The more money you make, the more you cannot consume it [Telephone Blog]

There is a strict correlation between your income and stress you put on how you spend your time. It is only natural for we count our free time as "not-productive" and/or we tend to calculate our time into money. 

New economy and old Hygge

Since our work-hour is soo precious in quantifiable terms of money we do have problems with "spending time" on leisure which value is not that easy to measure. On top of that, the list of options that we can invest in is nearly countless. 

These are circumstances that our rather primitive biological machinery can't that easily adapt to.  

There is a dannish tradition called hygge that could be one of the components we need to thrive and not to loose ourselves in this new economy. 

The easiest translation of hygge is "to cozy up". It is the time and build up atmosphere of an evening that you meet with friends and cozy up in furry blankets, fire up candles and drink rich and full wine or beer. 

Hygge everyday keeps anxiety away

As studies show, apart from genes, our actions are what determines our outlook on life. It is then vital to act on hyggeish attitude of building up that culture around us. In the cycle of evergrowing pace we live in we also need to break our belief that leisure time is somehow less valuable, and only being busy enrich us. For the fact is that our best intuitive work is done by brain when we tend to think that it's not working at all.

Przemek Kucia

[Published from phone while sipping frozen coffee] 

Transition from nimble to corporation

We know exactly how and why companies lose their edge and competitive advantage of being able decide and implement fast, to adapt, to innovate and… Be reasonable.

The hard approach to new requirements

Your company has its niche. It’s gaining market share and suddenly core, entrepreneurial-stage employees cannot be involved in day to day business. You need to be in control over your company at scale. So that’s why we have hard approach in management – you build a skeleton of policies and regulations to ensure that your way and vision will prevail at scale.

Long story short:

Wild requirement appears -> You then create appropriate procedure -> You add next element to existing matrix of processes -> With that you place an incentive either by adding percentage of employees income as premium -> The real impact of that incentive on decision making process equals, through simple linear regression model about 0 -> Frustration and miscommunication grows on both sides of the office (in fact now you have internal politics) -> New wild req. appears…

How is that we forget all we know?

We know, by scientific research, two things on requirements and incentivizing.

1.       Financial incentives work only in certain mechanical tasks where procedure is very clear. When we face problem that demands cognitive effort, a bit of creativity or where procedure isn’t exactly clear (and/or can change overtime) the same incentive prevent better outcomes.

2.       The first time you successfully change intrinsic, personal motivation with any kind of extrinsic (financial) motivation, you can’t go back. The moment you’ve exchanged personal motivation to create better results with financial rewards dependent on those results you’ve ruined this employee pleasure.

Those are well known facts, proven extensively, and yet when we design our companies we say “fuck all” and do the same thing from 19th century and industrial revolution. No wonder we have burnout rates skyrocketing, disengagement at work and extensive slacking practices. And then no wonder games are so popular, and from work we go home and “work hard on defeating unnecessary obstacles”.

Przemek Kucia   

P.S. Google: Candle Problem

How the context can give you an upper hand in every negotiations or debate?

For the sake of every given discussion, introduced and established context is rarely (if ever at all) doubted. In other words, if you introduce that, for the time of debate, cows are purple, then that is the reality. The more your introduction will be contextual (in opposition to formal, plain statement) the more you can get away with.

How purple cows can benefit us?

This notion is one of the greats if you care about social skills. Skill in establishing beneficial contexts is used wildly in debates and negotiations, arguments between spouses, even in tutoring kids. I use it in work with image management, networking, public speeches, and what we can broadly call – generating attraction. My advice to you is: Do it as well.

How’s, what’s and when’s

If there is a situation of communication happening, there always is a context. Established consciously or not – it works behind the scenes on how content of your words will be understood and judged. Even in such remote situations as you reading this post. It is then better to have control over it, even better – to establish it personally and deliberately.

Know what you want to establish. Maybe you want to make yourself more attractive? Maybe you want to set the frame of the meeting (for instance friendly frame for otherwise tough negotiations)? Maybe you want to establish having the upper hand in given situation, or guilt the other side to sympathize with your goals?

