MF 079 : Jennifer Rock and Michael Voss (Authors of ‘B.S., Incorporated’) on The Power o
Jennifer Rock and Michael Voss are the authors of ‘B.S., Incorporated‘ and founders of ROCKdotVOSS, an agency committed to strategic communications, execution and storytelling for businesses. Today, Jennifer and Mike will share why they left corporate America and how they are changing the way companies, big and small, communicate with employees and customers. You will also discover the power that a crew can provide in staying motivated and inspired to keep moving forward.
Successes at a glance:
Former executives at Best Buy HQ (Fortune 100 company)
Led internal communications strategy and execution for 170,000 employees across the globe.
Counseled and collaborated w/ senior leadership at C-suite level
Helped manage communication transitions between four CEOs
Launched internal social media program
Founding Partners of ROCKdotVOSS
Marketing and communications strategies for Fortune 50 companies, start-ups and small businesses
Implemented social marketing strategies
Work w/ senior leadership and C-level executives on communication strategy and managing vertical and horizontal communication strategies
Provides and executes assessments and communication recommendations / strategies for companies, start-ups and small businesses
Communication audits and solutions
How Jennifer and Michael get inspired to conquer the day:
Michael and Jennifer love what they do and they love the people they get to work with. Simple as that. You can hear in their voices the passion and enthusiasm they have for their vocation as storytellers which led them to create ROCKdotVOSS. Michael explains the concept of working with a “crew.” More than simply a team, a crew is comprised of a group of people that you choose to work with and that you want to spend your days with. Think about that for a minute. People you choose and want to spend your days with. Moving Forward listeners, we spend so many hours, days, weeks, months, years building our businesses and/or our careers. As Jennifer and Mike share, you will have great days and some tough ones. But what makes it all worth it is having that crew: the people who share the same principles and vision and who can see you through the ups and downs. Moving forward is made that much easier when you are doing so w/ those who are on a similar journey as you are.
Setback or failure that led to pivot and shift:
As Jennifer shares, writing a book is an experience “fraught with failure.” While B.S., Incorporated has enjoyed great success and has resonated w/ so many readers (including this one!), it wasn’t easy getting there. For Jennifer and Mike, this was a steep climb w/ many obstacles along the way, from beta readers who didn’t care for the first draft to an extensive editing process and then a series of rejection letters from literary agents. That later part was particularly painful as Jennifer and Mike kept a running spreadsheet of all of the agents that rejected their query letters. Think about that, before they could even get it considered for publication, they were getting rejected by the agents who were the only channel to get it in front of publishers! Eventually, the spreadsheet of rejections grew to 9-10-11 pages! As Jennifer recalls, this became a “catalog of failures.” While many would simply give up and not be blamed for doing so, Jennifer and Mike saw this as their pivot point. The pivot was realizing that simply doing the same thing was not going to yield a different result, so they decided to try a different approach. After doing extensive research, they discovered a “hybrid publisher,” Wise Ink, a company that combines aspects of traditional and independent publishing. After meeting w/ them, Jennifer had an aha moment, realizing that they were “our crew.” The people at Wise Ink not had the expertise, standards and know-how to get Jennifer and Mike’s novel published, they believed in them and their story. Moving Forward listeners, what failure mountain are you climbing this week? Are you finding a catalog of rejections, a spreadsheet or failure or a lot of “no’s” to your vision or goal? One possible avenue is to give up and walk away. Jennifer and Mike could have done that but instead they knew that they had a story to tell; one that would resonate w/ so many people. So what did they do? They pivoted. When A to B didn’t work, they went to A to Q to Z to B. Sometimes, moving forward requires taking a detour from what you thought would be the straight line path to success and finding an alternate route you didn’t see until you hit that huge roadblock.
Resource or cultural experience that inspired Jennifer and Michael to move forward:
For Mike, it’s a parody version of the song Hotel California
For Jennifer: a love of literature and books, instilled at an early age by her mom. Jennifer recalls how her mom challenged her w/ great works of literature like Alice in Wonderland
How Jennifer and Michael stay organized and manage their time:
Mike incorporates motion into his daily morning routine. Throughout his career and now, along his entrepreneurial journey, Mike finds physical activity, whether in doing pushups or walking the family dog, and getting his heart rate up, a necessary part of keeping his mind sharp.
Jennifer is a list maker: both on her iPhone and on paper. Everyday, Jennifer and Mike share and compare to do lists to keep everyone and everything on track.
Favorite app/website/resource or productivity hack:
Jennifer is a big proponent of dashboards to track data, stats, sales, etc. For managing social media, Jennifer recommends Hootsuite as a great dashboard app.
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Jennifer and Michael’s Advice for you to Move Forward:
Once you have identified a goal, whether it’s writing a novel, making a career change, starting a business or climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, make sure you are working towards that goal a little bit everyday. Mike shares this important perspective. It’s the additive effect of tiny increments and progress, taken over a long period of time that moves you forward. This is important since if you try to do too much at once, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and set that goal aside and once it’s set aside, it becomes that much harder to re-engage with it. However, if you are devoting a little bit of time to your goal everyday, even if it’s just a few minutes, you are continually moving forward towards realizing it. This is how Jennifer and Mike were able to write, re-write, edit and re-write B.S., Incorporated over a 6-year period. Jennifer adds and reiterates that accomplishing a goal is so much easier when you have a crew, even if it’s a crew of plus one. For Jennifer, having Mike as a writing and business partner, was key to seeing their vision come to life. Both of them committed to the small micro steps that allowed them to publish a novel and start a business. Moving Forward listeners, what are your big goals? Are you devoting time each day to it or just letting it sit in the back burner of your mind or to do list. If something is important to you, allocate the time each day for those tiny steps forward. It’s important to emphasize tiny because we’re all busy and we all have many responsibilities to manage. Moreover, it’s the cumulation of the tiny steps that moves you forward, more so than taking a big step one day and setting it aside the next.
Connect with Jennifer and Michael: