People are Interesting Creatures

Tall. Short.
Wide. Thin.
Happy. Sad.
Content. Upset.
Introvert. Extrovert.
People are interesting creatures.

Many words describe people. When you examine all the many things a person can be at one time it’s incredibly overwhelming and yet completely comforting at once. No one “likes” being labeled, but our capacity to comprehend the vast array of qualities is our only attempt at understanding and dealing with our own existence and mortality.

The difference between animals and humans is that humans are conscious that they are conscious. Humans have a conscience. Animals are conscious creatures; they move, eat, sleep and operate independently but they act solely on instinct and their current mood or demeanor. I suppose some humans do this too, but I’m thinking about all of humanity in this post.

Humans have choice. Humans can define their own reality and can act either with or against their conscience. The word “can” is important here…possible, but not necessarily acted out. I’m not trying to get into a nature versus nurture argument, but choice is always present and humans have the ability to think and decide. Certainly there are consequences for those choices, but choice is always an option nevertheless; even no decision is a decision.

The older I get, the more books that I read and the more people I meet, I see how wonderful the world is and how mysterious creation can be…I see things all at once and not at all at the same time. I cannot often comprehend every aspect of what I experience, but I feel the wholeness and the magnitude all at once.

As I continue to age, and hopefully grow in wisdom as I do, I see the completeness of the human experience. People are not just words, but living beings trying at once to be something for themselves and something for others, some combination of the two. I see life and death as not just singular events in time but rather on a continuum of human existence in the world as we know it.

People are interesting creatures.

Whether I’m thinking about someone I’ve known a long time or meeting someone new, I can’t help but think about what that person is thinking and feeling and what led them to the place they are now and where they are headed in life. I also think about my own ability to think about what I’m thinking about and think about what I’m feeling. And it’s interesting how we connect or disconnect at various stages in time depending on how we and others are either thinking or feeling.

So many little things can get in the way of those fragile connections that aren’t readily apparent to all people at all times…and this happens constantly over time. We’re at once trying to deal with ourselves (either consciously or unconsciously) and with others whom we have thoughts and feelings for on a wide spectrum. And each person has various motivations and is being acted on both internally and externally and all of a sudden it’s no wonder that human existence has been plagued with horrible atrocities and wonderful advancements at every stage since its existence.

And yet the sun rises and sets.
The earth keeps spinning.
And time is constantly moving forward.

I don’t know what the answer is, or even if there is a question. But I do know that people are interesting creatures.

IT STARTS WITH PEOPLE

Turnover is costly
     Learning curve
     Less drama
     People who are there for the right reason
     Lost productivity
          Supervisor
          Position responsibilities
     Negative perceptions when people are leaving in large numbers
Post job descriptions to attract the qualities you seek in a new candidate
Project when you might need someone to fill a position

I’ve had these notes scribbled down for a while and I really don’t remember where I was or what I was reading. It was either another business type blog or a new book. I’ve read more books in the last 3 years than probably any other period in my life. Someone once told me that once you “grow up” (really once you finish school and start working full time) the only difference between you this year and last year are the books you’ve read and the people you’ve met. Powerful statement.

And that brings me back to these notes I’ve written above. Communication is often the problem and solution to all of life’s problems and that starts with people. Building on what I wrote yesterday, it (life) all starts with people and relationships. Let’s expand on these notes and think about “work” and what it means to try to accomplish something that involves other people. When someone new comes on board there is a learning curve for both the new person and the people already working there – depending on the position, it can realistically take up to 6 months before someone is proficient enough to be considered a contributing member of the team.

Moving on, there is usually organizational drama around the previous employee’s departure and speculation as to who the new person might be, including questions about their experience and worthiness to work for the organization – all of which could be easily managed by a good leader or supervisor who understands this potential for issues. Drama can also arise in the form of negative perceptions about the quality of the organization when multiple people are seen leaving at or about the same time. Especially in a small organization or when numerous people leave the same general department or job function, there can be a negative perception of what it might be like to work in that area or for that organization. This is where rumors and gossip begin – both of which ought to be addressed by the organization’s remaining leaders.

Next, when there is turnover in an organization there is always lost productivity. This is due to the supervisor having to take time away from their normal responsibilities to focus on going through all the proper channels to get a new person in to work. The hiring manager must go by the rules set forth by the organization’s Human Resources department, everything from posting the job description to reviewing applications and actually interviewing potential candidates. Those things take a great deal of time. A loss of productivity is also present in the fact that the person who left had a job to do that is no longer being performed or whose former responsibilities get passed along to other employees whose productivity is now also impacted negatively. Lost productivity equals loss of revenue or lesser organizational outcomes.

When posting a job to be filled, be honest in your evaluation of the duties of the position as well as what type of candidate you are looking to fill the position. This seems pretty obvious, but I”m not sure how many hiring managers really know their departments and culture well enough or take enough time to really find out who their candidates are as people and how they would fit. Now this is easier said than done and certainly much more so when you can project when you might need someone to fill a position and can be looking over a longer period of time. The main point to this idea is twofold – know your people and always have a pulse on how things are going with your staff. If you can accomplish those things, I’m sure your life as a leader will be much easier when it comes to employee turnover.

So how does this all tie together? Get to know your people. It all starts with people, so start with your people. You don’t have to be friends necessarily or hang out after work, but you should have a friendly enough professional relationship to know how they are doing in both their job duties as well as professional development. It is only when communication is lacking or breaking down when problems become more than what they should.

Take some time on a regular basis to get back to basics and start with your people. If you’re a supervisor, get to know your employees. If you are not a supervisor, get to know your coworkers as well as your supervisor. Work hard at communication every single day. After all, that’s one of the taglines of this blog – do what’s difficult. Communication is hard, but very very worthy of the effort.

GO FORTH!

Why Marketing Means Lifelong Learning

Bill Peck, SeattleU MBB, Winter 2010
Bill Peck at the Scorer’s Table as the Game Director for SeattleU Basketball, Winter 2010

To be a good marketer you must have a love of and passion for learning. Anyone involved in revenue generation must have some interest in learning, adapting and change. Society changes, trends change, people change. If you’re not actively involved in staying up on the latest trends, newest music or what people are interested in, you are quickly falling behind. In this digital age, things come up quickly and sometimes pass even more quickly than they arrived. If you’re not aware of these major shifts and how they fit into the bigger picture, then there is very little chance you’ll be able to capitalize on what is happening in the market place in terms of where your customers are located and what drives them to consume your product.

Marketing happens at the intersection of quantitative and qualitative research, or at least it should. It mixes the hard data of trends, time lines, and numbers with the creative and design processes involved in how we present our products to the marketplace.   Data collection and data mining go right along with the aesthetic presentation elements of whether or not your consumers are clicking and paying.
In looking at the sports and entertainment landscape, and specifically in college athletics, we work year-round to make sure our products, tickets and promotions are ready to go year round. We’ve got teams in season 9 months out of the year with something going on just about every weekend during that time. Gone are the days of an “off-season” – just as athletes specialize from a young age and train in the same sports for their entire lives, so must we work just as diligently and with as much focus on winning. Without everyone on board this ship, we won’t get there together – and it takes all of us.
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Go Forth!