My Personal Philosophy

In 2007 I launched the campaign “One Act of Kindness,” an initiative that encourages simple acts of kindness between strangers. The premise is that when you perform an act of kindness, you leave behind a “kindness card” (found on the site), which encourages that person to do the same for someone else. We are here for a short period of time. If we help others and promote kindness I believe our life gains a different level of greatness.

Please visit www.oneactofkindness.org to try to help others as well.

  • Thriving Together: 7 Vital Pillars for Company Success February 23, 2024 by Cazarin Interactive

    Thriving Together: 7 Vital Pillars for Company Success

    As the President and CEO of a creative marketing agency that has been in business for 25+ years, I strongly believe that our success isn’t just about financial gains or market dominance. Success comes from creating a thriving ecosystem where every member of the team feels valued, motivated, and empowered to contribute their best. Over the years, I have identified seven essential factors that lay the foundation for a company’s growth and prosperity. These factors are not just pillars; they are guiding principles that shape our culture and define our collective journey towards excellence.

    1. Set clear goals and objectives
      At the heart of every successful venture lies a clear vision and a roadmap to achieve it. Setting goals isn’t just about defining targets; it’s about igniting the flame of ambition and channeling our collective efforts towards a common purpose. At Cazarin Interactive, we strive to set ambitious yet achievable goals that inspire us to reach new heights. I encourage my team members to align their individual aspirations with the broader vision of the company to help create powerful momentum. If you are unclear about your goals, I have a series of guiding questions to help you establish them. 
    2. Be in a grateful and appreciative state of mind
      Gratitude is a transformative force that uplifts spirits, fosters resilience, and cultivates abundance. As leaders, it’s essential for us to acknowledge the efforts and contributions of every member of our team. A culture of appreciation and recognition validates the hard work of your colleagues and creates a positive feedback loop that fuels motivation and fosters a sense of belonging. Gratitude serves as a beacon of hope even through times of challenge.
    3. Tap into your team spirit
      Your company’s strength lies within the collective synergy of your team. By embracing the spirit of collaboration, cooperation, and camaraderie, we harness the diverse perspectives, skills, and experiences that each team member brings to the table. Together, we celebrate our successes, learn from our failures, and navigate the complexities of our journey in solidarity. In a world that glorifies individual achievement, it is our commitment to team spirit that sets us apart and results in creating joy.
    4. Control your stress
      Stress has the potential to be a silent killer of productivity, creativity, and well-being. As leaders, we have to cultivate practices that promote mental, emotional, and physical resilience. It is imperative that we do not let our own stress get passed along to our team. By setting boundaries and fostering a culture of work-life balance, we create a supportive environment where every member of the team can thrive. Through mindfulness, meditation, and other stress-relief techniques, we empower ourselves to face challenges with clarity, composure, and courage.
    5. Exhibit healthy habits
      Healthy habits form the cornerstone of a thriving workforce, enabling us to perform at our peak and lead fulfilling lives both inside and outside the workplace. My favorite healthy habit lately is playing pickleball, which has positively impacted my overall health and performance. I share my pickleball hobby and meditation with my team to help champion a culture of wellness and vitality and inspire them to prioritize healthy habits that nourish their minds and spirits, too.
    6. Communicate clearly
      Effective communication is the connective tissue that binds teams together and fosters understanding, alignment, and trust. As leaders, we recognize the importance of transparent, open, and empathetic communication in nurturing a culture of collaboration and empowerment. By actively listening to the diverse perspectives of our team members, fostering dialogue, and providing timely feedback, we create an environment where ideas flourish, conflicts are resolved constructively, and innovation thrives. Clear and purposeful communication unites us in our shared mission and propels us towards shared success.
    7. Enjoy the journey
      Company success is clear when the whole team understands that what they are working towards is a journey, not a destination. It is in the process of pursuing one’s goals that one needs to find happiness and joy. The more the team can enjoy the journey, which is created by small efforts each day, the more joy can be created as an outcome. At Cazarin Interactive, we implement small actions such as “Living the Brand” moments, which include small team bonding activities incorporated into our daily sprint meetings. This contributes to the joy we experience through the intangible energy of team collaboration.

    Company success is not a solitary endeavor, but a collective journey fueled by shared purpose, mutual respect, and unwavering determination. Embracing these seven vital pillars helps lay the groundwork for a thriving team where every individual can shine. 

  • 5 Guiding Questions to Ensure a Successful Business in 2024 January 29, 2024 by Cazarin Interactive

    5 Guiding Questions to Ensure a Successful Business in 2024

    Most business leaders have already reviewed their 2023 numbers and evaluated whether they reached their goals or not. Most businesses, by now, have also set their 2024 goals and identified what needs to improve. I’ll volunteer myself as an example: My company, Cazarin Interactive, did not meet its 2023 sales goals. However, we have our eyes on the target and are making foundational strides to get there. I’m confident that this fact puts us ahead of many businesses and on the track to success in 2024.

    As you enter a fresh start with the new year, it is important to know where your destination is. What does success look like for your business? That question isn’t always so simple to answer. However, it is key to achieve SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) goals. Define goals with this criteria in mind and you will more clearly understand if you have achieved them or not.

    Here’s a hard truth: Unless you know where your destination is, you won’t get there this year. As a business owner or a marketer, you have to set goals and objectives, otherwise there is no direction toward success. To help set those goals for a successful 2024, here are five factors you need to consider:

    GROWTH DEFINED: What kind of growth do I want to have in the next 12 months?
    There are many potential answers to this question and yours will set the bar for the year. The steps required to make tremendous growth look different than the steps needed to make a 5% increase in profit, for example. Here are some ideas to choose from:

    Perhaps you want 2024’s revenue to increase by 20% from 2023.
    You may want to expand your customer base to 20 new clients in a specific industry or a new market.
    Perhaps you want to launch a new product and break even on its sales by the end of the year.
    You may want profit to increase by 30%, which likely involves reducing expenses and increasing productivity.

    You may want the value of your existing assets to grow, whether by developing intellectual property or buying/selling the facility you operate from.

    It’s easy to say you want all of the above, however, it is important to choose one definition of growth for your company this year and direct your focus on that part of the puzzle. If you do that, trust that all those other goals will begin to fall into place and progress will be made.

