Talent Not Factored

Last night I watched an episode of the X Factor. If there is something wrong in the culture it was on full display across America’s television screens.

I rarely watch any of these shows however I will say that I have the highest regard for Simon Cowell. In the world of entertainment he has proved his genius. It’s the contestants I find most disturbing.

Last night a very young girl was voted off. What happened next was jaw dropping for me. When it was announced she was voted off she immediately broke into tears, then fell to the ground whaling! At this point people from both the show and her mother hit the stage like they were assaulting the beaches at Normandy. The cameras kept rolling to capture the most telling moment of this outrageous display. The young contestant looked at her mother and yelled “You promised!…YOU PROMISED!” I guess this poor child is emblematic of the everyone gets a trophy crowd. What a pathetic display of spoiled is all I could think to myself. Then it turned even more foolish. One of the judges had broken down into tears and appeared so distraught that she seemingly couldn’t control her emotions. I kept thinking “You have got to be kidding me!”  It was all just absolutely pathetic in my opinion. No wonder some think the country’s in trouble. A talent show contestant doesn’t win the finals or get to move on and it turns into the equivalent of the Hindenburg crashing? All that was needed to finish this fiasco was to hear “Oh the humanity!”

It’s not often I guess that you can see a talent show morph into a game show and end by turning into a tragic comedy but for me one thing it’s not is entertainment.

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved

A Juxtaposition You Just Can’t Make Up

Yesterday the headlines were a blaze with two stories that should give anyone either a headache or reason to run for the Prozac®.

Donald Trump a self-made billionaire is being regarded with scorn for proposing that he would like to host a presidential debate. Say what you want about your feelings on Mr. Trump but somethings are incontrovertible. He’s self-made, did it in the USA, been to the brink and recovered to go on to even greater accomplishments. He also has run and in most circles is regarded as a serious candidate for President. Although I may or may not want to watch such a debate, I see there is no reason for it to be looked upon as “a joke.” Is it really any different that the actual President doing the “Late Night” circuit?

At the same time we have the actual President of the United States of America giving a speech in which the over whelming theme is how you can no longer make it in America. That somehow all the dreams of yesterday are gone and the best we can do is get by. This is coming from the first Afro-American who broke through a stereotype that most in the world conceded to the rubric that it wasn’t plausible for at least another decade if not ever. A man who came from a broken family, self-described as coming from humble beginnings, then worked his way through the blood sport of all blood sports to capture what many of us would deem the greatest of brass rings. All this to give a speech to declare that more or less the best days are behind us. All I can say is…

This will make one interesting chapter in the history books!

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved

Under a Different Type of Mistletoe

Most days start out uneventful. We get up, go through our morning rituals and then get about getting on with the rest of the day. Sometimes when the holidays come about we take notice of little things that we may or may not pay attention to in our hustle and bustle. The other morning had all the trappings of that statement for me.

As my wife was getting ready to leave I gave her a kiss goodbye. Then for some reason she looked up where she noticed a spider descending from the garage ceiling that was about a foot and a half above my head. It was a decent sized spider displaying the usual legs sprawled wide as she was descending on her silk. For us spiders are not something to be feared and when we can we don’t automatically hit them with a shoe. Personally if I have the opportunity I’ll just scoop one up on a card or something else and toss it off the back deck. I’ve always felt there’s no reason to kill it just because I can and so I went about on my version of catch and release when something caught my eye.

I noticed as I was trying to coach her onto a platter that her silk wouldn’t stretch and break like most others. Then as she was dangling and spinning I noticed what I thought to be something red. That’s when my alarm bells went off. Now with taking a little bit more caution I captured her and my assumptions were correct. She’s a Black Widow and here’s a picture of “Her Highness” on my desk.

A different type of Mistletoe.

In some respects I wish I could have thrown her off the back deck like I so often do but that’s just not an option. I gave her to the proper people so they can verify and deal with her according to their protocols. There’s only been one other instance at my residence where one has been found over the years, so that made me feel better in that it’s more of a one-off than anything else. She could have come from anywhere. She could have been in a package I’ve received, in my neighbors packages, fallen out of the delivery truck as something was being delivered, or a myriad of others. Either way, I’m sure she didn’t want to be in my garage as much as I didn’t like finding her there either. But the one thing that is for sure…

“Under the mistletoe” has a different connotation in my house these days.

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr. All Rights Reserved

Some Points To Ponder (Part 2)

Back in February the thought of a protest resembling anything like that happening overseas was inconceivable for many. At the time I was a lone voice on the subject and I wrote if you were in business or you were an entrepreneurial employee, that your company or firm should look into how one would handle such a disruption to business or customers. You can read the original article here.

At the time people expressed to me that the events were (or seemed) too far removed for them to even consider. Then more disruption came about in a host of different countries. I felt so strongly on the subject I ran the article again when the first signs of Occupy Wall Street at Zuccotti Park materialized. Again people expressed they either didn’t want to hear it or they felt it wouldn’t apply to them. Then the movement ramped up shutting down businesses, smashing, looting or making it so customers would not or could not patronize them in the very epicenters I warned about. Businesses in New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, Miami, Atalanta, Lexington, Philadelphia, and many more throughout the country all of a sudden found themselves as I warned in the article trying to cross a bridge that might no longer be there.

Whether you’re a business or you’re just doing business with someone located in what is often referred to as ” A prime downtown location.” I would read or even re-read my article once again. Even I was taken back on how prescient my timing was on this subject. But then again, that’s what I get paid for.

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved

Some Points to Ponder…

Now that we’re officially into the holiday season, I thought I’d throw out a few points to ponder for reflection. With changes and other projects coming up for the site along with many being in “holiday mode” here are some follow-ups on thoughts that I have expressed over the year.

Back in May of this year I wrote some of my views on the current “Social Media” fanfare. The media were a buzz with excitement. You can read my thoughts here.

It all was to kick off with LinkedIn®. I at one time had a public profile on this site because others said I needed to, or that I was missing out on valuable contacts. Although I was bombarded with linking requests and would get reports that I was linked to the equivalent of the population of Earth and the estimated habitats of the cosmos I never found any value in it personally. Then when Mr. Hoffman decided to express just how utterly foolish people like myself are about privacy concerns with his statement of “Privacy concerns are for old people.” well I just cancelled and cleared anything I had to do with LinkedIn. By the looks of it, I’m not the only one who has concerns.

All I heard was “This time it’s different!” Well, all I can say now is, “You be the judge.”

Then Came Pandora.. The FREE Internet Radio phenom:

Then of course came Groupon who told Google $6 Billion Dollars won’t buy a coupon here:

But have no fear is what I’m hearing said by the same “smart crowd.”
Facebook® is going to save everything!

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved

Super Hero Costumes Won’t Clothe Naked Emperors

Today it will be announced that the “Super Committee” that was brought together as a panacea for the woes of the U.S. budgetary debacle will end with no resolutions and with enough finger-pointing to make a Kinder Gardener blush. So I ask honestly. Did you think it would end differently? I mean really, did you? Now before you think this is some political piece let me assure you it’s not so hold those emails. This same silliness happens across the business landscape more often than anyone dares say. But if you listen closely, it’s whispered everywhere. “They’ve hired a consultant.”

It doesn’t matter in business, politics, or any other venture. The moment the person at the helm seems incapacitated or incapable of resolving major issues in strategy or survival the knee jerk response is to bring in someone else while possibly deflecting criticism for their own ineptitude. Hiring advisers or consultants can be a prudent business measure at times. There are also some great minds that work in the profession and some are worth far more than they charge, but there is also a flip side. There are those that add no value or serve no other purpose than to give credence to the illusion that the problems are so complex that not even so-called “experts” can reach a solution. The latter is usually hired by some H.R. department because they were lulled into some methodology or worse, they went with the cheapest that had just enough monikers, tag lines, or alphabet soup after the name to cover both theirs and the bosses backsides should it not work out. And I can assure you, it never does.

Managing in times of crisis is not for the faint of heart. It takes dogged determination, a fair amount of self-confidence, an ability to articulate you might not know the answers but are determined to find them, and to act. You also need to have a willingness to scuttle anything that doesn’t move the entity away from distress regardless of whose budget or ego it wounds. These insights are from personal experience. I’ve been there and have been successful, but with that success there were prices to be paid. I lost friendships, was scorned as tough decisions were implemented. Made alliances with people and firms that previously I wouldn’t accept a phone call from and vice versa. But when you’re at the helm, that’s what is not only expected, it’s demanded. Leaders lead. They may need help at times, but they don’t relinquish their leadership, they subjugate it. And people follow leaders. They don’t fall into line to fight the great battle behind the auspices of some committee regardless of the super powers it claims to hold.

So in the spirit of Bob Dylan:

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

And a Super Hero doesn’t kick a can. They kick ass!

Mark

© 2011 Mark St. Cyr   All Rights Reserved

Breaking Through an Entrepreneurs Crisis: “No Time to Sell”

In today’s world of ever-changing economic conditions one thing remains constant, “If you’re in business, you need to sell, period!”

Of course this comes as no shock to anyone. However the excuse of having no time as the owner, founder, chief cook, and bottle washer is irrelevant. If you can’t find time then your only alternative is to now “create” time. This can be done, but by all means forget about reading books on “Time Management.” I can’t think of a larger waste of your resource as a business owner. The frustration for owners or entrepreneurs is they only see the act of “selling” through the traditional salesperson model. If you’re currently bogged down in everyday tasks because you’ve either lightened up on staff, or your business has increased and you’re currently filling voids yourself, you will not only find excuses for not adding anything that resembles an additional task, but the sheer thought of going out and “selling” will be avoided. Trouble happens when the delay of resolving this dilemma gets amplified into a crisis. The more you find ways to allow yourself the alibi of “having no time” (and you know you will) the faster it will take you into crisis. There is another way. Change from Selling to Informing. Become a “Thought Leader” in your business community.

Many have read books or learned much through trial and error. What you may not remember is just like your views and actions changed from employee to owner, you now need to change your tactics on how you sell as compared to someone you would hire. As an owner it’s a daunting task to conceive let alone try going door too door pushing your wares. But as a “Thought Leader” you can reach perspective clients in your respected area of business by offering insights on your business that can or may impact other business people. You could talk with or give a speech at civic events or local chamber meetings, etc. This can multiply your efforts and in turn help in allotting for that most precious of resources, time.

Here’s an example:

You own a small breakfast hot spot. You need to get the word out you’ve changed the menu or added new items. All your current customers already know what you’re doing because you sell them on any changes with your on site interactions. But now it’s about people who don’t know right? So, do you hire a salesperson to hit the streets and tell more? Spend precious resources in failed advertising campaigns? Go knock door to door yourself after you washed the dishes? Of course not, however what you can do is talk to other like-minded individuals as yourself about aspects of your business that is comparable with either troubles or triumphs they too might be experiencing. Speaking at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting about the way gas prices have put pressure on your food suppliers, and the ways you have met these challenges goes a lot further to provide your business with exposure to possible new patrons than “Hello I’m John from John’s Diner. Let me tell you about this weeks menu special.” I also contend this carries far more credibility than if you decided to donate free pastries to the very same event.

John Smith the owner of John’s Diner speaking to other like-minded business people about issues they can relate to is far more effective than trying to sell or tell them this weeks menu. The understated selling feature and time multiplier this exchange offers is you needn’t tell me you even serve food. That fact has already been sold as soon as you are introduced as John from John’s Diner. If they hadn’t heard of your establishment before, they have now. As you can see in this example you’re not trying to sell me John’s Diner but you are selling. This method greatly multiplies your return on that most precious investment called time.

Now whether or not the food is any good is another matter. But you can always hire another cook. What you can’t hire is another salesman like you.
© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved

F.T.W.S.I.J.D.G.I.G.T.

(For those who say I just don’t get it… Get this!)

So let me see…

Two years ago I say the Euro Zone will fall apart. Everyone says I have no idea what I’m talking about. Everyone points to the record high Euro Dollar as their touch stone.

Then shock waves reverberate from Greece, Portugal, Italy, and now Spain. Oh and by the way this headline from the Financial Post…

” Merkel’s Party Votes to Allow Countries to Leave Euro Zone “

Call me crazy, but isn’t that something everyone said I was crazy to think?

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved

Some Insight and Rational for Coming Changes here at MSC

On 11/11/11 I wrote a short post stating I was “ticked off” and a few other things. I also declared that I was going to do something about it. Today I’ll give you some reasoning and background for the post.

Over the years whether it be in a speech, writings, and such, I have been more often than not correct at the time, or later proven right as details unfold into plain sight for everyone else. The problem is when I’m trying to articulate an idea, concept, or strategy that doesn’t fit in with someones views or understandings the discussion no longer transpires in earnest. They’ll just take on the muse of “Yeah, right!” At one time this would infuriated me but now its only an annoyance. It changed years back when I was confronted by one of these very same people but their muse had changed to: “Holy S***! You were right!”  I just smiled.

I understand for many whom just started reading here don’t know all that much about me or what I’m referring to so I’ll try to provide a thumbnail sketch. Some people talk or use references they themselves have never experienced or done. However that doesn’t stop them from declaring through some sort of osmosis and alchemy that they are “Experts.” This description can be laid upon 99.9% of the so-called “Self Improvement” crowd. More pointedly is the finger directed at the “Motivational Speaker” genre. Some of you might be saying, “But aren’t you in that business?” The answer is both yes and no. The first part, the yes, is in response to that’s what people like myself are labeled. The second part, the no, is in response to I am not a “rah-rah, jump up and down and find the secret” stylized speaker. These are the snake oil salespeople of the business and I contend they’re doing more harm than good. All they care about is getting people to buy into the concept of: “All you have to do is wish upon a star!” followed by: “And to help you wish better buy my special Wish Upon a Star Motivation Program for just 365 easy payments of blah, blah, blah.” I’m sick of it!

This moment of disgust coincided at the same time I was watching another lame interview by one of these so-called “wicked smart” financial talking heads blather on about absolutely nothing. All he did was pose streams of rationals that covered every base in baseball, cricket, and any other sport analogy that has bases. The only umpire I felt was me because after every other sentence I was screaming to myself “Strike!” I was wishing I had the power to say on camera ” Strike three. You’re outta here!” But then the game changed.

As the interview went on the subject of the occupiers came up. (aka Occupy Wall St.) Once again words, meanings, definitions, feelings, and reasoning were fileted with such precision it would make a Ginsu® knife blush. Then I received an email from my wife. It stated that the building in which she worked where the occupiers in my home town were in front of was under a bomb threat. At first it was taken not to be that credible, a few hours later she called me from outside letting me know that they actually had just been evacuated. She has nothing to do with anything they are protesting, nor does she work for a bank. Just a case of her employer happens to lease office space in a building the occupiers don’t like. She was not fazed by the ordeal at all. I swear she has more guts in her little finger than most men of today. She won’t bow to threats. God I’m lucky she married me. But now my feelings on the occupy movement along with a few other things have changed.

I believe much of today’s consternation is from a lack of fundamentals in both personal, and business success. It has become so bastardized, and adulterated that even well-intentioned people have absolutely no clue or understanding of their own rehearsed diatribes. They’ll recite some personal mantra or some other popularly held viewpoint or philosophy with no true understanding of what they’re actually stating. Somethings has to change and I’m not waiting for anyone else to do it. I’m going to do it myself.

MarkStCyr.com will be changing in both style and delivery. I have had a few projects in the works but I have decided to scrap all including the release of my upcoming book. All speeches, writings, recordings, and other projects have been either halted or postponed for review and or rework. I will use the holiday season for retooling rather than just letting it pass into another photo album of holidays past. Inspired by my wife’s unshakeable dignity I decided I myself will take on the challenge of restoring sanity to the self-improvement and motivational genre. I plan on coming at this from a “no holds barred” mind-set. So trust me when I say “Things are about to change!” because they are.

I will still be posting articles over the holidays, this is just a note that the site will resemble holiday mode as of today.

Thanks to all, and buckle up. This is going to be one heck of another ride!

Mark

© 2011 Mark St.Cyr   All Rights Reserved