Posts by Don Packett

Anchovies, anchoring and the power of experience

September 18th, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Anchovies, anchoring and the power of experience”

Earlier this year, we were having dinner with friends at a restaurant, and I’d ordered an anchovy pizza. My mate, Nic, immediately responded to my order with a firm “Anchovies? No dude. Gross.” which, in fairness, is not the worst reaction I’ve received in simialr scenarios. And while anchovies on a pizza may not be everyone’s favourite to eat (or have sitting across from them at the dinner table) my order was decided on not only the fact that I enjoy the taste, but of what anchovy pizzas mean to me.

In 2016, my wife and I visited Venice for the very first time. We’d checked in at our hotel late in the day, it was the middle of winter, freezing, but we wanted to explore as much as possible as soon as possible. We’d brought a bottle of De Grendel red wine with us, opened it in the room, poured two travel-glasses and may our way outside into the Venetian cold. 10 minutes into the walk, we walked past a hole-in-the-wall pizza place with slices for sale. The guy said he was closing up soon and only had the pizzas left on display, one of them topped with anchovies and olives.

Now, Lauren and I share everything, and food orders are generally a team conversation to make sure that we can both enjoy each other’s meals. This time was no exception. I went for a classic slice with pepperoni, and Lauren asked if I’d mind the slice with anchovies. I’d never tried pizza with anchovies before, and I love to try new things (I don’t have “open your eyes” tattoo’d on my body for nothing) so we bought both slices – and a beer to replenish our depleted glasses of wine – and continued on our way. Before tucking into our dinner we came to a small piazza with a single light in the middle, where we sat down on a cold bench to take it all in, share the beer and ‘cheers’ to the bucket-list-item we’d just achieved.

We exchanged slices, I took a bite of the anchovy-filled pizza, and my mouth went into a sea-flavoured orgasm.

It. Was. Amazing.

We spent a bit more time in the piazza, finished our food and beers and continued on our way, exploring the rest of the city, the start of an epic trip abroad.

I often think about how I remember every little detail about that night, and realise that it’s because every time I order an anchovy pizza and take my first bite, the memory comes flooding back. In detail. The city, the cold, me holding gloved hands with my wife, the food, the walking, the magic. The full experience. One bite transports me back. Every slice has an anchor in my brain that for the rest of my life will remind me of pure bliss.

I know this: Experiences are for life. A simple thing like biting into an anchovy pizza was, at the time, an on-the-move dinner. It was nothing that I would’ve thought would make such a mark on my brain. But it did.

So why should you care about my anchovy pizza?

Every day, we’re faced with giving people experiences. Experiences that will guide the way they think, the way they operate, and how they feel. The trick is, though, you don’t know which experiences are the ones that will last! So what should you do? Give everyone you interact with an experience that they’ll never forget.

At Missing Link we pride ourselves on making this a priority. Giving amazing experiences matters to us. And it’s not just verbalised, we’ve officially made it one of Our Things. We commit to ourselves, each other and to our customers that we will Be Impossible To Forget.

How? By delivering amazing experiences in any way possible.

And that’s your challenge. Consider the next engagement you’re about to have. Whether with a family member, a friend, an employee, a supplier or a customer, and make an intentional effort to Be Impossible To Forget.

And remember, sometimes it’s the small things that make the biggest impact.

 

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Originally posted on LinkedIn.

You’re amazing. Tell yourself, and tell everybody else

July 26th, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “You’re amazing. Tell yourself, and tell everybody else”

I woke up this morning feeling very average. I get those days. But I decided to turn it around. How? By having amazing people around me.