    RESOURCES TALLY: Do I have the people, talent and/or equipment to achieve the goals I set up?
    The growth goal that you’ve set for yourself has to be obtainable, of course. Consider first if you currently have the resources for that growth. A business is typically very lucky if it can answer yes to this question, and it is definitely possible. Sometimes, it’s a matter of maximizing talents that are already seeking more fulfillment from their jobs. Or, you may have equipment that you have not been fully utilizing.

    If you do not have the resources or people for that growth, it is time to take some action. Sometimes, eliminating talent that does not fit the growth goal you have established is the difficult, yet necessary step to help you get there. This can often be especially true when increasing profit is the goal.

    IMPLICATIONS: What will be the implications of this growth?
    Growth isn’t meant to be easy. It can result in a new level of responsibilities, new problems that may arise, more expenses, and more conflict than you used to have. One should expect these implications, whether they happen or not, and be prepared. Some good questions to follow this one up with are:

    • Do we need more staff?
    • Will there be a shift in business and a higher demand for everyone’s time?
    • Do we have the capacity to add more services or products?

    If you are acquiring a company, expect there to be some conflict and disagreement from existing staff about your assessments of the financial, operation, and legal aspects. Aligning business processes, cultures, and technologies is not always a seamless transition. Stakeholder communication is paramount, as employees, customers, and partners need to be informed and engaged throughout the process to maintain trust and support. Challenges may arise and flexibility is key in adapting to unforeseen circumstances. All implications of the growth need to be accounted for in advance so that when the growth happens, it doesn’t result in a collapse.

    PLAN B: What would be the consequences if I don’t reach that goal?
    All great goals have skin in the game, right? What would be the result of a year of untapped potential going by for you? What does it mean for your personal life? Your family? Factoring these details in works as a serious motivation boost.

    It’s easy to think about how this growth affects ourselves, but what about your employees? How would your stakeholders respond if you did not reach the goal you set? When presenting your annual report to your employees and/or stakeholders, how do you want that presentation to go?

    CONFIDENTIAL: Do you have goals that can’t be shared with others?
    Goals such as retirement, selling the company, succession, and exit strategies, tend to be kept private to avoid stirring up fears, resentment, or negative emotions around the company. But as a business owner, consider how these goals play a role or are affected by the growth goals you set. Your growth goals may be what contributes to an earlier retirement, or serve to attract key investors in your company. Keep track of these personal goals separately and compare them with your business goals on a quarterly basis to ensure the work you’re doing is aligned with your overall purpose. After all, your happiness will contribute to the overall happiness and success of your company, so it is important, not selfish, to consider these needs.

    My company, Cazarin Interactive, can execute the marketing required to help you achieve your goals. However, if you don’t have plans lined up and your goals set, we cannot achieve that together. Here’s to a successful 2024 ahead with clear goals and objectives set!

  • 5 TIPS FOR CREATING BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS AT WORK December 11, 2023 by Cazarin Interactive

    A beautiful moment is a flash that evokes a positive emotional response and creates a lasting memory. It can be a moment of joy, inspiration, connection, or wonder. Beautiful moments can happen at any time, but they often occur when we are fully present and engaged in the world around us.

    What defines a beautiful moment can be unique to the individual or a shared experience and can range from personal experiences like

    • Watching a sunrise over the ocean, 
    • Listening to a favorite song that brings back happy memories, 
    • Watching birds or animals in a park,
    •  Feeling inspired by a  poem or speech or 
    • Sharing a laugh with friends and loved ones. 

    They can also be experienced with a team at work, like when you complete a challenging task or achieving a goal, experiencing a sense of connection and belonging with others. 

    Beautiful moments can be simple or profound, but they all have the power to uplift our spirits and make us feel more alive. By seeking out and savoring these moments, we can cultivate greater happiness, gratitude, and fulfillment in our lives. Elevating your quality of life – beautiful moments can also elevate your QOL (quality of life).

    The bigger challenge is how do we create a workplace that fosters, inspires, and creates beautiful moments. Because beautiful moments are subjective and individualistic, here are five tips to assist and inspire you, and use them as a springboard in your own work culture.

    1.   Focus on positive interactions: One of the best ways to create beautiful moments at work is to focus on positive interactions with your colleagues, customers, and clients. Take the time to connect with people, listen to their stories, and offer words of encouragement and appreciation. Try to set a goal of having at least two positive exchanges with colleagues or clients per day
    2. Create a positive work environment: A beautiful workplace is not just about aesthetics, but also about the energy and culture that you create. Encourage positive behaviors, such as kindness, empathy, collaboration, and invoke a welcoming and inclusive environment. By creating an infrastructure that is rooted in respect and focused on creating a climate of joy among the team members, a positive work environment will naturally be the result. 
    3. Celebrate milestones and achievements: Take the time to celebrate milestones and achievements whether it is a team member’s work anniversary, a successful project launch, or hitting a sales target. This shows that you appreciate and value your colleagues’ contributions and creates positive memories that they will cherish. Celebrations don’t have to be elaborate or break the activities budget, either. Taking the time to acknowledge success should be together; realignment should occur privately. Try not to single out an employee’s mistakes in front of their colleagues. This can kill spirit and deter morale.
    4. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness is a practice of being present and fully engaged in the moment. By practicing mindfulness at work, you can create a beautiful moment by fully immersing yourself in your tasks, connecting with your colleagues, and savoring the small pleasures in your workday.

     Practicing mindfulness at work can help you improve your focus, reduce stress, and increase your productivity. You can start your day with a short mindfulness practice, such as meditation, breathing exercises, or yoga. This can help you set the tone for the day and reduce stress and anxiety.

     Take short mindfulness breaks throughout the day. This can be as simple as taking deep breaths or practicing mindful walking.

     Focus on the present moment and avoid distractions from your thoughts or worries. If your mind wanders, gently bring your attention back to your work.

     Practice mindful listening when you are in a meeting or having a conversation with someone. This means giving the person your full attention and really listening to what they are saying without judgment or distraction.

     Take mindful pauses between tasks before you move on to your next task. Pause, reset, and refocus. You can take deep breaths, stretch, or practice a short mindfulness exercise.

     Remember, practicing mindfulness takes time and effort, so be patient with yourself and keep practicing. Over time, you will notice that you are more focused, productive, and less stressed at work. 

