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Monday, January 31, 2011

Switch: #2 Direct the Rider and Follow the Bright Spots

Direct the Rider: Because Riders get overwhelmed by data and analysis, providing them clear, rational choices early determines the kind of action they’ll take. For example, giving specific numbers, dates and times seems to help Riders nail down their thoughts. Most often we call them goals and objectives.

Follow the Bright Spots: Because Riders most often focus much of their early analysis on problems and not solutions, they often tend to get bogged down and misdirected. However, finding bright spots, or solutions-based thinking, gets Riders to succeed much faster. In fact, there’s a whole new branch of solutions-based psychology founded on getting to solutions quicker. The authors also describe the “miracle question”—if a miracle happened overnight, what would be going on the next day that was different? Then, the follow-up question (the Exception Question) asks when in your life did you see a miracle happen? Both questions tee up a vision and bright spot (stepping stones) for the participant. Fascinating that of the 24 most common emotion words in the English language only 6 were positive! We really do have a penchant for finding the worst in every situation and that sets us up to avoid the dark, not approach the light…defense, not offense. Bottom line: don’t try to fix what’s broken, but find a bright spot and replicate it in a new situation.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Switch--Post #1: Overview

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard (Broadway Books, 2010) by Chip Heath & Dan Heath; Reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D. The Overview:

Why is it hard to lose weight? Well, if one of your very good friends is overweight, you are far more likely to become overweight. Want to start any new change at work? Then, you better understand herd mentality. This compelling book teaches us that the rational mind (the Rider) constantly jousts with the emotional mind (the Elephant) to make change (find a Path). Written in a light, entertaining, and immensely readable storytelling narrative—while drawing on a raft of sociological and psychological research that will astound and amuse readers—this is a book for all leaders. The simple bottom line for the authors (two smart brothers on faculty at Stanford and Duke respectively) is that in order to be successful change agents, we have to Direct the Rider, Motivate the Elephant, and Shape the Path. The authors present the struggle between these three elements. The Rider gets overwhelmed by data, so give him or her clear direction. What appears as pushback and resistance from Riders is simply that they’re confused and lack clarity. The Elephant wants instant gratification and has no patience for strategies or rational plans. So, give the Elephant a feeling or passion he can associate with the effort—otherwise the drudgery will turn the Elephant (and the Rider) into two exhausted hombres. Finally, the Path—what looks like a people problem is often not and is more of a situation problem. Consider what lines on a highway do for the Elephant in us all…keep us on the path and out of others’ paths.

This week I’ll be reviewing Switch in an in-depth review.

Social Media Marketing: #13 - FINAL Post

Final Chapter: “Social Media in One Hour a Day” by Dave Evans provides almost a training and development regimen almost like a personal trainer might. His message is simple: With focus you can maximize your social media experience and exposure. I would recommend that in any rewrite of this book, the editor put this chapter first. In particular, read the chapter summary of this summary chapter on page 319. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Social Media Marketing: #12 - YouTube

“YouTube…” by Julie Perry offers a good summary of what I call the Big 5 of social media: Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and YouTube. Perry offers some compelling reasons why YouTube is the place for your video: it’s owned by Google and gets favored treatment in searches, 80% of all searches happen on Google, and YouTube accounts for 40% of online video viewership. She tells you how to set up a channel. Then, she gives you a fistful of useful tips. A sample: Keep it short (2-4 mins.); give them something to look at—make it visual; check out and to help in the production; employ stealth optimization tactics (such as good video titles, video tags, and video description text). There’s a lot in this chapter, and it bears rereading several times.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Social Media Marketing: #11 - Linkedin

“Linkedin…” by Barbara Rozgonyi explains how Linkedin provides any business a connection with other businesses. In fact, recruiters these days are discovering this database is far richer in some ways than even the most powerful databases of search firms. Just add a targeted search term and stand back for the flood of referrals. The author offers 12 steps (sounds like AA!) to build a robust Linkedin site. For example, using keywords in your write ups; having a flattering picture online; an attention grabbing headline, and routing traffic to your Twitter, blog and Facebook pages—and much more.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Social Media Marketing: #10 - Twitter