3 things I did:

  1. I spoke to my wife. My everything. She gets me. And not in the “pat you on the head and make you feel better” kind of way, but in the pragmatic, honest “this is who you are” kinda way. In that, and the conversation that ensued, my headspace changed to one of power and, most importantly, of valuing myself and the contribution I bring to the world.
  2. I was guided by EO (part 1). A large part of EO is about understanding your group, your peers, the people who you connect with on the lonely entrepreneurial journey. How do you understand these folks in a short space of time? Well, you tell each other. In 30-60 minutes, you present yourself, your life in totality up to today, to everybody else. It’s remarkable. It’s not the surface level stuff only, it’s the emotional journey that underlies it all that made you what you are today. By sharing your story, you remind yourself of what you did to get to this point in your life. Sometimes we forget…
  3. I was guided by EO (part 2). An exercise we did in our Accelerator group last month (led by Ryan Sauer) had each person “sell themselves in 5 minutes”. The catch: No sort ofs, no maybes, no I think I. Absolute, unequivocal, unadulterated positivitely “I am…”. This is who I am, and I’m amazing. Probably one of the most difficult exercises I’ve ever had to do. To stand in front of a group of people and, with focused seriousness, tell them why you’re an incredible human being, is one of the most uncomfortable conversations to have. We do that for our businesses, we do that for our friends, but we never do it for ourselves. Why? Because for the most part I believe it’s because it’s seen as being vain, arrogant and all those things we don’t want to be.

Well today I gave myself a pass. And I’m giving you one too.

I’d like to challenge you all to share in the comments just 3 things that you believe make you an amazing individual. 3 things that if someone just knew that about you (and they knew that you knew that about yourself) that they’d want to get to know you a little better, or realise that they too have those qualities, they just don’t tell themselves enough. And be positive. Sell it.

So, the 3 things I’m amazing at are:

  1. I’m amazing at what I do. I can stand on a stage and deliver a message with conviction, and have people buy in.
  2. When people speak, I truly listen. My lifelong curiosity for knowledge and understanding people, and how they tick, is a foundation for this.
  3. I can play Mary Had A Little Lamb on any chord-based instrument. Even one of those old grey Telkom landlines.

So that’s me. Now it’s your turn. And if you know some people who need a reminder of how amazing they are, challenge them too. My day just got a whole lot better. Yours will too.

Don’t forget: You’re amazing. Tell yourself, and tell everybody else.

Keeping your eye on the (right) prize

April 10th, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Keeping your eye on the (right) prize”

Lessons from missing a flight.

I fly a lot. I enjoy not only the seeing-new-things side of it, but also watching this beast of an industry, with so many moving parts, achieve what it does every single day. Regional, international, double-deckers, 4-seaters, I’ve experienced all kinds of aircraft and all shapes of airports. And, until recently, I had a 100% attendance rate in getting to my aircraft and in my seat on time. Have I been called over terminal intercoms by name? Of course. But never, until a few weeks ago, have I actually missed a flight.

Now, most people I know have missed flights because of traffic, or delayed meetings, or problems with check-in. These are all completely understandable, which is why I generally like to leave home earlier than necessary in order to combat any unforeseen circumstances. This occasion was no exception.

My flight was scheduled for 06:00 leaving Lanseria, boarding at 05:30. I arrived at 05:00, pre-checked in, walked through security and headed straight to the SLOW XS lounge. I grabbed a coffee, some granola, I had plenty of time. I sat at the window and watched the people around my plane getting it ready. I even took a photo of the plane and posted it on Instagram. I watched the pilots enter. I watched the crew enter. I watched the engineers doing what they do. All while working on my laptop and admiring the view. 05:30 came around and I saw no passengers walking toward the plane. Strange, I thought, but maybe the crew were having a problem and there was a slight delay. These things happen. I continued to work, and continued to watch my plane. 10 minutes passed, no passengers. Another 10 minutes passed, no passengers. At this point I figured I needed to go to the gate, downstairs, to find out what the problem was in order to potentially plan my day differently. I walked downstairs and saw a line of passengers ready to board my plane at Gate 5. Except it wasn’t my plane. My plane was at Gate 4, and as I turned my head towards the correct gate, I watched as the door was securely closed, and my plane, my actual plane, was pushing back – without me.

The boarding information was on my ticket. It was also on the screens in the lounge. It was also – almost certainly – shared via intercom that boarding for my flight had started. Hell, they may even have called my name. Information on what I needed to do was everywhere around me, but none of it mattered because I only had one thing on my mind: Keeping an eye on my plane, which turned out to be the wrong plane entirely.

Why should this story matter to you?

