Thursday, June 27, 2013

Don't Get Stuck at the Starting Barrier

So many things now are free, fast, easy and effective - and yet, so many people don't do them, even when they truly believe in their benefits. For example, just in the area of online marketing, it's easy to create a blog, set up a Twitter account, sign up to Google+, or publish a YouTube video. You know millions of people - professionals and amateurs alike - are doing them, and yet you might still not have started.

One of the reasons for this is that many people get stuck at the "starting barrier". This video explains what I mean:

So are you getting stuck at any starting barriers? If so, get over yourself - and get over that barrier!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Moving beyond being good

This weeks sparkenation.

In many aspects of life what was once good enough isn’t anymore.

My friend and Enhancing Their Gifts System accredited mentor Gary Ryan is a leading expert in helping businesses, universities, leaders and talented individuals move Beyond Being Good.

I highly recommend Gary’s Yes for Success program as great way to step up and move beyond being good.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

“The enemy of great is good”
Kevin Roberts CEO Worldwide Saatchi & Saatchi

More sparkenations.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Happy Birthday to Buy1Give1 - Business Giving Re-defined

The great organisation Buy1Give1 is celebrating its 6th birthday this week.  In a very short time it has made more than 27 million micro-giving impacts.

Check out B1G1's great story.  At the bottom of the link check out the TEDx talk by B1G1 Chairman Paul Dunn.  You will love it!

At Changing What's Normal and in the Talent Enhancers Tribe giving is at our core and we are proud to be a part of B1G1's great story.  We made our latest contribution yesterday as a part of the birthday celebrations.  6 balloons are being pumped every time a member gives this week.  How cool that in B1G1's office they are drowning in a see of balloons.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

If you know it, speak it

A blog I value reading every week is from the folk at Enablers Network. My thanks to them for their most recent blog which alerted me to a brilliant TED talk 'Dare to disagree'by Margaret Heffernan.

I am a big fan of Margaret for her excellent book 'Wilful Blindness' which sadly I see a lot of in my work. Wilful blindness is one of the great barriers to progress in the world today.

One of the 6 BIG challenges facing leaders in the workplace is that most people don't yet excel at having conversations about performance when there is difficulty, conflict or disagreement.

This is a skill issue yet more it is an issue of the will.

A key factor in this is elephants in the room.

Most of what could be better about an organisation is known yet unsaid (it is said underground and away from the organisation). For 22 years I have been walking into organisations as an adviser and I am told, usually within an hour, of what could be better and yet no one has raised issues with insiders for fear of reprisal or fear for their jobs and other nasty reasons. A common reason is a cultural issue of not talking about what can be perceived as unpleasant.

Sometimes I name the elephants myself. Once or twice I have been thrown out for doing so! Usually I mentor people to name the elephants themselves. The outcome usually is relief and very quickly elephants are humanely removed. Soon creativity and innovation happen. Often the reaction is why was this not spoken about before?

The known not being said and a failure to excel at having conversations about performance when there is difficulty, conflict or disagreement is costing organisations billions, probably trillions. The biggest cost though is to human life.

Most of the great disasters of my life-time could have been avoided, and most of the trouble in organisations too. It takes someone on the inside to speak up and to do so long before a consultant or an auditor arrives.

If you know it, speak it, otherwise you are guilty of wilful blindness and a tragedy could be about to happen.

If you are afraid, for whatever reason, please find an ally inside and/or seek outside help today.
A great place to begin is watch Margaret Heffernan's TED talk.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Content without context is of very little value

This weeks sparkenation.

Almost everyday I receive or see something online about content marketing. Most of it is just stuff without a context for me.  It's typical of most marketing and most media; it misses the point. Content without context is of very little value.

I love this 1 hour presentation by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Gary wonderfully captures for me the key to success in business - how we see and treat human beings.  And he beautifully puts marketing into context.

And I love his last line (accepting that I am taking it out of context!)

"Take all the money your spending on dumb shit and put it into humans."
Gary Vaynerchuk

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

People Are Smart, Webmasters Are Devious

Wired WorldIf you have a Web site, you naturally want it to appear at the top of Google. Or, to be more accurate, you want it at the top when your ideal client searches Google, searching for an answer (that you can provide) to their problem. This has been the goal ever since Google became the world's biggest search engine, and it's still the case today.

