Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Worlds Outside Your Window

Isn't it funny how life can change in an instant?

And change not only your world, but the one outside your window as well?

That's what happened to Robert.

Sitting at home one night, on a comfy couch watching the telly, Robert is suddenly glued by a news report from a foreign country.

Watching in disbelief, Robert becomes emotional.

Before long, he is unglued by what he is witnessing on his window to the world.



The Michael Buerk story that aired on the BBC in 1984 was the moment Robert decided he couldn't stomach what he saw. He decided right then and there to take action.

He started with a phone call to his pal Midge. Soon, other calls are placed to people like Phil, Paul, George and Gordon.

A studio steps up and donates 24 hours of recording time.

The rest is history.

It is the #1 Christmas Rock Song ever recorded.



"Do They Know Its Christmas?" was released on November 29, 1984, and shot straight to No. 1 on the UK singles chart, outselling all other records on the chart put together. It became the fastest- selling single of all time in the UK, and helped direct millions of relief dollars to people in desperate need of help. But, more than anything, it showed yet again, how a single person can make a difference when they decide enough is enough.

Twenty-five years later, Bob Geldof visits Ethiopia and notes education enrolment has doubled, malaria death rates halved and HIV/AIDS is on the decline. He adds wtoo many people still rely on aid, but food shortages are happening less and less as distribution and early warning systems have improved.

Bob Geldof opened a window and saw something he didn't like.

And then did something about it.

Is there a world before you - even in your own home town - that is worth taking a look at? It might involve volunteering at a soup kitchen, donating used toys to the Salvation Army or just looking the panhandler in the eye when you slip him the $20 he doesn't expect and wish him a Merry Christmas.

Can you open your window a crack and see what Bob saw?

You might discover you don't need to be a famous rock star to be a real hero this Christmas.


"Music is something I must do, business is something I need to do, and Africa is something I have to do"
BOB GELDOF


p.s. ... This is the final TSB post for 2010. A short holiday break begins tomorrow and our practice of posting new material every Tuesday and Thursday resumes on January 4th, 2011. Until then, we wish you a happy and safe Christmas season and as my good friends Tom Young and Jeremy Demont would say, "the very best" in the New Year.


Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

Get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ray of Hope

Ask Ray about his philosophy on "hope" and you might be fascinated by his answer.

For more than two decades, Ray toiled at his craft with the reputation of being the very best in the business. But, no matter how many individual awards and honors came his way, the ultimate prize continued to elude him year after year.

In the twilight of his career, Ray could not be faulted for wanting to lose hope.

The organization he had been with for 20 years was in no position to compete for the holy grail Ray was searching for. And so it was with heavy hearts, the Boston Bruins found a way to restore hope for one of the greatest players ever to wear one of their black and gold uniforms.





Ray Bourque still holds records for most goals, assists and points by a defenceman in the National Hockey League. He played in nineteen consecutive NHL All-Star games, surpassing Wayne Gretzky for the league record, represented his country in three Canada Cup tournaments and wore the Team Canada jersey at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano Japan.

Tonight, Ray Bourque brings his Hall of Fame credentials and so much more to the Moncton Coliseum as he joins the Maritime All-Stars for a charity game against the New Brunswick Police Association. This touring club of former pro and university stars will be playing tonight in an effort to restore hope for others and having the legendary Bruin captain in the line-up should generate much more interest in supporting some of the worthwhile causes that will benefit.

Game time is 7:00 and tickets will be available at the door.


"I don't like losing. Being a competitive player, it's not a good feeling. I was trying to do everything I could do, get a big hit or make a good play and get something going. That's the style I always play”
RAY BOURQUE



Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

You can also get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Real Heroes

Real heroes don't leap from tall buildings.

Or move faster than speeding locomotives.

Now, more than ever, real heroes are just doing the right thing.

Quietly.

And this is the time of year when real heroes step forward, go out of their way and do the right thing for those in need.

Quietly.

Nothing against the more public Christmas giving campaigns being blasted through social media (since they meet many legitimate needs), but there is also something to be said for wanting to lend a hand to those who are struggling this time of year. And offer that support without drawing a lot of attention to ones self.

The last thing you or anyone needs is another guilt trip to squeeze one more thing out of you and your family. But, I find it increasingly difficult to sit by and do nothing when I come across real life hardship that you can help alleviate.

There is a family I am aware of that has a lot of kids. To reveal the exact number could jeopardize their privacy and perhaps tear away yet another piece of their already diminished dignity. Let's just say you could almost field a complete softball team with mom, dad and the number of kids in that home. More judgemental types will be quick to point out "If they made the choice to have that many kids, they have to live with that choice". It's a simple and convenient answer but does nothing to address the real issue facing this particular family this particular holiday season.

The real issue in this story, is not charity.

The real issue is hope.

The mother in this case is doing everything she knows under the sun, moon and stars to try and break the poverty cycle. She is re-educating herself, taking odd jobs and making a real effort but, sometimes it gets to the point where it becomes impossible to survive the day to day. Add Christmas to the mix ... and the pressure builds and builds until there is no hope left. She is also the type of person who NEVER asks for help. Not EVER. And for the record, she knows nothing about this blog post and the efforts already underway on her behalf.

This is where you and I enter the picture.

Because this mom won't ask for help, we have to be the ones who give it.

Unless, you and I do something, this family will not have a Christmas this year, but more importantly will continue to lose what little hope they have. Circumstances dictate they don't qualify for certain levels of social assistance, nor will they benefit from any toy drives. They will be the silent ones who slip through the cracks, unless we (who are already maxed out - I get that) do something remarkable, but in a mild-mannered Clark Kent type of way.

Quietly.

