Thursday, June 28, 2012

Being Prepared for the Tough Mudder

The Tough Mudder is a great event. Lots of fun obstacles and a ton of running (around 10 miles of actual running) but certainly not the “toughest event on the planet” nor was it easy. One thing that was obvious is that a lot of weekend warriors attempted it and a lot of them did not finish.

When people think about doing half marathons they don’t typically take them for granted. People think to themselves “a half MARATHON?! No way I can do that”, but when it comes to an event like Tough Mudder people just try and go do it and a lot of them end up injured and unable to finish.

This blog is not disparaging the event in anyway. Team Innovative Fitness had a great time and we all finished unscathed, but we saw a TON of injured people. People who entered the event with no idea what was coming their way. So here it is:

 1)   Be prepared to run up to 16km of trails. Some of them are rocky, muddy, steep and slippery. 
 2)   Be prepared to crawl on your belly in mud (not difficult physically, but a fact of the event).
 3)   Be prepared to climb several 12-foot walls. There is a step at about 3 feet, but you will likely need help from a partner to get over it.
 4)   Be prepared to swim in glacier water (like really really really cold friggen water), this was one of the toughest parts of the event.
 5)   Be prepared to have your knees and elbows bruised and beat up, you will be crawling.
 6)   Be prepared to get shocked. Yes it is 10,000 volts. No it is not that bad.  A sting and a little startling for sure, but nothing you can’t handle.
 7)   Come prepared with some water and fuel. There are a lot of people at these events and apparently they run out of water…
 8)   Be prepared to work as a team. Many teams separated. This event is about teamwork as much as it is about being tough.

That is what you need to know. Our team really enjoyed themselves. The course was fun and challenging, the atmosphere was fantastic and it is a great charity. I recommend it to anyone who is willing to be prepared for the above!

Cheers to all my fellow Mudders!

~ Yoshia

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A letter to my sons.


A a quick note to let you know why I, (1/2 your parenting team) made the conscious decision to be ‘hard’ on you & raise you the way I have.

my responsibility

I’ve always viewed my responsibility as a parent as preparing you for the realities of life as quickly as possible.  Although we’re supposed to be more evolved than other species who bring their young into the world and let them sink or swim day 1, I think 18 years of ‘education by institution’ is too far on the other end of the spectrum. Regardless of the knowledge I wish / don’t wish others impart on you, the bulk of your habits will come from what you bear witness to on a day to day basis at home. As such, I’ve tried to share 10 important realities of life.

  1. life isn’t easy. Life is a series of small, consistent challenges that need to be tackled each day.  There are seldom ‘breaks’ arbitrarily doled out, so I want to prepare you for that.
  2. life is not all about you. Life is an ecosystem and at many levels, you need to understand your role / responsibilities and where you fit into that system.
  3. life isn’t fair. Despite what you’ve heard, we are not all equal and the work world is where you will see this in it’s complete honesty. (It's like the animal kingdom's survival of the fittest)  
  4. life has losers. Losers are people who refuse to take responsibility for their actions, don’t do what they say they are going to do & look to take short cuts at the expense of others.  
  5. life should be fun. If at any point in your life, you are not having fun doing what you’re doing – change it. You have control. If life is boring, It’s because you are boring.   
  6. life is incredibly simple. It’s those to try to re-invent the wheel that make it complicated. There are plenty of successful people. Read about them and then do what they do/did.  
  7. life has winners. Those people who do what they love and love what they do. Those who make the time to plan & prioritize and make lemon meringue pie from lemons
  8. life is hard / smart work. There is no work around. There is no easy way or easy out. And most short cuts take you all the way back to where you started. This is why you write contracts.  
  9. life is a privilege. It is not a right. This is why I am adamant about not letting you take things for granted or complain about what you may not have / can't do.  Stay focused on what you can do & do have. 
  10. your life is yours to live. I fought the majority of my own battles growing up and so should you. In an emergency, I’m there but you need to learn sooner than later to OWN YOUR STUFF.
my work

As an employer of 100’s of 20 something’s over the past decade, I’ve had 1st hand experience in seeing the results of youth who have yet to experience many of life’s realities, which means they have to do so on our time & dime. Unfortunately we don’t have the luxury of re-programming these people for the realities of life because their parents did not, so for every 20 that apply, only 3 make it to orientation and only 1 gets the opportunity to represent our business. The rest, continue on to waste someone else's time and energy or find a better fit elsewhere. 

