Posts Tagged ‘organization’

One sheets are single page, 8 ½ by 11-inch, marketing documents used by authors to promote their books and build their profits by attracting speaking invitations and promoting their coaching and consulting services.

One sheets can be as simple, or elaborate, as desired. You can create them using either one, or both sides, of a sheet of paper. One sheets are typically formatted and distributed as Adobe Acrobat PDF files. They can be downloaded from your website, or sent as e-mail attachments. One sheets can also be printed, or commercially duplicated, as needed for face-to-face meetings or special events.

How authors use one sheets

Here are some of the ways you can put one sheets to work:

  • Sell more books. Authors typically prepare separate one sheets for each of their book titles. Each book is typically described within the broader context of the author’s qualifications and previous publishing experience.
  • Attract more invitations to speak. One-sheets make it easy for authors to showcase their qualifications and experiences to conference planners and event organizers. You can create a generic speaker one sheet that describes the different topics you speak on, or you can prepare a different one-sheet for each specific keynote or presentation topic. See sample speaker one sheets.
  • Products and services. One sheets make a lot more sense than the typical pre-printed 2 or 3-fold brochures used for promoting events, like teleseminars, and coaching and consulting services. Because of their low cost, one sheets can be targeted for specific markets. Authors frequently use them for marketing information products like e-books, e-courses, conferences, and software templates.

Print them as you need them

In many ways, one sheets are replacing traditional 2-fold and 3-fold printed brochures. Internet distribution means there are no minimums that need to be printed, and there are no distribution delays or mailing costs.

Even better, you can quickly and easily update and target your one sheets for new products or specific prospects or market segments.

One sheet power at work

As you can see from the example of Steve Savage’s speaker one sheet, one sheets formatted as PDFs combine space for a detailed message with a lot of visual impact.

It’s important to remember that, unlike web pages, one sheets formatted and shared as Adobe Acrobat PDF file’s preserve their design and formatting when downloaded and printed on conventional desktop printers.

The ability to print and share one sheets distributed as PDFs is extremely important. For example, when an event planner wants to hire a speaker, they typically will share the author’s one sheets when seeking their boss’s and co-worker’s approval. .

Characteristics of successful one sheets

Here are some content ideas to bear in mind when creating one sheets:

  • Headline. Each one sheet should begin with an engaging headline that appeals to the prospect’s need to solve a problem or achieve a goal. The headline should summarize the problem the author’s product or service addresses, or how attendees will benefit from the product or service.
  • Benefits. Each one sheet should tell a complete story. It should provide all of the information that a book buyer, event organizer, or prospective client needs to know. Categories of information include contents, the author’s qualifications, background, and contact information.
  • Proof. One sheets should prove the author’s ability by including reader or reviewer comments, typical clients, and testimonials from previous attendees, buyers, or event planners.

One sheets can benefit from direct response copywriting techniques. The headline should engage the prospect’s interest and sell the importance of the first sentence. The first sentence should sell the importance of  the next sentence, and so on through the one sheet. The goal is to lead the prospect to the inexcusable conclusion that the speaker, product, or service represents a quality, “safe” investment.

One sheet organization and design

Design will play a major role in the effectiveness of your one sheets. Like the previous example, Steve Savage’s consulting one sheet contains a lot of text, yet it is easy to read and presents a professional, upscale image. Contributing to the success of Steve’s one sheets are design techniques like:

  • Organization. Colored backgrounds organize information into logical sections.
  • Photography. The varying size and placement of the photographs adds visual impact and communicates Steve’s energetic way of engaging audiences.
  • Chunking. Information is broken up into bite-sized pieces. Lists are used to add visual interest and communicate at a glance.
  • Subheads. New topics are introduced by subheads set in a contrasting typeface, type size, and color.
  • Consistency. A few key colors are used with restraint. The same colors are used on each of Steve’s one sheets, projecting a consistent “family look.”

Templates and one sheets

Authors should base their one sheets on templates, permitting them to “design once, produce often.”

Instead of trying to create their own one sheets from scratch, (which can lead to amateurish results), or hiring graphic designers to produce each one sheet, (which can be expensive), authors should consider hiring a professional designers to create a one sheet template they can easily modify for specific projects.

Suggestion

Start your one sheet marketing by creating a single one sheet that promotes your book and the speaking and presenting topics you offer based on your book. Later, you can prepare additional individual one sheets for specific speaking topics, products, and coaching or consulting services.