Just as despair comes to us only from other human beings, hope, too, is something that only humans can give to one another. And I am hoping this family learns that you can lose everything or have nothing, but as long as you have hope, you still have something.

Can you think of a better gift for a deserving family this Christmas?


"Once you choose hope, anything's possible"
CHRISTOPHER REEVE


P.S... If you would like to help with this project, e-mail me at gmaxwell@seamlessbrand.com for further details on how gift cards or other donations can be dropped off. I am working with a small group that is trying hard to keep as much of this under the radar as possible, which as you know is no small task in a Facebook world.


P.P.S ... If you need a hope-filled story to add even more perspective to this story, a friend sent this my way recently with the intention of making me understand what is truly important.



Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

You can also get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Dream and a MAGNIFiER

A little more than two years ago, Mike and Marcel were on their way to a Steve Earle concert.

Somewhere along that copperhead road, they were driving as guys do, shooting the shit about careers, partying and women when the conversation suddenly turned serious. Mike and Marcel put the topics of booze and babes aside for a few minutes and started to focus in on their shared goals and dreams. And as they started to close in on the guitar town they were headed to, decided, "Hey why don't we make a movie?".

And that's how Mike the writer and Marcel the director/camera guy began a series of adventures that has transported them already to some pretty incredible places.

Just recently, a major network has decided to buy their little movie and they are now in negotiations to turn this project into an ongoing television series. Tonight, they will showcase "MAGNIFiER" for hundreds of their closest friends at a premiere being held at Empire Theatres on Trinity in Moncton, NB, where they will also share their story of how they spent thousands of hours plus $20,000 of their own money to follow a dream.

A dream set in 1969, when a 12-year old boy discovers a telescope that can see into infinity.



Nothing has ever been the same for Mike and Marcel.

Not since they started to dream.

And do.


"Someday I'm finally gonna let go 'cause I know there's a better way, and I wanna know what's over that rainbow...I'm gonna get out of here someday..."
STEVE EARLE



P.S... Fan page for more deets on the MAGNIFiER premiere: http://www.facebook.com/#!/


Would you like Gair to re-energize, re-focus or re-inspire your organization or event? Details on his keynotes and speaking programs can be discovered at http://www.gairmaxwell.com/ His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is also waiting patiently for you at Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

You can also get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day of Infamy

It's a Sunday morning.

Maybe the morning after the night before.

You were planning on sleeping in, especially after enjoying the late night sights and sounds of Hawaii.

Being attacked at 7:55 a.m., while you were sleeping, is not something you signed up for when you joined the Navy. Suddenly, as you wake up to the sounds of horrific explosions, murderous gunfire and panicked screams, you learn in a flash what it means to be "Pearl Harbored".

69 years ago today, when you were part of the crew of the USS Arizona, there was nothing in your field manual or training exercises that prepared you for this.



The Japanese Imperial Navy called it "Operation Z".

FDR described December 7, 1941 as "a date which will live in infamy".

America entered World War Two the very next day.

As for the USS Arizona, it became the final resting place for many of the ship's 1,177 crewmen. She was the most heavily damaged of all the vessels along Battleship Row, but contrary to popular belief, the USS Arizona is no longer in commission. As a special tribute to the ship and her lost crew, the Stars and Stripes still flies from a flagpole attached to the sunken battleship.

"Yesterday, December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - The United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan...As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense...With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounded determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God"
PRESIDENT FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, December 8, 1941



Would you like Gair to speak to your organization or at your event?
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His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is available through Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

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For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Rosa's Hope

Rosa was small, even for a child.

She suffered poor health and had chronic tonsillitis.

When her parents separated, she moved with her mother and never forgot the day when the Ku Klux Klan marched down the street in front of her house. Her grandfather guarded their front door with a shotgun.

Rosa took academic and vocational courses, but was forced to drop out of school to care for her grandmother, and later her mother, after they became ill.

While in elementary school, she often wondered why school buses would transport white students to their new school while black students had to walk to theirs.

After marriage, Rosa took numerous jobs, ranging from domestic worker to hospital aide. At her husband's urging, she graduated high school at a time when less than 7% of African Americans had a high school diploma.

Older and wiser at 42, this humble, black woman made a decision that throttled all of America.

65 years ago - on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks took a stand by deciding to sit down and say "no".

65 years ago, Rosa refused to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger.

65 years ago, Rosa performed a single, life-defining act that changed an entire country; the kind of thing movies are made of.



Although widely honored in later years for her action, Rosa suffered for it. She lost her job as a seamstress in a local department store. But eventually, she moved to Detroit and found similar work before serving as a secretary for a U.S. congressman.

Long before Martin Luther King became the spokesman for the civil rights movement, Rosa Parks was its soul. A 5-foot-1 acorn of a seamstress who stood up to powerful, narrow-minded oak tress and inspired hope for millions of African-Americans.

As Rosa discovered, once you choose hope, anything is possible.

And it was her hope that forever changed the path for every passenger on a much bigger bus.

A bus called America.


"People always say that I didn't give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn't true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in"
ROSA PARKS




Would you like Gair to speak to your organization or at your event?
Visit http://www.gairmaxwell.com/

His book, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS" is available through Chapters.ca and Amazon.com.

You can also get to know Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Collective Souls

You have a project that needs getting done.

You recognize there is no way this can be pulled off by yourself.

You need help.

A collaborator.

Two candidates appear on your radar screen. One is perfect. Just like you in every way, with a very similar personality, skill sets and world view. The other hardly resembles you at all, with talents and abilities that feel completely foreign to you.

Which candidate would you choose?

