Think back… WAY back. Who was that kid next to you in the photographic memory snapshot when you broke the old lady down the streets window with a rock? Or the kid keeping a look out when you snuck into that shed in the backyard next door? That was your wingman.
Back when I was a little red-headed hell raiser of a child, my wingman was Mikey across the street… we got into PLENTY of trouble, but time turned and we grew apart. Now that I’m in the professional world I’ve found myself a new wingman. He’s the Goose to my Maverick, his name is Tim. (or as I call him, the Ninja)
Tim’s always there to back my move and I’m always behind the scenes supporting his next play. We’re always bouncing blog ideas off each other, brainstorming the next step in our plot for social media domination, and finding ways for the other to improve.
The basic function of a wingman is to cover your back. In terms that apply to my life, my wingman has the important job of keeping me in check. When I start to get hot under the collar or begin to rant, Tim‘s there to push me back in line. When Tim misses a step or drops even the smallest detail of a project I’m there to catch it before it hits the floor and help keep him running at full capacity.
Everyone needs a wingman, someone to tell them when they’re doing something stupid or knock sense back into them when they cross the line. Two heads are better than one…
Who’s your wingman? And have you thanked them lately? Even teammates need a pat on the back once in a while!
Imagine life as a pirate ship… there’s always going to be some reason for you to steer the ship of course at some point or another. But who’s going to get your life back on course after you venture into port? Simple answer: You are!
“Captain, you’re needed at the helm…”
If you’re a bank robber, you case a bank and try to see the job from all the angles. If you’re a director you make a little square with your fingers and try to find the best shot for the movie. A general tries to find the best plan of attack. A chess master sees the game not for where the pieces are now but for where they will be in 3 or 4 or 10 moves. The sculptor sees the finished statue in the block of marble and works out how to release it.
A blogger takes an idea and turns it upside down, spins it around, and tries to find the most interesting angle to write about so his audience will be interested in what he’s saying.
Seth Godin once suggested on his blog that you should buy a box of wooden blocks, write key concepts or ideas on them and then start building with them. I prefer to take on block and look at the backside and see what thought might be hiding there…
A concept is a spark, a catalyst waiting to be unleashed into an epiphany! Something will catch my attention, or better yet my imagination and the next thing you know, that idea has formed itself into a little Rubik’s Cube without the color tiles in my head. Instantly I start turning the boxes and forming new permutations of an already good idea.
The goal is to unleash the epiphany you already know is hiding in the core of your good idea. Scrambling the Rubik’s Cube that is your idea lets loose the spark…the catalyst… and then BAM! You’ve just had that satisfying “Aha!” moment and the content just starts pouring out.
What techniques do you use to allow you to look at all the sides of a concept?
Take a look at any modern army, think about the question and then answer. You’re more than likely thinking the General… and you’d be correct. But who really leads an army? Not the 5 Star Generals sitting in their offices, the true leaders are the Lieutenants and Sergeants in the field with the men. An army is led from within its ranks.
You don’t have to be a manager or supervisor to be an influential leader! To quote one of the most influential men of his time Sergeant Hulka, “You don’t say ‘Sir’ to me, I’m a Sergeant, I work for a living.” (Stripes 1981) Team leaders rarely get the recognition of Managers or Department heads, but they are the ones with the most direct ability to impact the team as a whole.
“Lead by example.” Such an overused and worn out phrase… but it’s true. A managers most powerful weapon in their arsenal is a strong team leader ready to roll up their sleeves and set the right example. Position yourself to be that leader, to set the pace and lead by example and you put yourself into the role of your teams Sergeant.
Bottom line, leading a team doesn’t require you to be the manager, or Lieutenant… it requires you to step up and lead from inside the ranks.
Are you leading by example?
I recently made a purchase I was VERY happy with. On September 14th, Linkin Park dropped its newest album, A Thousand Suns. In a world where I could have easily downloaded the track list off the internet and burnt myself a copy of the CD, I decided to spend my hard-earned cash to buy the actual album. Why you might ask, here’s why:
The available versions of Linkin Parks, A Thousand Suns on sale now include:
- A CD with enhanced features
- A well put together album art booklet
- Some packages include an album exclusive T-Shirt
- Some packages include an enhanced DVD
- Information about the Linkin Park Underground Fan club
The entire buying experience is rewarded with all the little extras you find as you explore your purchase. The pitch worked! I visited their website in a matter of hours, and signed up to receive email updates about a variety of things involving the band, and I’ve promoted the album twice by wearing my t-shirt.
One of the factors Linkin Park’s huge success is the firm they utilize to build hype and launch products for them, Machine Shop Marketing. Machine Shop Marketing is unlike most marketing firms out there, mainly in how they define success. In a case study explanation on their site, they describe their objectives when it came to Linkin Park Social Networking as: “To build a huge united online community for Linkin Park utilizing online social platforms.” Is the word huge in any of your success descriptions?
The team at M.S.M. realizes that in order to build the type of relationship that ends in a purchase is to build a close personal bond between their customers and their customers audience. In the case of Linkin Park, it was their fans engaging with the band online via social networks. In the case of the movie Zombieland, Machine Shop took a personal interaction angle. They organized massive “Zombiewalks” in 5 major cities to drive movie goers into theaters during opening week. The result, Zombieland opened at #1!
Bottom line, Machine Shop Marketing knows how to create a hit. Because they know that building a strong personal connection between their clients and consumers is more important than blindly stabbing at the masses through more conventional methods of marketing.
What do you do to invoke then utilize brand loyalty?
There comes a time in when you have to take a step back and look at what you’ve done. You have to think about where you’ve been and where you want to go. I realized that my old blog was a great project, and that it helped me get a feel for what my role as a blogger was.
Now I’ve taken the next step, by launching this blog. Switching platforms just felt like the next step in the evolution of my growth as a blogger. So here we are.
If you followed me from my old Blogspot platform, thank you. If you’re new to my work, welcome! Now let’s see where this little experiment will lead us!