We often get so stuck on one thing, and aggressively focus all our energy and attention on that one thing, that we forget everything else around us. Now, is focus a bad thing? Of course not, but what is a bad thing is not realising when your focus is indeed on the wrong thing.

So what should you do?

Think about your 3 big focus areas right now – whether personal or for your business – take a step back and consider if these truly are the right things to have your eye on (or, as in my case, is it headed in the wrong direction entirely).

 

Originally published on LinkedIn.

Why you need to surf at sunrise

March 20th, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Why you need to surf at sunrise”

I’ve just popped up to the 32nd floor – the roof – of the Maharani Hotel in Durban to take the sunrise pic above. The view is spectacular from up there. What I’d noticed more, though, than the sun rising to start a brand new day, were the multitude of surfers in the water. I posted this pic to my Instagram feed, jokingly hashtagging “#dontthesepeoplework?” But I know they do, and this, for me, is their balance.

Last night Rich and myself were chatting to Chris, one of the guys in our team, about hard work. We all agreed on one principle: We give 100% when we’re working, but we realise that we need to give 100% to time off too. Each person’s balance, though, is different.

Missing Link started with a bang this year, with the whole team putting in crazy hours on a number of projects we were running. Today is the last event of a Mugg ‘n Bean roadshow we’re a part of, and Chris is taking some well-deserved time off, in Durban. Why? Because he’s worked his tail off from the beginning of the year, and now he’s going to reap that reward.

I speak to a lot of people about the subject of work/life balance and always get varying results. My personal view is simple: I work my ass off when I need to, but I take solid time off when I need to as well. However, much to contrary belief, this is not only reserved for December holidays. It’s small little breaks during the year, exploring a new part of our country over a weekend, for example, that are my balance. So I’m at a 95% work-focus when working (adding reading and exercising to the mix), and a 95% holiday-focus when I’m off (because with some perspective by being out of the office, I often find solutions for problems currently on my plate, or come up with new ideas, which is a win). Others I’ve spoken to prefer to have a different approach: Not working too hard during the day, but not waking up early to surf or planning little weekends away either, because they feel they’re pretty chilled in general.

I personally believe the surfers have it right. They wake up early to get a few good sunrise rides in, then get showered and changed and start their work day as usual. They’re refreshed, invigorated, and ready for action.

How’s your balance? Do you hit work and play aggressively? Or do you have more of a 50/50 all day every day mindset?

 

Originally published on LinkedIn.

Forget Uberising. LEGOrise your business.

January 31st, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Forget Uberising. LEGOrise your business.”

Last week I found an old box of LEGO in a box in my garage. It still contained all the necessary ingredients (the box with a picture of the end result, the instructions and, of course, all the pieces). As a self-proclaimed completionist, I felt the urge and duty to build this once again. Which I did. After an hour I had the perfect rendition of a LEGO Batmobile. It was beautiful. I excitedly showed my wife, presenting it with an accompanying backstory and next Bat-adventure it would take. She was enthralled (not really, but go with me here). For that day I walked around feeling well-accomplished, and the Batmobile sat displayed in the lounge for all (both of us) to marvel at. It was a beautiful thing. Which got me thinking…

As much as I love the concept and personal usage of Uber, if I hear one more keynote speaker, CEO or any other business leader talk about “Uberising” their business, I may throw something at them. Uber has done an amazing job at linking the do-er with the need-er, facilitating transactions between them with great efficiency. So too have Airbnb and so many others. But this leaves Uber and their cronies as the heroes of the story.

My question is: Why shouldn’t the user, you, be the hero? So while “Uberising” is certainly one business model, my feeling is that organisations need to consider who the real heroes need to be: You and I. LEGO has certainly done this. Here’s a basic recap of my Batmobile story:

  1. I obtained a set of tools and instructions
  2. By viewing the end result in its glory (on the front of the box), I felt the need to replicate it myself
  3. I followed the instructions using the tools that were provided
  4. Hey presto! Look at what I made!

To be fair, I didn’t actually make it. I didn’t even have to think or work too hard to do it. I merely assembled it, but the overwhelming sense of accomplishment was something that no-one could take away from me. I did this. I made this. LEGO’s goal is for me to buy it, make it, and buy some more so that I can make some more. Fulfilling my sense of accomplishment over and over again. It worked.

