Productivity: Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Day

I had the opportunity to attend an educational session led by Chris Bailey on productivity.  He states there are lots of books on the subject, good and bad!

The following is a recap of his session from my notes.

What is Productivity?  They mean different things to different people.

It has changed over the past 50 years from repetition of work (think working with your hands vs the brain) to knowledge-based work.  Factory vs Knowledge!

He goes on to state that there are 3 keys to productivity: Time Management; Attention; and Energy. Accomplishing what we intended to do is what productivity is all about.

He talked about the following 3 tactics that if we're aware of, that if we manage, it will make us more productive.

  1. The Rule of 3
  2. Procrastination
  3. Taming the distractions/interruptions

The Rule of 3

Set better intentions, what 3 things to I want to accomplish each day or week.  Our brains are ingrained to do things in 3.  So what are your 3 daily intentions?


The research states that there are 7 reasons we procrastinate because the work is boring, frustrating, difficult, lacks personal meaning, lacks intrinsic rewards, ambiguous and unstructured.

How to beat it, think of your future self, list the costs, shrink your resistance, define the very next thing and do it and finally notice mindless busywork.

Taming the distractions/interruptions

Research tells us that we have 40 seconds of focus before we're distracted/interrupted.  Which translates into 26 minutes of lost productivity from each distraction/interruption.

He goes on to say there are four types of distractions/interruptions - control/no control, annoying/fun.  The key is to deal with these things ahead of time.

Give 3 goals to your staff for the day, week, month or quarter.  Your team, like all teams, can understand when you keep it to three.

As a manager, do you have a list of 3 things you want to do? Time management, attention and energy are the keys to productivity and where those three circles come together is productivity.

At the end of the day, we need to be our own traffic cop to increase our productivity.

For more information about Chris Bailey and his productivity project go HERE.

Creating an Entrepreneurial Culture in an Existing Organization

At a recent educational breakout session I attended, the speaker, Courtney Kiss, spoke of creating an atmosphere where your staff can make a difference and change the culture of your organization and in turn your community.

It's about building a culture that everyone has a voice and has the ability to change things from where they are in the organization.  It cannot happen in a vacuum.

The top three key things that jumped out at me that may also work for you and your organization that the Courtney mentioned are:

  • Improve on what you already have - there is no need to start from scratch.
  • Try something new - and this does not have to be a big thing, it can be small or it could be large.
  • At the end of the day, it's about thinking differently - people who challenge the status quo.

Who drives the culture?

Management - buy-in from the top or who manages people.  It doesn't have to start at the top, but the top has to support.

Leaders - and that doesn't just mean the person with the title but the individuals that can inspire, constructive critique, and support (you will always have failure from time to time but the leader gives support and fail-forward. The leader can reinforce the message.

HR - supports the entrepreneurial culture through hiring and maybe even the review process and a consistent reinforced communication to all staff.

Benefits of an Entrepreneurial Culture

  • More innovation
  • Employee satisfaction - you are giving staff a platform to be heard
  • Employee advocacy - great PR

How do you Build It (10 Key Things)

  1. Embrace passion, share your passion
  2. Allow the right amount of autonomy
  3. Avoid homogeneity
  4. Be brave and radical
  5. Be patient with the process and timing
  6. Small is ok (learn as you go)
  7. You need to be ok with failure (you need to learn from it)
  8. Celebrate the successes
  9. You need to make way for change (you need to allow it to happen)
  10. Transparency is critical (share the most information you can from where you stand)

Some Action Items to Create this Entrepreneurial Culture

  • Create focus groups within your staff
  • Utilize the technology you have (Dropbox or a comment box, etc. to get new ideas)
  • Get your folks to talk to others outside your organization
  • Create a competition
  • Host a lunch with your staff to hear ideas but give it context

The good news is that it’s not expensive to change a culture, improve efficiencies, or the opportunity to make more people happy at work!

Lapsed Member Recruitment

I recently attended a breakout session on lapsed member recruitment led by Vivian Swertinski.  We could all learn from the following ideas the next time we decide to kick-start a lapsed member campaign.

Oh by the way, don't make it up as you go! Here's her four step strategy of lapsed member campaign.

1.              Analyze the data

What happens after they lapse?

  • What do they have access to
  • What do they still need
  • What would be different or new

Reasons for not renewing - forgot to renew, not sure of ROI or no longer working in industry.

Message to deliver - be part of the solution, access to the latest information to help you run your business.

And by the way, your lapsed members are still engaging with you, you just don't know it!  At the organizational level people are still working with those lapsed members.

