One of the greatest gifts I have received from being passionate about marketing and communications is the lesson in the importance of human relationships. It’s a shame these days because it seems people have lost their sense of humanity. There’s too much texting instead of talking, even when people are out in a pub together for instance, no one is talking! The shame stems from the fact that, everyone has a story to be heard, and has a lesson worth learning from. It’s all about the human connections, and as Robin Sharma mentions in his book, “The Leader who had no Title” nurturing relationships with everyone: your teammates, your customers, your stakeholders. It makes sense too; people do business with people they like, and the stronger the bonds the stronger the results. After all, as Sharma says, “the main business of business is to connect with, and add value to PEOPLE”. What is a company anyway but a human venture that rallies people together behind a common cause. So the culture in an organization should be one that encourages its human capital and inspires them to reach their fullest potential. It is also one that helps its customers achieve their greatest potential as well.
Inspiring the best in people is not a job reserved for management or HR, it is up to each of us to commit to lead by example. With the word lead comes the connotations of making the first step. You don’t need to wait for someone to connect with you, YOU make the first move, initiate the connection. Develop everyone you have the privilege to help and touch. Basically, be the change you want to see. People don’t like to be told what to do, one of the most basic forms people learn anyway is by imitation. A successful organization is one that consists of fully engaged and energetic people who feel connected. Sharma points out how, one superb relationship inspires the next conversation, which moves on to the next one. And the ripple effect ultimately determines what the culture of the entire place will be like and the quality of the results achieved.
So the key principle is this: the deeper your relationships, the stronger your leadership, and a simple acronym presented by Sharma will serve in helping the execution process. HUMAN
H: helpfulness, give away that which you most wish to receive
U: understanding, which involves mastering the art of listening to people.
M: mingle, establish your network and make your human connections
A: amuse, a fun environment facilitates productivity.
N: nurture, this takes time and patience.
Always remember the one leadership truth:
People are the most paramount element to a successful organization.
I’ve been doing some thinking lately about words. The most basic form of communication, words facilitate life. Their importance cannot be emphasized enough, however words in themselves have no inherent meaning. Words are nothing but symbols people attribute meaning to, and as such carry with them subjective implications. Obviously what something means to me would mean something completely different to someone else. It’s all about our window of perspective, which is framed with our experiences, our beliefs, etc. In other words (pun intended) no two people will view the same thing the same way or interpret the same word to mean exactly the same thing. Despite this, words have so much power that not a lot of people are aware of. Looking back in history at people like Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi, and Mandela, where would they be without their impeccable use of words?
Recognizing the importance of words can be used to our advantage. First and foremost, we should always be candid in our communication, but it is all about HOW we say things. In business for example, instead of telling someone, “you are not doing a good job” you can phrase it in a more positive way: “ I’d like to share some opportunities to take your performance to the next level” It’s all about the languaging. As a matter of fact, words can even influence your own state of being! What you say pretty much determines how you feel. Calling something a ‘nightmare’ triggers a different response than looking at something as a ‘platform for improvement.’ So our diction determines how we respond to different scenarios. Since words convey beliefs, and beliefs lead to behavior, and behavior creates results, you can see how the train of reactions flow.
You’d be surprised at how refining your vocabulary improves your energy levels, state of mind, and spiritual well being. What you give attention to amplifies how you might be feeling. Talking a lot about something could magnify it to hyperbolized levels. Modern psychologist William James said, “our experience is what we attend to.” The connotations of the words you use direct your flow of energy. If you are constantly complaining about how something going for you, you will find yourself more deeply immersed in the very situations you want to avoid. It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy in a way, what you think about you bring about, same concept applies with what you talk about and how you talk about it.
So adopting a more positive vocabulary, and using words to inspire people, make them feel good about themselves, pushing them to be the best version of themselves, will also shape the words that they chose to communicate. Speaking kindly to someone, in a world tinted with harsh words can make all the difference. After all, we have to lead by example.
In a little book called, “Faust” by Goethe, the devil, Mephistopheles said something to a university student that resonated with me:
” So friend, take my advice to heart:
Hear lectures on Logic for a start.
Logic will train your mind all right;
like inquisitor’s boots it will squeeze you tight,
your thoughts will learn to creep and crawl
and never lose their way at all…
We’ll teach you that your process of thinking
instead of being like eating and drinking,
spontaneous, instantaneous, free,
must proceed by one, two and three…
In comes your philosopher and proves
it must happen by distinct logical moves:
The first is this, the second is that,
and the third and fourth then follow pat;
When scholars study a thing, they strive
to kill it first, if its alive;
then they have the parts amd they’ve lost the whole,
for the link that’s missing was the living soul.
