Wow, the year is already half over! How can that be possible?

It's been a fantastic first two quarters. I completed 33 projects, for 17 clients in 12 different industries. Here are a few highlights:

  • luggageTravel: Most of these projects required travel, so I had a lot of time in limos, taxis, airports and hotels. I took over 50 flights.

  • Programs: Repeatable Successful Acts - The behaviors of million dollar producers dominated my work in sales. We are now seeing the quantitative results from the sales teams that added the RSAs to their regular sales practices and to their sales processes. It's great news, as they have ALL seen sales bumps that they attribute in large part to the RSA work. I have also updated the 21 RSAs with new data and a new part of the program featuring the key behaviors of buyers at the million dollar level.

  • huddleNew Programs: The second quarter saw the launch of two new strategic platforms. The Opportunity of Meeting features a new way to gain a huge advantage with your meeting strategies, and Dazzling Blue teaches the truly short distance between ordinary and extraordinary performance.

  • Dallas Morning News Article: I had the honor of being a featured front page interview in the Sunday business section of the 7th largest paper in the US. (Page 1, Page 2)

  • story boardCreative Ventures Projects: I have a number of new internal projects in full swing which include the new web site, a new look and feel for the blog, new videos (you can see some of them like "Invest In You" on YouTube), audio discussions (Windows Media Link), and a series of "short burst" articles that will be part of a series of different web and print-based media.

So, it was a fantastic first half of the year and I can hardly wait to jump into the second half.

Thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my stuff and the fantastic cadre of clients who allow me to be a part of their culture!


The Art of Accomplishment - Getting things done

"He who makes a thousand things and who has made none, both feel the same desire, to make something."-A Porchia

stacked foldersThere is something special about movement, the motion that defines a successful company. It's often hard to see or define because it springs from such a wide variety of locations... from research and development, from design, from sales, from strategy, and most importantly, from leadership. Movement is about doing, about embarking on a forward-driven journey. It's about action.

There is a specific strategy around getting things done, steps to be followed, opportunities to be discovered. Here are a few of the core ingredients:

  • water splashClarity: Do you have any idea how much undefined and unactionable crap undermines our ability to get things done? We are buried in it, those things that form road blocks on the way to our primary goals. They encroach on our vision, they drag on our productivity, and they often happen in a manner that disguises their detrimental impact. How do we clear this "restrictive fog" so that we have a better sense of clarity? One of my clients uses a very simple but powerful strategy - THE ONE (an adaptation of the One Level Above strategy from the RSA platform). Here's how it works:

    • Define your primary task in ONE word. For example, if you are a sales manager or producer, the word is SALES. If you are in a support position, the word is SUPPORT. If you teach, your word might be TRAINING.

    • Now take ONE week and track where all your time is being spent. I do mean ALL your time. This is cumbersome and repetitive, but an essential part of THE ONE strategy.

    • Sit down and look at your time data. If you are not spending 70%-80% of your time on your ONE WORD, start fixing your activities so that the focus becomes as clear as your one word.

  • multiple choiceThe Void of Deciding: Three frogs are sitting on a log and one decides to jump in the pond. How many frogs are left on the log? Three. Deciding is NOT doing. Decisions by themselves are empty. What stops most decisions from becoming action? It's our obsession for making only the right choice. We want 100% impact. I call this the MYTH OF 100%. The reality is that nothing, no known system operates at 100%, and our search for this type of certainty buries us in data and meetings. David Kelley, the founder and CEO of IDEO (the award winning global design firm), said, "Enlightened trial and error outperforms the planning of flawless intellects." Make a small shift in your strategy to discover how new ideas can be leveraged by taking a few small steps that carry with them a little uncertainty.

    Burt's Bees, the natural personal care products company (best lip balm on the planet) started by moving from honey sales to figuring out a way to use all the bee's wax they had stored in the shed, to trial launches of new products ranging from toothpaste to shampoo. They would launch the idea, adjust based on input and sales, then re-launch. They now have 197 products carried in over 30,000 retail outlets. Send your idea out there and pay attention to its journey.

There is an art form to getting things done. It usually is just a simple, powerful, and elegant shift in your daily perspective to move from thinking about it to DOING IT.

hammer attack computer


Email and Stress: No surprise for any of you that office stress is linked to email. A recent study at Boston University found three (I love these guys for supporting my Law of Three) key connections: 1st - It's not the amount of email but the amount of time it takes to read and respond (Huh? Isn't the amount of email directly related to the time of reading and response?), 2nd - There is no inappropriate time to send an email. This blurs the continually shifting lines between home and work, and 3rd - People expect a damn quick response to their email, causing the recipients to begin an "email freak out." Adding to the stress is the fact that the researchers determined over 80% of emails need additional clarification because they are so poorly written. Their suggestions: keep content simple, use limited bullet points instead of narratives, and put any needed action up front.

Ask for Help: Facebook just announced it is forming a 12-person client council to help facilitate dialogue between Facebook and their major advertisers. Their charge is to continue to push barriers with ideas to develop creative marketing solutions. Senior executives from Coca Cola and global marketing firm Interpublic Group are the types of participants involved. This is a great example of a formal mechanism that creates engagement and participation in an effort to create mutually beneficial opportunities.


pushing puzzle pieces

CarMax logo


Used Cars are Booming: You have probably read about the uptick in car sales from the major auto manufacturers but it is not restricted to just new cars. CarMax, one of the used car retail giants are a great example. Their first quarter showed net sales at about $2.68 billion, an 18% increase from just a year ago. That resulted in a $126.3 million profit, a whopping 25% increase from 2010. Need a new car? Perhaps taking a look at a nice resale might be a good value!

Interested in these ideas?


You can contact Steve at steve@creativeventures.com or give him a call at 972-490-7717.
See more at creativeventures.com and stephenharvill.com

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