2.              Target Audience

  • Length of time lapsed
  • Length of relationship
  • Demographic data
  • Membership type

Talk about what they've missed during the time that they lapsed

3.              Create the Campaign

  • You want to make an emotional connection
  • They take center stage
  • Renewal is not the end goal

Assume they forgot to renew.  The pitch - we're committed to help your small business, the top priority for us is to be your advocate and we want to make sure you have the latest information to be successful.

Attached is your invoice to make it easy for you to get back in the know, game, etc.

4.              Execute the Plan

  • Friendly From (what name would they recognize - CEO)
  • Subject Line (we want you back)
  • Short and Long Message

Automate your campaign and segment your messages. Message to 3 - 6 months lapsed members, assume they forgot to renew. Message to 7 - 24 months lapsed members, showcase new programs, focus on whatever is new that they may not know about that your doing for the small business sector or the community at large.

A couple of tips:

  • Subject Line:  Rediscover the (Name of Your Chamber);
  • It's been x amount of time since you lapsed and we want to highlight what's new; and
  • We encourage you to visit (you fill in the URL) and see where you can plug in.

At the end of the day, you want to serve them and let them plug themselves in where it appeals to them.

Don't use the "We Miss You" verbiage letter, make a connection with what they need.  It's all about them, not us.

Try to make an emotional connection with your lapsed member - it's all about the altruistic member.

Use a theme like "get back in the game" and don't forget to make it easy for your lapsed member to renew!

If they renew, give them a special thank you (handwritten note) when they renew not just the normal acknowledgement email the typical renewal member gets.

In Summary:

Analyze your data, target your audience, create a campaign and execute your plan.

Remember, lapsed members are generally your warmest leads so spending some quality time in communicating with them with the right message can yield positive outcomes.

Good luck on your next lapsed member campaign!

High Impact Marketing on a Small Budget

I attended a breakout session recently on the title of this blog and jotted down the following suggestions from the speaker.

The following 8 tips are worth a review as you look for ways to get your message out to not only your members but to your non-members in the community.

Here's also a great website to get more ideas on marketing on a small budget from Entrepreneur Magazine.

#1 Exclusive Campaigns

  • TBT (throw back Tuesday) is a great example of an exclusive campaign in social media
  • Get pictures from past events - pictures, facts, etc.
  • Tie it to each programs (i.e., months lunch, annual meeting, etc.)
  • Book it on Hootsuite
  • History Monday - facts on your chamber

#2 Thought Leadership

  • Staff as experts (networking tips)
  • Content marketing
  • Visit a member and write about it
  • Building the brand

#3 Earned Media

  • Relationship building
  • Be a source in good times and bad (answer the phone)
  • Find the hook
  • Find the human element

#4 Testimonials

  • On your events or mission
  • On helping a business grow
  • On a legislative victory

#5 Out

  • Membership plaques
  • New member orientations

#6 IN

  • In-window clings
  • E-plaques
  • Membership 101 (for everybody, including new members)

#7 Public Service Announcements and Media Partnerships (free)

  • Radio station (quote something from research, etc.)
  • One minute spots each week (interviews with business owners)
  • Spots run 8 times a day for a week

#8 Video

  • Storytelling
  • Everyone is going in this direction
  • Use your smartphone, hold phone horizontally and use a business card holder to keep phone steady
  • Portable light for phone (battery powered) - side of face
  • Put yourself between the light and the interviewee
  • Keep camera rolling at all times
  • Do not script answers, ask questions
  • Know what your story is going to be about - asking 2, 3 or 4 questions should do it
  • Use iMovie to tweak the finished product

Great tips to think about as you market your chamber to your members and the community at large.

Volunteer Excellence: Elevate the Volunteer Experience

I attended a seminar led by Lowell Aplebuam, CAE on volunteerism.

While we all have our idea of what works for us, I took the following ideas to heart and can see where we might all be able to expand on his suggestions.

Make it personal.  Reshape the volunteer experience for your organization by allowing your volunteers to give back, receive recognition and gain credibility.

You should think of the following on how to involve young professionals?

  • Structures of inclusion (different levels)
  • Executive leadership, starting early
  • Empowering recruitment (peer to peer)
  • What do they want to learn
  • What can they contribute

Create a job description for the volunteer to set expectations:

  • Micro volunteering is a great way to get the younger generations involved in your program of work - use them as content specialists - write a blog, etc.
  • Create a quick volunteer role at an existing program - volunteer behind the registration desk, then recognize them and ask them to do more

Create micro opportunities to participate in your organization - what can they do?

