Should You Show’em Your Age?

15 11 2013

When you are focused on Branding, the age of your company need not be in the message!

Regardless if your company has been in business for 40, 50, 60 0r 70+ years, that fact has not made a difference in your success.  In fact, of the Eye Cubed leaders that I know and have spoken to, “years in business” means very little in the decision making process to choose a business partner.  The statement of age says nothing about brand, brand promise, value, service, needs or culture.   I am sure there is a lot to learn about companies who lose sight of the aforementioned characteristics and the Eye Cubed branding messages that go along with them.  Just ask any former executive from these industry icons:

50 yr anniversary

  1. Bethlehem Steel Company who built America’s infrastructure for 146 years (bankrupt)
  2. Paine Webber who advised clients for 123 years (bankrupt)
  3. Woolworth Company who provided a retail experience for 122 years (bankrupt)

What branding messages actually have the greatest impact for B2B or B2C initiatives?

Solving Needs 

McDonalds brand promise of “speed” defines the need they solve in one word.       

One of the most important questions to ask is; “Is ‘what we do’ solving a need for our clients?”  As long as the resounding answer is “YES”, there is no need to make a shift.  However, do not take this answer for granted.  If the tides turn and have left you unprepared and unaware that you are no longer solving a need, your organization may become shipwrecked among the throngs of defunct companies around you.

Flexibility With Execution

Apple “makes it easier to love technology so that you can experience the future” .

If you are good with ‘what you do’, take a critical view into ‘how you do it’.  This analysis includes innovating processes by bringing technology into your firm.  Your team needs to demonstrate an understanding of Corporate Hydrology by analyzing income streams and finding ways to make them wider, longer or deeper.  They need to find new ones as well to counteract the fact that, if left unchecked, all income streams share one thing in common…they will all eventually dry up and cease to exist.

Delivering Promises

FedEx delivers “peace of mind” with every package.

Everything your firm claims it will and can do must be delivered without fail.  It is critical to promise as much as possible as long as your delivery has a 100% success rate.  Clients and prospects should know the promises you make to them and your accountability should be shared as well.

Exceptional Experiences

Zappos is “Powered by Service” like no other retail provider.

There is so much to measure, one can easily get bogged down into the mundane metrics of your operation.  However, there is one measurement that you should fight to attain and invest in acquiring.  This metric should be pursued with all of the importance your company can muster.  After each and every encounter or interaction with anyone on your team, the consumer or business partner’s willingness to REFER your organization to a friend or colleague defines your relevance, value and execution.

Adding Value

AAA‘s membership exudes “safety, security, peace of mind, value, convenience and trust” and brings a loyalty unmatched among membership clubs.

Is your value proposition one dimensional?  I certainly hope not.  As a sustainable entity, providing multi-layered value places your organization as a leader among your peers.  As part of an ongoing process, we must challenge ourselves to enhance the value proposition to lock our customers into a lifelong relationship with our firms.

So when it comes to the messages you send as marketing or branding initiatives, Eye Cubed companies don’t waste words.  Eye Cubed leaders know why they are in business and what will keep them relevant into the next generation.  While we learned from Mark Sessel in a prior blog post that we must never let them see you sweat, we learn today that we should never let’em know your age!

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SUBJECT: Urgent! Important To Do item

17 07 2013

you-need-to-read-this1

The email read:

Corey,

I’m on the plane and just finished reading Leadership and Self Deception. I’d like you to read it over the next 2 weeks, so I can discuss it with you when I return. It will help you deal with me when I’m driving you crazy.

It’s an easy read and written in the “story” mode.  Please order the book by Monday.  Enjoy the upcoming holiday!

Bill

WHAT?  BILL, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? SERIOUSLY?

“LEADERSHIP AND SELF-DECEPTION”?

WHAT IS BILL TRYING TO SAY?  IS HE SUGGESTING THAT YOU LEAD BY DECEIVING YOURSELF?

B#(!  $#!+

When Bill addresses you this way, you must oblige.  However, you are unable to send the reply until you had read the email about 30 times.  By the end, you had it memorized.  And you were muttering the words to yourself as you went about your day. “It will help you deal with me when I’m driving you crazy.”  Talk about reverse psychology!  C’mon. What is Bill thinking?  He is talking to YOU!  You can see right through that one.  So while Bill is enjoying himself on vacation sipping a cold frosty, you will reluctantly and defensively read the book! (great attitude, right?) Of course not!