For years I’ve been speaking to audiences about the ever-growing DIY mentality. How not only do we want to create our own things, but the opportunity to do this is far greater than ever before, because we have the wonderful world of the internet to access, in order to learn.

LEGO facilitates that DIY mentality amazingly well. What’s more, you don’t have to remove yourself from what they’ve given you. You have a picture, instructions and the pieces. They have your full attention from start to finish.

To put this into a business context: You have your end result of the picture (or the Victory Condition as we like to call it), the instructions (strategy) and the pieces (tools).

These are the core building blocks we’re using to develop LeadrSpeak. LeadrSpeak is an online platform that helps turn managers into leaders, giving them the tools necessary to deliver messages to their teams which are relevant, timeous and memorable. Not only has our POC produced phenomenal feedback, but, more importantly, it produced better speakers. Better leaders. High fives to us.

Why should you care about this?

Well, are you giving your staff or clients LEGO-esque tools, which gives them that sense of accomplishment, while still achieving your strategic goals?

A global new year (vol. 2)

January 6th, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “A global new year (vol. 2)”

Following last year’s little experiment to see where in the world people I knew spent their New Year’s eve, I asked them all again. Why? Because I’m curious about where people spend their time off (you’d be amazed at how many ideas for weekends away have been added to the bank).

Again, I sent a WhatsApp location pin, and they sent theirs straight back.

The stats from the 104-strong group who participated:

  • 44,2% of people were at home (or nearby) – similar to last year
  • 43,3% of people traveled locally – a little less than last year
  • 46,5% of the SA’ns who traveled locally went to the East coast – 23% down from last year
  • 11,6% of the SA’ns were at the Vaal River
  • 12,5% of people traveled internationally – more than last year
  • 87,5% of people enjoyed a summer New Year’s – similar to last year
  • People still go to some weird-ass places
  • People still share info too easily. I love it.

Basic review: More people traveled abroad, and South Africans have decided to spend less time on the East coast and more time inland.

Thanks again for everyone who contributed, looking forward to see what happens next year.

“But is it done-done?” How billion dollar industries still get it wrong.

November 30th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on ““But is it done-done?” How billion dollar industries still get it wrong.”

There’s a fine line between done, and done-done.

My father-in-law works in Safety for a large commercial airline carrier. Every safety-related incident – from an engine exploding inflight, to a pregnant woman mistakenly placed in the EXIT row – goes past his desk. These incidents are documented,  monitored, tracked and precautions are put into place to ensure they don’t happen again. All relevant individuals are consulted on the particular incident to clarify all information was correct, and to ascertain where the fault lies. From there, new policies, new tech, staff training, etc. are put into place to ensure the safety of all future passengers.

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Make yourself an option

November 29th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Make yourself an option”

Two weeks ago I bumped into Kevin and Allison at Cape Town International, all – it turned out – on our way home to Lanseria.

While catching up about the weekend, they told me about a school waterpolo game they watched, supporting their nephew. The coach, an early-twenty-something-go-getter, had a specific catchphrase for his team while the game was on:

“Make yourself an option!” 

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The Power of the Ask – What CEOs believe makes a successful CEO

November 25th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “The Power of the Ask – What CEOs believe makes a successful CEO”

When we started 21Tanks almost a decade ago, we had no products, all we had was perspective. Yup, perspective. Knowledge that we’d acquired over the years (that we thought was valuable) and a network of smart people to help us along the way. How’d we get work? Well, most of the time, people just asked if we could help. And we did.

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Are you a Thought Leader or Thought Follower?

April 13th, 2017 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Are you a Thought Leader or Thought Follower?”

Mitch Joel from Mirum explains the term ‘Thought Leader’ as follows:

A thought leader is someone who is sharing (in text, images, audio and video) their own unique perspective. That would be the “thought” component of the equation. A thought leader is someone whose unique perspective is seen and accredited by both peers or other industry experts as truly being visionary (saying and doing the things that others have yet to do). Leadership isn’t just about being first. Leadership is about how the thinking is ingested and used by the audience.

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Copyright Don Packett 2018