Building bridges, not walls

On one hand there are walls. The people at Troy, the people at Jericho, build walls millennia ago.

antigua_muralla_zaragoza

A wall used to keep your family, your business, your house, your art and your temples safe from strangers. At night, everyone belonging to the community, gathered inside the safety of the city walls.

But then artillery came in, and military air crafts did it too. And walls were reduced to dust or became touristic attractions. Walls are not a shelter anymore.

On the other hand there are bridges. People have been building bridges for millennia. Ancient Romans built bridges still in use today.

With a bridge you can safely cross through a river and go to the next village. You can use it to go visit your parents, or to reach the market to buy some goods you don’t have on your own town.puente_de_piedra_zaragoza

Strangers will make use of the bridge to connect to you. To reach your village, and your business and your loved ones.

Bridges are still in full use. Every city has been building bridges to ease communication problems. And bridges, the ancient and the new ones, have become touristic landmarks too.

A wall can’t keep your business, your team, your project safe anymore. Your best developer will be tempted by a job offer from a company who operates with remote teams in three different continents. Your competition is operating under some Asian country laws. Your Australian customer is expecting your product to be delivered right to them, no middlemen involved.

But a bridge is more useful than ever, to connect your business, your team, your project. Your best developer will be working with a supplier’s interface to integrate your product into theirs. You will need someone with a clear understanding of how things work in the places where your competition is located. You can send products from one part of the world to the other easier than ever, and you can get direct feedback from your customer in a matter of seconds.

Bridges are at least as safe, and much more productive, than walls.

How much effort are you spending on building bridges and walls?

 


Related: Burning Bridges (Seth Godin) “A bridge well-crossed gets better over time. When you need to break it down to push through, you’ve not only hurt the person you trampled on, you’ve hurt your reputation.”

 

 

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What’s the song that sounds while you interview candidates?

Hiring people is starting a relationship. What’s the original sound track of your process?

Maybe you are interviewing to the rhythm of Bonnie Tyler. Looking for strong, fast and fresh heroes, because your company’s survival depends on them.

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ’til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight

Heroes are handy for start-ups and rapid-growing business, where and when fulfilling short-term needs is top priority.

On the other hand you could sing Tina Turner’s We don’t need another hero.

Looking for something
We can rely on
There`s gotta be something better out there
[…]
All else are castles built in the air
And I wonder when we are ever gonna change
Living under the fear till nothing else remains

All the children say
We don`t need another hero

Companies trying to strengthen their foundations, searching for scalability and growth, don’t need heroes anymore.

And there is a third option. You can sing The Chainsmokers’ Something like this.

I’ve been reading books of old
The legends and the myths
Achilles and his gold
Hercules and his gifts
Spiderman’s control

And Batman with his fists
And clearly I don’t see myself upon that list

But she said, where’d you wanna go?
How much you wanna risk?
I’m not looking for somebody
With some superhuman gifts
Some superhero
Some fairytale bliss
Just something I can turn to
Somebody I can kiss
I want something just like this
I want something just like this

Hiring people is starting a relationship. The interview is not only a filter to separate the ones who fit from those who not. The interview is the very first big moment for making the candidate fall in love with your company.
If you are able to make him want to work with you, it would be much easier for you when/if you reach the negotiation stage.
Hiring people is starting a relationship. Take care of what sounds when interviewing. It would be your first song. And the candidate will remember it.

The subject is the message. 3 simple rules to write more efficient e-mails

The medium is the message. – Marshall Macluhan

E-mail is cheap, both in time and in money. People can send it to an arbitrary number of people, lists, aliases… People can send it from their desktop, while commuting, while having dinner with their boss or their family.

So now, you receive, let’s say, some hundreds of mails per week. Some of this mails require an answer from you. Some of this mails are just to keep you informed. Some of them can wait, but some of them needs an answer right now.

But you need to open them, just to tell which is expected from you.

Only if we could have a look without needing to open them.

Yes, we can.

Just taking advantage of the subject of the message.

Rule#1: Always read the subject before answering. If the subject doesn’t relate anymore, adapt it to the new theme. Particularly if the subject has become just a bunch of chars like “Re:FWD: RE:RE:RE: Fwd Re:FWD: RE:RE:RE: Fwd: Yesterday’s meeting minutes”.

Rule#2: The FYI (for your information) mark is pretty useful. Why hiding it into the body? Just include the FYI in the subject.

Rule#3: If it’s a short message, don’t even use the body of the message. Just type the message on the subject and use “(eom)”  (End of Message) to tell the recipients they don’t even need to open it.

The additional croquette and why you should keep your workers informed and motivated

I was having some tapas with five of my friends from college.

We arrive to that big fancy bar.

Before ordering, someone realized something strange happened with the menu…

  • 6 croquettes: 6 €
  • additional croquet: 0,75 € each

It was an obvious mistake, we agree. If you would order six croquettes you’d pay 1€ for each one. And then, from the seventh on, you would get a 0,25€ discount.

But we were having fun, so it couldn’t hurt to ask the waiter about it. So we ask him if we could order six “additional” croquettes instead of the six pack.

He told us, “if it’s in the menu, you can ask for it”.

We explained him that it should be an error, that if we ordered only additional, they were making less money.

“I only work here”, he answered.

In the beginning, he didn’t know about the menu. But in the end, he didn’t care about the profit.

Please… please, please, please… If you are a boss, a manager, an owner, keep in mind that your workers make the profit. Keep in mind that they need to understand how this profit is made. But, above all, keep in mind that they need to care about it.

Inform them. Motivate them. Good news is that both things are strongly related.

Quote on creative complaining: Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan gives us a remarkable clue about how to complaining about your working conditions. Captain Miller’s (Tom Hanks) squad has been complaining about its mission’s goals. And then, Private Jackson complains in a different way. A way which pleases Hanks character.

Private Jackson: Well, from my way of thinking, sir, this entire mission is a serious misallocation of valuable military resources.

Captain Miller: Yeah. Go on.

Private Jackson: Well, it seems to me, sir, that God gave me a special gift, made me a fine instrument of warfare.

Captain Miller: Reiben, pay attention. Now, this is the way to gripe. Continue, Jackson.

Private Jackson: Well, what I mean by that, sir, is… if you was to put me and this here sniper rifle anywhere up to and including one mile of Adolf Hitler with a clear line of sight, sir… pack your bags, fellas, war’s over. Amen.

If your working conditions are bad, if your goals are unclear, please complain, but keep your complaining creatively directed towards a solution.

After that, Captain Miller is asked by his men, about his own complains.

Private Reiben: Oh, that’s brilliant, bumpkin. Hey, so, Captain, what about you? I mean, you don’t gripe at all?

Captain Miller: I don’t gripe to *you*, Reiben. I’m a captain. There’s a chain of command. Gripes go up, not down. Always up. You gripe to me, I gripe to my superior officer, so on, so on, and so on. I don’t gripe to you. I don’t gripe in front of you. You should know that as a Ranger.

Private Reiben: I’m sorry, sir, but uh… let’s say you weren’t a captain, or maybe I was a major. What would you say then?

Captain Miller: Well, in that case… I’d say, “This is an excellent mission, sir, with an extremely valuable objective, sir, worthy of my best efforts, sir. Moreover… I feel heartfelt sorrow for the mother of Private James Ryan and am willing to lay down my life and the lives of my men – especially you, Reiben – to ease her suffering.

It’s not that Captain Miller never complains to his superiors. We can see him complaining during other sequences in the movie. But he won’t complain in front of his men (or to them).

If you’re leading a group, never, ever complain to them. Let their morale be as high as possible. Let them know you are controlling the situation. Try hard to let them understand the goals and to overcome the constraints and the conflicts. Complain to the ones that must find a solution. Complain to your boss. Then complain to his boss.

Anyhow, if you love what you do and believe in it, please, start complaining. Right now.

 


Related:

Going one step beyond to make a remarkable experience

How would you differentiate your company from the competition?

How would you get attention from your user or customer?

The people from Turkish Pegasus Airlines seems to have asked themselves these questions.

WP_20141211_001 Children explain safety procedures during a Pegasus flight

Think about reworking what your whole market does. Go one step beyond. Find something better. Funnier, or easier to use or cheaper, or nicer.

And have the courage to walk the extra mile to make it this way.

Whole videos on Pegasus Airlines safety procedure instructions (Bollywood style) (With children)