This is precisely the same dilemma facing a rambunctious 21-year old named Steve, who fancies himself as a bit of a design freak. History has revealed Steve to be somewhat of a right-brained, "loose screw" visionary type, intent on changing the world. But to do that, he recognizes the need for a left-brained, process-drive, "nuts and bolts" type thinker to complement the collective corporate soul he is attempting to create.

Enter Steve #2.

As in Wozniak.

He is the guy who just wanted to build computers, but decided to leave his career as a Hewlett-Packard engineer in 1976 to jump in to the start-up foxhole with Steve Jobs and launch Apple Computer.

That decision triggered a personal-computer revolution.

Apple would never be what it is today without either Steve.

Jobs, the "loose screw" visionary, and Wozniak, the "nuts and bolts" technical genius.



More and more organizations are slowly starting to recognize the benefits of cross-pollinating left-brained, "nuts and bolts" types with the creative "loose screw" right-brainers, who at times can come across as a little off the wall. Sadly, too many MBA-trained, spreadsheet savvy pseudo-intellectuals will trumpet data, facts, statistics and case studies to drown out the sound of what might be a game-changing creative idea, usually from a lone artist, struggling to articulate what he or she knows to be true.

When it comes to a new way to collaborate and make your company shine, is there a page from this songsheet you can steal from the two Steves?

How effective has your organization been at blending "nuts and bolts" thinkers with "loose screw" big idea types?

Do you have too many of one type sitting around the table in that boardroom of yours?

When was the last time you asked "why is that"?


"Off upon my journey I must go to where the river flows"
ED ROLAND



Would you like Gair to speak to your organization or at your event?
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You can follow Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Planes, Trains and Patdowns

OK, I can't help it.

All this talk in the news media about increased security in U.S. airports this week has me reflecting in a strange sort of way.

Full body scans, patdowns and viral video threats of customer boycotts are a far cry from what we typically think of during the U.S. Thanksgiving, which celebrates the Pilgrim settlers' first successful harvest in 1621 shared with American Indians.

But, for some of us, the true spirit of Thanksgiving will always shine through the 1987 exploits of Neal Page and Del Griffith - a couple of road-weary characters played by Steve Martin and the late, John Candy.



Page, a high-strung advertising executive and Griffith, an accident-prone shower curtain ring salesman, endured many ups and downs in their Thanksgiving travels. Page, in particular, discovered that you don't always find helpful, friendly and knowledgeable staff on the customer service front lines.



But, hey, don't let the F-bombs fool ya ...

We're just messin' around today ...



Happy Thanksgiving America!


“I love Thanksgiving turkey. It’s the only time in Los Angeles that you see natural breasts”
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER


p.s...For many Americans, Thanksgiving without football is as unthinkable as the Fourth of July without fireworks. This "pass the pigskin" traditions began in 1934 when NBC Radio broadcast the first national Thanksgiving Day when the Detroit Lions hosted the Chicago Bears. And, except for a World War II timeout, the Lions have played - usually badly - every Thanksgiving Day since. This year, the Lions host another team with a bit of a Thanksgiving theme - the New England Patriots. Later today, the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints visit the Dallas Cowboys while the New York Jets play host to the Cincinnati Bengals in the evening match up.

One of the greatest social commentators of the 20th century, once made some interesting observations about football and how it compares to America's past time.




Would you like Gair to speak to your organization or at your event?
Visit http://www.gairmaxwell.com/

You can follow Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Herolding Entrepreneurship

Does our education system cripple a potential entrepreneur before she has a chance to find her legs?

Is it possible, as early as Grade 3 or 4, she is knocked off her feet without ever being given the opportunity to crawl, walk, or let alone, run?

Some will argue the factory-model of education was never designed to foster original thinking and creativity, essential ingredients for any entrepreneur. Born of a need to train workers to fill safe, secure wage-earning jobs, North American school systems taught us how to memorize as opposed to think, while herding us through a maze of grades, tests and exams. As a result, many have stocked up on diplomas and degrees that are becoming increasingly irrelevant in a 21st century Digital Economy that increasingly calls for superior communication and problem-solving skills.

Cameron Herold, the former COO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK has seen this movie play out many times over the last several years. The Vancouver-based entrepreneur pulls no punches in this interview with respect to the irrelevance of education.



"I heard a great story recently, I love telling it, of a little girl who was in a drawing lesson, she was 6 and she was at the back, drawing, and the teacher said this little girl hardly paid attention, and in this drawing lesson she did. The teacher was fascinated and she went over to her and she said, "What are you drawing?" and the girl said, "I'm drawing a picture of God." And the teacher said, "But nobody knows what God looks like." And the girl said, "They will in a minute"
SIR KEN ROBINSON


Would you like Gair to speak to your organization or at your event?
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For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bob The Sales Guy


This post will be direct.

And to the point.

With a video that illustrates everything I abhor about the left-brained, step-by-step, robotic and often moronic sales people we encounter each day.




If you happen to be in sales for a living, customers want you to control the authorship of your career. The pen that writes your destiny must be held in your own hand.

Nobody else's.


"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else"
JUDY GARLAND



Would you like Gair to speak to your organization or at your event?
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Alchemic Dreaming

As you read this, I am on assignment, speaking to a national conference, at an international location with one of the largest companies on the planet.

The company in question was formed in 1870, survived the Great Depression, two World Wars and many other changes too numerous to mention. My reason for sharing this with you has less to do with the company and the magnitude of the engagement, but more to do with how the opportunity presented itself in the first place, simply by following the omens began appearing in the fall of 2009.

TSB readers might be interested in knowing that much of what has unfolded in a successful way from this corner, can be attributed to a posting published on January 4, 2010. Since then, the list of personal and professional accomplishments include the release of "Nuts, Bolts And A Few Loose Screws", the trip of lifetime to Italy and a chance to debut "DreamDay 7" at the recent Atlantic Dream Festival that featured Richard Branson, Clara Hughes and Kevin O'Leary, among others.

