Monday, May 31, 2010

Life's Golden Ticket

Brendon was driving one night in the Dominican Republic.

A year out of college, he never saw what was coming around the corner.

Brendon Burchard went from being bankrupt and unknown to earning $4.6 million in 24 months. No different than legends such as Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, Deepak Chopra, and Marianne Williamson, Brendon simply decided one day to take what he knows to be true and teach others.

How does Brendon's experience resonate with you? Could he have truly discovered "Life's Golden Ticket"? Are these the three questions you need to be asking on a daily basis?

1. Did I live today?
2. Did I love today?
3. Did I matter today?

"It's not what you've got, it's what you use that makes a difference"

Friday, May 28, 2010

God, Guns and a Grande

"Last night I heard this politician, talking 'bout his brand new mission. I Liked his plans, but they came undone when he got around to God and Guns"

Ever get a song in your head you just can't rid of?

The latest Lynyrd Skynyrd CD has a track that refuses to quit with a redneck battle cry that would make the late Ronnie Van Zant proud.

The title track to "God & Guns" refers to a comment Barack Obama made about small town Americans who "cling to guns or religion." Lyrically, the song is dead set against all forms of gun control, contradicting the stance of original Skynyrd frontman Ronnie Van Zant, who urged all handguns be dumped to the bottom of the sea in "Saturday Night Special".

But, no matter how catchy the number, what happens when this story plays itself it out in real life?

"It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations"

“To me, there's nothing freer than a bird, you know, just flying wherever he wants to go. And, I don't know, that's what this country is all about, being free. I think everyone wants to be a free bird"
RONNIE VAN ZANT (1948-1977)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Branding Private Sale

Prior to last Wednesday, the name Steve Ladurantaye meant nothing to 99, 000 realtors across Canada.

But, that has changed since his revealing article appeared on the front page of the May 19,2010 Report on Business in the Globe and Mail.

What Ladurantaye has written is sending shock waves through an $8 Billion dollar industry, slowly losing its stranglehold over consumers anxious to avoid the high cost of using an agent. The market is speaking and the media is listening.

By the same token, the Ladurantaye piece has reaffirmed the vision a New Brunswick-based company had as far back as 1998 with respect to the future of real estate in Canada. That's when university students Ken LeBlanc and Jeremy Demont - starting with a big idea and less than 100 bucks - recognized the opportunity to franchise an entirely new industry and subsequently brand it in such a way that it would stand out. 110 franchises later, last week's Globe and Mail article is only fuelling more private sale fire as more and more media outlets pick up on some of the juicier elements of Ladurantaye's article.

This type of national coverage demonstrates the value of building a credible and recognizable brand the way has done for the past decade or so. Despite limited resources in their early years, has always found a way to share its story, but that has intensified since a massive re-branding initiative in 2008 that resulted in coverage such as this.

Branding is a discipline. Not a spending strategy.

And the discipline has paid off for with the first quarter of 2010 showing a 40% increase in system-wide listings from the previous year as operators such as Katherine Benoit (pictured above) enjoy being on the front end of this wave. Home Office has also seen a major spike in the demand for the shrinking number of available franchise locations left in Canada.

What about your business and the way it approaches branding? Has your brand earned the right to be talked about and written about by some of the country's most influential thinkers? Is it truly worthy of the attention you seek?

Do you see branding as a way to purchase consumer attention or earn it?

"When you confer a benefit on those worthy of it, you confer a favor on all"

P.S ... Never reluctant to share his thoughts on the future of private sale, here is co-founder and CEO Ken LeBlanc, up close and personal

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Flames of No Regret

May 26, 1989.

Montreal, Quebec.

The morning after the night before.

In the fog of a cocktail-induced headache, a question appears from the mist.

"Did I really pass up an opportunity to drink from the Stanley Cup"?

The grim facts are as follows.

About 10 hours earlier, the Calgary Flames made hockey history becoming the only visiting team ever to capture Lord Stanley's mug on a sheet of ice inside hockey's greatest shrine. Never before had an NHL team hoisted hockey's holy grail inside the Montreal Forum, other than the legendary Habs, still fuelled by a tradition of greatness instilled by Rocket Richard and passionately described by Danny Gallivan.

But, the Flames proved to be a formidable opponent with a deep and talented roster that included Theoren Fleury, Hakan Loob, Joe Nieuwendyk, Doug Gilmour, Al MacInnis, Joe Mullen, Jamie Macoun and Gary Suter. And on May 25, 1989, the night belonged most of all to the Flames captain, Lanny McDonald who scored the final goal of his career as the man with mustache went out a winner.

As an accredited member of the media, I happened to find myself in a Calgary Flames dressing room soaked with champagne and tears of joy. Suddenly and without really being aware of what was happening, I'm holding the Stanley Cup, allowing Flames winger Gary Roberts to drink from it. And in that moment, thoughts are cannonading through my brain:

"Should I?" ... "Just one sip" ... "I'm sure no one would mind" ...

But, just as quickly, the moment passed.

I looked around the room and saw battered and bruised Flames such as Colin Patterson, Joel Otto, Mike Vernon and others who had truly paid the price to warrant a sip from Lord Stanley. They had earned the right. I didn't.

When the next morning rolled around, those thoughts flashed like instant replay:

"Did I really pass up an opportunity to drink from the Stanley Cup"?

For the past two decades or so, I can remember like yesterday what it was like to stand in a visitors dressing room in the Forum and hand the Cup back to warriors who had earned it. And to be honest, there is the odd time, I feel a twinge of regret for grabbing that piece of hardware and taking a guzzle.

