Thursday, March 24, 2016

Not to Decide is to Decide

By John Trimble

I first saw the expression “Not to decide is to decide” on a placard at a church youth group meeting as a freshman in High School. I found it chilling and it basically scared the crap out of me. It was different than your other motivational propaganda swill like “This is the first day of the rest of your life” or equally inane Captain Obvious mini mantras. This one struck home.

The reason was that it was true and I knew it. Personal decisions, career choices, everything from the superficial thinking of asking someone out and then delaying (what, she’s dating who?) to gut churning, life shaping, career navigations (I should have applied when?) Big, small, all dependent on both the right decision and – here is the pain part – the need to decide in time to avoid having your options degraded or disappear.

If I delay I risk loss. If I act I risk the bad choice. Both hitting against the natural human backdrop of,”I don’t want to act right now because I can justify the heck out of more time for contemplation and honestly, I wasn’t really planning to make that effort today."

You kick that decision moment down the road until – funny thing – the need to decide has passed, because that moment, that opportunity or even the possibly dodged bullet has passed. Now you will never know and you are both relieved and disappointed. In fact you did decide. Your personal status quo won.

Companies and organizations are no different. Managers and executives share the same low frequency hum of angst and guilt on not acting, not deciding promptly enough to maximize their choices and growth, to avoid bad things. Corporate horror shows rarely appear as overnight disasters, they more resemble the creeping lava flow that you know will come and burn down the village…eventually. But that lava is coming.

Not to decide is to decide is a cautionary saying on a wall. Heeding that in one area can be as simple as deciding to jump start a discussion on automating your business processes with IOS. After talking to us and the stories we will share we might even decide together that doing nothing for right now is not even OK, it is more than OK, it’s the right thing to do. But you decided.

No more chill.
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Motorcycle Man and the Why

By John Trimble

Ken Schmidt of Harley Davidson does not lack for energy - I learned this last week at a Canon conference where he keynoted. His narrative was on Harley Davidson being on the verge of bankruptcy in 1985 because Harley had lost all sense of why people buy their motorcycles and instead tried to play the specs game; Harley versus Honda, Harley versus Yamaha, as the logic engine to buy. The problem was that Honda makes world class everything, even according to Ken, and their very similar bikes cost half that of a Harley.

So, they were hours from bankruptcy then but today they are north of 6 billion in revenue, 36% gross margin and over 267,000 bikes sold annually. What happened?

Lean production was brought in?  Was that it?  Nope, says Ken, it was story.

It was the understanding that in order to be part of the Harley Davidson story, that specific community - someone had to hear a friend tell their Harley story – stories of how their expectations were exceeded, not by a little but a lot. First at the dealership and then stories on how great it was to be part of the tribe, to be in that specific club, and in sub-text the validation that they are (unconsciously) seeking, as we all are, being fulfilled… by buying a Harley.

 Validation that can occur as easily as revving the engine (loudly) while at a stoplight, quite probably intended to annoy.   That great roaring engine sound is code for “look at me.”

Ken also talked about the genius of the phrase, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Absolutely everyone knows this catch phrase, it is both instructional and a huge lie. Las Vegas relies completely on the total opposite. If you get back from Vegas and no stories are told it could only mean you had a terrible time. Vegas understands, just like Harley Davidson, that no stories told means no demand is built.

The irony of Ken’s presentation – as great as it was – was that it immediately followed ninety minutes of Canon executives from all over the world presenting to their re-sellers on how Canon quality, specs, speeds and feeds could trump Fujitsu and other market share leaders. So I am not completely sure how much they loved Ken’s exclamation of “everyone has great quality now and making your bones on just that is a killer.”

Admittedly a story on Canon scanners or even document management is not as sexy as motorcycles or Vegas. But it can be done. It needs to be about your “Why” and your people and how you help to validate those who have chosen you…how they feel about being in your club. But if you doubt it can be done check out our customer stories in our IOS videos on our website.

So yes, Vroom  Vroom…look at IOS.
Thursday, March 3, 2016

We'll Call Kanye...

By Brian Kopack

He did it again.  Social media is losing its mind.

Kanye knows how to get publicity.  Kanye always has a message.  Kanye would be perfect for our new marketing position.

Listen to him.  He’ll tell you he’s all about ideas.  We’ll get along great because so are we.

I know he recently asked Mr. Facebook for a billion dollars.  That’s not really in our budget, but I think we might be able to come to an agreement.

The purpose of marketing is to get noticed.  That’s kind of his thing.  He would definitely help get IOS noticed.

What can possibly go wrong?

Well, maybe a lot.  Maybe him being the IOS spokesperson isn’t a stellar idea.  Every time you read headlines about him that include “epic”, they almost always also include “rant”.  That kind of marketing we don’t need – it’s not really our style.

What is our style?

More conversation less rant

Conversations reveal individual experiences.  Individual experiences combine in a business to create collective experiences.  That’s where IOS works – innovative, agile ideas for managing information to bring people and processes together.  We can’t tell you who you should be.  We can help you understand what you’re capable of being.  The difference, and it’s important, is that some ideas sound good and others make you better because they are customized to your situation.  You can’t get to there from a monologue.

Smart is cool (and you can never be smart enough)

Cheaper – Faster – More Powerful.  That’s the world we live in and we are totally fine with it.  One of the benefits of our experience is perspective.  We can do what we are good at – helping business do better work by leveraging the power of technology with great ideas – then take the knowledge we gain and build it into the next great idea.  There really isn’t a finish line because the potential to be better is always there.

Confidence in change

To do something new, you have to stop doing something old.  The prevailing fear in developing or improving on a content management strategy is change = loss of control.  That’s especially the case in initial adoptions.  It’s easier to hold on to an inefficient, manual process than take the risk on a more efficient, automated process.  The reality is better information management enhances control.  Better control of time, better control of effort, better control of resources.  We know our work creates value.  We know our discovery-driven process fosters a customized solution design that empowers businesses to do their best work.  Our experience allows us to create with confidence.

That should give Kanye enough to work with.  IOS has a definite style.  Our messaging has to
 match that style.  We really can’t compromise, so if it doesn’t work out, we will go in another direction.  Or, we will try something totally different.

We are not above shameless brand placement.

So, since Kanye also knows fashion, somehow he is able to sell plain, white t-shirts for $120 each, maybe we can get him to walk from his apartment to his car wearing this -

Courtesy of the paparazzi, the photos will circumnavigate the globe in a flash.

We’d like that.

Note: Since scarves are all the rage these days, let us know if you are interested and we will get one out to you.  The real question is “Why wouldn’t you be interested in an IOS scarf?”