  • For a program
  • For communications
  • For social media - post three pictures on Instagram
  • For outreach
  • Be a photographer

Skills Based Volunteering - pick volunteers based on their skill-set vs they have no experience but you find a way

  • Finance skill set could be your Treasurer
  • Fundraiser
  • Marketing expert
  • Event planning
  • Foodie can help with your events where F&B are involved

What is the appropriate balance for your board?  Are you keeping your retirees involved with your boards? They have the knowledge and expertise in the sector.  They also have:

  • Time
  • Talent
  • Treasure (money)

Do you have a retired member coordinator?  These folks have been your supporters over the years why kick them to the curb?

The Volunteer Precipice:  The End of the Volunteer Path - he ended with the following three areas to think about if you think about resetting the volunteer experience (path to the chair) that has been around our chambers for so many years.

What are we losing?

  • Organizational history
  • Strategic fluency
  • Key VIP connections
  • Models of passion and loyalty
  • Association operational mastery

What are the risks?

  • Strategic overstep
  • Burnout
  • Ego
  • Growth
  • Creating the space for models of respect

Build a bridge for journey extension after the normal volunteer engagement.

  • President's advisory council
  • Foundation Service
  • Volunteer first responders
  • Diamond in the rough mentors
  • New member orientation
  • Story tellers/evangelists
  • Thought leaders - research focus

At the end of the day, he left us with the idea of thinking about volunteering as a journey, not a position and make sure you recognize your volunteers on a regular basis!

Content Marketing

Some say that Joe Pulizzi is the father of content marketing.

Joe is the founder of Content Marketing Institute and for more information on CMI go HERE.

I recently attended a session of his and came away with the following observations.

Where did it begin?

  • Website = infinite storage.
  • Social Media
  • Corporate stuff and customer stuff (circles)
  • Content stuff and customer stuff (circles)
  • Corporate stuff/content stuff/customer stuff

You must be consistent with your content marketing (i.e., regular posts). Did you know that 85% of blogs have 5 or less posts.

The five elements of building a presence on the web.

1. Sales, Saving, Sunshine (create a why for each social media channel):

  • Sales - Copyblogger gives content to get sales
  • Saving - en.jyskebank created a TV station
  • Sunshine - John Deere created a magazine The Furrow - largest distributor of agricultural content - new customers

2. Create a content marketing mission statement:

  • Help X save time, answer questions - you fill in the blank.
  • Template - core target audience, what will be delivered, and the outcome for the audience
  • Create a mission statement
  • Define your audience
  • Deliver the goods
  • What is the outcome you want?

3. Don't build your content ship on rented land:

  • Facebook - pay to play - only 5% see your posts.
  • Joe is a big fan of LinkedIn
  • Focus on subscribers as a key metric (building an audience)
  • What's the difference between those who subscribe to my content and those that don't?

4. Leverage influencers, then build an audience:

  • OPC - other peoples content
  • 4:1:1 OPC, ebook, sales tweet
  • Slideshare owned by LinkedIn

5. Open up your wallet:

  • Build vs buy - you can build your own or buy it
  • Buy an influencer

Another great book I read on the subject matter is The Laptop Millionaire. The one thing that was repeated over and over is that subscribers are key to your success.  Get peoples emails - emails are the key.

Until next time!

Engaging and Promoting in a Digital Ecosystem

I recently attended a conference session (title of this blog) by Shama Hyder and Eric Kuhn.

Social Media - new definition - people are now the media!

The reach of any event can go viral - the old event that had 10,000 now is reaching millions - think the United airlines story - everyone around the world knows what happened.

In today's age you have the opportunity to get your message out and many will say the Millennials are the ones to get that message out.

By 2020 they will make up the majority of the workforce.

3 Trends in Social Media

  1. Identity-Based Ecosystem - showcase their own identity;
  2. Content Curation and Community - collaboration, community; and
  3. Video Device Agnostic (web + people = TV).

Eric Kuhn - from Hollywood to Silicon Valley.  Where we came from?

3.7 billion global Internet users who are on facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, email, Kickstarter, Tumblr, Podcast, Tinder.

Fight for future - Uber owns no cars, Alibaba has no stock, airbnb owns no properties, wiki-links sells no encyclopedias.

SoMoLo - social, mobile, local - Uber and Lyft - content is important.

Best Practices

  • Have a purpose, a point of view on social media;
  • Go viral - inform, inspire and insight to action (why you should share); and
  • Talk with the audience not at the audience or down to the audience.

How social media now effects every organization?

  • Content is currency;
  • Live your brand;
  • Design matters (what it looks like); and
  • Have purpose and value with your product, programs.

Until next time!