“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to your enemies, but a great deal more to stand up to your friends”- Dominique Pirolo, 2011
It is an interesting thought that we would give that much power over our affairs to people who may not always have our best interest at thought.
Dealing with those who go against the grain is nothing new, so to think these individuals will agree to your ideals is quite a stretch. Its those whom we refer to as friends that deserve to be watched every once in a while. These are the people whom we trust to bounce ideas off of when we need a sounding board, or show projects to that are not ready to be started. These are the people who’s opinion we value at key times; and who we look to for advice when the times are not so kind.
Do they always have the honesty to do what is right for your affairs? Or do they simply accept any idea and tell you what you want to hear; whether or not it is what you should hear.
That creates a rather fine line in any relationship; as these are the people we trust with secrets we don’t feel need to be shared with family, yet who have a way of swaying our thoughts with one or two well placed words.
It is at those times, when our opinion has been challenged (possibly for no real reason other than because it could) that we are both most vulnerable, and need to catch a second wind. The fact that we let others affect us to that degree is amazing (both in the good and the bad sense of the word) as there could be real problems should we bow in the wrong direction. Its one thing to share an opinion with someone else, or a “potential” business strategy, but truly we have to keep in mind that the final decision now and always should be our own.
At the end of the day, when everything has fallen to shambles at our feet; who is going to accept the blame? Not your friends, because all they ever offer is words of encouragement and support. They could never possibly steer you wrong. If the project didn’t work out, they will however, be the first to tell you that it wasn’t your time, that the cards were stacked against you, that it was natures way of saying you were too successful anyway, and just needed a little grounding!
The last point may possibly be true, but for someone to purposely steer you wrong just because they could means that the responsibility for that decision must rest squarely on your shoulders.
Friends are good to let loose and possibly forget your cares for a little while; but in the world of business, and for the goals we hold dear to become reality, we should not bend to any one opinion. Rather we should listen to it, and then weigh it rationally with all the information we have at hand. This will allow for a well rounded decision; one we can move forward on; which will leave no bad feelings because we listened to the wrong opinion. This is just a sound strategy….and Something To Think About.
“People will hate you, rate you, break you, and shake you; How strong you stand is what makes you”- Judy Reynolds, Facebook 2011.
Interesting comment I received via Facebook the other night. And how timely and true it could really be. Everyone wants to be number #1, sometimes so much so, that they forget the things they felt were important at one time, or feel that success is the be all and end all. To me, this all comes down to merit, how much faith we place in ourselves; and how much of a hold we allow others to have on our affairs.
Everybody would love at one time or another to be the “Top Dog” but what is the true cost of this position? Is it something which could consume us to the point which it becomes all we are focused on? (to the dismay of those closest to us) or will it be something that we only occasionally think about, because we are happy with the “status quo”. I think when we are younger, a good portion would be ‘A’ because we are trying to prove ourselves as a worthy employee. As we get older, not so much, as with age comes the general thought that we have taken all the steps necessary to prove ourselves; and now we are letting our drive and reputation lead the way somewhat. There will always be that young pup chomping at the bit to succeed and prove he is the new “chosen one”. One day (s)he will realize that motivation will only get you so far; sometimes skill and knowledge do trump youth.
That’s not to say that those around you won’t try at some point to burst your bubble. This could be a healthy case of jealousy over your success and what they deem “the golden horseshoe”. Skill still counts in today’s workplace and if you can receive the education needed to continually improve in your work environment, good for you! At the end of the day, it is your standard of living which you should be concerned with; and even your closest advisor isn’t going to take responsibility for your welfare. How bad do you want the “Brass Ring” and to what lengths are you willing to go before reality kicks you in the keister?
Never be afraid to be yourself; popularity contests are only for the insecure and those who know no better. by keeping your head down and your goals up, you will find a balance can be struck between what you are seen as and what you really are capable of. Stand firm, and don’t for one minute change your belief system, at the end of the day it just isn’t worth it, and probably sooner than later; the others that have been judging you, will see you were right the whole time.
Now that, is Something to Think About….
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This is probably a topic I have already had my say on. If not, please let me ramble for a few minutes on the importance of some personal information on an online profile (used to acquire business)
I think it is safe to say that most of us are active on Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, Recruiting Blogs, (or any blog in general) and on these and many other sites we have been asked to provide some information of a personal nature (Name, E-mail, Phone Number, or any way someone can contact you). Its surprising how many people don’t leave any information at all, or give half an effort, almost like they don’t want any contact, just the ability to give their point of view on anything, because it is the one that counts.
