Control Freaks

articles May 20, 2021

Before the 2021 Rose Bowl, Alabama Coach Nick Saban had quite an answer when ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi asked him for one thing he learned this disruptive year.

“I’ve spent my whole life trying to keep everything in some kind of a controlled mechanism that I thought was going to lead to better performance, better production, more consistency, and this year, that hasn’t been possible,” he said. “There was a time, in my career as a coach, I would have never been able to tolerate some of the things we’ve had to go through. So that has made me better, I think.”

One of the world’s ultimate practitioners of routine handled the complete opposite of routine this year by embracing disruption, focusing on endurance and staying the course, regardless of circumstance.

That’s the problem with control. It gives you a false sense of security.

Let’s admit it. Most audiologists, orthodontists, doctors and lawyers are control freaks. You...

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A Pile of Beans.

articles Apr 27, 2021

Big data. The name alone commands respect and intrigue, like Big Oil. And that’s the trouble with labels. They over-simplify and often stupefy people into thinking one way about a related issue, challenge or opportunity.

For years, I’ve been arguing that we’re in the age of actionable data. This is a significant step beyond the Information Age. Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google aren’t the most powerful companies on the planet because they have a ton of information. They are valuable because of what they can do with those data (i.e., make decisions about people and markets in order to sell more advertisements, products and services). 

Smart marketers and advertisers have taken note. On an upcoming Loud and Clear program, I take a deep dive on the Google Display Network. This tool is making it easier for good marketers to get better and for bad marketers to get worse. 

Why? Because more data does not always mean accurate, relevant or...

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Trade Offs and False Proxies.

articles Mar 15, 2021

I see a lot of smart people giving audiology practice owners dumb advice. Your in-box and social media feeds are filled to the brim with mostly well-intentioned people trying to make a buck convincing you this one metric or that one metric will solve all your problems. They promise efficiency and growth in new patients, revenue, case starts; more of this, more of that. They sell magic weight loss pills while Grumpy Jared tells you to eat your vegetables and go to the gym. I’m clearly not here to win any popularity contests. Listen. There’s nothing wrong with efficiency and growth, but these swindlers and self-professed gurus use the wrong proxies for efficiency and growth. They look at labor costs, marketing investments or cost structure and set about in an attempt to improve them. But what if increased efficiency or growth in these areas cause the customer experience to suffer or referrals to decline? What if their proxy keeps you from...

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Weeding.

articles Feb 11, 2021

In a New York Times feature on his summer garden to-do list, Timothy Tilghman, head gardener of the Untermyer Park and Gardens in Yonkers, New York, shares tips and advice to home gardeners.

“If you can’t enjoy weeding, you won’t be a happy gardener. Everyone enjoys the neatness of a fresh planting, but unless you’re willing and eager to get in there and weed…”

He could just as easily be giving business advice.

Everyone loves the rewards of management, marketing and leadership. No one loves the “weeding” of oversight and discipline.

Here are three areas you and your team leaders can go “weeding” this week:

Reactivation List – How often are you reviewing and contacting your pending list of customers, patients, clients or donors who have not completed the next step in their journey with your company? A significant portion of business inside any successful firm is achieved through coordinated, consistent...

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How Pfizer Delivered a Covid Vaccine in Record Time.

articles Jan 13, 2021

Some articles grab you by the shoulders and shake you awake. This is one such summary of an article by Jared Hopkins in The Wall Street Journal. Definitely worth a read. Here are the highlights:

First lesson: go all in. If you have an idea that a small test group of your patients, clients, donors or customers think is great and they are willing to tell 10 more friends who will tell 10 more friends, go all in. You can’t be half-pregnant with a great idea. Pfizer’s CEO went all in, investing hundreds of millions of dollars to build a global manufacturing network, even though he knew his team was racing to develop a new vaccine based on a technology that had never been approved before.

Second lesson: follow through and oversight are critical. The CEO didn’t check in occasionally. He held twice-weekly meetings, constantly asking how they could make more vaccine and how they could make it sooner. When you start a new marketing initiative in your...

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It’s perfectly legal to mandate vaccines – if you’re legally perfect!

articles Dec 23, 2020

In 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and Lieutenant Edwin P. Ramsey ordered the last cavalry charge in American history. Nearly eighty years later, the presidents and CEO’s of Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, GSM, Sanofi, and others leading the vaccination charge, are our new heroes. Saddling up and replacing swords and rifles with needles, they are heading out to save lives throughout the world.

But can you force your employees to be saved? Can you enforce vaccine compliance? What do you do if there’s pushback or refusal?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued guidance that helps employers determine how to move forward, although their advice is just as we would suspect – not abundantly clear and subject to change.

Employers may encourage or even possibly mandate vaccinations, but any policy that affects the health and safety of your Team Members must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights...

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What You Can Learn from the Christmas Tree Shortage.

articles Dec 14, 2020

In a recent edition of The AuDExperts Report, I wrote an article about hindsight and how looking backwards can help uncover bigger trends and assist learning, especially when applied to the future. It was a rather simple assessment of a complex prediction in the rise of the renminbi versus the U.S. dollar. To switch gears but remain in the same mindset, I’ll offer a rather complex look at a simple example: the Christmas tree. 

Over 26 million Christmas trees are produced each year in the United States and Canada. This year, 70% of Canada’s 110,000 snowbirds, who typically migrate to Florida, Arizona and California for the winter, are staying put. As people avoid travel, holiday parties, shopping and dining out, all of the holiday energy is being concentrated at home. It’s now more difficult to find a Christmas tree in Canada and many parts of the U.S. than it was to find toilet paper back in March and April.

Sales of Christmas trees are up 25-40% throughout...

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Too Good to Ignore

articles Nov 27, 2020

Apple trotted out the iPhone 12 to adoring fans earlier this month, like a proud farmer showing off his prized bull at the county fair. 

It’s dangerously thin! Gasp!

It has many cameras! Bazzinga!

It runs on 5G! Shazam!

It comes in the most-beautiful color of blue that even God is jealous! 

Wait. What?!

Oh well. For as many things that make me chuckle at an iPhone launch, there is still plenty to pay attention to. I mean, my companies aren’t worth $2 trillion, so even this grumpy old curmudgeon pays attention when Apple sneezes.

I still think it’s hilarious how many tech writers collectively crush on Apple for a new phone color, just like I think it’s hilarious that an entire brand of shirt, Untuckit, can climb to a $600 million valuation based solely on the brand promise that “our shirts can be worn untucked.” Yeah. So can any other shirt. 

But, I digress.

First lesson: Apple...

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On Encouragement

articles Sep 15, 2020

A school bus driver in Massachusetts has his students to thank for encouraging him to become a history teacher. While driving kids to school, Clayton Ward would talk to them about their history lessons. “It inspired me, hearing them say ‘You should be my teacher,'” the 30-year old bus driver said. He had dropped out of college 10 years ago but through the encouragement of the students and his love of history, he enrolled in Community College and graduated with a 4.0 GPA while continuing to drive the bus. He has now enrolled this fall at Framingham State University to finish his bachelor’s in history with a minor in education.

Make no mistake. A small word of encouragement can inspire another person to do great things.

You were likely inspired by a teacher, mentor, community leader or classmate to become what you are today. Have you taken a moment to let those people know you’re thinking of them during this pandemic?

 

Have you leaned into your...

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On Priorities and Profit

articles Jul 31, 2020

The pandemic and economic crisis have forced Disney to adapt very quickly. Without the anticipated summer blockbuster movie releases, the firm has realigned its priorities. The reopening of Disneyland in California has been postponed indefinitely. Hong Kong Disneyland has shut down again and Disney World in Florida is on shaky ground.

The glue that connected blockbuster stories and characters with retail sales, live entertainment on Broadway and theme park attendance has made Disney extremely vulnerable in a pandemic. Even ESPN, the franchise that is supposed to help weather any economic downturn, was essentially stuck in the mud, without any live sports to broadcast until recently. As a result, Disney’s stock has fallen 18% in the last six months.

But, the Walt Disney Company isn’t the only firm experiencing economic shockwaves following the coronavirus and social distancing. Coca-Cola generates nearly half of its revenue from out-of-home consumption at sporting venues,...

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