explains how Google recently changed it's search algorithm. This is a HUGE shift, it's not a fad. Social media continues to evolve and disrupt...and it's getting deeper. Imagine how search will change now that it is becoming more and more social?
If you haven't gotten involved, you are way behind. The ROI of social media will take six months to a year. The major investment is in your time. It's a process, so don't treat it like a project. Be patient, many have given up because they got into it thinking they were going to make $$$ right away - this kind of approach is completely wrong.
You have to build relationships and gain trust before you can start selling your stuff. Once you've carefully invested the time and proven that you care, you will begin to see the sales come in from your social media efforts. Trying to sell and push products before relationships are established is just spamming and it's tacky.
The best advice I can give is to get into social media to listen, learn, and share. Be generous, respectful, and kind. Share your personal story, opinion, expertise, and spin on the issues that affect you. Trust me, if you share meaningful content people will listen. Everyone loves a good story.
It takes time to build a tribe so get started.
Every January, myself along with a tremendous committee of caring leaders gets to organize and host the Southern Regional Utah FIRST Lego League Regional Qualifier at Sunrise Ridge Intermediate in Saint George, Utah.
I had such an amazing experience watching these remarkable youth program and build autonomous robots, complete missions on the field tables, give presentations on their innovative inventions, and exhibit teamwork, gracious professionalism, and cooperation.
Recently, in an effort to better understand our national economy I read Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future
. I wanted to understand why we have such high unemployment, yet leave so many jobs go unfilled in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
To gain a better grasp on the STEM crisis (and it is a HUGE crisis by the way), this brief Executive Summary
will bring you up to speed.
Currently, only four percent of our nation’s workforce is composed of scientists and engineers - and this number has been rapidly declining in recent years. Why is this important? Well, because this group disproportionately creates jobs for the other 96 percent.
Leverage is at play in our economy. Everyone benefits when we have more science nerds, gear heads, tech geeks, and mathletes. When there's progress in the lab the multiplier goes into affect, starting with the scientist and engineer inventors, then streams down to benefit the entrepreneurs who rally investors and manage the risk, their skilled workers who build the products, the marketer who connects it with consumers and creates demand, the truck driver who delivers, the salesperson who sells, and the maintenance person who repairs, and of course the consumer who realizes the benefits.
Additionally, for every job that is directly created in this said chain of manufacturing and marketing activity, on average another 2.5 jobs in disparate labor such as: operating restaurants, grocery stores, barber shops, filling stations and banks is generated.
Progress enabling products like: smartphone apps, MRI machines, robot exoskeletons, genetically modified silk, invisibility cloaks, spray on skin, 3-D printers, self-driving cars, artificial bone, sustainable disposable solar panels, eye implants, and flexible glass
are built on the work of a few scientists. In several years (or less) these breakthroughs will create millions of jobs. Right now we have the jobs we do because of products that were still in research just a few decades go: the Internet, CT scanners, iPods, and GPS.
When our children are young they are sponges. They enjoy learning letters and numbers. Eventually they discover they enjoy STEM subjects because they can be fun to learn and it's personally satisfying to solve a math problem, build a robot, or reach a conclusion for the school science fair project.
Then something happens at the end of high school and in college. STEM is not as fun and it gets hard. They hit the dip - the learning curve. Learning gets harder and they opt to drop out or focus on something easier because they're afraid, discouraged, and/or can't see the bigger picture of how they can be a part of something huge.
We can't let this happen.
If your son and/or daughter is interested even slightly in STEM, then motivate and guide them to pursue their interests to their full potential.
My perspective about training has changed forever. Special thanks to Mike Myatt
for sharing The #1 Reason Leadership Development Fails
Mike has taught me that "training is...the #1 reason leadership development fails." I asked myself, "Really? Training? Why?" The answer is because "development strives to call out the unique and differentiate by shattering the status quo." Training really is an attempt, "to standardize by blending to a norm and acclimating to the status quo." And the status quo is something we all need to fight
The reason why training kills leadership is because it presumes
. "It presumes
the need for indoctrination on systems, processes and techniques...[and] assumes
that said systems, processes and techniques are the right way to do things."
I've never been a fan of best practices (we do it all too often in academia) because as Mike points out, "Training is...a rote, one directional, one dimensional, one size fits all, authoritarian process that imposes static, outdated information on people." I think the primary reason I despise trainings is because I don't enjoy lectures and such one directional presentations. I need to ask questions, I want people to ask me questions. I crave meaningful dialogue. I don't care what happened in the past. I learn so I am better prepared to meet future needs.
From now on, every time I am invited to attend a conference and give a "Best Practices" presentation I'm going to call it "Next Practices" and we're going to have a dialogue! That's a promise...a challenge to the status quo.
Training is for mindless cogs, non-thinkers, sheepish people who want to work in a factory and be told what to do. Development is for innovators, critical thinkers, and creative problem solvers. We don't need more factory workers, we need creative problem solvers.
