Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Choose - Decide - Do it this week

This weeks sparkenation.

I participated in an excellent webinar ‘Why should anyone believe your business is worth knowing’ on 24th November presented by my friend and colleague Kwai Yu, the Founder of Leaders Cafe and Linchpin Academy.

Kwai used a great insight from Sydney Harris to stimulate discussion. I love it and quickly captured the screenshot below.


Here are the key points for me.

Celebrate and be grateful for what you love about your life.

Whatever you don't love about your life, change it.

If you and I don’t change what we can, we end up with more of what we don't love.

Pick one thing about the status quo that is no longer serving you and do something personally to change it. And do it this week!

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Author of Changing What's Normal
I partner with people passionate about change who want to break free from the status quo and accelerate turning possibility into reality


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Are we allowing social media to ruin our real relationships?

I estimate the total number of different people that I am connected to online is more than 3000 people. I am a minnow of course. I can’t imagine life for those with more than a million twitter followers!

The key for me is that I have real relationships with about 150 people. Significantly Robin Dunbar’s number has been the constant for me pre and post social media.

The main value of having a significant social media presence for me is five-fold:

1) We do meet people online we probably wouldn’t have met otherwise who become colleagues, collaborators and friends. An example: Six out of the seven members of the Leadership Roundtable of Differencemakers Community, which I founded, I first met online. Three of them I am still to meet in person.

2) We can enhance our reputation by consistent posting of high-quality content in the endless number of places to post that are available.

3) We can use technology such as skype and gotomeetings to strengthen and grow relationships and accomplish important tasks.

4) We can learn many things of value to our personal and business lives through online discussions, webinars, and other forums. Equally we can contribute much to others in the same ways.

5) Collaboration is much easier, more efficient and effective because of social media and the cloud.

My online to in-person ratio is about 5:1 i.e. 5 hours online:1 hour in-person. It was once 20:1 as I allowed myself to be almost completely consumed. Of course my real relationships suffered. I am working on getting my ratio to 3:1.

As mentioned in my previous post and slideshare:
“Your Network is who you like, know and trust.
Your Reputation depends on who likes, knows, and trusts you.
Your Business growth depends on who likes, knows and trusts you and who is prepared to take you to who likes, knows, and trusts them.”

I can’t speak for you of course, for me I don’t take anyone to meet someone who likes, knows, and trusts me unless I am certain of their value to such a person, and I can’t be certain of someone else’s value until I have a real relationship with them.

In my view real relationships are primarily built in person and only online when we can see people and get a true sense of who they are. Relationships can be enhanced and grown online but not usually built.

I have requests from people I have never met or seen or witnessed their work asking me for recommendations and referrals. How could I have integrity and do that? I couldn’t.

Are we allowing social media to ruin our real relationships?

My answer is yes when the following exist:


*Our ratio of online to in-person is out of harmony for us
*Our focus is on getting rather than giving
*We email or text or post when a call or visit would better enhance the relationship/s
*We say things online we wouldn’t say in person
*Our focus is on what’s happening on our so-called smart phones when we are in-person with other people
*We pay more attention to what people are saying online than we do in person
*Online work and play has become more important than in-person work and play
*We can’t switch-off our phones or leave them at home occasionally
*We post, text or email information about other people we haven’t run past them
*We are paying more attention to what people are saying about us online than they are in-person
*We notice our communication skills and ability to have meaningful conversations in-person have waned
*We have stopped or reduced saying in person Please, Thank You, I love you.
*The amount of quality in-person, without technology time we spend with family, friends and colleagues is reduced

Would you add any?
And what will you do today to ensure to stop allowing social media to ruin your real relationships?


Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Author of Changing What's Normal
I partner with people passionate about change who want to break free from the status quo and accelerate turning possibility into reality


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

It’s not who you know or even who knows you

Your Network is who you like, know and trust.
Your Reputation depends on who likes, knows, and trusts you.
Your Business growth depends on who likes, knows and trusts you and who is prepared to take you to who likes, knows, and trusts them.


Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Author of Changing What's Normal
I partner with people passionate about change who want to break free from the status quo and accelerate turning possibility into reality


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Power of Conviction

People often say "The missing link in strategy is implementation". What they mean is that the new strategy simply sits on the shelf and nothing changes.

I have always found this to be most intriguing. I would have thought that people in organizations would be particularly strong on implementation. Entrepreneurs tend to be "doers". They employ smart people with practical skills. They pay these employees to do what they are asked to do, and if they don't do it, they are at risk of being fired. There are plenty of project managers who have the skills to plan and manage the implementation of projects.

If you are going to install a new computer system, you tell all your employees what they are required to do. If they don't do it, they are in trouble. No one has a choice. Everyone has their own part to play, to reach the point where the new system is functioning properly.

So, when it comes to strategy, why is implementation such a problem?

For one thing, a strategy is not an action plan. First you have to define the strategy. Then you work out a plan to achieve it.

Secondly, it's been said that a failure to execute is always due to one of three things:


1. You don't know what to do,

2. You don't know how to do it, or

3. Someone or something is standing in the way.

I believe that with strategy, the first point is usually the main problem. If your strategy is empty rhetoric; just fine-sounding words, it won't have any substance and won't generate any action. If, however, you have a clear conviction that you've come up with the right strategy, you will know what you have to do. You will work out how to do it. Nothing and no one will stand in the way. But if you're not entirely sure about the strategy you've formulated, if you haven't developed a clear vision, if you haven't thought deeply enough about your specific value proposition and how you will differentiate, you won't have sufficient drive to mobilise the people around you to take action on it. You'll have a nagging concern that something's not quite right. A strategy has to feel right. It's partly a logical and partly intuitive decision.

If the thinking is done thoroughly and well, then the doing will follow easily.

Without strong conviction, you're just stuck in precedent.

A cure for all management ills

This weeks sparkenation.

I was most fortunate that my first management mentor 40 years ago taught me a principle I later discovered was a philosophy of Goethe. My paraphrase "See people as they are and they can only get worse. See people as they can be and they can only get better."

This attitude to people is a cure for all management ills. At least it is the beginning of such!

I have embraced this principle my whole working life.

It is breathtakingly simple. Simple rarely means easy in practice and so
20 years ago I first dedicated my life's work to that of inspiring leaders and managers to live Goethe's principle. I have partnered with 100's of people who now use this philosophy in their own way.

Today I describe my quest as helping people passionate about change to break free from the status quo and turn possibility into reality.

The status quo is sucking the life of of us. Just think politicians and global financial crisis 2.0 for a second. I don't see any wisdom whatsoever being put forward, just the same old crap. The only thing that stops me from joining in the protests is that I see politicians and financial leaders as they could be rather than as they are!

I am on a quest to change the world one leader/manager at a time. I believe business to be the last bastion of hope.

My Changing What's Normal book is my manifesto for replacing the status quo when same no longer serves us. It is the book I always wanted to write and judging by the feedback of people who have read it, and done their work, I am thrilled that I spent the decade I did thinking about it and then two years researching and writing it.

In my book there are 58 sparkenations. A sparkenation is a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal.

The key is not my sparkenations however, what's really important is what you hear yourself say to yourself when you hear them, see them, or read them,
and then what you do that you have never done before.

You can get your copy of my book by enrolling in one, two, or all three of my Changing What's Normal webinars. The next series is on 1st, 8th, and 15th December.

If you are put off by the stench of status quo and you genuinely want to do something to change what's normal, please join me online for one, two or all three of these webinars.

It may be the best $40 (one webinar), $75 (two webinars) or $100 (all three webinars) you have ever invested.
Details are at here.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Author of Changing What's Normal
I partner with people passionate about change who want to break free from the status quo and accelerate turning possibility into reality

More sparkenations are here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fast Food Charity


Except during the extraordinarily hot summer months, Palm Springs has a fairly large homeless population, known as Desert Rats. They migrate to the area for the warmth and dryness of the dessert winter, much like their better off "snow birds" from Canada and the northern states.

Of course, these "snow birds" have vacation houses and RV parks to live in, unlike the Desert Rats who sleep on cardboard scraps in public parks.

I usually make a trip every eight months or so to Palm Springs to visit my father, who is a full-time resident there. Each visit usually includes a couple of trips to a nearby burger chain for lunch.

It has now become my practice to always order an extra double cheeseburger with my own meal. As I drive out of the parking lot area, I give this freshly made burger to whichever homeless person is at the exit with their cardboard "please help" sign.

Sure, it costs a bit more to do this than simply handing over a dollar bill (or ignoring their plea for help altogether). But at least I know my contribution won't be going for smokes, liquor or drugs. And it feels good knowing that a hungry person has just received something substantive to eat.

