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The drive to continuously grow and improve is at the heart of the MRAA, our members and our staff. That’s why we’re launching this blog: to share what we’re learning in our work and in our lives with you – and in hopes you’ll share what you’re learning too.

 

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Consider This: What Exactly Does That Mean?

Posted By Robert Stevenson, Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2019
I gave a speech the other day and I came in early to listen to some of their industry speakers to see if I could gain a better understanding of the most pressing issues they were facing. What I heard and saw in Power Point slides was incredibly confusing for this "Non-Industry” person. Acronyms were everywhere; they almost couldn’t get through one sentence without some abbreviation being used or industry specific expression. I wondered how many new people had no clue what was being discussed and also how many veterans in the audience were confused, but would never admit it.

If I was speaking to an audience that might not be familiar with sports terms, slang or expressions, it would be prudent of me to leave out phrases like … jump the gun, blind-sided, home stretch, throw in the towel, second wind, learn the ropes, down to the wire, across the board, step up to the plate, and hit a home run. Connecting with your audience is critical, so it is really important to make sure any words you use will compliment your message rather than confuse your audience.

One reason companies don’t succeed is because they fail to make things clear, concise and understandable. People don’t like to appear confused or stupid and rather than raise their hand in front of all their peers to ask for help or for a better explanation of what you just said, they will stay silent. Many managers assume that since no one asked any questions, then everyone must have FULLY understood … only to find out later that wasn’t the case. The problem with finding out later is that it usually ends up costing you time, money, and/or customers.

He's an ace reporter ... My sister's boyfriend is a real airhead … Your ideas about politics are all wet … That is really a cheesy looking outfit. Most of us would have a general understanding of those phrases, but if I asked you to tell me exactly what the bold words mean, I am sure I would get several different answers. Kind-of understanding and fully understanding can be the difference between failure and success.

Why do we say "Right as rain” , "Rule of Thumb”, "Red Herring”, "Cut through the red tape”, or "Run the gauntlet” … what do they really mean. Two of those expressions go all the way back to the 1600’s; I wonder if anything has changed since then?

Many people might think the phrase the whole nine yards has something to do with football. It has nothing to do with football and there is no consensus on the origin. The most common explanation is from World War II. Most aircraft machine gun belts were nine yards long and if a pilot unloaded all his ammunition on one target then he gave them the whole nine yards; everything he had. Mistakes come from lack of understanding and sometimes lack of understanding simply comes from poor explanations or examples.

The best teachers are the ones who speak the language of their audience.

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Consider This: Raise Your Bar

Posted By Robert Stevenson, Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2019
Bill Gates said, "Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose.” Couple that statement with one from former Intel Chairman Andy Grove, who said … "Only the paranoid survive. Paranoids believe someone or some force is out to get them,” and now you should have a better perspective on how two enormously successful men remained successful in such competitive, turbulent times. I think it is extremely important to be confident but not arrogant. I find arrogant people to be resistant to evaluation and challenges, have a false sense of invincibility and are especially close-minded to listening to what others might suggest.

The business landscape is littered with powerful companies who thought they were invincible only to find they were vulnerable to smaller, more nimble companies. Success teaches us that if we keep doing the same thing, the same way, we will keep being successful. That might work "until” your competition starts following everything you do to the letter, then it is time for you to raise the bar. You shouldn’t fear your competition, but you should certainly respect them.

Realize your only true security in life is ...

Ø your ability to perform better than your competition
Ø your desire to improve, learn and study
Ø your persistence to constantly keep moving forward
Ø your consistency in delivering more than is expected
Ø your focusing on the most important matters

Over-confidence (arrogance) destroys even the best of the best. So, explore failures to understand what happened, acknowledge weaknesses, seek advice from others, welcome suggestions, and stay humble. There are 31 billion Goggle searches every month, 1 billion people hooked up to the internet, the top 10 In-Demand jobs that existed in 2012 did not exist in 2004, technical information is doubling every two years and 65,000 new websites are created every 60 seconds; change is rampant. So, if you keep doing what you’ve always done … you will be gone.

What are you doing this year to RAISE YOUR BAR ?

