August 19, 2010

Site moved

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August 18, 2010

Q&A About Being Strategic

If you've got time this afternoon and are interested, I'm going to be doing a radio/online interview this afternoon for Money Matters Radio (WBNW 1120, WESO 970 and WPLM 1390).  It's at 3pm ET, and you can listen on the radio, if you're in the Boston area, or online. (You can listen live, and they also archive it for listening later.)

The host, Denis Vaughan, has sent me some questions beforehand, and they're very insightful...I think it will be a fun and useful conversation!

August 12, 2010

Opening to the Possibilities

Have you ever had the kind of day where everything exceeds your expectations?  Today was like that for me.  So many great connections, new ideas, insights, opportunities; it was overwhelming.

My instinctive reaction, in situations like this, is to start trying to make it all make sense: to chew over all that's happened and try to make myself understand and absorb it by force of will.  But I've discovered over the years that - for me - that's really just a nervous twitch, and not very useful.

When I have a day that really blasts open my preconceived limitations, I've finally learned that the best thing to do is simply relax and let my brain and spirit integrate the new reality.

So tonight I had a long talk with my husband, then went to the gym, and then came back to my hotel room and did some cross-stitch while I watched reruns of Medium.  Nothing too mentally demanding.  And I can feel myself somehow expanding to accommodate all that I experienced and learned over the past few days.

I've noticed the same phenomenon over the years when we coach executives: during  a two-day coaching session, there's something that we've come to call "the overnight effect."  On the first day, people can struggle to open up to news ways of thinking, or different approaches to managing or leading, or an expanded understanding of themselves.  But quite often when they come back the next day, their discomfort and resistance have disappeared, and they have a new, clearer sense of themselves and of what's possible. 

I suspect I'll wake up tomorrow morning with more capacity: ready and able to operate from a new perspective.

Such an exciting journey...

August 04, 2010

Writing Reader-worthy Blogs


I had a great conversation with our social media guru, Tim Grahl, yesterday.  It was a kind of tutorial on blog-writing.  Like most bloggers, I suspect, I would like my blog to be read and enjoyed by lots of people.  He had some excellent simple suggestions that I want to pass on to you.

#1 Make the important stuff easy to see

You could spend all day, every day online, looking for interesting things.  Even if people want to read your blog, they don’t want to wade through a lot of mildly interesting stuff to get to the important points.  Tim suggested I break each post into bite-size pieces, with headers, and then put the critical info within each paragraph in boldface. Then the folks who want to take a leisurely wander through the post can do so, and those who just want to do a quick run to pick up the key points can do that, too.

#2 Create visual interest

Tim opined that pictures, graphics and videos are a great way to make your blog more 3-dimensional.  I’ve been using pictures all along, but now I want to find ways to incorporate other visual elements - without making the post too busy or distracting.  One other important thing he pointed out…I’ve been just pulling visuals off Google image searches, so I may be using copyrighted images.  He suggested pulling images from the “Creative Commons” area of flickr, to make sure you’re not doing anything illegal.

#3 Put links in the post – and make them optional

You notice I’ve got a link to the place I’m talking about in the paragraph above. This was another thing Tim recommended. I’ve been doing a lot of the links in my posts using a feature in Typepad called “quickpost,” where the link you’re referencing is at the top of the post.  Tim suggested this is harder for people to follow – that if you’re referencing another article, post, or piece of information, it's best to embed the link in the post at the point where you’re talking about it.  He also suggested that the post should summarize what was important to me about the linked information – so that people can go to the link if they want to, but it’s not necessary.  They can get my point without having to go somewhere else. 

#4 Provide take-aways

Finally, Tim pointed out that people read blog posts (and pass them along), only if they find them valuable.  He suggested that I should check to make sure that the post answers the questions, Why should I care? or What can I do with this?  Technorati’s blog directory includes almost 75,000 blogs.  Even if people are avid blog readers, they have to prioritize somehow, and personal benefit is a great sorting mechanism.

A post that does these four things immediately becomes both interesting and useful.  How might you integrate this advice Tim offered me into your own blog?

July 27, 2010

Your Ad Here

I'm trying something new(ish) today - I've only done this once before: uploaded a video to my blog.  Josette Marano at Detroit Public Television has created a 3-minute promo clip for the Being Strategic show, and I'd love to get your feedback on it. 

So, the main question is - does it make you curious and/or interested in watching the show?

July 26, 2010

How The Recession Has Changed Us

2010 Post-Recession Consumer Study | Ogilvy & Mather.

This morning I googled "recession 2010."  Most of the links on the first page were famine-and-locusts-style articles about how we ain't seen nothin' yet; that we're headed toward yet another recession, or perhaps the great depression of 2011.  And then there were a few hopeful (wishful?) articles talking about the recession in the past tense.

