And The Winner Is!

Week a go I placed a vote at Twitter if I should keep writing my blog in English or should I switch to Finnish?

The results are now close to ready, and based on the poll (69% of votes for Finnish) I will change the language.

Of course the poll was somewhat biased as most of my Twitter followers are Finn’s, but that being said, Twitter is also the source where most of the people come from.

So starting after this post the primary language of EBL will be Finnish. I keep it also possible, that if I am able to monetize my content I will future buy translations from services like Gengo or One Hour Translation. Both have proven to offer excellent quality at least in ENG-FIN -language pair.

I want to thank all of my international readers and wish you all the best in your pursuits of becoming an Ever Better Leader!

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Book review: Spent: Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior

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At the end of a day “Spent. Sex, Evolution, and Consumer Behavior” is a great book by evolution psychologist Geoffrey Miller.

In my opinion it can be divided in three sections, which should be reviewed each individually to get a good idea of content offered.

For the overall score for an ever better leader I will give Spent. 90/100 – but please read further to get a good understanding why so.

  1. Part I is about consumer behavior from evolutionary perspective: Why we behave the way we do.

    This was super interesting stuff – and despite of the warnings Miller says “you most likely feel daunted by these ideas” I was not shocked. Actually many of my assumptions were proven true.

    "All human brains have a deep and abiding interest in two big sets of evolutionary goals: displaying fitness indicators that were associated with higher social and sexual status in prehistory, and chasing fitness cues that were associated with better survival, social, sexual and parental prospects in prehistory."

    Most of our actions and motives boil down to the status race – how to make myself more attractive in my tribe and how that will position me in the market. Miller clearly explains and demonstrates how we transfer brand values to ourselves in order to be more desirable.

    "(Marketing) is, ideally, a systematic attempt to fulfill human desires producing goods and services that people will buy."

    Good stuff and I would recommend this for everyone to read – it helps you to understand why you want the things you want: Why and how marketers amplify those urges and from professional point of view: how you can boost you personal / organizational / product / service / brand.

    The same traits that show off one's physical and mental health to parents and kin also attract friends and mates.

    For the first part I will give the score of 90/100.

    In my opinion this is really valuable information for everyone.

  2. Part II is about the Central Six – which is more commonly known as the Big Five.

    The Central Six is a system to evaluate people’s behavior, much like Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or like. For the Big Five Miller has added one important element: General intelligence. To measure or to talk about intelligence is somewhat taboo in general among the people – that is pretty weird, since it is the strongest of indicators of success in life. Higher intelligence predicts higher average success in every domain of life: school, work, money, mating, parenting, physical health, and mental health.

    The other five elements are:

    1. Openness to experience: (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious). Curiosity, novelty seeking, broad-mindedness, interest in culture and art, ideas and aesthetics. Openness correlates positively (but modestly) with intelligence. (Meaning that people with high openness rating are often smart.)
    2. Conscientiousness: (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless). Self -control, willpower, reliability, trustworthiness, a tendency to be organized and dependable, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior. Along with intelligence this is one the two traits most desired by employers.
    3. Agreeableness: (friendly/compassionate vs. challenging/detached). Warmth, kindness, empathy, trust, a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious towards others. It is also a measure of one’s trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well-tempered or not. Agreeable people often make good spouses and co-workers.
    4. Extraversion: (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved). Energy, positive emotions, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others, and talkativeness.
    5. Stability (neuroticism in the Big Five): (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident). The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability. Stability also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control. In fact, in the developed world, emotional stability predicts overall life satisfaction more strongly than does income or any other Central Six traits.

      For the second part I will give the score of 80/100.

      The Central Six is cool tool to categorize people and this section holds some nice information, but I am a quite reluctant to trust these kinds of tests – time will most likely prove them to be insufficient to comprehend the complexity of human psychology.
  3. Part III of the book is about Miller’s ideas how to make the world a better place with the understanding of evolution psychology.

    To be honest; this part was like a way-too-long blog posting. The ideas are quite far from being realistic (like tattooing the Central Six score to forehead) and I must admit that I did not read this section with too much of diligence. I sure do understand that Geoffrey had had a great time writing this section, but I got the feeling that these final 100 pages or so could have been drop out or made to be online follow up material. According to the peak end -rule I have earlier written about, this 3rd part made the overall experience feel weaker than the book would deserve.

    For the third part I will give the score of 50/100. 