I also go out of my way to pack any non-perishable food in my condo at the end of each stay and drive to an area where the homeless hang out. Usually this means a couple bags of unused groceries get distributed to around a half dozen people.

Of course, not everyone lives or vacations in areas where there are hungry and homeless people (though I venture it wouldn't be too hard to find some if you really tried).

However, it is so easy to find a creative way to contribute to society's downtrodden. All it takes is purchasing an extra loaf of bread, a can of food, or even a few pieces of fruit and giving it to someone needy between your place of shopping and home. Or, as I do, buying an extra item at a quick service restaurant and handing it to someone.

Believe me, this is an easy routine to get into once you start seeking the opportunity to help feed one hungry person at a time. And by doing so, you will definitely be making a difference. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"Screw Business as Usual"

There is an excellent article here by Sir Richard Branson for Business Fights Poverty an online community I have been a member of for sometime.

What will you do today and beyond to "Screw Business as Usual"?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Author of Changing What's Normal
I partner with people passionate about change who want to break free from the status quo and accelerate turning possibility into reality


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Who/what are you waiting for?

This article was the second of my Changing What's Normal newsletter this month.
You can sign-up for my newsletter here.

For the past two weeks I have been working in a somewhat isolated place in remote Australia. In many ways it has been a waiting game.

Part of my project has meant I have had to call many Government departments meaning many long waits. Typical recorded messages have been “we are experiencing greater than normal call volume ... and my favourite “your call is important to us ...

When I suggested in a light tone to one operator that if call volume was greater than normal perhaps it was time to change what’s normal and put more people on to take calls, I received silence on the other end, not a word! Maybe I wasn’t speaking with a human!

My average waiting time has been 15 minutes. I have calculated that in the 140 hours I have worked in the past two weeks, 30 hours have been spent waiting.

I have made great use of the time, writing this for example. Before making each call I decide what I am going to do that is productive while I am waiting.

I suspect more than 20% of your life is also spent waiting.
What do you do that is productive while you wait?

And what are you doing about people who make you wait?


I made a decision some time ago to not have relationships with people who make me wait.

I am very careful who I have relationships with. I am very careful to respect other people’s time and energy and never waste it. As a general rule other people treat me as I expect to be treated (Government departments are the exception).

When it comes to business relationships my aim is to always be collaborative.

Sparkenation 28 of my Changing What’s Normal book is titled “Only collaborate with people when you have achieved a shared view.” I put forward there 7 steps to collaborating successfully:

1. Establish that there is agreement concerning the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s. Don’t move on until you are absolutely certain there is agreement.

2. State what you can and will do to achieve the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s.

3. Ask the other person or people involved to state what they can and will do to achieve the goal/s, objective/s, or aim/s.

4. State what you feel are the milestones or measurements that will indicate that you are on on track to achieve what you say you will in 2.

5. Ask the other person or people involved to state what they feel are the milestones or measurements that will indicate that they are on on track to achieve what they say they will in 3.

6. Agree on the dates and times that you will be in touch with each other to discuss progress and celebrate achievements.

7. Confirm in writing via email or letter your agreements in 2. through 6. and ask for a confirmation response from the other person or people involved.

I make sure that in all my collaborative agreements there is absolute clarity around deadlines and what happens if unforeseen circumstances mean they cannot be met.
I have considerably reduced my waiting time as a result.

What kind of collaborative agreements do you have in place and what do they mean for your waiting time?

The most useless waiting time is when we don’t do what we know we should. Call it procrastination if you will. I call it wasting our lives.

In this weeks short sparkenation I said:
“This blog post "Will We Cry When You Die? An Open Letter" by Author of Start With Why Simon Sinek, stirred my heart and got me thinking. The great legacy we leave is the one others are acting on while we are alive.

What’s your living legacy? And is it making waves?

As Seth Godin says: “In a world of surfers, all you can do is work to make the best wave you can. The real revolution is that you get to make waves, not just ride them.”

I find that when I am focused on making waves and making my mark I spend less time waiting and I don’t have time to procrastinate.

What will you do today that you haven’t, that you know you should?

Do it now. Life’s too short to spend time waiting unproductively.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Ian

PS
I am excited to announce a Changing What’s Normal webinar series:
December 1st webinar - Change Yourself
December 8th webinar - Change Your Relationships
December 15th webinar - Change Your Organisation

Details are here.

