Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Missing the Social Media Mark

Across the social media universe, it's as easy for your messages to get missed as it is for you, as an online connection, to be forgotten. I talk with so many people who steer clear of platforms like Twitter because they feel information flies too fast and furious for comfort, or they only connect on LinkedIn for that 'professional' contact but then never actually share posts or join groups.

I admit that sharing information without regard of who is on the receiving end can congest the internet super highway with meaningless data. This approach certainly has no hand in creating publicly beneficial knowledge - garbage in, garbage out negatively impacts all of us, everyday, in our personal and professional lives.

However, social media networking, when utilized in effective ways, can not only benefit you and your business, but it also has the potential of creating powerful change in your industry and the world we build together. So, how do we look at connecting with each other in a different light and what are some examples of relevant shared messages?

On the connection side, if I'm wanting to connect with you, it's because I want to get to know you better. Not because I feel I need to but because I genuinely feel we can benefit from each other. It's another step to further our relationship when we may not always (if ever) be able to connect in person.

This caring, connective ideology isn't true for everyone though. When you only post, share, comment, and 'like' information about your company then you are not only failing yourself but also your connections. And when you don't grow from shared knowledge, your customer doesn't grow.

Where sharing is concerned, talk about what others are doing. For example, if you sell vinyl windows, don't just post about that recent award your company received or the charity they supported. Share an article that addresses alternative materials that you don't currently have or manufacturing processes that you don't utilize but improve humanity's environmental footprint. Relay an interesting article about petroleum, since that's the core material for vinyl windows anyway. Or, and this may seem counter intuitive, post what your competitors are doing to overcome obstacles.

The point is, connecting and sharing individually on social media is never self-serving (or at least it shouldn't be). But when you share information from outside your company and immediate community, you create a meaningful dialogue of online social interactions that benefits you, your industry, and the world-at-large.

What message has social media taught you?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Meeting Climate Change Demands Is a Global Effort


Not so long ago, on a planet your feet are currently planted on . . .

. . . the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change held the 2015 conference in Paris. This was not the first global conference to address our focus on climate change, nor will it be the last. But, it was a pivotal moment for humanity. For the first time, in our history, we decided to act as a united world of various governments to combat as many climate change challenges as possible.

Although the Paris Agreement that came out of this event was adopted, the actionable outcome won't fully be realized until 2020 and is not expected to be signed until April 22nd, 2016. It is, however, an indicator of impactful thinking that will change how we address climate change in our day-to-day lives and world commerce. Corporations, in particular, linking our global commerce efforts, will be forced to investigate business model changes that 187 countries producing 99% of global greenhouse gas emissions are asking, and will continue to ask, them to do.

Now, not all of us have the time or money to be as proactive as Richard Branson or Elon Musk, or have as much unrestrained, self awareness to act like Kumi Naidoo or Jane Goodall. But, we are all responsible to make this change sustainable. How? I'm glad you asked . . .

Individuals - Do you practice daily efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle? Do you shop at local businesses, grower's markets, and food co-ops? Do you compost daily? Carrying reusable bags for every shopping excursion as well as gardening & composting (I recommend vermicomposting) in your back yard, isn't as big of a task as you think - at least once you get started.

Businesses - Does your business embrace recycling efforts, from the top level down? Do you purchase or sell products and services derived from sustainable programs? Does your business have a Corporate Social Responsibility program built into the Business Plan? If businesses are updating their business models no less than yearly, making sustainable, meaningful change shouldn't be such an arduous task.

Industries - If individuals and their business models are the trains of thought that motivate us to change, then industries are most definitely the tracks that unite us and get us there. From small government to the UN, global policy change is driven by the industries that create the civil engineered roads we drive on, the architecturally structured buildings we live and work in, and the products & services that are the foundation. 

An industry that continues to surprise me is the film industry. Global in scale, it has moved far beyond Michael Moore's and Al Gore's valiant efforts to talk about the things we have deliberately chosen to ignore. Leonardo DiCaprio's awareness campaigning at the Academy Awards, not to discount his involvement in the People's Climate March or presentation to UN delegates, brought to light a changing tide in how we view & address global climate change. Celebrities as advocates for social change is nothing new, but addressing it through an industry like film, and then allowing public media, and especially social media, to run rampant with the notion, is phenomenally awesome.

What sustainable efforts do you embrace every day? Because one thing is certain - there is no fence riding on this one. It's up to us, all of us, each and every one of us, worldwide, to keep the momentum going. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

We Are All Leaders of the New Year

We are all leaders. We choose to take lead of some, if not hopefully every, aspect of our lives. And although each of us is completely accountable for our individual actions, our actions ultimately serve the greater good. 

So this year, and every year . . . 

