Top Finds for 2007

This is my last post for 2007, so thank you for making the year memorable and inspiring.  I want to give you my top finds (books, sites, blogs, commentary, etc.) for 2007.  Here we go:

  • I started running this past September (one of the best decisions of my life) and my wife bought me the Nike + product.
  • American Express showed me (once again) why they are the best credit card company in the world.  When things went south (as is normal in life) with my card experience, they took care of me in extraordinary ways.
  • Guy Kawasaki’s Dear Santa post.  He also gives us some cool sites/service providers to look at.
  • Google Books is a product near and dear to my heart, because of my new book’s (Waking Up In Corporate America) release in January.
  • John Eldredge’s The Way of the Wild Heart.  It’s a book that helped me make peace with my dad…I learned and I changed.

Beautiful Music, Beautiful Day

Just so you know, I post on music because it is the language of the soul.  Has a lot to do with life, no?

Here’s a beautiful gift on a beautiful day:

The piece is titled; Brise De Coeur and the performance is by John McLaughlin and Katia Labeque.

I hope you enjoy…

Power Article

You can view the article on power I wrote for BizJournals here.  A subject that goes largely unaddressed in corporate America.  With all the damage done, you’d think there would be great urgency around it.

Here’s to all of you who are willing to tackle it.

How Elitism Can Poison You and Your Organization

When an organization gets lazy and just reads from the manual, they have probably embraced elitism.  Some might call this plain old laziness.  Individuals can make the same fatal mistake too.  Just take a look at many senior leaders in corporate America today. 

You can reach elite status in many ways.  You may work in corporate America and just got a big promotion or your organization may have been profiled in the latest issue of Fast Company too.  Above all its about a mindset.  Organizations, and people, who take the path to elitism are destined to fail.  Why?  Elitism is built on the idea that you are superior to everyone (even those who truly are better than you are).  The subtle deception of elitism is found in the irony of outward success, but inward waste. 

Here’s how to know if you’re (individual) an elitist…some of these can be applied to an organization as well:

  • You’re not willing to listen to the voice of others.
  • You look for your work to validate who you are.
  • You think you’re the only one with the answer.
  • You spend a lot of time defending your policies and procedures.
  • You’re suspicious of others in the organization because they think differently.
  • You don’t have an exit strategy.
  • You are not well liked, but you think you are.

Is there hope for you?  Yes, but elitists often die-hard.  Authentic change begins with a decision to turn around.  Your future will be defined by the choice you make.  Just ask Neo:

A Voice Close to Heaven

Some years ago I had a chance to tell the person below that I felt heaven in his voice.

The song Pedro Aznar is singing is titled Setiembre (September).  The lyrics and music are from the great Brazilian artist Ivan Lins.  What a beautiful voice…heavenly.

I hope you enjoy.

How To Surround Yourself With People Who Are For You

In my post yesterday on Career Trends, I noted the importance of "hanging" around people who really want you to win.  Conversely, I noted you should stay away from the nay-sayers and critics.  I got a comment from Jim that made me think about why its so important to choose who you surround yourself with.

The following are 5 keys to knowing and choosing:

  1. Start thinking seriously about the circle of people that surrounds you now.  Evaluate (why do you hang around them, are they positive or negative, would they be around if you failed) the value they bring to your life, and then make a decision about whether they should be in your circle.  Sign post up ahead; this won’t be easy.
  2. Test those who you’ve decided to keep.  For example, tell them about a dream you have.  See if they tell you its impossible.  A person that embraces the impossible is more than likely seeking to keep you in a box.
  3. Do the people in your circle cross-pollinate with you? Meaning, are they looking to you for inspiration.  You don’t want a one-sided relationship.
  4. Have the people in your circle connected you with others who can help?  If they haven’t, question why not.
  5. Is there any jealousy between you?  If someone in your circle is jealous, then its a sign of someone just hanging around to satisfy their insecurities.  Be careful here, jealous people eventually betray.

It’s so important to have a powerful circle of people who genuinely seek your good.  These people are ecstatic when you win.  They also will be grounded in reality, which is key in keeping you from chasing fantasies.

Career Trends

Penelope Trunk posts this piece on The End of Work As We Know It.  It reveals much on future trends in the work place.  I’ve written and many of you have heard of the changing demographic that is the American work scene.  Penelope gives us some very futuristic thoughts on how it will all play out. 

Do you think people (workers and senior management) are preparing for what might occur in the next 5 years?  Judging by the way many manage their health and money, the answer would be "no preparation in progress."  Not to mention, the spell of fear and greed that many organizations are currently under.

A changed environment for work would be a good thing.  But a changed work place without changed people would be disastrous.

Here are some tips on how to be ready for a new work environment:

  • Know thy self well.  In other words, take an inventory of what you have to offer, write it down and act on it.
  • Embrace change, because it is a sign of your learning.
  • Distrust comfort (specifically mental).  Comfort is the place where die and don’t get buried.
  • Deal with your insecurities.  This might be your greatest challenge.  Let’s face it, dealing with our baggage can be painful.  Just the same, deal with your insecurities.
  • Surround yourself with people who want to see you win.  Let other people hang around the critics and nay-sayers.
  • Learn the art of vision (your preferable future).  Failure in this area will leave you vulnerable to someone else’s dogma.

Best Way to Spread the Idea

As I come closer to the date of publishing my first book Waking Up In Corporate America, I’m fascinated by the pitches made to me by the PR world.  Some are purely old-school sales (I just want you to buy something) and some are really spot-on in their delivery. 

I haven’t engaged yet with a specific firm and I might not.  Just the same, I thought I would link you to a post from Guy Kawasaki.  In his post on Word of Mouth Versus Key Influencers, Guy sites a study that states what we maybe have intuitively known for a long time; word of mouth marketing works well.  The only exception here is when your aim is fame and fortune-first and last.  I know those twins are beasts of a complicated nature.  So when we examine motives, we have to be careful. 

Word of mouth/viral marketing is truly the only lasting approach to marketing.  Relationships are built on the idea of telling other people about something special.  Think of it this way; would you tell someone to buy a certain book because Oprah endorsed it?  Oprah would help the word of mouth, but people buy because the person telling them had a wonderful experience reading the book.

If you’re looking to spread ideas, then you need to focus on articulating your thoughts the best you can and shoot for something viral in nature.  Viral agents spread the ideas because they see value in your ideas and want the world to change on a small or large scale. 

Here are some thoughts around people who will want to be viral on your behalf:

  • They don’t need a lot of convincing.
  • They will spread your ideas because you’ve made it easy for them to do it.  Make the burden lite and the action will follow.
  • They understand what your idea is because you’ve made it simple.
  • They believe in your ideas because you’ve actually experienced the idea…something they connect with.
  • If the idea is worthwhile it should attract because people want to be a part of something great.