By far the most interesting article to me was this one on the Ogilvy & Mather website. It summarizes  research they've done that shows consumers have emerged from the economic difficulties of the past few years with a renewed focus: we are less convinced that money will bring us what we want, and less in pursuit of money as a specific goal.  We're more interested in doing work that will satisfy us, and spending time with those we love.

One very interesting finding: consumers have a new self reliance.  We believe that the economy can be repaired by individuals consciously creating sustainable lifestyles, rather than by massive efforts on part of government or financial institutions.  In the study, they call the new consumer consciousness "Eyes Wide Open, Wallets Half-shut."

This completely aligns with our observations of our clients: as compared to a few years ago, they are far more focused on envisioning a future that feels balanced and feasible to them - both organizationally and personally - and then taking the steps to move toward that future.

How about you?

July 19, 2010

If it's Friday, this must be Omaha

I'm getting excited about the mini-book tour I'll be doing in the first two weeks of August.  The stars are aligning: it's the first two weeks of the fall pledge season on public television, when stations will begin carrying the Being Strategic TV show; the paperback version of Being Strategic is being released on August 3rd; and I'm going to be in New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Los Angeles and Omaha during those two weeks, fulfilling a combination of work and personal commitments: so - voila! Book tour.

Airplane+cartoon Barbara, our smart, thoughtful, astonishingly well-connected publicist, and her group at CHC, are speaking to the local press in each of those cities, focusing on the two-fer of the book and the TV show (and in Omaha, the three-fer of book, show and home-town-girl...I grew up there).  The DPTV team, led by Jamie Westrick, is marketing the show to the cities, and letting them know about the added lift of the book launch and me being there in person. 

If any of you, faithful readers, would like me to do anything on your blog around then, I'd be happy to do that, too (lots of plane time).  What the hell -- let's make it a virtual tour also!

And, if any of you have other ideas or publicity suggestions for any of those stops, please share them...

July 12, 2010

Collecting the Tribe

 We've been working with a smart and skillful guy named Tim Grahl lately.  His company - Out:think Group - helps authors build an online community. 

He's in the process of helping us move my blog to, and pull together all the various groups of people who are interested in/know about/are fans of/have worked with me and my colleagues at Proteus over the years.

Online_community_core Because at the moment we've got pockets and lists of people all over the web and all over the world: there's the Proteus email list of a couple of thousand names; the readers (that would be you!) of my blog; the hundreds of people who follow us on Twitter and/or facebook; the thousands of people who have read my books.

Tim's helping us figure out how to build a community with all those folks who would like to be a part of our tribe. I'm excited because there are conversations I'd love to have with you and others about what we're discovering and how things work -- and about what you're finding out and doing, as well -- and I think Tim and his crew will help us to have those conversations.

Among other things, Tim's going to share some ideas with me about how to create more dialogue here: I'm very excited about hearing what he has to say.  And if you have thoughts about how to make this blog more interesting or engaging for you, please share them - I would very much appreciate it.

July 04, 2010

Being Strategic About Systems

Strategic Planning – Strategic, Intentional and Deliberate | B2B 24-7's Product reviews.

Once again, my Google alert on "being strategic" has paid off. Here's a great article about approaching systems changes and implementation strategically The author, Chris Jacques, is especially clear about the need to do what we call "defining the challenge" at the start of any transition:

"If you are the leader responsible for a system change, then most likely you believe you have the answers. We are all guilty of it–we feel we know the answers. But often we don’t slow down long enough to identify the questions, or confirm they’re the right questions."

One of the things I love about the internet is that allows you to benefit from the insights and experience of people whom you would never otherwise meet. Chris' company, B2B 24-7, is based just outside of Auckland, New Zealand.

July 01, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Just returned from a truly lovely 2-week  honeymoon in Wales.  I thought very little about anything work-related the whole time I was gone.

As a result, this week I've really been able to hit the ground running; once again I'm reminded how important it is to periodically rest one's brain and body.  It's true even if you really love your work, as I do.

Maybe it's the same principal as when you're picking out perfume (this may be new information for some of you <g>): you can only smell a certain number of fragrances before your nose begins to lose its ability to distinguish separate scents.  I certainly feel a renewed sharpness and clarity in my perceptions, coming back.

I also notice that I'm much more willing to confront situations directly that I might have avoided or felt overwhelmed by, three weeks ago.  I have more mental and emotional energy:  I don't feel as though I have to allocate it so carefully.

Is this just me, or does taking a real vacation have the same impact on everybody?