50 shades of “it doesn’t really matter”

I just read a brief post by author and marketer, Seth Godin that reminded me of a decision I made in the office last week. He references multiple choice tests… and while my job is very far from multiple choice tests, sometimes I find myself belaboring over diminishing returns, the lesser of two evils, or multiple positive outcome-related multi-variate decisions. For example, we’re running a program whereby we are sending new students a logo polo shirt. This is a really cool item and this program is not run by most other schools. I won’t go into the why or how of the program, but I will say I was asked to choose between a few different grey colors as the option for the shirt (and an even more heinous light blue one). After looking at them all, and disliking them all, I realized it didn’t matter so much as to what shade of grey, but rather, that we were sending a decent shirt out at all. I wouldn’t have enough data in the test set to determine if one shade would be better than another if I wanted to further segment the testing.

I just needed to pick one and move on to more important decisions.

You have to remind yourself, and your staff, that some decisions should not require too much time. Focus on what matters. The 50 shades of your decisions probably won’t matter most of the time.

10 things that impede your success in the workplace

Do you want to get ahead at work? You probably think there’s a formula for being noticed and getting ahead. Well, you are correct. One important aspect of the advancement equation is eliminating habits that are holding you back. These are the same habits that are holding everyone back and hurting the collective productivity of your office.

  1. Arriving late. Even if your office has flexible time, those around you notice if you are the last one to arrive each day. That looks like laziness. Whether or not it is does not really matter if your co-workers are thinking that it is.
  2. Allowing your meeting to run late. If you are the meeting organizer, it is your obligation to ensure it starts and ends on time. This shows respect for your co-workers’ schedules.
  3. Joining a meeting late. If you are invited to a meeting that begins at 10:00 a.m., then you should be ready to start at 10:00 a.m. Do not plan on leaving your desk and walking up three flights of stairs to arrive at 10:04 a.m. That shows disrespect to the organizer.
  4. Not replying to a meeting request. If you are invited to a meeting, you should indicate your status by accepting or declining. If you are not certain you will be able to attend, reply as tentative and explain. It’s okay to say “no”. Your schedule is sacred. But so are the schedules of your co-workers.
  5. Not providing an agenda for a meeting. If you are the meeting organizer it is your responsibility to send an agenda that explains the purpose of and goals for the meeting. After the meeting you should provide notes summarizing the action items, outcomes or other important business accomplished during the meeting and provide that in a timely manner.
  6. Scheduling a meeting during the lunch hour, or at the very end of the day. These are bad habits and demonstrate a disregard for the schedules of others — unless of course, you are providing lunch or ensuring that (for end of the day meetings) it will end on time to allow the attendees to get back to their respective offices to finish up whatever it is that they need to finish or close down.
  7. Not acknowledging correspondence in a timely manner. Blowing off emails from co-workers is disrespectful. If you do not have an answer, take 20 seconds and reply that you need more time to provide one. If you know you are going to be unavailable for a set period of time, consider putting up an auto response.
  8. Being loud. In an open workplace, this is one of the fastest and surest ways to become known as “the obnoxious one”. Loud, disruptive co-workers develop reputations for being lazy and unproductive because people only remember the disruption they cause.
  9. Stinky food. Okay, you can have your tuna fish and broccoli sandwich that you just heated in the microwave. But consider that you may be now associated as the one with the stinky food.
  10. Printing personal documents. When you send personal documents to the public printer, other people are likely to see them if you are not able to retrieve them immediately. Invariably, you will get distracted at some point after printing such an email and your mortgage statement or tax return will be sitting out far longer than you would like.

Chances are, you’ve done a few of these on the list — we all have. But, being respectful of your co-workers and their schedules will take you very far in your organization. The fact is, your co-workers see everything and talk about everything they see. So remember this the next time you show up late to a meeting that you had not rsvp’d to with a tuna fish sandwich in hand.

Handle negative buzz like the pros

ClickZ Live

ClickZ Live – Register today!

I’m excited to share (and self-promote) that I will be participating in the ClickZ Live annual marketing conference in New York City.



From ClickZ:

Creating the Ultimate Customer Experience

April 11-13, 2016

Attracting 1,000+ marketers and business leaders, our 17th annual event in New York will equip you with cutting edge strategies to inspire, acquire, convert and retain your customers.

Here’s information on my session:

Engage & Convert

Handle Negative Buzz Like the Pros

Trolls are not just pink fuzzy haired dolls; they are lurking in the corners of the ‘net waiting to tear your business apart. But it’s hard to know how to respond or if you should respond. In this session, Dan will take you through several real-world case studies of various strategies for handling negative buzz, working in your organization, and injecting a little levity to keep things calm. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but most importantly you’ll learn how to use best practices for review engagement to make your brand stand out in new digital era to create real street cred.

Attend this session and:

  • Review real case studies across a number of scenarios
  • Learn when you should and should not reply
  • Discover techniques for replying and converting negative moments to positive wins
  • Unlock the “L.E.A.D.E.R.” acronym and achieve success fast

Essentially, I will spend the session walking participants through the LEADER methodology that I have developed over the past decade with regards to handling negative comments that pop up online.

Nicebot combats evil, sort of

I love the nicebot campaign (#TheNiceBot). It is programmed through an API to send a complimentary tweet to every registered Twitter handled in Twitter’s ecosystem (some 300 million accounts), one-by-one, every 36 seconds. If my calculations are correct though, it will take roughly 342 years to cycle through each Twitter account.

Read more here: http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/deutsch-built-bot-will-say-something-nice-300-million-twitter-users-one-one-168042

And that’s great. But, most people on Twitter aren’t bullies, and 342 years is a long time.

I would propose using the bot and some natural language parsing (maybe through a partnership with HP’s Autonomy or Salesforce.com’s Radian6 platform), to identify the percentage of people tweeting negatively or better yet – identifying the cyberbullies, and then tweeting directly at those people continuously every 36 seconds until the cyberbully surrenders by taking some sort of pledge, action or making an apology.

If #TheNiceBot is going alphabetically, then @Dan_soschin is due for a compliment sometime in the next 50 years. I won’t hold my breath. Maybe I’ll just continue tweeting nice things in the meantime.