But, maybe there is something to be said for not drinking from someone else's Cup.

Maybe it means so much more when we drink from our own.

“We had the best power play in the league. Our wizardry was giving Al MacInnis the puck”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

John's Journey

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"
LAO-TZU 604 BC - 531 BC)

John's journey began with a three-kilometer fun run with his two boys in 1981.

At the time, John was an out-of-shape, overweight, two-pack a day guy who realized one day something had to change and that something had to be him. He began running secretly before the sun came up since he didn't want his neighbours to see “this chubby little guy” who could only run from one lamp post to another before having to slow down again and walk. John was, at that moment, one of those streetlight people, living just to find emotion, hiding somewhere in the night.

But he didn't stop believing.

In 1984 John opened a store and meeting place for runners in an 8x10 foot room of an old house shared with a hairdressing shop in Edmonton. Twenty years later, the Running Room is one of North America’s most recognized brands with over 100 stores in Canada and the U.S.

Ask John how he did it, and he will look you in the eye and tell you most humbly and sincerely that it was all done with people. "Anyone can dream up the idea, but it takes surrounding yourself with great people to actually make the idea come to life", explained John who was in Halifax this past weekend for the annual Bluenose Marathon.

By the same token, John Stanton has run more than 60 marathons, hundreds of road races and numerous triathlons, been named to the Order of Canada and become synonymous with a healthy lifestyle because he recognized the value in starting where he was at. In other words, it takes about twenty years to become the kind of overnight success that sees you become a six-time best-selling author and the "face" of an entire movement that has inspired hundreds of thousands of Canadians do everything, from learning to run to completing marathons - and feeling great about themselves.

Thousands of people John will never meet face-to-face have lost weight, improved their health and fitness levels and truly changed their lives as a result of one man determined to be the change he wanted to see.

And it all began with that first step.

"Some will win, some will lose, some were born to sing the blues. Oh, the movie never ends, it goes on and on and on and on"

P.S... Last month, John Stanton released a new, updated version of his bestselling book, "Running: The Complete Guide to Building Your Running Program". This update includes new information about running gear, clothes, shoes and GPS technology to monitor speed, distance and pace, as well as exercises to improve core strength. It also includes sections on nutrition, women’s running, injuries and many other aspects of the sport.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Horns in Heaven

April 29, 1982.

The "Mob Rules" tour has rolled into Calgary, Alberta.

Black Sabbath is about to take the stage at the Stampede Corral with Ronnie James Dio replacing Ozzy Osbourne as the main man at the microphone.

Little did I know at the time how Dio was about to profoundly influence the future of heavy metal and its legion of fans with a trademark still very much in vogue today. While his Sabbath predecessor was known for flashing the peace sign during shows, it was Dio who introduced the "devil's horns". He would later explain he borrowed the idea from his Italian grandmother who used to make the hand gesture to give someone the "Malocchio" (the Evil Eye).

The diminutive 5'4" frontman enjoyed a music career that spanned six decades before his passing from stomach cancer on May 16, 2010. Dio enjoyed success as the lead singer for Rainbow in the mid-seventies before going on to front Sabbath in the early eighties as well as his own solo act.

Dio was also known for not taking himself or metal too seriously as evidenced by his association with Jack Black and a combo dubbed as "Tenacious D".

Tributes have been flowing in from all four corners of the heavy metal world, but perhaps the most touching is from his former Sabbath band mate, drummer Vinny Appice.

"Hey, Ron, I never thought the day would come so suddenly. Ronnie was everything to me. He was my best friend, he was my brother. I sat behind him on my drums each night and played, watching him sing, hearing his roaring voice through my monitors. Every night he sent chills down my spine with his singing, inspiring me to push it further and play the best I can to the limit. I always knew how lucky I was to be in a band with him, but to become friends was even more special.My heart is so broken. We are now in a world without him and I will miss him so much. I can only think of how fortunate I was to make music with him that was in his heart".

Somewhere up in heaven, Ronnie James Dio is belting out a song and flashing a sign that makes the Almighty himself do a double take. But, his only Son and the rest of the metal heads love it.

A public memorial service celebrating Dio's life and legacy takes place in Los Angeles on May 30th.

May he Rock in Peace.

"I've never taken vocal lessons. My early trumpet training and a fortunate talent for singing has always been enough for me. In the case of rock singing, I've always felt it was better to remain a bit untrained to maintain your individuality"

P.S. ... Several months prior to his passing, a Houston TV station offered a revealing look at Dio's battle with cancer and how he and his wife Wendy faced it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Two Questions

"You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now"

Two questions to consider:

Question #1.
At this moment in your life ... Are you proud of the professional choices you are making?

Question #2.
At this moment in your life ... Are you proud of the personal choices you are making?

Organizational therapist Connie Podesta asked those two questions of a worldwide audience recently at Leadercast 2010 and judging from the reaction, most seemed to feel less than satisfied on one or both counts. In other words, many of us typically feel something is lacking in either one or both departments and in case you didn't get the memo - there is no separating the two.

Personal and professional are constantly intertwined.

One always affects the other.

Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise, or that you should "compartmentalize" is an idiot.

That being said, the actual level of dissatisfaction, the degree to which it burns into your soul, is what inspires you to actually start doing something about it. And here is what most people just aren't aware of.

This is simple stuff. Simpler than you make it out to be.

Much simpler.

In fact, it is so ridiculously simple... once you recognize the pattern.

And therein, lies the clue.