For the end I would like to add that I know that the average score is not 90, but 73/100. The score 90/100 is however justified because I think that even if you would only read the first part you would have got good bang for the buck. 🙂

Pros and Cons

+ Helps to understand why we behave the way we do
+ Allows marketers, leaders and advisors to focus on things that make real impact
– Mostly disregards environmental factors to consumer behavior
– The last 100 pages were not good.

The patient reader bonus

For those who had the patience and tenacity to read this far I will share a link I found while doing research about the Big Five. Please remember that these kinds of tests are mostly for fun and not to be taken too seriously. 🙂

https://www.truity.com/view/tests/big-five-personality

My personal OCEAN score was like the image shows below, how was yours?

The time spent to write this blog posting was around 3 hours.
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Poll: EBL in English or in Finnish?

I founded my blog to write about ever better leadership and although the release rate has been slower for the past few months, there has been some traffic all the time.

But the one thing that I have been thinking – based on the traffic – has been if I should switch to my Finnish? Finnish is my native language and even though I feel very comfortable using English, there is no doubt that I am more capable of writing a lot better in Finnish.

The other pros and cons are that the leadership topic is quite saturated in English speaking areas, but in Finland there is more room to grow. On the contrary Finland is very small country in terms of population, only about the size of Atlanta, Sydney or Barcelona. That means that there are not that many people who would be interested in reading my passion about leadership, communication, empowerment, storytelling and marketing.

That is the reason why I will host a poll in Twitter where you can vote for the language you would prefer EBL be written in. Here is the link, please cast your vote now:

Thank you and see you soon, I will post the results and my decission in a week or two! 🙂

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How To Get Big Rewards?

Most sane people are afraid of problems and tend to avoid them. From evolutionary perspective that is something that helped us to survive. I don’t go further into examples or explaining the reasons why, I’m sure you can do the math by yourself as you have come to read this blog.

But what people don’t often realize is that where there is a problem – there is money waiting to be made.

The bigger problem solved – The bigger reward obtained

In short: if your job is to solve small problems you likely get paid little:

Cashier vs. CEO
Nurse vs. brain surgeon
“I only work here” vs. “I will do what it takes to make this company profitable”

If you manage to solve complex and big problems with good track record, you most likely are rewarded well. It is not a coincidence that intelligence (which often equals to the ability to solve problems) correlates with a good income and financial well being.

Easy to replace = lousy rewards

I urge you to make a status check: would you love to solve bigger problems and get a better reward? Are you willing to rise above mundane? Do you have the brainpower to go to markets where majority of people are afraid to enter and prosper: like sales, marketing, strategic planning, leadership?

If you come up with “yes” – that is your first problem to solve!

  • What kinds of problems you want to solve,
  • who has these problems,
  • and how to connect and convince these people that you are the right person to do that?

There is always a “but”

Inspiration and determination will take you far, but it is not all it takes. Nor is the general intelligence alone a guarantee to prevail. In order to be exceptional you also need tools, experiences, and networks:

  • The tools you can study from blogs like EBL, professional books, courses, schools, mentors and educational videos for example.
  • The experiences and merits you gain only by trying hard, and by trial and error – just go and do stuff you feel passionate about. Passion, mission and vision give you extra strength. Money alone is almost never the best motivator, although it sure makes life easier and more enjoyable.
  • Networks help you reach the people and opportunities that are in need of a problem solver. Get out of your comfort zone and meet people: both online and offline. Face your fear of rejection and never surrender to it. First it hurts like hell, but with time you get used to it.

Think about it: Are you using all of your potential or would you like to win more? If winning is your choice, do what it takes to be Ever Better!

Lets recap and go a bit deeper – in order to solve big problems and get big rewards you must find out:

  1. Who you wanna be
  2. What kinds of problems you want to solve and how you plan to do it
  3. Who has these problems
  4. and how to connect and convince these people that you are the right person to do that?

Step 1. is your vision and mission
Step 2. is your strategy
Step 3. is your target audience
Step 4. is your marketing and sales tactic

You have just created your personal business plan, so now go and execute!

Head there; where problems cause despair!

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Inspirational Image: Get Massive Results!

I recently started Grant Cardone’s great book “The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure“. The book is very testosterone filled motivational self-empowerment sales book that is not meant for those who do not aim to dominate the market they operate at.

After listening 80% of it I have encountered several empowering quotes like:

“Massive results require massive actions.”

“Duplicate the actions and mindsets of successful people and you will be successful!”

Or

At this point (80% completed) I dare to recommend “The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure” for those who fear not to play hard and to set the bar high. But if you feel that being an average is enough for you, I think it is better to focus on reading something else. Do that what makes you happy!

