5 posts categorized "November 2012"

November 28, 2012

Why Linkiness Is A Blogger's Form Of Truthiness

I've always loved Steven Colbert's concept of Truthiness.  Believing in something "because it feels right" to believe in it.  It's neatly installed into the gut of your sales target, making it easy to win your point.  Seen a lot of it lately from politics to business.  Doesn't always mean it's right and when it's wrong, it leads to big mistakes.  

For the blogging world, this no lose sales-job takes on another form: Linkiness.  Sometime a few years ago, bloggers realized they could "prove" any of their assertions with a neato hyperlink to another blog post, a study and report, etc.  It caught on, and these days, you'll see dozens of hyperlinks in an average post, all signifying, "I'm not making this stuff up, it's true and I have corroboration!" The blue links are all over it like a case of info-measles. 

Here's the problem: Readers aren't getting the message, due to all the distracting Squirrel!Links they can't help but click on.  Some spawn pop up windows or tabs and others take you to a different site.  You get lost in the rabbit hole of links and never quite finish the original blog post in the first place.  You even forget which blog or blogger got you started on this fantastic voyage.

Often, what you link to is merely someone else's assertion, supported by their Linkiness, which presents more distractions and wastes more time.  Linkiness is keeping mindless web surfing alive. But here's the problem: As a blogger, no one is understanding or finishing your work.  In many cases, your posts require a real investment of time, leading the subscriber to 'put off' reading it until later. 

That's why I think Seth Godin's blog is so successful.  He makes links count, and usually focuses on the narrative, not the documentation of his premise.  That's why reading books leads to deeper understanding of a topic and a more immersive reading experience.  You are curled up with a single author's voice, learning and exploring with him. 

This is why I'm not going to be too Linky in the future, instead, I'll have reference URLs at the end of the post if I think they're required to have context or read more.  Same goes for eBooks I write or advise on: Don't link because you can, save it for the footnotes, so the super-sleuths can dig in for details later.  The result, I'm hoping, is a more effective approach to short article writing...AKA, blogging. 

November 21, 2012

Finding Your Thanksgiving In Every Day

A few years ago, when I was working at Yahoo, I encountered a lucky soul that celebrates Thanksgiving 365 days a year.  He is almost always in a good mood.

We were passing out gift certificates to employees, having some cake in the break room and knocking off early the Weds before Turkey Day.  My admin got into a conversation with one of our maintainence employees about how much she was looking forward to Thanksgiving.  She asked him, "what are you doing special tomorrow?" and he softly replied, "It will be another day, with too much food cooked, which we'll share with our friends and neighbors.  Besides the sharing part, it's a typical day for us, because every day we give thanks for this bounty."  

He and his family had moved to California from central Mexico several years before, and he was now a citizen with gainful employment and a way to send his two kids to college.  "We never thought this could happen for us, and when it did, we made the decision that every day was Thanksgiving," he continued.  "Except Nov 25, and that's the day we make more than we need.  Then we have a ball feeding others with it.  We can afford that once a year!" 

This is the true spirit of what the Pilgrims meant when they set aside a day to give thanks.  They never thought they'd find a new home, with so much bounty to feast on.  Here's my takeaway: as Billye taught me, 'gratitude is a muscle, not a feeling.  If it were a feeling, you'd be feeling it all time!' 

I'm going to find a Thanksgiving signal in every day, from home to work or even as I run errands.  I'll rethink Nov 25 as a day I demonstrate my gratitude by helping others find their bounty.  This way, my focus will be on what I have to share, and not what I lack. 

What are you thankful for, every day of your life!?  Tell us in comments and exercise your gratitude muscle. 

November 15, 2012

Rock Stars Of Business Multiply the Value of Others

Multiply value
This is a sign that Jeffrey put up in his cubicle at ADP a few years ago to remind himself what his business goals should be - and what he can accomplish through promoting the growth of others. 

From sales to leadership to operations, the rock stars of business multiply the value of everyone they come in contact with.  They share intangibles with them to improve their resume, and in return, are rewarded with loyalty and appreciation.  Simply putting in hard work and "adding value" is no longer enough, not in the constant change we are all living through. 

There are three ways we can grow others' potential at work, be they co-workers, customers or even prospects or industry colleagues: 

1. Share Knowledge - You should always have a mentee, someone that you are counseling with either your experience or specialized knowledge you've invested time to acquire.  You should share knowledge with a sense of boldness, and at the same time, the humble nature of the greatest teacher you ever had in school.  You'll realize that you'll never get dumber by making someone else smarter. 

