Quick Takes: Weekly Leader

Peter Mello of Sea Fever Consulting has a new website - Weekly Leader.

We are inundated with so much information through so many different channels, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to keep on top of it all.  This is especially true with the extraordinary demands on our time and attention as we try to balance our work and life responsibilities.

Well, we set up Weekly Leader to help.

Each week we will search the Internet and print world for news about the latest and best practices in leadership and Weekly Leader will present summaries filled with links to the original content; you could consider us your Cliff Notes for leadership.

It is going to be a great resource for all sorts of information on leading. Check it out and subscribe to its RSS feed.

It's not just social ...

The biggest thing in business today is also the most intangible. Relationships or social context.  I've been interested in this topic for thirty years.  As with any new innovation, most of the social mindset is immature. Look at the web and you'll find social stuff all over the place. But the assumption is that people just want to hang out. They don't. They want to do things. They want things to happen.  They want meaning to their relationships, and not merely commonality.  If there is nothing at stake, there is nothing worth investing in.

This is background to this very insightful video by Jyri Engestrom of Jaiku.  Listen to his presentation and follow along with the slides here.

Jyri is talking about the difference between social networks and social objects. A network is a collection of links to people. Objects are those things which give people a reason to participate in the network.  You need both to sustain interest.

He provides Five Principles that guide the development of Social Objects.

1.  What is your object?
2.  What are your verbs?
3.  How can people share the objects?
4.  What is the gift in the invitation?
5.  Are you charging the publishers or the spectators?

He finishes with a brief discussion of the next level of development. Applications will become simpler, cheaper and free people from complications.  You can download the slides here.

My take-away from Jyri's presentation is that the social context of the web is becoming more sophisticated. And as it does, it will force those who lag behind to change more quickly and in ways that they do not understand.  It isn't simple being social.  It is being social in a way that fulfills a tangible purpose for both sides of the relationship.

HT: Hugh MacLeod/GapingVoid

Exceptional is Right!!!

Every so often, though not as often as I like, I come across a person who is truly exceptional.  It isn't that they are just passionate about something, or can do something no one else can do. Rather, what is exceptional about them is their spirit and their character.  Linda Zdanowicz is one of those people.

Linda is a dental practice manager in Hendersonville, N.C.  I met her as I worked on a team leadership project for her dentist.  Linda is a certified dental practice administrator/dental assistant whose drive to excel is beyond what I normally see with clients.

A couple weeks ago, our paths crossed in the parking lot.  She told me of an article she had written for a dental practice management journal, and hoped to be able to give it as a presentation at a conference later this fall.  I simply said to her, like I've said to many people the past couple years, "You need to blog about your the material in your article."  Most people either lack the confidence or drive to excel to follow through on it.

Wham! Next thing I know, two days later, Exceptional Dental Practice Management appears in the blogosphere.  I know very few people who follow through on simple suggestions like that. 

Linda is one of the smartest people I know.  I've been amazed at how quickly she can take some idea and find an immediate application in her work. It takes a very wise, experienced person to be able to do that.

However, Linda knows that what really matters is not what she knows, but how it factors into her relationships with people.  Her leadership in her dentist's office has made a huge difference in both their performance and the atmosphere of the office.

You may not be a dentist, but you probably go to one.  Tell your dentist and the practice manager in the office about Linda.  Not only will they learn a lot from her, but she has real wisdom to solve all sorts of problems that you may be facing.

Congrats and welcome to the blogosphere, Linda!!!

Steve Cochran blogs Dubai UN Summit

Steve Cochran, Executive Director of the Center for Leadership Results blogs from 9th Special Session of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Steve is a leadership colleague in Asheville.  His passion is "sustainability" and works with governmental organizations to faciltate their development as "results" and "sustainability" organizations.

His blogging from Dubai is a window into a world that most of us will never know. Check it out.

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Where the conversation is going

One of the blogs that I read with great fascination is Chris Anderson's The Long Tail.  I can't say I always understand his perspective, or even agree, but I am always stimulated by his innovative take on things. His posting - Standing out in a commodity crowd - is very interesting.  Here is the portion that caught my attention.