Can you recognize the patterns of choices and decisions that have led you to the place you find yourself right now both personally and professionally? If you can see those patterns, are you prepared to accept 1000% accountability for their outcomes and the responsibility to make new choices and decisions?

If you can't, you still live in the Land of False Hope, where you will find no shortage of astrologists, fortune tellers, psychics and others willing to sell you some form of lottery ticket as a down payment on your dream. Diamonds that rust as quickly as you bought them.

When it comes to your personal or professional journey, one of the hardest things to learn is which bridge to cross and which to burn. But, if you can wrap your noggin around three more questions, you could be on your way to digging yourself out of whatever hole you find yourself in.

I first noticed these three questions in a MondayMorningMemo from Roy H. Williams, published June 1, 2009. And these questions can apply to you both personally and professionally.

1. What are you trying to make happen?
2. How will you measure success?
3. What's the first thing you need to do to get started?

If you can answer each of these three questions in 12 words or less, you could be well on your way. In 12 words or less, you will know what has to be done and the disciplines you need to enforce for your answers to become reality.

If not, you're still trapped in false hope fantasy that has you spinning in many different directions, which means you have some digging to do.

You might want to start here.

"When you have to make a choice and don't make it, that is in itself a choice"
WILLIAM JAMES (1842-1910)

P.S. ... For the record, I thought Connie Podesta offered a refreshingly simple perspective on some of the biggest challenges many of us face. Here is sample of the approach Connie takes with her audiences.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Guest Post: Stupid, Ugly, Unlucky and RICH

Imagine if you were stupid, ugly and unlucky.

What chance would you have of overcoming those adversities and wind up rich?

According to success analyst Richard St. John you would have a better than average shot. Richard thinks of himself as an average guy, not talented at school, not terribly handsome or particularly lucky. But, he founded a successful company and then spent more than a decade interviewing 500 people - like Bill Gates - he defines as successful. His resulting book, "Spike's Guide to Success: Stupid, Ugly, Unlucky and RICH", has created a new platform for Richard as much-in-demand motivational speaker.

Last month, our paths crossed at a speaking engagement in Halifax and Richard has been following TSB ever since. Today, author, speaker and success expert Richard St. John shares his thoughts with fellow TSB readers in a guest post designed to inspire a different level of thinking.

By: Richard St. John

When Susan Boyle walked onto the stage of Britain’s Got Talent, the audience saw a dowdy, middle-aged woman who announced she was unemployed, had never been married, and “never been kissed.” They instantly wrote her off as having no chance of success as a singer. But when I saw Susan I suspected she’d be great. Why? Because she’s not great-looking. She’s an ALP, an Average-Looking Person, and my research shows that the top people in any field are usually ALPs, not BLPs or Beautiful-Looking People.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, being good-looking doesn’t lead to success and may even hinder it. My book Stupid, Ugly, Unlucky, and RICH has many examples. But you don’t have to believe me. Just go on the web and look at photos of the world’s richest people (of course, money isn’t the only indicator of success, but it’s one of them). It’s hard to find a good-looking billionaire. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Rupert Murdoch are not head turners, just average people you wouldn’t look at twice. And even though they’re among the world’s top CEOs, they would never be chosen by a Hollywood casting agent to play the part of a CEO in a movie or TV show. They’re simply not good-looking enough. Of course, Hollywood has it all wrong. In the real world, it’s the average-looking people who make it to the top.

Why do average-looking people finish ahead of the beautiful ones? Because many beautiful people sit back in their comfort zones, rest on their looks, and float through life. Doors are opened for them. They get the best seats at restaurants. They automatically get noticed, so they never learn to do the 8 things that really will help them succeed, like WORK hard and PUSH themselves. Meanwhile, the average-looking people, like Susan Boyle, have to work their butts off and keep pushing themselves in order to get noticed – and in the end that takes them further than looks ever would. I’m not saying good looks won’t help you get a date. I’m just saying, if you want to succeed, the top 8 Success Factors are much more important than looks. PERSIST is one of those factors and it took Susan Boyle, this average-looking woman, 47 years of persistence to be able to sing like an angel, blow an audience away, and prove herself. Hats off to Susan!

Many thanks to Richard for sharing his way above average thoughts today.

If you think your organization can benefit from having Richard's insights on success, visit

"Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Joël's Flower Power

Martin has never shied away from what real life drops on our doorstep.

Joël, on the other hand, has no choice.

Several years ago, Martin stepped up and stared real life in the face when he volunteered to co-author Dix Aiguilles (Ten Needles), with terminally-ill leukemia patent Sean Collins. That project helped raise more than $100,000 to support the fight against cancer through the Tree of Hope campaign.

Joël ran into real life in the form of two moose on Highway 15, outside Moncton, New Brunswick on May 29, 2008. While three of his friends walked away from the accident unharmed, Joël suffered severe spinal cord injuries that introduced him to a new life as a quadriplegic at the age of 19.

Last week, author and professional speaker Martin Latulippe stepped up again with the announcement he was donating a thousand of his books to raise $25,000 to help Joël Gallant return to California and visit a world-class centre called Project Walk. It's a facility dedicated to improving the quality of life of people who suffered major spinal chord injuries. His mother Lucille says, "Joël went to California a couple of times and he has already made considerable progress during these visits. Every day, we’re amazed by this attitude towards life. It’s already a miracle that he's gone this far, but he wants to go further".

Latulippe’s goal is simple: To donate and distribute a thousand of his books through, his speaking engagements and social media networks in exchange for donations that will help Joël improve his mobility and who knows, maybe walk again some day.

