Week of November 15, 2010

Hey everyone, here we go. . . . . .

 

IN OUR WORLD

 

I am at the end of week three of the 17 city tour that is taking me from Coast to Coast to introduce the Repeatable Successful Acts platform.  This week I am in kind of chilly Wisconsin.  No snow, but “jacket” weather for sure!

 

Seems getting caught up when I am actually in the office becomes a real priority with my travel being a weekly reality.

 

I am so honored to have the continued opportunity to share ideas and strategies.

 

Many of the ideas I launched early in the year are now become real core strategies for my clients.

 

I have a series of meetings recently all geared towards 2011 projects.

 

I am always amazed at the connections that happen on my jammed packed calendar.  In a month where I have two open weeks, I get all the requests for time and projects on the two weeks that are already booked!

 

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  I find so much to be grateful for, so many blessings in my life.  I am grateful to all of you, who continue to read my articles, attend my programs, apply my strategies and engage in my ideas.  THANKS for allowing me to continue in the best job on the planet!

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and may your turkey be juicy, your dressing be savory and may your pumpkin pie find some room in that crowded belly!!!

 

 

HEY, YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER –CREATIVEVENTURE

 

AND ON FACEBOOK – STEPHEN HARVILL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

 

 

I have recently had the honor of doing a number of magazine interviews thanks to the efforts of my PR guru Darren Horwitz.  Many of the sessions involve writers looking for predictions for the 2011 business year.  What are the key trends that will impact companies?  What will be the key players, technology, and social media?  What is the next hot button?

 

The bottom line is that there will be myriad impact ideas hitting the explosive and volatile business environment, both on the local, national and worldwide stage.  Some are easy targets while others are more than somewhat elusive.

 

I answered a recent request from the Wall Street Journal with a very simple idea.  Businesses would be best served by taking a big strategic punch at the things they can control.  In a world of lightning fast unpredictability the idea of focusing on simple impact ideas should be enticing. 

 

Think about a couple of simple ideas to include in your 2011 planning.

 

PLANNING:  Hard to believe, but most people don’t know how to plan.  Planning is a skill set and involves how you think and filter the decision process.  Focus some resources around teaching the proper steps in strong planning.

 

TRAINING:  Focus on training as a fundamental part of your 2011 strategy.  By increasing the skill sets of your team, you increase the outcome of their actions.

 

Two simple ideas to add to your 2011 thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

ENTERTAINMENT

 

 

MOVIES:  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:  The Potter movies have all been fantastic and this new one, the darkest of them all, directed by Chris Columbus will be a shining star of a rather disappointing November!

 

NetFlix Fans:   Mystery Science Theater 3000 Vol XIX:  If you have never seen MST, I can’t recommend it enough.  It is a sarcasm fest where characters are forced to watch a horrifically bad movie and they make smart ass remarks all through the movie.  Sounds weird I know, but VERY FUNNY.

 

TV:   With all my travel I am having a hell of a time keeping up with all my shows.  Now House always gets watched and this past Monday’s episode with small pox at the center of the plot was DAMN FANTASTIC!  I have the following in DVR purgatory – Castle (love this show), NCIS (the best of the crime procedural shows)  The Mentalist (love this show), Psych (love this show), Burn Notice (like this show but I am tired of Jesse).  Well, that’s the boob tube line up.

 

BOOKS:  A New Kind of Science  – Wolfram:  A really interesting look at patterns and complexity.  It is kind of hard core science, but delivered with a very understandable style

 

 

MUSIC:   You probably don’t think of me as a fan of musicals and you would be kind of right. BUT and this is a big BUT, there are a couple I love and this is from one of those – WICKED.

 

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wicked&aq=f          

 

 

WEB SITES:   I often use simple sketching when I storyboard an idea.  Here is a simple tutorial on getting started.

 

http://www.wikihow.com/Sketch       

 

 

SOUTH OF NORMAL

 

Even in tough times the luxury gift market still pushes Christmas presents that make you shake your head.

 

  • Sotheby’s is pushing a 24 carat pink diamond at a special Holiday auction for a mere $37 million.  Maybe put it on your Visa Card??
  • In Dubai you can book a pre-holiday flight package that includes a gold tattoo – yep, a gold tattoo.  They run from about $50 to $5,000.  They are exterior skin tattoos that last about a week.
  • Senz has now produced the “best” umbrella in the world for less than $80!  Seems a small price to pay to get something that is the best in the world.

 

So if your Holiday list is lacking choices you can go shopping South of Normal and pick up a few things!

 

 

 

 

 

Drop me a note with your comments at steve@creativeventures.com

 

 

 

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, Adios and Aloha.

Week of November 8, 2010

Hey everyone, here we go. . . . . .

IN OUR WORLD

I’m coming to you live from “kind of wintery” Minneapolis in week two of my 17 cities in 7 week tour.  This week had me in Los Angeles, Costa Mesa and now Minneapolis.  It was wicked fun as I had the opportunity to share ideas with entirely new groups of sales professionals.

The travel is a real challenge but as a seasoned road warrior, you get sort of used to it.  The problem is that as you get into winter season travel and both packing and problems will tend to increase in size.  The schedule is tight and any change in the weather that delays flights will throw a real wrench into the works.  So far, so good.

In between jet setting around the country, I have a ton of other stuff still on my plate:

  • Curriculum Design:  I have two 2011 curriculum projects for two different clients that I am honored to be involved with.  Both are in content development phases with incredibly challenging delivery models due to over 30 offices involved in the training.
  • Idea Integration:  I have a large Repeatable Successful Acts integration project that has the possibility to have a huge impact on 2011.  We just in the integration discussion part of the project.
  • Creative Ventures Projects:  I have a lot of stuff going on internally with a new web site getting ready to launch, new videos in post production mode and the development of my 2011 plan needing attention.

All in all, it’s busy, exciting and fun times!

HEY, YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER –CREATIVEVENTURE

AND ON FACEBOOK – STEPHEN HARVILL!

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

I thought I would “scatter shoot” about some interesting stuff, so here is a hodgepodge of tidbits:

  • US Air is gear up for a rush of predicted business.  They are hiring 500 pilots and flight attendants.  Couple that with Delta’s getting ready to add a 1000 flight attendants and pilots and this could point to resurgence in air travel.
  • Chrysler, once the poster child for bad autos, just behind GM is riding the success of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee to find its way within sight of profitability.  They cut losses in half in the 2nd quarter and by year end the project to triple operating profits.  Not bad Jeepsters.  I miss my Wrangler!
  • Ebooks on the rise.  I have written a number of times about the rise of electronic books, so it’s no real news that the numbers are still booming.  Here is the interesting thing about the evolution of the Kindle age; publishers won their fight to get higher prices for their ebook editions and this actually made companies like Amazon more profitable as they had been eating a huge hunk of the reduced prices of their ebooks.  With a little money in their pockets they applied their new found gains to reducing the price of their readers.  The web based Kindle is now $139 making it a must buy this holiday season.

I know I get accused of being an optimist when it comes to American business, but I am blessed with seeing the picture from a much larger frame than most.  Every week I am working with a variety of businesses ranging from financial services to food services.  This expanded view provides me a different perspective and I am seeing distinct signs of positive business movement.

ENTERTAINMENT

MOVIES: Unstoppable : I’m a big Denzel fan and though this looks like a mindless action movie, I think that will fit the movie going bill!

NetFlix Fans: Sherlock – Season I:  If you missed the updated Sherlock (Holmes in modern day London) that I have been RAVING about, this is your chance to watch all three episodes’.

TV: The new season of the USA Network shows hit the TV screen this week with Burn Notice and Psych, both worthy of your DVR!

BOOKS:  Hell’s Corner  – Baldacci:  I continue on my favorite author fiction tour as Baldacci gives us the 4th book in the Camel Club series.  I love these characters and the 3rd book in the series was one of the best books I have read in recent memory.

MUSIC: I was listening to Paul Simon on my way back from Southern California and thought you might enjoy this version of Still Crazy After All These Years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46bkXgxb66E

WEB SITES: Want to think like Sherlock Holmes?  This is a good starting point.

http://www.wilywalnut.com/sherlock.html

SOUTH OF NORMAL

Hard to believe that watching a card game would become a major TV event but the World Series of Poker has become a watching phenom.  ESPN had 25 Hi-Def cameras (including lipstick cams that showed each players “hole” cards).  Those cameras were manned by a 71 person production team.  The stakes are high with the winner, 23 year old Jonathon Duhamel walking away with $8.9 million.  This has become a young person’s game with most of the players in their 20’s.

The internet has created an entire population of card sharks by providing great opportunities to learn and play.

Poker is a REALLY BIG DEAL!

Drop me a note with your comments at steve@creativeventures.com

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, Adios and Aloha.

Week of November 1, 2010

Hey everyone, here we go. . . . . .

IN OUR WORLD

I’m back home from week one of the 17 cities in 7 weeks road show.  I started the week in Memphis where the Repeatable Successful Acts sales platform was introduced to two different groups of financial services professionals.

I was whisked away from Memphis for a 3 ½ drive to Nashville where I introduced the RSA platform to a completely different group of sales professionals.  A quick change of flights got me home from Nashville a day earlier than expected (thank you American Airlines), giving me an extra day to prepare for next week’s trips that take me from Los Angeles to Orange County to Minneapolis!

The Tennessee road show was a fantastic experience with a tremendous level of acceptance for the RSA idea and its integration into existing sales processes.  The people were enthusiastic and as I was presenting I was watching an entire crowd frantically scribbling notes.

Though the schedule seems exhausting, it is really built around a unique form of energy that sustains all the rigors of the road.  The energy of new ideas and the value found in their application.

I am looking forward to next week!

If you didn’t get the November newsletter and would like a copy, just drop me a note and I’ll get it to you.

HEY, YOU CAN FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER –CREATIVEVENTURE

AND ON FACEBOOK – STEPHEN HARVILL!

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

I am ever amazed at the cornucopia of new ideas the hit our planet every day.  A week ago I had never heard of the following:

  • 37Signal’s new program – Highrise that manages customer relationships.  I use their Basecamp for collaborative project management, but this new program is a fantastic idea.
  • Expensify – a web based app that aims to simplify how office workers submit expenses.
  • Workday – a cloud based human resources and payroll app.

This past week I met with a friend who showed me a new internet based program that has the potential to revolutionize how tennis players use strategy to win matches.

The point being, as humans, we are “idea factories” and our ability to push boundaries and bridge problems is unlimited.

I was recently interviewed by an author working on a book about team dynamics and during the conversation she asked me where my ideas come from.  That’s a damn big question!  I shared with her a simple tool I use – Idea Journals.  I am constantly researching in order to keep up with all my clients and the wide variety of industries I have the honor of working with.  When you go from financial services to insurance to food services to technology, you had better know what the hell is going on.

I record ideas, observations and key information in my Idea Journal.  My walls are filled with these journals that I have accumulated over the years.  When I am working on something new like our team platform – THE CURIOUS CLARITY OF TEAMS, I will go to these idea journals to find support material or ideas to enhance a core concept.

It’s a simple process and here are the steps to get you going:

  • Find a notebook you like.  I recommend one that has ring or spiral binding.  Traditional glue binding makes it hard to write on both sides of a page.  Make sure it has good paper that can take an ink pen without bleeding to the other side.
  • Keep it handy.  This means it can’t be too big or it is a pain to haul around.  Keep it on your desk and available as a new idea pops into your gray matter.
  • Date each time you enter something.  This makes it easier to know how current the piece of info is when you go back and do some review.
  • Write and sketch so you can read it.  I learned that when I hurry and scribble I often can’t figure out what the hell I wrote.

Give it a try and you will find a great home for your ideas.

ENTERTAINMENT

MOVIES: Due Date: Previews of this kind of remake of Planes, Trains and Automobiles make this movie look hilarious!  With the Rangers gone and the Cowboys at a dismal 1-6, it means a return to the weekly movies – Yeah!

NetFlix Fans: Toy Story III:  No one and I mean NO ONE tells a better story than Pixar.  This third edition of the Woody/Buzz adventures is a tear jerker full of emotion and depth of feelings.  Yeah, I know, it’s a cartoon (no it’s not, it’s an animated film!).

TV: I spend tons of time in hotel rooms, so my TV watching is probably bigger and wider than the average person.  I have told you about the new Sherlock Holmes (FANTASTIC) and that the new season for the USA shows is getting ready to kick off with Psych and Burn Notice, but take a look at the Fox series Human Target.  I think you’ll become a fan.  Plus, thank goodness House is back on Monday!!!

BOOKS:  American Assassin  – Flynn:  When I travel I read fiction.  It’s fun and entertaining.  The past few weeks have been a bonanza for me as some of my favorite authors have new books out.  Last week I feasted on Lee Childs latest Jack Reacher adventure and this week I am back with one of the toughest guys in fiction – Mitch Rapp.

MUSIC: I have been learning Springsteen’s Blinded By The Light on the guitar and though the cords are simple the damn lyrics are NOT!  So I have been using this fantastic version from VH1’s Storytellers as my primer.

WEB SITES: Want to think like Sherlock Holmes?  This is a good starting point.

http://www.wilywalnut.com/sherlock.html

SOUTH OF NORMAL

Thankfully, both my son’s were born pre-SpongeBob Square Pants, but there is no denying his impact;

  • Good old SpongeBob has $8 billion in merchandise sales.
  • He  is broadcast in 171 markets.
  • There is 70 million monthly viewers.
  • SpongeBob had been 31 with 2-11 year olds for 9 straight years.
  • His movie made $140 million!

Good old SpongeBob is a power player!

Drop me a note with your comments at steve@creativeventures.com

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, Adios and Aloha.