Personal Development Tip: Reflect on Your Role as an Employee

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Have you ever considered your role as an employee? I would say that 80% of employees only consider their employer as this month’s paycheck, and have never (or very RARELY) have thought about their value-add to their employer. Are YOU worth the money to your employer? Or are you simply basing your pay on how many years you’ve been loyal and stuck with your company? 

Newsflash: If you stay with the company for a few years but you spend half your day surfing the net, I would argue that you don’t “deserve” a raise for doing 50% of what you were supposed to do.

Here’s the current story of Fast Food Workers Demanding $15 Minimum Wage that triggered my rant.

Here’s some reflection questions you should ask yourself (and those workers demanding $15 minimum wage should ask):

  1. You demand a higher hourly wage. What have you done in added productivity and or key accomplishments that justifies this ask?
  2. Have you actually thought about how much you are generating in revenue for your employer per hour? Is it more than what they are paying you? If it’s not, then you risk getting fired, and for good reason. 
  3. Are you actually working to the max of your ability/productivity on the job? Are you taking advantage of your employer through maxing the use of benefits, days off, stationary, all the little things? (If you are, then don’t complain about your employer “taking advantage” of you – it’s a 2-way street buddy)
  4. Fast Food company jobs who work front line are considered more entry-level positions. I have yet to hear of entrant level positions that are paid $15 an hour. Well, maybe if you are part of a union, but don’t get me started on how inefficient I think they are.
  5. Now, if you still believe entry-level jobs should be paid $15 an hour, please look at similar jobs. University level graduates are paid are similar starting wage for their first jobs. My first summer internship job during university paid $16 an hour. Employers invest in you a similar amount YOU invest in yourself. So if YOU haven’t done anything to improve your skill level I don’t think the facts justify for a higher minimum wage. 

Always open to discussion and conversation. Leave a message on the blog if you would like to discuss. Rant over.

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Personal Development: How to Become GREAT at Something.

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PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE. Not the first time you’ve heard (probably the millionth time you’ve heard it). 

So why am I repeating it? I figured you were searching for a shortcut to get great at something and came across this post. Yes, I did trick you, and I did succeed because you did think there is a shortcut.

Bad news, until they come up with a way to download books and other knowledge into your brain, you’re going to have to suck it up and practice, practice, practice. 

Recently I’ve been reading Robert Greene’s “Mastery” – which basically says to become really good at something you put in about 20,000 hours studying the craft. Good luck with that but it’s a reality. Do you remember how you learned to swim? to bike? to read? I’m pretty sure you didn’t one day wake up with all the vocabulary in your head – you learned it letter by letter, word by word didn’t you?

So instead of whining about why your friend is great at doing such and such, your best course of action is to start practicing and investing time to development a key skill area that interests you. 

The key here is discovering (kudos to you if you already know) something that really interests you; to such an extent that you are willing to invest 20,000 hours of your life mastering it. 

For me, marketing and business models across different industries fascinate me. I write about it because I want to learn more about it and I want to improve my writing and communication skills. I’m probably not the best writer out there, but day by day, I’m getting there. How about you?

Marketing Commentary – FairforCanada.ca Radio Campaign (a review of weak marketing arguments)

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I listen to the radio while I drive to and from work, and the past week I kept hearing these radios ads for the FairforCanada.ca campaign. 

The gist: A large mobile giant is looking to start operations here, resulting in increased competition in the telecommunications industry (which in my opinion, is fantastic because I am a believer of survival of the fittest).

The radio ads that are part of this campaign highlight:

  1. How it’s not fair that the incoming competition gets to leverage off years of investment that the existing Canadian companies have built for over 2 decades.
  2. The other argument is that there may be the possibility that small towns may be “forgotten” – not sure what that means given if there is already reception there, there will always be reception there(?)

Not sure if there are other ads part of this campaign but with these two reasons I have already heard enough. 

Here’s what I get from listening to these ads – I hear a big baby whining about how life’s not fair. Newsflash: THE WORLD ISN’T FAIR.

The two highlighted campaign points are weak marketing arguments. 

  1. Infrastructure: So when you build an airport, built with taxpayers’ money, and then more airlines start landing their planes there – is that not fair? How about when we invest to build roads and more cars use it? Is that not fair? How about companies who invest in building tech parks and then smaller developers and vendors start building around the fringe of it to attract business to themselves? Is that not fair? I think you see where I’m going with this. It’s just silly.
  2. Forgetting about small towns? Again…someone enlighten me as to why a large company coming in will mean no service for the small towns. 

I think this campaign may be a two-part rollout. I heard previous radio ads where they use 30-seconds to argue how “CHEAP” Canadian voice and data plans are in comparison to US companies. I don’t know whether they compared the exact same plans, because from what I’m paying right now it appears that Canada voice and data plans are outrageously expensive in comparison. Having conducted market research for corporations in the past, I understand how numbers could be manipulated prior to being used for marketing purposes – this radio ad also infuriated me. It didn’t help at the time that I was (and probably still am) being charged by Rogers a ridiculous amount for 500MB of monthly data. 

Let me convince you with numbers. Here’s what I could be getting in the US: http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/beyond-talk-plans/overview/

Basically what I have as part of my plan right now (I am paying well over $100) I could get in the US for $35 (and that’s 2.5GB of data vs. the meager 500MB I am stuck with).

Now THAT is not fair. 

Management Tip: Tell Them Who’s Boss

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A lot of us have to go through a few years in the business world to figure out what our leadership styles are. Canadians are always made fun of for how polite we are, and this spills over into our management styles. 

Scenario:

I’m at a new client’s office meeting with their team to go over branding/marketing strategy. There were a total of four people in this meeting including myself. It is a relatively small company with less than 20 staff so it operates like a startup with staff each wearing numerous “hats”.

I spoke mostly with one of the staff as he explained all the details to me. After leaving the meeting, I was catching up with another staff and casually asked whether Person A is the manager of the project. The person responded and said that Person B is actually the manager of the project. From the dynamics of the few meetings I have had with them, it definitely felt like the direct report had a louder “voice” over the project. 

Here’s how this affects you as a business owner:

  1. Nobody Knows Who’s Boss. This means that no one knows who has the final say for important decisions. We love to ask: “What do you think?” 
  2. Decisions Oddly Bypass You. When your direct reports are leading the business, external contractors and business partners/affiliates you deal with will revert to that person for decisions. I would assume that as the business owner you would want a say in that, so you have to project the image that you are the one in control. 

So tell them who’s boss. Tell everyone who’s boss. It’s better for business and minimizes internal power struggles. 

A Recommended Tip – Pricing Strategy

Having killed my feet over the long weekend, I headed for a shoulder and foot massage today. It was my first time at the location and I was told the price is $36 for an hour – not a bad price at all.

So I enjoyed an hour of relaxation and proceeded to the cashier to pay. I gave the person a $100 bill so they could break it and give me back $40, leaving a roughly 10% tip. The cashier gives me a funny look and I explained again how he can just give me back $60, thinking the $4 tip was a reasonable tip; it got to a point where I thought he couldn’t add or subtract, until he points to a piece of printer paper behind his shoulder that says “We recommend a tip of $10.”

Let’s run through the numbers. For me to pay $46 for a $36 massage would mean that I was tipping 28%. That does not make sense to me. If you want to charge $46 you might as well have worked that into the pricing instead of recommending an insanely large tip.

Never hide your costs until the very end of providing a service/product, it’s a major turn-off to customers you want to avoid.