Apr 07 0 Responses

Building a Productive Millennial Workforce

Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perhaps the most talented generation of employees, the Millennials, are entering the workforce. They are trying to figure out where your company fits in their lives. Not where they fit in your company. Engaging this generation in a way that understands that mindset while still maximizing their potential is one of the biggest competitive advantages in the market today.

Millennials grew up in a world where contributions were more important than credentials. When they upload a video to YouTube or post their latest blog no one is asking what film school they attended or where they received their journalism degree. Creating an environment of meritocracy resonates. If you truly listen, trust and loyalty follow – and from a group that grew up in a world of globalization, outsourcing, and corporate bankruptcies that’s significant.

This group has received more respect from their parent’s and teachers than any generation, and the quickest way to get them to shut down is to talk down to them. On the flip though, the best way to engage them is to really get to know them. Know their names, the projects they’re working on, and spend enough time with them on a regular basis to set them up for success. Set clear boundaries and a structure that the employee can have autonomy in. Avoid generic advice. Give something that is concrete and actionable. They need to understand we’re all on the same team, and we’re working toward a particular goal together.

There is nothing more exciting/nerve-wracking than the first day on a new job. New hires walk in on fire, and you’re either going to throw water or gasoline on the spark. Millennials want to hit the ground running. Sticking them in an office and paying them to fill out forms and wait on things is a fast way to turn a good hire bad. They will feel you are wasting their time. You also don’t want to be put in a sink or swim situation either. Day 1 should be about connecting them to your mission. Make them feel like they belong, and build the foundation for continuous learning. A good hire will respect what you bring to the table, and they want you to respect what they bring to the table. Give them work they’re fired up to do, and have someone take the time to train them.

Millennials are more than just the latest generation entering the workforce; they are the future of your company. Part of setting them up to succeed is teaching them:
• how to shine in presentations and meetings
• how to deal with big shots.
• the basics of customer service. One of our first growing employee assignments is to have them read a great book on customer service called, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless.
• show them how to set priorities and eliminate time wasters
• even how to use a checklist.

You’ll need to understand how to communicate with them, and show them how to take control of their destiny. Be that allowing them to develop their own learning plan or showing them how to rack up points in your company’s points banking system.

Millennials may be the most high maintenance workforce in history, but if managed correctly, they will also be the most high performance workforce in history. The juice is definitely worth the squeeze.

Mar 23 1 Response

Social Media Boardroom Winners

In times of change learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists. – Eric Hoffer

For many of us social media is brushing our teeth. We don’t think about it – it’s just part of our daily routine. We forget some of you are still trying to convince some of “them” that your organization is risking irrelevance. With no less than your company’s future at stake, here are three board room winners to help you fight the good fight.

If you want people to pay you, you have to pay attention to them.
People may not understand the warm fuzzy side of social media, but everyone understands money. A recent study shows users are 67% more likely to buy and 79% more likely to recommend if they follow you on Twitter. The game has changed whether “they” realize it or not. The 4Ps we learned in marketing 101 have been replaced by the 4Cs. Communication trumps Promotion, and this shift is growing more pronounced every day.

Facebook is not a country.
If it were however, it would be the 3rd largest in the world with over 400 million people, 200 million of which logged on yesterday. When grandma friend requests you, you know social media has become ubiquitous. There are several studies out there that show just having a link to your social network sites makes users feel you are more customer friendly. 93% want you to have a social media presence. People expect you to be on Twitter. If you’re not, you’re already not meeting your customers’ or your potential future employees expectations.

Interact with tomorrow’s leaders.
The Millennial Generation grew up in this always on, constantly connected world. These are the employees you’ve hired over the last few years and will be hiring for the next several. In order to hire, retain, and grow the best and brightest, organizations are quickly realizing social media is this groups primary method of communication. Understanding and implementing a social media strategy is more than just jumping on a growing trend. It’s insuring your future.

I hate to be the crazy guy standing on the corner with the “end is near” sign, but I’m confident if your organization doesn’t evolve it will be.