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Consider This: The Pace of Change is Accelerating

Posted By Robert Stevenson, Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2019
Some people embrace change. Some people just go with the flow and deal with it only when they have to. Then there are those few, die hard, stubborn, inflexible, obstinate people out there who are going to fight changing to the bitter end. In today’s accelerating pace of technological change, I am finding that if you plan on WINNING, SUCCEEDING, and STAYING ON TOP, you better pay attention to the ever-changing landscape of technology.

Blind devotion to past technologies, methodologies, systems and procedures is a success killer. The pace of change is accelerating in every industry, every market, and in every facet of our daily lives. Technology is coming at us faster than it ever has. It took over 50 years from the invention of the gasoline car before one quarter of the population in the US had one. The telephone required 35 years to hit the one quarter mark. Then things started getting even faster. The television only took 26 years, personal computers took 16 years, and the cell phone reached that population exposure in just 13 years. Since its release on June 29, 2007, Apple has sold over 243 million iPhones and will pass 500 million by the end of 2013. They sold 10 million of the iPhone 5 in the first two weeks of its release.

In his book, Critical Path, futurist R. Buckminster Fuller estimated that it we took about 1,500 years or until the sixteenth century for our amount of knowledge to double. The next doubling of knowledge took only 250 years, until about 1750. By 1900, 150 years later, knowledge had doubled again. The doubling speed of knowledge is now between one and two years. So, if it takes 4 years to get through college, everything that was known to man the day the student entered college will be quadrupled when they graduate. That is a rather daunting fact; they are behind before they ever get started.

With all of what I have just pointed out, I think it is obvious that for companies and people to succeed, they need to embrace change. We all need to stay curious, flexible, inquisitive, and never satisfied with today’s standard of excellence. What is considered excellent today may be considered average tomorrow. But, never forget the fact that technology is no replacement for staying in touch and caring about your customers and your employees. You can have the most technologically advanced company in your industry but it you lie, brake promises, make mistakes, don’t meet deadlines, are impersonal, emotionless and unwilling to make any extra effort to help customers or care about your employees … you will fail.

If you look for ways to unite technology with a human, caring touch … everyone will benefit.

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Consider This: Lie, Cheat, Drink, Swear and Steal Your Way to Success

Posted By Robert Stevenson, Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Thursday, April 25, 2019
A good friend sent me the following article on a great way to make sure you have a successful New Year. I have no idea who the original author was and after doing some research I still don’t know, but the article is so good I wanted to share it with you. I know you are probably confused with this title, but it really makes a lot of sense when you read further. (I did tweak it just a bit)

LIE back and relax just a little more this new year. Let a little more life happen to you without so much worry, fret and concern. Read some good books. Embark on a new discovery path in terms of your education, longings, desires, fun, and spirituality; expand your horizons.

CHEAT failure. Don't be afraid to try something new because you think you may fail. It is through failure that we learn the most valuable lessons and grow. Instead of "If it’s worth doing—it’s worth doing well!” How about "If it’s worth doing at all—do it any way you can…but JUST DO IT!!!

DRINK from the fountain of Knowledge. Many people around you have already been down roads you are about to travel. Learn from them, including the challenges they may have had. Take what they have learned and apply it to the best of your best. Give possibility to other opinions that you have never considered as "realistic”. Consider exploring concepts that bump up against your own sensibilities.

SWEAR to do your best, all the time, in every situation. That is all you can ever ask of yourself. Suspend your judgments at least once every day … just to see if the world really does come to a screeching halt. Notice how often you pre-judge something or someone BEFORE having all the information. Commit to "check it out” long before you get "hooked” on your own story about the situation.

STEAL time for yourself; everyday, take a little more time to develop a stronger relationship with the one and only ...YOU. Remember, if you don’t take care of you … who will? Time spent alone is time invested in the most important person in your life. Relish the wonder of being in harmony with the "real” you…that person that touches others in a remarkable and delightful way.

So, if you LIE, CHEAT, DRINK, SWEAR, and STEAL
just a little more in the next year,
you will have one of the most amazing years of your life.
And, it will probably surprise and delight both you and all your friends!

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