    1. Infuse joy and kindness into your brand: Work can be stressful and demanding, but taking the time to build an internal culture that is focused on always choosing to be kind and supportive even during times of high stress can do wonders for your team morale and this will manifest in your team’s work product as well. This is an element you should infuse into your brand identity as well. By making it clear you’ve invested in improving your team’s quality of life by constructing a habitat of support and positivity at work you make it known your brand cares about more than just the bottom line. Since today’s consumer cares deeply about patronizing brands that are about more than making a profit, this is an effort that showcases you as a modern brand with your finger on the pulse of modern consumerism.  

     

  • A Destiny Driven Team Solves, Not just Sells May 30, 2023 by Cazarin Interactive

    Destiny Driven” Team Ideology and Series

     

    A Destiny  Driven Team Solves, Not Just Sells

    Stop selling your employees about why they need to perform better.  Explain why their contributions help solve problems and contribute to the company’s/clients advancement.  Employees are more inclined to step up their game when they know their work can add-value to the healthier whole of the organization.

    People tend to do three things when faced with a problem: they get afraid or uncomfortable and wish it would go away; they feel that they have to come up with an answer and it has to be the right answer; and they look for someone to blame. Being faced with a problem becomes a problem. And that’s a problem because, in fact, there are always going to be problems!

    One of the key components of a successful team originates from their ability to solve problems as they arise, and do so in a collaborative, non-judgemental way. This can be more difficult than it sounds, but it’s important to remember that it’s a TEAM problem, so what’s needed is a TEAM solution. 

    To begin with, a leader who is focused on results and has their finger on the pulse of the team is going to be able to determine where the gap is in service or quality. It might take some time and a little investigation to ascertain where the bottleneck is, but it is always the responsibility of the team lead to find the issue and then determine the best way to solve it. Additionally, how a leader sets the tone for dealing with an issue is key to how your team members will not only react, but how effectively they will work to fix it.

       Because people are born problem solvers, the biggest challenge is to overcome the tendency to immediately come up with a solution. Let me say that again. The most common mistake in problem solving is trying to find a solution right away. That’s a mistake because it tries to put the solution at the beginning of the process, when what we need is a solution at the end of the process.

    When a client has called me with an issue, I might try to ascertain if there is one specific individual on my team who is at the root of the issue, but I tend to keep that as personal intel I don’t share with my team. It’s information that I keep in a mental file, but I don’t necessarily jump to the assumption that the entire issue rests solely in their hands. Instead, I gather the client team together to address the issue together for a problem solving session.

    Why? Because years of managing people has taught me that approaching a problem as a puzzle the team needs to solve together is going to generate much better ideas – and results – than pulling one person into my office and asking them why they’re messing up. All that typically generates is defensiveness, excuses, and resentment. Conversely, if people feel that they have a team behind them to support them and work with them on fixing an issue they are much more likely to react positively and want to find an answer. 

    It’s a proven fact that people who feel they are part of a cohesive unit working toward one goal are much more likely to step up to the plate. Think of the most successful sports teams in history along with the most revered coaches. Both have been born from a shared sense of work ethic, working collaboratively to solve an issue. While there may be a standout player here and there, the best of the best always know that the team wins together and fails together. And when you solve problems collaboratively, you increase the amount of stakeholders and the people who want to make sure the solution works. The more people who care, the more likely you’ll find success.

    Here is the seven-steps I use for an effective problem-solving process.

    1. Identify the issues.

    Be clear about what the problem is.

    Remember that different people might have different views of what the issues are.

    Separate the listing of issues from judgment and blame. Too often, team problem solving sessions can become a witch hunt of who to blame or who gets the passed buck passed to their desk last. All this ends up creating is a culture of suspicion and mistrust, and it is the quickest enemy to a cohesive, collaborative team. Instill from the start that the issue is the PROBLEM, not the person. If it seems like the issues do seem to consistently involve one team member, start by finding out if there are tools or training they need that could easily solve the problem.   

    1. Understand everyone’s interests.

    This is a critical step that is usually missing.

    Interests are the needs that you want satisfied by any given solution. We often ignore our true interests as we become attached to one particular solution.

    The best solution is the one that satisfies everyone’s interests but that might not be possible. Find the one that satisfies the most.

    This is the time for active listening. Put down your differences for awhile and listen to each other with the intention to understand.

    Separate the naming of interests from the listing of solutions.

    1. List the possible solutions (options)

    This is the time to do some brainstorming. There may be lots of room for creativity.

    Separate the listing of options from the evaluation of the options.

    1. Evaluate the options as a team.

    What are the pluses and minuses? What is the “all-around” answer. Remember that perfect is often the enemy of the good here. You’re looking for the best all-around solution to the problem. You’ll never find one that works from all angles and makes everyone absolutely happy, but you can find one that will be accessible and actionable.

    Separate the evaluation of options from the selection of options.

    1. Select an option or options.

    What’s the best option, in the balance?

    Is there a way to “bundle” a number of options together for a more satisfactory solution? Share the work among team members? The possible issue could be a result of one person doing too many things. 

    1. Document the approach you’re going to take to solve the problem.

    Don’t rely on memory.

    Writing it down will help you think through all the details and implications.

    1. Agree on contingencies, monitoring, evaluation, and accountability.

    Conditions may change. Make contingency agreements about foreseeable future circumstances 

    How will you monitor compliance and follow-through?

    Create opportunities to evaluate the agreements and their implementation. (“Let’s try it this way for three months and then look at it.”)

    Effective problem solving does take some time and attention more of the latter than the former. But less time and attention than is required by a problem is not well solved. What it really takes is a willingness to slow down. A problem is like a curve in the road. Take it right and you’ll find yourself in good shape for the straightaway that follows. Take it too fast and you may not be in as good shape. *Add in accountability.

     

    A Destiny  Driven  Team Focuses on Purpose, Not Just Profits

    Employees are inspired by knowing that their hard work  makes a difference beyond profitability.  Destiny driven employees want leaders who see beyond the bottom line and look to create wider reaching impact that extends into the community and influences social causes.