Note: for one week only, you can download my One Sheet Planning Worksheet from my special Active Garage resource page.

Is using Social Media an impediment to your Organization?

by Himanshu Jhamb on February 8, 2010

Au Contraire, it can lead to improved productivity and branding.

First and foremost, let’s get one thing clear about Social Media. It is not just a tool, or a tactic or even a strategy. It is simply a channel for having online conversations. Depending on if you know and intend to use it purposefully or not, it can increase productivity… or not. There are two kinds of stances organizations that do not believe in the power of Social Media take when it comes to using Facebook or Twitter, at work.

  1. Employees will be distracted. They’ll spend too much time on these sites and it will be an impediment to the actual work. So, they should not have access to these at work.
  2. Social Media is not useful at all. I don’t want to know when someone is going grocery shopping or cleaning his car.

The issue with the first stance is simply not about social media. It is about ethics. Just like you shouldn’t be browsing the internet for 7 hours a day in your 8 hour workday and you shouldn’t be chatting on the phone about your favorite football team with your buddy for the better part of your workday, you shouldn’t be using the different social media channels for extended periods of time. Blocking the websites wouldn’t do a lot of good if the people in your organization are looking to spend the majority of their working hours elsewhere. You might want to look at “Why are they distracted”? more than “What distracts them”?

The issue with the second stance is simply ignorance and a fixed way of thinking about social media. There are some Social Media Rockstars who have branded themselves impeccably using the various social media channels. It does not mean they have never got subjected to online conversations about grocery shopping from other folks. It simply means they have been participating and contributing to the social media space purposefully and with an open mind. They do not allow themselves to be led by popular opinion. They are in the department of changing the popular opinion… or even being a source of a new one! There is a reason why companies like CNN, BestBuy, Dell and JetBlue continue using Twitter and the reason is simply that were ready to experiment and they’ve found a way to make it work for whatever it is that they are after. Contrary to popular belief, these companies not only use Twitter as a channel to market their offers but also to have online conversations with their customers which, mind you, involves listening to the customer’s concerns and then engaging with them by taking action to best take care of them.

Regardless of your organization’s stance on Social Media, Social Media is here to stay. It’s not any different from any new practice or technology that is invented. About 30 years ago or so, with the advent of computers, we got a real taste of what machines can do from a small microchip. About 20 years ago or so, we got a taste of what connectivity means with the advent of the internet. Perhaps it’s time for organizations to give up their rigidity on Social Media and leap into this new decade with a sense of exploration and genuine intrigue to see what conversing online means with the advent of this dangerous opportunity (Social Media).

Performance comes from Performing People

by Guy Ralfe on January 27, 2010

Last week I was returning back from Europe to the USA via London’s Heathrow airport. I won’t go into the airport security experience, but to say that the whole security debacle, while necessary, produces such a negative image before you have even set foot in the country. My story begins after the pat down security screening. We cleared the gate and were walking down to board the aircraft when we were stopped at the entrance to the elevated gangway that connects the terminal to the aircraft.

Slowly the number of people backed up until there must have been around 40 passengers waiting to board. At this point an official notified us that we needed to wait a few minutes while some tests were conducted on the aircraft. A lady in front of me stepped forward and asked if there were any problems. The official discarded her request by saying it was just some routine maintenance checks. The lady returned to the line but was not quite at rest. Some time passed with engineers running back and forth past us out the gangway, before we were given a shouted out notice that they were having to start the aircraft engine to test it and the wait should only be another 10 min. The official disappeared but the lady ahead now looked decidedly uncomfortable.

When the official returned she asked him what was wrong? He responded routine maintenance again. She then became very concerned and began demanding that she see the signed maintenance work order, that she wanted to see the pilot’s signed approval. The official did not help the lady’s concerns and so she became louder and demanded even more proof of acceptance. The official said he would not be getting that for her but she then argued it was her right to see the authorizing paper. I am not sure if it was her right, but she now had 39 people focused on her.

I was intrigued watching the situation, now the other 39 people in the line were not concerned about the maintenance but rather was this lady going to cause a situation that delayed their flight? The official just wanted the lady to calm down and not work up a commotion among the crowd, he cared less about the maintenance – he was flying nowhere and just wanted this plane dispatched.

