Success

Design for People – SOTGC Article

My most recent article for Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling is about how to find project success by designing for people.

Jessica-K

Are you creating, designing, or developing something? Aren’t we all, really?

No matter your industry or profession, we all create and design new things.

Some of us actually build products, some of us design services for customers or users, some of us develop new processes within existing businesses and frameworks, some of us are making our way through uncharted entrepreneurial territory and everything we do is a new creation or development.

Design firm IDEO uses what they call design thinking, or human-centered design, in the development of all of their projects – whether it is a new product, service, or experience.

Their projects include developing the Apple mouse, kids toothbrushes, patient experiences for a children’s hospital, digital platforms to teach millennials about money, and so much more.

Their focus? People. People are always the center of their design process.

Read more on SOTGC

Use Creativity to Succeed – Get Motivation Post

I recently had an article featured on GetMotivation.com on using creativity to succeed. Check it out…

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Now, more than ever, companies need creativity and creative thinking in the day-to-day operations in order to truly excel and rise above the competition.

We often think of the great innovators such as Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs as the “creatives”, the kind of people who had such revolutionary ideas that they changed the world. Or we read stories like that of Elizabeth Holmes, founder and CEO of Theranos, who developed a simpler, less painful way to test blood that has turned her into the youngest self-made female billionaire in the world and we think “I could never have an idea like that.”

These stories are great examples of game-changing creativity and innovation, but they overlook the everyday creativity and innovation that makes companies tick. And that is the kind of creativity you can use to drive sales, product development, or customer service improvements in your own company. You don’t need to have ideas that change the entire world, you just need ideas to change the world you live in.

Creativity and innovation in the day-to-day starts with looking at things differently and taking on the perspectives of others. Get inside the head of your customer, boss, partner, or supplier to determine how you can impact their outcome in a positive way. This is especially critical for your customers, thinking from their perspective to understand what they want and need. But even if you don’t interact with your company’s customers on a daily basis, think of your boss or partner as a customer, and find a way to delight them with your work.

After you’ve flipped your perspective and taken the view of those around you, start testing. New perspectives on a problem or process can give you lots of ideas about how to improve things or move the needle in terms of sales or growth, but until you try some of those ideas you will never know which is the best or right choice. Without the feedback you get from trying out your ideas, you can’t have enough data to move forward. Don’t get stuck analyzing all of your options without testing at least some of them first. If testing isn’t really feasible with your specific situation, make sure and talk to a number of different people about your ideas and options.

Read the rest at GetMotivated…. 

 

3 Steps to Build Your Competitive Advantage

Have you ever heard businesses talk about their competitive advantage? The things that make them better than their competitors?

Competitive Advantage

This is an important concept for services and products because if they do not have some advantage over others in the marketplace, they will never succeed. Many businesses fail because they aren’t different or better than the competition.

What about you? Are you different or better than your competition? Competition might be a strong word to use when it comes to co-workers and I do not suggest you treat them as competitors to be taken down and beaten. {Side bar: I don’t think any business benefits from treating competition as something to be removed from the market. No one likes a jerk who does whatever it takes to win.}

However, there are times when only one person can be promoted or offered the lead of a new project. When you apply for a new job you are competing against the other applicants. Do you know how and why you are better or different? How you can make yourself shine without putting down anyone else?

Think of yourself as a service that your employer is buying and use these three aspects of competitive advantage to project your very best:

  1. Natural resources: What skills, processes, or tasks are you the very best at? Determine where you excel and do more of it. If your boss sees you continually succeeding, she will be more likely to look to you for better roles and projects. If you are looking for a job, highlight these skills as clearly and specifically as you can, using examples on your resume.
  2. Customer Service: You should think of your boss or those you support within your organization as your customers and you should give them the level of service you would want from any support line you call. Zappos is known for their excellent customer service and they continue thrive and gain customers because of it. Go above and beyond to delight your internal (and external) customers.
  3. Operational Effectiveness: This is about more than doing something really well. You can have excellent results that take a significant about of time or use too many resources. Continually be on the lookout for areas to improve processes. Can you streamline how something is handled? Can you consolidate certain reports to get the very heart of the information that is needed by leadership? Show that you not only do great work, but you use resources better than anyone else.

Treating the work you do as a service to be sold helps you hone in on what you are best and why someone should pick you. This is an important mindset even when working within a company and especially if you want to excel and move into more prominent roles.

What is your competitive advantage and how do you use it in the workplace? Let us know in the comments.