Mar 21 0 Responses

The Best Steak Recipe

Whether you’re trying to impress your significant other or cooking for one, everyone wants to know how to make the best steak. Originally, this recipe was overly complicated with a lot of ingredients that took away from the great steak flavor. After years of tweaking it became obvious, the way to make the best steak is to let the steak be the star.

Here are two cooking variations to the best steak recipe in the world. Once you nail this recipe and technique, your Black Label Steak will be embarrassingly better than even steaks from finest of restaurants.


  • 2-3″ thick cut of your favorite steak (filet, porterhouse, ribeye, strip, etc.) Just remember, sirlon is a great addition to a hamburger, but life’s too short to eat sirloin steaks.
  • 3 Tablespoons Butter
  • Kosher Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper

Grilling Directions

  1. Start coals on grill.
  2. Add a chunk or two of your favorite sweet smoking (fruit or nut tree) wood to the coals.

Stove Top Directions

  1. Set your oven top to high heat and put a cast iron skillet on it.

The Technique

  1. Completely cover the steak in Kosher salt (should look like a cow lick) and let sit for 7 minutes per inch of thickness.This pulls water out of the steak to enhance the beef flavor. It also has the nice side effect of adding just the right amount of salt flavor.
  2. Wash all of the salt off the steak and pat dry.
  3. Melt butter and set aside.
  4. Crack pepper and apply to steak.
  5. Start preheating oven to 375° (if you’re grilling, put your cast iron skillet in the oven to heat as well).
  6. Generously coat 1 side of steak with butter and place coated side down of the grill or skillet.
  7. Allow to cook for 2 minutes (if you’re on the grill, you may want to turn 45° about 1 minute in for a nice grill mark presentation). All you’re trying to do here is get a nice crust. Contrary to popular belief, searing does not “lock in the juices”, but it does add a great flavor.
  8. Apply butter to top of the steak (the side you haven’t buttered yet) and flip.
  9. Allow to cook for another 2 minutes.
  10. Move steak to the oven by either moving the cast iron skillet from the stove top or by placing the steak from the grill on the heated cast iron skillet already in the oven.
  11. Cook in oven for another 4-8 minutes (depending on desired doneness) flipping half way through.
  12. Remove steak from cast iron skillet and place on a plate, or I prefer a wire cooling rack.
  13. Tent the steak with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  14. Serve.


  • Once you get this down, it will ruin eating steak at restaurants (you’ve been warned).
  • If you don’t have a good seasoned cast iron skillet, you need one. They’re less than $20 at Amazon.
  • You can use a cheap 2-4″ paintbrush to apply the butter, but for less than $10 you can pickup a silicon basting brush from Amazon and not worry about having little brush hairs end up in your steak.
Feb 21 1 Response

Too Lazy To Be Famous

To be occasionally quoted is the only fame I care for. – Alexander Smith

Sure I would like to be famous. Who wouldn’t want to get an invite to speak at TED on managing millennials or modern project management. Walking around the conference where everyone knows your name and wants to buy your drink – that’s the pinnacle of career success. At least it seemed like a good goal to put up on my Oprah® approved Secret* vision board.

So I dug in and read all the big blogs and books on personal branding. I was even tricked into reading Dan Schawbel’s rambling, self-serving, never get those three hours of my life back, take on the subject*. (Book Review Here)

About half way through my research, I was prepared to spend countless hours adding to my twitter followers and blogging every day. All I had to do, according to pretty much every expert in the field, was to start telling a lot of people I’m famous. It was self-help 101, you become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s right; that’s the secret: you tell enough people that you’re famous and you become famous.

As it turns out, it’s also quite a bit of work: find, follow, tweet – find, follow, tweet – find, follow, tweet. Comment on popular blogs and link back to your site (even if you don’t care about the content). Get out and be seen at the conferences and shows. That’s just too much work doing nothing.

I’m too lazy to be famous. I guess I’ll just have to stick to trying to be better at my actual job.

*These are hyperlinked ironically. You shouldn’t actually buy these books. They’re horrible.

Apr 28 0 Responses

Hey Look, It’s Stress! Managing the Unmanageable Workload

“Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise.” – Thomas Gray

I’m starting to feel for Atlas. Sure, he was condemned to bear the heavens upon his shoulders, and I’m just trying to manage an IT workload. But the crushing feeling of no end in sight has to make us brothers in arms.