You consider yourself a student of self- improvement.  you pride yourself on personal reflection coupled with an honest assessment.  You have read dozens of books, spent countless hours with your business coach and performed mental yoga to get where you are today.  You are an Eye-Cubed Leader with the ability to inspire, innovate and implement with the best of them.  “Self-Deception” my @$$!

But why did this email flatten you the way it did even before you opened page one of the book?  You were not in the mood for the lessons but had to think.  That is what Eye-Cubed Leadership is all about.  You would have loved the book from the outset if you selected it yourself and read it in the comfort of your bed, the privacy of your plane seat or on the cushion of your couch.  You didn’t want anyone thinking that you were leading in a world of self-deception.

So on Monday, having read the book, you stormed into Bill’s office,  didn’t say good morning to anyone and then saw him for the first time in over two weeks.

“Welcome back!  Good to see you”  You were hoping your boss couldn’t see through your anxiety and frustration.

“I have one question for you that will clear up everything for me and set me in the right direction for the rest of the day.  That book……something about self-deception…….Did you have our entire Sr. Management team read that or was that just for me?”  Could Bill see the vein in your neck pulsating?

“No.  Not at all.  I got that for all of my direct reports.  I loved the book and was wondering if others felt that way as well.  I don’t push books out to the entire management team anymore unless I get positive feedback first.  Why do you ask?”

Your heart calmed down.  The heat behind your eyes chilled.  Your anxiety disappeared.  And now you could laugh!  And you did.

As you were about to walk out of Bill’s office, you contended, “Bill, you have no idea what I went through since you sent that email.  I bet all of us felt that way.  While I haven’t heard from anyone about this book, I can imagine that each of us have been stressing about this over the past couple of weeks.  How funny is this!”

“I guess I blew it.” Bill exclaimed. “ Now you know that I need to read more of these books!  I have a lot to learn.”  He said with that grin going ear to ear.

“So do I!”  You thought to yourself.

It was all cool now.  You found out several of Bill’s reports felt the same way you had when you got the email.  Each of the direct reports handled it a little differently.  However, in the end, Bill simply wanted to expose his team to an interesting way of thinking.  He never would have predicted the outcome.

urgent!

  • LESSON 1:              Be careful about the email directives that you send!  Eye Cubed Leaders consider the audience as well as the possible miscommunications that may arise.
  • LESSON2:            The most” URGENT:  Important to do item” may be to pick up the phone and ask what is going on.  Eye Cubed Leaders control their frustration by communicating openly and directly keeping it far from the boiling point.




Invaluable Perspectives from Keynote Interview of David J. Sussman, Esq. CLU

22 01 2013

Do not miss Ronald Allen’s live keynote interview of David Susman, Esq. CLU, SVP of PFP and President of Eye-Cubed-U, LLC

Gain perspectives on:  Succession, Corporate Value, Leadership, Partnership, Change, Inspiration, Innovation, Family Businesses and more.  The President and innovator of Eye-Cubed-U, LLC shares his experiences and philosophies that spurred the formation of a new wave of corporate language and culture.

Click Here and listen live!  It really is a fantastic interview.  Thank you.

Tune In

Hear about these wonderful people:

Understand:

  • The culture of the credit union industry
  • Selling to the credit union industry
  • Adding value to B to B clients
  • Innovating the Insurance Industry

Perspectives on how to become a:

  • Consultant
  • Speaker
  • Keynote Speaker
  • Presenter
  • Thought Leader

Hear advice on:

Books mentioned in the interview:

Companies mentioned by David Sussman and Ronald Allen:





Engage Eye-Cubed Speaker To Strategize For Success

1 01 2013

Join corporate business leaders across the globe in 2013 as we launch EYE-CUBED-U at conferences, meetings, consulting and strategic planning sessions on site or at your location.  When looking for a keynote speaker, a consultant or a speaker that will tackle your greatest strategic challenges, a corporate speaker to motivate and inspire your team, small groups as well as conference gatherings, let Eye-Cubed-U Founder and President David Sussman bring the corporate vision of inspiration-innovation-implementation directly to you!

great profile pic

Throughout long term consulting relationships, keynote addresses or all-day strategic planning sessions, this face-to-face opportunity gives your team the tools necessary to excel in today’s challenging corporate environment.