Engaging Others – A Lesson from James Altucher

Those of you that follow me know I’m a big James Altucher fan and that every Thursday at 3:30pm EST, he hosts a Twitter Q&A where anyone can Tweet him a question and he will answer as many as he can. And I love to participate.

If you don’t know James Altucher, he is a best-selling author and entrepreneur who has started more than 20 companies (some of which he sold for lots of cash) and who has written 17 books, the most recent is The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth* which I am currently reading and really enjoying. He writes a blog and has a podcast. He has done a little bit of everything.

His outlook on life and business is so fascinating to me.

I have been focusing on how you can engage others and play up your value in conversations, to your boss and coworkers, and others to help accelerate your success. People need to know how fabulous you are to promote you, either literally up the ladder or figuratively to others.

During Thursday’s Twitter Q&A, I asked James what you should say about yourself to get others engaged and wanting to know more about you when you introduce yourself.

His response: Don’t talk about yourself, ask about them.

 

I’ve heard this before, especially for introverts or people who don’t feel comfortable talking. Just ask about the other person and let them do all the talking.

I wondered what would happen if both people in the conversation tried that tactic though. So I asked James.

I laughed at his answer because it feels funny to say, but he has a great point. Talk about it with them and say “I too curious, you have to tell me.” I love it.

 

It is also an interesting take on engaging with others compared to my most recent post on developing your 90 second personal pitch, which is all about talking about yourself. It would have been nice if he had said something that aligned great with what I had written.

But I think his advice can be used along with an amazing personal 90 second pitch. When someone asks “What do you do?” give them your 90 second pitch, then ask about them. Engage them when your awesomeness then show them that you really care more about them than you do about you. Bam.

What do you think? How do you engage others? Do you ask about them? Let me know in the comments, I’d love your stories and suggestions.

 *Affiliate link. 

Your Personal 90 Second Pitch

telling timeStartups and companies looking for funding often develop a 90 second pitch, also known as their elevator pitch, to give to potential investors to garner interest in investing in the business. The pitch is clear, concise and succinctly tells the investor why they should want to be involved. The point is not to walk away with a check for millions, but to compel the investor to learn more – to secure a future meeting.

Founders spend a lot of time perfecting their pitch – including the most relevant and compelling information – into a few concise, fascinating sentences. It isn’t enough to promise a huge market and massive returns. Investors need to feel pulled to the business concept. The pitch must convey the passion of the team and make the investor feel that passion as well.

When someone asks “What do you do?” or says “Tell me about yourself” does your response leave them feeling your passion or your discontent?

Compare these two responses to “What do you do?”

“I am a financial analyst at a large healthcare company. I support our medical device division.”

“I analyze sales and revenue, providing leadership data that empowers them to make the best decisions regarding our life changing medical devices.”

Who are you more interested in talking to further? Who would you want to work with? Who would you want to hire? (And that isn’t even 90 seconds of information. Imagine if those two people kept talking for 75 to 80 more seconds.)

Here are five ways you can perfect your personal 90 second pitch (plus a bonus):

  1. Don’t say what you do, tell the value you provide. Financial analysis is what you do. Providing leadership data that empowers them to make decisions is how you bring value.
  2. Don’t say what your company does, tell the value it provides. You can work for a healthcare company or a company that creates life changing medical devices.
  3. Highlight your biggest strength(s). Give a specific example of a time you crushed it at work. “I recently developed a dashboard for our CEO with sales, inventory and outcome metrics that allowed her to see which devices were selling the fastest and also saving the most lives.”
  4. Include your passions. Make the person you are talking to feel your excitement. “I love digging into the numbers and finding the most relevant nuggets of information that can be used to improve sales or create efficiencies. Seeing my work have a positive impact on the company is so fulfilling.”
  5. Offer something. People connect more easily to givers. This will often be dependent on the situation and how much you know about the other person, but offer to make an introduction, talk more about a specific topic, or provide tips on an upcoming conference or event.

Bonus! If you have time and the situation warrants, you can include a personal tidbit.  “My partner and I recently traveled to Asia where we were able to play with tigers, visit some amazing Buddhist temples, and eat out-of-this-world food. I can’t wait to go back!” This shows that you have varied interests and your life is about more than just work, and could lead to a deeper connection about a shared interest.

Using these five tips (and the bonus) will allow you to make a first impression that won’t be forgotten.

Share your tips and tricks for pitching yourself to others in the comments below. I love hearing from you!

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To get clarity on your own value and strengths, sign up for our Success Strategy Session. Being able to articulate your value to others is crucial to your success and I can show you how.

Create Your Success Giveaway!

I have big news, friends! Big!