It's just that I'd rather choose my own editor to select the articles of highest importance to me (including those the mainstream media choose not to cover at all, or just not well). In this case that "editor" is a network of bloggers, not whomever decides what makes it to the front page of the newspaper. This works so well that I suspect I'm actually reading more articles from mainstream media, and from a broader range of it, than ever before. It's just all via blogs, which microchunk and remix the information in ways that make it more useful to me.

He speaks of pre-filtering and post-filtering .  Blogs serve as a post-filtering that gets him to the precise material that he will most interested in reading. And since he is reading 150 blogs a day - quite a commitment - he is getting not just one editor's perspective, but 150.  He writes,

What all these blogs that have earned their way to my feed list are doing is adding value to commodity information. The ones I'm reading do this in at least one of three main ways:    
    1. Add value with a unique perspective or analysis.    
    2. Add value with unique information.    
    3. Add value by providing a unique filter/lens on content available elsewhere.

This is an important insight.  It is a tangible representation that a Cluetrain conversation is not just an idea, but is now functioning.   

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Continue reading "Where the conversation is going" »

University of Word of Mouth - New Blog

University of Word of Mouth debuted today.  Sounds like it was long time in the making.  Actually it was a brainchild that came at 4:45 pm EST this morning.

I'm using it as a platform for interaction with student leaders at the University of North Carolian at Asheville.  Why?  I'm doing a presentation next week, and decide to invite myself in to create a larger crowd to hear me.  Read the postings at the blog - here, here and here - to learn more.

My inspiration for this came from Seth Godin.  He started a blog to promote his upcoming book, All Marketers Are Liars.  I was thinking about this presentation next week, and the presentation today to students about Word of Mouth, and how to use it create a larger crowd than the 6-10 that was expected.  I was thinking, "What can I do to faciliate more interaction with them than this one presentation today?"  And bingo, Seth's new blog came to mind, and I thought, I'll do that too. 

So up I got at 5:15, and by 11:00 I had a blog with three entries and a new presentation to give.

The presentation went well.  They are great students, laboring under the same challenges that student leaders everywhere do.  Carrying the whole load of their organizations. 

The genius of this application of WOM marketing is that it serves to expand the initiative and acceptance of responsibility throughout the organization. This means expanding the leadership base too.  It is no longer just the president's responsibility to generate a crowd for meetings.  It is everyone's. 

I wrote Seth to thank him for his inspiration, and he was nice enough to feature U-WOM on his blog.  The title is an important one - What Happens Next?

He described this exercise this way. "The first is the idea of the micro-blog. Ed Brenegar got asked to help a small group understand word of mouth and turned it into a blog ... Now, as he gets new groups to work with, he can repurpose the blog."  That is right.

I can tell you what happens next.

Blogs become a tool for communication between small circles of people. I'm already using one for managing the information flow with our Boy Scout troop.  And I will start more blogs as projects that demand both better communication and the archiving of that interaction get started. 

Right now I have five blogs.  Too many if you treat it as a marketing/journalistic enterprise.  But not if they are a better way for groups of people to intelligently converse about things that matter to them.  Email doesn't do this.  It is too cumbersome.  Blogs do.

Thank you Seth for modeling excellence in blogging, and for the recognition.

Please visit University of Word of Mouth.  Ask questions, make comments, offer insight, celebrate the conversation that leads to greater things.


Where do you get fresh ideas?  The blogosphere is the place.

There is a blog site that publishes manifestos by bloggers that can be downloaded for free.  The site is ChangeThis and is the brain-child of Seth Godin.

There are several things I like about this free service.

1.  I get to read in areas that I have no background or knowledge.

2.  I get to read some acknowledge experts.

3.  I get to read some new voices.

4.  I like the design.  It is smart and easy to read.

5.  The blog pubishes a few new ones every couple weeks, so it isn't an overwhelming amount of information.

6.  The manifestos tend to be short enough that I can print them off and hand them out, or, at recommend to people knowing that it will probably be read.

Here are some of favorite manifestos to date

Tom Peters - 100 Ways to Help You Succeed/Make Money, Part 1

I wrote about this earlier here .

Hugh MacLeod - two manifestos from this honest, irreverent cartoonist/marketer

         How to be creative

"MacLeod highlights the value of authenticity and hard work, and reveals the challenges and rewards of being creative."