"DreamDay 7" identifies seven key elements that MUST be present for any dream to come true. Besides a standing ovation from the 300 or so in the crowd, some of my toughest critics called it one of the most original and compelling keynotes they had ever seen. Invitations to deliver the program at other conferences are rolling in and 2011 is already shaping up to be a year where even more dreams come true.

But, what about you?

Do you have a goal or dream which intimidates you?

At times, do you find yourself feeling unworthy or fearful of your dreams?

Or, do you believe some dreams should simply remain as dreams?

My hope (and my reason for sharing this today) is that you give yourself permission to enjoy similar success and discover treasures that lie within.

Treasures that have been there all along.

Looking for a place to begin or resume your journey?

Here is a good place to start: http://seamlessbrand.blogspot.com/2010/01/2010-alchemy.html


“We have to stop and be humble enough to understand that there is something called mystery”
PAULO COELHO



Would you like Gair to speak to your organization or at your event?
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You can follow Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#%21/gair.maxwell

For more info on The Seamless Brand and how this program can benefit your company or organization, explore http://www.seamlessbrand.com/

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Lest We Forget

It was called the "war to end all wars".

It officially ended as pen was placed to paper in a railway carriage in Compiègne Forest, just outside Paris, on this day in 1918.

That final stroke at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, formally signalled enough blood had been shed for one generation. The principal signatories, Marshal Ferdinand Foch of the Allies and Matthias Erzberger of Germany, concluded a treaty that ended the First World War, but not without a portent of things to come.

Erzberger, a civilian who had made a passionate plea for peace in the Reichstag more than a year earlier, protested the harshness of the Allied terms. Before leaving the railway car, he concluded by saying, "a nation of seventy millions can suffer, but it cannot die". (Marshall Foch ignored Erzberger's attempt to shake his hand and is said to have replied, "Très bien".)

Erzberger later became Germany's finance minister in 1919 before being assassinated by right-wing extremists who viewed his signing of the armistice as treachery. Other extremists would soon emerge to form the Nazi party and convince the German people they had been "stabbed in the back" by the Treaty of Versailles; fuelling flames that would eventually erupt in 1939 with the start of the Second World War.

Decades later, American author Joseph Campbell would write, "A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself".



"It's a song written about the military cemeteries in Flanders and Northern France. In 1976, my wife and I went to three or four of these military cemeteries and saw all the young soldiers buried there"

The song "Willie McBride" is still a powerful indictment of war, and has been recorded many times since it was composed by singer-songwriter Eric Bogle in 1975. A version by Makem and Clancey is reputedly the largest selling single in Irish history. The song has also been covered by the Chieftains, the Dubliners, John McDermott and the Dropkick Murphys among others.

Lest we forget heroes like Matthias Erzberger and "Willie McBride".



"In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row. That mark our place; and in the sky, the larks, still bravely singing, fly, scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the Dead, short days ago, we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie in Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe:To you from failing hands we throw, the torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep, though poppies grow, in Flanders fields.
JOHN McCRAE


P.S. ... Look at the back right-hand side of a Canadian $10 bill. You will see an old veteran standing at attention near the Ottawa war memorial. How he got there is another story altogether.

Robert was one of the 400,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force sent to the mainland where they found quickly found themselves overwhelmed by the German blitzkrieg. While treating a wounded comrade, he was hit in the legs by shrapnel. En route to hospital, his ambulance came under fire from a German panzer, which then miraculously ceased fire. Evacuated from Dunkirk, Robert recovered, and joined the allied campaigns in North Africa and Italy.

During the Italian campaign, he met his future wife in a Canadian hospital. They were married in the morning by the mayor of the Italian town, and again in the afternoon by a British padre. After the war they settled in Chatham, Ontario where he went into politics and became the warden of the county and on his retirement he and his wife moved to Ottawa. Over a 45 year period, he helped raise thousands of dollars on behalf of veterans in need of pensions, recreation and medical centres. He also served as a Royal Canadian Legion speaker in the "Encounters With Canada" program, addressing grade 12 and 13 students.

One day, out of the blue, Robert received a call from a government official asking him to go downtown for a photo op. He wasn't told what the photo was for or why they chose him. "He had no idea he would be on the bill", his daughter said.

And now you know the story of Robert Metcalfe, the veteran on Canada's $10 bill.

Robert passed away in 2007 at the age of 90.



Would you like Gair to speak to your organization or at your event?
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You can follow Gair on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/gair.maxwell

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Church of Freedom; City of Heroes

It began with regular Monday meetings in the early 1980's.

At first it was only three or four people who gathered at the 800-year old St. Nikolai Church to pray and talk politics. The numbers grew slowly. Five or six would show up, then maybe a dozen. But the meetings continued to happen every Monday without fail.

For close to a decade.

Eventually, dozens and then hundreds were attending the Monday meetings at the church where Bach once played. They would discuss a wide range of causes, from the environment to the right to travel freely.

But, in October of 1989, the government said enough was enough.

The bastards cracked down.

Peaceful protesters were beaten and arrested.

Two days later, on October 9, 1989, St. Nikolai Church was overflowing with more than 3,000 people for the weekly Monday meeting. When it was over, 70,000 people were marching through the city as armed soldiers looked on, but did nothing. It was the largest protest demonstration in the country's history, setting the stage for a peaceful revolution that swept across the land.

Secretly recorded footage of the march was broadcast on television from a nearby country, inspiring more Monday Demonstrations. By Oct. 23, more than 300,000 people filled the city center, carrying candles and banners. As one government official put it, ‘We were ready for anything, except for candles and prayer.’”

And that's how the City of Leipzig, in what was then East Germany, earned the nickname "Heldenstadt," or "Hero City."

Two weeks later, on this day - November 9th, 1989 - the Berlin Wall was torn down, allowing people to travel freely to the West for the first time in 28 years. The fall of the Wall paved the way for German reunification, and triggered the demise of the Soviet Union, ending the communist stranglehold on much of Europe.

In the end, it took civil courage to dissolve a four-decade mental wall of East German fear, before a cement wall could collapse.





Little is left of the Berlin Wall at its original site. Some isolated fragments and a few watchtowers remain. Many fragments of the Wall were taken and were sold around the world. With or without certificates of authenticity, these fragments are now hawked on eBay as well as at German souvenir shops.

So how do the events of more than 20 years ago in Leipzig affect your life today? I guess that depends on the degree to which you are truly unhappy about something and the courage you possess to actually do something about it.

Is there a "Monday meeting" you need to start attending?


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has"
MARGARET MEAD



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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Big Balls With a Razors Edge

This is not a blog for the weak, timid or faint of heart.

So enter if you dare.

To be straight up, I've always liked the guys at Razor Creative.

But not in some namby-pamby, new-age, touchy-feely way.

Let's just say I admire Rich and Steve in a much more manly fashion. The kind of admiration based on a healthy, solid foundation of mutual, professional respect.

And now you can see why.



Rich Gould and Stephen Brander of Razor Creative think of themselves as creative mercenaries – ready to bust in and save the day whenever they are required. They and a few other good men, are motivated and brave soldiers, dedicated to the practice of high explosive, creative warfare, who will do whatever it takes to win battles in the trenches on the front lines of consumerism.

A nasty business, to be sure.

And while you may weep for companies and curse their marketers, people like Rich and Stephen have given you that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what they know. That the destruction of those two vehicles, while tragic, probably sold more Lotto Max tickets, helped someone in Cape Breton pay off a credit card and maybe even saved lives. But you don't want to hear that truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want guys like Rich and Stephen up on that guerrilla marketing wall.

And to be fair, the Razor guys have neither the time nor the inclination to explain themselves to readers of this blog who rise and sleep under the very blanket of consumer freedom they provide, and then question the manner in which they provide it!

Rich and Stephen would rather you just said thank you, and went on your way.

And buy something.

Otherwise, pick up a weapon - a Mac, a PC, a video camera, a manual typewriter or even a box of Crayola crayons if you have to ...

And dare to walk the razors edge.


"We follow orders son. We follow orders, or people die. It's that simple. Are we clear?"
COLONEL NATHAN JESSUP


P.S ... As you can imagine, there is usually a "story behind the story" of the "story behind the making of ...". In other words what was the singular event that triggered the creation of the Lotto Max campaign?

In this case, Rich came back from the Razor store one day and was sitting around the family dinner table with 10-year old Zach who casually asked his father about the kind of music he used to listen to at a similar age. Being the transparent and loving father he is, Rich got up from his chair, walked over to the floor model television, turned off "SpongeBob SquarePants" and reached into a nearby stash of old cassette tapes. Without saying a word, Rich calmly loaded his favorite selection from "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" into the Gould family hi-fi stereo system, recently outfitted with the latest sub-woofer technology.

And taught Zach a lesson.



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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Firehose at a Teacup

Each day messages are being spewed your way.

Look up.

Look down.

Look up again.

Thousands of messages.

This morning, you may have glanced at a highway billboard inviting you to the Golden Arches as you daydreamed about a man selling deodorant on a horse while a radio ad exhorts you to visit a locally owned and operated value centre where "quality, service and selection" awaits from a "friendly and knowledgeable staff".

Look back up.

One market research firm estimates the average person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day. Today, that same person is being exposed to upwards of 5,500 messages each day. Absolute sensory overload in an overly saturated media landscape. Information is being hurled at humans like a firehose at a teacup.

Or is it a tirehose at a peecup?

Look back up.

More men have discovered that standing at a urinal to do their business, some other business will be staring right back in the form of a logo or an ad. Women are noticing as well, there are few places one can go to escape these types of messages.

Getting your business noticed, however, is a growing challenge for anyone who is serious about attracting more customers. "You can't imagine the pressure," declares the GEICO Gecko in a recent interview. "You only have a few seconds to grab people's attention while trying to sell them some car insurance. Most blokes don't realize its a lot 'arder than it looks". Reflecting on what he has learned as a TV pitchman, the GEICO Gecko admitted, "I don't care 'ow many times you run the ad or 'ow many people hear it or see it, there is no denying this fact. The bloke with the most powerful message wins. That's why we've been able to get people to buy into that "15 minutes will save you 15%" idea. I am just glad our message has been getting through. It saves customers money, grows the business, keeps me working and gives other people a TV job like me old mate R. Lee Ermey".



Whether they use cavemen, retired drill sergeants or an animated gecko, GEICO understands the value of crafting a message that cuts through ad clutter and lands with a thud in your brain. These ads work. In fact, Warren Buffett, owner of GEICO parent Berkshire Hathaway, has indicated he would spend $2 billion on GEICO ads if he could, far exceeding the $751 million spent on advertising in 2007.

If you are sitting on an endless supply of cash, you can run mediocre "fast, friendly reliable service" ads all year long, but I'm betting at some point you might start to question the return on your marketing investment. You also might start to ask if it makes more sense to craft a sharp, diamond-tipped nail of a message before splurging on media buys that see your ads get lost among the 5,449 others your potential customer is hearing or seeing today.

What are you doing to stand out in the ever growing crowd?