    Ricardo’s Input:

    We are all on this earth for a purpose. To teach, to learn, to grow, to help, to experience. I once read a story about a very successful millionaire who happened upon a monastery during a trip abroad whose focus was working with the poorest among us. Within weeks, the man changed his life around: donated his money and his possessions, sold his business, and joined the monastery as a monk*  Needless to say, people in his life were shocked by this choice; many thought he had lost his mind. What did he have to say on the matter? He hadn’t lost his mind; he’d found his purpose. What he was put on this earth to do. Being a monk and working with the poor, taking the focus off of him and putting it on others, giving of himself every day rather than taking fulfilled him like nothing else had, even making money.

    Now, this might be an extreme case, and certainly not all of us will find our purpose in such a selfless call. Conversely, your life’s purpose isn’t all about what you do when you’re at work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find the right role in your job that will best inspire and stimulate you and where you can feel your talents are being used in their best way.

    When I bring new people onto my team, I always have them take a personality inventory test before extending an offer. I’m not judging them solely on the results of the test, but I am trying to find insight into how they work, what makes them tick, how they interact with others, and where they are going to feel the most inspired. Someone who is an introvert, for example, is very unlikely to be a superstar in your sales department. Someone who is highly creative is not going to find their happy place working with analytics all day. Having this type of knowledge about a new hire has proven to be invaluable to me. I start out knowing where I can best plug them into my team to not just get the best out of them, but also where I can help them to feel the most fulfilled and purpose driven.

    I once hired a talented woman in my marketing department who was working as an account manager and dealing directly with clients on a regular basis. Her role was to oversee all aspects of the clients’ account with us and ensure that all of the tasks they’d hired us to manage for them were being accomplished. She was performing well, but it became clear to me through our weekly check-in meetings that something was missing for her. She was getting the job done, but there was a decided lack of enthusiasm and joy in her spirit and her commitment to the team.

    When I approached her about this, she shared with me that the constant interaction with the client that is required of an account manager made her feel like she wasn’t getting much accomplished, that instead, she was just making sure OTHER team members were getting the job done, and that wasn’t fulfilling for her. SHe felt more like a gatekeeper than someone who actually contributing in a meaningful way. 

    It became clear to me during this conversation that this woman was an executor, not a manager.  For her to feel like she had put in a productive day at work she needed that task-oriented, crossed that off the list, here is what I produced that is making our work product better feeling. And while she was professional enough and talented enough to make sure her job got done, I knew she would never truly find her purpose working as an account manager. She would eventually come to this realization on her own and likely leave in a year or two. 

    Rather than lose a talented and valued team member, I realized it was time to pivot. Through a few more meetings, we found what kind of client work was inspiring to her. A highly analytical and strategic person, she enjoyed looking at metrics, key performance indicators, and performance analytics, finding the patterns and discovering where efforts where falling short, and then problem solving with the team to rectify them. Once we discovered this, I was able to work with my Marketing Director to transition her account management role to one where she became an analyst. Once she stepped into this role, the change in her spirit was almost immediate. She not was visibly happier, she became a shining asset on our marketing team as a analyst who could quickly see problem areas and correct them.

    The lesson? Find a team members true purpose and you find the way to unlock their true potential. Additionally, if a team member feels that you value them enough to help them find that purpose at your company, you foster true loyalty and connection.

    *Unlock people’s potential

    *Spiritual teacher – there are spiritual principles that do work in a work situation.

    A Destiny Driven Team Leader Knows the Ingredients, Not Just the Recipe

    When you spend time with your employees, make it matter. Don’t just expect your time and title and the fact that you sign their paychecks to be enough to inspire them. Employees want a leader that pays attention and genuinely cares about them.

    Great leaders take the time to know the ingredients before they can create the best recipe for success. Employees are most inspired when a leader takes the time to know them and show that they have their best interests at heart.

    Ricardo’s Input:

    Make Yourself a Leader Who Conveys Humble Confidence

    If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that the way you arrive at your destiny is at least as important as the place where you end up. As a Destiny-Driven leader who is focused on steering your team through rocky waters, there’s going to always be a lot of information and pressures that you’re privy to that your team is not, nor should they be. It’s crucial that as a leader, you always remember that you are the grounding rod for the team. 

    Teams that succeed do so because they trust in both the vision and the resiliency of the person in charge. After all, for a team to believe in your mutual destiny, they have to have absolute faith in you being the person to navigate that journey. That doesn’t mean that you handle all the pressures and deal with all the worries alone, and you certainly can’t do it without ensuring that you’re ready and able for the challenge. A true destiny-driven leader has to be up to the challenge, which requires you doing a lot of personal work on yourself, and you have a trusted team helping you execute and deliver. 

    We have all heard the phrase “Never let them see you sweat.” It’s typically a saying we associate with “competition”; never let THE OTHER GUY know you’re rattled or not prepared. But it’s also a sentiment that pertains to how you allow yourself to be viewed by your team as well. A CEO who appears to be frightened or flapable doesn’t inspire confidence or a sense of security in anyone. Consider some of our more revered and successful Presidents in history, like FDR or JFK; both of them were excellent leaders in part because they demonstrated and communicated a sense of authority and control in times of real crisis.

    This is also true for a leader of a team of ten or a leader of thousands. In fact, a leader’s inability to maintain an appearance of confident control can result in making whatever difficulty you’re currently facing become twice as big as it was before. Consider this: If your team picks up  a sense of panic from you, what will they likely do? You’re the person they are going to look during a stressful time, and if you appear to be worried, they’re not only going to worry themselves; many are going to interpret your concern as a sign that they should jump ship and find another job. The last thing you need during a professional setback is to lose some of your best team members. This is why it is crucial that a leader has cultivated the talent of always maintaining their “game face” and conveys a sense of stability and authority. How do you make that happen?

    It’s crucial that you continually invest in “me time” and self care. This can be counterintuitive to some leaders, who believe that working around the clock is always the answer. But consider this; if you’re continually stressed and have not cared for your physical and mental well-being, how can you possibly meet new challenges and setbacks when they arise? Think about a time in your personal or professional life where you weren’t taking care of yourself. Maybe it was when you were in college, cramming for exams and not getting enough sleep or proper nourishment. Maybe it was when you were working several jobs in your youth to be able to get a downpayment on a car or a house. If a setback had come along at that time, – like your car breaking down or an illness in your family –  would you have been able to meet that challenge with all of your power and focus? Of course not. And being a leader is no different. 