A self-made inspirational speaker, Martin has wowed audiences all over Canada, the U.S., France, Belgium and Africa, sharing his insights on awakening the potential that sleeps inside all of us. We were fortunate enough to sit down with "Flower" about a year ago on CHCD-TV's, "Motorvationally Speaking!"

Martin's challenge will continue until the 29th of this month, which marks the second anniversary of Joël's accident. Already the campaign is a huge hit with $10,000 generated after only 3 days of online campaigning.

For more information, visit .

"We live in a time when the words impossible and unsolvable are no longer part of the scientific community's vocabulary. Each day we move closer to trials that will not just minimize the symptoms of disease and injury but eliminate them"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Living with Inspiration

Have you ever experienced a moment when you would love nothing more than to be able to find the right words to re-inspire a struggling friend?

You have good intent and compassion on your side, but you lack the words. At least not the exact words your friend needs to hear at that precise moment in time.

Or perhaps, it is you who needs a fresh injection of inspirational words, fuelled by high octane human energy to get your motor back up and running.

TSB is hoping today's post serves like a shovel that you can use to start digging and unearth a treasure chest of words you or your friend have to hear whenever the need is great and the time is right.

Finding this clip on YouTube made me reflect on some of the best inspirational speeches of all time. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream", the opening monologue from "Patton" and various scenes from "Remember the Titans", "Jerry Maguire" and "Braveheart" all merit consideration. But, out of the hundreds to choose from, here are ones that standout as we countdown the TSB "Top 5 Inspirational Speeches".

#5. Rocky Balboa explains to his son what it means to be your own person.

#4. Coach Carter learns how his high school basketball players confront our deepest fear.

#3. Al Pacino passionately explains the essence of teamwork.

#2. A calm, but defiant Winston Churchill delivers the ultimate "fuck you" to Adolf Hitler as a beleaguered island nation forges ironclad determination with steely resolve.

The Number One position on the TSB "Top 5 Inspirational Speeches" list is there for a number of reasons, primarily because of the way it resonates on an intensely personal level. As a young boy I was told repeatedly by a person who truly loved me with her entire heart and soul, "There is no such word as can't". She responded with those exact words when I came home from my Grade 5 class one day and announced my dream of becoming the future Prime Minister of Canada. Next week, I would have told her about my future career, playing in the NHL with the Chicago BlackHawks and her response was the same, "There is no such word as can't". What she was really saying was that if you wanted something badly enough, there was no reason in the world to believe you couldn't do it. And in sharing those words, she made a young boy believe in dreams, believe in himself and that yes, all things were possible. In her mind, dreams were something worth protecting.

In my late teens, the dreams began to focus on becoming a radio and TV personality, and she encouraged me again ... "There is no such word as can't". Those dreams did come true and no one was prouder of my 20-year broadcasting career than my Number One cheerleader. But, it was only after I reached the age of 40, that I realized not everyone else was fortunate in the way I was to hear those words at such an early age from a mother who loved reading to me from inspirational classics like "The Little Engine That Could".

Mom has been gone for about a dozen years now, but her spirit lives on in those words and how they serve to protect our dreams and the dreams of those closest to us. This is the clip that says it all.

#1. Will Smith show his boy what life is really all about.

Inspirational speeches, sayings and quotes all share one thing in common.

They contain powerful energy bundles in the form of words offering us hope of a better future. In doing so, these words tap into our deepest yearnings and make our dreams seem both realistic and reachable.

They remind us, yet again, of all the good already within us and infuse us with renewed belief that yes, our dreams and the dreams of those we love, are worth protecting.


No matter what.

"There is no such word as can't"
JEAN MAXWELL (1937-1998)

P.S. ... Mom would have been overjoyed to know her wisdom has found its way into a forum such as this. I have no doubt she is, at this moment, enjoying a celebratory glass of wine from a box while telling St. Peter a few things about how to improve the place. She would also be telling Martin Luther King, JFK and all the other big shots that 5-year old Joshua Sacco reminds her a lot about her boy at a similar age.

Friday, May 14, 2010

So ... What's Behind Door Number 2?

It began on a whim.

Prior 2 posting on Monday, a sudden flash of inspiration dictated a sharp turn toward the more creative right side of the TSB brain.

It came in the form of a question:

2 be or not 2 be ... Creative?

Just 2 see where the path would lead.

And the type of feedback that might follow.

Sent: Monday, May 10, 2010 12:00 PM
To: Gair Maxwell
Subject: Re: Today's TSB Posting ..."A New Way 2 Think ... About Creativity"

Would be interested to get the story on the use of 2....
Sorry my pattern seeking self could not help but notice and I know the use of 2 has meaning....U don't do that without purpose....

The pattern continued 2 unfold on Tuesday with a TSB posting titled "How 2 Promote Creativity". With respect 2 what keeps creativity bottled up in many individuals and organizations, I pointed out:

"But several things typically get in the way, not the least of which is a steep cultural reluctance 2 experiment, fail, experiment some more, fail again, really fuck something up and then finally figure something out. Research tells us the only thing that separates the great scientists from the average was a willingness 2 employ trial and error as a way of doing business".

Taking my own advice, 2 experiment, employ trial and error and say W.T.F., the trend continued 2 unfold in the Wednesday and Thursday postings.

Reader feedback intensified.

May 12, 2010 1:10 PM
East Coast Gal said...

Gair, please go back to spelling 2 as two or to or too! It's too distracting to me, I have to read it two times or more! :-)

Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 4:17 PM
To: Gair Maxwell

I hate it's driving me crazy and I'm reading the blog 2 slowly...2 many 2's are making me crosseyed....I beg u to please stop using's just 2 much!

