The word bespoke has really become popular in the last few years and for good reason...We all want something specific, something just for us. So, what do we at EI mean by bespoke? Well, hearkening back to the definition of bespoke: "Make for a particular customer or user," we mean exactly that! And we mean it in all areas of our business...
Our curriculum developers specialize in taking your own unique ideas, content, and desires and turning it into stellar courses. We understand that you don't want generic training that won't resonate with your clients or staff. Our work focuses on what you want to convey, we are invested in the concept of the transfer of knowledge, so to that end, we sit down with your subject matter experts and glean as much information as possible to turn that knowledge into curriculum.
And the bespoke work doesn't stop there...Our business development team customizes our training and techniques to meet your team's unique needs. We teach your team how to uncover new business, market effectively, and provide excellent solutions, always keeping in mind the personalities and strengths of your team.
We get to know how you think, so that our work responds to your needs.
The best sushi rice recipe is over at The Foodie Eats blog, don’t change a thing and you will have perfect, sticky rice every time. We visit Fresh Market for excellent fish selections, cut up veggies, make some eel sauce, grab our bamboo mats and get rolling.
Perfect Eel Sauce…Don’t knock it till you have tried it on top of your favorite sushi combination, yummy! All you need is equal parts Soy Sauce, Mirin, and Sugar. Throw that all together in a pot and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. The mixture will thicken as it cools. I usually only need a 1/2 cup of each ingredient to have enough sauce for 6-8 people.
4 Cups Milk
1/3 to 1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3/4 cup Raw Sugar
2-3 Giant Marshmallows
Whipped Cream (Make it with Heavy Whipping Cream in your Vita Mix for a serious indulgence.)
Add all ingredients to a saucepan or Cocomotion if you are lucky enough to have one! Yes, the marshmallows go in as well. You can add more marshmallows later, but these add a yummy creaminess to the hot cocoa because they melt. Once everything is heated up, I usually add more marshmallows and a dollop of whipped cream. So yummy!
I like to check out a lot of recipes and try new ways of cooking stuff. Roast chicken is a favorite over at our house. It makes the house smell delicious and lets the chef hang out with friends and family while the chicken is roasting. I always buy organic, smaller sized chickens (3-4 lbs) from Fresh Market. If I am feeding a larger crowd, I will roast two birds side by side in my roasting pan. I don’t have time for brining, so that isn’t going to happen over here. I rinse the birds, pat them dry with paper towels, grab my favorite butter (Finlandia) and gently massage it under the skin. I usually use about 2-3 Tbs per chicken. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper, stuff 1/2 a lemon in the cavity, and a sprig of fresh thyme. Transfer the chicken to a heated roasting pan or skillet, arranged breast side up and roast the chicken for about 40 minutes in a 450° oven. I know this sounds like a high temperature, but trust me, it will be delicious. After 40 minutes, temp the chicken, it should read about 120° in the breast. If it does, turn your oven off and leave the chicken in the oven for another 30-45 minutes. Test the chicken for doneness before removing from the oven. (Breast 160° & Thighs 175°)
"The modern-day tribe is the company." - Simon Sinek
Love Simon's message...We wrote about his TED Talk and one of his great books awhile ago on our blog, check it out here. Simon recently sat down on the Jordan Harbinger Show to discuss how the best companies are values-based. He believes that the best way to foster this idea is to be authentic at work and at home. At Erudite Ingenuity, we are big fans of discussing authenticity, think Brene Brown, James McCrae, and Barry Schwartz. I really liked when Simon discussed how a leader must take the risk to trust first...I think many good leaders do this naturally, but if we desire to become better leaders, it is a great message for intentional growth of our leadership skills.
Simon goes on to discuss, "Why we all deserve (just) a styrofoam cup." Take a listen to Jordan's show with Simon and discover what he means. Simon's message is all about finding your "why," which incidentally is the basis of much philosophical writing and something we love to blog about. We all desire to know our why and the only way to understand what motivates us, what makes us who we are, and how to live is by looking inward.
College Business Development
When we first got started in the marketing game, I was stumped by the audience conversation. It seemed so pointless to me, I mean, I felt like I knew our audience, so why did we need to spend time creating a persona of our ideal audience? Also, whenever we had a meeting to create our audience personas, I was unable to come up with a single descriptor, it was very frustrating. In an effort to save you from similar frustration, I would like to offer 5 ways to define your audience.