If you're like me, you still need help determining the difference. Here are Mike's 20 points that differentiate between training and development:
- Training blends to a norm – Development occurs beyond the norm.
- Training focuses on technique/content/curriculum – Development focuses on people.
- Training tests patience – Development tests courage.
- Training focuses on the present – Development focuses on the future.
- Training adheres to standards – Development focuses on maximizing potential.
- Training is transactional – Development is transformational.
- Training focuses on maintenance – Development focuses on growth.
- Training focuses on the role – Development focuses on the person.
- Training indoctrinates – Development educates.
- Training maintains status quo – Development catalyzes innovation.
- Training stifles culture – Development enriches culture.
- Training encourages compliance – Development emphasizes performance.
- Training focuses on efficiency – Development focuses on effectiveness.
- Training focuses on problems - Development focuses on solutions.
- Training focuses on reporting lines – Development expands influence.
- Training places people in a box – Development frees them from the box.
- Training is mechanical – Development is intellectual.
- Training focuses on the knowns – Development explores the unknowns.
- Training places people in a comfort zone – Development moves people beyond their comfort zones.
- Training is finite – Development is infinite.
In his revolutionary eBook Stop Stealing Dreams
, a solution the US public education system, Seth Godin
helps us understand the history of school and its relationship with the industrial revolution.
Essentially, factories needed interchangeable, fearful, obedient workers who were on time, and prepared to perform repetitive tasks.
Schools were invented to train youth to be on time to class, follow a repetitive schedule, do repetitive work, do their homework (or else!). And it worked! Schools churned out a workforce for the labor market.
Well, the labor market has changed...but school hasn't. Here's a starter list of what school is for
What we need today are youth who are passionate, innovative, and caring problem solvers.
If you'd like to know how we get there, then get your free copy of Stop Stealing Dreams
and READ it.
If we choose to change the system here's what we need to do:
- Homework during the day, lectures at night.
- Open book, open note all the time.
- Access to any course, any where in the world, anytime you want to take it
- Precise focused education
- No more multiple choice exams. Measure experience instead of test scores
- Cooperation instead of isolation.
- Teachers transform in to coach.
- Lifelong learning, start working earlier.
Don't for a minute believe these two myths:
- Great performance in school leads to happiness and success.
- Great parents have kids who produce great performance in school.
Here's what's true:
- Grades are an illusion, passion and insight are reality.
- Work is more important than congruence to an answer key.
- Persistance in the face of a skeptical authority figure is priceless.
- Fitting in is a short term strategy that gets you no where. Standing out is a long term strategy that takes guts and produces results.
I loved my five-year stint with Costco! I worked hard and got paid very well. I bought my first home at just 22 when I was still in college. Costco even provided me with the opportunity to earn scholarships. The benefits were generous, my coworkers were nice, the year-end parties were fun, and hey...I even met my wife at Costco!
In my undergrad thesis entitled, "Countering Conventional Wisdom," I detailed Costco's struggle with investors on Wall Street who complained that the big box retailer pays its employees too much. It was through my research into Costco, and Jim Sinegal, that I truly came to appreciate the no-frills warehouse chain. Costco's business philosophy has impacted the way I work with people.
Costco rewards hard work. If you work really, really hard then Costco will pay you really, really well. Costco employees EARN their paychecks. The culture is all about hard work, if you don't pull your weight then you're gone - nothing personal. The only warehouses with unions are the ones that were acquired with Price Club back in the 1980's. Employees don't need unions because Costco treats it's employees fairly. I mean, they give employees a free turkey every year for Christmas!
Politics aside, it doesn't matter who the president is, Costco is great because of it's dedicated workforce and diligent leadership at the warehouse level and at the helm in Issaquah.
Because of the company that Jim built I was able to work my way out of poverty, buy a home, pay for advanced degrees, afford a family, and now give back to my community. Thanks for the opportunity Costco!
Fear is a motivator that works, that is why it is so often used - knowingly and unknowingly. Fear-based leadership is a style that derives from one's need for control
This flavor of control is often justified as a means to protect people
. This was the driving force behind Ra's al Ghul's attempt to destroy Gotham City in the 2005 film Batman Begins. He determined the city had lost all morals and needed to be cleansed of all the filth and sin. He wanted to protect the world from Gotham's moral decay.
In the Dark Knight Rises
, the new villain Bane shares in Ra's vision for the destruction of Gotham City and is driven to fulfill his original mission. [Caution: Spoiler Alert!]
Bane displayed very effective fear-based leadership tactics. He was intimidating, terrifying, articulate, and manipulative. We also learn he was well connected with Miranda Tate.
For most of the film, the audience is lead to believe Bane is the sole leader in the takeover of Gotham City. However, after Miranda Tate reveals herself as Talia al Ghul, the daughter of Ra's al Ghul, we understand that only through their twisted alliance could Bane actually accomplish taking control of Gotham City. Talia was the true mastermind.
Nevertheless, Bane's leadship skills should not be discounted. In the film he is referred to as just a "Mercenary," a hired gun. But what did he bring to the table?
Ah yes, human resources.