You'll do much better on Google if you understand one simple rule - and it's a rule that Google has never changed.

To understand that rule, it helps to understand a bit about Google's history ...

When the Web was young ...

In the mid-1990s, in the early days of the World Wide Web - when I first started using it - if you wanted to find something, you could search Yahoo. Or AltaVista. Or Lycos. Or HotBot. Or DogPile. Or a handful of other search engines. They were all reasonably popular, without any of them being a stand-out choice over any other.

Then, in 1998, a little upstart company called Google entered the market, and it changed everything. It was a runaway success, and quickly grabbed the vast majority of market share - a privileged position it still holds today.

But what made Google so popular? It didn't have first-mover advantage (far from it!). It didn't have more powerful hardware than its competitors. And it didn't have big bucks behind it to promote it prominently to Internet users.

No, Google succeeded because it worked better. In other words, when somebody searched for something in Google, they saw better (that is, more relevant) results than when they used something else.

And the reason is simple: Google used a different system than everybody else for ranking its search results. It was based on a complicated mathematical formula. But in a nutshell, I can summarise it like this (These are my words, not Google's, by the way!): People are smart, Webmasters are devious

I'll explain ...

Other search engines ranked Web pages by looking at the words on the page and trying to analyse them to understand what the page was about. They looked at the length of the page, how often certain words appeared, what words appeared in titles and sub-titles, what words appeared in "META tags", and so on.

That was all well and good, except it was easy to trick those search engines. Smart Webmasters figured out ways to "game the system", by using the key words more frequently on a page, by using them in titles and sub-titles, by stuffing the META tags full of these key words, by stuffing the page full of text in a white font (so they wouldn't be visible to the reader), and so on.

It was a constant battle between the search engines, who were trying to deliver the most relevant results, and the Webmasters, who were trying to get their clients' sites to the top of the rankings.

Google did something different.

Rather than looking at the words on the page - which Webmasters could control - Google decided to base its rankings on what other people thought about a page. It did this by checking how many other Web pages were linking to that page. After all, if many other Webmasters were linking to a page, Google reasoned that page must be worthwhile. If those links came from reputable Web sites (which themselves had many links to them), that boosted its ranking even further.

In other words, Google was relying on people, rather than technology, to assess a page. People are a lot smarter than technology, and they do a much better of job of deciding when a page is relevant.

The proof came in Google's success. It rapidly rose to be the number one search engine, and continues to hold that place.

That was 1998, but what about now?

It's true that a lot has changed since then. That was before the time of iPhones, social media, Facebook, fast broadband, and many, many other changes in technology. And Google has changed its formula many times (in fact, it changes daily!). But that fundamental rule - people are smart, Webmasters are devious - is still the basis of everything it does.

For example, Google likes it whenever somebody:

  • links to one of your blog posts
  • "likes" one of your YouTube videos
  • comments on a Google+ post you write
  • visits your Web site (from Google) and doesn't immediately click the Back button
  • forwards your e-mail newsletter (from Gmail)
  • embeds one of your YouTube videos in their blog

So keep creating high-quality content!

That's why you should be wary of Internet consultants who tell you they can wave a magic wand and "optimize your site" for Google. Sure, that helps, but only a little bit. The real secret is to create stuff that other people genuinely value, because Google is relying on other people (they're smart, remember?). So keep producing high-quality content that genuinely helps people. That's why content marketing is so important.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Three frogs

This weeks sparkenation with thanks to my colleague Gary Ryan from Organisations That Matter for reminding me of the following

Three frogs are sitting on a log.
One decides to jump.
How many are left on the log?
Answer: Three.

Deciding to do something is not the same as doing it.

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Life is different when viewed from the edge

This weeks sparkenation.

Life is different when viewed from the edge.

In what areas of your business could you move closer to the edge, and be in a place where no-one else is?

It is difficult to do what no-one else is doing.  Not so difficult to do what others are doing, just better, differently, or more uniquely.  We just have to move to the edge.

Your move.

I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut

Be the difference you want to see in the world.

More sparkenations.