1. Draw Your Persona
I know it sounds silly and I am not much of an artist, but drawing your persona is a great way to get this 'character' in your mind. Is your persona male or female? While you might be saying, "Well, that doesn't matter, our programs are great for either gender." While this may be true, when you are creating your marketing strategy, it is absolutely necessary for you to have one persona in mind. Does your persona favor jeans and a 't'
shirt or business attire? Again, perhaps clothing choices seem unnecessary, but in order for you to have a person in mind, you need to have all of these questions answered. The details are what is important here. Give your persona a name and really start to recognize him/her in other people. If you are able to recognize your persona's attributes in other people, you will truly have a sense of your audience.
2. Family & Work Habits
Now that you have drawn your persona and have a strong sense of who he/she is, it is time for you to create a narrative as well. Try to describe your persona's family life and work habits. Ask yourself questions like what kind of family is my persona part of? Is my persona part of a family that values higher education? Does my persona desire a job that is very structured? Or, is my persona wanting a flexible workplace? You get the idea, you need to know how this person works and what his/her expectations might be regarding family life, workplace, and daily life habits.
3. Your Persona's Goals
This might seem really difficult to ascertain, just remember that this is an internal exercise and it is only to help your marketing department speak to the right audience. Understanding your persona's goals will help you position your programs and courses effectively. Let's say that your persona wants to achieve a higher salary in the manufacturing industry. Perhaps you have a leadership program that has been recognized by area businesses as a nice stepping stone to achieve a management position...If you are speaking to a persona that is in the manufacturing industry already, you might decide to position your marketing language to identify with that industry and discuss how leadership classes will improve his/her chances of moving up in the company.
4. Know the Obstacles
This step is a bit more difficult, but it is important to spend some time thinking about what is holding your persona back from moving forward with his/her education. Consider your persona's economic standing, buying decisions, and family obligations. For example, is your persona likely to be the first one in his/her family to pursue an education beyond high school? Does your persona have a fear surrounding advanced education? What sorts of things might incentivize your persona to pursue a program?
5. Where Does My Persona Hang Out?
Okay, we are on the last step...Let's brainstorm a bit about where your persona might hang out! Try to guess who might influence your persona? Do you think your persona would enjoy any specific podcasts or blogs? Make a list of all of the influencers in your persona's life. What kinds of books does your persona enjoy? What about online reading material?
At this point, you should have quite a bit of information written down regarding your persona's likes, dislikes, habits, and behavior. You should feel comfortable describing your persona and answering questions about whether or not your persona likes this or likes that! Remember that you are actually writing a story when creating a buyer persona. And if you approach this more like a creative writing exercise, I think you will find it much easier to complete.
Is philosophy the pathway to a better work life? At Erudite Ingenuity, we believe that it is important to explore topics that might seem esoteric or unfamiliar to help you see things from a different perspective. If you read only business books in your quest to get ahead at work, you will miss out! We are big proponents of studying philosophy to change our perspectives, encourage out-of-the-box thinking, and help us perform better at work. Philosophy really is all about living well and instead of heading to the self-help section, I implore everyone to instead peruse the philosophy section of your local bookstore and discover what the great thinkers had to say about living a good life. Grab these books off the shelf and discover what I mean...
The Art of Living is a collection of Epictetus' quotes and you will be amazed at how current his thoughts are in today's world. “We are not privy to the stories behind people’s actions, so we should be patient with others and suspend judgement of them, recognizing the limits of our understanding.” - Epictetus
This is a tough read, however there are so many golden nuggets in Aristotle's philosophy that I encourage you to plod your way through. Aristotle is a bit of a misogynist, so know that up front, forgive him, and focus on his beautiful thoughts on ethics and friendship. "My best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my own sake." - Aristotle
Plato's dialogue-style writing is a great read. “I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing.” - Plato
Descartes' writing may not resonate with everyone, however I purport that his standard for knowledge is noteworthy. “To know what people really think, pay attention to what they do, rather than what they say.” - Descartes
Ever since Chade-Meng Tan gave his TED Talk in 2010, compassion has become an important characteristic in the workplace. Are we comfortable discussing compassion? Webster defines compassion as "a sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it." I hope that exists in the workplace, but I am just not so sure. Maybe we have 'a sympathetic consciousness of other's distress,' probably because we can sympathize and in some cases, even empathize, with what people might be going through, but do our leaders and coworkers really have a desire to alleviate our distress? I think that some people recognize the importance of helping others alleviate distress, but how far are leaders willing to go? Oh, I so want to delve into the question of whether or not it matters if our reasons are selfless when we offer help, but that will have to wait for another day! Are compassionate leaders encouraging their teams to care about the greater good? Chade-Meng Tan tells us in his TED Talk that caring about the greater good is a key ingredient in creating a compassionate workplace. Companies that put an emphasis on caring for communities and have a passion for the greater good are quite successful at creating a workplace where people show they care about one another. Autonomy is also cited as a necessary component in creating a compassionate atmosphere. In my experience, autonomy requires a level of trust that some companies have difficulty affording to employees, but when companies let go of control and trust, people tend to flourish in their roles. Self-awareness and a focus on inner growth also plays a large role in creating a compassionate workplace. According to a recent article in the Harvard Business Review by Adam Robinson, a study of over 1000 business leaders found that leaders who led with compassion produced teams that were superior. "Teams led by compassionate leaders exhibited better intra-team collaboration, stronger commitment to the company, and far lower turnover rates than those led by less-compassionate leaders"(https://www.inc.com/adam-robinson/according-to-harvard-this-1-leadership-trait-separates-exceptional-leaders-from-rest.html). Take a listen to Chade-Meng Tan's TED Talk, he makes a compelling case for compassion and ends his talk with this wonderful quote!