And I am very excited to announce that the first ever Changing What’s Normal 1 day workshop is being held in 10 cities and 6 countries in early 2012. There are save great savings to be made when you take up the super early bird offer. Details are here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Simplify and Automate Your Internet Marketing

To be successful at Internet marketing, you don't need to spend every waking hour on-line - although it might seem that way by listening to what some Internet marketing experts say. Instead, make some smart decisions about which Internet marketing tools you're going to use, and which you can afford to ignore.

Broadly, you can group these tools into four categories, based on how you use them to deliver high-quality content (which is the basis of modern Internet marketing):


  1. Create: You create this once, and don't need to update it regularly.
  2. Generate: You generate material regularly and push it out to the world using these tools.
  3. Automate: This stuff gets out there automatically.
  4. Participate: You actively get involved in conversations and discussions.
The Generate tools are the most important for us as differencemakers to be positioning ourselves as experts; and the Participate tools are the most important for building a community or "tribe".

I'll explain and give you examples of each of these four categories.

Create

This will typically be your Web site itself. You create it once, and then adjust it as required. You do need to be able to update it yourself, but most of the updates are promotional (for example, adding testimonials, promoting new events, adding new products and services) rather than educational.

If you really get into high-level Internet marketing, you'll be updating this much more regularly - for example, fine-tuning the keywords on pages, creating landing page for search engine marketing campaigns, and so on. But most of us mere mortals won't need to be doing that.

Generate

These are the tools you use for generating and distributing your content regularly:
  • Blog
  • E-mail newsletter
  • Article directories
  • Podcast
  • Videos
  • Slide shows
Everybody should do the first two (blog and newsletter); and the others depend on your own skills and the preferences of your target market.

You don't have to create brand-new content each time. It's easy to write an article once, and then publish it to your newsletter, blog and article directories; to then record it as an audio file for your podcast; and then create a video and/or slide show from it.

This stuff is important - don't neglect it!

Automate

If you don't have the time to get fully involved in social media, at least get a simple presence by automating the process. Every time you publish a blog post, let your followers know on:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
This gives you a minimal, but useful, social media presence. You're pumping out valuable stuff regularly to your social media networks, so you can start building up a following for later use.

Warning: This is by no means the way to master social media! Like anything else, social media won't work for you unless you put some serious time, effort and focus into it. This is just a way of creating a presence slowly until you're ready to do more with it.

Participate

Finally, you can participate in on-line conversations. This can happen on the big social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn; or they can be special on-line communities you belong to.

This stuff is also important. And yes, it does take time! But if you pick the right communities and the right conversations, it can be time well spent.

You do this already in the off-line world (I hope!), when you meet up with colleagues for a mastermind group, attend your professional association's chapter meetings, or attend networking events where your clients hang out. This is the same thing, in the on-line world.

Here it is in a nutshell ...

Here's a summary of the four stages, written as a marketing plan:
  1. Build a high-quality Web site that promotes you.
  2. Publish articles regularly to your newsletter and blog; and optionally leverage them in other forms.
  3. Automatically notify your social media followers of new blog posts.
  4. Take part in on-line conversations of your peers and clients.

What's YOUR Internet marketing plan?

I hope this gives you a starting point for your Internet marketing plan. Yours might differ slightly, but stick to the principles of publishing high-quality content regularly and having high-quality conversations regularly.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Are you leaving a legacy while you are alive?

This weeks sparkenation.

This blog post Will We Cry When You Die? An Open Letter by Author of Start With Why Simon Sinek, stirred my heart and got me thinking. The great legacy we leave is the one others are acting on while we are alive.

What’s your living legacy? And is it making waves?

As Seth Godin says: “In a world of surfers, all you can do is work to make the best wave you can. The real revolution is that you get to make waves, not just ride them.”

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Author of Changing What's Normal
I partner with people passionate about change who want to break free from the status quo and accelerate turning possibility into reality


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Leaders go first

I see a lot of people waiting. There are those waiting to see what happens in Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain etc. Will we avoid a second Global Financial Crisis? I don’t know. I won’t be sitting on my hands waiting in hope. I will do what I can in the areas I can influence.

I see people waiting all the time to try and control things they can’t.

Are you waiting or are you leading. Leaders go first.

Decide what you can influence and get going. The world has had enough of people waiting and we need leaders prepared to go first.
If not you, then who?