Especially interesting is the amount of people who have a fantastic looking Linked-In profile, complete with a decent profile picture and glowing recommendations, but NO e-mail address or contact phone number!! Why do half a job? It would seem to me that setting up a profile in the first place would be to attract interest, either if your abilities are needed by someone (in a hiring position), or you seem to have posted a reasonable amount of information that causes someone to wish to reach out to….
Never mind, they can’t reach out to you because you are still a phantom. Yes I am sure you answered all the questions you thought were important, but unfortunately you left out a key one—How to get in touch with you.
Even if you are just using these accounts on an employee/employer basis; something as basic as an email address or a business phone number would do wonders for people wanting more of what you appear to be selling—Your opinion.
It can be flattering to have others try to look you up. From a personal branding perspective it is almost a slam-dunk in needed information. And probably more important, giving out the e-mail from any provider does not guarantee that you will be on the receiving end of a boatload of spam, or offers to buy-in to some foreign currency scheme left by a “recently deceased” loved one.
If this is a concern, allow me to introduce you to the solution- Your delete button and your junk folder. If you start receiving alot of unwanted crap—Send it to the cleaners and give it all the respect it deserves. More times than not, you will receive solid invitations from people like yourself, looking to expand on their PROFESSIONAL Networks. It shouldn’t be perceived that giving an address equates to opening the book on your life (thats why you have personal e-mail and professional e-mail); not everyone wants to know all about you—Just what you have to offer or could possibly bring to the table in a business situation.
That is a rather large word—Business; but one that surprisingly is necessary. How do we find our leads or prospective business colleagues? A lot of them could come from everyday life; or they are contacts you have know for years and feel safe dealing with. But where does that leave the new business required to move forward and stay profitable? Do you really want to lose out on future dealings by not completely giving the necessary information at this time? Probably the answer is NO.
Yes, there are lead creating programs that could probably guess the information; but I do not see any reason why we would leave a sure thing to chance. There is even a chance that a close contact has the information you require, but that would allow someone else in on a potential business deal that you would like not to talk about until it is time.
The nice thing about generic e-mail programs is that they are readily available from most search providers. (Hotmail, Yahoo, G-Mail to name a few) if you really don’t wish a business account. However please bear in mind that the more professional your appearance; the more you will be perceived as the guy to reach out to who knows how to get things done.
Anyone who has read previous blogs will know that this is something I am passionate about; not because I am looking to change anyones business model.. but because it only makes good business sense.
PLEASE, PLEASE, if you are going to set up a fantastic profile outlining all of your good qualities and your business acumen; add that additional sentence by posting an E-MAIL Address. You may find an increase in queries and business contacts because of it. From me to you……that is…..
Something to Think About!!
Many companies jump into social media without fully assessing the risks. Make sure you understand the dynamics of social environments before you start with the technology.
In my last two columns, I discussed two of the three tenets of implementing a social business strategy:process and community management. The last leg of the social business stool is technology.
Social technology is everywhere, and often it’s the place where companies start because it’s the most obvious new element, particularly for interacting with external audiences. Businesses see most of their customers using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking channels, so building a presence there seems to make obvious sense. However, adopting the technology starts a company down the slippery slope of social business when that may not be its intent, so it’s unprepared for the risks.
Marketing departments, for instance, will start a Twitter or Facebook page to reach more customers directly, but in the process they’re setting the expectation that they’re speaking andlistening. Most organizations don’t have the processes and governance in place to effectively listen and respond to individual consumers in meaningful ways. As a result, crises can emerge.
This happened not too long ago on Nestle’s Facebook page when its “fans” raised pointed questions that the company wasn’t prepared to respond to. Nestle knew it had some long-standing critics but apparently didn’t adequately prepare for that debate to spill over into its social media efforts. Better planning would have identified issues likely to come up.
There’s a dizzying array of software tools aimed at managing an organization’s external presence. They include tools provided by the social networks themselves, like Facebook Pages and Analytics and Twitter’s Business Center; branded social software; monitoring, analysis, search, blogging, mobile, and location-based technologies; social gaming; URL shorteners; idea generators; reputation analyzers; and recommendation engines.
