Thursday, February 26, 2015

Find The Time to Win The Social Media Battle

Find The Time to Win The Social Media BattleOne of my Facebook friends recently posted this message:

This is how people find you nowadays!

In the early days of the Web - and even before the Web - when only a few people controlled the publishing of information, businesses could focus on a few specific promotion channels. Before the Web, this would be brochures, flyers, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and so on.

Then the Web came along, and businesses turned to the online equivalent of the brochure or flyer: the Web site. You promote yourself, your products and your services; and then do everything possible to get a high ranking in Google.

That's great, and is still important. But it's not enough. Social media gives everybody power, and people find you now through all your online channels - including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blogs, newsletters, and personal referral.

The truth is this: If you're not active on social media, you're losing business.

But the challenge is this: How can you find the time to do it all?

The answer: Contribute regularly, but not always your own material.

The top social media influencers in the world blog at least daily (and many of them more than once a day), and spend most of their time online. If you have the time to do that - or to pay somebody else to do that for you - great! Go for it.

But most of us don't have that sort of time. So, instead of always looking to create new material, look at other ways of demonstrating your expertise online. Broadly, you have four options:

  1. Comment with value: Look at what other people are sharing, and comment on it, but in a meaningful and useful way. Don't just click a Like or Share button. Instead, publish a book review on, write a meaningful blog comment, contribute with something useful on a Facebook post, and so on.
  2. Curate with context: Share other people's material with your network. You can do this by sharing links to blog posts you read, YouTube videos you watch, podcasts you listen to, e-books you download, and so on. Of course, your followers could find that material directly themselves, but you're taking the trouble to read, filter and share only what's relevant to them. In other words, you're putting the context around it so they know it's right for them.
  3. Collate with perspective: Look for patterns in the world and bring them together in a relevant and meaningful way for your network. It's your job as an expert to take a "big picture" view of specific things and point out patterns that others don't see.
  4. Create unique material: Finally, of course, you do need to generate and share your own ideas. Publish them on your blog and YouTube, and then distribute them through social media platforms.

Use all these four methods - commenting, curating, collating and creating - to build a powerful social media presence.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Feel it, think it, say it

This weeks sparkenation.

I was honoured when a client on introducing me to a prospective client said of me "he sees what most people don't and says what most people won't."

Most people feel it, think it, yet don't say it. And we're all the poorer.

Yes timing and sensitivity are important. I know myself I have opened my mouth at the wrong time and place. Like the song says "regrets, I've had a few, but then again too few to mention."

If you feel it and think it, please say it.

“If I disappointed you and you do not tell me, then we are both at fault!”
Sign over a leaders desk.
Read more about this here.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Monday, February 16, 2015

You've got no-one to blame but yourself?

This weeks sparkenation.

Almost every interview I see with a politician has them blaming the other side or someone on the cross bench for their own predicament. There was such a situation this week on Australian ABC TV until the interviewer Leigh Sales called a halt by saying "the public are sick and tired of this continual blaming of everyone else." Spot on Leigh.

It's easy when things aren't going according to plan to blame others. The hard and ultimately successful road to take is to accept responsibility and to be accountable regardless of what has happened in the past. This is leadership. Taking the easy, cheap shot path isn't leadership, it's abdication.

This week I watched this great TED talk by Yves Morieux.

In the talk Yves quotes the following very wise words from the CEO of Lego Jorgen Vig Knudstorp

“Blame is not for failure,

it is for failing to help or ask for help.”

If some things aren't going according to plan right now, or you're feeling stuck or shackled in your life and you've failed to help others or to ask for help, you've got no-one to blame but yourself.

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Channel The Chaos - The New Rules for High Performance and Productivity

Channel the Chaos - productivity and time management nowI recently presented the closing keynote presentation for the Local Government Management Australia Queensland national conference. I was talking about how to manage the chaos and unpredictability of our highly-connected, “always on”, 24/7 world. One of my key messages was that instead of trying to fight against this chaos, harness it to work for you.

The old rules of goal setting, productivity and time management don’t work. Our goals become meaningless when the environment changes, it’s difficult to stay productive when we’re constantly interrupted, globally dispersed teams make in-person meetings impractical, and the 9-to-5 workday just doesn’t make sense anymore.