I’m quickly learning, there is no silver bullet in project management. Putting processes in place does not fix problems; it exposes them. If there is more work than workers, you’re going to fall behind. If you’re working on projects that are not fun to work on, there are no methodologies to fix boring.
However, leaving the lights off and ignoring the cockroaches running across the floor is not an option. Managers have to deal with the infestation. That is what we get paid to do.

Implementing Lean processes have exposed problems in our organizational structure and weaknesses in dealing with departments throughout our company. It would have been easy to blame the new system, and solve the problem by just getting rid of it. We could have just flipping the lights back off, but once you’ve seen the cockroaches, it’s tough to go back to business as usual.

It’s always hard to convince someone to implement anything that might lead to more work. Something that will make visible problems that no one even knew were problems.

There will be more stress and you’ll get some scars, but in the end, if you stick to your processes, your company will be better for it. And in times when we’re all trying to do more with less, you owe it to your team to deal with some stress if it can gain you some efficiency.

Apr 28 0 Responses

Black Hat Viral Video Marketing Tips

“Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody” – Mark Twain

In Part I, we discussed the rosier side of viral marketing. The “get out there, make a lot of good content, and people will find you” side. This side is taking that side’s lunch money.

Over here, we are working under the assumption that your goal is to make money, and if you have to manipulate the system a bit, that is ok. In order to rise above the masses, we have to make our viral video a bit less “viral”. You have 48 hours: Go.

Optimize your video’s title. If your video title isn’t interesting, people aren’t going to click it. Also, make sure your thumbnail is something interesting.

Pay to play. Bloggers are like most of us – they enjoy making money. Many bloggers with a lot of (targeted) traffic will post your video for a few bucks.

Hit the forums. Have several accounts on many forums (a good list to start from and find focused forums). Post legitimate information for a few months to build up your post count and credibility. Now when you see something “funny” or “interesting” (your viral video) you can post it these forums. If necessary, you can even start a conversation between your different accounts to drum up some conversation.

Hijack the social networks.
Twitter about the video; post it in other users’ MySpace comments; send it out to all of your Facebook friends. Ask them to push it forward.

Talk to yourself. Register multiple accounts on YouTube. Create a controversy or at least a heated discussion in the comments section of your video. If someone comes in and says something that is derailing your message, delete it.

Release everything at once. If you have multiple videos, don’t make people wait to see them. The more videos a user watches, the more likely they will click through to your website. Once the first 48 hours are over (and you’re ready to push the next video) delete the #2 video, upload it again, and then begin pushing it. Rinse, repeat for all videos you push up.

This isn’t cheating in the sense of doing something wrong; it is more just a manipulation of a system. You are creating the illusion of grassroots popularity.

Apr 27 1 Response

Viral Marketing Techniques to Dominate Your Competitors

“If the Internet can be described as a giant human consciousness, then viral marketing is the illusion of free will.” – George Pendle

Viral marketing is everything that is wrong and everything that is right about the internet. Aimed at those of us who have been beat down, worn out, and fed up with traditional advertising, viral marketing is designed to entice us into participation.

Whether it is the result of a few hours in mom’s basement or a targeted campaign by Mega Company, viral marketing is cheap and it works. It has the ability to explode in just a few short generations with exponentially increasing reach. Done right, you don’t have to spend money on advertising or time begging the media to cover you. If you make something people want, they will find you.

So you didn’t ask, “What is viral marketing?” You were looking for some tips and tricks to do it well. You wanted to promote your brand to fame and fortune. You wanted other people to tell your story. So here it is:

Make your message memorable. Whatever you’re pushing should be able to be summed up in 7 words or less. Write down your message then remove all unnecessary words – now cut it in half.

Evoke emotion. Have an opinion and express it. Make people love or hate you. Make them laugh out loud or cringe in fear. Make them feel like an idiot or a genius. Whatever you do, just make them feel something.

Never restrict access. If you want your campaign to succeed, it needs to get a life of its own. Registrations, downloads, unlock codes, are all huge “no no’s”. Viral marketing is a tightrope walk of exclusionary cool without actually being exclusive.