Grant Cardone is rated one of the top most influential 10 CEOs in the world , author of 5 business books, international keynote speaker, and and an active CEO of five privately held companies that do 100m in sales.

 

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Why to deliver only the MVP?

When a business is profitable, it is much easier to make an attractive* workplace as well as to keep people happy and motivated**. That is the reason I got the inspiration to write about the importance of supplying the Minimum Viable Product I.e. MVP. MVP is usually used in the context of product development, but I think it can easily be adopted to any industry. I am aware of the fact that this might sound weird for some readers, but keep your mind open for the idea and read on.

Why to deliver only the MVP?

Smart businesses should always be based on delivering the minimum viable product (MVP). Even when dealing with premium brands and services.

Simply because:

  • MVP saves time
  • Time is money
  • Saved money can be used to make people happy and to develop businesses.

But delivering the MVP is a lot harder than it sounds, as in some cases the beauty is in the details – and quite often it can be hard to know if something is good enough. To find out what is the MVP it usually requires surveys, tests launches, experiences and valuable failures.

Embrace failures – they are super valuable. Be grateful that You don’t need to do those mistakes again!

WHEN THE BUSINESS IS PASSION

When leading passionate people doing just the MVP can be tricky, as the passion tends not to respect the laws of smart businesses. I.e. In passion businesses the human resource and development aspect can often even make a product and service better than consumers would require. This extra amount of work should be taken in consideration when setting the price for a service or product. Luckily premium brands tend to sell better when the price rises – to a degree.

Selling the excellence too cheap can cut down the revenues fast.

This also applies when saying “our organization wants to exceed the customer expectations.” Exceeding expectations is smart only if it can be turned into revenues. Usually that can be do by keeping the customer happy (stability and capability to foresee future invoicing) and/or generating brand value which will allow bigger invoicing.

I will later get more into the detail why increasing brand value should be something that every individual and organization should want. The following image explains the basics of it in advance:

BUT WHAT IF THE PRODUCT IS just too BAD

Sometimes the problem can be the opposite: organizations fail to achieve MVP and fail. That usually means that the product is not on the level that market requires or the service is just bad. These kinds of problems are possible to fix, but usually require shitloads of more money, time and patience. And if the money runs up, then the time is out and there is not much to do. That is why it might be safe to put in some extra effort when in doubt or to try to launch with a price with more headroom. The price is always much easier to drop than rise.

TO SUMMARIZE
  1. It can be hard to find out the exact MVP, but if found, it is the best way to run business from revenue point of view.
  2. Exceeding expectations is not a bad idea, but it must be done beneficially. There are no free lunches.
  3. Sometimes it can be better to play safe and do a bit extra, than fail in the launch. If you run a start-up for example, you might have only one chance.

What do you think about this? Makes sense? Or not? Please comment here or in social media. I know this might not be the easiest post to agree with. 🙂

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The secret how to make cool things happen!

John C. Maxwell tweeted today:

"The difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views a mistake."

 

 

 

 

 

 

And what quote would be a better way to start a blog post after long silence! 😀

Indeed; I have been forced to re-evaluate my blogging frequency strategy of 1 posting per week. That is mostly due to the fact that a month ago I started as an account director in a very cool and creative marketing agency called Sherpa. I recommend to check our site – the portfolio is pretty nice indeed. 🙂 But to get to the actual point…

The secret how to make cool things happen!

Sometimes people wonder that how can I know so much about “everything”. Well the truth is that I have been blessed with a quite good memory, ability to learn things pretty fast, and I tend to keep my mouth shut if I don’t have references…  But my memory is only one side of the coin, as the main source of my information is the fact that I read and listen A LOT of books and articles.

But I don’t read or listen just any kinds of books: I focus on those that contain knowledge. It means that I don’t read that much of fiction because I value information over drama. As we all have limited amount of time, I rather try use my time on learning something new than “wasting” my precious moments to something that is not useful. As I have written earlier:

“I focus on things that improve and enhance my mind, body and spirit. I choose to be ever better!”

See, the one thing that blows my mind is that there is next to infinite amount of knowledge in the world waiting to be found. And after understanding this secret few years ago I must admit that my world has never been the same. There is this causality which I strongly courage you to try: The more you read, the more cool things happen! The benefits you can experience pretty fast are for example:

  • You get tools to help people better (it really makes a difference to know the right words, concepts, processes and theories – like why try to invent the wheel again?)
  • You are able to discuss about topics more of an importance than before
  • Your make a positive impact on people. Our specie values greatly intelligence as from the evolutionary point of view it has been the winning hand to be smart as it has increased chances of survival. Just don’t be too eager to show off your knowledge, that people dislike – especially if it makes them feel dim witted.

