360's Sales Incentives Technology Blog

Guy Kawasaki & The Freeze On Innovation

Posted by Jason King on Sep 15, 2014 11:30:00 PM

guyGuy Kawasaki’s opening keynote at Hubspot’s #INBOUND14 conference today had the massive crowd cheering, laughing, hooting and blurting out answers; the very type of engaged reception you would expect for a polished pro who has been in the business of telling engaging stories for at least three decades now.  

His topic today was 10 Lessons I Learned From Steve Jobs.   As a former product evangelist with Apple going back to the days of establishing Apple’s original Macintosh team, Kawasaki was part of an elite group of engineers, product developers and visionaries who worked to conduct their boss’ soaring vision from the esoteric, to the tangible and finally into the physical worlds.   

Ad_apple_1984The boss was, of course, Steve Jobs and his vision was to challenge authority, sameness and dullness - in Kawasaki’s words, to “jump the curve.”

The thing that gives great innovators such a radical advantage in business is actually the fact that most of their ideas seem too lofty or maybe even impossible to others.   This advantage is bolstered by the incumbent market leaders who are doing so well, they don’t have time to hear about any new curve.   Tell them how to steepen the curve they’re on and they’re all ears, but this is the demarcation point between “current leader” and “greatest ever.”   

Henry Ford famously once said “If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse.”   Today, Kawasaki used the evolution of refrigeration as the perfect parable to explain the importance of jumping the curve.

The_Top_Ice_Guys_Back_ThenIn the early days of household refrigeration, Ice Guys who lived in cold climates had it made.  The job was to go out onto a frozen lake, cut a huge piece of ice with your saw and then use sleighs and wagons to deliver blocks of ice to homes and stores so people could keep the items in their ice boxes nice and cool.  If you were a really rocking Ice Guy, steepening the curve for you might mean finding saw blades that stay sharper longer, or a sleigh that could hold more tonnage.  Perhaps it meant special feed for your horses so they could work longer and harder, but all innovation was geared toward doing the same things better.   

Then the curve got jumped.

Ice_Guy_SwaggerSomebody invented a machine where the blocks of ice could be made in factories.   No longer did you need to live in a cold place and no longer did you need a lake.   Now, the top Ice Guys just needed a supply of fresh water and their amazing machines could make ice blocks for delivery to all of their same customers.   You could have fresh, cold ice in the middle of Arizona - imagine!   Steepening the curve for these Ice Guys might mean machines that could freeze the water faster, new tools to lift the blocks more efficiently and maybe even trucks to make the deliveries.   Surely this was the height of refrigeration technology - what more could humans ask for?

A new curve came began when Frigidaire introduced the first self-contained electric refrigerator in 1923, evolving by the 1940s to a unit with a home freezer compartment.   Ice blocks, ice cubes, crushed ice could now be manufactured right in your own kitchen.  By now, the need for ice was off on the periphery anyway - the electric refrigerators pumped freon through their copper coils and created their own cold air, keeping food fresh without the need for large, unwieldy blocks of ice.  

It_needs_to_be_believed_to_be_seenHere’s the point woven through this exemplum of the ice business:   

The true leader, the genuine innovator - the Steve Jobs of Ice Guys as it were - would have been the person standing out on the lake with his saw, freezing in his boots yet staying warm by the internal fire of his own vision.  A vision for an incredible machine; a self-contained as-yet-undetermined something that would one day be in millions of homes, running off of some sort of power source and making ice on demand for everyone.  But it had to be believed before it could be seen.

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com and is in Boston this week for the #INBOUND14 conference.  Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  

Topics: Innovation

The Champion's Mindset For Business Leaders

Posted by Jason King on Sep 15, 2014 1:14:44 AM

Mikaela_Shiffrin_Olympic_Slalom_Champion"I've been here before in my head so many times. To everybody else it's my first Olympics, but to me it's my thousandth." - Mikaela Shiffrin, reigning Olympic slalom champion.

The more we learn about the human mind/body connection and its workings, the more we are able to cast aside the notion of natural talent as a key determining factor for what creates winners.  That is not to say that people aren’t born with natural advantages or disadvantages in particular areas of life.  Rather, it is becoming clear that human beings, by virtue of the ability to critically assess and measure our own thoughts and actions, are able to use our conscious mind to control and develop talent and acumen to elite levels, even in the apparent absence of natural skill.

Dr_Jim_AfremowEarlier this year, Dr. Jim Afremow released his book The Champion’s Mind - How Great Athletes Think, Train & Thrive, a book of useful mental skills and effective mental training tools that apply equally to those in competing in business as well as to those in sports.