Your next priority should be Metaphysical philosophy, that will teach your human brain
profound thoughts which it cant contain,
and for everything no one can understand
high sounding words will be ready to hand.
And statues and laws, inherited, like an old sickness, passed on to the dead
through endless generations, creeping down
from land to land, from town to town.
Sense becomes nonsense, good deeds dangerous…”
I find a beautiful logic in Mephistopheles reasoning, who knew the devil could be so wise?
Unravelling such a naked truth, removing the disguise…
Revealing that our thoughts are as vain
as the shallowness we hope to attain.
And what for? money, riches, and fame?
What do schools do, but teach us the rules of the game.
“…and the children all went to the universities, where they all got put in boxes, and they came out all the same.”-WEEDS
There is a man on the moon, crates cover his face
He constantly pondered about the human race.
He would watch them struggle, witnessed their rise and fall
He realized that it is the rare man that is able to stand tall.
He shared their joys and endured their tribulations
He watched the destruction of nation after nation.
He saw that there is little good and a lot of bad
He seldom regretted the life he never had.
He was safe in isolation, away from the angry crowds
And had a spectacular view from above the clouds.
He heard the silent cries of the many, and the hysteric laughter of the few
And the man on the moon felt helpless. He didn’t know what to do
Earth will never know peace so long as it is plagued by selfishness and ill will
With people who’d die for the all mighty dollar, and live for the kill.
He heard the outcries of the oppressed, sympathized with their blood sweat and tears
He recognized the sadness that had accumulated year after year.
He was disgusted with the chair that ruled with violence and anger
Blind to resentment, and deaf to slander.
The man on the moon watched man for centuries, dig their own grave
And prayed that one day earth would be saved.
There was a Greek philosopher named Epictetus, who was an advocate of Stoicism. He compared people who fit in to the white threads of a toga. He wanted to be the purple thread instead. That small part that stands out and makes all the rest seem elegant and beautiful. Why then, he asks, do you tell me to make myself white, like the many, and if I do how would I remain purple?
The other day, my friend and I found ourselves deeply engrossed in a conversation about the ‘chasing game’. It got me thinking about how very similar getting a guy is to marketing. The marketing process consists of several steps, some of which will be listed below. These translatable steps can directly be applied to the chasing game.
Step 1: Segment the market. In this phase the marketer divides the population into groups who share similar needs and will respond correspondingly to marketing action. In a similar sense, we segment potential partners or mates. We weed out those who do not match our criteria and focus on those who do.
Step 2: Selecting a target market.Here the marketer studies the various segments and decides on how many markets to enter, and which ones offer the most potential for success. We also select targets whenever someone with potential appears on our radar. This is the point where we decide we are going to go after someone. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Step 3: Positioning. In order to arrive at a positioning platform a marketer must take some things into consideration. First of all, competitors must be identified. Secondly, one must analyze the consumer’s perception of the competitor. Finally, there must be an in-depthanalysis of consumer’s preference- typically an ideal brand or product is imagined. Similarly, we constantly find ourselves scoping out the competition and trying to find out what our ‘partner’ thinks of them. This is not to say that jealousy rears its ugly head, rather a curiosity develops and we find ourselves wanting to know more and more about our potential mate. This is an important phase because knowledge truly is power. The more you know about the person, the more easily you can mold your communication and interaction to fit their wants and needs.
Step 4: Generate Awareness. This is usually the hardest phase in the marketing process, especially if it is a new product or brand. In breaking through the clutter, there is no room for mediocrity. I think this phase pretty much speaks for itself. Obviously, the other person has to know that you exist. This is where the game comes in; it’s a battle for attention. Boys, don’t worry, its not epilepsy, its eyelash batting. For the girls, don’t be misled by the awesome cars, you know they must be compensating for something.
Step 5: Arose interest. In marketing, the battling for the ever-evasive consumer requires the marketer to put himself or herself into the consumer’s field of experiences. The more insight that is available, the more efficient the communication, and the faster themessage penetrates the consumers perceptual screens. As previously mentioned, the more we know our target, the more we can customize our interactions. By knowing what they respond to, we can effectively manipulate our way into anyone’s heart. I’m not saying get your stalker face on, this phase must be accomplished with subtlety and grace.
The ultimate goal of marketing is to form long-term profitable relationships with customers. Almost the same can be said for a lot of single people. For the people who shuddered when they read ‘long term’, don’t worry you can set your own expiration date, just make sure no one is being led on. For now I’ll leave you with this: Don’t hate the player, hate the game.
KunHadi is an amazing organization that I have the utmost respect for. It is a proactive member of the Lebanese community, they are constantly up to something new to better the life of the people. It all started with a tragedy, the death of Hadi, that gave rise to the impetus for better road safety etiquette. Instead of wallowing in their sorrow, perhaps putting pictures of the deceased around parts of Lebanon, Hadi’s parents assume a more active role, choosing instead, to raise attention to this deadly issue and fight to put a stop to it. With Taxi nights, various campaigns, the setting up of reflectors at mountain roads, and distributing helmets to motorbike riders, this organization is the epitome of a socially responsible, innovative organization pursuing the best interest of the people, instead of succumbing to the black hole that inevitably seizes the soul of grief stricken people who lose their beloved. For more information visit: http://www.kunhadi.org
So KunHadi in your driving, or Kun Hadi (RIP)
I saw this commercial in my Media Literacy class today and fell in love with it. Road safety is a topic I feel very strongly about. Most of us have lost a loved one, or know someone whose life has been affected because of car accidents and lack of proper safety etiquette. We all think it could never happen to us, we are untouchable, indestructible, until we are not. This emotionally charged commercial emits a very strong message and strikes a cord in us all. Life is transcendent, but we must learn to embrace it. Wear your damn seatbelt!
It has been said that the world is defined by contrasts. How can you describe what is ‘good’, if you don’t compare it to what is ‘bad’? When looked at in this light, the distinction is starker. Similarly, there is an age-old internal battle between what we HAVE to do, versus what we WANT to do. The artist, Jamil Addas, captures these contrasts in his work entitled; ‘You 2’. Jamil chose to name his work as such, in order to portray the emphasis on the self. This is a battle that is waged inside of each person, a battle that transcends geographic boarders, culture, or race. Furthermore, the artist wants to leave the work to the interpretation of the audience.
‘You 2’ is an integrated project composed of four photos, each two forming a couple that seek to depict conformity versus freedom. In the first photo, a young girl is standing in the midst of a male dominated market place. The contrast here is between the child and the environment. The question is not merely why is the child there, the audience must look deeper and ask themselves what need drove the girl to immerse herself in a grown-up world? It is not a matter of free will, we are all bound by social customs and norms that handcuff us to a particular way of being. We must conform or risk being shunned. In other words, we have to do what we have to do to survive. We become so accustomed to our cage that we are deluded from feeling the feelings we should be feeling. Darwin’s survival of the fittest has evolved into survival of the most readily able to conform. We must willingly swallow the key to our chains. To decrease our cognitive dissonance we convince ourselves that what we need is what we want, and so we are conditioned to not question, but to accept. A market is by definition a center of commerce, a place of business. It is symbolic of how man is but a cog in the corporate machine and how “we the unwilling, led by the unknowing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much for so long, with so little, we are now qualified to do anything with nothing.” (Mother Teresa)
This is a dark reality indeed, and the darkness is conveyed through the tonality of this photo. The opposing photo portrays the sweet taste of freedom. The colors exuberate from the photo and the positive energy released is contagious as our souls converge with the spirit of the woman suspended in mid air. The natural environment of Madrid versus a gloomy market in Aleppo.
The next photo symbolizes the aforementioned cage. In the first photo the market is a vague representation of ‘work’, in this shot the photographer presents the audience with a more ‘on the ground’ shot. Butchery, a more precise kind of business, and a butcher, a more specific kind of prisoner. The body language of the butcher communicates the entire message of this piece. Head slinging downwards, the tensed posture of a man accustomed to the smell of blood, and hands acquainted with a chopping routine. Again, the question is not whether the man wants to be where he is, but whether this man has a choice? His survival may depend on the death of these hanged sheep. One may even wonder what this poor man counts when he cant sleep. The next photo is surely a sight for now sore eyes, a man feeding a flock of pigeons. There is no question that the man is doing exactly what he wants to be doing. The happiness he is feeling is radiating from his face, his eyes are not looking downwards, concerned that he may not have enough bird feed, but at the beautiful flock, the very symbol of freedom. The man from Aleppo, versus the man from Kathmandu.
Many people define happiness as discovering what they love to do, and pursuing it with all their energy. Sadly, concepts such as love and compassion, what should be the foundations of a society, perhaps only exist in one’s imagination. In reality, happiness is defined as doing what you have to do to endure in society, and love and compassion are translated by society to ‘making sure you are doing what you have to be doing.’