    When coaching leaders, I always stress the importance of taking personal time for rest, reflection, and growth. Meditation, retreats, moments with family and friends, and vacation time are all worthy of your attention and are absolutely needed in order for you to be at your fullest potential to be a leader who has the focus and personal resources to see a team through a crisis. You need to be at your best; clear-headed, rested, balanced and strong. Find a routine that works for you and adopt it as your new normal and you will notice the difference.

    Building a Team that Can Weather the Storm

    There’s a lot of sayings we have all learned over our lives that speak to the importance of having the right parts of the puzzle in place: The whole is only as good as the sum of its parts. 

    A Destiny Driven Team is Focused on Innovation, Not Just Ideation

    When given the right role and resources, the best employees will instinctively challenge themselves to be more innovative in their work – and will perform better.  Provide your employees the resources and inspiration to be innovative in their work.   Stay close enough to your employees’ activities to know the 2 or 3 skills  and/or resources that  each would require to take their performance to the next level.

    A Destiny Driven Team is Focused on Significance, Not Just Success

    Helping your employees to be successful is important, but not inspiring enough in itself.  People want more out of their leaders and if you can activate the natural talents of your employees in ways that make them feel more responsible about their jobs, you will be inspiring something that is more significant; true pride and joy in their work. This has longer lasting impact.

    A Destiny Driven Team is Focused on Personal Growth, Not Just Responsibility

    when a leader can help foster the professional growth and development of their employees that performance most flourishes. Leaders must take more time to mentor their employee’s development and growth outside the office as well as inside.

    A Destiny Driven Team Focuses on Empowerment, Not Just Accountability

    A Destiny Driven Team Focuses on Respect, Not Just Recognition

    A Destiny Driven Team Focuses on Collaboration, Not Just Execution 

    A Destiny Driven Team Focuses on Excellence, Not Just Status Quo

    A Destiny Driven Team Focuses on Trust, Not Just Transparency

  • Together we can! in a small business April 13, 2022 by Cazarin Interactive

    Together we can! in a small business.

    These tips will help leaders of companies who struggle (to promote team spirit) with their company.

    As the CEO of a marketing agency that has been in business for over 24 years,  I have heard the laments of many businesses that have wasted many resources on training and still have staff that don’t produce. 

    Team Spirit – a big secret of successful companies

    Having read from successful CEOs and from personal experience, I can attest that nurturing “team spirit” in a company is one of the best investments an organization can make.

    It is great to have “Team Spirit”, employees and staff and vendors notice a difference when they are in the presence of a Team Spirited company. It is as a melody in the air, a melody that says “we care about each other” we will help each other however we can. It is not the problem of one person, we share problems and solve them together.

    It is great to have “Team Spirit”. Employees, staff and vendors notice a difference when they are in the presence of a Team Spirited company. There is melody in the air, a melody that says “we care about each other” and will help each other however we can. It is not the problem of one person, we share our problems and solve them together.

    Team spirit is easy to lose if the company doesn’t support it. If the company cares for the staff, they will reciprocate for the most part. It is not easy to gain either, while I am not an expert I can provide our experience in acquiring it and the benefits.

    Acquiring Team Spirit

    These are the most important elements for each of your employees to possess in order to build Team Spirit:

    1

    HR Manager – must be aware of the importance of Team Spirit

      • The main person must be empathetic and compassionate. 
        • Able to listen
        • Able to care
        • Able to understand the issues underneath
        • Able to balance the needs of the staff with the needs of the company
        • Able to protect the team spirit at companies and its relevance and importance to the executive team
    2

    Executive Staff 

      • Should be aware of the importance of team spirit 
      • Respectful at all times
      • Nurture team spirit
    3

    Hiring staff

      • Hire people who understand the importance of being in a TEAM environment. Staff that understand the value of working together are much better than working alone.
    4

    Environment – Nurturing ideas

      • Create a time of the day to share problems
      • Have time to share personal experiences
      • Provide time to learn about each other, for example answer one of these questions in a group setting: 
        • Favorite Book and Why
        • Favorite Movie why
        • What type of pets do you like and why?
        • If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
        • If you could have a superpower what would it be and why?
    5

    Solution Based Approach

      • Look at ANY problem that arises at the issue, how do you solve the problem?  Once this is achieved then look at the cause.
      • Avoid BLAME at all times
      • Do put systems in place to avoid the problem in the future

    Benefits of having a “Team Spirit” environment

    These next elements will ensure your marketing waste is minimal after 6 months. The key is to follow up on these five factors.

    1

    Higher retention of talent

      • Staff will stay longer at the company (Mandy, Add more to this please)
        When employees stay longer at a company, they are able to master the company values and promote them to newer hires and through their work.
    2

    Better and More Job Candidates

      • Fostering a team spirit will promote your company work culture to outsiders looking for work, having a good work culture improves your company’s reputation for job seekers, allowing you to find higher quality applicants that best suit new openings. 
    3

    Quality of Life

      • A team spirit means the quality of life will be improved for everyone at the company.  The staff will look forward to going to work instead of feeling they have to go to work.
    4

    Higher Productivity

      • Staff will stay longer or work on evenings or weekends when necessary, to meet the needs of the company without requesting it.
    5

     A Healthier Company

      • Promoting team spirit decreases the overall stress on staff, which means that illnesses and sick time will be reduced for health related issues caused by anxiety or stress. This increases your company’s profitability and reduces stress on existing employees who would otherwise have to compensate for an absent team member.

    Defend the Team Spirit environment

    My final advice for nurturing a team spirit environment is to make sure everyone knows the benefits of a strong team and the higher quality of life.  There are companies that push hard for profits and that is ok, nothing wrong with profits.  However, to have an environment that produces high quality and profit on a consistent basis there must be a team spirit.

    At Cazarin Interactive, we strive to have a great team spirit and understand that we spend so much time with each other resembles a family.  A family that cares about each other, developing a team and creating  an environment that nurtures joy and care within the workplace.

    Final Takeaways

    When someone selects  Cazarin Interactive as their marketing partner, our team becomes a part of their company.  We seek to have long term relationships with our customers and pay for ourselves by increasing sales and enhancing their brand. We will nurture joy and respect in our interactions with your company.

    Do you want to utilize our Marketing Fusion (™) and see real growth in your business? Contact our marketing department today.