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Author of Changing What's Normal
I partner with people passionate about change who want to break free from the status quo and accelerate turning possibility into reality


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Are Private Bankers Poor at Describing What They Do or Simply Just Anti-Social by Nature?

Last night I attended a private reception for Financial Services Professionals (FSP) specifically focused on private bankers, investment bankers, hedge fund managers et al and a few of the companies that service them. As I moved around the room I’d ask ...


Me: “What do you do?”


... to which I received the response either


FSP: “eh ... what do you mean?”


... or they proceeded to recite the entire glossy corporate brochure by heart. Every one was wearing name tags with their name and the company so you knew where they were from and unless you were a complete industry outsider (in which case you wouldn’t be at the reception anyway) you knew what the company did. So I’d ask again,


Me: “Yes, but what do YOU do?”


FSP: “eh ... what do you mean?”


... I remained tight lipped and allowed a pregnant pause to ensue ...


FSP: “eh ... well I’m a XYZ Manager” or  “I work in the XYZ department”


Me: “Let me ask it differently; what do ***YOU*** do that adds value to your clients?”


The majority of the responses to this were along the lines of ...


FSP: “What do I what?”


In all fairness there were the occasional good ones, possibly proving the 5% 95% rule.


For now forget the question about value though and go back to the original question, ‘what do you do?’. What I found amazing was that these people all seemed to identify themselves as part of a corporate machine that does ‘something’, as opposed to being able to articulate what it is that they do within that environment that differentiates them as a person, an expert in their field, or a professional who makes a difference.


Remember that this was an industry reception so there was no need to tell peers what their company does ... everyone in the room pretty much knew what each of the companies did. I would have thought it more important to tell your peers what makes you the big swinging dick of your company or your department, blow your own trumpet, beat your own drum, and don’t bore me to tears with your corporate slogans.


Certainly this type of reaction is not exclusive to the financial services industry; I have seen it at other more generic neworking events and receptions. What stood out for me on this occassion was the number of people who seemed firewalled from the reality that they work in a service industry and that their right to survive (at least should) depend(s) upon the value they bring to their clients. Clearly the financial services companies they all work for are not creating a work environment that fosters this understanding; or am I simply over-reacting?


Warmest regards,


Paul 



About Paul J. Lange:
Paul J. Lange is a business mentor and business performance coach who helps small to medium enterprise and entrepreneurs to apply big business, enterprise disciplines and solutions to gain a competitive advantage and increase profits. 

Paul's 'Business DIET'© system has helped countless entrepreneurs and business owners around the world to launch start-ups, expand existing operations, and greatly improve bottom lines.

Paul is also one of Australia’s most connected management consultants, and leading business strategists, with a passion for helping corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and business owners who are committed to achieving outstanding results.

Paul’s support will help you to develop strategic direction, implement it, execute and make more money. He will have you starting to work on your business, instead of in your business, right from day one; and if you have already started down this path, he will help you to complete the transition to business owner from business manager.

There is usually trouble when the tail is wagging the dog

At the beginning of the 1997 comedy film ‘Wag the Dog’ a caption reads:
“Why does the dog wag its tail?

Because the dog is smarter than the tail.

If the tail were smarter, it would wag the dog.”

How many situations in your business is a small part controlling the whole, or something minor unduly influencing something major?

A classic case of the tail wagging the dog is happening in Australian politics at present where Independents hold the balance of power and often hold the government to ransom if they don’t get their way. A great example is one Independent trying to introduce gambling legislation in an endeavour to fix problem gamblers who from what I can see are a very small minority of the people who gamble for leisure. If the legislation is introduced the potential damaging effects in the pubs and clubs industry are huge, potentially even putting some out of business. The Independent pushing the change is threatening to bring down the government if his legislation doesn’t pass. In this situation like so many in politics all over the world, common sense is the uncommon thing.

I suggest reviewing your business as soon as possible to make sure that you have a great understanding of the little things making a big difference both negatively and positively. Then take action immediately to ensure you change what’s normal in all the negative areas.

“If you don’t believe little things make a big difference, then you have never been to bed with a mosquito.”
Anita Roddick

PS You’re smarter than any of the little things exercising undue influence over your business right now!

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Author of Changing What's Normal
I partner with people passionate about change who want to break free from the status quo and accelerate turning possibility into reality


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

World Day of Interconnectedness


How connected do you feel to the global family of mankind?

Are you getting a sense that the early stages of a global partnership is underway, shifting perceptions of separateness to oneness?

