Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tourism Industry in the pits

With the WHO on the verge of declaring Swine Flu a "pandemic", is it any wonder why business confidence is low to invisible?
Take the Great Barrier Reef Islands and Resorts - the heart of Queensland's Tourist Industry.
When they are not leaving their guests out on the reef by accident, they have to face down Cyclones, Oil spills, financial meltdowns, and now a massive travel scare.
When you talk to Owners, Employers, and Employees, they are all full of the joy and pleasure of working in one of the great holiday destinations in the world.
When you talk to any of the very few visitors that are enjoying the sunshine and hospitality they all say the same thing - fantastic, best place on earth to verge out and enjoy yourself.
But when you read the Trade Press or newspapers, it's all doom, gloom, and despair.
Visitor numbers are down, businesses are closing, Island Resorts are going bankrupt.
The interesting fact is that every time the world economy slows down somewhere all of these business issues hit the limelight.
Sometimes even in good times.
Business goes in cycles. Good times, not so good times, and sometimes even really bad times.
But if the Industry just looked up at the blue sky that covers the Islands 345 days of the year, things could change.
People tend to gravitate towards positive vibes, leadership, places where happiness and fun are in abundance.
No one wants to pay for grey.
Look up. Find the light. Let the positive attitudes that created the Great Barrier Reef Resorts and Holiday destinations fuel a recovery centered around people having fun, enjoying themselves, and taking advantage of the great value for money these times encourage.
One look at a photo of a sun drenched beach should do it - why wait?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Creativity is the opposite of the obvious

Last evening, working with a group of prospective advertising students, I was reminded of the cheerfulness that flourishes around people who don't think about the wrong things.
All of the students want jobs in the advertising arena, all have different skills, and different desires.
But all have one thing in common - they are determined to succeed, and they are going hell-for-leather to develop the skills that they will need to make a difference.
We ran through an exercise in Creative Thinking using the Swine Flu outbreak as our barrier, and a Travel Booking Agency as our "client".
The task, how to sell 10,000 tickets in two days given the world-wide possibility of a pandemic.
After working through the structure of the brief - who are we talking to, where are we in their minds, what are we trying to achieve, what is our promise, etc., we all decided that the best way to "face down" the potential threat was to look it squarely in the eye with a line like "The Swine Flu is coming, fly away now to (destination)", or "Beat the Swine Flu in Bali".
The point is, they were not scared to confront the issue, and try to work out a communication message that might get traction to satisfy their client.
They were not in the dark with a negative attitude, they were in the light of positive, creative energy, looking for solutions rather than wallowing in despair.
Find the light - find things to be positive about, focus on doing good things with plenty of energy, and infect all those around you with the "positive attitude flu"!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Attitude down, performance down

As I woke up this morning I realized that you always have a "down" day if you are in a dark mood. You've probably had friends or relatives tell you how you "darken" the room when you enter in a bad mood.
Companies behave the same way.
Often, someone in management, or a leadership role, assumed or delegated, will set the emotional and attitudinal mood for the organization without even realizing it - just by containing a negative attitude.
Today's headlines potentially could create a few thousand negative attitudes in organizations around the world as GM formally announced tens of thousands of retrenchments, and the death of the Pontiac brand.
The way into the light is simple.
Keep your people focused on the here-and-now. What is happening in your immediate local area. Find some news that is positive, warming, and comforting, and make sure it gets around.
Negative attitudes can only be countered by positive reinforcement.
You wouldn't let an oil spill pollute your water supply, so don't let a negative attitude pollute your performance supply - shine the light on those bad attitudes and convert them to a positive driving force.
You might wake up in a bad mood, but go to bed tonight in a good one!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Remembering what works

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to talk to a group of really interesting people. One was a retired gentleman, who wanted to put a solar hot water system in his house; one was a senior executive in a Utilities company; and the other was a young gun with a well know sports company.
What got my attention was the Utilities gent talking about "voluntary redundancy" - which he was seeking from his company.
And the whole concept of "loyalty" flashed through my mind, prompting me to think about why people today in the workforce seem to lack the same ideas that I was brought up on.
In cyberspace, where you can click around anonymously, on and off sites at will, go where you please in the virtual world, what creates loyalty?
In business where companies are going broke and defaulting on staff payments, why would you be loyal?
Many years ago, people planned a career in a company, or maybe sometimes within an industry.
Now it seems people plan a career within their own minds, using companies and industries as the stepping stones to their success.
One international airline publicly stated over the weekend that from now on their would only have two types of staff - project managers, and content providers. You wither managed a specific activity or you did the work for the person that did.
Will this generate loyalty? Pride in their work? Create a sense of contribution and self-worth?
Maybe, maybe not.
The web age seems to have created an environment where the "people product" is demeaned by the distance from the computer screen real work takes place.
Who wants to be loyal to a computer?
The best work - be it thinking, analyzing, creating, or communicating is still done by people, not machines.
Loyalty used to be the glue that made a working environment more productive, generating pride in what you did.
Perhaps finding the light requires us to look back at what made us great in the first place, and do more of it?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

There is always light at the end of the tunnel

Getting around Town lately, knocking on doors, trying to set up meetings, and generally be "around" and "seen", it became obvious that a very big component of the current crisis of confidence is all the silly stuff people pass on to one another in idle chat.

What starts out as a short headline on CNN "GM may file for Chapter 11" after several conversations turns into "GM's gone broke, the Dealers are owed billions, and no one is going to support their cars and trucks".

Experience tells us that what is reported in near-real time via the Web is often inaccurate, unverified, and started by insider leaks.

The damage of this process is that a huge swell of negative opinion forms around the lack of detail, often making finding a solution even more difficult, because now the already stretched resources of the target Company are diverted trying to stop or slow the rumour mill.

What is being attacked is people's confidence.

The reality is GM, like may other companies, is in trouble.

The best outcome for the Industry is for GM to find a viable solution that allows its Dealers to regain their pride in their product, and the GM Owners of the world to maintain or regain their pride in owning a GM vehicle.

All GM needs to do is turn on the light - find out what has worked really well in the past, and do more of it.

Ask existing GM owners to talk up their GM experience, not live in fear of something Bad happening.

It's always about attitude.

As a well known football coach said, "give me a team that can play, but has a lack of belief in themselves, and I'll give you a champion team."

Change your attitude and you change your potential.


Last week one of my Communication Students gave me a essay by a Marketing guru - the essence of which was the
"Say, Do, Confirm" triangle.

That's it in a nut shell.

Say you will be positive - be positive - and check frequently that you are being positive.

In the case of GM, if you own one of their fine cars, then the next time you hear someone bagging the company, tell them about the good times you have had in your car.

Reinforce the positive aspects, negate the smelly bad idle chat stuff.

And find the light.

We are still running free workshops for small to medium businesses every week, to help them sort out a positive go-forward strategy in these difficult times, and so far of the 234 that we have completed, 231 are starting to work their way out of the gloom.

3 of them have made bold moves and are now trading as if the "R" word was a myth!

If we can help you find the light, drop us an email.

We can only be successful if you become successful.