The happiness factor (aka music class in Flint) – SCN Encourager

Want a glorious feeling?

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 7.44.16 PMIt really does help to sing in the rain.

The research I backed into yesterday actually bears this out.

I’m almost as surprised by this as Cindy is!

No fooling.

Choosing an attitude of good cheer will gift you with an extra measure of positive public perception in a variety of areas.

However, a couple of you wrote back to ask me if I forgot all about our School Communicator maxims, #457A and #457B.

Oops. I had!

I was too busy practicing “feeling good.”

Doom or gloom? Nope. We choose Zoom. – SCN Encourager

That’s the way of the school communicators I know.

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.09.25 PMYou’ll usually find school leaders and communicators traveling along the most positive path.

Even if the situation of the day isn’t the actually what you could call “the best.”

I guess we’re not all that good at reading the obvious signs.

Or maybe we can read them well enough, but we’re just grand masters at ignoring them.

If this is true – keep it up.

Because science now supports that intentional presentations of “happy” have far more appeal to the public than those dour and sour recitations of the facts.

One study showed that websites which promote the general feeling of “happy” (like Amazon, HGTV, Kayak, Apple, and CBS) are thought to be much better designed than those perceived as serious and dull (Citibank, PBS, Aetna, and

It’s “Weird Al” Tuesday. You game? – SCN Encourager

Weird Al Yankovic’s marketing strategy lifts him to #1.

Perhaps you caught this little blurb on the Content Marketing Institute’s website.

I spotted it while linking up this site to Monday’s Encourager.

It contains a marketing lesson that borders on the unbelievable.

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 4.39.28 PMApparently, The Wall Street Journal actually paid 100% of the production costs for Weird Al’s recent video parody of corporate and leadership buzzwords.

The  parody (Mission Statement) is based on the 45 year-old hit by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young called Suite: Judy Blue Eyes, which made its debut at Woodstock. (And no, I wasn’t there, just in case you’re wondering. I had to look this up.)

Mission Statement and the seven other musical parodies on Weird Al’s “Mandatory Fun” album were released last week one at a time – day by day – over the course of eight days.

Weird Al’s unique marketing plan for “Mandatory Fun” began more than a year ago by securing a different corporate partner for all eight of the album’s musical tracks.

Every corporate partner had to possess a powerful brand presence, a gigantic online following, and a big fat checkbook. (And no, I do not know much about these, either, just in case you’re wondering – especially the “big fat checkbook” piece.)

Marketing, promotions, & two weekend trips – SCN Encourager

Look… listen… and learn.

This is what I try to do wherever I go.

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 5.24.48 PMTwo Sundays ago, Cindy and I went to an afternoon Tigers game with one of our daughters and her boyfriend.

I came home with a pocket full of notes about all of the exciting hype-up-the-crowd activities that are staged during the breaks in play.

I’m convinced some of them are do-able at our future school events.

Creatively scaled down from the Comerica Park versions, of course.

Cindy thinks I’m a nut.

She mentioned this after we dropped off the kids in Grand Rapids and were headed back home to Holland.

Somehow it seems that many of our most interesting conversations over the years have taken place while riding in the car.

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 4.58.26 PMI kept this in mind as we packed our things to join friends this weekend up north to go kayaking on the Pere Marquette River.

I hoped to re-visit the discussion Cindy and I had the previous weekend.

Only this time I wouldn’t be caught off guard.

I’d have a strategy; one anchored in a pro-active, not re-active approach.

I wanted something that would cause her to change her opinion of my behavior.

So once we rolling down down the highway, I popped a CD into the player and turned up the volume a notch.

School communicators come in all shapes and sizes – SCN Encourager

I don’t need research and big data to back this up.

I’m living proof!

contentNot only do we not look alike , we don’t think alike.

I know this is hardly a startling revelation, but nevertheless, I’m continually amazed by the responses I get back from the Encourager.

The variety shouldn’t surprise me.

Some people tell me to stop writing about sports. (They’re the FOC segment = friends of Cindy)

Others tell me to write about sports more than I do.

I’ll even get a message or two which states that my writing about sports is wonderful – but that I’m blowing it by not writing about the right sports!

What do I have against figure skating, anyway?

As you can see, there’s no way I can ever write my way out of this pickle.

Once in a while I’ll receive – and often within minutes of each other on the same day – two contrasting responses to the same Encourager.

One reader will email, “That topic was absurd.”

While another will say, “Thanks. This is exactly what I needed to hear today.”

As you can see again… the responses I get run the full length of the range.

And I wouldn’t change a thing.

I like hearing back from you and other school communicators.

The quote I’d like to get in your hands today will probably also evoke many different reactions.

This quote is not about sports, but it does come from a mental performance coach who has built an impressive career coaching our Olympians and professional athletes.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 1.00.24 PM

Dave Austin

I heard Dave Austin in a podcast few days ago.

Meet Henrik. He lives in Sweden. – SCN Encourager

He writes about his experiments in “worthwhile living.”

Screen Shot 2014-07-23 at 9.17.07 PMHe also likes ice cream.

That’s a plus.

Henrik Edberg is  34 years-old and he has been writing about his passionate pursuit of productivity and balanced thinking for almost 8 years.

