sorry about that.
Carpool Karaoke hits Liverpool.
I typically steer away from selecting a PepperMill YouTube video that’s extremely popular, but this month I couldn’t resist. James Corden was filming his Late Late Show in London last month and did a wonderful edition of his Carpool Karaoke with special guest Sir Paul McCartney. It’s a trip down memory lane as the two of them visit Paul’s childhood home, spin around Penny Lane, and give some lucky townsfolk the thrill of a lifetime.
There’s also a very touching explanation for how the song “Let it Be” was written that might make you want to have a Kleenex on hand. Enjoy!
Got some YouTube videos of your own you’d like to share? Just send them my way!