Saturday, May 29, 2010


"Have you ever watched a fly bouncing off a window pane, even with an open door a few feet away? Many times the fly keeps crashing into the glass until it finally dies. There are many companies in today's world doing exactly the same thing. They continue down 'today's path,' wearing blinders to the possibility of change... until they die."
~ Mac Anderson;


If I believe in myself, do I need the beliefs of other people?


"Companies think that marketing exists to support manufacturing, to get rid of the company’s products. The truth is the reverse, that manufacturing exists to support marketing. The company can always outsource its manufacturing. What makes a company is its marketing offerings and ideas."

"Marketing’s role is to sense the unfulfilled needs of people and create new and attractive solutions."

"Companies must pay attention to the fact that customers are getting more educated and have better tools, such as the Internet, at their disposal to buy with more discrimination. Power has been passing from the manufacturer to the distributor, and now is passing to the customer. The customer is king."

"Marketing is not the art of finding clever ways to dispose of what you make. It is the art of creating genuine customer value. It is the art of helping your customers become better off. The marketer's watchwords are quality, service, and value."

~ Marketing guru Philip Kotler

Thursday, May 27, 2010


"Each one of us has something no one else has - your fingerprints... Be an individual. Be unique. Stand out. Make noise. Make someone notice. That's the power of the individual."

~ Jon Bon Jovi, musician, songwriter & actor;


"Financial freedom is not guaranteed simply by having lots of money. What is required is a clear understanding of oneself and one's true purpose, coupled with the knowledge of how to build a firm financial structure. Then, even if circumstances force you to leave everything else behind, you will always be able to start over and quickly produce new wealth. Your freedom resides in you, and not in the money."

- Fredric Lehrman, Director of Nomad University & author of 'Prosperity Consciousness';

The basic concept of the Nomad University is fascinating. For me, I interpret it as self-directed, life-long learning.

Nonetheless, here are the annotations according to the director:

- Education should be for discovery, not for approval.

- To learn what you don't know, you must be willing to go into the unknown.

- Nomads are people who know how to move with the seasons to find good grounds for their flocks: they extend hospitalities to others whom they meet on their way; they are able to carry with them everything they really need.

- Nomad University is your class reunion from the future.

- While traveling, let the destination come to you.

- What you hold onto controls you.

- Travel light. Respect every object.

- Personal power = certainty + relaxation.

- Awareness = (Perception + Intention + Reflection) X Mobility

- Always leave room for emptiness.

- Your credentials are in the mirror.


- The way of the nomad is to go fearlessly into the intensity of the always new.

- Always have your tent open to the universe.

- You were born to venture forth.

- All permanent structures are petrified tents.

- Every moment is always happening.

- There are no strangers. Nomads never say goodbye.

- You are the road to yourself. To become a genius, follow your quirks.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


“Education is what is left after you forget all the things you memorized in school.”

~ Albert Einstein;

It will be very interesting - & highly beneficial, too - if all our students of today can reflect on a regular basis, prior to attending classes, on this crucial question: "What should I make sure I “get” out of my classwork or lessonplan while I am still here?"

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


"I wrote this book so that you might be spared. Not from having to learn the lessons I had to learn. No one can spare you that, because learning is experiential, & you have to do it yourself. As
a wise person once told me: If I could spare you the pain you're experiencing, I wouldn't - because I wouldn't want to deprive you of the strength & wisdom you'll gain from having gone through it & come out the other side.

Each & everyone of you is a powerful, resilient human being capable of living the life you design for yourself. I wish all of you the faith & the courage to pinpoint your passion."
~ Maria Shriver, mother (of four kids), wife (of Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger), daughter (of the famous Kennedy family), sister, friend, Peabody Award & Emmy Award winning journalist, New York Times' best selling author...(the foregoing insights came from her book, 'Ten Things I Wish I'd Know Before I Went into the Real World');


"The art of retirement is not to retire from something but to retire to something."

~ Harry Emerson Fosdick, 1878-1969), American clergyman;


If I had to pick a person to have dinner with, when I need to be prodded and challenged... who would I pick?

Monday, May 24, 2010


I have stumbled upon the following intriguing questions as part of concerted "mapping exercises" to help me find, start & sustain Great Work ~ the work that engages & challenges me, that has a real impact, that plays to my strengths — & that really matters:

1) Where are you now?
(Map current mix of bad, good and great work. Assess)

2) What's Great?
(Recall peak moments. Assess)

3) What are you like at your best?
(Recall emotions at peak moments. Map "I am this...not that")

4) Who's great?
(Think of role models that are inspiring and assess why. Choose characteristic. Emulate & Visualize)

5) What's Calling You?
(Scan landscape for great opportunities. Analyze. What surprised you? Inspired you?)

6) What's Broken?
(Map aggravations that "erode the quality of our lives." Assess. What can you change)

7) What's Required?
(Map all the work you do on daily or weekly basis into one of 4 quadrants:

a) They Care/You Care (Sweet spot/Do more-convert from good to great work)
(b) They Care/I don't care. (Stop doing),
(c) I Don't Care/They Care (Must do - delegate or be more efficient-embrace adequacy."
(d) You Care/They Don't Care (Do it Elsewhere; do it undercover; re-label it)

8) What's the Best Choice?
(Map your options. Rate/rank the options.

9) What's Possible?
(Map creative new ideas and explore what can be converted to great work)

10) What's the Right Ending?
(Explore different ways forward - What can be, what's changed, new outcome)

11) How Courageous are You?
(Map safe to impossible methods to do more great work)

12) What Will you do?