For me the intrigue was with the lady;

  • she felt so strongly that she pulled herself from the conforming crowd to take care of her concerns at any cost
  • in being so concerned she could not reason – no pilot would be taking-off if they had any doubts about the maintenance yet alone the 39 other passengers eager to board.

So where am I going with this observation? Following on from last week’s post Measure for Success, I have since been fortunate to participate in a strategic session based on the Franklin Covey designed, 4 Disciplines of Execution, methodology to align an Organization with its Goals/Objectives. This methodology is entrenched in setting up measures, more so it advocates the measurement of leading and lagging measures to help identify the onset of issues before they become issues. What my observation brought forward for me is that you need a methodology as a guiding principle for an organization but do not forget how that applies to the individual. Each person has their own set of concerns, part of this is their ambition and goals.

These concerns are what individuals hold most dearly and if we can align the correlation between the individuals concerns and the organization you can produce superior performance by the organization in the marketplace. If the lady did not hold her concern for safety she would not have mustered up the courage to go the extra mile and challenge the official – the other 39 people held the concern of getting out of the jetway, the same attitude held by your clock watchers in the organization.

Appraisals for Results

by Guy Ralfe on January 13, 2010

For many it is performance appraisal time of year, a time of reflection and setting of goals for the coming year. It is a frantic time as everyone digs deep to recall the goings on of the past 12 months. The net result is that employees are really only as good as the most recent performances their manager can recall at the time of the interview.

At the same time bonus packages are being calculated and targets adjusted for the coming year. This measure is usually computed month over month and so it does amass the individuals performance over the period. The trouble though, is that employees only appear to be conscious of this metric for the last 6 weeks of any bonus period as it is usually in this time frame they then can comprehend the chances of achieving their targets and gaining the benefit of a financial bonus.

For all the effort placed into the Appraisal and Bonus process it yields a relatively low return.

I read a quote made by Jacqueline Novogratz in her contribution on Dignity in the ebook What matters Now released here on Active Garage.

“Giving a poor person food or money might help them survive another day… but it doesn’t give them dignity. there’s a better way. Creating ways for people to solve their own problems isn’t just an opportunity in 2010. It is an obligation.”

Motivating individuals and aligning an organization is a difficult task at best, but if we think about it in the context of Jacqueline’s quote, making the goals and performance metrics to support building an individual’s dignity we could better produce the longer term objectives the appraisal process sets out to achieve for the organization and the individual. Today’s process supports the survival approach to objectives, not the fostering, growing and building produced through teaching someone how to do something.

Here are a few thoughts I had to create such a situation:

  1. Shorter time frames – measure and reward on a quarterly basis. Building dignity repeatedly will enforce the behavior.
  2. Center goals around the employee – focus on the employees ambitions and align the organizational metrics to that. When you are hungry you look for food, associate the corporate goals with the food and you will get a person working to take care of themselves and as a result the organization at the same time.
  3. Formulate don’t deliver/direct – mandating a goal is the same as being given something and not knowing how to fend for it again. Formulate a plan in a way that you educate how to attain the goal without directing to the goal. This produces stimulation, thought and learning which will go a long way to help individuals fend for themselves and the organization in the future.
  4. Social Dignity – we are all social by nature and need our networks to survive. Produce situations of dignity for the individual in their social network, at work or at play, will increase their stature as a result of attaining their goals.

Being human is to take care of ourselves first, look to that to produce better results from your employees and your organization.

Quality #8: Best Practices are Contextual

by Tanmay Vora on November 18, 2009

Welcome to the eighth post in this 12-part series on QUALITY, titled #QUALITYtweet – 12 Ideas to Build a Quality Culture.

Here are the first seven posts, in case you would like to go back and take a look:

  1. Quality #1: Quality is a long term differentiator
  2. Quality #2: Cure Precedes Prevention
  3. Quality #3: Great People + Good Processes = Great Quality
  4. Quality #4: Simplifying Processes
  5. Quality #5: Customers are your “Quality Partners”
  6. Quality #6: Knowing what needs improvement
  7. Quality #7: Productivity and Quality

#QUALITYtweet The best practices are contextual – they

worked well for someone in a given context. Are you

applying them in the right context?

Imagine a doctor prescribing a standard medicine based on common symptoms without carefully analyzing other ailments and patient history. A doctor knows the best medicine to cure a particular ailment, but he would look at a patient’s context and then decide if the “best medicine” is really best for a particular patient.

