Leadership Life

Restoring An Appreciation For The Familiar

How’s that for restoring an appreciation for the familiar? A brilliant video by IKEA ripping off Apple, of course, while effectively restoring appreciation for a catalogue. Of all things, a catalogue. Well thought out and executed. Some things don’t deteriorate in value. Their value is lost in perspective. it is how you help people see the worth of your product or mission that matters.

Ideas Leadership Life

Sixty Caution Potholes – Message Overload

I’m a student of communication in leadership (& yes, life too).

There is more than one message I get from this photo I took. The thing is, there is the speed limit sign and a mistake they made was add another message, causing “message overload”.

“Message overload guarantees a level of distortion in the messages being conveyed.

Great communication is core to great leadership. Make sure you never load other messages onto others.


Be clear on the context and parameters a of each communique. It is always helpful to establish the boundaries of discussions and communication as it combats ambiguity. Ambiguity often births discord and division. The discord and division can be clear as well as subtle, hidden.


Never piggy-back a message or communique on another. Respect the importance of each message and craft your message. Never communicate a lot of new ideas with a shotgun approach. Important messages deserve surgical treatment.

One Way

I’m sure the guy who put this sign thinks it’s clear; “Speed limit is sixty and be careful, there are potholes”. I laughed when I saw the sign because my initial interpretation was, “They have put sixty caution potholes?! What happened to other ‘traffic calming devices’?”

Never assume your message is as clear to others as it is to you, the sender [Click to Tweet]

This may be a rather obvious thing. Right? Wrong. Leaders and teams still stand to make this same mistake. Assumptions have destroyed teams, relationships and organisations. Rather err on the side of verifying that you understand messages and, likewise have been understood.

Hence the importance of feedback systems.

Why You DON’T Get The Feedback You Need | Part 1
Why You DON’T Get The Feedback You Need | Part 2


Remember: communication only takes place when message on the receivers end is received and understood as indented by the sender.

Never piggy back messages on each other. Always establish context and parameters for your message or communique. Have clear feedback systems to make sure that messages or communications are well understood by all parties involved and affected.

Published via Pressgram

Ideas Leadership Life Passion

The Romance In Doing Things That Matter

The only thing romantic about doing things that matter, about changing the world, is the idea of romance. The thought of doing anything of significance can excite many, if pitched right. With this I would include the skew perception of passion.

The actual work is not romantic at all. It is the “product” or outcome that makes whatever one does worth it. It’s like exercise. I hate the workout but love the product.

Think artists, musicians or performers. The reason we have perceptions of it being romantic is because we get to se the product. The real work is when the artist starts their day at 04:00 after leaving studio at midnight. The work is when their fitness and vocal trainers push them beyond what they thought they could do.

The real work is managing missing family. The real work is in the hustle. It is in fighting monotony and finding inspiration when you’ve given everything you had and never thought you had.

Think leadership, it is cool seeing someone “in charge”, giving vision and directives. What you don’t see is the insomnia leaders sometimes have as they second, third, ninety-ninth time guess themselves as they feel the weight of decisions they have to make.

It is how to deal with things no one every told them about. There is the tension to mange, the one between the well-being of those you lead and the vision of the organisation. It is picking yourself up after pulling daggers from your back from people you thought were with you.

This is not to make anything bad or bleak. It is a reality that some have to deal with from time to time. To every masterpiece there is a story of pain, agony, excitement, love, sadness…

Related: The Messy Nature Of Doing Things That Matter

The real romance is appreciating the great and not so great and the beauty you create with that. It is allowing all these things to come together to change the world. To make a difference.

What matters most is the agony in obscurity, and that is where the difference is made. It is the work that undergirds the outcome that isn’t romantic. It is also the only accurate picture of romance.

What do you do and what is it people think is “romantic” about what you do?

[Photo Credit: Man Alive!]


Product: Brand Reputation Lines Of Offence And Defence

The reputation of brands matters now more than ever. Users of products or services are not only more aware of the power they have but have the tools to easily publish and broadcast their experience or impressions with ease.

We’re in an era where people now care not only about products they use but how they are made. They care about every process that enables the “product” to reach them. Every aspect, from the quality of the product to how it comes to existence…

It matters to me how people I give my money conduct their business. The thing is, by giving some enterprises my money I directly, and otherwise enable other things. By walking through the doors of some establishments I enable their philosophy. For instance, I either help employ or kick people out of jobs. You get the idea.

There will always be things that I enable in one way of another. We’re in an era where it matters more than ever how manufacturing processes impact the environment. It matters to us, the consumers, how employees at our stores are treated. Need I say more?

Related: Why People Buy And Buy In Or Not

All this falls into how people perceive and interact with brands and their products. This makes it all the more important for brands to not only be defensive but more importantly on the offence on the reputation of their brands.

Organisations must be jealous of their brands and guard their reputation. Reputation is one of the things that determine the worth of companies.

Now to the first line of defence and of offence for brands:


The first line of defence and or offence, depending on your perspective, is the product itself. Nothing kills brands like crappy products iterated. Make a great product; that’s the first line of offence for your brand.

When products are great people talk about them and recommend them. When products are crappy people will also talk about them and discourage those they talk to, to stay away from them.

Great marketing only makes a bad product fail faster – David Ogilvy 

Unfortunately some are naive enough to think a bad product is acceptable because they have great publicity strategies.

Have you focused on delivering the best product you can for where you are, with what you have? Leaders need to have honest conversations with their teams on quality of their products

Rather a great product with a weak publicity strategy than the other way round [Click to Tweet]

Organizations that are constantly knocking on innovation’s door and making their products better fulfill one of the most important aspects of marketing.

Marketing is not just a department managing perceptions of your company’s products to the outside world [Click to Tweet]

Marketing is also the kind of products and they quality you deliver. Pay attention to the quality of what you deliver. Does it satisfy the needs of those you serve in a relevant way? Are you listening well enough to better those you serve.

Remember, your product is the greatest offence you have in your brand reputation arsenal. Harness and use it well.

More Than Logo; Understanding And Translating Your Brand
Brand Integrity; A Secret To Brand Loyalty
Boldly Be; A Secret To Brand Loyalty

[Photo Credit: VFS Digital Design]


Protecting Brands, Works and Reputation: (A Case Study?)

I think this makes for a great case study about how artists manage their work as well as how brands protect their reputation. Euodia Roets of Touchee Feele says she was in discussions with Woolworths South Africa about some design work.

You can check out Euodia’s allegations here

Woolworths, eventually didn’t take her designs, but according to Euodia, they kept her work in the form of samples. A few months later Euodia says she found cushions in Woolworths’ stores that were very close to the work and samples she submitted to them.

This is Woolworths’ response to Euodia’s allegations.

I’m not concerned about who is right or wrong, per se, but what I would do if I were Touchee Feele (Euodia’s company) and Woolworths.


Why People Buy And Buy In Or Not  

I like Woolworths. Liking them does not make the perfect. In the same vein I don’t suggest that Touchee Feele was right or wrong.

My discussions are not about who’s right or wrong or slamming anyone for what they did or may have not done but what I would do if I were either party.

Touchee Feele



Why did Woolworths request samples for something similar to what they had already commissioned?





One of the most important take-aways from this ordeal is that brands and artists or designers must have some sort of agreements to protect either party from such.

I strongly believe that business should be done in integrity and in a way that benefits everyone. While this may be subjective, I do believe that people know when they’re crossing lines or when lines are blurred.

I’d like to know. What would you do if you were Touchee Feelee? What would you do if you were Woolworths?


Brand Integrity; A Secret To Brand Loyalty

More Than Logo; Understanding And Translating Your Brand