May 13, 2010 10:16 AM
Brain Diesel said...

A side note 4 your consideration...
2day's post had me 1dering why you has 2 use "2" as a substi2te. 2 date this has not been your 10dency.
This 1 looks 4ward 2 2morrow's post with less numbers as they were un4tun8ly distracting. :)

Already, I was starting 2 see several common patterns develop as readers shared their thoughts on this most unorthodox writing style. Perhaps the most refreshing thing was 2 see the level of creativity the experiment inspired in others.

This precious little gem emerged as the clear-cut winner.

Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 7:52 AM
Subject: My Too Cents Worth

Alright Gair...what's up with the use of 2 instead of to. Are you trying 2 assault my senses because that's what's happening 2 me. You know how Roy speaks of ads being made not 2 offend? Well, your use of two is likely splitting your audience in2 too camps. I'm in the camp that hates seeing the language bastardized by 2 much use of to.
2 what ends are you attempting to do this?
It's a sacrilege of the language. I wonder how Bishop Desmond 22 would feel if Jesus was replaced in the bible by J-Man? Probably not happy. That's how I feel about your blatant disregard for my beloved to. You've gone 2 far this time.
I'd be curious 2 know if others feel this way two?


And with that submission from Ian, TSB concludes this was a path of creative exploration worth taking if only 2 savor this line ...

"I wonder how Bishop Desmond 22 would feel if Jesus was replaced in the bible by J-Man?"

Another part of the rationale for heading down this dusty trail is my firm belief two heads are better than one when it comes to generating creative ideas - and getting them implemented. No one can do it alone and the TSB blog is no different. There are so many instances when you, the reader, make an invaluable contribution towards this ongoing dialogue and a growing forum we share every business day. In other words, there have been many examples, like today, where people like you have supplied high octane idea fuel that ignites these daily postings. Respectfully, I am saying without you, the reader, this writer is irrelevant and without purpose. So what we have here is a collaborative platform between writer and reader that would have been deemed impossible even ten years ago. It always takes two.

In case you are interested and just for the record, Two is the Duality Number.

It reflects diversity; conflict; dependence. Two is a static condition requiring equal but polar opposites. Think of the dual but necessary forces always coexisting. Good and Evil, King & Queen. Sun and Moon. Black and White. Fight or Flight. Yin and Yang. Theory and Practice. Risk and Reward. Opportunity and Security. Liberal and Conservative. Hot and Cold. North and South. Hero and Villain. Country and Western. Rock and Roll. You'll also find numerous references in the Bible going back to when God ordered Noah to put two of every animal in his ark and later on, when He made sure Moses came back from the mount with the Ten Commandments on two tablets. It is the nature of this duality that helped inspire a major, recurring theme in the recently released, "NUTS, BOLTS AND A FEW LOOSE SCREWS".

For many, this has been a week to remember.

As an "experiment", TSB has learned a valuable lesson.

People will be quick to agree with you on the fundamental value of experimenting and coloring outside the lines, but when you actually do it, you run a real risk of pissing a lot of those same people off. In other words, there is a huge gap between what people think and articulate intellectually and how they react and behave emotionally.

Hope this brought some level of insight to your door.

"Just as we have two eyes and two feet, duality is part of life"

P.S. ... Can't resist offering several musical examples where the Number Two plays a significant role in elevating these numbers to the top of the charts.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rick Knows How 2 Roll

“Social Media puts the “public” into PR and the “market” into marketing"

Rick is one of those guys you take a liking 2 instantly.

How can you not when you visit his website and learn what makes Rick roll.

"I work social media at 58Ninety in Toronto.
I live in Bolton, Ontario and I like it there.
I like God, guitar, beer and the Internet.
That about covers it".

Besides consuming no fewer than 600 different types of beers from all over the world, Rick also has the distinction of being only the 2nd person 2 start a blog in Canada. And since entering the on-line world back int he dial-up stone age of 1994, Rick has developed a passionate belief that social media has the potential 2 ruin your business and brand.

With 400 million people populating the Facebook world, 75 million on Twitter and 65 million on LinkedIn, Rick helps organizations understand the implications of doing social media badly. In other words, your brand isn’t what you say it is. It's what the on-line community says it is. And part of Rick's role with Toronto-based digital agency 58Ninety is to help his clients influence those conversations.

In the digital world, according 2 social media analyst Rick Jessup, there are ten things you need 2 know about influencing this community:

#1. is THE place 2 go 2 learn tricks of the social media trade.

#2. LinkedIn is nothing more than an on-line resume.

#3. The most misinterpreted word in the digital world is "viral" In other words, there is no such thing as a "viral video", only videos that go viral. Huge difference.

#4. Make sure you fill in the tags on your YouTube videos if you want 2 get them noticed by the 120 million users of that platform.

#5. You can learn a lot about brand strategy from watching Blendtech. Building an on-line brand has nothing 2 do with products or services. Everything 2 do with how you craft and share a "story".

#6.Have a purpose for engaging in social media, with goals behind your strategy and work 2 achieve them

#7. Always offer value. Your customer doesn’t owe you anything.

#8. On line is not an island. Treat social as an outpost; an extension of offline efforts.

#9. Be transparent.

#10. Be authentic.

Conversations among members of the on-line community happen whether you like it or not. Paying close attention 2 these ten principles encourages the right sort of conversations since humans are far more likely 2 share ideas and information with others when they are emotionally engaged.