    Marketing@cazarin.com

    Resources:

    https://www.cazarin.com/Fusion-for-Marketing-creative-advertising/

    Marketing Fusion Brochure

    Question:

    How do you nurture “Team Spirit” in your organization today?

  • Tips for a Successful Life July 9, 2021 by Ricardo Ortizcazarin

    Recommendations for students entering the workforce to be successfully employed.

    I have been blessed with high-quality education since I was young, at both public and private schools. This education includes a post-high school education and a Master’s degree. But, despite what many think, having a top-notch education isn’t always a fast track to getting a great job immediately after graduation. 

    I learned quickly after entering the workforce that a great company needs to have team spirit, and that a great employee needs to foster that spirit. After years of working for companies and now over 20 years leading my own marketing agency, I have truly learned the importance of knowing and nurturing great working environments. In this blog post I will show you what great companies have in common and how to find the right company for you.

    What is “team spirit”?

    You may have heard the term “team spirit” in regards to your school’s sports teams, or any chapters or clubs you may be a part of. But, what does team spirit mean in a professional setting?

    Great companies have leadership that understands the importance of quality of life for every member of the organization.  A company can show this through respectful and fair communication with clear work tasks and job descriptions.     

    Great companies know that human capital is one of the most valuable assets that create collaboration, innovation, productivity, and efficiency. All leadership members must understand how important this is to the company to obtain great success. This is what makes up team spirit and a good leader makes it a priority to nurture that positive environment daily. 

    At Cazarin Interactive, we prioritize clear communication, which forges great comradery and team spirit.  It has taken years to truly learn how to implement it effectively and sustain it daily.

    My advice to young professionals is to understand this fact and create an approach that is congruent with the desire to be part of a great team.  When interviewing for jobs, search for a team that is collaborative, productive and efficient.  Aim to join a team with great spirit. This is where you will be happy and provide your best work.

    Where do I fit?

    Now that you know what team spirit means, you have to decide where it truly fits in your life. Not every company you apply to will be a great fit for you. You can begin by understanding your strengths and weaknesses and by taking an introspective look at what truly makes you unique. Once you have done this, you will have a stronger feeling about which organizations have your type of team spirit, and which ones don’t.

    If I were to go back and give my younger, newly-graduated self some pieces of advice, these would be my seven tips.

    The 7 keys to a great professional life

    1

    Self Awareness

    Understand yourself by identifying your strengths and weaknesses. How can you best contribute to a team? Understanding yourself requires being open to feedback.

    2

    Empathy and Communication Skills 

    Understand that there are different points of view to every situation. Use humility, gratefulness, and empathy in your communication with other members of the team.

    3

    Balance in your Life

    In order for you to be a great team player, you need to have balance. Use the 7 F’s of Future, Faith, Fitness, Finances, Friends, Fun, and Family. Measure these every quarter and adjust accordingly when you see imbalances.

    4

    Time is a Valuable Resource

    Time is a resource that can’t be purchased. Time is finite. Use it in the best way possible. Create amazing memories, help others, and take care of yourself and your family. 

    5

    Authenticity – Be the Best Version of Yourself

    Once you are able to put your ego aside, you will be able to communicate in an authentic way and interactions will be much more effective.

    6

    Continue to Learn

    There is so much to learn. Open your mind to other possibilities, other perspectives, and find the best ways for you to learn.

    7

    Joy & Happiness 

    Keep this always in mind: What brings you joy and happiness will guide you to make the best decisions for yourself.

    Qualities of a Great Company

    The more you understand and practice those 7 keys to a great professional life, your vision of a great company will become clearer. These are the main things that companies with great team spirit and camaraderie do:

    • Include Others: Include employees in decisions when possible.  When employees feel included in the decision-making process, they embrace the change and help to make the transition to acceptance smooth.
    • Be Positive: Always look at the positive side of any issue.
    • Strong Leadership: These leaders understand the importance of team spirit.All managers at a great company understand and forge team spirit by having respect, listening skills, and proper communication.
    • Resiliency: Resilient teams consistently deliver superior results. You can see this in companies that retain employees and that have built a positive reputation in the marketplace.

    Final Takeaways

    When someone chooses my company, Cazarin Interactive, as their marketing partner, our team becomes a part of their company as an extension of the marketing and sales department.  We understand team spirit.  We help to develop brand identity, messaging, and implement an ongoing marketing strategy that will help businesses grow in a healthy manner. If it weren’t for my understanding of the 7 key values to professionalism and the importance of team spirit, Cazarin Interactive would not be the great company that it is today.

    Resources: 

    Question:

    Do you want to utilize our Marketing Fusion (™) and see real growth in your business? Contact our marketing department today. 

    Marketing@cazarin.com  

  • 6 Steps to Market Yourself as a Professional Online March 8, 2021 by Ricardo Ortizcazarin

    Advice for those who are struggling with marketing themselves.

    One of my customers recently asked me a great question – “How do I market myself effectively on the internet?” My company, Cazarin Interactive, had recently finished a website for Muhamed, a highly educated realtor. His question was a great segue into what would come next.

    I believe every professional should know the basics of marketing themselves before working with a marketing agency like ours. We all have a lot of knowledge about our professions and we all come from different backgrounds and opportunities. This blog will provide you with solid background information to improve your personal brand on the internet.

    Who Am I?

    I am a business professional and entrepreneur who has worked hard to beat the odds. I would like to think that I know a lot, but the truth is that I continue to learn all the time.  Just when I think I know something, it changes or evolves.

    My experience includes college education in Computer Science and Management Information Systems and a Masters degree from Carlson School of Business with a concentration in marketing. I am also a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 program and have read countless books about sales, marketing, and business development. I use these facts to market myself and have developed my brand based on the experiences and knowledge that I am proud to share.

    I can tell you with confidence that this information is extremely valuable. I have gained this information from books, networking with business professionals, personal experience, personal interviews, high-level education, and spiritual principles.  

    These are the fundamentals that any professional needs to market themself:

    • We as humans are complex, multidimensional individuals who seek connection with other human beings.
    • We connect with other people in different ways.
      • Physical attributes
      • Personal experiences
      • Sharing time 
      • Speaking the same language
      • Doing the same or similar sport
      • Affinity for activities like chess
    • At the center of the connection is an ability to create an emotional bond. The bonds that last the longest are based on:
      • Trust
      • Integrity
      • Mutual Respect

    If you find the ability to CONNECT with others by helping them without expecting anything in return, you will create a great emotional bond and if done right, personal gratification as well.  