“Twitter….” by Deborah Cole Micek offers a description of Twitter as being like a large cocktail party—a potential networking event. She warns twitterers to present a consistent image, and because all relationships have at the core an emotion, decide what emotion you want others to have when they interact with you. She provides some simple worksheets for readers to figure out branding, tribal tweeting, hashtags, and how to get retweeted¬—a goal of any good twitterite. Very helpful.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Social Media Marketing: #9 - Facebook

“Facebook…” by Mari Smith provides some good rules for developing a large following on this viral medium. She offers advice about being authentic, focused, and having an abundant mindset. However her best, most concrete advice comes in how to put up a winning fan page on Facebook. Very worthwhile tips: secure your user name, import blog posts, encourage fans to participate in your blog, broadcast to Twitter, and much more.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Social Media Marketing: #8 - Business Blogs

Business Blogs…” by Denise Wakeman is a solid primer on the who, what, when, where, how, and why of setting up a business blog. Blogs should educate, entertain, engage and enrich. See p. 169 for her ten tips before you start blogging. Examples: Who is your ideal reader? How do you want readers to feel when they read your blog? Big tip is that your blog should be the centerpiece of your social media strategy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Social Media Marketing: #7 Great Tidbits

Great tidbits from Section I (“Strategies and Principles”) of this book: “While 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, only 14% trust advertisements. A mere 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI.” (Nielson quoted on p. 122) “It is estimated that 50% of new business will come from social media and internet marketing efforts over the next five years.” (Starr Hal quoted on p. 120) My fav quote of the book comes from Winston Churchill: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” (Churchill quoted on p. 100)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Social Media Marketing: #6 A Good Primer

Dan Janal (“PR Strategies for Social Media”), a social marketing guru, wrote what I think is a social media primer for any business. In it, he emphasizes that PR today is part old school (magazines, newspapers, TV, and radio) and part new school (blogs, websites, Twitter, Linkedin, and much more). And people need to get good at both. You can mix the two. For example, find reporters you like, Google them, follow their blogs or tweets, then retweet their stuff, make comments on their blogs and compliment them by email whenever you find something worthy. This stuff really works. Write articles and post them to your blog and tweet about them. Check out to help you get more hits on Google. This is an article for every PR student to read. Read Dave Westfall’s quote on a concise social media PR strategy in a sidebar to Janal’s article on p. 141.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Social Media Marketing: #5 Positive Image

Gary Vaynerchuck (“How to Create a Mega-Following with Social Media Marketing”) is a bit of social media rock star. Some of the good side quotes: “Positive word-of-mouth recommendations are still the best and the least expensive way to build successful businesses” (p. 68). And, “You should never publish anything you don’t want the public to see…”(p. 69). Finally, “Online you need to behave the way you want to be perceived” (p. 70). He suggests the following tips: get a flip cam to record videos, participate on other blogs, don’t expect overnight success, build a business around your passion, and remember the Internet is always changing. This guy has nearly 900,000 people following him, including me!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Social Media Marketing: #4 Content Rules

Ann Handley (“Creating Content People Care About: The Cornerstone of Social Media”) tells us: On the Web, content is king. Ask anyone who’s a serious student or teacher about social media. Ann Handley writes about content in her thoughtful piece. What’s content? It’s anything relevant to your reader, so define your reader before you write. To inspire you, read this: “Consumers…now spend more than 40% of [their] time on content sites” (p.50). Read and heed her 11 rules of content (p. 56).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Social Media Marketing: #3 - Six Principles

Mitch Meyerson (“Mastering Online Marketing: Six Key Principles”). Meyerson himself authors a chapter on online marketing. Very well written, it provides six strategies for developing a new media plan. Suggest reading this one closely. I especially like his social media calendar on p. 39. It’s a concise table with suggested times a day/week that you should post, tweet, etc. Nice blueprint that’s easy to use.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Martin Luther King, Jr.: I Have a Dream

Social Media Marketing: #2 - Serve, Don't Sell

Keith Ferrazzi and Tahl Raz (“Building Your Relationship Strategy”). Social media is most like a cocktail party. It’s a great place to meet and greet. But it’s only a start. The key, as in any relationship, is to give more and give it first. “Bottom line: To build a new relationship, you need to be serving, not selling” (p. 9, Ferrazzi and Raz). So give good content away—like e-books, white papers, great blog posts—and the returns will come back to you.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Social Marketing: Overview

Success Secrets of the Social Marketing Superstars Edited by Mitch Meyerson (Entrepreneur Press 2010) Reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D., January 2011