We are hosting our first ever giveaway here at Flipside Thinker! Things have been rocking and rolling for us, and we want to celebrate with YOU! Because you are the reason we are thriving.

We have partnered with some great companies and people to bring you some amazing products and services that will help you accelerate your success! Foster your creativity, learn more about yourself, and generate ideas with this bundle.

We want you to be massively successful! That is why we are here!

One Grand Prize Package valued at over $300 – it’s a doozey!

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In addition, the first 400 people that enter the contest will get a free code to take the Fascination Advantage Assessment, courtesy of Sally Hogshead.

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Look at all the awesome stuff one lucky winner will receive:

1. Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko (A signed copy) – from Michael Michalko ($20)

Thinkertoys

Thinkertoys is an amazing resource for learning tools and techniques to generate ideas and spark your creativity. The creative thinking tools in this book can help you tackle any type of problem and generate lots of new ideas. Michael Michalko has graciously autographed this copy for the winner! You can find him on Twitter, or on his website, CreativeThinking.Net

2. Conjure Your Creativity Tip Cards – from Unstuck ($25)

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The Unstuck Conjure Your Creativity card deck is a handy, reusable resource to help you think through issues or problems that you are stuck on. There are 30 cards with different sticking points and suggestions for how to overcome and move past them. Find out more at Unstuck.com or follow Unstuck on Twitter.

3. Getting Things Done: The art of stress-free productivity by David Allen ($12)

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The brand new 2015 edition of one of the most influential business books since its original publication 15 years ago. You get the updated edition of the original “manual” for GTD with detailed overviews, examples and coaching advice to get your system up and running. This revised 2015 edition also contains new material on the rise of digital technology in our always-on world, and recent cognitive science research that validates the GTD methodology.Check out the book here or follow GTD on Twitter.

4. A $50 Magazines.com gift card – from Magazines.com ($50)

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Expanding your knowledge outside of your industry or specialty is a great way to foster your creativity. The broader your information base, the more likely you are to make seemingly random connections which often turn out to be the basis for revolutionary ideas. Magazines.com donated this gift card so you can get a couple of different magazines to expand your horizons. Check out Magazines.com website or follow them on Twitter.

5. How to Fascinate Assessment and How the World Sees You Book – Sally Hogshead ($30)

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Discover how the world sees you with your Fascination Advantage. This test will give you your top two personality advantages and tell you how you can use them to excel by becoming more of who you are. Along with a copy of Sally Hogshead’s latest book “How the World Sees You” you will learn to recognize your own value and use it to impress and influence those around you. Learn more about the Fascination Advantage and Sally Hogshead at howtofascinate.com and follow Sally on Twitter.

6. Voice Technique for Video, Webinar and Podcast Success Online Course – from Tracy Goodwin ($127)

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Voice improvement training is a set of techniques that gives you a more engaging and interesting voice. In this course, you will learn techniques that you can apply immediately to presentations to captivate your audience. Tracy Goodwin is known around the globe as the Red Sweater Lady for her extensive collection of communication and voice training videos. With over 20 plus years’ experience in voice, on camera and communication training, she is a master of her game. Tracy has trained clients all over the world from professional actors to news personalities to C-Suite Executives. She can teach you how to Captivate the Room by creating and delivering engaging content in a captivating and persuasive way. Tracy’s methods are guaranteed to work and have been perfected over the years through education, training and consulting. See all of Tracy’s offerings on her website TheRedSweaterLady.com and connect with her on Twitter.

7. Work it Out: Creativity in Problem Solving E-Mail course – from Flipside Thinker ($37)

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The highly anticipated course offering from Flipside Thinker. Get 15 daily emails that will boost your creativity, walk you step by step through the problem solving process, and propel you to success. More course bonuses to be announced during the launch in April.Learn more here.

8. Idea and Creativity Journaling – from Flipside Thinker ($20)

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A 3 pack of Moleskine Cahier Journals and ten colored Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens to record your ideas and creative sparks as they happen.

There could be more added as we go along, you just never know!

A big, huge, giant thank you to those that have contributed and good luck to all the entrants!

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Disclaimer: Giveaway is open to US residents only, void where prohibited. The contest ends 04/15/2015. The winner must respond with their mailing address within 48 hours of being chosen otherwise an alternate winner will be chosen. Prizes will be shipped or sent electronically once the winner’s mailing address is received. Entering your email in the giveaway provides agreement to be subscribed to Flipside Thinker email updates. If you are not interested in our updates, please do not enter the giveaway. Please do not mark us as spam, when we’re clearly NOT spam. It’s not nice. And you are a nice person.