Bane organized and lead a sizeable battalion. He did so by manipulating them. He sought out the desperate, strung them along, giving them a false sense of power and security. He used this battalion to strategically plant bombs throughout Gotham and with Talia's backing, seized control of Wayne Enterprises. He eventually went on to release all the inmates in Gotham's prison - arming and organizing them to combat the Gotham City Police Department. He inspired the prisoners by manipulating them
. He used Commissioner Gordon's statements, the truth behind the real Harvey Dent, to unite them against a common enemy who brought them to justice.
Bane understood how to harness the power of vengeance and create order out of chaos. There are really two aspects to his leadership style:
- Bane was masterful at retaining the loyalty of the people. None of them ever turned on him. Where else could they go? There were no other options for them in Gotham.
- Bane was intolerant, publicly punishing those who failed in their assignments. He was only concerned with results. It was either perform or die.
In business, if a leader's attention turns from "How can I do the right thing for employees and customers?" to "How can I keep my job, status, and control?" then fear is this leader's weapon of choice.
If you can answer YES to a majority of these questions, then fear-based leadership is rife in your organization:
- Can you have an honest conversation with your boss?
- Do you feel comfortable speaking your mind?
- Do you feel like you need to stay at work longer when the boss is present?
- Do your co-workers worry more about quality, or what the boss thinks of them?
- Are you worried about co-workers stealing your ideas?
- Is the boss only fixated on the numbers?
- Does the boss place their trust in employees or the employee handbook?
- Can you brainstorm with other employees without the boss present?
- Are employees promoted and rewarded based on merit or brown-nosing?
- Has your boss ever said something like this? "Don't complain, just be grateful you have a job, we've got plenty of people who would do your job for less."
An organization that hires intelligent people, setting them loose to solve real-world will be a successful and innovative leader in its industry. Fear-ridden employees only try to maintain the status quo, they don't discover innovative solutions.
This is easy to see. Yet, fear-based leadership is difficult to break because cogs don't speak up, they stay quiet and keep their heads down - while this is convenient, it's not sustainable.
The truth about fear-based leadership is that it stems from a lack of self confidence. In addition, a fear-based manager, like Bane, has profound anxiety about making a wrong decision and is afraid of what others will think if he makes a poor decision. Did you see how scared he was when Batman returned from the prison in Asia? Yeah, he screwed up! Big time! He underestimated his competition because he was enjoying the glory of his thousands for scared, obedient minions.
Fear-based leadership really isn't leadership at all.
It doesn't move an organization over obstacles and into a sustainable position for the future. It's actually the opposite of leadership because with it there is no vision, innovation is stifled, and obsoleteness emerges.
To be an effective leader, you have to earn everyone’s respect every single day. You do this by serving, supporting, and making sacrifices for your teammates.
You must position yourself on higher ground in order to lift others up. Leadership is stepping up, taking action, and inspiring others to work alongside you.
In Seth Godin's
recent manifesto, Stop Stealing Dreams
- a critique of our nation's public school system - he praises the F.I.R.S.T. LEGO League
(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) for its efforts in exciting youth about science and technology and teaching them valuable employment and life skills.
Here's the excerpt:The largest robotics competition in the world organizes hundreds of thousands of kids into a nationwide competition to build fighting robots and other technical fun.
Last year, more than 300,000 students participated, surrounded by their peers and the 50,000 mentors and coaches who make the program possible. A recent university study of past participants found that FIRST participants in college were:
More than three times as likely to major specifically in engineering.
Roughly ten times as likely to have had an apprenticeship, internship, or co-op job in their freshman year.
Significantly more likely to achieve a post-graduate degree.
More than twice as likely to pursue a career in science and technology.
Nearly four times as likely to pursue a career specifically in engineering.
More than twice as likely to volunteer in their communities.
When you dream about building the best robot in the competition, you’ll find a way to get a lot done, and you’ll do it in a team. When you dream of making an impact, obstacles are a lot easier to overcome.
The magic of FIRST has nothing to do with teaching what a capacitor does, and everything to do with teamwork, dreams, and most of all, expectations. FIRST is a movement for communicating and encouraging passion.
Thanks for the recognition Seth! It's truly an honor to be a small part of such a remarkable volunteer organization that makes a difference by doing work that matters.
This is one of my favorite plans from the book Rework
:Feel like you can’t proceed until you have a bulletproof plan in place? Replace “plan” with “guess” and take it easy. That’s all plans really are anyway: guesses. I think companies often over think, over do, and over devote to planning. So next time call a plan a guess and just get to work.
In my experience, I can get so hung up on a plan that I miss great opportunities that are right in front of me. If you're not aware of any great opportunities, it's likely you're too focused on your plans. Has you ever done something spontaneous and its made all the difference in your life? Or someone else's life?
Start calling plans guesses, keep your head clear, and be aware of the opportunities that pop up all around you.
Now don't miss this bear! I did my first time. I was so excited because I was able to keep track of all the white team's passes, but sadly I completely missed the moonwalking bear.