Process managers play a role of doctors for the organizations. They have to identify all possible problems (symptoms) and then suggest a solution (medicine). Best medicines for different types of ailments are termed as “best practices” in business.

Best practices are a set of processes that, in a given context, have the best likelihood of delivering quality products or services. In equation of context identification, some of the variables are:

  • Your goals as an organization
  • Market segment you operate in
  • Your target customers
  • Nature of your product / services
  • Types of customer you already serve
  • Team capabilities and internal alignment
  • Management commitment and sponsorship to improvement initiatives
  • External market pressures (e.g. recession)

The list can go on. Best practices often tend to ignore these variables because they worked in past for someone in a particular context. Their context may be different, but never a static one. Implementing best practice without considering organization’s context is like prescribing a standard medicine without looking into symptoms. Both can be equally dangerous!

So how are best practices useful? Studying best practices can give you some very useful insights on possible solutions for your business challenge. They offer alternative perspectives on ideas that can minimize your risks.

For process improvement experts, having access to best practices can be their biggest asset. But their ability to apply those best practices in an organization’s context is absolutely mandatory for success. As a professional, there is no fun in having a best practice for everything and a solution for nothing!

As an organization, you can leverage best practices by carefully studying them and mapping with your unique business challenges. For this, improvement managers need to understand nuts and bolts of business. Once the context is understood, best practices can become your best guide so that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. Depending on context, you can either implement a best practice as it is or select portions of a best practice that can be most useful for your context.

Simply believing that a best practice will work for you just because it worked for someone else in the past and applying them in vacuum can harm you more than it can help.

There are no silver-bullets in business and things like context and innovation does play a huge role. As one of the Dilbert comic says – “If everyone is doing it, best practices is the same thing as mediocre”.

Quality #7: Productivity and Quality

by Tanmay Vora on November 17, 2009

speed_velocityWelcome to the seventh post in this 12-part series on QUALITY, titled #QUALITYtweet – 12 Ideas to Build a Quality Culture.

Here are the first six posts, in case you would like to go back and take a look:

  1. Quality #1: Quality is a long term differentiator
  2. Quality #2: Cure Precedes Prevention
  3. Quality #3: Great People + Good Processes = Great Quality
  4. Quality #4: Simplifying Processes
  5. Quality #5: Customers are your “Quality Partners”
  6. Quality #6: Knowing what needs improvement

#QUALITYtweet Tracking productivity without

tracking the quality of output is like tracking

the speed of a train without validating the direction

In F1 racing, one of the primary challenges for a driver is to keep a close eye on speed and direction. One wrong move at a high speed and car bumps with the edge of the track.  “Speed” when combined with direction is termed as “velocity”.

One of the rules of management is, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” But an obsessive focus on metrics can prove harmful for organization’s health because:

  • You may be measuring wrong things that do not directly relate to organization goals
  • You may only be measuring outcomes without focusing on qualitative aspects.
  • You may be using measurement as a sole base for decision making without considering the variable/unknowing aspects of your business.

A lot of resource managers in technology and business area narrow their focus on hardcore metrics that reveal volume but not quality. Examples could be number of hours logged during a day (versus tasks achieved in those hours), number of modules completed in a day (versus quality of those modules), number of cold calls made during the day (versus quality of research and depth of communication in each call). This list can go on, but you get the point. More, in this case, is not always better.

Metrics are important to evaluate process efficiency, but not sufficient. Quality system of an organization should have processes to assess both qualitative and quantitative aspects of work. How can this be achieved? Here are three most important pointers:

  1. Hybrid approach with focus on good management: Measuring productivity solely by units produced could be a great way to manage in manufacturing world. In knowledge world, where the raw material for products or services is a human brain, qualitative approach combined with common-sense metrics is a great way to ensure balance between quality and productivity. Key to higher productivity in knowledge based industry is ‘good management’.
  2. Quality as a part of process, rather than an afterthought: Quality is not an afterthought. Quality has to be built through process by people. Process should have necessary activities defined at each stage of product to ensure that a quality product is being built. These activities can then be measured and improved upon. Process also shapes up culture of an organization and hence due care must be taken to ensure that quality system does not form a wrong culture. Process has to take care of softer aspects of work including trust, commitment and motivation levels of people.
  3. Measure to help, not to destroy: Metrics are like a compass that shows direction. In order to move forward, you have to walk the direction. Metrics can give you important trends, but these trends need to be analyzed and worked upon. Key challenge of any process manager is to ensure that metrics are used to evaluate process and not people. If you start using metrics as a base for rewards, you are not allowing people to make mistakes. When people don’t make mistakes, they don’t grow. As an organization, you don’t grow either.