Selecting the best keynote speaker is no longer a problem.  This  dynamic conference speaker specializes in innovative programs for strategic groups from 5 to 2,000 that are customized to the needs of your company and your industry.   Here is an overview of several EYE-CUBED-U topics:

  1. Evolution on the Fringe:  The process of transforming your company using the inspiration-innovation-implementation guidelines.
  2. Change and How to Pay for It:  Using the latest Corporate Strategic Planning methods.
  3. Teamwork:  Moving your Company or Family Business to the next generation incorporating Strategic Management and Succession Planning.
  4. Diversity of Personality:  Variety stirs your melting pot for success as diversity stimulates Corporate Innovation.
  5. Hydrology:  Analyzing your streams of income as a guide in developing your Corporate Strategy.
  6. How to avoid the Perfect Storm:  Does your corporate climate guarantee survival among Chaos, Uncertainty and/or Disaster? This up-to-the minute keynote address is a call to action for aggressive management teams.
  7. Pursuing Innovation:  Let Eye-Cubed Consultant and Motivational Speaker, David Sussman help you pinpoint who should lead and how to measure the results.
  8. Dendochronology:  Look to the trees when measuring your company’s innovative past and present.  This unique approach taps into the latest Strategic Management Methods.
  9. Inspiration:   David Sussman, world-class inspirational speaker and consultant unlocks the secrets of this critical topic….Inspiration—Where to get it, how to share it and what to do with it
  10. Innovators:  The curse, the cure and other challenges outlined and made real during this critical presentation by Corporate Speaker and Consultant, David Sussman.

Make 2013 the year to set your company apart from the competition.  Get the most from your Corporate Strategic Meeting Facilitator, Industry Conferences and Team Building Events by hiring the best speaker and consultant for Inspirational, Motivational and Strategic events—take advantage of the Eye-Cubed-U philosophy.   I look forward to discussing availability for your next corporate event or conference.

David J. Sussman, Esq. CLU

Founder and President, Eye-Cubed-U, LLC

Building the Vision for Inspiration. Innovation. Implementation.

Cell Phone:  203-247-2104:  Email:  dsussman@pfpservices.com





Trust: Does It Exist In Corporate America?

7 12 2012

I sat at lunch today with my mentor Valerie Coffin.  She was a leader of people and possessed the unique set of skills required to move our company forward as its President, the position she served for the final five years of her 33-year tenure employment with my company, Schmitt Sussman Enterprises, Inc.

We caught up, talked about our families and reflected on our past.  We always had such a fantastic time working together and our periodic lunches are very special to me.   Valerie and I spoke of the company, identified what remains the same as well as how it has changed.

Then we spoke of trust.

Throughout her lifetime with the company, Valerie built relationships that transcended the typical employee-employer status.  She shared a genuine love for the people she worked with and created an atmosphere that fostered trust and loyalty.

She spoke of her boss Stan, my father and one of the founders of the company.  He earned her trust while she, in turn earned his. Valerie trusted him with her corporate life.  All of his employees felt the same way.

The culture of trust, loyalty and appreciation did not come from Stan alone.  It was he and his partner/co-founder John Schmitt who solidified the original culture of PFP.  Folks who worked with them at the time reflect on it as a true “family” within a family business.  I have interviewed many of PFP’s top executives who are still with the company to this day and were part of that original team.  They knew they had been part of something unique and special.

One of the greatest challenges facing successful Eye-Cubed companies is in maintaining one’s culture during growth, succession and over time.  Instead of a tight group of 20-30 in a few states, PFP has blossomed into a powerhouse of 300 employees throughout 17 states.  We discuss “corporate culture” and trust (among many other qualities) is a tremendous quality that we must preserve.

  • How can an atmosphere of “trust” be fostered in an environment peppered with litigious individuals?
  • How can an atmosphere of “trust” be fostered in a society where corporate deception has been making headlines over the past decade?
  • How can we foster trust when our company has been faced with tough business decisions over the past five years, which resulted in layoffs?

Eye-Cubed companies and executives are meeting this challenge every day. Ask yourself the following to determine if “trust” is likely to exist as part of your culture.

  1. Is your executive team trustworthy as individuals?
  2. Are your corporate motives towards your employees and customers genuine?
  3. Are your messages to your employees consistent?
  4. Are your top executives truly connected to the people throughout every level of your organization?
  5. Is there transparency for employees to hear, see and understand the reality of situations that drive decisions?
  6. Is there consistency in behavior, messages and actions that foster predictability and stability?

Trust is clearly not something one can buy or turn on like a light-switch.  It is created and built over time.  Trust can be shaken and repaired.  It can be challenged and proven.  It is not lost.  It is not gone.

In fact, you cannot be an Eye-Cubed executive without it.  It must exist within your organization to graduate from Eye-Cubed University.

Perhaps Trust Is A Journey, Not A Destination!