The new principles for high performance and super productivity are direction (rather than goals), signals (rather than interruptions), collaboration (rather than meetings), and flow (rather than time management).

I'll explain what I mean by each of these four things.

Direction: Know What Matters

Think compass, not map. Know where you're heading, and be willing to change your path to get there as things change around you.

This doesn't mean you can't make any plans at all. It just means you have to be willing to change your plans while still holding firm on your direction.

This also means you must be very, very clear on what really matters to you. If you set a goal, know why you want to achieve that goal, and then you can be flexible about how you'll get there.

As Thomas Jefferson said:

"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."

Signals: Get Smart

You might be complaining about information overload. But keep in mind that information overload is part of your job. Your customers and clients want you to take on the information overload burden on their behalf, sift through all the conflicting messages, and tell them what's most relevant to them.

So don't complain about information overload - get smart about it instead. Figure out your system to:

  • Get more high-quality information coming in (and less of the low-quality junk)
  • Process that information more efficiently and effectively
  • Share it faster and distribute it more widely

Collaboration: Work Together

Working together is more important than ever before, but the Internet has made it both easier and harder.

It's easier to find and connect with the best people for a project - even if they are on the other side of the world. But it takes a whole new set of skills to work effectively with them. You can't pop your head over a partition, expect them to be working the same hours as you, or even speak the same language. So learn how to:

  • Cooperate with them to achieve your own goals,
  • Collaborate with them to achieve joint goals, and
  • Accommodate them to suit your different work styles

Flow: Manage Your Energy

You can't just close the office door at 5pm and forget about work until the next day. And it's difficult to block out the world for days and weeks to work on an important project. If you really want to do important things, you have to figure out how to do them while still getting on with other work.

Instead of time management, think energy management. How can you manage your energy to get important work done? Here are some ideas:

  • If you're a morning person, wake up early and start working on these projects. And if you're a night owl, of course you do this at the end of the day.
  • Use something like The Pomodoro Technique to do your work in "sprints" throughout the day.
  • Manage your e-mail in-box so it doesn't rule your life.

This is only an overview, so I haven't gone into a lot of detail here. But I hope it gives you some direction for managing chaos and information overload in your professional life.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Closing the technology/leadership/management gap

This weeks sparkenation.

Technology is ever-changing. And it's changed how we see and treat people. Often with negative consequences.

Advances in technology are great and can be of awesome value to our lives. Only however in my view if we have a strong sense of our humanity that is reflected in our actions. Leadership and management play a critical role. 21st century technology with 20th century or even older leadership and management is a recipe for disaster.

A key question real leaders must ask and answer with action is: How are my leadership and management adapting and growing in this mobile centric, technology driven world?

Today and for the future effective leadership is all about mobility. And management must be in sync or everything grinds to a halt.

Mobile “able to move or be moved freely or easily.”

Leadership is about feelings, emotions, matters of the heart. Leadership is a verb. Leadership is about moving people.

I define leadership as the art of inspiring people to bring everything remarkable that they are (that one-of-a-kind that each of us is) to everything they do.

Leadership falters, and usually very badly without management. I define management as the practice of making it simple for people to bring everything remarkable that they are to everything they do.

Management is about policies, procedures, practices, processes, systems (PPPPS’s), whereas leadership is all about people. Effective use of technology greatly assists management. There's always trouble though if our leadership isn't up with the times.

Removing and preventing conflict, difficulty, and disharmony between People and PPPPS’s is a great challenge for every leader on earth. Overcoming this challenge in part means technology can be our friend and not our enemy.

How successfully are you meeting this challenge?

I meet many people using 21st century technology. The trouble is that their leadership and management are 20th century and even older.

Be remarkable.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ineffective leaders try to make change happen

This weeks sparkenation.

The Dawn of System Leadership by Peter Senge, Hal Hamilton, & John Kania is one of the best articles I have read for a very long time. A lot captured my imagination. None more so than the following

“Ineffective leaders try to make change happen. System leaders focus on creating the conditions that can produce change and that can eventually cause change to be self-sustaining. As we continue to unpack the prerequisites to success in complex collaborative efforts, we appreciate more and more this subtle shift in strategic focus and the distinctive powers of those who learn how to create the space for change.”

Read the full article here.

Are you trying to make change happen or are you creating the space for change?

Be remarkable.

More sparkenations here.