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How I Remembered to KISS at The #UP2015 Conference


As a conference speaker I normally show up to an event, meet and greet as appropriate, step on stage, share my experiences/thoughts, exit the stage, network, and then exit the building – on to the next event.For me, the experience generally centers around speaking and sharing relevant experiences/thoughts with the audience to help them increase their performance.  Seldom do I get to be a participant at the conference.

Yesterday I spoke at the first UP (Unlimited Possibilities) 2015 Conference for the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce.  In this case, I didn’t have an immediate “next event” awaiting my arrival, so I decided to shake up my routine – I decided to be a participant.  When my keynote and breakout session was completed I picked up my conference bag (yes I played the full role of the participant) and headed to my workshop of choice.  I decided to attend a workshop, taught by Brian Mininger, with an intriguing title: Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS).

My introduction to the KISS concept was during my younger days in the USAF.  I had one particular training instructor, can’t remember his name, that loved to espouse the values of KISS.  Keeping it simple was the key to success.  He reminded us not to overcomplicate things and, as only a training instructor in the military could, he had a not so subtle but memorable way to remind us when we were violating the principle of KISS.  So maybe I attended this workshop as a throwback to the good ol’ days or maybe Brian laid the bait just right to peak my curiosity – either way I was there.

Brian’s workshop didn’t disappoint me.  He, like my training instructor, espoused the values and benefits of keeping it simple.  He didn’t present any complicated, convoluted formulas for success, nor did he cloak his nuggets of wisdom behind a veil of mysterious analogies or metaphors that serve as pieces of a puzzle that only few could put together.  Brian’s information was new to some and a refresher to others – it was practical and relatable for business owners.  I’m compelled to share a few of the lessons learned with you.  So here they are, 3 things Brian taught/reminded me:

  1.  If you don’t find and honor the thing that brings you the greatest joy and fulfillment, you’ll spend your life punching a clock.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not a clock puncher.  Focus on those things that give you energy, not those that drain your energy.  What’s your passion? 
  2. If you don’t pay attention to your market, that lack of attention and knowledge will put you out of business.  What are your market/industry trends telling you?
  3. Figure out what people need, even if they don’t know they need it. Find out what keeps your customers up a night.  What do you know about the needs, interests and frustrations of your customers? 

The beauty of these three lessons is in their simplicity.  Sometimes there’s a tendency to devalue the simple and overly value the complicated, after all if it’s too simple anybody could do it, right?  That’s exactly the point – anybody can do it, so do it. Your success and the success of your business depends on you doing the simple things.  I suggest you consider how the above lessons and questions can help you strengthen your performance as a business owner/leader and the overall performance of your business. I thank Brian for reminding me that I’m still able to keep it simple.

What are some additional words of wisdom you’d share with business owners/leaders?  Remember, KISS!!!!

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