Yesterday in Charlottetown, PEI, Rick Jessup helped attendees of the first-ever Entrepreneurship Expo understand there is no hiding the fact social media has ruined their business.

But allows them the opportunity 2 build a new one.

"How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?”
SETH GODIN, Seth’s Blog

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Guest Post: "Fox On the Run"

"Things are only impossible until they're not"
JEAN-LUC PICARD, Star Trek: The Next Generation

Mark is a rocket scientist.

For real.

Mark is the youngest chief engineer 2 ever work on the NASA space shuttle project, and is now on the run all over North America, using creative problem-solving methods 2 help organizations solve ten million dollar problems.

For a small fee, of course!

Mark has an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering with an MBA. Some of his unique accomplishments include increasing e-business sales 600% in one year. He builds his own airplanes and hot air balloons and his book, "Da Vinci and the 40 Answers" is based on his original, always sold out, workshop hosted at Wizard Academy in Austin, Texas.

More than a year ago, Mark stumbled on 2 this blog and has kept coming back. Today, author, speaker and rocket scientist Mark L. Fox is sharing with fellow TSB readers a guest post designed 2 inspire creativity in your world.

By: Mark L. Fox

What would you do if the direct sales from your top selling product tanked tomorrow?

Well it’s gonna happen.

It may not be tomorrow, but the death of your star will come some day. It’s a fact, so why not assume it is going to happen sooner than later?

One of the tools I use in my creative thinking workshops is to assume that my client can no longer make any money directly from selling the product to consumers anymore. In this case, how else could you make money from the product besides a direct sale? This exercise allows you to discover other revenue streams that you can capitalize on now. They are right under your nose; you just haven’t taken the time to smell them.

It’s kinda Google’s model in a sense. The primary product they have is “search” but it is given away for free. They make money on all the side doors.

What are your revenue side doors?

I recently applied this tool to a recent product I developed called Nest Egg Software. It is a revolutionary retirement planning software package which 100’s of thousands of dollars were spent in the development of it. (Go get your free account, )

Of course I could easily sell the software, but I decided to give it away for free and apply the Sunken Ship philosophy before I ever launched the product. As part of the business model, I assumed I could never sell it directly to the consumer. I did this on purpose to expand my creative thinking and come up with different ways to make money with the concept without directly selling it to consumers. Here is what I came up with as targets for revenue streams;

• Financial Advisors, who then use it in their practice for their clients
• Corporate HR departments: as a benefit for employees and let them rebrand it as their own. Every employee hates HR and it gives HR a chance to give some benefits back to their workforce
• Advertizing space on
• Radio commercial spots integrated into the blog podcasts
• Refer the “free” consumers to financial advisors and obtain referral fees
• Find other companies who use the term “Nest Egg” in their branding and create partnerships
• Banks, brokers, and financial institutions allowing them to rebrand it for their customers.
• Retirement associations like AARP

These are just a few of the side door revenue streams we are going after in the business model. We also applied the principles of Word of Mouth Marketing in the business plan as the product was being developed. We will cover more on WOM in another post.

Side doors are all around you.

Look for them and try opening a few.

Mark L. Fox

Many thanks 2 Mark for sharing his lunar level thoughts today.

If you think your organization can benefit from having Mark's level of creativity tackle some of your most pressing issues, here are some links 2 learn more.

"The important achievement of Apollo was demonstrating that humanity is not forever chained to this planet and our visions go rather further than that and our opportunities are unlimited"

P.S. ... May be a little cheesy, but still want 2 acknowledge Mark's contribution with a retro-musical thank you for sharing a sweet side of science ...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How 2 Promote Creativity

"Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"

Every once in a while ... "it" happens.

You could call "it" an epiphany, an "a-ha" moment or a brilliant flash of insight that smacks you straight between the eyes.

"It" is a highly prized asset for a very simple reason: "It" has the power 2 bring you and your organization wealth, fame, more customers or government funding. People who populate the worlds of commerce, education, science, the arts, the military and many other pursuits often wax eloquent about how they want 2 grow and nurture "it".

"It" is creativity and its needed badly 2 solve some of the most pressing challenges we face today. But several things typically get in the way, not the least of which is a steep cultural reluctance 2 experiment, fail, experiment some more, fail again, really fuck something up and then finally figure something out. Research tells us the only thing that separates the great scientists from the average was a willingness 2 employ trial and error as a way of doing business. In other words, the most respected scientists like Tommy Edison, would have had many more good ideas and home runs, but also had way more lousy ideas and strikeouts. Michael Michalko, an expert on genius and creativity, refers to this in his book, "Cracking Creativity" when he opines, "Geniuses produce. Period." They produce - both good and bad.

Unfortunately, too many organizations today are killing creativity with the implication that each idea has 2 be a winner, fully formed and ready 2 be taken 2 market. If not, the idea generator will often hear not so subtle messages that they're stupid, inadequate or some sort of "loose screw".

If you are serious about promoting creativity, what are you doing 2 help make your workplace safe for individuals 2 come up with "dumb" or "crazy" ideas? Is yours a culture that encourages other individuals 2 build on those crazy ideas? Or is it the type of organization that would recoil at some of these riffs on creativity shared by thought leaders like Tom Peters?

Truly creative minds have always been able 2 survive any kind of bad training.

But wouldn't it be great 2 promote creativity from even more of us instead of depending on a select few?

First, you have 2 make sure you're not killing "it". There are three things 2 watch for:

#1 Creativity almost always includes risk.

