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The Idea Is the Spark

You can’t go backwards or stand still. Success requires continual learning and redefining. Take away embers of knowledge from these Flint & Steel articles to serve as fuel for change. Light it up.

Surfing the 4th Wave: The Laws of Innovation and the Impact of Generative AI

On June 14th, Dr. John Sviokla delivered a thought-provoking presentation titled “The Laws of Innovation: Surfing the 4th Wave” as part of CLM’s Flint & Steel series. As a leading authority in AI, digital technology, and business transformation, Dr. Sviokla discussed the future of AI and its potential impact on various aspects of our lives. Dr. Sviokla received his Doctorate of Business Administration from Harvard in 1986, and he was among the first to publish articles dealing with thought leadership on the application of AI in business, so his ethos …READ MORE

Jun 26, 2023

Thinking Like Your Customers

By Bob Hiebeler Businesses that want to thrive in today’s hyper-connected world need to think like their customers. In the past, it was common for businesses to focus primarily on maximizing profits, and in some cases, this was done at the expense of customers. However, in light of the widespread availability of information thanks in part to the internet, social media, and technological advances that make knowledge available at the touch of a button, customers are much better informed, connected with other consumers, and as a result, more empowered.   Ultimately, …READ MORE

Mar 29, 2023

Flint & Steel Presents: “Calling your Shot: Secrets of the World’s Greatest Sales Teams.”

On Wednesday, March 8th, as part of our Flint & Steel series, CLM hosted award-winning Revenue Performance Coach Rob Jeppsen as he presented “Calling your Shot: Secrets of the World’s Greatest Sales Teams.” Owning or running any business is learning to create predictability in the midst of uncertainty and perhaps the most challenging place to create predictability is in the sales and revenue generation function. Because of this unpredictability, salespeople have to adapt their tactics in order to survive and thrive. The traditional approach of pushing people even when they …READ MORE

Mar 22, 2023

Customer Needs

Anticipating Your Customers Needs – Make it Easy

By Bob Hiebeler Since the latter half of 2020, everything has migrated online. Mundane tasks that we had to do over and over again pre-2020 have ended up online with stores able to track our purchases and remember our preferences. Repeat orders were easier to fill out as our lists could be set to automatic renewal and delivery. As the systems got more sophisticated and analytics were applied, the stores expanded their offerings to us via digital suggestions, luring us into additional purchases with targeted offerings based on past purchases …READ MORE

Feb 16, 2023

The Power of Good Customer Service, Happy Employees, and Tooting Your Own Horn

By Bob Hiebeler When it comes to building a business that lasts, reputation is everything. Being number one in your vertical is certainly nice, but to continue to grow and push your business forward, people need to know you’re incredible…and the fastest way to achieve this is by providing unparalleled customer service. It’s one thing to tell everyone you’re the best. Any brand can do it, and many do, but what separates the companies who are simply paying lip service from those that are the real deal is the ability …READ MORE

Jan 10, 2023

Flint & Steel Presents: Generation “Them” – Navigating a Multi-Generational Work Force

  Part 3: Recruitment and Retention Welcome back to part 3 of our three-part series wrapping up our recent Flint & Steel live discussion with Kristin Scroggin looking at how generational diversity affects employee behavior within the workspace, and what managers and business owners need to know in order to support employee cohesiveness and maximize each groups effectiveness within the organization. In parts 1 and 2 we looked first at the different generational demographics and how to quickly build a game plan to handle conflict and bring them together as …READ MORE

Dec 12, 2022

Flint & Steel Presents: Generation “Them” – Part 2: Bridging the gaps in a Multi-Generational Workforce

Welcome back to part 2 of our recap of the November 2nd Flint & Steel speaking opportunity we hosted with speaker Kristin Scroggin on generational diversity within the workforce. In part one we looked at the demographic breakdown of the different groups and what key characteristics defined each section. Now, in part two we will look at how, as a manager or business owner, you can not only balance these wildly diverse types of personalities within your workforce, but also utilize the skills and talents each group brings to really …READ MORE

Nov 28, 2022

Photo of Kristin Scroggin speaking at Flint & Steel Event

Flint & Steel Presents: Generation “Them” – Navigating a Multi-Generational Work Force

  Part 1: Identifying the Generational Demographics On Wednesday, November 2nd, we hosted another incredible speaker in our Flint & Steel series. We brought in Kristin Scroggin for a look at how generational diversity affects employee behavior within the workspace, and what managers need to know in order to support employee cohesiveness and maximize each group’s contributions to the organization’s goals. With an average of four generations in any diverse workforce, it’s important to recognize the different styles and what it is that makes them tick. More importantly, she discussed …READ MORE

Nov 15, 2022

Standing Out In A Moving World

With so many brands competing for attention on every channel, companies are under more pressure than ever to stand out. In a world where consumers are hit from every angle with options on how to spend their money and time, successful companies need to create unique value in order to find success. A quick study of a few “iconic” brands can help us identify what makes them feel special…and indispensable. Chick-fil-A for example, crushes their corner of the fast casual food market with exceptional customer service (not to mention that …READ MORE

Sep 30, 2022

What's the
Bright Idea

Let us illuminate you. In our past Dog Eat Hog challenger article series, we shed light on paradigm-shifting innovations and actions from long-shot brands and out-of-nowhere idea-makers. Mind, prepare to be blown.

electric age

Marshall McLuhan: Electric Age Prophet in a Post-Gutenberg Galaxy

  “He was a pyromaniac of the imagination, starting prairie fires over our intellectual landscape.” — Patrick Wilson, Knowledge Organization Theorist   The late 1960s saw mass media coming into its own. Radio waves had been transmitting for decades. Film had become an established entertainment source. Television had grown well beyond its gawky, teenager phase. And the basis of computing was beginning to catch hold in massive cold rooms filled with refrigerator-sized tape drives and punch-card machines. A Canadian English professor named Marshall McLuhan, dubbed this era “The Electric Age.” …READ MORE

Jan 27, 2021

Rosetta Tharpe

Before There Was Rock and Roll, There Was Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Imagine an alternate universe without the frenetic fretwork of the late Eddie Van Halen, without Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page. How about a world without the King of Rock and Roll replete with his unruly pelvis and whiplash grin? Sure, other musical greats like Bo Didley and Muddy Waters played a part in the sound we now call rock and roll, but it was a black woman born Rosetta Nubin, later known as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who now holds the undisputed title of The Godmother of Rock and …READ MORE

Nov 18, 2020

Staying Indie

Star Wars and Staying Indy—From a Certain Point of View

The release of Star Wars Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker in late 2019 marked the end of an era. That first film in 1977 was a panacea for the times, and the pioneering innovations in special effects and CGI spawned spinoff companies that changed the aesthetic of science fiction films for generations. We owe it all to the man with the vision and determination to make his “galaxy far, far away” a reality for us all, George Lucas. Before shifting gears to filmmaking, he spent his teenage years …READ MORE

Jun 25, 2020

The Quest for Fire and Food for Thought

The Quest for Fire and Food for Thought

Some modern-day diet trends might have you believe that early man sustained itself on an endless buffet of fire-roasted animal flesh. In reality, our nomadic forbears were more likely omnivores of the opportunistic type than they were mammoth-herding ranchers. They hunted. They gathered. They ate whatever they could find—the majority of which was lacking any redeeming nutritional value, and scientifically speaking, barf-tastic (look it up). Scientists hypothesize that it was our human ancestors’ culinary exploration that sparked the progress of early civilization and the evolution of man. Possibly the most …READ MORE

Mar 19, 2020

B-Team Superheros

How B-Team Superheroes Saved the Box Office Day

For more than a decade, the holidays and summer have been the season of the superhero with Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe consistently knocking it out of the galaxy. Before we arrived at this new golden age of superhero films, there was an endless run of really lame films and TV shows. If you’ve seen the re-runs or actually suffered through the Incredible Hulk or Spiderman of the 70s, you can appreciate how technology has transformed an army of Supers, Amazings, Incredibles and assorted superlative prefixes into convincingly realistic characters. It …READ MORE

Jan 8, 2020

Man on motorcycle in shop

How to Ride Ahead of the Pack (Without Selling Your Soul)

In January 2019, Harley-Davidson marked an infamous anniversary, that of its 1969 sale to “leisure time and industrial products” giant AMF. Six months after the sale, on July 1969, “Easy Rider” debuted in movie theaters. The timing could not have been better for the H-D brand. The true stars of the counterculture classic are motorcycles – Harleys, specifically – and “Easy Rider” cemented the motorcycle’s place in popular culture as a symbol of escape, liberation and freedom. There was only one problem: AMF spent the next decade ruining the Harley. …READ MORE

Oct 24, 2019

recording studio console

Smells Like Analog Spirit

“In this age of technology where you can simulate or manipulate anything, how do we retain that human element?” – Dave Grohl in “Sound City” There’s no understating Kurt Cobain’s role in the musical paradigm shift that Nirvana initiated with “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” but sonically speaking, it’s Dave Grohl’s monstrous four-beat drum intro that kickstarted the revolution. Drums play a starring role in the legend of Sound City, the famed studio where “Nevermind” and more than a hundred other gold- and platinum-selling albums were recorded. In Grohl’s “Sound City” …READ MORE

Sep 30, 2019

child receiving medical care

Wash. Rinse. Save Lives. Repeat.

Lifehacks, they’re definitely a thing in our culture. But the word seems to have lost a bit of its luster through overuse. The minutiae of everyday life appear to have become one big lifehack leaving a truly awe-inspiring life hack to become a footnote in a sea of shoelace hacks and moustache hacks. Not to discount the overwhelming sense of enlightenment upon unlocking the secret of how to fold a fitted sheet (earth-shattering stuff), but there are some life hacks that transcend convenience. They are simple, clever, elegant even, solutions …READ MORE

Aug 13, 2019