It’s time for us all to learn social media. It’s more than a passing fancy. It’s mainstream. When Proctor and Gamble, IBM, and Staples have social media teams, you know it’s a moneymaker. And Mitch Meyerson has assembled a cast of 20 social literati to pen a book that’s well worth the read. If you want to know how your blog connects to Twitter and how often you need to tweet and import it to Facebook or update your Linkedin profile, this book can help. And while there are 20 different authors with varying styles, the book has a consistent format, tone, and unwavering message: Social media has become critical to mainstream business. Some stats to get your attention: Last year, GenXers outnumbered Baby Boomers, and 96% of them have joined social networks; one in six higher-ed students is enrolled in online curriculum; and, last year one in eight couples met through a social media site, according to Meyerson.
This week, I’ll review this book—and again, it’s a recommended read.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Truth About Leadership: Post #11

Truth Ten—Leadership is an Affair of the Heart. This is my favorite saying of the authors. Maybe it’s because I’m near their same age, and as I get older, I realize the power of emotions, especially love and matters of the heart. The authors say that love is the “soul of leadership,” and they quote Irwin Federman, former CEO of US Venture Partners: “….And we like them [leaders] in direct proportion to how they make us feel” (p. 137). I’m going to quote a bit from the summary of this chapter on p. 152…just because they say things so well. “Leaders put their hearts in their businesses and their businesses in their hearts….They show they care…are positive and upbeat, generating emotional energy that enables other to flourish.” In short, such leaders are in love with leading others.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Truth About Leadership: Post #10

Truth Nine—The Best Leaders are the Best Learners. In a world changing faster than the speed of light, you’d better be able to learn or get left in the dust of the digital world. The authors quote a study on p. 123, which found that “…the single best predictor of future success in new and different managerial jobs is learning agility.” There’s an old axiom—If you keep doing what you’re doing, you keep getting what you’re getting. Put another way, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”—Einstein. If you change jobs you must “Adopt a Growth Mindset” (p. 125). For that you need “deliberate practice” (see the authors’ list of the 5 ones you need).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Truth About Leadership: Post #9

Truth Eight: You Either Lead by Example or Don’t Lead at All. The Marine Corps drums this into your head from day one so I was happy to see this among the Kouzes and Posner “truths.” I like the DWYSYWD acronym the authors use. Read the book to find out what it means. A hint: walk the talk! Keep your promises, and if you give people something crappy to do, be the first to bring a shovel and get your hands dirty. Nothing builds credibility faster. On the other hand, nothing loses it quicker than telling others to do something you’d never do. And, should you make a mistake—rather WHEN you make a mistake—admit it, fix it and work at not making the same one again. Leaders aren’t perfect but should be very intentional about improving.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Truth About Leadership: Post #8

Truth Seven—Challenge is the Crucible for Greatness. Think about any historical leaders you admire, and see if they did or did not face down a crisis—Martin Luther King, Jr., Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy. Make your own list. Leaders take on the status quo and are willing to change the way things are done. That’s never easy and always meets resistance. And facing such change resistance takes what the authors call “grit”—or having a vision or goal and sticking it out to meet that goal, not folding when people start whining. Finally, the authors discuss the value and learning that take place whenever leaders fail, at least some time in their careers. And taking those lessons to heart is the heart of leadership.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Truth About Leadership: Post #7

Truth Six—Trust Rules. Talk about an attention getter—the authors lead off this chapter with show stopper: “In a 2009 international study, the majority of people said they trust a stranger more than they trust their boss (p. 75).” Leaders must take the risk to open up first to followers. If you want trust, then start by trusting others. Micromanaging is a HUGE anti-trust move! Leaders must “ante up first.” Great leaders have to prove that they can be trusted—behave consistently, communicate clearly, and be truthful. Above all, candor is central to any relationship, especially for leaders.