    It is not until this key fundamental is understood that a professional can truly market his or herself. Now, to answer Muhamed’s question, here are the specific tips for how to do that.

    How to Market Yourself Online:

    1. Define for yourself – what knowledge do you have that can help others?
      • How to do x
      • Tips for x
      • Story of how you became a doctor when you tried to be a plumber
    2. Establish a helping mindset. Define what you will share with others. You don’t have to share everything, but what you share should be helpful to another person even if you don’t receive something in return.
    3. Publish Share the information and hope it can benefit others. Try to post an article at least monthly. Weekly is ideal. You can publish this information on your website, a blog, your newsletters, or share it through webinars. You should also publish the information on social media.
      • LinkedIn is the best social media platform to share professional information.
      • Twitter is a helpful tool for building one’s individual brand.
      • Share to Facebook if it is relevant to your friends and family.
    4. Brand yourself: Establish a tagline. Mine is “Vision Architect” – I want to help people and companies to achieve their vision.
    5. Focus – The right people will gravitate towards you and you can offer your services if you are focused on a specific topic or series of related topics.
    6. Create an awesome email signature. This should include the following:
      • Name
      • Title
      • Email address
      • Phone Number
      • Social Media Links
      • Links to something you offer
      • A quote that communicates your character
      • EXAMPLE:

    I challenge you to ask yourself this question: What knowledge can I share that will help others?

    Let us know if we can help you in any way by emailing Marketing@cazarin.com.

    Resources: 

     Goldman Sachs 10,000 program application

    Cazarin Interactive – Digital Marketing 

  • 6 Steps Towards Creating a Profitable Company Vision February 10, 2021 by Ricardo Ortizcazarin

    Advice for those who are struggling with their business.

    I am a business professional and entrepreneur who has worked hard to beat the odds. I successfully launched Cazarin Interactive almost 23 years ago and the solid education I have gained over the years has given me the experience needed to be able to help others improve their businesses.

    My experience includes a BIS degree in Computer Science and Management Information Systems and a Masters degree from Carlson School of Business with a concentration in marketing. I am also a graduate of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 program.

    It’s been said that most businesses fail within the first 5 years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), this isn’t necessarily true. 

    Data from the BLS shows that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first two years, 45% during the first five years, and 65% during the first 10 years. Only 25% of new businesses make it to 15 years or more.

    Having clarity on your professional vision is key.

    I can tell you with confidence that this information is extremely valuable.  I have gained this information from books, business professionals talks, personal experiences, personal interviews, high-level education, and spiritual principles.  

    Create a solid VISION – a plan that describes your goals for your company for the next 3 to 5 years.  Create a plan that is as visual as possible by using meaningful images, photos, inspirational quotes, etc.  In your plan, define the following:

    • Why are you in business?
    • Goals for annual gross revenues
    • What are the core values of the company?
    • How many employees do you desire to have 
    • What will you offer your employees? 
      • Culture
      • Compensation
      • Flexibility
    • What does your complete team want to be

    Let’s break these down a little further.

    1

    Why are you in business

    Many people go into business for themselves because they want to become millionaires. I simply wanted to have good financial income. The reason I started Cazarin Interactive was because I felt that working for myself and being my own boss was the right decision for me. As an educated professional, I wanted to forge my own destiny and have a high quality of life aligned with my personal values.

    2

    Annual gross revenues

    How can you decide on gross revenues when you have not sold anything? It doesn’t matter as long as you have a goal and an objective. The better question is: Do you know what you want your company to accomplish in the next three years?

    3

    Core values of the company

    Define your core values and live them.  When you are all aligned, you build “Team Spirit”.  As a leader of Cazarin Interactive, my goal is to create the vision for the company to get on the right path to fulfilling goals by creating an unwavering guide. I am the Vision Architect to make sure we harness the team spirit.

    The values at Cazarin Interactive are:

      • Integrity
      • Commitment to Quality
      • Value Relationships
      • Operate with Vision and Purpose
      • Value Collaboration
      • Great Atmosphere for our Staff
    4

    How many employees you desire to have 

    I was encouraged to grow our company in the early 2000’s .  I didn’t want to do it.  We had investors ready, but I had experienced chaos in a previous company after we reached 20 employees. With under 20 people in a company, it was a close group and we had a lot of fun.  Once it grew over, the social dynamic changed.  For me, the number is 20 and this has always been the maximum.

    5

    What do you offer the staff?

    Culture, friendliness, positivity, and quality of life are items that can’t be purchased.  

    Compensation, many times, is a low priority if you have a great culture.  It is VERY important of course but can become lower in the priority if you have a great culture.

    Flexibility, the ability to work from home, and odd hours have to be possible for more and more people these days.  If you have the right systems, this can work.

    6

    What does your complete team want to be

    This is OUR VISION

      • To be a premier digital marketing agency where both staff and clients enjoy working together in a creative environment filled with happy people.

    Please note, we are complex individuals. The above suggestions are a foundation to create a business with great team spirit working towards a vision.  The profit is a manifestation of doing the above correctly.

    Tips 

    Where do you start? – Try to make an inventory of what you are missing.  Talk to other professionals and business coaches to make sure you understand what you are lacking.

    Decisions under fear – Don’t make important decisions under fear, more than likely, you will regret it.

    Calm – Remain calm at all times. As a leader, you have to keep a solid foundation for the business.  Learn to meditate, decrease stress, etc.  If you are calm, you will be able to find answers.  Reach on your spiritual beliefs to get answers.  

    Resources: 

    1. Goldman Sachs 10,000 program application
    2. Cazarin Interactive – Digital Marketing
    3. Top 6 reasons businesses fail

    Question:

    What is the vision for your company in the next 3 years?

    Let us know if we can help you in any way.

    Marketing@cazarin.com 

  • Marriage as a Partnership December 30, 2020 by Cazarin Interactive

    Advice for those who are thinking about marriage or those who are struggling with their marriage.

    I am not an expert on marriage, nor do I have education on the subject. However, my experience and knowledge gained during my 30 years of marriage has given me some tips that can help others.

    This blog is an attempt to share this information with others in the hope that you have some tools and tips to help you in your own relationships.