Make your interactions the most they can be. Instead of just meeting someone new or rekindling an existing relationship, find each and every way you can work together to make a difference. 

Read books, articles, & blogs that focus on innovation that matters. Not innovation that only serves to boost you, your brand, or even your industry, but rather innovation that makes a difference for human progress. 

Write. I know this is a tough one for some. Heck, it's tough for me. But you don't have to call yourself a writer to write. Just write, and I think you might be surprised by what comes out. 

By the end of this new year, we want look forward into the next, not backward, and realize that our choices matter. Because we only grow when each of us has recognized that leadership is a choice, not a fate.

How will you lead this year? What difference will you make? 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Don't Be A Tool, Be A Resource


With all the tools we have at our disposal, the greatest one lies just behind your eyes and between your ears. Your thinking self. Your mind. Your mind provides you with the ability to transform thought into memory, and long term memories into constant resources.

Taking this all a step further, we're not only resources to ourselves but to others as well. Our ability to think interpersonally helps drive us to be all we can be. We weave ourselves into the tapestry of our lives and our business. 

In business though, it's not enough to want it, you have to sell it. You have to ask:  Am I a tool or am I a resource? Am I acting for the sake of what somebody wants or expects, as quickly and long forgotten as a unitasker, or am I the resource:  the person always remembered for contributions to peers, to the industry, and ultimately, to the world-at-large.

Be a resource for your peers.


Helping them understand a different point of view, helps everyone. And since not everyone learns the same way, read, write, & explore new ways to envision the world around you. 

Be a resource for your business plan.

Walking the straight and narrow is a helluva lot easier than making waves, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't splash around. Take an innovative approach to your business model.


Be a resource for your customers and clients.

Today's customer may want a quick fix, but that's not all they want. They want to know more. They want to be more. They want to inspire and be inspired. And since you're the customer too, help others be the game changer you want to be.

Be a resource for your industry.

Profit keeps the business model alive. Given. But when you put money first, you've burdened the industry with the chore of ignoring you for fear you're always trying to sell something. When, in fact, all you're trying to do is be the change you want to see in the world.

Be a resource for the World.

We live, every moment, with each other. And at the end of the day, we can sell for the sake of profit or we can sell whatever makes the world a better place to live in, now and in the future. Reinvent sales and change the story.

Be a part of the story. It's your story. And whether you choose to or not, it doesn't matter because you're already a part of the world around you. Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself. Ready. Set. Go.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Gender Inequality in the Workplace

1.01/1.00:  according to The World Factbook, and supported through various other sources, this is the ratio of how many more men than women there are in the world.

97/100:  according the U.S. Census Bureau, this is the ratio of how many fewer men there are than women in the United States alone.

So why is that, with almost an equal ratio of men and women in the U.S. and the world, we struggle to maintain gender equality in the workplace?

Gender inequality is an ignored reality that impacts all of us. Every day. It's an unfortunate driver for seemingly so much animosity towards feminism and other productive efforts to improve social change in the world. It's a particularly sticky topic in the U.S. as our government is always at odds to make meaningful decisions for the workplace. Perhaps the biggest example here is that the ERA which has yet to be ratified. 

Could it be that creating a gender equal workplace requires that we uphold what's logical and not what's morally subjective? So long as women still make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes, and are yet still expected to be the primary homemaker and parent, the odds will continue to be stacked against women. Is it getting better? No. Well, maybe. But even more progressive Millennials are still struggling with gender roles.

In business, salespeople are encouraged by management to reach for the lowest hanging fruit. The lowest hanging fruit of inequality in the workplace is unquestionably gender inequality. 
Ratify the ERA

Heck, take a simple, yet widely used word like salesman. Salesperson or salespeople is certainly better than salesmen just like all of the gender biased words and terms we use daily in the workplace. Guys is another problematic word. 

Could it be argued that sexism has been weakening our evolution through the ages? Gone are the days of the Ozzie and Harriet mentality of a woman's place being a homemaker, but we still have so far to go.

Blinded by tradition, at least where big business and government is concerned, being professional means high heels and make-up for women. They have been the fashion for how many decades now? Outside of the why, let's overcome this barbaric contribution of negative stereotypes driven by the male dominated business ship that we continue to let sail without regard of where it's taking us. 

So what might we take from these thoughts? Where gender equality in the workplace is concerned, and no matter what your position or role, if it looks or feels wrong, it is. If doesn't feel wrong or you're not sure, and yet someone else is telling you it's wrong - it still is. If it feels good, if it makes other people feel good, and if it encourages others to change their positions on gender equality - run with it.

Let's continue calling out gender inequality until men, as a whole, actually have cause to complain about their position in culture. Let's support women, engage them, and be a part of their movements. #YesAllWomen