         The Hughtrain -


“The market for something to believe in is infinite.”

We are here to find meaning. We are here to help other people do the same. Everything else is secondary.  We humans want to believe in our own species. And we want people, companies and products in our lives that make it easier to do so. That is human nature.  Product benefit doesn’t excite us. Belief in humanity and human potential excites us.   Think less about what your product does, and think more about human potential.  What statement about humanity does your product make?  The bigger the statement, the bigger the idea, the bigger your brand will become." 

Oliva and Toscano - The One-Minute Site

from the manifesto  - 


The Web service providers have palmed you off with a Website modelthat will set to zero your chances of getting new clients through the Web.  No one has ever had the courage to say that this model is at loggerheads with the SMBs’ potential new clients’ way of using the Web.  The One-Minute Site Manifesto tells you how to get rid of this model that doesn’t work and prevents you from getting what you were promised from the Web." 

Chris AndersonThe Long Tail

"Forget squeezing millions from a few megahits at the top of the charts. The future of entertainment is in the millions of niche markets at the shallow end of the bitstream."

Brad Feld - Financial Fitness for Entrepreneurs

While creating a growth business can be exhilarating, many entrepreneurs—especially those starting a company for the first time—don’t pay enough attention to some core issues surrounding the financial management of their businesses.

Leaders, Thought Leaders and the rest

Link: Joel Achenbach's achenblog debuts (washingtonpost.com).

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit links to Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post's new blog. As a neophyte blogger, and a veteran journalist, the convergence of writing styles and approaches to doing both must be a bit confusing.

He writes, "I hate the blog because there are strange symbols appearing in the text now. It's like discovering a weird rash on your body, or breaking out in pox. Also I hate the blog because I can't find that little icon on the blogging tool toolbar with a chain-link that means "this will make a link."

The reality of new technology is that it forces us to sit up, take notice, and figure out how to maximize its benefit. For leaders, this means acquiring new communication skills, by writing a blog. For opinion leaders who are also journalists, it means that your voice becomes different than your professional voice in print.

Continue reading "Leaders, Thought Leaders and the rest" »

Road Map of the Blogoshere

When I started blogging six months ago, I went to my local Barnes & Noble to look for a book on it.  Nothing.

I went on line and found some bloggers who had written books on blogging, but the price was too high.  After all, I really didn’t know what I was getting into.

So, when I saw that Hugh Hewitt was publishing a book on blogging, I knew my search had begun to be fulfilled.

Blog: Understanding The Information Reformation That Is Changing Your Word is the perfect introductory book for people either new to blogging or who have never even seen a blog.

There is much to say, but I’ll be brief.

I come away with several impressions about the importance of weblogs.

  1. They are personal.  Finally, here is a way to make the internet a place for personal expression.  I thought my website would do that.  It doesn’t.  It seems old and irrelevant like a black-and-white television.  I wonder if I even need it.

  1. They are a place for interactive connectivity.  Not only can you find out about people, places and things outside of your experience, but you can get to know people too.  It is a place where conversations rule, unlike in the Instant Messenger setting, the conversations are of intelligent, meaningful and often historic.

  1. There is accountability. It is more than fact-checking.  When you blog, you are saying to the world, check my thinking, is it logical, compelling, persuasive…cool?  If it isn’t you’ll know.  And that is a good thing because it should improve the articulation of your ideas, making it more likely that people will listen to you in non-blog settings. If you are a writer, it will help you write for a specific audience, which always makes it easier to craft the write words and phrases.

  1. There is potential influence.  More than anything, it is a medium for people who want to influence other people.  If you are at the periphery of every institution, social setting and geographical location, you can still influence the way people think.  The old rules are gone.  Freedom of expression is the rule now.

All of this I found in Blog, and more. There is current history, history of technology and religion, and an overview of some of the bloggers who are note worthy.  There is guidance on how to start and manage a blog.    There is a wealth of information, in an simple, straight-forward manner that makes it a quick, engaging read.  It is the perfect book to give to a colleague as he or she prepares to fly somewhere. 

It is the road map of the blogoshere.

Thank you Hugh.