Establishing context is great opportunity to say things that brought directly would be taken as boasting or bragging. “Treat me well, because I worked with great minds and great firms of Fortune 500” – that sounds awful. But… Set the context in ice breaking small talk, maybe about “Hey, I hope you didn’t try and drink the tap water on airplane on way here… That’s weird thing to do, but we were catching a plane form (whatever Fortune 500 you’ve worked with) and they told us how it could end… By the way, coffee, tea, soft drinks?” There is always room for “by the way” in small talk.

In other words – establishing the context allows you to make the main point for the other side to remember as not the main point of your statement. It is then free of conflict control of their rational mind. The more it sounds as information relevant just because of context creation the less it will be “controlled”.

Your higher value established without being perceived as arrogant

We all have traits, skills and experiences that we would like to be known of. That could act as beneficial prisms for our perceived image or frame of the situation. Also, sadly, we have some things we would want to hide. In day to day life we push both into direct content and into subtle context of our communication.

We can push our great attributes into context, and try to withdraw all the negatives from both. We can ease other into understanding us correctly. Context can make or break our beautiful content. 

Context in bullet points:

  •  Established context behaves like background – it is reality of given discussion
  •  Context is always there. It is beneficial to create it deliberately, not to accept what is given
  • Start establishing your context and frame of situation as soon as you can
  • Push what would normally be seen as bragging into a context of something else
  • Find a frame of situation that is beneficial for both sides but more beneficial for you and establish it
  • Once accepted won't be doubted
  • You can and should adduce on established context to further it’s relevance
  • Always be the one to establish it, and be aware of folding into non-beneficial frame. Restate and reestablish if necessary
  • Props, places and posture also add to context, use them wisely 

Budgeting your local elections campaign in Poland

It is full blown campaign for local government elections in Poland as I write those words. The thing is that “our political culture” is a little… Peculiar. 

There is a heap of procedures that were meant to restrain cash absorbent campaigns. Obviously those are just super easy to bypass. Yet because of old-school market game budgeting needs a bit more subtlety than blunt “pump the cash approach”. Let us focus on practice then.

You see, being a part of local council for instance is not the direct way to earn a lot. It is more like a being a part of certain club for ladies and gentlemen (we would hope so) which is rich in opportunities and if you can leverage it will behave as trampoline. On average, council member can earn between 86 and 120k PLN in four years. So by no means it is a lot. That being said, being a council member is not that time consuming, so it just asks for income diversification.

There is a great information in that last paragraph: Weather you feel you should be defensive or offensive about your budget you should invest either 20 – 50% of that estimated four year council income or 40 – 80%. 

Things to consider while budgeting:

  •  Smart approach to stakes at hands
  •  Scalability of greater budget in given environment
  •  Your personal liabilities and financial situation
  •  Whether you’re hiring consultant or not
  •  Playing in “the offense” or “the defense”
  • Your personal goals attached to that particular elections

Offensive strategy is, in my opinion, more reliable: First of all, you don’t have to spend all that money, but this prepared amount gives you flexibility and peace of mind when you adapt to fast paced elections environment. You can hire specialist that will make sure that your money is efficiently spent, your publicity is properly managed, and that you’re focusing on correct implementation of strategy. And last but not least – outspending your competition never was and never will be inherently incorrect approach. 

Przemek Kucia

How to look classy for less? | Lookbook #001

In here we will review stylish and basic looks and then try to recreate them for less cash.

Let us start with absolutely most basic of basics – if you don’t have pieces needed to wear that look, it should be your priority (unless it’s snowing and you don’t have a jacket, obviously)

Review

The thing is, you need it. Introvert, extrovert, young, adult, Y generation, X generation, baby-boomer, single, married, even when it’s “complicated”, creative, entrepreneur, white collar, blue collar, on loan or without – I could go on forever.

It is classy to the point of being classic. You practically can’t go wrong with it. For me it is a base look from which I then look for alternative. If you had to be welded to only one outfit, wouldn’t that be the most versatile one? Please, share in comments.

Let’s recreate that

There are many options to do this on a budget – you should find those pieces easily in every mall (or shopping center for us Europeans).

In this look the most important are the shoes and fitting. Try few shirts (tailored, slim fits etc.) for the best fitting. Take care of your belt and don’t squeeze your waist too hard with it. If you do that it won’t look good (you’ll get those puffy cushions around your waist).

I prefer to go with spread collar, because in setting without a tie, it IMO looks better.

Let’s go through what I found:

United Colors of Benneton

United Colors of Benneton

Zara

Zara

French Connection - get those in black

French Connection - get those in black

Zara

Zara

Pillars of negotiations

It very often is the case, that while we study this kind of topic we’re inclined to think that the more advanced and subtle the stuff we read about, the more efficient it is. That is wrong. My take, and I will defend it with full-on aggression, is that executing the basics, but perfectly, is what makes the difference between mediocre negotiator and a great one. Let’s take a look then:

Basics that you have to execute well in every negotiations

1.       Information. Without certain knowledge about the topic at hand you can only bluff and rely on soft, psychological tactics.

There is no excuse for not doing your homework. No other than you just want to help the other side – maybe it’s bluntly said, but that’s the truth. In any negotiations information is the currency, whomever has more “purchasing power” wins.

If you know just how much your competitor paid for items you’re interested in – you have the leverage. If you know just how much costs capital needed for any job – you have the leverage. Etc.

2.  Always ask the question: “why?”. Please, please – do not ever jump into the trap of “common knowledge” while negotiating. Even if you have the same opinion. Make putting “why?” behind any information given by your vis-à-vis your habit.

In negotiations, well… In all argumentation really, an appeal to “common knowledge”, personal authority or any avoidance of direct question is an intellectually dishonest tactic. As negotiator it is your job specifically to unclutter argumentation from these kinds of dishonesties so both you and person you want to cooperate with get acceptable and just terms.

3.       Most of soft tactics and bluffs should be avoided and left to Hollywood political thrillers. To bluff is a very risky move that rarely pays off anyway. And even if it pays off it will harm future relationships and cooperation for sure.

There is not much really to add to this. Obviously you don’t want to alter conclusions your prospect jumped into himself (but sometimes it is highly recommended, so you could establish long-term cooperation), but when you have said it, it will be considered as a lie.

4.       Paraphrase the current terms if negotiations get heated and always calm down the situation with restating your understanding of currently discussed issues. Most of times negative emotions are due to lack of mutual understanding of the issue at hand.

You and your prospect could argue over issues that aren’t even that important to any of you and blow up entire negotiations. You should always remain calm and composed. And you should be the side to set this tone of conversation. This is called framing – you state the frame of what is acceptable so you have the intuitive upper hand of being judge of behavior. Authority, to say it bluntly.

And something for the fans of soft approach

It is always great idea to take half a moment to review what would please your prospect the most. The more you can empathetically “feel”/discover what are the goals of your vis-à-vis, the more you can contribute to your informational leverage.

With empathy you could predict the behavior of person you try to parley with. You could then propose terms that are acceptable for you to further underwrite the sense of mutual understanding and common interest.

Przemek Kucia

Please, share it if you liked it and click the like button. Every share, like and comment means much to me J Thank you!

Why some will never get good at public speaking

Dreaded. Anxious. Nauseated. These all and more, some of us feel utterly deconstructed before public speech of any kind. That being established some, like me, look for help, because at the end of the day there is no chance to be successful without even basic public speaking skills under the belt.

What’s seems to be the problem?

We could break the problem down into two pillars of chicken and egg kind of relation.

·         Emotions

·         Skills

Because I’m uneasy, even paralyzed by fear I cannot develop skills to deliver great presentation skills and vice versa: Because I don’t possess certain skills or qualities I feel fearful and overwhelmed even by thought about speaking publicly.

The common root cause to most problems with public speaking abilities

Lack of smart practice. That’s all, let’s click on some cats and porn. Ok, it’s a bit more sophisticated than that. Practice is not enough, like just working harder isn’t enough. If your shovel is empty then I don’t care how fast and hard you swing it – you won’t move much ground. Same goes with any kind of practice.

Best way of learning these skills would be hiring a specialist – it would be like replacing shovel with a excavator. But since we have to rely on one way communication in short blog post let me tell you this:

1.       Film yourself giving a 2 minute auto-presentation. Pitch yourself to imaginary prospect. Exactly 2 minutes. No more or less.

A)     Take a few looks on what you have produced. Is it that bad? Where you have some reserves? Too much gestures or too little?

B)      Your facial expressions: Do you look nervous? Does your facial muscles look tense? Do you smile? How about changes in your expressions – are those consistent with what you are saying?

C)      Posture: Do you hunch? Does your posture change over time?

D)     Breathing and voice: Does your breathing remain calm or rather too fast for what are you doing (speaking not running in marathon)? Do you take your time to breathe or blast through sentences like your life would depend on how fat you speak? Does your voice sound stagnant, vivid, does your intonation change to consistently with punctuation?

E)      Last, but not least – does your content sound thought out and practiced, or are there lots of mmm’s and ohm’s?

2.       Practice steady breathing patterns while maintaining an erect posture.

A)     Stand by the wall, align your back and head with it. Loosen tensed arm muscles by lowering them down. Take few breaths and take a step forward maintaining this position. This is (in very close approximation) your correct posture. Now breathe steadily.

3.       Smile while breathing steadily. And while you stay like this write your new pitch. Try and make it really good. Try few versions, change things, test hypothetically great sounding bits and bites.

4.       Now, to get your body more responsive to rhythm of your words and public speaking mood play your favorite tune and move your body a little.

A)     Now do the same while maintaining great posture and smiling

B)      Now add to it rehearsing your pitch

5.       Illustrators: When you present something show it with your hand with palm facing up. If something should have a shape – sculpt it from the thin air before you. If you negate something – draw a line with your palm making “stop” gesture.

6.       Film yourself again giving new pitch, using all above and tell me what the difference was.

7.       Show it to a friend

Przemek Kucia

Please, like it and share it if you liked it. Every share will make a difference. Thank you! 

Activism

The eco and “non-eco”

Normally when people speak about activism in general they think “masses of people on the streets protesting against something”, right? It intuitively makes sense – in mass, we presume, people are “heard” and taken account for. “Those in power” cannot ignore such “force”. But my political science training orders me to take a wider look on such examples as big “activism ventures”. From that wider perspective I will try to make an argument, that this form of activism is more of “mental masturbation” than “real experience”.

Let’s look on the evidence. What impact had made countless Greenpeace “ecotist attacks”? Costs of reducing the damages (hard damage or PR damage) made were included in prices of final products and/or paid in extraordinary effort of employees. So in the end as customers, because of their “activism” we have or had more expensive gasoline and energy. Many people went to prison, many people work to destroy rather than to create – so in economical/efficiency sense their “activism” was counterproductive. SOPA, PIPA, ACTA – well yes, regulations under those names were delayed or hold entirely, but another regulations of surveillance weren’t pushed through? Seems to me they were and in even greater form. The “99% vs. 1%” Wall Street occupation? No one knows if this was anti-capitalism action, anti-regulated-capitalism and pro lazier-fair and simple policies action. Do you know? What regulations were dropped, what public buy-out of failed or unfair enterprises was hold? None if I remember correctly. I won’t even talk about recent Ukraine “pro EU” actions, because it makes me just sad.

Now, you would ask – Przemek, then what to do? Here’s my opinion:

Circle of influence vs. circle of concern

Basic concept is simple – it derives from rather “old” (1992) publication by Stephen R. Covey – “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Let me explain: The circle of concern represents all the notions of ones interests like health, weather, government spending, threat of war etc. Analogically, latter circle represents those spheres on what we have strictly direct influence (as an individual). Activism then should be considered as “taking actions, changing things, working the influence” – activist in this sense are Coveys “proactive” people.

Proactive people focus their time and energy on circle of influence, or to put it plainly on “be’s” rather than “have’s”. Example: As proactive person I would like to be more organized, be a better role model, be better at decision making. Reactive person would, on contrary, want to have respect, have full establishment, have competent boss etc.

Working through this perspective, activism is a cluster of day-to-day, mundane decision making about what companies you support with your cash, what do you do as an individual to make a living, are you educating yourself to be smarter about your own savings, spending, health and healthcare plan etc. To distill the basic notion – how you act as a customer. That is how real impact happens. Because we are all customers, we all can be smarter than what Frannie May and Freddie Mac were offering, for instance.

When you act on your circle of influence – it grows. Because you are effectively spending your time and energy. But when you’re focused solely on what concerns you, then your influence as individual shrinks. Simple as that.

If you have positive or negative response, please share in comments. Hit the like button if you like, or support this site in any way you find suitable – that would be awesome.

Until next time, take good care

Przemek Kucia

 

What song are you? | How I was "Hate to say I told you so" by The Hives

Well, I was or Hate to say I told you so or maybe even more a Tick tick boom - both by The Hives.

IMO if we would play this game more seriously we can be simultaneously identified with few or more songs – depending on our mood, time of the day and quality of the day we’ve had. Add to this that we are ever-changing story and our behavior and views can travel on circles – Gosh, that’s a lot to consider, isn’t it? We can find that we’ve laughed at some particular jokes in our twenties and forties, but not in our thirties. Isn’t that weird and somehow… True?

From being Punk by Gorillaz to identifying with Ball and the biscuit by The White Stripes

Many of us could tell about ourselves that “being right” is or was for us very important at certain age – I know it was very much true for me. Rebellion was strong in me. The thing is: being a rebelling youngster is often like being a frog in slowly but steadily heated water. Everything seems to be normal until we’re really “hot” and angry. Then it came. The realization that I was not angry for any particular purpose, but I found purpose over purpose to rationalize the anger. Doesn’t it sound familiar?

So then, I would identify myself with rather mellow songs – you know, overcompensation kicked in. I was The xx the best Intro to any contemporary album. But this mellowness, for otherwise intense character, quickly transformed into more of I fought piranhas, bluesy The White Stripes.

Some aggression can be positive. A constructive drive for change

Some people cannot cope with their anger. But some thrive while being challenged, with daring, courageous, head on approach to problems they would like to solve. This is where being former Song 2 by Blur can provide the needed experience in driving the built in anger to ignite and inflate naturally calmer types of character with little Can’t stand it by The Greenhornes attitude to win for ourselves little Kashmir with Whole lotta love we deserve.

Przemek Kucia

Please, like it if you liked it and tell me: What song or songs would you identify yourself with?

How to produce great content | What we can learn from "#AskGaryVee"?

The thing is: Not everyone with something to say can immediately produce great content. Gary Vaynerchuck was, is, and in my opinion will be for quite some time, at the bleeding edge of giving value in form of great content.

Let’s watch it together!

Quite a ride, wasn’t it? Let’s break it down a little bit.

1.       This guy has something to say. No doubt!

Established confidence and authority just pours out of screen and speakers. Being comfortable with camera and speaking to audience in a way that mimics a real conversation is something best writers worked on for years. Some work on it intuitively, some train it consciously – no doubt it takes time to nail it.

Experience and expertise is more important than knowledge. You could listen to marketing specialist who could tell you same things as Gary, but Gary has established trust that he in fact has experience. He does not do “hypothetically speaking”.

2.       He respects the platform.

It is fast. It draws attention. It has an entertaining twist. Gary knows how we use YouTube and that we are not prone to interact as general audience. He wants YOU to be “Vayniac”, he provides sense of community in otherwise very general demographic. It is emphasized with conscious repetition.

The content flow is consistent. The format is consistent. The context within the format (such as presenting style, repetition of certain phrases) is… Consistent. It makes us comfortable. It creates a habit of checking out our subscription feed for new #AskGaryVee content.

3.       Production value is high.

Smartly edited. Look and see that even framing is dynamic. It feels almost anxious to “do something” the operating style. It is a show. No longer a YouTube vlog. Someone took the time beforehand and thought out carefully just how to shoot #AskGaryVee in this format with personality as Gary.

Przemek Kucia

So how do you like this little breakdown? Was it any useful?

Context: What does it means here?

If content is The King, then context should be The Queen. And we could go all sexist about which is more important, but in all honesty with your inner chauvinist or feminist, for The Kingdom to have perfect status you have to have both spot on.  

50 Shades of Context

Marketing specialists would say that context is the form factor in which content is put to work. Writers would argue that context could mean experience, knowledge and thought process through which the content is understood. All that make us capable of not only literal understanding but also.

In communication this is where style and substance come in. For the perfect impression you need both to work on par and consistently with each other. Where content of your communication is enhanced by the congruency with the form factor and could be well understood in the context of situation and mutually agreed convention.

In the end then, context and content are two beings that work only in symbiotic relationship.

Communication and fashion: Modern Public Relations

Comprehensive take on todays public relations should be very much into communicology with fashion and product management. So in here we will try and supply with just that – tips, tricks, theory and practice… and also look-books. All purpose driven and with effectiveness in mind. For your pleasure and inspiration. Is that cool with you?

Przemek Kucia