A host of management applications (including TweetDeck, Seesmic, HootSuite, and CoTweet) integrate with many of the other social tools such as enterprise applications like Salesforce.com’s Chatter. Consumer-influenced free-to-pay business models further add to this complex landscape because different business groups within a company are likely using a wide variety of applications.
Organizations can find themselves with a technical hairball in pretty short order. Start sorting things out by doing the following:
— Undertake an enterprise-wide social technologies audit. Include internal departments, employees, and partners.
— Educate point people within functional departments about the technologies that are available. Individuals in charge of digital marketing, online support, employee policies, knowledge management, and recruiting are good ones to start with. Analyst firms like Forrester, Gartner, IDC,Altimeter, and Constellation Research can help. For information on social network services,OneForty.com is a great place to start.
— Categorize use cases and business goals, including branding, direct marketing, customer support, partner marketing and collaboration, market research, and alumni relations.
— Identify data, security, and integration needs and risks.
— Develop requirements by use case. For example, if direct marketing is a business priority, define how using social media marketing can integrate and enhance existing initiatives.
— Recommend and get consensus on a portfolio of tools, whether they’re enterprise social software or public social networks and applications.
— Develop standards and guidelines on how employees and departments will present their activities on social sites. Identify both encouraged activities and those that are inappropriate for your business.
— Provide employees with training on how to use and protect themselves on social networks and how to refer to and frame work-related content.
Social technologies, many of them delivered as services, are stretching businesses thin because they’re easy to adopt, come at low or no cost, and are hard to control. Facebook and LinkedIn are threatening to disrupt traditional means of enterprise communication both inside and outside the firewall because those sites’ private groups are typically easier to use than collaboration spaces within the enterprise, such as SharePoint, Oracle Webcenter Suite, eRoom, and other portal- or file directory-based approaches.
Even if your company doesn’t intend to use social technology in the near term, its use by your employees and others is likely already impacting your business. Understanding the new dynamics that social environments create and the opportunities and risks associated with them is critical for all businesses.
-Rachel Happe (part 3 of 3)
Few people may actually hold the title “community manager,” but more people need to understand the discipline.
In my last column, I introduced the three main elements of a social business strategy — process, management, and technology — and focused on what it means to socialize a business process. The second leg is adapting management techniques to this new information environment.
Social-business processes require access to online communities in order to solicit ideas, get feedback, identify risks, and share results. Those communities’ operating dynamics are very different from what most organizations are used to because
— participation is voluntary and can be encouraged but not forced, particularly in the case of customer and marketing communities;
— leadership and power structures emerge rather than get assigned; and
— influence is created by sharing information rather than hoarding it.
Enter community management, the discipline of ensuring productive online communities. Good managers already have the basic skills required for community management — they understand human behavior and business — but they need to adapt to an environment where assignments and demands aren’t particularly effective and are often counterproductive. Rigid management approaches must be replaced with a fluid approach that centers on encouragement, orchestration of social pressure, and promotion or exposure.
Open source communities are a great place to watch these principles in action. There, leaders don’t dole out assignments; programmers work on problems they find to be the most interesting. Once projects are finished, code is peer reviewed, tested, and improved. The leader’s job in this environment is to check in “approved” patches so that there’s no confusion over what is ready for use and what is in progress. This workflow can apply to any project work.
Community management takes more time than traditional management, but the payoff, when it’s done successfully, is higher productivity because people are pursuing the work they’re most interested in, selecting how they participate, and opportunistically solving problems. It’s the transition from a parental perspective of management to a partnership model. In this environment, the leader’s job is to maintain the boundaries around what is productive for the organization, monitor the gaps, encourage individuals to fill gaps, and facilitate the integration.
Key elements of community management include leading through persuasion and influence; recognizing opportunities to nurture potential; understanding the behaviors that lead to outcomes; knowing the levers that change behaviors; negotiating and resolving conflicts; and understanding how social dynamics change based on the size of the community.
The best community leaders tend to be senior managers, directors, and VPs with a firm grasp of their organizations’ culture, priorities, and limitations. They understand the internal relationships to make change happen, and they’re fluent in social tools and methodologies.
As social-business initiatives grow, these leaders head up teams of community managers — some focused on relationships (for example, engagement managers, client success managers), some on content or programming (product documentation specialists, IT knowledge management experts, marketing program managers, newsletter managers), some on analytics and measurement (business analysts, social media analysts, IT analysts), some on technology (IT managers, collaboration specialists), and others on strategy or innovation (social-business strategists, directors of innovation, VPs).