Do your messages engage a reader, viewer or listener?

Are you asking the deeper questions that people care about such as:

"Is Ed 'Too Tall' Jones really too tall?"
"Does Charlie Daniels play a mean fiddle?"
"Did The Waltons take way too long to say good night?"
"Did the little piggy cry 'wee wee wee' all the way home?"
"Do woodchucks chuck wood?"

Do people care about was you're saying and the value your brand is offering?

Look down.

Is it time you started giving this subject some serious thought?

If so, we know people who can help.


"You now have to decide what 'image' you want for your brand. Image means personality. Products, like people, have personalities, and they can make or break them in the market place"
DAVID OGILVY


P.S... In case you were wondering ( I know I would be), former US Marine drill sergeant R. Lee Ermey was initially intended to serve as a technical advisor only, on 1987's "Full Metal Jacket". However, director Stanley Kubrick changed his mind after Ermey put together a tape that included an extended hair-raising tirade towards several Royal Marines cast as extras. Seeking absolute authenticity, Kubrick allowed Ermey to write and edit his own dialogue and improvise on the set. Kubrick found Ermey to be an excellent performer, who usually needed only two or three takes per scene. His role as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman won critical acclaim and resulted in a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actor.



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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dreamers and Achievers

Is there a difference between dreamers and achievers?

Can you be one without the other?

You might want to think of it this way. Nobody ever achieved greatness without dreaming about it first, but just dreaming about it means you will never achieve anything great.

Whatever it is you dream about might be like the horse pulling your cart of achievements. Starting today, thousands of stallion-like dreamers will be gathering at the Moncton Coliseum for the first-ever Atlantic Dream Festival, headlined by that galloping intergalactic dreamer himself, Sir Richard Branson.

Brad LeBlanc and his team at Momentum Group have provided a unique opportunity for anyone who is serious about seeing their most cherished dreams come true. The line-up of speakers and their credentials is most impressive. The price point for attending a conference like this is ridiculously low; especially if you are accustomed to shelling out thousands of dollars and travelling thousands of miles to attend similar events. It's not often you get to go around the corner and learn from some of the the best in the world. For people in the Greater Moncton area this lineup is like having the business version of the Rolling Stones show up in their own backyard.

But one of the ADF events, I am looking forward to most is the Saturday DreamShow featuring the "Potential Awakener", Martin Latulippe. Martin and I both launched our speaking careers at roughly the same time about a decade ago, and his star continues to rise internationally as he wows audiences all over North America and more recently, Europe.

You might have a usual Saturday routine, but prepare to see it shaken up when a real dreamer and achiever hits the stage at 10:30 a.m.






Up until an unforgettable drive into Venice this past summer, I had always believed "Dreams" to be very ambiguous. Never dawned on me - until then - that there might be an actual process that allows a Martin Latulippe or anyone to accomplish their dreams.

And what if this step-by-step process has already been proven to work by ordinary people – just like you – who have already achieved extraordinary dreams? What if seemingly disconnected dreams – that appear to have nothing in common with each other - actually follow a common pattern that makes uncommon sense?

A pattern you could rob and duplicate?

Starting today.


“Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements”
NAPOLEON HILL



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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

DreamDay 7

What is it you dream about most?

Running a marathon?

Landing that perfect job?

Having children?

Going back to school?

Writing a best-seller?

Falling blissfully and crazily, head over heels in love?

Being financially free?

Jetting off to Europe and taking in the Parisian lights or roaming the Tuscan olive groves?

Whatever it is that you dream about most, there are no fewer than 7 things that MUST happen for those dreams to materialize. "DreamDay 7" is the title of the keynote I have been invited to deliver on Saturday, October 30th in Moncton, NB at the first-ever Atlantic Dream Festival and I don't know if I have ever looked more forward to a delivering a presentation like this one. Years of careful study, observation and first-hand experience have revealed these 7 fundamentals exist in every dreamer who becomes an achiever and this weekend marks the first time I have been able to share these insights in a public forum.

You may not be aware, but people like Richard Branson and Brad LeBlanc have shared parallel journeys when it comes to achieving their dreams. Believe it or not, the founder of the Virgin Group of more than 360 companies and the 22-year redhead from Riverview who launched the Atlantic Dream Festival by bringing Sir Richard to Moncton, have actually travelled identical dream paths. And so has anyone else who has seen their dreams come to fruition. Beginning on Thursday, the ADF will provide you with rare, first-hand insight from "been there, done that" folks into how you can turn your dreams into reality. "DreamDay 7", scheduled for Saturday at high noon, simply outlines the process; which is actually quite simple once you break it down into manageable pieces.

In fact, Branson himself reveals a few of the "DreamDay 7" fundamentals in this conversation several years back with Harry Smith.



Sir Richard Branson is an extreme example of what happens when "DreamDay 7" fundamentals are applied day in, day out as the British billionaire continues to make a difference on the planet. The first of these 7 fundamentals is "Permission to Hope" because once you make a choice to hope, any dream is possible ... but no dream is possible without hope.

Here is hoping you get to take in all the ADF has to offer.

So that your dreams come true.


"You never know with these things when you're trying something new what can happen. This is all experimental"
RICHARD BRANSON



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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fire Breather

"The risk of insult is the price of clarity"
ROY H. WILLIAMS


People floating a new business idea will tell you all the time they want to hear the truth.

But, the truth is, few are willing to pay the price for the level of clarity they require to succeed. Which is why most small businesses - more than 80% - crash and burn within the first two years of operation.