Eliminate risk and you eliminate creativity. The creative solution is also rarely the most efficient. Why? Because creativity requires experimentation which dictates trying something that may fail.

#2. Don't settle for the first "good" idea.

People naturally gravitate toward the path of least resistance, but true creativity will take a less traveled road and fight through the resistance 2 find the gem of an idea on the other side.

#3. Remember, camels are horses designed by committee.

People are social animals who work in groups, but these groups naturally and usually kill creativity, or at least reshape it as conformity. Creativity within groups isn't impossible, but it will have 2 fight harder to see the light of day. Coming up with something truly new often means having 2 break from the herd.

You and I will never be able to quantify creativity. But, an ever-increasing dependence on the dusty world of metrics is exactly why creativity has gone 2 hell in a basement. When leadership or strategic decisions are based solely on numbers, the desire 2"waste" time and discover creative toys in the attic evaporates.

Never forget remarkable people and brands are built on a foundation of emotional connections. At some point, someone had 2 go with their gut and roll the dice on a creative solution.

Great ideas don't come from numbers.

They come from having the guts to find "it".

"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity"

Monday, May 10, 2010

A New Way 2 Think ... About Creativity

If you are a regular reader of this post, there is a high degree of probability that you have a creative bent or side to you.

Typically, that's one of the common threads about individuals in more than 70 countries who gravitate towards a daily post such as TSB in search of answers and insight 2 help flex those creative muscles.

But, there is also chance your creative itch may or not be getting scratched.

With good reason.

So as you sip your morning or afternoon java, you might be more than mildly interested in knowing what "Eat, Pray, Love" author Elizabeth Gilbert has 2 say on this subject of creativity.

If you are a truly creative person, you want 2 know it all. Ancient history, quantum physics, nineteenth century military strategies, lean manufacturing techniques, screenwriting, motor mechanics, and more. But you never knows when these ideas might come together in the form of a creative breakthrough. It may happen ten minutes after digesting this post. Or it could hit you ten hours later or ten years. But you have faith knowing it will happen at some point and that it is far better 2 have some of those ideas proven wrong, than be one of those people who take comfort in always being "right" - only because their idea vault is always empty.

Creativity by its very nature involves inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having some fun along the way. Regretfully, this type of behaviour is not encouraged at most places of business.

But, as a free-thinking individual, you decide each day whether 2 fully engage and be creative in work you are naturally suited for and express ideas on how you can take it 2 the next level. When that happens your work takes on the childlike quality of play.

Only when work feels like "play" will you begin 2 percolate the fresh aroma of creativity that changes your world and the world around you.

Would that be 2 fun or what?

"There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns”

Friday, May 7, 2010

Rocking the Roof

"Think globally, act locally"

If you're a Beatles fan like Kevin, tomorrow marks a special day in Fab Four history.

It was 40 years ago tomorrow - May 8, 1970 - The Beatles released their 12th and final studio album, the ironically named "Let it Be".

But what most people don't know about is the film version of "Let it Be". Intended to be a documentary to showcase the making of an album, it instead reveals the painful story of a band breaking up.

Kevin is not most people.

Being the avid Beatlemaniac he is, Kevin is well aware of the historical significance that "Let it Be" represents. Trying to come up with an ending for the film, John, Paul George and Ringo played an unannounced lunchtime concert on the roof of the Apple building. It was their final public appearance as a group before the police eventually arrived to shut the production down.

40 years later, Kevin and The Calico Jacks are taking a page out of Beatles history with a concept known as "Rock the Roof".

Moncton City Hall will be the site for a rooftop concert (one the cops won't stop), Saturday, May 8, 2010 from 11am until 1:30pm. Kevin, T-Bone, Riff & Lucky will belt out an all-Beatles setlist and fans are being encouraged to bring non-perishable food items as "Rock the Roof" aims to resupply a number of food banks in the Greater Moncton area.

This week, the TSB blog has adopted a consistent theme with respect to the qualities of leadership, living with passion and understanding the importance of "why" we do things as opposed to "what" and "how" we do them. Today these themes come full circle with a real-life example.

Kevin happens to be a top-notch public servant, working in Economic Development with the City of Moncton, but he is also prepared to live life out loud. Far from being one of those tight-ass, robotic government workers who collects a paycheck and goes home to grumble, Kevin enthusiastically tries to make a difference in all of the projects he is involved with and genuinely lives the City of Moncton brand through and through.

He will even shout from a rooftop to prove it.

Is Kevin Silliker one cool dude or what?

"If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that's his problem. Love and peace are eternal"

P.S. ... For more deets on "Rock the Roof", visit

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Motorvationally Speaking: "Over the Top Leader"

Steve has a natural ability to inspire leadership qualities within others.

So much so, he does it professionally.

Steve has an uncanny way of being able to read and relate to anyone who is serious about unlocking their true potential. As a coach with Leadership Management International, Steve leverages his unique background in marketing, management, sales and psychology to help take his clients "over the top".

Today on TSB, we head to the corporate frontlines and dig into the leadership trenches with LMI Canada consultant and coach ... Steve Daniels!

"Motorvationally Speaking", on CHCD TV, is a weekly, internet-based show focused on people who embrace the power of positive thinking. The guests may not always be famous, but they are always enlightening, and each one of them has an interesting story to tell. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome as we aim to inspire, educate and motorvate.

"Live out of your imagination, not your history”

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Level 5 Leadercast

It's happening this Friday, May 7, 2010.

Only two more sleeps!

A global gathering of leaders.

With one purpose.

Developing leaders at all levels.

This program, conceived ten years ago by New York Times best-selling author and speaker, Dr. John C. Maxwell, has grown from a half-day, classroom-format event to become a full-day experiential conference broadcast. 400 sites will be plugged in around the world with over 70,000 attendees. The list of speakers for this years "Leadercast" is second to none and includes, Super Bowl winning coach Tony Dungy, John C. Maxwell, co-author of "Made to Stick", Chip Heath and many others.

But, one speaker who will likely garner a lot of attention is "Good to Great" author Jim Collins.

Jim has authored or co-authored five books based on enormous volumes of research, including the classic "Built to Last" and his latest "How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In". In "Good to Great", Collins explores factors common to those few companies that sustain remarkable success for a substantial period of time. One of those factors is what he calls "Level 5 Leadership", which Collins describes as a “paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will.”

So what separates entrepreneurs who build great companies from those who do not?

As Collins explains to Charlie Rose, they make the transition from being a time teller to become a clock builder. Time tellers make everything depend on them, so the organization is merely a reflection of their own personality, but a clock builder creates an organization that delivers great results that extend way beyond his or her personal influence.

If you are serious about the subject of leadership and addressing some of the stuff that keeps you up at night, there are many different venues you can access this Friday.

Looking forward to seeing what Jim Collins and the rest of the Level 5 roster of speakers has to share at "Leadercast".

"Leading from good to great does not mean coming up with the answers and then motivating everyone to follow your messianic vision. It means having the humility to grasp the fact that you do not yet understand enough to have the answers and then to ask the questions that will lead to the best possible insights. The good-to-great companies in our research had a penchant for intense dialogue”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Help!!! ... I'm Stuck!!!

People are stuck.

Living, texting and tweeting faster, but going nowhere.


They're stuck.

In dead-end, energy-sucking jobs. In boring or fake social circles. In mediocre or shitty relationships.

For any number of reasons.

Fear. Comfort. Denial. Regret. Guilt. Ya-da-ya-da-ya-da.

With little or no sense of who they are and who they're supposed to be.

When you're stuck, the reasons don't matter much. You know you're stuck and that's why yesterday's TSB posting, "Inspired or Motivated?" produced a question the Twitter/Facebook world is unable to answer for you.

Sent: Monday, May 03, 2010 5:36 PM
To: 'Gair Maxwell'
Subject: RE: Today's TSB Posting ..."Inspired or Motivated?"

What happens when you can’t seem to get motivated or inspired?? What do you do and where do you go to get your Mojo back??

The timing of the question is ironic in the sense that Roy H. Williams touched on the subject in yesterday's MondayMorningMemo with respect to what he defines as a "limiting factor".

Regretfully, an honest question such as the one posed in the e-mail cannot be answered in a complete fashion as one would like in a forum such as this, but TSB provide some direction, beginning with the insight offered from Roy's memo:

"The problem with our century is that we are constantly distracted; “Too much to do, too little time.” Writing dictates a frame of mind we rarely experience today. Writing moves us from the emotional confusion of right brain, abstract thought*, to the logic and clarity of left brain, analytical thought. This is why we think writing is difficult".

Deeper, self-reflective questions require a deeper level of self-exploration. In other words, if you really are stuck and really, really want to know answers, how deep are you prepared to dig? How many loads of dirt will you sift through to answer the biggest question of them all?

"Why do you do the things you do?"


Failure to ever address and answer that question is keeping millions stuck in lives dominated by jobs, mortgages and a mundane existence bearing a striking resemblanceto just another episode from "Seinfeld".

Not that there's anything wrong with that!

But, if you are serious about digging in, doing the work and cracking your own personal "Why?" code, Simon Sinek is a guy worth investing in today. Simon has a knack for simplifying complex ideas and is best known for developing The Golden Circle, a model based on the biology of human decision-making.

If you're truly stuck and can't seem to free yourself, ask yourself another question.

Am I prepared to do the work that is required?

Otherwise, head back to the Twitter/Facebook world right now just to see what hundreds of your stuck, Costanza-like "friends" are blabbering about in their status updates.

But, if you answer "yes" to the idea of rolling up your sleeves, will you make a commitment and slow down to a complete stop? Do you possess the steely resolve of self-discipline to enter a dark inner world of silence where the glittering diamonds of your creativity exists?

It's your choice.

Unplug from the wired world.

Grab a shovel in the form of a pen and start digging.

And discover a bountiful treasure chest of answers buried within.

"I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death"

Monday, May 3, 2010

Inspired or Motivated?

Are you currently using motivation or inspiration to guide you and the people around you?

There is a huge difference between the two.

If you are naturally inspired you are also naturally motivated.

But, when you try and motivate yourself - despite feeling uninspired - you will feel exhausted, worried, and overwhelmed.

Motivation is like a quick fix tonic for the ego.

Inspiration flows from your soul.

And Daniel Pink has studied the science that supports this assertion.

Pink is the author of four books focused on the changing world of work, including "Drive": The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. His recent TED talk will likely leave you inspired or motivated, but not both.

"Drive" includes practical ideas and resources for study and application of the book’s ideas. As with his other books, Dan Pink offers ideas that helps makes sense of the rapid changes taking place in your world at work and at home.

Which one are you these days.

Inspired or motivated?

How would you describe those who are around you the most?

Motivation forces us to keep up with others, measure ourselves by our material possessions to others and still leave us looking at misery at the other end of the dinner table.

Inspiration comes from another place altogether and will enrich you and those around you beyond measure.

Just remember.

The bigger the "why", the easier the "how".

"Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm"