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Oct31
It's not me, right? It's you.

I enjoyed reading Steve Rubel's analysis of Forbes' new cover story attacking blogs, ironically titled - Attack of the Blogs.  Forbes defensive take on blogs reminded me of that skit from Saturday Night Live circa 1984 when Harry Shearer (impersonating Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes) interviews a nervously smoking, hyper-defensive lawyer played by Martin Short.  Forbes does a nice 2005 version of playing the defensive, sweating lawyer.

Is it any surprise that the guys that dog the use of blogs are the traditional media?  Or that to read this story online you have to be a Forbes member or subscriber?

Steve does not ask for an endorsement of blogs from Forbes, just fair reporting and a willingness to understand the story they are reporting on. forbes_80_100-tm.jpg

 “Forbes, I am very disappointed that you chose to take such an unbalanced POV when BusinessWeek and Fortune told us both sides of the story.”

The Forbes story and Steve’s response and my support of Steve’s response (and so on) is a microcosm of how media has changed.  In traditional Media, you write a story and if it is wrong or one-sided or somehow tainted, how would we as readers know?  How could we comment on it or add to it without being a  part of the traditinal media machine?  We could not.  We were helpless.

Sure, people may have talked about it around the water cooler and if it was important enough, a rebuttal or correction might have made it on the news a week or month later in the next issue.  On the other hand, write a blog and get it wrong or one-sided and the world is there to correct you – like it or not.

Steve has a handle on this. I met Steve at the BlogOn conference in New York a few weeks past.  He moderated a fascinating panel about how markets are conversations and how creating conversations with your customers is now possible through social media, in particular blogs. Shel Israel, co-author with Robert Scoble of Naked Conversations participated on the panel.  THhe book has the sub-title,  “How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers.” 

The book explores how blogs are changing how we gather, filter and learn information and how that offers a tremendous opportunity for businesses. Like Steve, Shel and Robert, I believe that companies that participate in the blogoshpere and engage their customers in a conversation are thought leaders and will ultimately win. A change is occurring and it is in favor of the people.

Oct28
Leading by Doing
Leading by doing is a critical leadership trait to develop. You will have a team that is committed to your vision and strategic plan if you have walked in their shoes and they know that you understand their unique circumstance. Continue Reading
Oct27
More on Media Disruption
It amazes me that a CEO (not to mention a knight) such as Sir Martin Sorrell can acknowledge a pending crisis (even half-heartedly) but then take no stand, make no comittment, chart no course or otherwise convince anyone that he is even willing to try and understand teh crisis or get on board to face it. Continue Reading
Disruption Eruption
Media is changing. You know that if you are reading this. And you better find a way to understand this change and grab hold. Continue Reading
Oct26
The Most Powerful Economic Leader in the World
It just seemed like the NY Times offered a strange description of the Fed Chairman. Continue Reading
Oct25
Be Remarkable not Medicore
As a leader, you have to expect the best from everyone. Sure, we won’t get the best from everyone but you have to expect it. Why not empower excellence? Why not give an employee an opportunity to exceed his own expectations because you expect it. Continue Reading
The Power of Rosa Parks
The passing of Rosa Parks was a poignant reminder about the power of one. Continue Reading
Oct24
Thought Leaders
Be remarkbale.  You can distinguish your organization by treating customers differently (see JetBlue) or thinking about a a market or product differently (see Apple). These companies are market leaders because they were first thought leaders. Continue Reading
Oct21
The Best Defense is Offense
The best defense is offense. You can't expect to defend your market share by just playing defense. Few companies understand this concept as well as Apple. Continue Reading
Oct20
Leadership Qualities are Timeless
It has been 91 years since the Miracle Braves swept the highly favored Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series. The character and leadership that kept them focused and able to overcome such adversity is the same stuff that got Houston to the World Series after such a lousy start. Continue Reading
Oct18
The End of Business as Usual
Today, connected networks, know as much or more about you and your products than you do.  Wait, how can that be? Do customers know more than me about my product or service?
Continue Reading
Oct17
Are you Listening?
Can you stop talking long enough to listen?  Are you interested in hearing what your customers are saying even if it is critical?  How about your employees?  Listening is a leadership trait. Continue Reading
Oct12
Human Creativity and Commitment
Micro-credit is all about economic self-reliance and empowering an individual to lift herself out of poverty. This principle of sustainable self-reliance, more than any amount of money, changes people. It applies the laws of capitalism and free-market economics to the problem of third-world poverty where some form of socialism has been the norm. In the case of micro-credit, debt acts as a strict taskmaster that extracts fiscal discipline of this new entrepreneur. Continue Reading
Oct11
Leadership Changes Lives

Unitus has a simple plan - alleviate global poverty (and your VC told you your business plan was ambitious!)  Like all great leaders, Unitus is changing the way we not only look at poverty but changing the lives of those debilitated by poverty.  Instead of treating symptoms of the poor, Unitus is empowering the human spirit that exists everywhere on this earth, to work, to earn and to live. 

Continue Reading
Oct10
Innovation Keeps a Salad Fresh

One thing we all can count on in the business environment today, is that very little is constant.  Change occurs constantly and markets move globally in seconds.   To compete and lead in industry, you must innovate. 

Continue Reading
Oct 6
Leaders Empower

As a leader going into the battle of business, you will only go as far as your team.  No matter your intelligence, your dedication, tenacity and expertise, without a supporting team, you will not succeed.  And without leaders in that supporting team, you will fail.

 

One of the most important daily tasks of a leader is to develop leaders.  Leader development for many is a challenge.  It requires you to trust others.  It requires you to allow others to perhaps fail in order to learn.  Can you accept that?  Are you willing to accept a small failure to develop a future leader?  Can you get out of the way and perhaps watch a subordinate exceed your expectations?  Are you willing to lift others to your level or are you trying to distance yourself from subordinates to distinguish yourself?

 

A good friend of mine founded and was CEO of a top call center.  He succeeded by building leaders at all levels and now writes a blog about call centers and what he has learned.   I recently read a great anecdote on his blog discussing life in a call center.  Just a sampling of this call center employee’s thoughts paints a vivid picture of a disconnect between employee and the leadership that should exist at the company.

 

“No reviews, no warnings, no goals, no leadership….they didn't have the guts to lay it out, I had to ask for real criticism.”

 

I don’t know the entire story but it feels like an employee desperate to do the job he was hired for – and perhaps even more, if he could find a leader in his organization to provide him feedback, direction and focus.

 

To empower others, you have to trust and be willing to take a risk.  You have to want to get to know your employees and find what makes them tick.  In my experience as a CEO, I spent a considerable amount of time finding opportunities to help those around me succeed and to help them catch a glimpse of their potential.  A leader will do this.  As your employees understand that you know them they will feel your trust, then they will come to experience the growth that accompanies that trust and you will find you have developed your most loyal employees.

Continue Reading
Oct 4
McCullough Teaches that Leaders Learn from Mistakes
I noted in my last post that Lincoln, undeniably our greatest President under crisis, advocated that citizens could be “depended upon to meet any national crisis” if they were given the truth. That thought elicited an interesting comment on this... Continue Reading

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