“The mental demands of rigorous competition can be enormous,” says Dr. Afremow.  “(Those) who diligently train their minds play their best more consistently, experience greater enjoyment, and increase their odds of victory.”

Dr. Afremow emphasizes the importance of developing mental skills to drive excellence.  These skills include:

  • Supreme, unwavering confidence in your abilities.
  • The ability to keep a laser-like focus when surrounded by distractions.
  • The capacity to sustain a high-level of motivation.
  • The strength of will to conquer all anxiety, frustration and discouragement.
  • The power to bring your intensity to the next level when needed.

Take_It_To_ElevenWhile many people are able to recognize the need for these skills, too often this recognition doesn’t happen until right we are in the heat of the moment and could use a little something extra in our mental tank to keep us going.

To this end, Dr. Afremow offers the following set of effective mental training tools:

  • Clear and challenging short and long-term goals.
  • Visualization of making great plays and succeeding on the field. (Feel free to apply this to whatever endeavour you are working to develop excellence at.)
  • Positive, energetic language used to motivate yourself into a winning frame of mind.
  • A consistent breath during all moments of action.
  • Confident, upbeat body language to get the feeling of success in your body and mind.

“Your mentality will either hold you down or bring you up,” concludes Afremow.  “Strive to master your mind rather than being mastered by it. If you don’t, you risk losing every game before it even starts.”

Business leaders: how can you grow your work and leadership skills using Dr. Afremow's mental training tools?

To learn more about Dr. Afremow, his work or his book, visit his website GoldMedalMind.net.

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Topics: Leadership

Mandatory Viewing: Top 7 TED Talks On Success

Posted by Jason King on Sep 4, 2014 11:30:00 AM

rsz_kevinkellysfLast week on his podcast, Tim Ferriss featured a 3-part discussion with Kevin Kelly.  If you aren't familiar with Kelly, it's tough to know where to begin giving you an easy descriptor.  You may know him as the founding editor of Wired or from his cogent essay 1000 True Fans.  Writer, photographer, polymath...maybe genius?  Whatever "slot" you place him in your mind, he is endlessly interesting and engaging, sharing a ton of real-life wisdom over the course of Ferriss' three episodes.

Ferris will very often ask his guests, "When you hear the word successful, who is the first person who comes to mind?"  So far, Kelly's answer with its simple wisdom holds the title for best answer to date.  

I'll get back to Kelly in a second.  First, the obvious - what is success?  The word has come to mean vastly different things, all flavoured by beliefs, culture and context.  Through these lenses every kind of person can find success in vastly different ways, unique to each of them.  Do you want to be a successful business person?  A successful monk?  Your results, of course, will vary.

So, if you're looking for thought-provoking quotes about success, here's Kelly: "Success is overrated.  Greatness is overrated.  Our image of success is so skewed by media, similar to the mainstream images of beauty."  

Success to Kelly is not about fitting into a "slot" of some else's determination, it's about "being the best you that you can possibly be."  We have heard this before, but Kelly assures us of it softly, easily and convincingly.  When Ferriss pushes him, asking "what slot do you fit in?" he answers perfectly:

"The Kevin Kelly slot."

Here are some more great thoughts on success, ranked by number of views.  They present a rich look at success, flavoured by their varying beliefs, cultures and contexts.   Enjoy.

7.  Eddie Obeng: Smart Failure For A Fast Changing World

The world is changing much more rapidly than most people realize, says business educator Eddie Obeng — and creative output cannot keep up. In this spirited talk, he highlights three important changes we should understand for better productivity, and calls for a stronger culture of “smart failure."

6.   Tim Ferriss: Smash Fear, Learn Anything

Productivity guru Tim Ferriss' fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question — "What's the worst that could happen?" — is all you need to learn to do anything.

5.  Yves Morieux: As Work Gets More Complex, 6 Rules To Simplify   

Why do people feel so miserable and disengaged at work? Because today's businesses are increasingly and dizzyingly complex — and traditional pillars of management are obsolete, says Yves Morieux. So, he says, it falls to individual employees to navigate the rabbit's warren of interdependencies. In this energetic talk, Morieux offers six rules for "smart simplicity." (Rule One: Understand what your colleagues actually do.)

4.  Richard St. John:  Success Is A Continuous Journey

In his typically candid style, Richard St. John reminds us that success is not a one-way street, but a constant journey. He uses the story of his business' rise and fall to illustrate a valuable lesson — when we stop trying, we fail.