    This is my experience in marriage and helping others:

    1. Married for 30 years, I have been married to an amazing person since April, 1991.  We have three wonderful daughters.
       
    2. Church Marriage preparation.  We have helped over 10 couples prepare for marriage through our church’s  marriage preparation program called “Prepare”.

     

    3. Culturally different, Our marriage is culturally and ethnically different.  My wife was born and raised in Minnesota from German and, Irish heritage.  I was born in Mexico City and, came to study to Minnesota at an early age in high school then college.  I am from Mexican and Italian heritage.  Our three daughters were born in the USA.

    These are facts that can’t be ignored.

    • Relationships are hard and there are always ups and downs.
    • About 40% to 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce.
    • Although the divorce rate is dropping, too many couples will end in divorce.

     

    A positive outlook on marriage and a set of fundamental values between one another, however, can help maintain a healthy and long-lasting relationship.

    How I Formed my Outlook on Marriage as a Partnership

    I was born in the 60’s and grew up in the 70’s under a patriarchal culture.  This culture believes that the man works and provides for the family.  The woman should stay home, take care of the house and, children, and obey the husband at all times.  Please understand this was how my parents raised me and what I saw as I grew up.  I  don’t agree with this type of marriage myself today, but this was my experience.

    I came to the USA as an exchange student in high school, my American parents were very different from my home country.  My American mom went out with girlfriends to bars and dancing places.  I remember a conversation my American parents had in which my mom told my dad she had gone dancing and a guy came to ask her to dance. My American dad replied with sincerity, “I hope you had a good time.”  

    I almost fainted because, my American dad said hope you had a good time.  I can tell you this would never happen in my Mexican culture.  That action would have been grounds for divorce in Mexico.

    I was very lucky to make great friends here in the USA.  Some of those great friends included in particular the parents of one of my girlfriends, Bill and Nancy.  They influenced my views on marriage and relationships.  They gave me the principles for a marriage as a partnership. These are the fundamentals that they taught me by being around them and observing their marriage.  Bill was my friend and best man at my wedding for 25 years until he passed away, Nancy is still a friend of mine and my family:

    • Together we make a team.
    • We will help each other to be the best version of ourselves.
    • We will support each other at all times.
    • Nobody is more important  than the other person.
    • We will make decisions together.

    Those lessons carried into my last 30 years of marriage and now my wife and I have established 10 vital pieces of advice that we share with people looking to get married or struggling with their marriage

    1

    Respect each other
    Especially when you are upset, understand that there is a line or limit you will not cross with each other. Respect is one of the most important keys to having a successful marriage.  Once you break this, it becomes very hard to regain trust and respect.  If you feel you are starting to lose your respect for your partner during a fight.  You should walk away.

    2

    This is your marriage:
    Remember this is your marriage and your decisions should not include outside forces, especially when one of you disagrees with a decision. Do not make decisions because your Brothers, parents, or friends did it that way.  By the time you talk to your partner, it must be your decision to bring an issue.  Never say something like this, my mother thinks we should ……  avoid this type of statements completely.  If you want to bring something your mother said, say I believe we should do ……  

    3

    Three days Max:
    Don’t be upset with each
    other for more than 3 days.

    4

    Compromise:
    There will be times you will have to do something you don’t want to do.  You will do it for each other.

    5

    Give space to each other:
    Learn to give room to the other person when he or she is upset. Once the calm has come, ask what is wrong

    6

    Framework:
    Find ways to meet each other’s desires. When buying furniture, for example, finding a process that will allow each other to make a decision for both of you.

    7

    Memories:
    Concentrate on making awesome memories.  This is the basis for a great life.  They can be as simple has having a fire in the yard, cooking an exotic meal together, or going to a beach in a different country.

    8

    Spiritual Connection:
    Develop a relationship with God and call upon God at any time. This is a priority that should be considered for a healthy marriage

    9

    Roles:
    Define roles within the marriage that are compatible. These roles can change but decide who does what, who cooks, whether you both work, who cleans, who takes care of the yard, etc.  Both can do everything.  It is up to you to decide.

    10

    Children:
    Children are amazing and well worth it, just make sure you plan when and how many you want to have together.  This decision is important because marriage changes tremendously.  We waited 6 years and, had a lot of pressure to start a family early.  We are both glad we waited

    Final Takeaway:

    • You are the architect of your own destiny.  Make the best by having very good communication with your partner.

    Resources: 

    1. Podcast for Marriage as a Partnership
    2. Marriage Tips from Mary and Ricardo
    3. CDC Statistics on Marriage

    Question:

    What type of marriage do you have or want to have?

    Let us know if we can help you in any way.

    Marketing@cazarin.com  

  • One Smart Cookie! April 22, 2020 by Ricardo Ortizcazarin

    Gift:  Maia wanted to share her cookies with her friends and teachers.

    On a recent Sunday evening, my cousin and his family decided to teach their daughter Maia how to make butter cookies. Maia is only eight years old and had a desire to learn something new. My cousin’s family has been affected like most people during COVID-19 and thought this would be a good way to spend time together and teach their daughter something new.

    They baked a few dozen cookies and decorated each one. Maia then asked her parents if she could share the cookies with her friends. They created small packages filled with a few cookies and a loving message from Maia and delivered the cookies directly to the mailboxes of her friends and teachers.

    After her friends received the cookies and tasted them, they started to call and ask to acquire more… and voila! One Smart Cookie was born.  Maia, with help from her mom, came up with a name, a handwritten “company card”, and designed a logo to accompany the orders.   Within a few days, orders for cookies were rolling in. Maia and her parents jumped back into the kitchen and began baking more cookies and have now upgraded to five different shapes: cactus, flowers, circles, bunnies, and hearts.

    Maia writes hand-made cards to accompany each of the cookie packages. They have the name, a logo she created, phone number, and price for additional orders.

    When I talked to Maia about her new venture, she told me that she enjoys making the cookies and has made over $112 in one week.  

    Maia started her business by trying to share her cookies with her friends and teachers during this pandemic, and it’s growing into something bigger. Asking her parents what they liked most about this new adventure, they shared that Maia has taken initiative in making the cookies and only utilizes them for baking now.

    Resources :::::

    One Act of Kindness: www.oneactofkindness.org

    Questions:::::

    What are you doing to spend time with your loved ones during this time?

    What would you do if you want to create a business?