BEST OF

Not every book is equal. Some are great and some are utter crap. I’ve read both. Usually the first 30-100 pages reveal if the book is worth reading through or not. And if it turns out that the book is not excellent, I recommend to ditch it and seek something better. Time is the only thing you cannot have back. Learn to appreciate it. There are more excellent books available than you have time!

So to give you the jump-start for the excellent books that can do wonders, I recommend to start from the following three great books. And to help you get these great books I’ve already sorted these out for you. Just click the book cover and it will take you to the Amazon.com where you can get your copy of the book. The great thing is also that if you buy the book from the link, you are supporting this blog by granting me a percentage through the Amazon affiliate program! 🙂

  1. “5 levels of leadership” by John Maxwell – the best leadership book I have read so far. Solid gold. When I will be in a position to hire leaders, I will make sure that they have read this book or then they will get the copy of it first hand they arrive and are required to study it as soon as possible.

  2. “The One Thing” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. In an ideal world this would be the only book you would need to read about leading yourself. But unfortunately following this book would require some sort of black belt of self discipline – the way and wisdom presented here are not easy to implement in the daily life.

  3. “Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. This is something completely different and might be quite hard to consume for those who are not familiar with mindfulness, meditation, and spiritual ideas that originate to the old east. But… For me this book did the impossible: it somehow helped me to understand that I am not my thoughts, but rather I am the one who observes my thoughts. That was a tremendous relief at the time and started a whole new chapter of deeper self-realization in my life that still continues.

I hope you find these recommendations helpful and if you ever wish to discuss about these, please do comment in below!

For the end I want to share something extra valuable that can ascend you to the 3rd level – the level where information gathered from the books really starts to manifest into miracles:

“Learning to write is learning to think. You don’t know anything clearly unless you can state it in writing.” S. I. Hayakawa

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Inspirational Image: The Best HRD quote ever!

Simply the best HRD quote I have bumped into.

And as we all know, rewarding doesn’t just mean financial compensation. Although it is an important part of motivation.

The following image sums up all the basics there are to remember in making a great place to work:

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Change is inevitable – Growth is optional

The title is a quote from Mr. John C. Maxwell and holds wisdom so great that it is next to impossible to say anything even remotely as wise as that.

But instead of trying to outsmart it, I rather try to explain my view about why changing is often so hard. In short: the main reason boils down to one of our prime drivers in life – the need to save energy.

The change that consumes more energy than the cozy status quo is always more or less painful. Only when there is some level of certainty that the change will pay off (as fast as possible), people are willing to invest time and energy to the process of change. But if the payoff is too far in the future, too abstract, vague, or just requires too much energy, it is quite likely that nothing will happen. This is the reason why it is crucial for the leader/doctor/parent/spouse/friend/… to explain the personal benefits of the change as concrete as possible. In case the journey to the better will be long and hard, it is wise to break down the process to smaller steps which are explained and done one by one.

But how to do the change?

I have written an article earlier this year about doing the change. You can find it here: http://jukkaniittymaa.com/2017/03/01/credit-how-to-make-the-change/

And for those who have already read the article, here is the “C.R.E.D.I.T.” process in short:

 

To utilize C.R.E.D.I.T. make sure you use roadmaps. To make your own roadmap please check my earlier post at http://jukkaniittymaa.com/2017/03/12/how-to-build-a-roadmap-for-success/

Short list advice’s:

  1. Plan your message is advance before announcing it publicly.
  2. Also if possible, rehearse it few times – at least if the stakes are high and you really need to make the change happen.
  3. If communicating the message via email or some other written format, try to get someone trustworthy to read and comment it.
  4. Is there a possibility that people don’t get the benefits, or the reasons to change?
  5. Am I being concrete enough, and sure that all know why the change is needed, how it is done and what is expected during and after the process.

My Personal Change On April 2017

For me the change has been quite easy through my life. Speaking of which, I am now at the brink of change. After working for over 2.5 years in the current company I’ve signed a new contract and will be soon starting as an account director in a very cool and creative marketing agency. This will be a new chapter in my career and I am super excited about it. I hope to be able to help new colleagues and clients to thrive even better. Often change is the thing that can boost personal growth, and that is something I am looking forward very much with this step. Wish me luck!

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