Few people may actually hold the title “community manager,” but more people need to understand the discipline.
-Rachel Happe (part 2 of 3)
What is social business? Even the experts don’t agree. I’m generally pragmatic about these things—whatever term and definition works for an organization is the right term. However, because we need to refer to this trend succinctly, there is an argument of sorts over what to call it. At last glance, it seems the term “social business” is winning—led by Dachis Group, Jive Software, and Lotus.
If social business is the goal, the strategy and tactics break out in the following way:
Strategy: To make organizations more humane, adaptive, and resilient in order to increase revenue through relevance and reduce costs through crowdsourcing.
This strategy is then implemented through a variety of tactics:
Process: ”Socializing” a process means that it becomes interactive and iterative, with many constituent groups throughout the process, and more dependent on collective actions to succeed.
Management: Community management is the discipline of ensuring that communities are productive. In this context, communities are collections of individuals who are bound by need or interest rather than authority or hierarchy, which is why a new approach to management is needed.
Technology: This includes social Media, SCRM, Enterprise 2.0/enterprise social platforms, co-innovation tools, or any of a host of emerging social technologies aimed at specific business processes.
These tactics are applied to a specific business operations context—such as to outbound marketing, sales, collaboration, recruiting, professional development, or market research—to achieve the desired results.
Understanding how to socialize a process is a good place to start. Here are some specific things to think about:
— What decision points within a process could benefit from more information or a wider perspective? Communities can be effective for real-time research and feedback.
— Where is there risk in a workflow? Using crowdsourcing to identify potential risks at that point is a great use of social technologies.
— Does a specific process need to be confidential? If not, make the deliverables visible and searchable in order to orchestrate a serendipitous event with a customer or a colleague or an influencer who may know something quite relevant that you don’t know they know.
Within the group of individuals participating in a process, publish status updates and emails to a networked environment. This will reduce the need for status meetings and misunderstandings between various team members.
— What points in the process do results need to be communicated? Doing this in a networked space where the information is easy to share and highlight will help spread the information quickly to more people.
Socializing a process is about opening up communication flows into and out of the process so that risks and opportunities can be identified and addressed more quickly. Social processes are quite fluid and can make people who are used to sequential processes uncomfortable because work isn’t “completed” before it’s available for comment. If not well managed, that can lead to an endless iteration or confusion about when something should be communicated more broadly. If done well, misdirection and mistakes are caught before much time is invested, status meetings are reduced and eliminated, the final output is more thoroughly vetted, and communication happens more quickly when milestones are reached.
Planning for a social workflow before you apply tools and management techniques to it will reduce the risk of failure and give you a solid understanding of where better information flow will reduce your risk overall and contribute to efficiency. In my next column, I’ll cover how management approaches need to adapt to optimize the effectiveness of social processes in support of a social business strategy.
-Rachel Happe (part 1 of 3)
How many people took part in this weeks election? Of that, how many voted based on the local candidate and how many went with the party as a whole? I know that’s pretty much the same question, but sometimes staying with the local guy will help with local problems. Enough. Here is the real question, How many of us understood the big picture; and how many of us went in thinking that one vote won’t change the landscape?
How does the preamble relate to recruiting, sourcing and our place in the scheme of things? Its all about the perception. What you think versus what you know (to be true). Perception of reputation is important in many businesses, but ours (and the politicians) more than others.
WE have to be seen as the ones who can get any job done at any time; or at least have a vision on what the finished job will look like. Whether it’s lining up candidates or helping to touch-up any company department that seems to have become stagnant. And unlike those who were running for office., we have to be both visible and accountable. Ours is a business where presence and perception are everything.
As long as all perceptions are positive, then everything is good. However if we even think for a second that someone is judging our abilities; we become frazzled. The better the image we project, and the more projects we can do on time and saving money, then the more our services will be sought after. We have to give off the perception at all times that we are in control, and that our team will see the task through to a fruitful conclusion.
Add perception to the list we began weeks ago; its yet another thing we portray in every activity we do, and in every conversation we have, both business and personal. When we realize the importance of this, and we add it to our ever growing tool-belt of techniques, and processes, we become more in control of our eventual destiny; and our client list will become longer with our success.
To be continued…