Live Long and Prosper

Leonard Nimoy passing earlier today made me think that we have less and less opportunities now to be present and experience in the moment something live and new, and ‘prosper’ for it. I don’t know anyone from my childhood that did not watch Star Trek. We were not necessarily one of the die hard Trekkkies, […]

Reinventing Your Brand to Relevance

My Dad was a huge newspaper reader. If we had a blue recycling box back in my childhood, we would have needed at least two just for all the newspapers we used to get each week. The weekends we had 5-7 to read, depending on when the local and free editions arrived! Naturally it became […]

Do I have to go Back to Corporate?

My kids love roller coasters. My son, in particular, wants to ride the most extreme, fastest, scariest he can find. Me I like watching from the ground. Seeing their faces when they step off, and then run around to queue up again. The life of the self-employed / entrepreneur / freelancer can definitely be a […]

Lean In – Women, work and the will to lead (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013)

You Cannot Afford to Lay Back

Lean In

An initial reaction when you see a book about women’s leadership written by the COO of one of the highest profile companies in the world might be, well that’s easy for her to say.

To be honest that thought crossed my mind about Sheryl Sandberg and her book Lean In – Women, Work and the Will to Lead.

However in reading this hybrid of biography, lessons learned and sound advice that feeling disappears quickly.

Being a woman leader today is still tough. No question.

In her book Sheryl Sandberg certainly does not sugar coat the cost of being a successful and engaged leader and the desire to be a supportive partner and loving and attentive mother.

She openly shares the angst, anguish and anger she has encountered through a highly successful climb, not up the corporate ladder, but as she describes it “work is now a jungle gym” and sagely advises that “no-one wears a tiara on a jungle gym”.

She is a strong believed and supporter of the role of men in this equation. The need to have support, and ideally as many men seeing being a stay at home Dad have equal merit to a corporate career. That is for sure going to take time but it does not mean it’s not possible.

The key messages from the book though are about women not being afraid to ‘Lean In’, to set the ground rules or at least to work on their terms not those imposed or traditionally expected. To tear down external barriers.

And once in those leadership roles to finally eliminate those external barriers to get other women in to those roles. Men can play a role in this too.

The book started a conversation. It spoke much more openly about this topic than perhaps any book or movement before it. An extension from the book has been the creation of a not-for-profit Lean In organization to encourage a continuation of the conversation.

Men and women need to read this book and then continue the conversation too.

Most of us are blessed to be in a culture and society where striving for recognized equality is permitted. Many are not so fortunate. That makes it even more important for all of us to be working toward that equality.

A great passage in the book summed it and the ability to be the personal brand you want to be this way;

“ Many people are not interested in acquiring power, not because they lack ambition, but because they are living their lives as they desire.; Some of the most important contributions to our world are made by caring for one person at a time. We each have to chart our own unique course and define which goals fit our lives, values and dreams.”

Buried Alive – Digging your way out to clear communciation (Riverview, NB: PF Publishing, 2014)

Why No-one Is Reading Your E-Mail

Buried alive

“Your inbox is nothing else than a nice organization system for other people’s agendas” – this quote seems to have been attributed to several people, regardless it rings so true.

I have yet to find anyone who is looking forward to opening their inbox and all the productivity guru’s advise not opening e-mail until at least lunchtime!

But the problem may actually lie with you in the first place. It is how you are communicating, or rather failing to communicate clearly.

Of course it’s not just e-mail that offers up the opportunity to be unclear in communication. It just happens to be for many of us the most common and regularly used communication tool.

In his book “Buried Alive – digging your way out to clear communication”, Geoff Weinstein offers up some interesting and insightful reasons and suggestions as to why we feel continually snowed under or spend more time trying to clarify than we spent on the original request or project!

The big a-ha for me in the book was in the chapter about our Google brains. Geoff offers that technology has rewired our brains to prefer power browsing and sound bites over deep analysis and reading. Yet our approach to communication remains stuck firmly in the more academic approaches and formats.

As you would hope and expect in a book on communication, this book is well laid out in easy to read sections and follows a natural flow from outlining the problem, practical suggestions on how to make changes and then offers up tactics and strategies to lead others to do the same and shift culture.

Since reading the book I have tried to be much more consciously aware of how I am communicating, especially with e-mail. As Geoff says, better to spend a little more time on an effective communication piece that send out something unclear that ends up generating confusion and everyone spending way more time on trying to gain clarity.

His 3 step Action Sequence formula to apply to all communication is simple, but certainly much harder to implement. Definitely for me a work in progress. I found myself back in the old habit of trying to rush to clear an inbox the other day which resulted in two email conversations going back and forth versus a few extra minutes would have meant one email both times.

 

Connections That Count (Seattle: Amazon Digital Services, 2015)

Connections

A number of years ago at the annual Top 20 under 20 leadership summit, a young teenage web designer, Scott Oldford, was in the workshop I was giving on personal branding. He had bundles of energy and tons of confidence and was a delight to get to know a little. One of the books I mentioned in that workshop was Keith Ferrazzi’s book, Never Eat Alone. I am not sure if it was my mentioning it or a different connection, but Scott has embraced many of the lessons from that book to build relationships and business over dinner and lunch.

Now he has captured all of the lessons from doing that in his new book.

I have had the pleasure of attending Scott’s lunches and dinners, buy this book for your road map to make meaningful connections and relationships that go deeper than you will ever have at the next boring networking event.

The process is also a great antidote to that 1:1 meeting you wished you had booked as a 20 minute coffee or worse still you get that last minute cancellation after driving somewhere for an hour.

Scott is someone who never sits still for long, so you can be assured this content is not going to have you dragging your feet either. Its action oriented and clear enough to have you hosting your own events in no time.

You likely have a favourite meeting spot or like trying somewhere new, especially if travelling to cities you don’t know, what better way to enjoy both and have great conversations and build business. I have even used Scott’s advice here to start planning my own social dinners at home.

This truly will change the way you eat, let alone network!