Archives for July 2014

Simple Innovation That Works…..Coca-Cola Summer of Sharing

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Innovation does not need to be a massive technology breakthrough.  Sometimes its as simple as a tweak to packaging that gets people talking.

In the past 2 hours, Coke has broken through in my life.  I get a text message from a friend with a diet coke can.  Then my daughter runs up to me with a big smile and says “DADDY!” pointing to the can.



Then my son runs to the refrigerator looking for more cans with different words.

Then a facebook post from a friend, copying 2 other friends with the word “Buddy” on the can.

This is Coca-Cola, the company with Millions (if not billions) in annual media spending.  And what did they do?  They tweaked the packaging.  And multiple people are buzzing, sharing and smiling.

What’s the cost of this tactic vs a Superbowl ad?  Which is more memorable.

Striking the emotional chord and getting people to talk positively about a brand or service will always beat the pricey “throw money at it approach.”

Kudo’s to the Coca-Cola company.  The “Summer of Sharing” campaign is a winner, at least in this household.

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The Teamwork $ Test

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One of the big difference makers in business rests in the power of effective teams working together to solve problems.  The old adage matters:

2 Heads are Better Than 1!

But encouraging teamwork, group problem solving, brainstorming or any other activity where people are supposed to work together is fraught with challenges.  A few come to mind:

  • LISTENING:  Lets face it, listening is a skill, and not many people rank high on this one….

  • Ego: Even for good listeners, sometimes ego gets in the way of hearing what others have to say, that it has real value

  • Change:  Maybe collaboration has never been pushed before?  What are the ground rules?  How do we all behave?

Sometimes there’s no better way to advocate change than to PROVE that the change creates a clear better outcome, that can be quantified.  

In the area of teamwork, here’s a little test to try:

  1. Find a business issue that needs to be tackled, that creates a specific $ result.  Examples:  Purchasing, sales growth, supplies, capital spending, training.

  2. Identify a group of people that could form a diversified/cross-functional team to solve it.

  3. Ask them each as individuals to spend SOME time (maybe 1-2 hours) coming up with their plan and $ outcome.  Tell them to write it down, but it won’t be shared.

  4. Bring the team together and discuss the same issue.  Pick someone that knows how to facilitate the discussion, get all thoughts on the white board, don’t analyze as you go, save that for the end.

  5. Solve the problem with the group.

The team $ outcome by definition should be greater than the average of the individual outcomes.  If they are not, than something was not facilitated properly, or people with the higher outcome did not make their case effectively.  Or the solution was not universally accepted as feasible.

The point is this:

If you want Teamwork, prove that teamwork creates better outcomes.  And when you do solve a problem with effective teamwork, celebrate the achievement.  


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Want to Lead? Grab a Squeegee & Make it Your Friend

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I love metaphors & symbols.  They bring a point home clearly, better than words alone can do.

You know what brings home a point even better?  ACTIONS.  The EXAMPLE you set.

In a food manufacturing facility, water on the floors tends to be all around, and it’s also a safety risk.  There’s an Old School Tool to combat water on the floor:  The Squeegee!

squeegee as a metaphor for leading

If your a leader and want something done, encouraging people to take ACTION against something important is mandatory.

“Keep the floors dry, PLEASE!”

Even more important?  Backing up your Plea with your OWN behavior.

Never let the squeegee go untouched and get lonely.  Pick it up and make it your friend.  Pull some water off the floor.  Do it daily.  More than 1x per day.  Your team will notice, then follow suit (eventually).

Grabbing a squeegee for even 30 seconds while running to your next appointment will set the tone for the troops.

Directives are always needed.  Backing up a directive with ACTION brings the importance to life.

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A Look Back @ A Career First: Violating 50% of A Success Mantra

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I have been accused at times for being a bit “extreme” in my personal habits.  The one that has always raised eyebrows the most is my “Start EARLY!” mantra.  This is still one of the most visited posts on Hustle Or Bust.

Not early in the conventional sense, but the 4am work-out, 5:30am desk start.  By most standards, this is viewed as a bit extreme, which I understand.

Interestingly, from March of 2014 through mid June, I violated half the equation, which was the 4am workout.  I can rationalize it by saying I was living in temporary quarters, away from home and my 24 hour gym.

The fact is, I let excuses creep in and allow me to do only half the equation, the 5:30 am desk start.  What did I give up on the front half?

  • About 50-60 workout @45 minutes- 1 hour.  Granted, I still got SOME activity in (stretching, walking, etc), but sweating in the gym > piecing it together.
  • About 20 minutes of podcast listening from thought leaders, about 1,000 minutes of “lost education.”
  • Lost “incremental calories burned” = 50 lost workouts * 250 calories burned  = 12,500 calories lost.  Yes I’m a geek!
  • Guess how many calories are in 1 pound?  3,500.  12,500/3,500 = 3.5 lbs excess.  How much did I gain in this time period?  4.5.  Sounds like my routine break caused 80% of the problem!

Being a bit of a data geek and recording every workout for the past 6 years (time/date, minutes & weight) I can easily rattle off cause and effect of my routine to an outcome.  But you don’t need a spreadsheet to tell you a change in routine can create different results.

So where did these 90 hours go?”

  • I certainly didn’t sleep it away.  Basically, I stayed up later than usual and spend the time with my sister, brother in law and god-daughter.  That’s priceless, after being away from them for 8+ years and worth every minute.  Giving away 90 hours to sleep would have been a pure waste.

Did my business results fall off?

  • Not at all, but hard to tell.  I finished the due diligence of LM Foods, finalized the acquisition and put in about 70 days at the helm with decent results (met objectives).
  • The hard to tell part is what it WOULD HAVE BEEN if I kept my old routine?  I actually would say “not as good!”

Was the break in routine worth it?  

  • ABSOLUTELY!   The time at night with my sister was invaluable.  She’s the most organized, disciplined people I know and the source of many laughs.  She held me to task and called me on it when I was veering off, which was often.  My brother in law is more my speed, and that provided an entertaining and stress reducing balance.  And my god-daughter started to imitate her crazy uncle’s sayings, and those memories will last a lifetime.

So what’s the bottom line?

  • Lost the calories and physical benefits, GAINED time re-connecting with loved ones.  Met business goals.  Clear winner was breaking the routine.  

Lesson going forward?

Sometimes having an extended break from a proven, successful routine can be insightful.  It either proves out the success principle, or it causes you to ask different questions.  

Thankfully, I have a wife that is also my life’s greatest secret weapon.  She just signed me up to the same gym (Lifetime Athletic) I went too in Memphis.

In the immortal words of life’s greatest folk heroes, she has the ability to Take Me Back!


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Hustle in Action: Kenny Brooks

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There are so many reasons why I believe HUSTLE is one of life’s most controllable difference makers.  Hustle is one of those intangible elements, it doesn’t come with a degree or certification, but you know it when you see it.


When I think of HUSTLE, a few words/images come to mind…

  • Thick skin

  • Creative

  • Aggressive

  • Makes a $1 out of fifty cents (isn’t that a song lyric?)

  • Enjoys the ride

  • Memorable

  • Contagious

Most important?  They makes it happen:  Usually 10x’s greater results than people with < Hustle factor.  

No research to back this up.  No government study.  Simple common sense.

Lets look at Internet sensation Kenny Brooks, a door to door salesman that epitomizes the word Hustle.

Ask yourself if his success rate is significantly better than his peers?


If you own a cleaning supply company, would you hire a Harvard MBA, or would you hire Kenny Brooks?

Hustle Matters.

Role models and learning opportunities are all around us.

“Paint me green and call me a pickle!”

Hustle on…..

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