Keep it short. Videos should be somewhere between 20 seconds and 3 minutes. With millions of choices, users are here then gone. Don’t bore them.

Don’t beat people over the head with promotional content. Remember, this is the anti-commercial. Save your selling for your website. Viral marketing is to drive people not to sell them.

Have various content. And have it all available at once. You don’t know what will succeed, and if something does hit, a user is going to want to see more. That’s a good thing.

Nobody can – with certainty – tell you if something is going to succeed. In the purity of viral marketing, it’s really just a numbers game. Put a lot of content out there, and hope that something will hit. On the other hand, there is also the more nefarious side of viral marketing. Part II ‚”The Dark Side”

Apr 24 0 Responses

Smoked Meat Rub – The Top Secret Recipe of Champion Smokers

This is the smoked meat rub recipe you’re not supposed to see. It’s been on award winning BBQ ribs, pulled pork, and brisket. This recipe is so close to what some of the most famous smoking meat champions use on their meats, I’ve had to deal with cease and desist orders trying to get it removed from the internet.

I’m a big fan of everyone having access to the best tasting food they can get their hands on. So top secret or not, here is a sweet meat rub with just a hint of heat. Whether you’re smoking in your backyard for friends and family or entering a big cook off, this versatile rub is all you’ll need.

If you’re using it to make pulled pork, check out this pulled pork finishing sauce recipe.

Smoked Meat Rub Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Paprika
  • 3 Tbs Course Black Pepper
  • 4 Tbs Kosher Salt
  • 3 Tbs Garlic Powder
  • 3 Tbs Onion Powder
  • 2 tsp Chili Powder


  1. Mix all ingredients together until smooth.
Apr 24 2 Responses

Pulled Pork Finishing Sauce Recipe

Pulled pork finishing sauce is the secret ingredient in the best pulled pork. You you pull a pork shoulder, be it a picnic or a Boston butt, there are portions of the meat that are gamier than other parts. This pulled pork finishing sauce recipe mellows the gamier portions of the pork and gives the meat a juicier sweet flavor.

Pulled pork is one of the most forgiving meats you’ll ever smoke, and this finishing sauce guarantees it will be the star of your BBQ.

If you don’t already have the pig on the smoker, be sure and check out the best rub you’ll ever put on your smoked meats.


  • 1 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 Tsp Course Black Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes


  1. Heat Apple Cider Vinegar and Brown Sugar until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour liquid into a shakeable bottle or tupperware. Shake well.
  4. Mix into pork with gloved hands.
Apr 19 2 Responses

Book Review – Me 2.0

For those out there who are the one sentence type: don’t waste your time reading Me 2.0.
If you’re more a paragraph person and are interested in reading the frustrated ramblings of someone who just wasted several hours of his life, read on.Me 2.0

Me 2.0 was recommended by well known and respected blogger, Phil Gerbyshay. Phil may write a great blog, but at least in this instance, makes lousy book recommendations. I really hope that this was a quid pro quo type of thing.

Written by Dan Schawbel who is more or less Paris Hilton famous. The guy graduated college 2 years ago and has become successful solely because he talks about how successful he is. His Me 2.0 reads like a the notes taken from a couple of marketing classes. With advice like “Don’t get drunk and spill your beer on people you’re trying to impress” and “Don’t ask for a job before you introduce yourself” you have to wonder who the target audience is.

The fact that Schawbel has no professional expereince is abundantly clear throughout the book. He  just scratches the surface when anything of substance is brought up, and his story telling is sophmoric at best.

If you really want to build your brand, you would be much better off reading:

If you still insist on reading this book because “even if there is just one thing in there new, it’s worth it”, here is anything of value:

Differentiate  yourself – stand out in the crowd.
Be marketable – provide something others want.
Create a robust professional network.
Get endorsements from respected people.
A proper mix of confidence, passion, likability, determination, and focus are all you need to build your brand.

Did you get a flashback from 100 level branding and marketing classes too?


2 out of 10 – Not even if I couldn’t sleep and it was the only book in my house.

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