Tomorrow is an opportunity  for all of us to enhance these feelings, no matter how fleeting or strong they may be. For tomorrow (11-11-11) is the third World Day of Interconnectedness. The theme is shifting from I-llness to WE-llness.

Through your own individual actions, plus participation in any community events nearby, you can express feelings of interconnectedness through acts of compassion. The World Day of Interconnectedness website has a range of ideas on actions and activities, as well as a list of global events  being held.

Being a difference maker requires making connections with others. Tomorrow is another chance to create new connections that will, if only briefly, place focus and attention on the positives of the human family, replacing the negative noises we receive from news organizations, politicians and others.

The 2011 World Day of Interconnectedness may be a raggedy collage of loosely connected events, but so what. A movement towards global interconnectedness has to start somewhere!

What will you be doing to contribute to tomorrow's World Day of Interconnectedness? 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

“Your time is limited. Don't waste it living someone else's life."

This weeks sparkenation.

“Your time is limited. Don't waste it living someone else's life."

As Steve Jobs put it so eloquently:

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to....love what you do. Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. Your time is limited. Don't waste it living someone else's life."

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Author of Changing What's Normal
I partner with people passionate about change who want to break free from the status quo and accelerate turning possibility into reality


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Global Consumers Seeking Greater Corporate Social Responsibility


Consumers in major countries across the globe have begun acting on their desires for a higher level of responsibility by companies in dealing with societal issues.

This global consumer movement is revealed in the 2011 Cone/Echo Global CR Opportunity Study which was conducted earlier this year in 10 countries (USA, Canada, Brazil, UK, Germany, France, Russia, China, India and Japan) comprising roughly half the world's population. Over 10,000 consumers were surveyed.
The top three results were:
  • 81% of consumers say companies have a responsibility to address key social and environmental issues beyond their local communities.
  • 93% of consumers say companies must go beyond their legal compliance to operate responsibly.
  • 94% of consumers say companies must analyze and evolve their business practices to make their impact as positive as possible.
These consumers believe it is important for companies to address a full range of social and environmental issues, including:
  • economic development (96%)
  • environment (96%)
  • water (95%)
  • human rights (94%)
  • education (90%)
  • health and disease (90%)
  • poverty and hunger (87%)
Importantly, 94% of respondents indicated they are likely to buy a product that has an environmental benefit (76% did so in the previous 12 months) or one that is associated with a cause (65% purchased cause-related products in the past year).
Additionally, 93% said they would boycott a company for irresponsibility, with over half saying they have already done so.
Consumers are already using their own spending and loyalty to press their demands for greater corporate social responsibility, as this research clearly shows.

Now the question becomes, is anyone in the corporate world listening?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nobody wins the blame and shame game

This is the first of my newsletters this month.

One of my heroes is Alan Weiss. Alan says “I’ve always believed that language controls discussion, discussion controls relationships, and relationships control business. You might want to substitute “influence” for control, but you get my drift.”

Last weekend the CEO of Qantas, a once iconic Australian company, grounded his entire fleet of planes in order to bring to a head an unresolved dispute his company has with three unions. His decision affected the travel of about 100,000 people and who knows the long term adverse affects.

The language of this CEO, his opponents, and the hapless politicians on both sides of the divide, clearly do not understand collaboration. They are now blaming and shaming one another in public, something that is happening in many situations all over the world right now.

In my changing what’s normal book (Sparkenation 5. One solution to the world’s pre-eminent problem) I wrote the following:

Normal

Fundamentalists are killing us, literally. In my view fundamentalists are people who believe their way is the only way. Today these folk of religious, political, business, and other persuasions are ruining our world. None of us has a mortgage on truth. And none of us has a right to use violence against anybody for any reason, let alone because we believe something different or are following a different path.

Changing What’s Normal

In the new world being co-created we will honour everyone's path to meaning, whatever it is, and we will be tolerant of another person's way and co-exist regardless of our differences, indeed we will celebrate our differences.

We live in three worlds: the world in here, the world out there, and the world we share. In here, our views are just that, out there are other people’s views. In the world we share are the views we agree on. In any successful relationship the world we share is the critical one.

Human conflict is fundamentally the result of failure to agree on the goal or failure to agree on the strategies to achieve the goal. I guarantee that today all of our troubles, personal, local, organisational, national, and international, are fundamentally based in our perceived need to hang onto the world in here, our issues with the world out there, and, our failure to focus more on the world we share.