People who pitch a new business idea would rather hear inspirational bullshit that sounds like "You can make it as long as you really believe"! When someone actually tells them the unvarnished, uncensored truth they claim they want - instead of "happy talk" - it becomes a much different ball game. And the moment these naive neophytes can't answer tough questions from someone who clearly has zero interest in joining them for motivational summer camp, the truth messenger becomes a prime target.

In Kevin's case, he is a prime time target, as he routinely harpoons the ridiculous business ideas of naive wannabees who appear before he and his fellow panelists on CBC's "Dragon's Den".

Personally, I love the guy and what he stands for. And the fact that he owns
two classic Les Paul guitars and can riff on the Stones "Gimme Shelter", is way cool. Another plus is that some of his detractors have actually created a website in his honor at http://www.ihatekevinoleary.com/

But, even better, is the story of how he actually got to be Kevin O'Leary.



O' Leary claims his act is "not a shtick," when it comes to his public persona; equal parts caustically charismatic, bull doggedly belligerent and forcefully fire-breathing. "There's only one side with me, he explains. "You get the right side. You get the correct version of the facts. What you see is what you get".

Kevin O'Leary is speaking tonight to an entrepreneurial audience in Winnipeg, before heading to Moncton a week from today for the first ever Atlantic Dream Festival.

Some might see Kevin as ruthless, arrogant and opinionated, but I think he is a welcome addition to an ADF speaker roster that includes Frank McKenna, CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon and a Brit by the name of Branson who also knows a thing or two about business.

You can learn more about the festival here: http://www.atlanticdreamfestival.com/about-en.html


"I'm just delivering the truth and only the truth and if you can't deal with it, too bad. Next. You're not an entrepreneur. You're a loser."
KEVIN O'LEARY


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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Double Thumbs Up (Or is that Two Likes?)

"I started the site when I was 19. I didn't know much about business back then"
MARK ZUCKERBERG


Caught "The Social Network" the other night and immediately added it the TSB "must-see" list of business movies.

Watching a movie with a snap-crackle-and pop pace, whip-smart dialogue and so many interesting observations about such an increasingly relevant subject made for a refreshing movie experience as the story behind the founding of Facebook unfolded on the big screen. Whether you are a fan or not, there is no denying that Facebook has, in a mere seven years, forever altered the way we interact socially; a fundamental game changer that happens once every couple of decades, if not centuries.

Reviewer James Kendrick captured "The Social Network" this way:

"A virtuoso modern parable about greed, innovation, and betrayal, as well as a compelling portrait of how technology is changing the landscape of both business enterprise and interpersonal relationships".

No matter how much of the story of Mark Zuckerberg as depicted in the film is true, the human drama that accompanies the start-up phase of any company is blisteringly accurate. If nothing else, "The Social Network" vividly demonstrates the fragility of trust in any business relationship and how that level of trust easily erodes once the potential of a few hundred million dollars enters the picture. "The Social Network" also hits the mark by painting a stark contrast between the plodding dinosaurs of the 20th century business world and the full-throttle, warp-speed thinking required for success in the 21st century Digital Economy.



For the record, Zuckerberg has objected about the way he was portrayed in the film. The Facebook co-founder, played by Jesse Eisenberg, claims filmmakers Aaron Sorkin and David Fincher completely misrepresented his reasons for starting up the online networking site. Zuckerberg has stated, "The thing that I think is most thematically interesting that they got wrong is... the whole framing of the movie, I'm with this girl who doesn't exist in real life who dumps me," he said during an appearance at Stanford University.

Zuckerberg continued: "The reality for people that know me is that I've been dating the same girl since before I started Facebook so obviously that's not a part of it."

The entrepreneur also spoke of a "disconnect" between Hollywood and Silicon Valley, saying, "They can’t wrap their head around the idea that someone might build something because they like building things."

The 26-year old Zuckerberg recently screened "The Social Network" for his employees at Facebook.


"By giving people the power to share, we're making the world more transparent"
MARK ZUCKERBERG


P.S. ... That "must-see" TSB business movie list also includes "Boiler Room", "Wall Street", "Any Given Sunday" and one unforgettable scene from "Glengarry Glen Ross".



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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gaining Momentum

Brad has been a dreamer for well over a decade.

And one of his biggest dreams is about to come true.

The countdown is well underway for the Atlantic Dream Festival which unfolds the end of this month at the Moncton Coliseum. And if you haven't heard by now how Brad LeBlanc was able to secure Sir Richard Branson as the headliner, this interview with Erik Gingles reveals one of the 7 ingredients required for any successful dream recipe.

NBTVToday - NBTVTODAY Live - Brad LeBlanc

Years of careful study,observation and first-hand experience have shown me there are 7 vital steps that need to be taken for a dream to come true. You might want to run a marathon, write a book, fall head over heels in love, be financially free, get a cushy government job, go to flight school, raise thousands of dollars to fight cancer, jump in a car and roam the back roads of Tuscany or help impoverished children learn how to play classical music. No matter the size and scope of your dream, seven things need to happen; and I look forward to sharing that information with you, Saturday, October 30th during the keynote I have been invited to deliver at the Atlantic Dream Festival.

Brad LeBlanc and his team at Momentum Group are creating an unmistakable buzz with this first-ever Atlantic Dream Festival. Media coverage is intensifying and so is the Facebook and coffee shop chatter. But, this 3-day event will only mean something to you, should you decide to actually take it in.

Can you think of a good reason why you shouldn't?


“Once you make a choice to hope, any dream is possible ... but no dream is possible without hope"
GAIR MAXWELL



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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Surviving the Gift

Stacey knows the true value of a gift.

And how it may not always be recognized as such right away.

Stacey is a Stanford grad and co-founder of Brandplay, a naming and branding consultancy based in Boulder, Colorado. For over 15 years, she has helped create compelling messaging and brand names for clients that include Nike, Levi-Strauss, Nestlé and Coca-Cola, among others.