(a) what is easiest to do,
(b) what would have the greatest impact,
(c) what do you want to do,
(d) what Will you do)

13) What Support Do You Need?
(Map people who have influence, skills, or love you)

14) What's the Next Step?
(Map what you will do, by when, what's the first step, what accountability do you need - then analyze)

15) Lost Your Great Work Mojo?
(Revert back to steps 1-14 and assess)

[Source: 'Do More Great Work: Stop the Busywork. Start the Work That Matters', by Michael Bungay Stanier;]

THE INVISIBLE GORILLA: A lesson in understanding what we see & what we don't


1. Watch "The Bucket List" movie (starring Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman);

2. Watch the sunset;

3. Sit quietly by yourself;

4. Write a thank you note;

5. Browse your family photo album;

6. Play with a kid;

7. Visualize or imagine a positive outcome for any issue;

8. Go to bed early with your mate;

9. Hang out with old friends;

10. Do whatever you feel like doing;


I am fascinated by the following stipulated "success traits" of a competent Market-Consumer Insights Manager for a MNC:

Success Traits:

Analytical Ability:
The ability to identify problems, analyze relevant data, think critically, generate alternatives, and select appropriate solutions. Ability to think rationally and logically, recognize and test assumptions. Move to problem resolution by identifying facts, causes and issues and present solutions.

Business Acumen/Brand Championship:
Demonstrates good business sense, including the ability to make effective and efficient use of financial resources to achieve intended results. Consistently demonstrates the ability to understand and anticipate the needs of the brands to allow them to make decisions that will support long-term brand growth and generate greater profits.

Business innovation:
The ability to identify articulated and unarticulated consumer and customer needs, and demonstrate solid business sense, and the ability to generate unique and effective solutions by being sensitive to the true business issue(s) spoken or otherwise. This includes: the ability to generate options and alternatives to problems or issues, present and encourage new ideas, appropriately question accepted ideas or solutions, and recommend alternative approaches as necessary. Asks "what if" questions, and, can, individually and within in a team context, ideate to tactics, ideas, and new directions.

Coaching and development:
The ability to provide opportunities for development and feedback that enhances employees' skills. Motivates, instructs, directs, teaches, mentors, or in any other planned manner, influences the development of individuals' skills and competencies relevant to current or future job. Provides helpful and thorough answers to questions. Fosters comfort with consumer and marketing research applications. Uses a flexible personal leadership style and knowledge of best practices within insight generation to guide individuals and groups toward development and application of this technique. Teaches within these insight-development opportunities so that participants are equipped to generate insights independently.

Critical Thinking/Judgment and Decision Making:
Possesses curiosity that drives further understanding of a subject. Is open minded in assessment of new ideas and valuation of resources. Is clear and deliberate in deciding upon a course of action or solution. Applies logic, inference, and available information to make decisions. Understands mandatory and desired criteria, and understands risks associated with the decision.

Effective Knowledge Management:
The ability to take information and prioritize what is important, then synthesize and analyze to determine the essential, actionable message. Concisely communicate it with appropriate audiences. For combining with Research Acumen.

Flexibility/Adaptability/Tolerance of Uncertainty:
Adapts to, and works effectively with, individuals or groups in a variety of situations. Is able to understand and appreciate different perspectives, adapt one's approach as situations change, effectively introduces and implements new methods, processes or changes to the status quo and accepts changes introduced by others.

Insight Generation and Application:
The ability to look at information, findings, and/or results and peel back the layers to get to the underlying reasons (motivations) that are fundamental, valid, or sound. Demonstrates the ability to separate insights that are "nice to know" from those that can build the business. Uses these "actionable insights" in conjunction with business partners to create recommendations that can produce immediate and/or long-term Brown-Forman business success.

Articulates and drives understanding of goals/objectives or insights and inspires others to listen and act accordingly.

Managerial Courage/Customer Focusing/Organization Agility /Adaptability (Advanced):
Having the courage to convey controversial findings and/or recommendations in the face of opposition. Ability to instill confidence in any finding/recommendation which may be controversial and to show resilience in the face of constraint, frustrations or adversity.

Proactive and Effective Communicator/Ability to Instill Confidence:
Ability to exchange and explain information and concepts to others in an understandable manner. Ability to interact openly and directly; able to conduct difficult conversations with minimal surprise. Effectively uses both written and verbal skills in formal and informal communication. Perceived as a subject matter expert. Able to bring facts, logic, and reason to action with others.

Proactive Opportunity Identification:
Leads the identification of critical knowledge gaps for Brown-Forman relative to consumers and the marketplace; creates and prioritizes potential research and marketing solutions to address these.

Relationship Management:
The ability to develop, maintain and strengthen relationships with others - both inside CIG, across B-F, and outside the organization. Builds rapport and cultivates collaborative working relationships.

Research Data/Acumen:
Proven ability to understand the basics of research and data sources as critical tools for insight generation. Capable of understanding various methodologies and data sources and their appropriateness for applying to a particular business issue. Able to advocate CIG "best practices." Remains current on innovative research techniques.

Strategic Thinking:
Develops a vision of the consumer in the future. Taps a deep knowledge of the consumer, the spirits and wine categories, and competitive set brands. Develops alternative courses of action against that future vision. Allocates resources based on this developed vision of the future consumer.

Obviously, all the "success traits" pertain to soft skills ~ stuff that are still hardly taught in the university curriculum.

Something to ponder about when you want to be future-savvy in today's business landscape.

Sunday, May 23, 2010



How can I multiply my personal productivity by ten?


Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.

Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too.

Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently.

Rule #4: We don't pay attention to boring things.

Rule #5: Repeat to remember.

Rule #6: Remember to repeat.

Rule #7: Sleep well, think well.

Rule #8: Stressed brains don't learn the same way.

Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses.

Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.

Rule #11: Male and female brains are different.

Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers.

[SOURCE: 'Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving & Thriving at Work, Home, & School', by John Medina, molecular biologist & director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University;]