thermometerAnd I thought July was hot! Geez, Dallas is like living in the desert... only with no casinos! It has actually been cooler in Las Vegas this summer than in Dallas, and Las Vegas is in the middle of the damn desert! Despite the heat, August was a fantastic month for Creative Ventures projects. I did nine projects for seven clients in six different industries. Now that will keep you on your toes!

  • The month started with a series of West Coast meetings around a couple of 4th quarter projects designed to kick-start a new sales process for 2012.

  • Then I had the honor of continuing my involvement with a favorite client to teach interpersonal communications as part of their fantastic sales training program.

  • street sign easy way hard wayI facilitated a strategic platform around the idea of continuous transformation with a group of brilliant designers. Last minute changes to this project kept me challenged and a little bit crazy, but transformation movements are like that. They are constantly moving, flexing and shifting. If you embark on this type of change, you'd better be ready to rumble!

  • I remain amazed at the lightning fast start of my latest program, "DAZZLING BLUE - The Incredibly Short Distance Between Ordinary and Extraordinary." I now have three clients engaged in this strategy. In August I had the honor of presenting the idea three times and will be presenting it four more times within the next 4 weeks! WOW, some ideas just gain traction so fast!

  • I had the honor of teaching a new class that combined two of my core educational platforms, Thinking and Planning. You may have seen the Facebook pictures of our participants working on different exercises.

  • Repeatable Successful Acts (RSA) continued its strong strategic sales push and is now a critical part of the sales process for over 15 of my clients. I got to present the idea to a group of high net worth clients in August.

  • Last but not least, I had the EXTREME honor of launching one of the most ambitious client Innovation/Transformation strategies I have ever seen. Full of courage and adventurous thinking, this movement will transform a 109 year-old American corporate giant!

bulls eye on dart board with lucky starHey, I had award winning Dallas Morning News journalist, Cheryl Hall, give me another nice write up in her Sunday morning business column.

In a world that consistently shifts the very foundations we stand on, I know how blessed I am to have clients and you, who will take time from this hectic world to read my stuff. As the Caribbean poet Jimmy Buffett sings, I've got a roof over my head, someone to love me and a four poster bed and I can play this here guitar, I THANK MY LUCK STARS.


What the heck am I supposed to do????

"Woke up. Wished that I was dead. Had an aching in my head. Lay motionless in bed.

The night is here and the day has gone. And the world spins madly on."

-The Weepies

I know, I know, it's crazy out there. Stuff hits us right in the face every day. We have become news addicts, and like junkies we are waiting for our next disaster fix. Markets shift and change on a smile or a frown, and we are supposed to make sense of it, even lead in it, but our decision-making processes are frozen in a gridlocked overload of options and strategies. Yes, I know you have heard this from me before (December 2010 newsletter), but now it's time to DO IT!

The reality is that most of the stuff shooting into our cerebral synapses is out of our control. We have no power over macro issues. The impact of debt in Greece, the US job market, fluctuating credit ratings (care to explain to me how the Isle of Man has a better credit rating than the most powerful nation in the world?), and other mind-numbing issues are important to understand but should be nowhere near the doable ideas or strategies that will move us forward. So what should be do, where should our focus be? How can we make a market impact as "the world spins madly on?"

You will be glad to know there are two key areas I would recommend, with three steps to make each impactful.

SKILL SETS: Here is a simple formula - Get better at what you do. No matter what happens out there in the big ol' bad world, in here you can improve your professional skills and become an even bigger asset to your company and yourself. In times of uncertainty, companies and individuals should focus on controlling growth strategies. Studies at The Wharton School of Business, the Sloan School of Business at MIT, and countless others have found that "the education and training variable is the most significant predictor of a company's success." Yet, when times get tough, companies slash training budgets. HUH? Remember, in times of chaos, a focus on impact is critical. Take some strategic time and look at your training and education programs. You control this variable. Make your team better thinkers, decision makers, communicators and planners. Focus on the significant. Build your internal institute of learning and do it NOW.

THE EVER-PRESENT CLIENT EXPERIENCE: I preach and preach to clients, companies, and varied audiences that if you are not constantly evaluating, changing, and shifting towards improving your client experience, you are dooming your organization to the "commodity trash heap." Again, here is a controllable impact point. YOU are the architect, builder and delivery person of how your customers experience YOU. Guess what? They're looking for something different from everybody else, unique, memorable, impactful and consistent. Does that describe your clients' experience? If not, focus resources and creative thinking HERE! I cannot overemphasize this point, and you can review past newsletters to see its theme woven through idea after idea. Yet I still see companies, even my own clients, that fail to drive their attention in this arena. Any step forward begins, as does any great strategy, with an accurate statement of current reality. Can you even define or map out your client experience (January 2010 newsletter)? Ask your core sales team to try this exercise. I'll bet the results will surprise you. Current reality will show you clear opportunities to move that important emotional connection of YOUR experience forward. Challenge yourself at the DAZZLING BLUE level, at becoming extraordinary.

Next, what are the filters to these strategies? You may have already guessed, there are three parts:

  • UNIFIED PURPOSE: Make SURE everyone understands what the goal is and how each one is part of the process of getting there. The higher the involvement, the higher the engagement.

  • COMMUNICATION RIVER: I don't want a communication stream, I want a communication river. Keep everyone informed on the progress of the initiative. Make the communications unique and impactful so people WANT to know.

  • IT'S SOMEONE'S JOB - PERIOD! Accountability drives motion. Guess what? Some one is responsible for every thing. Make sure those team members know that movement needs energy, and that THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE for making sure the energy is leading to the UNIFIED PURPOSE.

Though the world still spins madly on, you don't have to play the role of only being along for the ride!

If You Love Your Job, You Will Never Work a Day in Your Life: Vin Scully, the world famous announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers, just announced he will be back behind the microphone for his 63rd season! You read that right, 63 years on the job. Heck, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame over 20 years ago! To give his career some perspective, he has called three perfect games, 19 no hitters, 12 All Star Games, and 25 World Series. He called Henry Aaron's epic 715th home run and Kirk Gibson's 1988 bottom of the ninth, game-winning home run. He called Barry Bond's record breaking 71st, 72nd and 73rd home runs and the scoreless-inning winning streaks of both Don Drysdale and Orel Hershiser. When Vin started his career, gas was $ .27 a gallon, a first class letter was $ .03, and the minimum wage was $ .75 an hour. Vin Scully was a critical part of my Southern California childhood, and I am grateful for this master of his craft returning to "work!"

"I Gotta Run to the Post Office:" That sentence is apparently to disappear soon from our vocabulary, as the US Postal Service (USPS) is teetering on economic collapse. Long relying on first class mail to carry its financial load, the USPS has seen a steady erosion of that source of revenue since 2000, which is coincidently the time when e-mail and private carriers such as UPS and FedEx started to explode. USPS' key idea is a return to the past, just changing locations. They hope to close many post offices and integrate their services into grocery and drug stores. I was a little worried about the idea when I heard their integration plan includes "5 and 10 Stores". HUH? Do dime stores even exist anymore? I think they have been replaced by The Dollar Stores. The USPS might want to update their thinking! And re-think their business!

An Ode to Numbers: A recent article in the Wells Fargo Daily Advantage caught my eye. Adam Kurkewicz did some number crunching on the Dow Jones' ups and downs. 2011 is NOT a repeat of 2008 (at least not yet). 2008 was the worst year of the recent financial meltdown and ranked 4th in the percentage of daily price changes behind 1930, 1931 and 1932, respectively. 1930 was 2.61%, 1931 was 2.09%, 1932 was 2.0%, and last (and least) in the dubious lineup was 2008, at 1.61%. 2011 through August 15 was a measly 0.76%. While this does not make the volcanic movement of the Dow Jones less stressful, it does provide a modicum of context. At the end of the day, "the world will still spin madly on."

The September newsletter is dedicated to Philip Trimble, a good friend who left us way before his time.

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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