If you, your company, your industry conference or team is in need of the best keynote speaker, motivational management consultant, or inspirational presenter for your conference, strategic planning meeting or for professional development, click on these words and see how Eye-Cubed-U is prepared to help you. 





All Companies Must Be Evolving…Is Yours?

27 09 2012

I heard a powerful and inspirational speech today by Mark Sessel, the President of PFP.  He urged that great companies, regardless of their size, makeup and industry must evolve in order to sustain growth and relevance over a long period of time.  They can adapt, live true to their brand promise and excel like IBM or they can remain stagnant, hold onto the past and lose everything like Eastman Kodak.

What is your plan?  Does your leadership have the vision to see what to do?  Does your organization have the strength to evolve?

If your company has the following corporate qualities, it has a good chance of passing the test of time with flying colors:

  • Ownership/Board CULTURE that embraces well thought out and appropriate innovation and evolution.
  • Leadership with an eye towards identifying ways to widen, lengthen and deepen EXISTING streams of income.
  • Leadership with a focus on identifying NEW streams of income.
  • Leadership capable of MOVING the organization towards the desired destination through inspiration, communication and execution.
  • An organizational culture embracing CHANGE with leadership appreciative of the steps necessary to effectively manage change.

The qualities above are true to the name of this blog, I-CUBED (Inspiration, Innovation and Implementation).  Your organization needs all three qualities to be capable of the evolution described above.

Take a few minutes and list the names of all members of your team who embody the above qualities.  If you are not happy with the number of individuals on the list, it is time to spread the culture of innovation and evolution throughout your organization.

  • Have open DIALOG to identify the true issues and opportunities facing your organization.
  • Have meaningful DEBATE challenging ideas with an open mind to embrace evolution.
  • Empower your leadership to pose SOLUTIONS and plans to address your issues.
  • Identify key leaders to CHAMPION your organizations opportunities from concept through implementation.
  • Have your team members hold one another ACCOUNTABLE for performance.
  • RECOGNIZE the individuals on your list in a meaningful way.

The above list is clearly easier said than done.  Each bullet point is deep enough to be a chapter in a book and must be approached with care and thought.   I am sure this blog will explore them over time.

If you, your company, your industry conference or team is in need of the best keynote speaker, management consultant, or  presenter for your conference, strategic planning meeting or for professional development, click on these words and see how Eye-Cubed-U is prepared to help you. 





Evolution and Innovation on the Fringe

24 09 2012

As business owners and leaders, it goes without saying that you are focused on your core business.  You know what works and you strive for perfection.  You drive profitability through growth in what you do and efficiencies in the way you operate.  This focus is essential and without it, the business will surely fail.  You are already one of the fortunate few who have succeeded in bringing a unique idea to fruition.  Your business now brings tremendous satisfaction to you and your top executives on many levels.  And most importantly, it makes you and your employees money.  You have the distinct advantage to make the most of that original concept.  How big do you want your business to be? Moreover, how long do you want it to last?  Are you happy with the status of your business?

You should know one thing for sure, that if you remain forever focused solely on your core with a blind eye towards evolution  and innovation on the fringe, your business will begin the cycle of decline and ultimate death.  Your idea and opportunity will eventually run its course and you will probably be at the helm while it does.  Without evolving on the fringe and bringing impactful new opportunities to your business, failure is inevitable. If you refuse to invest time and energy on the innovation, you should consider selling your business and pulling out the value while it still has value.  Or perhaps you consider yourself a proud captain and wish to go down with the ship.  Would you then speak bitterly about the last few years and reflect on a changing economy or a powerful competitor shrinking your margins and ultimately forcing you to shut your doors forever?  Would you think that your original concept just failed to develop further?  Or to the contrary, did you actually fail your original concept?  Would you recognize and reflect on the fact that by focusing on one thing and one thing only, you did not give your business the necessary lifeblood to succeed in the long term?

Perhaps, on the other hand, you will have a chance to be thankful that you truly understood fringe benefits that come from owning and/or leading a business through evolution and had decided long ago that you were going to be one of those rare individuals who took full advantage and as a result, your business is now thriving and capable of bringing you more satisfaction than you ever imagined possible, more growth than you felt you were capable of achieving and more flexibility than all of your competitors.  By innovating and evolving on the fringe and enjoying the benefits that are sure to come, you will do nothing short of saving your business.

If you, your company, your industry conference or team is in need of the best keynote speaker, management consultant, or  presenter for your conference, strategic planning meeting or for professional development, click on these words and see how Eye-Cubed-U is prepared to help you.