2. Share Your Network - I believe your network of relationships is your ultimate asset, and too often we hoard it for a rainy day.  Every week, you should connect three people that "should meet."  Often, people in your life simply need the right introductions to gain traction or solve their most pressing business problems.  From now on, when someone gives you their business card, talk to them until you can write down someone he or she should meet on the back of the card.  Then quickly act on it with an email, phone or in-person introduction. 

3. Give Encouragement - If you are a manager, catch people doing something right, then talk about them behind their back.  When it comes full circle, you'll give them confidence and improve their self-image.  This grows their potential.  As you encounter people in your industry that are struggling, help them focus on their minor victories, herculean efforts and never let them forget about their greatest assets.  This will help clear their mind of worry, and focus on tasks at hand. 

Do all three of these in every business relationship you have, and soon you'll realize that business isn't hard anymore.  It's fun.  It's meaninful.  And later, when you retire, you'll look back on all you did and "enjoy it a second time." 

From my recent keynote address for the wonderful leaders at Acosta. 

November 08, 2012

A Solution For Office Politics

Are you tired of the political discussion?  Now that the election is over, there's nothing left but celebrations and grousing.  Most of us had our fill of it a month ago, but it drags on.  We react by covering our ears, unfriending people and pushing back.  Then we go to work, and a different kind of politics emerges, with no election-day-end-point in sight. 

Depending on your corporate culture, office politics can rule the conversation or be a rare occurance (annoyance) in your life.  Exactly what are office politics?  My favorite non-governmental definition is: Any activity concerned with the acquisition of power or gaining one's own ends.  That's it on the nose. Selfish organizational behavior.  

This is why it's bad for you to employ or get sucked up into office politics.  In the end, any good company will expunge those who aren't adding value - and the corporate politico is always thrown out, along with his cronies.  I've witnessed this countless times, especially at my last employer, Yahoo!  Politics lead to turf battles, the building of silos and a decline in the company's brand.  

While it seems impossible for a non-leader to avoid conscription, I've found a way to sidestep most political movements at work.  Here are my recommendations for you: 

1.  Focus on the Customer.  Always ask, "what's in it for the end user or customer?"  When you are pushed to participate outside those boundaries, bring the conversation back to this subject. Your most senior leadership is likely aligned with this, so consider yourself covered at the top.

2. Refuse to keep secrets.  In fact, leak them if you must.  Secrets are only good for the politicos' interests, not the Customer's or the company.  It's pretty easy to 'accidently' include people outside the circle-of-trust in email threads, exposing the politico's selfish agenda.  

3. Stay out of the conversation.  In some cases, options #1 and #2 may not work, due to your lack of power of authority in the organization.  If you don't do what you are told, you might get canned before the politico is brought to organization justice.  I understand this fear, and personally believe it's usually in your mind and not reality.  The last thing the politico wants to do is have a dissident with their own agenda, talking to HR or the media about their situation.  But still, if you have this fear, the easiest thing to do is the minimum: Turn in the report, show up for the meeting, etc.  To paraphrase Viktor Frankl, 'you can lose your liberty, but you can never lose your final freedom - your response to a situation'.  You can choose to be silent on the political issues, patiently waiting for the politico to create his or her own downfall.  

The key, then, is not to be fuel for the political fire at work.  Once you get involved beyond your job description, you are a foot soldier, not a team player.  You might be thinking, "yeah, but the politico at my company is currently ruling the division with impunity!  She got a raise last year, and looks like she's gaining power, not losing it." Let me assure you that this is just the middle of her movie.  If you study the history of organizations, you'll find that they always correct politics in the end.  The concluding scene of her movie won't be pretty.  That's the way any good story goes.  

November 02, 2012

A Gift To Marketers: The Impact Equation

To me, books are like people in your life: You development a relationship with them that defines how you feel about them.  And I'm in love with The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.  

Why? Style + Substance.  Hard to find in any professional book, but comes in spades in the highly readable think piece.  These cats have words that sing like my favorite reads such as The Purple Cow or ReWork.  (Sorry, no more links in my blog posts, they are shiny objects that will distract you.  I'll have references links at the end...so keep reading.) 

The book will help you understand how vital strategic content is to the modern marketer. If you don't deeply connect with people, you'll ship words that no one cares about (or reads).  If you make a difference via your content, it will spread like all treasures do online.  This sounds straightforward, but Brogan and Smith's intricate advice proves how treacherous it can be - and why you need to read this book right away. 

While many "social media" books focus on the platforms, tools and (spammy) tactics it takes to build a 'following,' this book centers on what really matters...content that works.  What I took away from the book, was that we need to become purposeful and masterful at connecting with people, especially with the media we create and the words we share.  Figure this out, and you'll rock the next wave of social, regardless of what form it may come in. 

Buy The Impact Equation (not an affiliate link)

Source of the picture, Julien's feed (you should subscribe)