3.  Arianna Huffington:  How To Succeed?  Get More Sleep

In this short talk, Arianna Huffington shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night's sleep. Instead of bragging about our sleep deficits, she urges us to shut our eyes and see the big picture: We can sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness — and smarter decision-making.

2.  Dan Ariely:  What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

What motivates us to work? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn't just money. But it's not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work.

1.  Andy Puddicombe:  All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes

When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment. (No need for incense or sitting in uncomfortable positions.)

Got any TED talks that you consider mandatory viewing?   Please share them with us in the comments.

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Topics: Success

Video Blog: Training Mission to #TeamHaiti Day 3

Posted by Isabelle Foley on Sep 2, 2014 12:54:00 PM

360incentives_Team_HaitiHere it is - the documentary of our final hours with Team Haiti on this trip.

Hugging_It_Out_In_HaitiOur experience here has been inspiring beyond my wildest expectations.  

You'll see in the video that I was able to capture (as best as I could with my phone!) the daily ritual that the team uses to get themselves energized for a great day at work.  It is totally unbelievable the energy and love that this team starts their day with and I am grateful that I continue to learn a lot from my friends there.

This video also includes a brief lesson in Creole and, at the very end, my personal challenge to YOU.

Thank you so much for following along - this has been great fun and I can't wait to do it again on my next trip to Haiti.

This post is part 3 of a 3 part series.  Find Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE.



Isabelle Foley is a Client Success Manager at 360incentives.  A geek, a wife and a mother, Isabelle is in competition with her kids to see who can have the most fun each day.  Connect with her on Twitter at @IFoley360.

Topics: Haiti,

Video Blog: Training Mission to #TeamHaiti Day 2

Posted by Isabelle Foley on Aug 29, 2014 2:05:00 PM

church_in_port_au_princeA bit longer of a video for you today - I hope you like it.

I grabbed some photos so you can see how beautiful Port-Au-Prince is becoming again.  I've been here a few times now and the rebuilding is really coming along quickly; our team noticed a huge difference between this trip and last trip.

Also, I had the chance to interview Carolina from Samasource, one of our partners in Haiti.  She has travelled around the world and shares her reflections on what it has been like to travel to Port-Au-Prince for the first time.

I'm going to miss this place and my friends here.  We are leaving late tomorrow morning, but I will make sure you have another video from what's left of our time here.

Hope you enjoy.  (If you missed my post from yesterday, it's right HERE.)



Isabelle Foley is a Client Success Manager at 360incentives.  A geek, a wife and a mother, Isabelle is in competition with her kids to see who can have the most fun each day.  Connect with her on Twitter at @IFoley360.



Topics: Haiti,

Video Blog: Training Mission to #TeamHaiti Day 1

Posted by Isabelle Foley on Aug 28, 2014 2:58:00 PM

haitian-girlWhat is the first thought that pops into your mind when I mention the country of Haiti?  

If you are not terribly familiar with this beautiful country and its equally beautiful people, I would urge you to take a few minutes to read up on Haiti’s story.  Their story is one of courage, of egalitarianism, revolution and freedom.  

Haiti_becomes_independentThis is, of course, not the Haiti that many of us know of.  Today, many of us know only that Haiti is a gorgeous tropical island country with a storied and occasionally troubled history.  The country is well known for having overcome many, many challenges since declaring independence from France in January of 1804, a status finally recognized by the French in 1825.   Most notably in recent times of course, the country has had to rebuild from the devastating earthquake of 2010.  

The great news is that as the Haitians continue to rebuild their country (with beautiful smiles on their faces, I might add!), they are succeeding.  According the the World Bank, the annual growth of Haiti’s GDP is now tracking well above other developing Latin American and Caribbean countries.

It has been one of the great privileges of my life to have the opportunity to work with our team in Haiti.   Over the past eighteen months or so, I have become very close with all of them and have been looking forward to meeting my new “family members” on this visit.  

I prepared this video for you late last night in my hotel room in Port-Au-Prince.  I hope you enjoy it.  I will post a new video tomorrow.  (UPDATE: Day 2 post is RIGHT HERE)

FoleyIsabelle-1Isabelle Foley is a Client Success Manager at 360incentives.  A geek, a wife and a mother, Isabelle is in competition with her kids to see who can have the most fun each day.  Connect with her on Twitter at @IFoley360.

Topics: Haiti,

Updated Sales Channel Incentive Fraud Trends For 2014 [SlideShare]

Posted by Jason King on Aug 26, 2014 5:37:00 PM

The 360 Risk and Compliance department has generated some very detailed, very telling data so far this year which demonstrate trends and emerging threats in sales channel incentive claims.  

