What’s in a Name?

August 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Curse is a bar on Clark Street in Chicago that is looking for a new name. I learned this in July 2011 when I was in Wrigleyville for a Cubs game with my friend Brian.

Ater the game, we walked by the bar and noticed they were playing some ’70s disco & funk music. We decided to give it a try. Shortly after getting our beer, the waitress told us they wanted to change their name. I asked why. She asked what their name, The Curse, meant to me. I told her when I saw the name I thought it would be a grunge or goth bar. She looked at me disappointingly.

The waitress informed us the name is a reference to The Curse of the Billy Goat. The Billy Goat curse was supposedly placed on the Cubs in 1945 when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave a World Series game against the Detroit Tigers at the Cubs’ home ground of Wrigley Field because his pet goat’s odor was bothering other fans. He was outraged and declared, “Them Cubs, they aren’t gonna win no more,”

The waitress went on to say she always has to explain the name to people and this is why they are looking for a new name. We declared “we will have a new name for you after we finish this beer!”

After talking to the waitress about their preferred customers, normal atmosphere in the bar and any future changes they plan to make, Brian and I began to brainstorm on a new name. It didn’t take long. Brian remembered the music that drew us to the bar in the first place. He said the new name should be Funk & Curse. I thought it was a brilliant idea. It retained the sports reference, described the music atmoshphere we heard and if the name is said quickly, it could be a fun play on the words by making it sound like a phrase said by someone frustrated by the Billy Goat Curse.

We shared our brilliant idea with the waitress. When we told her the new name, you would have thought nothing could have repulsed her more.

This is usually where I share my wisdom and insight in choosing a new business name. Instead , I would enjoy hearing from anyone and everyone reading this blog. Leave your comments. So I ask you, what’s in a name?

Keep your eyes open.  Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Inspiration for this writing came from Brian and the waitress we talked to at The Curse. Wouldn’t it be fun and funny to walk into the Funk & Curse to celebrate a win next season?

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Unwritten Rules

August 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

“That is one of those unwritten rules”. How many times have you heard a former Major League player and current announcer make this claim? As many people know, baseball has dozens of unwritten rules, maybe even hundreds. Don’t admire your home run shot too long. You can slide in hard to second base to break up a double play, but don’t go in with your cleats up. And my favorite, non pitchers cannot walk across the pitchers mound. All of these unwritten rules make the play unclear to some on the field and most off the field.

If you want people to perform at a very high level, whether it is on the baseball field or at your organization, rules cannot be “unwritten”. “Unwritten Rules” tend to be very vague and unclear. Clarity is paramount. How many times have directions been given and the person goes off and does something completely different? The most likely reason is due to unclear directions.

Be clear. Be concise. Repeat.

Keep your eyes open.  Inspiration can come from anywhere.

I was inspired by a blog post from Marlon Byrd, center fielder for the Chicago Cubs, about the unwritten rules of baseball.

It’s All About The Delivery

August 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

Pitchers in baseball spend years perfecting their delivery.  The smallest tweak in the delivery can make a huge impact, both positive and negative, in the pitcher’s success. Most changes are intentional.  For example, Ryan Dempster, pitcher for the Chicago Cubs, developed a “tell” in his delivery.  Something that he was doing in his delivery told the batter the pitch he was going to throw.  In 2008 he changed his delivery to eliminate the tell.  That season, he went on to have the best record and ERA of his career.

The same inverse impact (small tweak makes a huge impact) can happen in business on any given day. The reaction and response from whom you communicate with can be drastically altered depending on the delivery of your communication.

I experience this at least on a weekly basis.  Someone will talk to me venting about something someone else said.  When I hear the story, it is usually not the words that peaked the ire of the person on the receiving end of the communication, but the tone, body language, enthusiasm (or lack of) or even the word or words that were emphasized in the communication that seem to have caused the problems.  In other words, the delivery.

It is hard to do, but we must think about how our communications will be received or interpreted before they are delivered. Email communication is a bit easier to proof-read and revise if need be.  Verbal conversation is much more difficult and yet much more important.  I am not saying you need to be nice all the time.  Instead, be intentional.  Be intentional in your tone, in your word choice, in your strength and your choice of method (email,  verbal or something else).  Be in control and never out of control of your communication delivery.  If you intend to be nice in your communication, great.  But if the situation calls for stern, hard or aggressive, the delivery of the communication needs to intentionally reflect that.

Think before you speak.  Proof-read before you send.  Using these two simple ideas will help you get the intended reactions from those with whom you communicate.

Keep your eyes open.  Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Inspiration for this writing came from many of my associates at Group Delphi and others in the business community in Fort Wayne with whom I speak periodically about business management challenges.

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