His sincere focus on the topics of “productivity” and “balanced thinking” no doubt reveals to you why I find him so fascinating.

He’s so… not me.

My personal journey toward average could definitely benefit from a big shot of his gumption.

I like ice cream, too.

At least we have that much in common.

Henrik wrote an interesting piece called “How to Stop Procrastinating: 7 Timeless Tips.”

Wearable ads. This is called progress, right? – SCN Encourager

The early adopters are already off and running.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 5.37.49 PMDon’t tell me you’re one of them.

I’m still sitting up in the bleachers watching and wondering what the future impact of the new “wearable ads” technology will be.

I’m plopped comfortably in the cheap seats because I’m hoping to delay another inevitable “if you can’t beat them, join them” cave in.

New technology doesn’t automatically guarantee that something better is on the way – so I’m hopeful “wearable ads” have a rough and rocky road ahead.

Besides, isn’t the intended marketplace for “wearable ads” already saturated by millions of people like us walking around in t-shirts?

More sure doesn’t seem like merrier to me.

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 5.36.38 PMOkay.

I can’t deny that carrying around a tiny ad on a wristwatch is easier than hauling around a sandwich sign.

So whatcha think?

You take the lead.

I’ll follow.

Here are two articles that spell out two contrasting futures for “wearable ads.”

This one describes seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

This other one provides an excellent “how to” for jumping on the bandwagon now.

Futurist David Zach nails it when he says that it’s frequently not easy to determine if something is a “fad” or a ‘”trend.”



carWed 072314







Another gem emerges from my scraps of scribbles – SCN Encourager

Oops! I found one more habit shared by experts.

And I have to give Cindy the credit for this one.

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 8.51.45 PMHours after I had emailed yesterday’s Encourager about three shared habits of thought leaders and experts, she asked me how long I was going to leave my bits of paper piled up on our dining room table.

While you and I  know that “extensive research” sometimes has to left alone to rest for awhile  – like a fine wine or a starting pitcher in baseball – I didn’t think it would be a good idea to point this out.

Frequently it’s difficult for a non-school communicator to understand our ways.

So, I just scooped up my tiny scraps and walked over to the trash can under our kitchen sink.

On my way, I spotted a question mark and the words “I don’t know” penned on one of the scraps.Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 9.14.28 PM

I can’t believe I had overlooked this note – because it represents another common behavior embraced by thought leaders and experts.

What experts do (or so I’ve been told) – SCN Encourager

Premier thought leaders and experts share several characteristics.

And to tell you what they are, I wish I was able to just look in the mirror and report back to you.

Vector expert theme illustrationBut since life is so unfair, I must use a magnifying glass and my copyrighted “outrospection” technique to obtain answers.

Thankfully, my fact-facting process is fairly simple.

It involves finding a magnifying glass in our family’s “junk drawer” and then squeezing in a podcast to listen to while I walk the dog and putz around the house (while dodging wedding plan discussions). 

If there’s not breaking news or a major disruptor – like the Tigers on TV – I’m good to go.

My tried and mostly true “outrospection” technique never fails to support my personal journey toward average.

I listened to a “sales and marketing” leadership podcast which presented several memorable points relevant to school leaders and communicators.

At least I thought it did according to the scribbles I had scratched out on tiny scraps of paper.

See? That magnifying glass is no stage prop. Scribbling stuff down right away and then deciphering it later is the only way for me to actually remember “memorable points.”

Golden number one on whiteThe first gold nugget I extracted about the habits of thought leaders and experts is that they are consistently “looking to keep learning.”

Improve your game with Miguel Cabrera’s mindset – SCN Encourager

Miguel Cabrera has more than superior strength, keen eyesight, and speedy-kwik reflexes.

He probably owns a Swiss bank and a small army somewhere.

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 4.26.52 PMBut “Miggy” also possesses two other qualities that we should adopt and make a part of our professional resource “arsenal” as Tigers’ commentator Jim Price would say. (and say, and say, and say…)

And while I wish the two qualities I’m referencing were  “youth” and “a winsome fun-loving smile,” I’m not.

For me, these attributes are long gone.

No, I’m talking about two significant characteristics of Cabrera’s mindset that offer potential benefit for each one of us.

Now perhaps you’re wondering how I can claim to even know about what goes on inside Miguel Cabrera’s head.

Admittedly, we aren’t Skype buddies or anything – nor did I camp out for weeks across the street from his home.

But I heard Tiger teammate Nick Castellanos, a 22 year-old rookie 3rd baseman, asked about Cabrera on an afternoon sports talk radio show.

The questioner wanted to know what it must be like to be in the locker room, in the dugout, and on the field with a future “Hall of Famer” like Cabrera.

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 at 5.06.01 PMCastellanos responded in a manner that reminded me of a smooth and savvy (yet woefully underpaid) school communicator.

He said that rubbing elbows with Cabrera day-to-day was a major career uplifter.

First of all, Cabrera has an “enthusiastic joy for the game” that is both consistent and contagious.

His approach to the game is inspirational and he genuinely desires everyone around him to do well.

Castellanos said he’ll always be a better teammate and player himself because of his time with Cabrera.

Castellanos then said that “Miggy has a uniquely blank mind.”