alcramer [Alfredo Cramerotti]

Other motivations

Posted in Thoughts.Coaching by alcramer on November 18, 2008

That’s another snap at Mark McGuiness’s blog, which you can find here.
Extrinsic factors may have limited value as motivators but you can’t afford to ignore them — because they make excellent demotivators. Below some of these factors, which you – as a creative person – need to bear in mind, and possibly to implement in your profession.

Money: it is a clearly defined way of ‘keeping score’, measuring how highly regarded you are by your employer or your audience. Violinist Nigel Kennedy writes in his autobiography ‘I think if you’re playing music or doing art you can in some way measure the amount of communication you are achieving by how much money it is bringing in for you and for those around you’.

Recognition: the term ‘egoboo’ is used within the open source programming community, referring to the ‘ego boost’ you receive from being publicly credited for good work. So even though there’s no money involved, it’s not strictly true to say that open source programmers work ‘for nothing’. Poetry, or literature, is another creative medium with very little cash on offer, but which operates on a kind of ‘reputation economy’ — the higher your reputation, the more prestigious your publisher will be, the more magazines will want to take your work, the higher up the bill you will be on readings, etc.

Deadlines: as soon as you make a promise to someone else, you have an obligation to fulfil. Sometimes this can be just the push you need to get you through the wall of resistance that would otherwise lead to procrastination. ‘I know exactly what I need to do, but I’m more likely to do it if I’ve promised you do it by a certain date’. To get you going in the first place place, you sometimes need the extrinsic motivation of ‘deadline magic’.

There are probably other external motivations that come into the picture, but I believe the three above are the most essential ones. Also, very often they are those we encouter first, and only along the path other types of motivation may reveal to ourselves. (Such as those intrinsic, described in the previous post.)

What makes a business successful?

Posted in Tools.Coaching by alcramer on May 11, 2008

This is an article by Tracy Pepper you can find on the CIN website here (thanks Patrick for the kindness):

The question I am asked most often as a coach is what makes a business successful. Every business is of course different but for me the essentials are:

• Having a passion for what you do – if you love what you do your enthusiasm will come across when communicating to potential customers that will buy your product or service.

• Create a Vision – picture what your business will be like in 12 months time – create a collage or write down in detail describing the various areas, what you are selling – to whom- how much you are earning, where you are working etc. By creating this rich picture you are rehearsing in your mind your plan.

• Know how to communicate what it is you do/make/provide- when asked – “what is it that you do” don’t say I am an architect say I am an architect that specialises in modernist city centre designs, or I hand-make handbags with unique designs that appeal to most teenage girls.

• Know your customers – know who your product/ service will appeal to and target that market first. Do research if you can to confirm your view – sometimes you are wrong.

• Have a business plan – it is essential that you get what you want to achieve out of your head and down onto paper. Once it’s written down it takes you a step nearer to committing to do it. It also gives you the confidence and clarity of taking steps that move you forward. I will cover this area in more detail in future columns.

• Network and get as much help as you can – being part of networks like CIN give people working on their own and small companies the opportunity to hear from others the challenges and solutions they face. Mostly your challenges are similar to others. Networks are great places to explore funding opportunities and employment issues.

• Have patience and persistence – in business things can move slower than you would like and rarely happen first time of asking. Don’t give up at the first or even second delay.

Finally an old cliché – enjoy what you do – we spend far too much time working to not!

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But are you really serious about it?

Posted in Thoughts.Coaching by alcramer on May 2, 2008

Like the one that follow (and the one before), this is an article by Seth Godin; this time you can find it here. I almost bought his book…but before you rush off, here’s some interesting highlights:

I did a gig in New York today about the Dip and it went really well. Afterward, someone asked me a question about his new business.

I asked back, “if you accomplish that, will you be seen by your audience as the best in the world, or will you be seen as doing your best?”

He didn’t have to answer. He got it.

If you’re doing your best, only your AYSO soccer coach cares. If you’re the best in the world, the market cares. The secret, if you have limited resources (don’t we all) is to make ‘world’ small enough that you can actually accomplish that.

Obviously, this approach is applicable to just about any idea-based product, whether it’s consulting or clothes:

1. Find the core market

2. Obviously the otaku (Seth’s name for the ‘surplus’ in things)

3. make it easy to sample

4. Make it easy to share. And hope it hits the critical mass.

That seems common sense, but it’s common sense that’s not so common. Designing anything for the masses is silly. why? because the masses don’t buy stuff any more. The edges do.

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Failure

Posted in shortEssays/cortiSaggi [English/Italian], Thoughts.Coaching by alcramer on October 29, 2007

Since it makes uncomfortable, failure among our contemporaries has no space. No room for development. No room for address. Failure –in other words– should not exist, according to the present society. Do we feel the same? We shouldn’t, of course. Theoretically each of us allows a margin of failure in life. But maybe not this time, we tell ourselves…

We feel that if we fail here (and now), we could jeopardize our future credibility. For instance, from where I stand it’s impossible to talk about failure in a positive sense, nor develop a notion of failure, without suspicion for whom is reading and/or approaching me.

We set our expectations on a high level, and we don’t even consider the possibility of not achieving them: and this works also for the expectation in the others. If I say to you than this space about coaching creative people could be a failure in pursuing its goal, you get immediately on-guard.

Hence, what is important in any activity, professional or personal, for duty or leisure, for ourselves and the others, is to attempt to dispense with the error-phobia that envelop us in a perennial mist. Not only we are scared of failing, in physical and mental terms, sometimes we even set up mechanisms of self-censorship. We don’t even allow ourselves to think we could fail, and things could go wrong. What does exactly mean things could go wrong?

When we expect something from someone else or some situation, we want to enjoy the most of it. We get ideas; we plan them, put to work and enjoy the results. Still, the possibility to fail is not harming anything. Failure is a precious space where we can stretch our boundaries and experiment with another dimension of living. In this sense, failure is a vital component of our experience of life.

I bet most of you feel now the urge to ask why should we fail? It’s not that we should fail in order to live better. We should simply allow ourselves the space, the mental dimension, of failure. We live in a win-win society, where one cannot afford to step into something wrong. For instance, we cannot bear the thought to lose our time following someone or something, which in the end disappears and leave us alone. This can happen in love as well as business.

In our deeds we invest feelings, time, money, and precisely because it’s an ‘investment’ we expect something back. A return, some results. We cannot conceive an action freed from expected effects, freed from the obligation to avoid errors. It hurts us to see and to think about our failure. We can bear only someone else’s failure. And we don’t want to be that someone else.

There’s a school of thought arguing that there’s no right to fail, but a duty to experiment. Fine. Does it mean that an experiment cannot fail? Why do we take away the word ‘fail’? We fail in studies, jobs, loves. We fail permanently, as well as succeeding. In writing these lines, I’m probably failing to communicate exactly my thoughts to you, completely or to some extent.

I fail a lot, as well as not. And I fail sometimes because I’m overly generating, and couldn’t fit everything in place and in time. Other times because I wasn’t able to carry out a commitment, or didn’t feel like, and my project, or task, collapsed on itself for obvious lack of will, time and resources. Other times again, I fail because I initiated something already doubtful, and it went worse and worse.

And in some occasions I managed to successfully complete something totally different from what I started. Is that a failure?

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