Archive | February, 2011

You’ da man! (building your offline ‘Klout’)

When “Building your offline Klout” was announced as the theme for week 3 of the #UsGuys #UsBlogs weekend blogging challenge, I was initially uncertain which direction to take…

Is the topic suggestive of building your network, establishing your personal brand, raising your profile or becoming a trusted authority? That I immediately started to think of different ways to take the discussion shows what a great topic choice this is! Thanks to @DanPerezFilms for the idea!

The fact is, the concepts of klout, influence, personal presence, sway and authority all existed long before the invention of social media and algorithms. Your measure as a professional is often less about what you say you do, and more about what others say and think about you. With a hat tip to #UsGuys everywhere, You’ Da Man! can apply to anyone!  Just a fun way of saying you’re cool, you’re reliable, you’re knowledgeable, you always get the job done… etc. However you want to describe it, do you do the things which set you aside as an individual and as a professional so that people trust in what you have to say?

So what are some of the things you can do to establish your personal brand and reputation in the ‘real’ world?

My first and most obvious answer to this question is simply “Deliver”… There are no shortcuts to developing a strong reputation and job number one is:

Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it.

Realizing that’s just a tad simplistic and facetious, I decided to dig further into my coaching tool set and figure out the most important steps I tell people who are trying to develop their professional reputation.

Focus on relationships

Personal brand and reputation will develop as a by-product of the things you do. Focus on meeting people, building relationships, having conversations, getting to understand everything you can about the people you meet etc. Stay connected to people you qualified alongside. Make strong connections with people in your peer group and be a supporter to each other as you develop professionally. The relationships you build now will be the foundation of your social currency in the future.

Voluntary acts of help

When you meet new people, explore what their interests are and where they are heading in terms of their professional career. Then surprise them by asking how you can help them get there. It seems counter intuitive but by offering to help someone move ahead, you become a far more trustworthy companion for the ride. Its an example of what Chris Brogan and Julien Smith might call a Trust Agent move. The other day I met with a Journalist from Canadian Lawyer Magazine (after sending him an email referencing his recent articles & inviting him for a coffee). We explored how he gets his ideas and what his views are on the challenges affecting the Legal profession. I also asked him what’s next for him in his career path. My intent was genuine curiousity and understanding of the individual but the outcome is increased trust and warmth in the relationship.

Give and Take

Building personal influence is a two-way venture. It is intensely irritating and unappealing to watch people cut through a room, making a beeline only for the people they believe are the most important and influential, and dismissing others on the way. These are the same people who make every conversation about them. Who are less interested in learning and more interested in making sure everyone knows they are in the building. I’m sorry but you will never be “da man!’ to me with that approach. I don’t care how important you believe you are. If you haven’t got time for the up and comers and the people who move in different social networks than you do, your learning will exist in ever decreasing circles. If you have to tell everyone how important you are….

Mix it up

It is easy to forget that you are the common denominator or connecting point to many people who might benefit from getting to know each other. Maybe they are in complimentary businesses, maybe they are in similar roles or career transition points. The fact is that the people in your network would very likely benefit from meeting each other!  Set up coffee or lunch with small groups (4-5 people max) where you can introduce and cross-pollinate your network circles. They will get to know each other and you can get to learn more about them by observing the connection from a new perspective.

Be consistent, reliable, authentic

The impact of networks and building your professional reputation is cumulative. Networks build over time and can crumble when you stop building and managing them properly. Stay connected and keep reaching out to understand and help others. I see many people who have developed an enormous amount of goodwill and social influence through a long and illustrious career, but then rely on the celebrity of their past to secure their future. Sorry – not good enough! Maybe you were a big deal once, but you have to keep working at it to continue being a big deal. Just look at the backwash that’s happened towards Malcolm Gladwell following his February 2nd post in The New Yorker – Does Egypt Need Twitter? Once the media darling for game changing works like “The Tipping Point”, now people wonder if he’s keeping up.

Don’t try too hard

If you are only ever focused on doing things because they may raise your credibility factor, it comes across as insincere and self-serving. You cannot ‘game’ real life klout.

One persons guru is another person’s fool…

Not everyone you meet with will ‘get’ you. Some just won’t find you credible or worthy of the attention you appear to get from others. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Sometimes your efforts to connect with them will crash and burn and they will resist your charms. Accept it and move on. You’ll never have 100% klout with everyone.

I’d love to hear what you think. Got any other ways you like to build your offline reputation?

To Dan Perez for suggesting this topic for #UsBlogs week 3 – You’ da man! Click here for Dan’s original post on raising your offline Klout. Outstanding!

Updated with the WEEK 3 ROUND-UP  – BUILDING YOUR OFFLINE KLOUT via Brand Directions


[Book Review] The Now Revolution

The Now Revolution, 7 Shifts to make your business faster, smarter, and more social by Jay Baer & Amber Naslund

What’s it about?

As the title suggests, the book explores shifts in a range of business areas, including talent attraction, product innovation, sales and marketing, client feedback and satisfaction as well as crisis management. So much more than a marketing manual or how to do social media guide, it is a challenge to create a socially responsive organization. As one of the examples highlighted in the book eloquently puts it, “Conspire to commit progress!”.