I’d like to be confident in knowing, when you two show up for your 1st jobs, people are going to be as pleasantly surprised by the solid fundamentals you bring to the organization as we are with the 1 that gets the privilege of representing our business. These people are solution based, confident team players vs. problem laden, incompetent individuals 

my perspective

There are a few sayings you’ve heard me say a million times. Hopefully these 10 will remain engrained in your head as you continue through life.

  1. “work hard... get rewarded”. Never mind when - Just work hard – believe me, someone along the way will notice.  
  2. “whatever  you do - 100%”. you’re going to get out of it what you put into it. Really simple. Give 100% - get it back. Give 50 – get 50 and so on.
  3. “it all starts with your attitude”. You get to determine how you do - what you do, day in and day out.
  4. “give back”. Every chance you get, you’ve got to try and give back to others. If we just keep on taking, there will be noting left.
  5. “do what you say you are going to do”. Master this and you’ll be ahead of the MAJORITY of people in the world.
  6. “think solutions”. There are many who bring the problems, there are a select few who can bring the solutions.
  7. “don’t do what everyone else is doing”. That’s the best way to get lost in the sea of mediocrity.  Stand out – be unique.
  8. “confidence”. And this is why we create and allow you to work through your own adversity now. Speak loud, stand tall, shake a firm hand and look people in the eyes.  
  9. “give more than you take”. The success of our planet, long term will require guys like you paying it forward. And that’s where the magic happens.
  10. “be great”. You can be average, good or great and the question is – what would you rather have from others or anything. Avg friends? Good experience.... Or great?
my hope

My hope for both of you is that you are able to utilize the relevant tools in the toolbox that has been provided & modeled to build the lives you want for yourselves. I hope that when you get there, (where ever your there is), you can crack a cold one and realize your old man, although unconventional, had YOUR best interest in mind.

Love your Dad.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Keeping Life in Perspective

Over the past years, we hope that the writing on our blog has inspired you, provoked thought, provided additional perspective, or given you a daily dose of leadership that you are looking for.  If it has we are thrilled! 

What is ironic about today's blog is that we wanted to share perspective that resonated with our team from specific stats written in an article that was shared with us - all in hopes it resonates with yourself as well!

Here's some interesting facts to keep life in serious perspective!

If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following.
There would be: 
57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere
8 Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-white
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
6 would possess 59% of the entire world's wealth 
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death
1 would be near birth
1 (yes, only 1) would have a college education
and only 1 would own a computer
When one considers our world from such a small compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly apparent. The following is also something to ponder...
If you woke up this morning with more health than are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or are more blessed than three billion people in the world.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace ... you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.
In summary...
What goes around comes around. Work like you don't need the money. Love like you've never been hurt. Dance like nobody's watching. Sing like nobody's listening. Live every night like New Years Eve. And every morning wake up like it's Christmas Day! 
Because you just never know when it's your time. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Are You Brave Enough?

Driving into work today, I was listening to a female caller on the radio talk about her plans for the weekend - she is registered for the Tough Mudder. The deejays were asking her questions about the race like, 'How long is it?' 'How many obstacles are there?' And, she didn't know any of the answers.

I am registered for the Tough Mudder this weekend, and I am nervous. I think a race like this deserves respect and a little bit of fear is healthy. It's not something that you can sign up for and easily complete. It requires training and even then you never know what's going to happen on the day of, and it's the unknown that's a little bit scary but also what makes it exciting.

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not the who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” 

Good luck to everyone that is brave enough to conquer the Tough Mudder this weekend!

~ Sasha

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Morality vs. Money

No surprise here, revenue is the number one driving force in business. When we generate revenue we can run our businesses, promote our philosophies, and support ourselves as well as our families. This is the reason we got into the positions we are in, to help others and fulfill our own needs at the same time. On the other hand, success in business is quantified in dollars made, and the general belief is that the more you make the more successful you are, and the more people you can reach. Whether you are in the non-profit sector or the for-profit sector, your impact is only as great as the money you have to continue providing your product. Stating this obvious fact leads to one question: is the quest for financial success causing us to abandon our initial reasons for entering our professions so that we can now make a profitable business?

The answer falls on both sides of the fence. We can take money from investors who don’t necessarily share our same values in order to reach more people in need, or we can stick to what we believe in and struggle to get our message to all those whose lives will be enhanced through our work. We are in the business of changing the lives of others, which is our chosen profession, and we need revenue to reach as many people as we can with our philosophies. This is a moral dilemma; there can be a high cost associated with such comfort.

Take childhood obesity for example. In the US, children are becoming obese at alarming rates and this trend is not slowing down. Statistics for the future of the next generation are bleak; childhood obesity rates have more than tripled in the past 25 years, with 11 million overweight children in the US today. These children will cost tax payers billions in obesity related illness, and will be the first generation ever to not exceed the lifespan of their parents.

The purpose of this post is to gauge our current philosophies against our initial reasons for getting into these professions. It is intended for us to evaluate where we are receiving revenue, and at the cost of whom? We should take personal inventory and see where we have made hypocritical choices and how that portrays ourselves, our peers, and our businesses.

Watch any major sporting event around the world and it will be hard not to find a fast food chain as its main sponsor. In fact, every major sports league has a fast food sponsor, a cola sponsor, and a chip sponsor, not to mention the alcohol and Viagra ads for adults who accompany their kids to the game. Even the US Olympic Team has a major sponsor whose dollar menu makes it even easier to buy their questionably healthy products. In essence they are promoting physical activity and health through dollars funded by the same products that fatten up society. Television is an accomplice; running the same ads, targeted at the same audience, pushing the same agenda. The revenue from these ads are distributed to teams, players and coaches (as well as colleges) who are growing fat in the pockets while their audience grows dangerously fat.

The health and fitness industry is no better. These clubs accumulate new clientele, who will survive in the club for roughly three months and then continue to pay monthly dues while never setting foot in the gym again. This revenue is used to sponsor athletes, events, stadiums, teams, and TV shows as means to ensure that the steady stream of clientele keeps pouring through the doors. Trainers will continue to be paid for the client who consistently misses his/her training session, sending the obligatory “we missed you today” phone call with no initiative taken to discover why they keep missing sessions. These people will be given promises that they have no means to achieve on their own, and are given service that is over-promised and under-delivered.

This accounts for a group of individuals who pay gigantic fees for a personal trainer who has neither the vision nor ability to deliver on any of the selling points that generated business in the first place. The consumer has the will to make changes in their lives and the seller hasn’t the slightest idea how to make those changes permanent. Or, they do not want to make those changes permanent, because if done correctly they would be working themselves out of revenue (despite creating a self actualized and self sufficient human).

The purpose of this post is not to start a debate on the dangers of marketing and PR, but to expose our greed and lack of morality when it comes to making a dollar. We no longer focus on making an honest dollar, we just focus on how many dollars can we make. This has created hypocrisy of funding; we take money from the rich to make us richer, and in doing so, have lost focus of why we entered our profession in the first place.

To this end, billions of dollars have been spent in order to remove tobacco advertisements from every arena in life; what of these other products that will, ultimately, have a similar effect on the lives of the next generation? Non-profit foundations have been started, and well funded, on the taxing of tobacco products. At their events, targeted specifically for young children, fast food chains are welcomed to sell their product and promote their brand. Television shows created around people losing tremendous amounts of weight air commercials for products with high fat and sugar content. Morals and values out, revenue in. Hypocrisy ignored.

It’s a simple battle of quantity vs. quality. We can serve as many people as possible while holding true to our beliefs, and ensure each of those people received our best. Or we can serve a much larger population with less impact; the people served only receiving a fraction of what we were when we started.

The next time you have your next great idea, the idea that will make a millionaire out of you, consider where that dollar is coming from. Consider who will be affected by that offer. Then go out and make a lasting impression by holding true to your beliefs. Get back to the person who set out to change the world on a personal philosophy. Your legacy will not be carried on by your bank account, but by the impact you have made on the lives of those you served….honestly and with conviction.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It's Time To Maximize Your Opportunity

Recently a past employee contacted us in search for their ‘second chance’ at employment with our organization. They claimed that things had changed and they were now ready & prepared in their life to jump in with both feet. As an employer (no different than if it was your relationship), this is not an easy decision. One must evaluate the circumstance from before, the characteristics of the individual, and the overall need of the organization. What we know is that less than 2% of people in the world change - so statistically speaking, odds tend not be in our (‘the employer’s’) favor. However, at times we need to consider providing that ‘second chance’ to prove us otherwise.

Let's be honest, in life we all would love second chances. This isn’t a perfect world. And neither are we.  It’s human nature to test the boundaries, try to do it our own way, and as much as we hate it, we naturally like to touch the hot element from time to time. Human behaviour tells us that very few things are mastered the first time around and we rarely get things right the first time. If we did - we would be perfect; games would be scoreless and business would be a game of stalemate. Take a look at almost every major accomplishment in a person’s life - it starts with the decision to try something again after gaining the experience & perspective from the first time. 

However, there is a fine line with maximizing another chance or opportunity versus thinking that these chances will continually arise time & time again. They just don't. And if we believe they do...then that can be referred to becoming dependent on something or someone. No different than a child, person, organization or country that is always bailed out of debt. If they learn to believe that it will continually happen - then they wil never change the behaviour to protect it moving forward. 

So, how can we positively adjust our attitude toward future opportunities and take advantage of the times that give us another kick at the can?

1. Put the past behind us. 

What’s done is done.  When life throws us nasty curveballs it typically doesn’t make any sense to us at that moment. Our natural reaction is fuelled by emotion and not logic - and we will tend to react initially and then follow up with blame or excuses. But how does this help our dilemma?  Obviously, it doesn’t.

The smartest, and oftentimes hardest thing we can do in these kinds of situations is to be more tempered in our reactions. Removing ourselves from the scenario, thinking logically about the situation, and remember that tragedies are rarely as bad as they seem, and even when they are, they give us an opportunity to learn.
Every difficult moment in our lives is accompanied by an opportunity for personal growth and creativity. But in order to attain this growth and creativity, we must first learn to let go of the past.  We must recognize that difficulties pass like everything else in life.  And once they pass, all we’re left with are our unique experiences and the lessons required to make a better attempt next time.

2.  Identify the lesson.

Everything is a life lesson.  Everyone you meet, everything you encounter, every moment in time that you live should provide you with additional thought, perspective, or lessons. They’re all part of the learning experience we call ‘life.’

Never forget to acknowledge the lesson, especially when things don’t go your way.  If you don’t get a job you wanted or a relationship doesn’t work, it only means that you either (a) weren’t ready to take it on, (b) it wasn't the best fit at this moment in time OR (c) a better fit is out there waiting.  And the lesson you just learned is the first step towards it.

3.  Lose the negative attitude.

Negative thinking creates negative results.  Positive thinking creates positive results.  Period.

When your child strikes out for the first time, they need to realize that it will happen again because if they don’t, they may fear the opportunity to ever hit the ball off the bat again. And guess what…the likelihood of hitting the ball decreases the more the child stresses, worries, or thinks negatively about the outcome.

 The mind must believe it can do something before it is capable of actually doing it.  Whether you call it confidence or ‘the secret’ – it works in our favor!

4.  Accept accountability for your current or past situation.

Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will.  And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.

You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life.  And no, it won’t always be easy. Every person has a list of challenges & obstacles in front of them.  You must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles.  Giving excuses, blaming others/situational items, or choosing not to take accountability…is giving up.

5.  Focus on the things you can change.

Some forces are out of your control.  The best thing you can do is do the best with what’s in front of you with the resources you do have access to.

Wasting your time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation.  Invest your energy in the things you can change not in the actions (or lack of actions) of others. Seriously. Don't take on other people's problems, issues, or inadequacies.  

6.  Figure out what you really want.

You’ll be running on a hamster wheel forever if you never determine who you are, why you do the things you do, what you value, and what your strengths are. This clarity provides the opportunity to understand where you want to go.  Figure out what’s meaningful to you so you can be who you were born to be or even better - WANT to be. 

Some of us were set out to be musicians – to communicate intricate thoughts and rousing feelings with the strings of a guitar.  Some of us were set out to be poets – to touch people’s hearts with exquisite prose.  Some of us were set out to be entrepreneurs – to create growth and opportunity where others saw failure.  And still, some of us were set out to be or do whatever it is, specifically, that moves you.

Don’t quit just because you didn’t get it right on your first shot.  And don’t waste your life fulfilling someone else’s dreams and desires.  You must follow your intuition and make a decision to never give up on who you are capable of becoming while being realistic with yourself, your fit, and your abilities.

7.  Eliminate the crap.

First, identify the essential – the things in your life that matter most to you.  Then eliminate the fluff. Anything that is a 'waste of time' or isn't positively contributing to your life.  

This drastically simplifies things and leaves you with a clean slate – a fresh, solid foundation to build upon without needless interferences.  This process works with any aspect of your life – work projects, relationships, general to-do lists, etc.

Remember, you can’t accomplish anything if you’re trying to accomplish everything.  Concentrate on the essential.  Get rid of the rest. You will see a drastic improvement of your time management which results in drastic improvement with your forward progress.

8.  Maintain self-control and be prepared.
The harder you work the luckier you will become. Shocking we know!

Oprah Winfrey believes that "luck is when opportunity meets preparation" and there is some validity to that statement. 

The people that are more prepared at the time when opportunity arises, they will have a higher chance at taking advantage of those opportunities. So what that tells us, is that the people that are more diligent with their focus, tighter with their plans, and put more effort into items on a daily basis...will be more 'lucky' - when essence they have just earned their so called 'luck'. 

9. Just GET IT DONE. 

Nike said it best with their infamous slogan "JUST DO IT"!

Stop waiting around for things to work out.  If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.

While many of us decide at some point during the course of our lives that we want to answer our calling, only an astute few of us actually work on it.  By “working on it,” we mean truly devoting oneself to the end result.  The rest of us never act on our decision.  Or, at best, we pretend to act on it by putting forth an uninspired, half-assed effort.

If you want a real second chance, you’ve got to be willing to give it all you got.  No slacking off!  This means you have to strengthen and maintain your self-control.  Remember, life is not easy & it's not going to be filled with balance 24/7 365 days per year for our lifetime.  When you plan on achieving something worthwhile and devote to making something happen of significance - it will most likely be 'work'!  

10.  Forget about impressing people.

So many people buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know. Or some variation thereof…

Don’t be one of these people.  It’s a waste of time.  And it’s probably one of the reasons you need a second chance in the first place. Just keep doing what you know is right.  And if it doesn’t work, adjust your approach and try again.  You’ll get there eventually.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Real Work

When I was in high school, I wanted to be a lawyer.  That is, until I realized that the stirring final summation only came after months and months of dull, tedious and ultimately necessary, research and preparation – which was usually covered by a 30sec montage in the movies, showing the lawyers sitting at cubicles late at night with a half-empty box of Chinese take-out.  The truth is, I didn’t want to do the research... I just wanted to make passionate speeches that moved people.

We see this sort of thing all the time in the fitness industry.  People come in, swearing up and down that they’ll work as hard as possible to get themselves to their goals, no matter what.  They say “I just want to go after this – I’ll commit to three days a week of training with you, and I can do another couple of hours on my own of running/yoga/swimming (etc).  And I just want you to push me right to my limits, every day – I want this so badly”.

What folks need to realize is that the “Rocky” montage of weeks of training is the Hollywood, short version of the effort and commitment needed.  The boundary-pushing workouts are not only a very, very small part of the journey... they’re also the easy part.  The hard part isn’t the 5hrs a week spent working out... it’s the other 163hrs.  It’s these other hours that require the patience, the diligence... making sure you’re eating properly seven days a week, that you’re getting enough sleep, that you’re stretching, foam rolling... and so on.  It’s not adding 3-5 hours of activity into your week – it’s adjusting your entire lifestyle.

So, when you decide you want to achieve something great, and really make changes, ask yourself (in the immortal words of David to Michael from 1987’s The Lost Boys) – “How far are you willing to go”? 

Then answer honestly.


Friday, June 15, 2012

Today Is A New Day

Finish each day and be done with it, you have done what you could, some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day, you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. ~ Emerson

The best laid plans don't always work out and there is no better example of this than in everyday life. All of us can relate to starting the day with a 'to do' list ready to be crossed off only to be waylaid by a myriad of other 'life stuff' that wasn't anticipated. It's a vicious cycle which ends with you adding the items from today, on to tomorrow's list.

That's why I love this quote. It's a gentle reminder that as long as you do your best with what you've been given you can feel at ease when you finish, no matter what did or didn't get crossed off your list.

~ Sasha

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I have love for all your hate.

Why is conflict so necessary? How is it that people hate so much? There is constantly stuff in the media about this war or that war and this kind of crap has been going on since time immemorial. With all the pain and suffering in the world it makes no sense to keep propagating hate and violence when there is so many people out there who have so much love.

It makes no sense to kill as a result of revenge of something that you love. It makes no sense for your kids to kill my kids because of something your grandfather said to mine. When is it enough? When can we just call it a day and get a long? Of course these are questions that have been asked in a million songs in a billion ways, but they still ring true.

There is no one-answer solution to this problem, obviously, but it can literally start with one person and why can’t that person be you?

This is a challenge for all of you to:

Make a point today of telling 5 people something nice about them today.

Make a point of shrugging off one of your prejudices today.

Make a point of hugging a loved one extra long today.

Make a point of helping somebody in need today.

Make a point of making a small charitable donation today.

Make a point of sharing some love for all of that hate.

~ Yoshia

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


In life, you are not always going to know what you want. Situations change, opportunities arise and your personal opinion/outlook can when you are looking to commit to someone or something you must consider the costs and benefits to every situation.

You have the ability to evaluate the situation before you dedicate yourself to a decision. The time allocated to do this can minimize disruption, reduce disappointment, and decrease the amount of time wasted when making a poor decision for your particular situation.

A decision is a commitment to act. And unfortunately when you make that decision, you are stuck with it and have to deal with any positive or negative experiences that comes with it. That said, you must be prepared to embrace the outcome and realize everyone that is involved or it affects.

For example.

If you make the commitment for a job and then on the first day, after 40+ hours of being trained for the role, you decide it isn't for you because you think you should go back to school...EVALUATE this before you start! The reality is, the person that just trained you 40+hours probably doesn't have 40+hours to waste...and if they do, they don't want to waste it on you.


If you decide to have children and then choose that parenting isn't for you...guess what, you signed up for it and leaving them without someone to guide, teach, and mentor them isn't fair to them. If you don't want to be a parent, evaluate this before hand and choose not to have kids.

Plain and Simple.

When you make a decision, face what comes with it (whether you like it or not). And if that means to take more time to evaluate before you dedicate just that!

Written by Curtis Christopherson.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Shift in Business Mentality.

The term "International Business" - does it really matter any more?  We say that because there are few if any businesses that are disconnected from the global web of inputs and purchases.  Hence, does it make sense to talk about international business any more, or should we just consider it to be a more complex case of coping over distances?  

Point here is that competition rules; not geography.  But geographic names – countries – are "containers" for work practices enabled by legal systems and culture.  So the future of competition may rest on more than just corporate shoulders.  

Why this lead in?  Because the article which follows tells a remarkable story about how China captured the assignment of manufacturing the iPhone.  No, it wasn't because of low cost – and that's the point. Competitive capabilities evolve.  China may have a low cost advantage in some fields, but today has a far different advantage that will be hard to beat. Unless, of course, you think of a way.  

Read on. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Five Mistakes Warner Bros. Will Probably Make on the Justice League Movie

I know.  

Unless you're part of the unofficial comic book geek/movie buff club that I've designated myself into (I suspect there are more of us out there than I would guess - but I don't know if you read this blog), then you're wondering how this is relevant to you.  Well - consider this a metaphor for business.  If you have a brilliant idea and want to start something of your own, or even if you simply have a project that you're working on within your current career - take the next five items and apply it to your creative process as a "litmus test".  Also, keep in mind I'm not saying that the movie (or your business, or your project) can't or won't succeed despite how it measures up relative to these five items - but if you take them into account before starting, at least you're coming at it with your eyes wide open.

So, with that in mind - here are five ways I think that Warner Bros will likely screw this project up:
  1. Release it at the wrong time.  Yes, I know The Avengers is destroying the competition at the box office.  Put The Justice League out too early, and you're going to become part of the carnage.  Wait too long, and you'll lose the momentum.
  2. Take shortcuts and rush to release it.  Aside from the aforementioned point in regards to timing - a rushed project is rarely a good project.  Don't sacrifice quality for speed.
  3. Blindly copying the formula.  Just because it worked for The Avengers, doesn't mean it will work for you.  Part of the success that Avengers has found is because it was organic, and worked from a consistent vision right from the beginning.
  4. Ignoring the formula.  There are certain things you don't mess with in the mythos - know what those things are and stay true (I'm sorry, but Nicolas Cage in a glowing, plastic space suit is not, and never would have been, a good Superman.  True story.  Saw the concept pictures.  It was awful).
  5. Being afraid to change the things that don't work.  Despite what I've said previously, remember, you can't please everyone - someone will hate you if you make a change, others will hate you if you don't change it (while a glowing, plastic suit might not work - neither does bright blue tights and red spandex shorts.  You can stay true to the source without "Copy/Paste").

I will also say - the production company might do everything listed above... and still have a successful franchise on it's hands.  It's a guarantee for success or failure either way...

Sometimes, it's all about luck and momentum.


Friday, June 08, 2012

What Was The Name Of Your First Pet?

Many of us are animal lovers, myself included. While running on the trails of the North Shore last weekend I saw quite a few of us out and about with our pooches. It got me thinking, how different is taking care of a pet than taking care of your body? Isn't your body kind of like your pet?

You need to feed, water and exercise it on a regular basis in order to keep it healthy and happy. It may not be able to speak in words, but it will tell you in other ways if you're doing something wrong (thankfully, pooping on the rug is not one of them).

Wouldn't it be interesting to start thinking of our bodies as our pets. How would that change what we feed ourselves? Would we be so excited for table scraps or would we opt for something a little more gourmet? Would getting outside and exercising be such a chore or would it become something we looked forward to? 

Now, I'm not suggesting taking this thought process to extremes (no doggy treats for dessert) but maybe flip the switch and realize that our body, like our pet is our responsibility and as such our job is to take care of it to the best of our abilities. We wouldn't abuse our pets, so why would we abuse our bodies? 

'The problem with loving is that pets don't last long enough and people last too long.' 

~ Sasha


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

How bad do you want it?

How bad you want it transcends beyond 'talk', which is where the bulk of the people are eliminated. How bad you want it requires tangible actions.
To reiterate, the gap between talk and action is expansive.

How bad you want it is like a test. Shortly after you get started, you'll be introduced to your first barrier. Its the outcome's way of saying 'are you sure you want to pursue this?'. If you're tenacious enough to clear the first barrier, the outcome will have 3-4-5-6-10-20 more barriers to work though, around, over and under. All at different heights, depths, weights and magnitudes. Once you venture down the how bad you want it highway, the outcome must make sure you're serious. After all, ANYTHING great requires a great deal of work and there are not that many outcomes reached on a Global basis.

The outcome needs to know you're vested. Not just along for the up side, but truly vested. This is the outcomes way of differentiating you... from all the wannabes out there who are not willing to SACRIFICE anything to get to it. Those who want to join AFTER the trail has been blazed. Those who quit when the going gets tough and those who try to take the path of least resistance.

THE OUTCOME ISN'T COMING TO YOU - YOU MUST MAKE YOUR WAY TO THE OUTCOME. There are millions waiting for that free ride... that's not coming.

The outcome is all about RESULTS. Not would, could, should, maybe, kind of, sort of but did, finished, stats and done.

So the next time you think of something you would like to have, experience, or take part in ask yourself one question; how bad do you want it. Unless it's REALLY BAD, don't waste the outcomes time.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Social Leader

Are you a social leader? 

We don’t mean someone that walks around the office talking, socializing, and being off task. We are also not referring to the social butterfly that likes to gossip, talk about others, or have the latest 'intel'. A social leader is someone who knows they don’t work alone, that relationships matter, and that 'social work' will always trump isolated star performance in the long run. These are characteristics of the social leader - and there are benefits to be one! 

Before we jump into more about being a social leader, let's not confuse social media with social leadership. Social media can be a tool for our social leadership but you don’t have to tweet, update on Facebook, contribute to Google+, build a LinkedIn page to be a social leader. In many ways social leadership works best in person (yes, face to face like the 'good ole days') and social media may be used as a tool to avoid authentic social settings. 

Many of us have probably been at a conference lately and when you look around you see about half the audience on their tablets, smart phones, and notebooks. Some of them actively tweeting and updating their 'social pages'. However, if you engage in only that type of social interaction, that is closer to being a broadcaster vs. the social entrepreneur. Those people are more in tune with the screens in front of them than the speaker or the person sitting beside them. Sometimes it seems we screen out social interaction with a stronger connection to our screens than to the people in the room. Social leadership in the workplace is less about tools and more about people and our connection to others. The medium here is not the only message; the greater message is that we are working with and through connection.

The conventional definition of leadership or management is getting work done through people - assigning and appointing tasks. Today management and leadership is getting work done with people and developing people through work - better known as empowerment. There is a big difference. Empowerment is spending the necessary time with the 'right' individuals and then teaching, leading, and engaging them to learn how to complete a task at a high level. It is the delegation with the necessary follow up for learning to occur. When we spend 'time with' the people that we should be connecting with...guess what? We actually CONNECT.  

As a leader, you may be on your own in some of your work but you are never alone. That's kind of contradicting? Yes but not really. The questions lies here - are you prepared, motivated, and skilled to give the best and get the best out of work by being one of the new social leaders as we move towards a more connected vision of work? Because if you are...finish reading our blog and go connect with someone face to face - that's where the really work get's done!