Then, our senior graphic designer Chris Willdig, being the helpful guy that he is, has created an easy to read infographic-style report that you can view here or feel free to download it from Slideshare.

  • Learn how your numbers stack up against fraud and compliance stats from a cross-section of consumer hardgoods companies.  
  • Learn about the current and emerging incentive fraud schemes.
  • Learn six ways to reduce and prevent incentive fraud.
  • Some disturbing statistics about the effectiveness of random audits.

Remember - our Incentive Auditor's Promotion Checklist (aka The Line Auditor's Cheat Sheet) is always available to you right here.


Here's Why Your #IceBucketChallenge Effort DOES Matter

Posted by Jason King on Aug 22, 2014 11:52:00 AM

Have you ever felt helpless?   I truly hope that you have not.

When ALS ( or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, aka Lou Gehrig's Disease) starts to take over your nervous system, you start to no longer be the boss of your body.  

You might have difficulty doing things that used to be easy.  Then you may have trouble walking.  Then you can't walk.  Then you can't use your arms.   Then it gets worse.

Other people need to move you around, scratch your nose, move your hair out of your face and take you to the bathroom to help you use the toilet.   This can make many people with ALS feel helpless and it has a corresponding effect on many people around them too: they wish they could do more for the person.

I have a very close friend with ALS which has advanced to the point where she is losing control of her neck and has no control of her body below that.  We wish we could help.   My wife and I wish we could do more, or maybe pick up her ALS and put it into a special container and then take it far away and dispose of it safely.  But we can't.  We feel helpless.  All we can do is donate to ALS research, and help spread the word by dumping a bucket of ice water on our heads.   So that's what we're doing, and it's probably not going to help our friend as fast as we would love to.

Please consider a donation to ALS research RIGHT HERE if you can, and let's continue to work toward a world that is free of ALS.

Here is by far the most creative #icebucketchallenge video I've seen to date.  

While you're at it, check out our founder/CEO, Jason Atkins' #IceBucketChallenge video which is also pretty epic!

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Mandatory Viewing: Top 10 TED Talks On Motivation

Posted by Jason King on Aug 18, 2014 1:38:00 PM

Motivational quotes?  How about 10 Ted Talks On MotivationChannel marketing folks have to spend a lot of time thinking about motivation and our understanding of the science behind what motivates has come a long way in a short time, to be sure. But this post is a study on motivation for all of us – in the channel and in our lives. 

This office has no shortage of old-school motivational quotes posters up on the wall.  You know, pictures of rock climbing, mountaineering or that basketball net photo that reminds us “You always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Motivational quotes themselves have come a long way too.  Since we live in this amazing time where incredible information and content zips around the Internet with a couple of taps to the keyboard, each of us now has totally unprecedented access to motivation in the form of enjoying talks from speakers and thought leaders we might otherwise have never known about.  Find what resonates with you and keep your own list of motivation quotes. Alternatively, simply bookmark this page and come back whenever you need a top up.

Here they are, ranked by number of views:

10. Stefan Sagmeister: 7 Rules For Making More Happiness

Using simple, delightful illustrations, designer Stefan Sagmeister shares his latest thinking on happiness — both the conscious and unconscious kind. His seven rules for life and design happiness can (with some customizations) apply to everyone seeking more joy.

9.  Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership

We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it. In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.

8.  Roselinde Torres: What It Takes To Be A Great Leader

The world is full of leadership programs, but the best way to learn how to lead might be right under your nose. In this clear, candid talk, Roselinde Torres describes 25 years observing truly great leaders at work, and shares the three simple but crucial questions would-be company chiefs need to ask to thrive in the future.

7.  Rick Warren: A Life of Purpose

Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose-Driven Life, reflects on his own crisis of purpose in the wake of his book's wild success. He explains his belief that God's intention is for each of us to use our talents and influence to do good. 

6.  Nigel Marsh: How To Make Work-Life Balance Work

Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer. Marsh lays out an ideal day balanced between family time, personal time and productivity — and offers some stirring encouragement to make it happen.

5.  Derek Sivers: Keep Your Goals To Yourself

After hitting on a brilliant new life plan, our first instinct is to tell someone, but Derek Sivers says it's better to keep goals secret. He presents research stretching as far back as the 1920s to show why people who talk about their ambitions may be less likely to achieve them.

4.  Rita F. Pierson: Every Kid Needs A Champion

Rita Pierson, a teacher for 40 years, once heard a colleague say, "They don't pay me to like the kids." Her response: "Kids don't learn from people they don’t like.’” A rousing call to educators to believe in their students and actually connect with them on a real, human, personal level.

3.  Dan Ariely: What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work?

What motivates us to work? Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn't just money. But it's not exactly joy either. It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work. 

2.  Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation

Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with a fact that social scientists know but most managers don't: Traditional rewards aren't always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

1.  Tony Robbins: Why We Do What We Do

Tony is not the inventor of the motivational talk, but he has certainly perfected it for the modern world. Tony discusses the "invisible forces" that motivate everyone's actions — and high-fives Al Gore in the front row.

Got any TED talks that you consider mandatory viewing?   Please share them with us in the comments.

KingJasonJason is the Content and Community guy at 360Incentives.com Connect with Jason on Twitter @JayKing71LinkedIn or Google+  360 is changing the world of incentives.  To find out how, book a call with us now! 

Topics: motivation

What Does A CEO Do?

Posted by Tony Gareri on Aug 15, 2014 12:29:47 PM

From a very young age, I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. As the firstborn child of an entrepreneur, it was clear that my family wanted me to be heavily involved with the business my father started 30 years ago. So it’s fitting that growing up, I knew I wanted to be a CEO.

I attended a prestigious business school here in Toronto while learning all about the industry and making key connections. Upon graduation I rolled up my sleeves and started working in our company’s marketing department. The years passed as I continued to hone my skills and acumen until I was finally nominated to become our company’s CEO. I was elated! Except, there was one problem. What does a CEO do?


I knew I wanted to be a great CEO, I just didn’t know how to do it. It isn’t as if there’s a class in university called, How To Be A CEO, 101. As a marketer, I knew to rely on my strength: research! I jumped onto Google and typed in, “What does a CEO do?” I was greeted with thousands of hits that led to mostly uninspiring, convoluted, overly academic articles. I read through the best ones but was left feeling uninspired. I had to alter my search.

In my opinion, the term CEO is synonymous with leaders and leadership. I began to focus on what the most powerful leaders in the world were doing. Who were they and what did they stand for? Some such as Steve Jobs or Howard Schultz were business leaders while others such as Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. used their leadership abilities to spur incredible movements that changed the world.

After years of absorbing all the material I could on the above-mentioned and leadership techniques in general, I’ve developed in my opinion, the three main areas that a CEO must focus on (in no particular order).

People: People are the lifeblood of your organization. People bring your products and services to life. I believe, it’s all about the people and a CEO needs to be a great talent scout. They also need to have an outstanding intuition when bringing people into your company. Intuition is developed over time as experience compliments education but in it’s simplest form, it comes down to a gut feeling. People can lie and cheat, especially on resumes and during interviews but your intuition will help weed them out before they make it on your team.

Tony_believesUsing your intuition, ask yourself, “Do we have the right people, heading in the right direction, in the right seats for the right reasons on our bus?”

Brand: You’ve consulted with marketing and public relation experts and have heeded their guidance but did you know that your brand doesn’t even belong to you? Nope, your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room and it’s only as valuable as what people think about you. All the greatest campaigns in the world can’t help you if people don’t trust you. More and more, people are buying from people and not “companies”. In addition to buying from brands that they believe in, I predict that in the next 10 to 15 years, that the only brands that will thrive are those that are purpose driven.

Think about what your brand stands for and what good you can do with your brand.

Culture: Last but certainly not least on my list is culture. Culture is, in my opinion, the soul of an organization. It’s your only true differentiator and the only thing that cannot be copied. They can try to copy your products or website but they can never copy the culture that permeates your organization. Your culture is the most unique thing about your business. All companies have them. Some don’t know that they have one; some wish they didn’t have one, while others glorify their culture and use it as a competitive advantage.

Simply put culture is your company’s personality and the way that your team decides to show up. Culture defines where you’re going and why you do what you do. Defining your culture can be tricky but the CEO must be the driving force behind it in order for it to take root and succeed – the CEO must epitomize the culture!

In the three plus years I’ve been Roma Moulding’s CEO, I learned a lot, made some mistakes and feel better prepared to take on future challenges. I’ve gained clarity surrounding what a CEO is supposed to do and in my case it’s taking care of our people, brand and culture!

To all leaders and aspiring leaders, what is your purpose in your company? How do you impact your team, your brand and your culture?

rsz_tony_gareriOur friend Tony is the CEO of Roma Moulding and one of 360's culture mentors.   He wrote this piece today for his company's blog and we thought it was worth a share.

Topics: culture, Leadership

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