Thursday, March 8, 2012

Stay In Touch - New Blog Location

I hope you have enjoyed reading recent blog posts. In an effort to better integrate this blog with my other professional endeavors I have migrated the blog to a WordPress site

Please visit the new site and stay connected.

Samantha Stone

Monday, February 27, 2012

Forget the boring resume, show your story

After 17 years of marketing experience my traditional resume has gotten rather long. There are five pages of important milestones, interesting job progressions and award winning successes. It has become a really interesting list. BORING! While the list shows the depth of my experience, analytic capabilities and my attention to detail, it does nothing to start a conversation. And isn't starting a dialog exactly what a resume is supposed to do! So, being in marketing I decided to visualize my background and teamed up with a talented designer friend to turn my list into an InfoGraphic that opens the door to dialog.

Let me tell you this was NOT easy. How do I turn five pages of accomplishments I'm deeply attached to into a two page visualization of my work. But by stepping back and talking it out with colleagues and the designer we came up with what I hope is a conversation starter.

This approach applies as much to a baker or teacher as it does to a marketing professional. If you want to work in a cupcakery - make your most tasty treat, attach the recipe with one important ingredient missing - offer to show the hiring baker the secret ingredient. Or if you're a teacher build an amazing lesson plan and attach it to your credentials. Or maybe you want to be the next personal shopper at a department store - take pictures of the outfits you've put together for your friends. Whatever your passion, show it, don't tell it. There's no job too small for your story to shine through.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What's Love Got to Do With It?

I might be showing my age with this one, but the song "What's love got to do with it?" keeps refraining in my head this morning. Perhaps because my parents are celebrating their 42nd anniversary today. It's got me thinking -- Why have Diane and Dan (AKA Mom & Dad) not only stayed married for so long, despite the odds, but blossomed and enjoyed marriage for all of these years?

What's love got to do with it? The truth is everything and not very much at the same time. I've come to recognize it's not love alone that's made their marriage a model I can only aspire to learn from. My parents taught me how to fight and most importantly to forgive. They taught me how to look past the unmade bed, or burned pot and laugh. They taught me how to show appreciation for their marriage in a hundred small ways - like not complaining when CNN loops for the third iteration that afternoon, or when your partner asks for the 8th time today what you want for dinner. And of course their marriage is sprinkled with the occasional grand gesture -like a surprise 15 year anniversary gift from dad to mom back to their honeymoon resort.

In fact, love doesn't have all that much to do with it, it was the commitment to love that really mattered. It was the signs of appreciation, the laughter, the forgiveness that has endured for 42 years that's made it last.

Maybe because I just finished Steve Job's biography but I can't help but see the parallel between my parents 42 year marriage and the most rewarding professional teams with whom I've had the pleasure of working. No, we didn't "love" each other in the marriage sense, but we did love our work. We were united with passion for a common cause - launching a company, building new features into a product, getting the word out about our services. We made mistakes, but we made them together. We laughed. We disagreed, sometimes violently, but we forgave and got behind each other. We demanded excellence, but we held out a helping hand and appreciated all that each of us did every day. We loved our work, but more importantly we were committed to that affection.

So the next time you build a project team, maybe you too can learn a little something from 42 years of Diane & Dan's marriage. I sure did, and I couldn't be more grateful.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Inflexible Policies? Bye Bye Potential Customers

New Year's Resolutions generally involve improving oneself in some way -- often by losing weight, saving money or doing more for the community. If someone was observing my behavior of late they would swear my resolution for 2012 must be buy lots of furniture. While not exactly a resolution, it is a reality in my world.

Much of my furniture is 15+ years old and is showing its wear. With the kids getting older its time we started to invest in household furnishings. For obvious reasons this isn't urgent. I'm taking my time, looking around. But I am a serious buyer, with very specific needs. Anyone who knows me will verify, once I see what I want I buy on the spot.

I was thrilled when Bob's Discount Furniture moved into Woburn. Reasonalby well made, family friendly furniture at decent prices. They even have a mini-ice cream bar in the back where the kids can eat for free while I shop. Good marketing - check!

After looking around I found a bunk bed set that was perfect for us. I even ordered it. Then the trouble started. They could not narrow down my delivery schedule to less than a day, and I wouldn't know what time of day until 48 hours before delivery. For a working mom this was not pleasant. But I resigned to work with their inflexible policy. Unfortunately about two weeks before delivery I recieved a message the furniture would be late. Frustrated I cancelled my order. Poor operational planning -- negative check!

In fairness they promptly refunded my money without any hesitation. Excellent customer service - check!

A few weeks later I needed to buy a coffee table. My experiences with customer service were good so I decided to give Bob's another try. I walked in, was pleasantly greeted and promptly shown a coffee table that met my exact needs - storage for blankets, hard surface, dark wood stain. But then a problem - they would only sell the coffee table with two end tables; end tables I don't need or want. It's a shame, I left without buying anything due to another inflexible policy.

Two strikes for inflexibility. I won't likely go back to Bob's. Nice sales staff, the right inventory and an easy return policy aren't enough. Their inflexibility turned away this would be buyer.

Some simple employee empowerment could have made me a customer for life. I guess it's back to Jordan's for me.