This is a call to action for the listening organization in the networked economy. For companies that want to build greater engagement with their people, their customers and their wider business communities.

Selected highlights:

  • Attributes of a healthy real-time culture
  • Step by step guides to setting up listening posts (Free, DIY and inexpensive solutions)
  • Smarter ways to filter and locate prospects, client issues and business trends which go way beyond google ad-words
  • Training staff in answering the social media telephone
  • Learning from real-time crisis management
  • Finding employees who know how to collaborate across functional, geographic and organizational boundaries

“If you don’t trust your employees to communicate with good judgement, you have a hiring problem not a social media problem.”

Get ready to read this book more than once. Different chapters will have you return to reread and download the additional resources included through very clever use of QR codes. Read with your Smart Phone handy and a tag reader at the ready. A link for a free tag-reader is even included in the first chapter.

Click here for quotes and tweets from the Vancouver date of the #TheNowRevolution book tour collated by @TBains

Next steps after reading the book:

  • Get your CEO a copy to read. Even if they don’t read it, it shows that you are engaged and thinking of ways the business can improve
  • Buy copies for your clients and attach a manifesto that states you are endeavoring to become a listening organization & you’d welcome their feedback
  • Run reading groups and brainstorming sessions with your employees who are keen to find ways for the company to flex it’s social intelligence. Encourage them to be both students and teachers of the Now Revolution.
  • Send Amber or Jay a message on twitter @AmberCadabra or @JayBaer, including the hashtag #TheNowRevolution letting them know you have read the book and what you thought. They are absolutely living examples of the behaviours described in their book. Don’t take my word for it! Connect with them and find out for yourself.
  • Visit the Now Revolution Book site for tour dates and events
  • Check out this great six pixels podcast with Mitch Joel interviewing Jay and Amber on the book

The End of the Visionary? Leadership in 21st Century

It wasn’t that long ago that being a leader meant being the most assertive, driven, autocratic and demanding person in the room. Exemplary leaders of the last few centuries have been innovators, thought leaders and icons with unshakably confidence in the direction they were leading their business. One can only imagine how intimidating and exhilarating it must have been to have the opportunity for an ‘audience’ with such a Chief. Indeed, who needed Klout, in a time when reportedly the likes of Jack Welch and Steve Jobs could cast their vote on your future success within seconds of meeting you, and watch lists of the Top 40 under 40 either made or broke your career aspirations.

In fact, many tomes still espouse the ideal scenario of the leader who sets a clear vision for the future and then works with his/her team to steer all efforts in that singular direction. Many discussions on change management continue to perpetuate the myth that all it takes to motivate people is to paint such a compelling and aspirational image of the future that people are eager to jump on board and do whatever it takes to get there.

Then Jim Collins set a ball rolling with the epic “Good to Great” suggestion that charismatic, celebrity leaders may not provide the greatest return on investment for their organizations. The humbler, more humanistic level 5 leader become an interesting dichotomy for those who aspired to the corner office enough to read Collin’s book. People started to question if unwavering (some might call dogmatic) determination to set a strategic direction and then continue to pursue the vision come hell or high water was the most appropriate model for business success.

Along with the shift introduced by Collins, has come a not-to-be-ignored groundswell of people looking for more purpose in their work.  Gen Y’s demands to be heard, the Linchpin’s drum beat of contribution, the Free-Agent and Drive nation stating that if their leaders wont recognize their talents they will up sticks and move elsewhere. All have crescendoed into the emergence of a new type of leader – The Leader as Facilitator.

The current batch of leaders to inspire a generation are clearly still assertive and confident in their own intellect and creativity. But there is space in their hearts and their egos for the contributions of others. They collaborate. They recognize and admit the areas where they are not strong and seek openly to complement their absence of strengths by working with others. They seek input, take direction and listen and support the ideas of others, sometimes in preference to their own. When they have a clear idea of what they’d like to do – they share it. When they are missing pieces of information, they state clearly what they know and where the gaps are and they ASK for help.

So, are you a 21st Century Leader?

  • When you are working with others, do you openly admit what you don’t know and seek help?
  • Do you appreciate and value the contributions of others, even when their views and approaches may be diametrically opposed to your own.
  • Do you welcome diversity of thinking and behaviour and see it as an opportunity to learn a new perspective?
  • Do you take accountability for your actions, and the impact you have on others around you? (intended or otherwise)
  • Do you promote and encourage others to think for themselves, try new things, experiment and even fail – without stepping in and trying to ‘correct’ them?
  • If people try, and stumble, do you support the learning they have accomplished?
  • Are you open to learning from those who are younger, less experienced or less educated than you are?
  • Are you willing to show your vulnerability, and your lack of knowledge, in order to open the door for new possibilities?

I know which kind of leader I aspire to be. And like the best role models I have had the pleasure to work with, I admit… I am a work in progress.  Long may I continue to learn and collaborate!

p.s. THANKS #UsGuys for the #UsBlogs challenge which inspires this post!  I look forward to reading the other posts & attaching their links as an update.

(Updated with the extended Roundup, Thanks Tom!)