"If you want others happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion." - Dalai Lama
I love quick tips about how to improve your life, don't you? I like this list because it seems so counterintuitive...Sleep More, Quit Being Nice, Play More Video Games, etc. Did the author of this article consult with my 14 year old? It does bring up some interesting points and the overall sense is that we need to relax and spend more time just being, rather than the go, go, go lifestyle we are all so committed to these days.
It is no surprise that exercise is on the list, but I had to smile when I read #8, 'Don't Trust Yourself.' It is something we don't often think about, but it is so true, we are the best liars to ourselves, aren't we? I probably lie most to myself about my eating and exercise habits. That portion was very small, so adding another dollop of whipped cream to my peach cobbler won't ruin my diet. I ran three days last week, so I only have to run once this week. You can probably relate, right? The last two made me laugh out loud, I definitely need to take myself less seriously, smile more, and laugh! Give this article a read.
It is always a good reminder to practice daily habits, check out this article. I especially like to rise early, it is always refreshing how much more can be done when establishing a morning routine. I have struggled with following the Pareto Principle, it seems like each year I remind myself to once again focus my efforts on the aspects of my business that produce the greatest results. So, this month, I am asking myself which 20% of my efforts are producing the best results. Another habit that I would add to this list is developing an understanding that we learn by doing, so getting our content out there or producing a work product is more important than tweaking and tweaking and never actually producing anything.
One of my favorite authors and Ted Talkers! Brene Brown is inspirational, funny, and real. I was perusing our blog posts and realized I had never posted this amazing TED Talk. In 2011, Brene Brown's video went viral after she exposed how being vulnerable is a necessary component of finding happiness and joy. It really resonates with me because I think that our 'go-to' is often to respond with fear, instead of with "courage, compassion, and connection." Brown's words in this talk are so powerful and she really hits on the notion that our courage and willingness to be vulnerable is what opens us up to a life filled with joy. I have to say that vulnerability has never really sat well with me, I like words like strength, power, resilience, etc. The idea that being vulnerable was the surefire pathway to finding happiness and joy sounds counterintuitive to me. Brown's examination of this subject is compelling and convincing, she frankly discusses how she pushed back on the notion of becoming vulnerable and found that letting vulnerability in led to a fuller and happier life. Take a listen today!
One of Brene Brown's lesser known books should really be pushed to the forefront with this #TimesUp movement. She published Women & Shame in 2004, however the notion that shame shapes our behavior and damages our spirit is a timely subject.
We write quite a bit about learning and the importance of challenging oneself...We can't help it, our background is in higher ed teaching, so we love to talk learning whenever we get the chance. In this TED Talk, Bernie Dunlap revels in our "insatiable curiosity" and an "irrepressible desire to know" as driving forces of what makes us want to learn and learn and learn. Mr. Dunlap's talk is inspiring and concludes with these wise words from Mahatma Gandhi, "Learn as if you'll live forever."
About a month ago we shared an article and our thoughts about the importance of learning in the workplace. Learning in the workplace is often undervalued, however studies have shown that the best managers focus on training employees and encouraging learning. Bernd Vogel, Director of Henley Centre for Leadership at Henley Business School notes, “L &D is often seen as a ‘token’ activity and that is the underlying philosophy that top managers have about it." Learning & Development professionals need to possess the confidence to impact how employees learn and grow in the workplace. The notion of constantly improving, rather than simply focusing on what one needs to know to do his job today, is the real value in empowering a Learning & Development department. At Erudite, we believe strongly in learning in the workplace and in this crazy, fast-paced world, learning has never been easier...or has it? Sometimes, the onslaught of information is simply overwhelming. For example, I will be scrolling through Twitter with my business hat on and stumble across a post about Whitman's poetry, then all of the sudden I seem to be interested in poetry, but of course Whitman sparks a love of nature, so then I am searching for my next hike. You get it, right?