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What the Passion of Phil Jackson Teaches About Teamwork


“Hey look, that’s Phil Jackson.”

I had just sat down for lunch with my boss in the Valley about four years ago when he pointed to a table across the room.

Three men sat together in a booth.

Phil JacksonJohn WoodenTex Winter.


The High Priesthood of basketball coaching.

We ate our lunch and because my boss was friendly with Wooden, we made our way to the table.

Jackson was closest to me.  We struck up a quick conversation about a game he coached in my hometown early in his career and that was it.

Very friendly guy.

I have a soft spot for Phil Jackson.  Mainly because he is someone that took an intensely curious mind and channeled it all into one great passion:  bringing people together to achieve a common goal.

It’s not about basketball.

It’s about finding your passion and winning.

And to win you need some kind of team.

Whether it’s your family or partners or who you outsource your stuff to or your actual employees, you need help.

With that in mind, here are what I consider to be  Jackson’s 10 Best Lessons on Teamwork:

1.  It’s about us, not you.

2.  People first, process second.

3.  Discover what motivates each individual.

4.  Always be teaching.

5.  Find inspiration from unlikely sources.

6.  Have a massive goal that everyone can buy into.

7.  Let your team make mistakes and find their own way out of it.

8.  Encourage your stars to lead.

9.  Be cool when others around you are losing their heads.

10.  Date the boss’s daughter.

Did I miss anything?  Oh yeah…Go Lakers!

Get a Poet and a Plumber to Market Your Business

Marketing consultants tend to be divided between poets and plumbers.


The poets are usually the older set, raised within the TV-Industrial complex and smitten with words and phrasings and all things visual.  They love TV and media and demographics.  They are great communicators.  Which is what they want to do all day long…broadcast thought waves to the world.  They don’t like to hear that broadcasting is dead and they get really antsy when there is talk of ROI and accountability.  They understand people and market in emotion.


The plumbers, on the other hand, tend to be from the younger crowd and raised in the Digital Age.  They are quite at home using technology to generate results and expect and want to be measured on their performance.  At times, they will speak a language that only other plumbers can understand, but usually it is related to some cool new tool that makes it easier for them to get stuff done.  They are process oriented and detail driven.  They eat data for lunch.

Digital marketing requires both poets and plumbers.  One Dutch firm went so far as to name themselves after that very concept.  See here.  Notice we are not talking about straight regular old marketing, but digital – using digital distribution channels to promote products and services.  You can still get away with using a poet for print ads and writing press releases and the like.  But be honest.  When is the last time one of those things really hit a homerun for you?

You can get lucky and occasionally find someone who is both poet and plumber.  Someone who understand and has experience building digital platforms and staying present with ever-evolving technologies.  But for the most part, poets who are plumbers are rare.

Just know that you will need both, always.

The plumbers like to think that the poets are becoming obsolete.

But that will only happen if human beings evolve to become unemotional robots with no desire to connect.

And that’s not happening any time soon.

The Big Marketing Lesson of Red Sox Nation

Our family got lucky on Sunday when our beloved Boston Red Sox came to Orange County to play the Angels.

Confession: I love SoCal, but I’m a native New Englander.

Thanks to our friends, we got to experience the dugout suites right on the field.

When it comes to watching pro baseball, it doesn’t get any better than this:


It was a terrific game, which the Angels eeked out by a single run.  It even featured a bench-clearing brushback pitch that led to a couple of ejections.

Our family had a great time:


And we were not alone.

Red Sox Nation regularly generates the largest visiting team fan attendance in major league baseball.  When you go to an Angels game and hear “Let’s go Red Sox!”, it is LOUD, due to the thousands of die-hard Sox fans who scramble for tickets.

So you buy all the gear and that overpriced soda for your daughter…


and hope  it will be worth it.

If you are lucky, you’ll leave the ballpark with an empty wallet but some great memories and a warm and fuzzy feeling from experiencing America’s National Pastime.

And…maybe not.

Because chances are if your team loses, you will not be happy.

It is a game after all.

There is a winner and a loser.

And the bottom line is…

Everyone loves a winner.

Nothing does more for the marketing and goodwill of any team than delivering on the field.

You have to have a great product.

And the Red Sox are a great product.

But it didn’t happen until new ownership came along and decided to pay for quality players, resulting in one of the highest payrolls in baseball.

Throw in a great story (“Reverse the Curse!) and it’s no wonder that the Red Sox continue to be one of the biggest attractions in baseball.

Great products make us all great marketers


No Digital Strategy? Good Luck With That

New Twist on an Old Idea

Burma-Shave used to have a campaign where they planted multiple road signs along local highways.

The signs were in the form of a short poem that ended with “Burma Shave” as the final sign.

They were a big hit back in the day and people enjoyed sharing their latest experience with others, providing nice word of mouth marketing for the Burma-Shave folks. The signs were viewed as entertainment more than advertising and generated some nice goodwill that resulted in steady sales.

And now from Lancaster, California, Honda’s marketing team joined forces with the city to turn a stretch of road on the edge of town into a giant LP that plays the William Tell Overture, which you might know as the theme to The Lone Ranger.

Pretty cool, though some marketing wonks find it annoying and apparently the folks living near the area were driven mad in a matter of weeks and had the grates removed.

By |November 14th, 2008|marketing, strategy|Comments Off on New Twist on an Old Idea