Height & Light Blog

Play by a different set of rules

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Dirty Word #27 – Dumb Phones

I have a smartphone.  You probably do too. Here's the problem: sometimes they're really dumb. (And no, I'm not talking about texting while driving - a habit I'm currently trying to break.) Yes, this is dumb. But wait, there's more! I had a client a while ago whose...

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Please don’t ask this question

Some time ago, I saw a presentation from a very well-known IT consulting group that advocated going out and asking internal stakeholders a question: "What can we do to help?" I couldn't disagree strongly enough. No, I haven't suddenly given up wanting to help people....

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The Most Important Promise

We're all in the promise business. If you're a marketing leader, your brand makes a promise that the rest of the organization must keep.  If you're an executive, you're making promises to your people that your fellow leaders and your HR team must keep. If you're in...

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Velcro or Teflon?

Much has been written about making your message sticky.   Here's a different perspective on the stickiness question: Is your organization velcro or teflon? Let me explain. When we work with clients who are trying to bring their vision to life, they inevitably come to...

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Dirty Word #26 – Enough!

One of the joys of having a DVR is that I generally watch commercials at warp speed.  Admit it, you do too. But I was in a hotel last week and thus without my friendly DVR so I noticed an ad that quickly had me wondering if it was real or an ornate spoof. Ladies and...

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A Purpose Wake-up Call

Many of you probably heard about the killing of 10 NGO aid workers in Afghanistan late last week.  For most of us, this event was one more in a line of senseless deaths to which we are exposed on a regular basis. To our family, it was personal. Tom Little, the...

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Stuck on broadcast mode

I'm sitting in a hotel lobby with my back to the nearly-vacant bar. Two businessmen are talking to each other about a potential deal they'd like to make. Correction: they're not talking to each other, they're talking at each other. In nearly an hour, I have heard...

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What we can learn from pledge drives

Here's a thought: An old sales adage goes, "Always be closing." I think it's wrong and here's why. I've been listening to NPR for the last 20 years. (At the same time, I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal.) And in those two sentences, I've probably convinced both...

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What if you just reduced irritants?

I had coffee with a seasoned and bright marketing executive last week.  He said something that stuck out to me: Most of the time, you can differentiate your company/product/service/brand by just figuring out what irritates customers about companies in your industry...

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Getting (and keeping) your stars on board

HBR's May 2010 cover article touts a provocative finding: 1 in 4 "high potential" leaders intend to leave their companies within a year. When I saw that finding, I both raised my eyebrows and nodded my head.  In some ways, it's surprising that up-and-coming leaders...

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What are you building?

March Madness wrapped up a week ago.  I was torn while watching the final.  As the youngest of five boys and life-long fan of teams like the Red Sox, I love underdogs. (Remember, before 2004 the Red Sox were perennial underdogs fighting the Evil Empire. I know that's...

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