Category Archives: childrens books
Let me break it down for you….
Our Hero Mumble is the embodiment of what (I think) it takes to succeed in the current world.
Our little hero was a little “different”. He was born into a world struggling with a poor economy… there was not enough fish to go around, the area was fished out, and Mumble stood out in his community for all the “wrong” reasons. In a world of singers, he was a dancer! He was shunned for his beliefs (“it just ain’t penguin”), for his passion, and shouldered the blame everyone placed upon him for his beliefs’ bringing this famine amongst them.
Mumble took this rejection on board, he tried to assimilate, yet struggled to find his core niche. So he set off on a journey of self discovery (OK he was made redundant… .sorry, banished, he was banished, definitely banished), with the goal of solving the problem.
On this journey he continued to learn. He was attacked by strange beasts (angry CEO’s taking a pay cut?) found a community that embraced him (for me that would be community 2.0.. ie RBC, Twitter and more recently Recruitment 2.0 Asia Pacific).
This community enabled him to find an idol, (Lovelace) someone who knew all the solutions, and would share that information for the sum of a pebble. (how many websites promise to make you a millionaire for a simple fee?) (Please note, not for one second am I suggesting these sites are the breeding grounds for false idols, lots of “marketing Web 2.0 guru’s”, but not false idols)
After being embraced by this community, our hero felt he had to go out on his own, he needed to rely only on himself to solve this problem. (look at the new businesses which started up in the last 3 years)
He found even more challenges in this, he was lost, lonely and eventually out of hope. He was found and “saved” in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately he was repatriated in a mind numbing, soul draining environment, vanilla environment. He lost himself here, just going through the motions and surviving, day in day out (Look at all those businesses which have been sold or bought during the last year!)
(I think we are currently at this point in the market)
Eventually, Mumble our hero, found himself again. His individualism started bubbling to the top in an irresistible manner, until it flowed uncontrollably from every part of his body. Yes he was dancing again! He was publicly displaying his unique value proposition, AND PEOPLE WERE TAKING NOTICE! People were “buying it”. Momentum was building.
The world was taking notice. The world was buying. The world did something! The world gave him what he needed. They took him home, colluded with each other to stop the fishing in the area (thus ending the famine) and our hero, became everyone’s! His individuality, his unique selling point, his value proposition had made him a success. He stood out in a sea of same, our hero STOOD OUT and became successful.
I can’t help it… I was going to write another blog tonight, but was given this book from my kids to read tonight and couldn’t resist.
“Guess how much I love you” is a charming little tale of a little Nutbrown hare and his older, bigger, wiser friend Big Nutbrown Hare. It does sound a little sucky really, and the language is simple and easy, the kind that is easy to read to my kids, and fun to hear them recite. Hit “play” above and you’ll see what I mean.
However, my take on this tail..oops I mean tale is based around the generation gap between Gen Y, and Gen X/Baby Boomers. It may be a long bow.. but a lesson to be learned anyway. No offense meant to those Gen Yers reading it.
Little Nutbrown Hare (our poster boy for Gen Y), needs to communicate with Big Nutbrown Hare’s (Gen Xer) and needs his undivided attention. He needs it so much he grabs his ears… .ouch! Why? He has a question, which will both try to suck up as well as try to prove he is smarter that his more experienced counterpart.
Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare, spends most of the book trying to out shine his older, larger counterpart. Trying to out jump and out think his more experienced mentor.
“I love you as high as I can jump” said Little Nutbrown Hare
“But I love you as high as I can jump” said Big Nutbrown Hare, almost hitting his ears on the tree branch.
How did I get the generation battle out of this?
I deal a lot with Gen Ys, and whilst I think the whole, “they are so much different to the rest of the workforce and thus need to be managed differently” mantra is a little over cooked, there definitely are truths.
You need to be prepared to both hear and listen to them. They are surrounded with information, so much more than most of us were when we started our careers, and they aren’t afraid the share it. You cannot fear it, shun it or ignore it. It is there. You have to follow Big Nutbrown Hare’s attitude. Listen to them, and if they are not right, or their idea is not so new or ground breaking, tell them. Bluntly, yet nicely, encourage allow them to keep thinking.
One of the proudest things I have been involved with over the last year was our Industry Based Learning Student. He arrived at our company wanting to run the world, requesting responsibility, people reporting to him etc… When he gave his presentation at the end of his tenure, he outlined that one of his biggest takeaways from this was the fact that he now knows, what he doesn’t know. (and I believe an increased level of respect that others already working may know a thing or two). There was a lot of work done in the middle.
Whilst you cannot discount Gen Y’s, you cannot build an organisation around just that demographic. You will need experience to get through the current climate, you need battle scars, people who have survived downturns in the past, and you need mentors for those entering the workforce. I think now is going to be more important than ever. We are going to have people entering the workforce, already confused as to their part in this world.
Gen Y’s have gone through university with a certain feeling of entitlement, there was a skills shortage remember, the war for talent was well and truly underway. Their career was already mapped out, one company as a stepping stone to the other, 20% increase min each new company, companies falling over themselves to hire them. Now, the world of 2009. Graduate programs getting scrapped, wages getting frozen, job losses everywhere… how did we get this surplus of people? (Recruiters must have been doing one hell of a job!) Their picture of self must have been challenged greatly.
It is not the time for employers to get too excited and get even with the talent market, no matter how tempting it is. We still need to nurture the talent of tomorrow, we still have to keep the stars of today and respect the greats of yesterday. Maybe this new world post 2009 will get rid of these tags, and will work together as survivors of 2009… until the next generation comes along that is.
Now, when I was a boy……….
I simply love this story for a number of reasons, a) my son was named from it. (as a Recruiter, we had a short list of names when my son was being born (2 for boys, 2 for girls). When he came out the doctor announced “It’s a boy! What’s his name?”. I mentioned our short list… the doctor said…”easy.. Zachary….. Zachary Quack”) b) the Onomatopoeia and c) The lessons you can relate to day to day life as s Recruiter, leading me into part III (one and two found earlier) of my series of children’s stories for success.
Here’s my take on the story….
Hairy Maclary (AKA the client) is trying to get some “me” time, unfortunately, for him (or so it seems) Zachary Quack, keeps trying to get together with him (maybe for a meeting?), this causes Hairy to continually be on the run, avoiding Zachary, by hiding in a variety of ways. Our tenacious friend won’t be denied though, he keeps turning up, offering his services.. Eventually Hairy Maclary, bites off a little more than he can chew, and dives into the water, and literally gets in over his head. He needs some help, he cannot get out of the water. Enter Zachary Quack, our never say die, never take no for an answer, Mr I know I can help you, Mr you need to know me, Mr Recruiter. Zachary Quack, arrives when needed and shows Hairy Maclary the way out of the mess he’d made. Sound familiar my Recruiter friends? Of course then ending sees our two main characters as best friends, enjoying each others company, with mutual respect.
How many times have you made calls into an organisation, only to be told your contact or client is unavailable? Tried the lunch time call, the before work call, the after hours call to avoid those that will lie for them, only to be told that essentially “Don’t call us… we’ll call you!” I’m thinking lots… I know I have.
Here is the question… Do you give up, never to make contact again? OR do you continually follow up, ready to help at any time? Ready to save your clients backside! Then deliver a service, a value add, a solution which blows the client away, and makes them a client for life! Even in these times of economic turmoil, don’t lose your tenacity, keep making those calls, (even if it feels like a waste of time, I was able to make money in the last IT Tech wreck from staying in touch with companies who had told me to go away… “we aren’t hiring, we just made a whole round of redundancies!” Guess what? They cut too hard, and were not able to deliver the IT solution to the business…. They needed contractors to help get the job done… who do you think they called? That’s right… me!) staying in touch, and continually be ready to grasp and deliver on any opportunity comes your way!
Another of my favourite books I read my kids every night is “The Very Cranky Bear”, by Nick Bland, my son received this book from Santa this year and it quickly became the most requested book in the house.
The imagery is great, the story funny, simple and moving… and yet an amazing learning lesson for Consultants and/or Customer Service professionals.
“In the jingle jangle jungle, on a cold and windy day, four furry friends found somewhere warm to play”
OK this is where is gets hairy… forgive the pun… our four main heros include, Moose, with marvelous antlers, Lion, a golden mane, Zebra had fantastic stripes, and Sheep, now sheep was plain.
None of them had noticed, that sleeping in their sanctuary of a cave was a bear… a Very Cranky Bear to be precise (AKA THE CLIENT) … who chased them out of the cave into the cold, wet weather with a number of well placed, loud “ROARs!”
The four friends were pretty disappointed with this outcome, and decided that there had to be a reason for this bear to be so cranky, (apart from them interrupting his slumber of course) and that if they could make him happy, he’d simply let them share.
Zebra was the brains of this outfit… who couldn’t see the responsibility but could see the solution. Zebra loved his wonderful stripes, they always made him happy… therefore is this bear had stripes.. he’d be happy too.. Simple problem solved…? Moose interjects with the thought that Stripes are a bore…, his antlers always made him smile.. “let’s give that bear a pair”… Lion disagrees with confidence “no no no no no” says lion “antlers are a bore” ” a golden mane like mine, will cheer him up for sure”. Alrighty then… 3 of our 4 hero’s go collecting things to ensure that they will make Bear happy.
This leads to one of the funniest pictures I have seen in ages.. reminds me of the old saying that a camel is a horse designed by committee.
Needless to say, but the Bear, now sporting new stripes, mane and antlers is not impressed…. he gets angry again, and chases out helpful hero’s out of his cave. On his way back into the cave, he stops and Roars and the unsuspecting Sheep. “All I really want.. is a quiet place to SLEEP”
Armed with this information, Sheep, shaves of half his wool, makes a pillow for our Cranky Bear. This makes the Cranky Bear happy and he soon falls fast asleep, maybe dreaming of a plain but thoughtful sheep.
Here’s my link:
Sheep, was the only consultant… Sheep listened to the problem, accepted responsibility, acted, invested personally in the solution and won over the client… whereas the others tried to impose their own solution on the Client’s problem and were magnificently unsuccessful.
You need to listen to your client, find out where their pain is, what the problem really is and from there formulate your strategy from there. Ask the dumb questions, clarify, and get that tailored solution for your client.. that will get you remembered.. boost your unique value proposition, and will have turned that Cranky Bear client of yours into a client for life!
It’s amazing where you can find inspiration. For those of you who don’t know me I am the proud dad of 2 young children and live by the adage “sleep is overrated”. One of my favourite times of day is pre bed story time, it is genuine quality time I get to spend with my children after whatever my work day did to me.. or maybe it is because it’s just before the house finally falls into peaceful slumber, that parents around the world love.
MAYBE it’s because I REALLY enjoy these books, the morals, the learning and the style of writing appeals to me no end.
For the last few years I have been bringing these stories into my day to day life occasionally annoying my work with analogies and stories… but tonight reading an old favourite I thought.. why not!? And if it goes OK it could become a regular post of mine, sounds fun to me… we have heaps of books.
One of my favourites is “Platypus and the Lucky Day”. A few years ago I photocopied every page and gave a copy to my immediate team (if you are a copywriter reading this.. please blink over this bit).. I liked it that much. I got strange looks, but the message was received.
Platypus wakes up one morning in THE BEST mood, he knows today is his lucky day…. (see business globally start of 2008), then in his joyous mood he steps out into the world. It is here that things start to go wrong, the string on his kite breaks, the tree branch he is climbing snaps, the painting he is doing is rained upon and blows away… After a number of these negative events… Platypus wipes a tear from his eye, gives up and decides it best to go back to bed. (fair enough too! See business globally at the end of 2009).
When he gets back to bed, he finds a banana (or sandwich) he’d been looking for, a teddy he thought he’d lost forever, a billy cart he forgot he had, and found things in a closet to help him fix it…. and his lucky hat! His day is getting better!!!
He takes his newly fixed billy cart outside, with his lucky hat on, and takes it to the top of the closest hill… sets off down the hill….. all of the sudden he loses control and crashes his billy cart into a tree, and all looks bad with the day again…. then suddenly into his lap falls his kite from the tree. Ahhhh what a great ending.
OK my link… With the “War for talent” in full swing, Recruiting was one of THE professions to be in, it was exciting to get out of bed, you could tell you were going to make a huge difference and that your worth as a professional was getting increasingly valued… the it all turns…. the Economic crisis hits globally, downsizing is the word of the day, and the need for Recruiters decreases. Here’s the bit I love…. Do you give up and go back to bed and not try? Or do you keep your eyes open for opportunities? be flexible enough to capitalise on them and make your own fun again. Do you go out there again and have another go…. accepting that something else goes could go wrong, whilst also acknowledging that another piece of “luck” could come your way. What’s the old saying? “You gotta be in it to win it”
Be the Lucky Platypus people! All is not lost, there is always opportunity, you just have to be open enough to see it.