Process can be used to gain “speed” or to gain “velocity”. The choice is yours.

Branding – What’s your brand promise?

by Laura Lowell on October 2, 2009

brand promiseIn research conducted for my upcoming book ’42 Rules to build Your Brand and Your Business’ respondents clearly indicated that what affected their perception of a brand were visibility, authenticity and honesty of the brand.  Ok, great…what does this mean to someone trying to build a business and establish their brand? Or what does it mean to a company with an established brand trying to break into a new market with little brand recognition?  You may be surprised to hear me say (or type) that it means the same thing in both situations.

Ultimately, the key is to have a defined brand promise – what is it that your brand stands for?  Based on this you can then begin to prioritize your strategies and define your tactics accordingly.  I have seen, over and over again, where companies jump into the tactics with out understanding how they fit, or don’t fit, into the bigger picture.  For example, I once worked on a brand re-design project with a major high-tech computer manufacturer.  We had a well established brand and were trying to reposition it within the confines of the overall product portfolio.  Plus, we wanted to target a new demographic audience.  Off we went to the branding agency who created several different graphic treatments.  We reviewed them and made changes and came up with what we thought was a brilliant idea – very “off the wall”, especially for this company – but the new demographic “would be drawn to it” we explained to senior management who were having heart palpitations at the very thought of it.  Picture this…a gorilla sitting on top of a PC. Something was definitely “off”, and it turned out… it was us!

This project never saw the light of day…why?  We completely forgot the established brand promise we had been making, and continued to make, to the market.  This design had nothing to do with the real world – it was graphically outstanding and visually compelling, but who cares?  It didn’t relate at all to our brand promise.

So how do you start defining your brand promise? Here’s a list of questions to ask:

  • What does the company stands for? 
  • What is the single most important thing that the organization promises to deliver to its customers?
  • How do you want customers to feel about your organization after interacting with you?
  • What is it that the organization wants its brand to be known for?
  • What unique value to you deliver to customers?

Make sure you have agreement across the company – whether it is large or small.  People should be excited about this.  They should be able to rally around this promise and use it to make appropriate business decisions.  If not, then you still have some work to do.  But, I guarantee you, it’s well worth it.

Start Early, Drive Slowly And Reach Safely

by Naveen Lakkur on September 7, 2009

If you are thinking that I am referring to a journey, then you are right! I am referring to the journey of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial journey has 3 parts to it:

  • The Start;
  • The Drive and
  • The Finish.

All the stated 3 parts are important to be a winner.

Early/good start provides great possibility to win a car race event (any event, for that matter).

ent-startWhile there’s no age bar for entrepreneurship, early start in one’s life has its own advantages. The risk taking appetite is higher, flexibility curve is better and they are in the listening & doing mode. While experience brings some advantages, it also equally brings in constraints/mind sets. If you study a wide spectrum of very successful entrepreneurs, majority of them had started their journey of entrepreneurship early in their life.

While speed determines the fate of a race event, the preparation phase is time consuming or slow as the process could be elaborate…. as activities such as the car selection, tuning of the car performance, fitness training of the driver, etc., is all time consuming/slow and elaborate.

ent-journeyWhile the business needs to happen at the speed of thought, it’s important or it’s a prerequisite to provide a lot of care in building an organization. Things take time to build and manage the right team, to fulfill the Vision/Mission of the organization; inculcate and live right values set forth for the organization and to build great brand value for an organization. There should be no hurry or compromise on these aspects.

The finish determines the result. The enjoyable moments on the podium receiving the winning medal is determined by the finish you have.

ent-finishWhile you have built a good organization, it can be great only if it translates into an enterprise (it’s true if an organization is either built to last or it’s built to sell). Great entrepreneurs give equal care to handing the business over to safe hands as much as they do to starting and operating an organization.

“Start Early, Drive Slowly and Reach Safely” – that’s the winning formula for entrepreneurship.