Knowledge is truly king and the pursuit of knowledge is a very noble pursuit. The ever constant push to continuing learning is a huge part of the culture and value of JEBCommerce. When you stop learning, frankly I think you just start to die. This appreciation and love of learning is something I try to instill in each and every employee, although I’m fairly certain not one of my high school teachers and several college profs would believe how important this is to me today.
Because of the importance of education and continual learning, we host many different types of trainings and provide many learning opportunities for our company, and at times, their spouses and families. The JEBCommerce KnowledgeBomb was one of these really unique opportunities. I’d love to say that this was my idea, but far from it. Wil Reynolds and the SEER organization was where I heard of this first. They seem to embrace many of the same cultural values that we do, so I follow them often. If you want to follow them and read about their Knowledge Bomb, check it out here. We took their concept and altered it a bit to fit us. We took an entire day in December and then one lunch in February, to blow our minds. We invited everyone in the company and several individuals close to our organization to present something educational and/or fun to stretch our brains. The results were fantastic. We had several employees present things from Outlook Hacks to “How to use Evernote to be more productive”. Each took about an hour and every single presentation was amazing. There were only a few rules: 1) the topic had to be valuable, 2) you had to believe it would change the way we do things either professionally or personally, and 3) it had to be interesting. Think teaching us how to quilt met that criteria, then bring it on!
It sure was fantastic to take a day out of our schedule after the last ship dates for all our clients and regroup, stretch our legs and learn a bunch of new things. I know it was also a great experience for those presenting as well. It really re-energized us after a very long 4th quarter. We took an entire day … to blow our minds. We kicked things off with my amazing sister, Megan Notarte, Senior Project Manager at Cloud Four. She is one of the best project managers in the country.
Megan presented “Everything I Learned About Project Management I Learned From Watching The Walking Dead”, a presentation using the popular zombie tv-show as an example. I loved the idea since the day I heard it and she didn’t let us down. Her presentation was awesome with some amazing take-aways for all of us. She covered five main points:
- Roles and Responsibilities – identify who has what skills, and what they will provide for the project
- Communication – keep it clear and concise
- Risk Management – identify and plan for risks
- Vigilance – monitor the project and check in with those involved
- Retrospective – review what worked and didn’t work
Megan’s presentation helped our team understand better how people work together, and what we can do to be an even better team. Clear roles + clear responsibilities + clear communication = an efficient team. We’re ready to slay some zombies! Er, manage our projects, I mean…
My good friend, Ed Reese, CEO of Sixth Man Marketing and founder of ReBooked followed Megan with a presentation on “Optimize Everything.” Ed is an analytics savant and our go to guy for all things web traffic, Google Analytics, etc. And he is an amazing presenter that drove home some fantastic points. His presentation focused on these four things:
- Observe everything
- Be unique
- Trust your gut
- Test limitations and push the edges
A key take-away was showing our data in a new way, relying on the visualization of infographs. Pictures speak a thousand words, afterall! Our favorite stories were how he optimized his dating site web page to find his true love and how he took control of his friend’s Tinder profile to get better and more appropriate responses. One ended in marriage and, well, we’re still waiting to hear how the other ends. Both amazing examples of the power of optimizing everything. Our next presenter, Terry Gurno had an inspirational talk titled “Own It! How to Create a Winning Culture.” It inspired us and brought tears to our eyes on multiple occasions. A winning culture is based on being passionate, having a clear mission, and following core values and beliefs. It is built on a strong mindset: Our beliefs will guide our decisions which will decide our actions which yield results. No longer can we allow ourselves to be victims, blaming others and wasting time. Instead, we must take ownership and control of things, and find what it is we can do. When we discover it, we will acknowledge our ownership of it and this will lead to action. Through this, we become a part of a winning culture.
We often find staff here at JEB holding two fingers to their forehead in the shape of a “V” when hearing another employee complain about something they actually should be able to do something about. This presentation really got to the core of who we are and how we continue to drive this company and our personal lives forward. If you haven’t heard Terry speak, you should. You can find him at www.terrygurno.com.
We then moved on to our employees, starting things off with Tyler Johnson, Affiliate Manager at JEB. Email is such an ingrained part of our lives, it’s almost become like breathing. It’s just something we all do without really thinking much about it. And yet, there’s so much more we can do with email….behold! The power of hacking an email system!
Okay, okay, so Tyler didn’t really hack an email system, but he did show us tricks and tips that will surely improve our email productivity. We learned everything from keyboard shortcuts to creating templates to customizing our email display, and much, much more. These were great tricks that will help us maintain clear and efficient communication within our company, as well as with our clients. It was awesome to see how we can tailor Outlook hacks to the specific way that we build strong relationships at JEB. An amazing presentation. Our beliefs will guide our decisions which will decide our actions which yield results. We couldn’t have a Knowledge Bomb without Jeffery Breisch, our Director of Business Development, dropping some knowledge nuggets on us. With at least 6 years experience using Evernote, Jeffery was able to share a lot about the application. This is a program sorta like a word processor, sorta like a stack of sticky notes, and sorta like your brain’s internal file cabinet. All those notepads you furiously take notes on? All those emails you don’t want cluttering up your inbox but don’t want to delete? All those cool things you see or read on the internet and don’t want to forget about? All those thoughts in your mind that start with “I need to remember to…?” Well, here is where you can get it all organized: Evernote. It’s extremely simple and easy to use, and is a great way to impress your friends. Or co-workers.
Seeing that the main thing we do at JEB is build, cultivate and optimize relationships, it was only fitting that we ended our Knowledge Bomb with a presentation from our Publisher Development Director, Greg Powell. Greg shared with us his process for activating and optimizing niche affiliates. This was great information for the team to better understand how we can grow and maintain relationships with clients. We want to provide our clients with the best business practices we can, and this includes identifying their needs, providing them regular updates, and maintaining an open channel of communication. Our team is learning to go beyond the expected, and provide the best services possible. The main thing we do at JEB is build, cultivate and optimize relationships. All these sessions were so well received that we went significantly over our allotted time. I think the team would have kept going if I didn’t have to make my son’s basketball game, but alas, family duties called. My presentation was given about 5 weeks later on “Personal Budgeting”. This is such a huge thing for me. I know how much your life can change when you take control of your finances. So I channeled my best Dave Ramsey, and broke down budgeting for employees and their families. I also provided a budgeting template that we use in our household that has allowed us to do a much better job.
What’s next? A spring knowledge bomb for sure. Got something you want to teach us? Want to fly out to Coeur d ‘Alene Idaho for a day of fun? Let me know!
But here’s another question. How do you ensure you are continually learning? Share below!