Truth About Leadership: Post #6

Truth Five—You Can’t Do it Alone. We remember when the1980 US hockey team won the Olympics (the “miracle” team) by beating the Russians; however, in 2004 the Dream Team (all the best pros like LaBron James) flubbed the Olympics? Leadership is ALL about the connection, the relationship, between leaders and followers. No followers and leaders are just out for a walk alone. There exists a primal, emotional connection that the authors refer to as being about intimacy, familiarity, and empathy. Leaders who are in emotional tune with their followers are better able to lead them to a shared vision, a collective discussion about the future, not a monologue by a soothsaying leader. Finally, leaders bring out the best in others. Like executive coaches, great leaders have more good questions than good answers. Sounds simple, but the urge to give advice, rather than to listen, is like a dog trying to resist marking a hydrant!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Truth About Leadership: Post #5

Truth Four—Focusing on the Future Sets Leaders Apart. Here’s a great quote from the book, “Leaders are custodians of the future (p. 46).” Another way to put it is that leaders create reality. Their vision of what’s possible can ignite the fire within followers to “see” and work toward the new reality. In a comparative survey, only 27% of undergraduates ranked “forward thinking” critical; however, 90% of business leaders ranked it high on their list. Optimism fuels this visionary instinct of the better leaders. To reach a vision, leaders have to be positive and optimistically realistic. This chapter contains a couple of interesting references about optimism from two leadership heroes of mine, Warren Bennis and Martin Seligman.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Truth About Leadership: Post #4

Truth Three—Values Drive Commitment. It all starts with what you believe in. People will do whatever is consistent with their true inner values and beliefs. Because emotion rules the day ultimately, if something feels right, aligned with values, people tend to do it. One interesting chart is on p. 36, where the authors look at a 2 by 2 grid where the y axis = Clarity of Organizational Values and x axis = Clarity of personal values. Their data shows that when people are clear about their own values and their company’s values, they are more engaged. Bottom line: Help people to get clear about their own values and beliefs first and corporate values and beliefs; to the extent the value and belief sets mesh, watch engagement and productivity head north!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Truth About Leadership: Post #3

Truth Two—Credibility is the Foundation of Leadership. Unless people follow you (willingly), you’re a leader in name only—a positional leadership. To be an authentic leader, you must have a relationship with followers. And what followers want according to the authors’ research, are in order of preference: Honesty, Vision (forward thinking), Inspiration, and Competence (for others see p. 18). These four characteristics hold true over many years of research in varying cultures, genders, hierarchies, etc. And, these four make up what researchers (buttressed by Aristotle’s thinking) call source credibility. Leader credibility and employee engagement go hand in glove. When leaders do what they say they will, watch engagement, productivity, and loyalty soar.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Truth About Leadership: Post #2

Truth One—You Make a Difference. Leadership begins and ends with the idea that we all matter and influence each other. The good news is that—like the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion in the “Wizard of Oz”—we already have all we need if we choose to use it. Leadership starts at home and close to home. On p. 9, the authors list who influences us the most. Some good stats and key folks: Family, teachers, coaches, community and religious leaders, and business leaders. Curiously, dead last on their list are entertainers. So being a rock star or an academy award winning actor doesn’t get you as much in the leadership world as it might seem. And, in the world of leadership, Jim and Barry are the best. See p. 13 for their ground breaking findings from The Leadership Challenge: 1) Model the way; 2) Inspire a shared vision; 3) Challenge the process; 4) Enable others to act; 5) Encourage the heart.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Truth About Leadership: Overview

The Truth About Leadership (James Kouzes and Barry Posner, Jossey-Bass, 2010)
Reviewed by Steve Gladis, Ph.D., December 2010

If you ever decided to put together a dream team of leadership all stars—say, for the US Olympic Leadership Team—you’d be smart to hire Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner to coach that team. These guys truly “get” leadership as well as anyone I know. Their original best seller The Leadership Challenge, based on their years of research and teaching, helped us all clarify the five best practices of leadership in a way that took leadership research from voodoo to validation. Reading their new book, The Truth About Leadership, is like sitting down with Aristotle and Yoda for a chat about the collective wisdom surrounding leadership. These two modern sages (Kouzes and Posner) tell you the 10 big TRUTHS about leadership, like trust, learning, caring, and a lot more. What’s great about this compact book is that the authors talk about big, important truths in simple terms and then document their assertions with clear-eyed research. Deceptively direct and comprehensible, this book poses a lot of myths and dispels them with reality…or truth. The simple truth is that if you want to read a benchmark book about decades of leadership research, buy this book for every leader in your organization. Then use it, as I will, to teach them the “Truth” about leadership.

This week I’ll be reviewing The Truth About Leadership in more detail.

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