Category Archives: Business

Squirrels have a bad rap.

I often compare myself to a squirrel: I see something new, or “shiny”, and I zoom on it. I say it in a positive way, as for me, it illustrates my constant search and interest for new things, other things that may be useful at some point in the future. Collecting “dots” that I will connect later on.

I say it knowing that the most common association of being a squirrel is lack of focus. A dear friend of mine uses it sometimes as a reminder to others in a team setting to “get back on track”: when someone is getting off topic, or too much into details, they shout “SQUIRREL” as a comical and friendly cue to refocus on the task at hand. They sometimes put a picture or an illustration of a cute squirrel on a wall as a visual reminder.

I just saw an the TV commercial (2013 I think) that prompted me to right this post. It highlights the very positive aspects of squirrels which are great attributes to have in business today: squirrels are small, quick, persistent, efficient and AGILE!

I am a Squirrel, and PROUD OF IT!   🙂

What do you think about being a Squirrel?

Are you a Squirrel?

Is your company a Squirrel Company?

PS – Here’s the post where I saw the ad, which show other clever, and very funny TV commercials.

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Don’t let anyone fall through the cracks… including you!

How many times have you heard someone say, “It’s all about who you know.” Or who knows you. Or who remembers you.

In business, large and small, you have to be in the top layers of the minds of the people you do business with, whether it’s B2B or B2C.

It’s about your network. But more importantly, it’s about how you take care of your network. You need to nurture it. Like plants… you need to water them, give them the right amount of light, enrich the soil, and even talk to them according to some.   🙂

People are the same. Look at the illustrations above. Imagine the names you see there are the names of people in your network. The bigger the name, the more you interact with them: meet in person, talk on the phone, exchange emails, follow each other’s social media, etc.

But what about those little names? Those you do not keep in touch with? Those who do not know about what you’re doing? Who knows what they are doing right now? Who knows what they are planning?

And that also means THEY do not know what YOU ARE DOING!!!!!

Imagine your cloud of names with no bid difference in size. Some will always be bigger, of course. These people you deal with regularly because things are good between you and them. But you have to wonder what you, or them, are missing by not being in touch.

Just a thought…

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Click “Like” if you like this post, and don’t hesitate to share it. And by all means, comment on it.   🙂

What does it mean to be “Agile”

We all hear the word “agile” repeatedly. In all sorts of context. Project management, business, design, etc… Agility is a mindset. A mindset about two things: speed and change.

Speed to get things one quickly to validate pertinence and value. Best example is Agility in product development, and project management. Most of all because we dont want to waste resources, and we want to get it out as fast as possible because it is in demand or you want to be first on the market.

Change because it is constant. Everything is changing constantly: society and business. So the old days of over-planning are gone. Yes, you need to plan, you need a vision, a road map… but you need to test your ideas and assumptions as many times as possible, to make sure you’re on the right track.

We know what has been, but we cannot be sure of what will be, at least not definitely. The target is always moving.

To follow the target, we need to be agile.

But what does it mean to be agile? 

This morning I saw the following diagram posted on LinkedIn by a few people (Marie PineauRomy Schnaiberg and Myriam Plamondon – see references below) which I believe is a good tool to answer that question.

being agile

I like this diagram. It makes complete sense to me. If you think you’re agile, look at each aspects and reflect on it. It might even help you identify things you need to work on if you want to be more agile. Do the same with your company if it wants to be agile. Propose it as a team exercise. Do it separately, anonymously event, and then compare answers. And I mean everyone, management included. 🙂

Come to think of it, this could be used to create an AGILITY Index, for individuals as well as companies. Each of the five aspects could be rated, even double-rated: self-rated and rated by others.

Does it exist? Maybe I should build one. Would you use it?

References* provided by Myriam Plamondon:

  • De Meuse, K. P., Dai, G., & Hallenbeck, G. S. (2010). Learning agility: A construct whose time has come. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 62(2), 119.
  • DeRue, D. S., Ashford, S. J., & Myers, C. G. (2012). Learning agility: In search of conceptual clarity and theoretical grounding. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 5(3), 258-279.