But, the most compelling message Stacey ever crafted happened when she journeyed within herself to share her story of "The Best Gift I Ever Survived".



How does Stacey's story resonate with you?

Has there been a tragic or unfortunate turn in your life that really comes packaged as a gift in disguise? Perhaps the termination of a relationship, friendship or a career is really a harbinger of better things to come, especially with the wisdom you might gain from a "school of hard knocks' experience.

Do you have the strength to unearth the lessons of treasures buried and embrace those carefully disguised gifts?

If that strength is lacking, will you drop another disguise ...

And ask for help?



“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise”
OSCAR WILDE


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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Words Your Company Keeps

"Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after"
ANNE MORROW LINDBERGH


Hello, readers, look at your ads.

Now back to me.

Now back at your ads.

Now back to me.

Do the words your company is using in its ads actually matter?

And can you actually measure the results of your choice of words - spoken or written - as it relates to the impact of your communication?

When in comes to writing an ad, composing a brochure, delivering a speech, making a sales call or building a new website, the answer is a resounding YES! Just for fun, imagine your company needs hired help in the minimum wage category. Scan the following three ads and keep in mind, these are ACTUAL ads posted recently on Kijiji.

Guess which ad triggered the most response?


A)
Company A in YourTown is now hiring experienced server/bartender to start immediately must be honest , reliable, neat in appearance and flexible shifts are Sunday 8-3 monday and most tuesdays off wednesday thursday and friday 430-close saturday 9am -9 pm must be able to work all of these shifts on a regular basis . Position is available immediately Please drop off your resume in person Monday to Friday 11-4 or by email to mailto:CompanyA@yahoo.ca NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE


B)
Small, but busy Vietnamese restaurant requires a full-time, hard working, flexible cook. Will train the right person. Apply in person with resume or application at 123 Main Street @ Young. We guarantee you'll like the food.


C)
Are you one of those oddballs that love to get up early in the morning? Do you think the best time of the day is wasted when most people sleep in until 10am? Do your feet hit the ground running when you get up in the morning? Do you have "Greatness" in you? Do you work in the restaurant business but never have time to spend with your friends and family at nights? If you answered yes to any of these questions, we should talk. Company C is looking a full time server and a full time cook. We want to see your "Greatness".


Within a 72-hour period, Company A had received 104 hits.

Company B put up their ad the same day as Company A, and received 63 hits within the same 72-hour time period.

Company C received 188 hits in the first 24 hours and after 72 hours were up to 328 hits. The telephone rang off the hook with inquiries and a parade of applicants walked in to drop off their resumes. Soon, the owner of Company C felt like he had hit the Old Spice Commercial jackpot, with more applications rolling in than he could keep up with.

Look down.

Now back up.

Look down again.

Where is your company heading with its words?

You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but each day customers and potential employees judge companies by their words. Words help them decide where to shop, what to buy and who they would like to work for. Select the right words and you can influence Texans to reduce their littering. Do you think there is something the owner of Company C knows about the explosive power of words?

Are you employing words in much the same manner as "Company C"?

Would you like to?

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."
RUDYARD KIPLING


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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An Open Mike

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter"
MARTIN LUTHER KING Jr.


This post has been on my mind for some time now.

I am treading on what some might consider thin ice, but if you absorbed last Thursday's post about "Gospel or Guts", this is one of those time when you gotta walk your own talk.

Typically, I avoid the potentially touchy subject of politics in this corner, but not today. The recent New Brunswick provincial election concerns me greatly for the utter lack of imagination, substance or soul that both parties and their spin-hungry leaders displayed. But, rather than beat that nag to death, there is some good news ahead for, provided New Brunswickers can weather the storm of another, fundamentally inept, one-term government.

The ignimonious defeat of the Shawn Graham government and his impending departure as Liberal leader, paves the way for Mike's return to political life. As someone who has known him for 20 years or more, I am hoping for the sake of an entire province, this is the road he chooses. Just for the record, I am not a card-carrying Liberal (or Tory), and nor do I own a marketing firm that stands to make millions from potential government contracts. But, I do think New Brunswick needs the right guy in charge and not since Frank McKenna, has there been one, standing on the political horizon.

The Mike I know is an open book, an ideal leadership candidate for the brave new world of the 21st century Digital Economy. Mike is one of the few who actually "gets it" in terms of where social media is headed and how government institutions need to change dramatically in order to keep up with the rest of the world. He also happens to be kind of guy who can envision what New Brunswick can be, like he did while in Opposition, promoting Moncton as a potential CFL city. (I was there at lunch that day when he thought of the idea.)

Forget, for a moment, about his stellar track record in the private sector and as a cabinet minister. The Mike I know is also one of the few men who is truly best friends with his wife. Mike is not one of those guys who will display one face when Moira is in the room and another one altogether when she is not present. They run marathons together, have raised five kids together and through the ups and downs of political life; have always kept it real.

Like him or not, the Mike I know is never afraid to take sides on an issue, and do the right thing even if it means pissing off those who crave the cocoon of the status quo. And whether it's spending time at the barn with his horses on a Saturday morning or enjoying the odd rum and coke on a Friday night, the Mike I know has never lost touch with how real people think and what they want for their friends and families.

If Frank McKenna is considered to be the best Prime Minister Canada never had, then you will understand why this post can be considered as an open letter to Mike Murphy and his supporters. A way to send a message that this is the guy New Brunswick will need as Premier four years from now.

Because I have absolute faith that the Mike Murphy I know, is someone you would feel comfortable knowing as well.


"Real power doesn't come from elected office, but from inside yourself"
FRANK McKENNA



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