Bill's Bountiful Blog
May I keep you posted on my thoughts, ideas, observations, and silliness?. Am I serious? Is it relevant?. Does anyone care? Probably not much.
But in today's age of everyone has something to say, why not me? And who can blame me for jumping into to the pool? For speaking up For laying it out?
"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." - Thomas Wiley, Journalist
By Wm. May
Published: 01/09/20 Topics: Advertising, Business, Communications, Reputation Comments: 0
Early on, the first bigger business I ran was an advertising agency. Somehow, one of the world' largest tug and barge transportation companies hired our fledging little firm. They liked our non-stop energy and creative ideas. They wanted to hear a different vision and, boy, did they get it.
This was the time when massive oil corporations were developing the now fabled or infamous (take your pick) Alaska Pipeline, spending billions of dollars. Each spring, a flotilla of barges sailed from our city of Seattle up to the "North Slope" of Alaska, but only after the massive sea ice dissipated. Hundreds of barges, tugs and boats were involved.
Some barges were so large they required two 9,000 horse power tugs, lashed into giant slots in the barge itself, to push them from behind,. These goliaths went first in the fleet pushing the barge up and onto the ice flows (often 12 feet or more thick) and smashing them open, so other vessels could get through. Watching it was stupefying, even terrifying.
Our client secured contracts on huge swatches of the business, generating hundreds of millions of dollars. But to meet the demand, they had to stop serving their smaller clients who had been supporting the company for a century.
The North Slope project took some years, but eventually the pipeline was completed and the flotillas ceased. Some shipping to the slope was still continued, but my client's Alaska business shrank hugely.
When that happened, the tug and barge company returned to their prior small clients to again offer their services. But low and behold, those clients, who had to hustle and suffer from lack of tug services, were more than miffed.
They thumbed their noses at my client. We even attended the world's largest trade show for shipping and watched our clients be cussed out, up one side and down the other.
The company president called me one day and said, "What should I do? These people are really pissed."
So, at the grand old age of 26, my advice to him was what my truck shop managing father had told me, "Be nice to people on your way up; you'll meet the same people on your way down." But, it was too late.
In the end, in an effort to right the ship, we created advertisements, printed materials and sales training for all of their business development crews. They spent millions trying to apologize.
Business improved gradually for my client, but it took them a decade to recover. Sometimes there are business decisions which favor one client over another. It is not always possible to give everyone what they want. But remember this - People have long memories.
Unfortunately for my client, they became too selfish and self centered to realize how dropping customers to go after bigger fish would make the minnows feel. He forgot that some small fry grow into big fish and, when they do, they won't want to deal with sharks.
My client didn't have the benefit of a wise father or mentor, but instead put growth and profit ahead of people.
Maya Angelou said it best, "People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people never forget how you made them feel."
Author: Wm. May
Blog #: 0751 – 01/09/20
By William May
Published: 01/23/15 Topics: Communications, Football, Sports Comments: 1
Although the Seahawks football team have been the talk of our home town Seattle (as well as the whole country), I have noticed some very peculiar behavior.
When our surprisingly competent quarter back, Russell Wilson, comes to the line of scrimmage, it is not unusual to see him start the count that signals for the play to begin.
Frequently he turns his head left or right and barks commands to the team, or to individual players. Sometimes he steps back and commands the running backs. Sometimes he taps them on the arm or he puts his hands to his mouth megaphone style to alert the wide receivers.
He is alerting them that something has changed in the 5 seconds it took them to leave the huddle (where he had called the play) and jog to the line. He sees a defense he doesn't like, or notices an opponent not aligning as anticipated. .
He must believe his players do not see what he sees, or know what he knows. That makes it his job to communicate with them. So he talks, talks, talks, talks and talks some more.
He does all of that because a failed play can send very mean and very big 300 pound opponents crashing in on top of him, throwing him violently to the ground and destroying the play. He has great motivation to communicate with his fellow players.
Most of us do not risk physical pain when we fail to communicate. But using constant communication to do our jobs, and be successful is just as important. It is not an option, it is a requirement.
Do it in person, do it on the phone and, for less urgent matters, use email or snail mail. Then check back to make sure the other person received your message.
If you fail to talk talk talk, you won't get tackled but you will be letting your team mates down.
Author: William May – Seahawks Fan, Signatour Photo Team
Blog #: 0002 – 01/23/15
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