* You’ll find them on the web…

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Reputation and trust are key.

I started KATALYST5 with the goal of connecting people.

Connecting those in need of services with the right people to do the best job that can be done.

How does KATALYST5 know who is the best person to do something?

We start simple, by identifying what needs to be done for a specific job and then we selecting who – if there were no restrictions – would be the absolute best person (or people) to complete it.

We base our selection on their knowledge, experience and skills, but also, more importantly, because on knowing these people love doing exactly that work that needs to get done.

Once we have a list of candidates, we look at their availability and their cost.  We may negotiate certain aspects of the job like calendar or budget to make it work, and if it’s a match, then great!  And if it doesn’t, well, we move down the list until we do find the right match for you.

This is how we work.

But here’s a question to you: Why do you hire a specific person? Do you just look at a sheet of paper, examine their resume, consider their pedigree?   Of course not.  You will eventually want to meet with and talk to that person to discuss your needs because, at the end of the day, you don’t hire a company, you hire the people in that company.

And yet, even then, can you ever be sure what kind of service you will get from that person?  As we know all too well, ineffective people can still be very effective at selling themselves.  We’ve all heard horror stories of business relationships gone bad, even though they started with great expectations based on a few chats and meetings.

So while you should consider hiring the person and not the resume, how can you really be sure if you do not know that person?

The answer is reputation.  We all need to look at reputation.

What do others think of the person you are considering?  Sure, you need to do your homework, and not just make a quick phone call to that person’s friend.  And, in asking around, if you hear things that you don’t like, due diligence sometimes requires that you take other people’s words with a grain of salt.

See, reputation is based on the input of others.  Trust, on the other hand, is based on your personal experience.

So here’s another word: trust.

But without personal experience, if you’re hiring someone you don’t know, how can you trust them?  Someone’s reputation only becomes trustworthy when you hear about it from someone you yourself trust.   I call it inferred-trust.

And another word: change.

Change is constant, but the pace of change has accelerated in the last decade.  Technological innovations, climate change, political turmoil, and… people of course.  We change a lot because of what we learn, what we adapt to, and what we get overwhelmed by.

And back to my point again: reputation.

Reputations change, because people change.  For the better and, sometimes, for the worst.  So we each have to take care of our reputation.  Protect it and nurture it.  In a world of constant change, filled with people who don’t know who we are, it is all we have to make these people trust us.

And the best way to do it: be humble and empathize with others.

What do you think?

Montreal’s Creative Startups

Last Thursday, I went to District 3’s DemoDay, to take a look at a bunch of startups mentored by District 3 Innovation Center, at Concordia University in Montreal.

I went there partly out of curiosity, and partly as I am a designer of all sorts, as well as an entrepreneur. The event was very impressive, not only because the venue was great (Sid Lee’s Multifunctional Space setup for Montreal’s Creative Community), but the food was excellent (another startup, Gourmet chez toi), and the 13 startups who took the stage did a very good job at presenting themselves – some were more descriptive in their approach and offering, some were short and sweet and to the point: all were of course asking for money.  🙂

You’ll find information about the event and the startups on the event’s page, but here’s the list:

  • M-Dreams Stage: Entertainment. Realtime motion capture of a dancer, digitized and used to generate visuals overlayed in realtime on the dancer. http://mdreams-stage.com/
  • Hyasynth: Medicine – pharma. Developing drug-medication of select genes found in medical marijuana, to treat various illnesses without the effects of weed, such as smoking it and feeling the “other” effects. hyasynthbio.com
  • Easy CPR: Fix the problem of too many CPR procedures done wrong by… doctors and nurses. Mechanical apparatus connected to software giving realtime feedback on correctness of doing CPR, allowing CPR giver to correct while performing it. Link to their page on District3.
  • Revols: Custom earphones to fit YOUR ears. Gel-like substance formed to your ears on first fitting and solidified in under 60 secs (if I remember correctly). Procedure is guided by an app on your smartphone. Promise of serious reduction in consumer pricing compared to currently available similar customized product. revolsound.com
  • Paradox Interfaces – tryb: Building online teams to compete in SERIOUS online gaming events. paradoxinterfaces.com
  • Imaginary Spaces: Software that allows you to create virtual spaces “easily” – and 3D print them if you are such-equipped. Very interesting – had a Sketchup feel to it, but looked easier to use. imaginary-spaces.com
  • Memo App: App that allows you to create or find micro-events of you liking. The type of event that doesn’t really take much to organize, last minute type, which you may not be aware they are happening. memoapp.com
  • e-panneur: Online grocery shopping AND delivery from… MULTIPLE STORES!  Really cool.   e-panneur.ca
  • Stay22: Online event platform that takes care of “all” the logistics of attending the event of your choice: just give it the event, and it will find it, give you the date(s) and location, and propose lodging choices. Don’t remember if it also proposes transportation choices too…
  • TeekTak: online platform to help freelancers with ALL the paperwork of being a freelancer, in a “simplified” manner. teektak.com
  • JOTUN: Online game inspired by North Mythology, bringing back a lost art with this hand drawn game. jotungame.com
  • HEDDOKO: Smart motion-capture suits. Designed for advanced, professional athletes who do not have the $$$ for MOCAP, and want to get data from the field (not in a controlled environment such as MOCAP). Will also offer consumer level garments, with less sensors. heddoko.com
  • MuCity: These guys will record events from multiple points of view, package them in such as way that will allow you to “relive” the event. At this time they released the full audio of the pitches. Just need to get their app. mucity.co

Kudos to to District 3 for their work and for organizing this great event!

How to Deal with STRESSED OUT Customers

Thanks Tim!   Another great perspective on understanding and dealing with people. Especially the importance of having a clear enough picture of your own needs and objectives so you know when to… get away.     🙂

Tim Ohai

Next week, I am stoked to be joining my friends Jim Keenan (@keenan) and Anthony Iannarino (@iannarino) for a “jolt of Sales 411.” Our topic is going to be people who drive us nutshow to deal with a pain in the a$$ prospect/customer. Knowing these guys the way that I do, it’s going to be a GREAT conversation. One that you definitely won’t want to miss.

Since I typically obsess think about things way too deeply before doing these kinds of events, and I have been focused on the concept of stress this past year, I wanted to cover stress as ONE of the ways that a client can become an absolute terror.

High thermometerIn case you missed my last post on dealing with stress (and since it was months ago that I posted it!), let me give you a brief summary. I find that stress is generally…

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Good bye acute meetingitis! Plan your day-to-day meetings as a true KMer…

Thanks Ewen! Can’ talk enough about useless meetings, especially those which benefit only a few, if not just one of the attendees. Like the idea of Open Space Technology, and I very well may use the Meeting ticker. 🙂

Agile KM for me... and you?

On this blog I talk a lot about (large) events, how they’re designed, facilitated, useful, successful, impactful… or not. There is a related, mundane, day-to-day topic: the case of everyday meetings. We spend sometimes so much time that we might want to think about how to make them as useful.

And in this post, I just want to stop and consider how to plan your time in these day-to-day meetings in the best possible way, from a KMer perspective (also because good KMers are innovation conveners – and good practice-shapers).

So many (bad) reasons to hold a meeting - time to reverse the trend (Credits: Axbom) So many (bad) reasons to hold a meeting – time to reverse the trend (Credits: Axbom)

So here are some principles to get your started in planning your (attendance at) meetings:

Come prepared

Long preparation, short war so… If you’re not prepared, you’re likely going to be wasting your time and others’. And as I keep referring to meeting cost calculators (such as Meeting Ticker

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