Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Exec Producer recommends Workshop

Click the image to read the original - here is what the letter says:

March 12, 2009

Dear Michael,

Many thanks once again for the recent team building seminar you and April Jaffe led at our offices here at Schofield Films. Even after all these weeks, many of the mental exercises from that evening still resonate. I am consciously referring back to things I learned. For example, the way in which we began to frame a conversation in a more positive way has had a lasting effect on me. And I have tried to purge the word “but” from daily conversation and emails. I further find myself actually thinking about where I want a conversation to go and the words I want to use on the journey. In spite of myself, I actually felt stimulated by the evening’s activities. I recommend it for anyone with a brain or anyone who hopes to acquire one.


Robert Berman
Executive Producer
Schofield Films

Get in touch and we can tailor a workshop for your team or company. Click here to learn more.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Be honest with your staff

We all need to cut our expenses: Conde Nast staffers are staying with friends instead of in hotels (Gasp), our cash flow is already miserable and GM and GroupM and the rest are going to make us lend them large amounts of money for 60-120 days if we want to work for them, and what did you decide to do about your corporate jet anyway?

So what are you going to tell your staff? Well on the whole you should tell them the truth. Not just because your mum told you that is good practice, but because if you don't they will make up something much worse, or else they will continue to buy very expensive meals on your credit card.

So sit them down all together, because then they will all know that everyone was told the same thing. Tell them what is going on - they read the newspapers so they kinda know. And tell them if you can that their jobs are secure for at least 3 months or that they need to take a pay cut in order for you to stay in business or that they need to help you win new business or that they need to bring their own candles because the electricity will be turned off next week, but won't we have fun all in it together.

Whatever you need to tell them, get them engaged in helping you to mitigate the problem. They want to work. They want some sense of certainty. If they feel like you care and you are trying your best they will respond positively. And the chances of them getting hired anywhere else just now are pretty darn slim.

Is this what you really want to be doing?

A lot of people seem to be taking this current disruption (delicately put, no?) to figure out whether they are really doing what they want to be doing.

One client is wondering whether his creative business is actually providing him with the creative satisfaction he craves. Well, truth be told, several clients are working on that one. Another client is finally getting going on the movie he's always wanted to make. Another friend is talking about abandoning his Hollywood career and going to build houses in Thailand.

This seems like the right time for asking the questions and making the choices. Should I drop what I have been doing and jump headfirst into a new adventure or is there a way to do both? A lot of times in my work with clients we find a really satisfying way to reframe their day job so that it leads organically towards that dream job. Very often the course is there, it was just hard to chart from inside the trenches.

I encourage these dreams - so many of them make a huge amount of sense. Let's all make some bold choices about what pipe we are laying for our futures. This will turn out to be the time of opportunity - let us enjoy it and use it well.

The Great God Positioning

The obsessive search for the Perfect Positioning can often cloud your ability to see what it is you really need to do. Searching for the perfect Positioning become the grail, whereas it is only one tool for achieving your real goal.

So what is that real goal? Is it a revenue target? Is it a "quality of client" target? Is it about profit margins? Presumably these are what is really important to you. But those goals are often being sidelined to spend time worshiping the Great God Positioning.

Here is another way to think about it. Start by visualizing what you want to achieve (revenue, better clients) and work back from that. Ask yourself who can help you achieve it. Figure out what you need them to do to help you. Put yourself in their place and make a smart guess at what they might be wanting. Now you have a way to imagine what you have to tell them, to get them to do what you want them to do.
Work backwards from these questions and answers and you will find the Positioning much easier to nail, and meanwhile you will be clearly aiming at the real goal.