Tag Archives for " skills "

January 27, 2017

Marketing Will Power Isn’t Enough

We had a visit yesterday from Liz, one of our friends in Sheffield. I met Liz 11 years ago here at university. Like me she’s decided to live in Sheffield for a while.

Liz is 30, and a qualified doctor. If you include GSCE’s and A-levels, she’s been training to become a doctor for half her life.

Ever since I’ve known Liz, she’s suffered with chronic fatigue. It comes and goes to a degree, but there have always been serious time limits on what she can do. I remember her revising for an exam at university in ten-minute intervals, with five-minute micro-sleeps in between.

Looking back, I have no idea how she got through her degree. I think she’s probably the most committed, most determined person I know. And yesterday, she told us she’s quitting medicine for good.

“I just can’t do it,” she admitted. “I had to drive to Bakewell last week to see my supervisor, and ended up crashing my car into a wall. I’m okay, and the car’s okay. But it was a wake-up call.”

“How am I supposed to see patients for four hours a day, if I can’t even drive 30 minutes to see my supervisor? I’m pretty determined, but will power has its limits…”

I have every confidence Liz will be okay. She’s great with people, and great in particular with children. I suspect medicine was a red herring for her. But the words “will power has its limits” stuck with me for a while.

I’ve been thinking about will power recently in my own work. Will power is essential for getting a business off the ground. But I suspect eventually it may be a hindrance rather than a help, because you end up doing too much stuff. Will power can also be blinding.

In my book The Marketing Nurture System, I explain there are four roles that have to be filled in an effective marketing system: product expert, systems expert, copywriter and implementer. There are other roles you can plug in on top of this; specific ad platform experts, copy supervisor and so on. But that’s the core.

I’ve been working on a project recently where there are three of us in four of the roles. The only role unoccupied is implementer, which is the least important role. There’s no ambiguity over the roles, either. I’m in the copywriter role. My client is in the systems expert role. The client’s brother is the product expert.

It’s made me realise how much more you get done when the right people are in the right roles, rather than doing everything yourself as a super-human effort. Willpower is a great catalyst, but eventually it isn’t enough.

Are you playing to your strengths? Or are you busy doing everything yourself?

January 25, 2017

Learning Skills & Changing Habits: The 30% / 70% theory

I’ve mostly not been eating meat for the last four months. I have various personal reasons for the decision. I will eat meat occasionally, but only when it’s too inconvenient to do anything about it.

Like yesterday.

There are a few Italian restaurants in Sheffield that do £5 dishes at lunchtime. I was a little short on time, and ordered a vegetarian ‘crespelle’, or pancake. Somehow the waiter mistook ‘vegetarian’ for ‘chicken’, and brought me that instead.

There wasn’t really time to change it.

‘Sod it,’ I thought. ‘Eat the chicken’.

When I started avoiding meat, I thought that things like this would be like meaty treats. I thought that on the inside I’d be like ‘Yessssss! Meat meat MEAT MEAT!’

It just hasn’t turned out like that. Every time I eat meat now, I mostly feel underwhelmed by it. Like I’d rather have not had it.

It’s made me question how much our tastes change as a result of the things we do.

A few weeks earlier we were driving home, when heavy metal music came on the radio. I don’t hate metal music, but it isn’t my bag. Not what I’d choose to play.

It got me thinking, where do our music tastes comes from? Are they entirely a product of your upbringing?

My own music tastes have evolved in recent years. I’m now equally likely to go to a classical music concert as I am to an all-night techno rave. Inside, there’s 60% of me that wants to be sophisticated and mature. And 40% of me that wants to go to a dirty rave, to listen to extremely banging repetitive music.

The commonality among all the music I listen to, is no vocals. I’m terrible at picking out the lyrics in a song. For some reason I just can’t focus on them, so I take them out all together. I hate pop music, and don’t think I could ever learn to love any genre of music that relies heavily on vocals.

In 2009 I spent six months in South America, which I thought would soften my hatred of salsa. If anything it did the opposite. I hate salsa more than ever, especially when I’m forced to dance to it.

Where do all these tastes and opinions come from? I’ve come to believe you’re 30% a product of your early upbringing, and 70% entirely changeable. I don’t think I’ll ever like Salsa music – that’s in the 30%. But I never thought that my love of meat could change.

If you harbour plans to do more of your own writing, you need to figure out whether writing belongs in your 30%, or in your 70%. If you pick up some skills and commit to a regular writing schedule, does your enjoyment of writing go up or down?

You may be surprised by the answer.

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