This year's collection of Ah-Ha moments in no particular order.
- Doing Leads to Understanding – I designed the software architecture for a project and saw clearly how the pieces related to each other. I made changes to enhance its functionality from this structural knowledge.
- Can't Predict What May Move Readers – In a blog post about the New Normal, focusing on poor economic performance and shifting business structures, the readers' comments blossomed into a lively discussion of what is 'normal' and why it's important.
- Exponential Focus – When learning something new, initially discovered elements float around independent of each other until critical mass is achieved and BLAM! - these pieces come together for deep understanding and practical application.
- Sales Is a Conversation With a YES at the End – Gone is the role of being an information resource (buyer can get that from the Internet); now we listen to the needs and share customer stories of situations where our solution filled their need and benefited the customer.
- Develop an On-line Personality for You and Your Business – Google has added to the kit of social media tools with Google Plus and Google Plus Business Pages, which can showcase your activities, offered products and services, posts about topics of interest and value to create your electronic persona. And all of this is findable by anyone with access to the internet.
- PowerPoint is NOT Required – Shifting to a value-based handout to guide the presentation creates a more intimate session and leaves useful information (and your contact specifics) in the hands of the attendees.
- Business and Education: A Necessary Partnership – Business needs a stream of potential employees with a strong foundation ( including reading, writing, math, critical thinking, problem-solving) to train as workers to produce the company's products and services. The education system is responsible for building this changing foundation.
- The World Has Changed While I've Been Working – It's not job change – it's career redevelopment! Individuals in transition are shocked to find that the job they have just left no longer exists in the job market. Suggestion - look for opportunities to acquire new skills while in your current position.
- The No Customer Recession – Customers stop buying – businesses cut back (or close) – uncertainty abounds. A mantra of the politicians – create jobs! and they throw money at the problem. When all the smoke and noise has settled, it still comes back to “are the customers buying?”
- Technological Confluence – Using computers, telecom, and internet has matured and the promised changes have arrived – it is altering how things get done. 'Doc in the box' changed how many people get routine everyday out-patient care; Amazon, Zappos, eBay has shifted buying and trading patterns; tax, accounting, and legal software substitutes standard elements in lieu of a trained professional for simple needs.
- It's the Same – But Different – In the past, selling a better mousetrap was successful by better meeting a need...this still applies today. Now, as before, things that fill a need sell. What is different is the evolution of the solo and small business developing and marketing the solutions. Perfect example: Phone apps: narrow scope; solves a specific issue; sold cheap (99 cents - $5, or free with ads), delivered on-line immediately, and promoted by word-of-mouth or social media.
What was the best thing you learned in 2011?
Best wishes for success in the New Year.