What makes life really worthwhile is when we can share our views (without ridiculing one another or being violent with one another) and come together with a shared view, which may mean we have to let go of things we previously held dear.

I trust that today and every day you will resolve to build more of the world we share and be less precious about the world in here or the world out there.


What could you do today, this week, this month to be a more of a builder of a world that is based on shared view?

What modifications or changes would you need to make in your life to make this happen?

Please get started today on making the changes you have decided to make. We must move on from a world of shame and blame because nobody wins such a game.

"What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love."
Martin Luther Ling Jr.

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Author of Changing What's Normal
I partner with people passionate about change who want to break free from the status quo and accelerate turning possibility into reality


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Show the Right Face On-Line

In August, we saw the resignation of U.S. congressman Anthony Weiner, who initially denied - and then confessed to - sending lewd photographs of himself to women on Twitter. After the so-called "Weinergate" affair, tweets from other U.S. congress members dropped 30%, as they evidently became far more cautious of what they were saying and doing on-line.

Clearly what Weiner did was inappropriate under any circumstances. But some things aren't so clear, especially when it comes to using social media for marketing. It's a tricky situation for us business owners, because we don't want to offend people but also don't want to miss the opportunity to reach them.

It can also get confusing when some experts say it's all about personal branding, and encourage you to disclose more of your personality in business situations, and vice versa.

The key is to understand each platform's rules.

If you go to a networking function, would you blatantly promote yourself and your services? No (unless you're a sponsor or advertiser). Most people should be there for sharing ideas, making connections and building relationships.

If you go to a friend's party, you wouldn't even go that far. You would usually leave the business cards and elevator speech at home, and just go there to have fun.

The same applies to on-line places. Some are for socialising, some for networking, and some for promoting. Here's a quick overview:

At one end of the spectrum is Facebook, which is primarily for connecting with family and friends.
Then come business networking tools like Twitter and LinkedIn, which allow some self-promotion, but are mainly for connecting, sharing and building relationships.
At the far end are places where you can promote to your heart's content: your Web site, blog, e-mail newsletter, podcast, YouTube ... and Facebook again (but this time I'm talking about Facebook pages, not your personal profile).

So show your face, but show the RIGHT face.

This means you turn up differently - and with a slightly different public face - in each place.

Don't push your products and services to your Facebook friends. On the other hand, this is the place where you can be the most casual and informal.

Similarly, be slightly more formal - more professional, if you like - on Twitter and LinkedIn. It's OK to be slightly self-promotional, but generally follow the 80/20 rule - and make at most 20% of your contributions promotional.

On your Web site or blog, of course, you can do what you like.

This is what you would do in everyday life.

It might seem difficult to remember to act differently on each platform, but in fact it's what you do in other parts of your life. You behave differently at a friend's party than you would at a networking event, and that's different again from a promotional flyer.

Adjust your on-line behaviour the same way. "On-line" is a place, not a medium; so treat it with the same respect.

How do you position yourself differently?

Of course, that's easier said than done! If you'd like to know how to position yourself differently on each platform, you can watch the recording of a webinar I did last month:



For more webinars like this, register for my Internet Business Revolution webinar series (it's free).

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Innovation or problem solving? is a great question to ask often

This weeks sparkenation.

The problem with solving a problem means that mostly that means a return to the status quo. Innovation on the other hand, changes what’s normal.

Next time you have a problem ask, Will solving this return the situation to what was previously normal? If your answer is yes ask, How can I turn this problem into an opportunity to do what’s never been done before as well as remove the cause of the problem in the first place?

Most problem solving fails to remove the cause/s.

Often the cause/s of problems have something to do with our why of where we’re going, how (strategy) we have decided to get there, and who will do what and when (execution).

Creative tension rather than negative stress can exist between reality and possibility when we get our why, how, and who, what, and when, right for us.


For some great insights into creative tension please read a guest post here by Gary Ryan from Organisations That Matter.

Gary acknowledges the great work of Robert Fritz who I too would acknowledge along with the great work of Peter Senge.

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

Rudyard Kipling

Be the difference you want to see in the world
Ian
Author of Changing What's Normal
I partner with people passionate about change who want to break free from the status quo and accelerate turning possibility into reality


Sparkenation: a spark that ignites passion that leads to action that changes what's normal

More sparkenations are here.