Archive - September, 2011

Great Leaders Do This

My thoughts in something that Great Leaders do. I’m actually on a quick 35 minute flight back from Dallas as I’m doodling these thoughts in my journal. The bottom line is great leaders don’t set out to find consensus, they mold consensus. Great leaders don’t simply adapt to culture, but rather they help to shape culture.

Share your thoughts, how have you seen this concept played out in organizations or teams that you have been a part of?

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Managers vs. Leaders

Here are some simple thoughts on Managers vs. Leaders. These are thoughts I jotted in my journal this morning while at my hotel in Dallas. I’m at Leadership Network sharing and connecting with some great churches from around the country. These 6 churches represent over 75,000 weekend attenders.

Below are some of my thoughts on Managers vs. Leaders, share your thoughts.

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What’s In Between Where You Are and Where You Want To Be

What’s in between where you are and where you want to be. These are my morning thoughts in my journal from the #OKC airport, posted from my iPhone. What do you find in between where you are and where you want to be?

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The Question Every Leader Should Be Asking

Sometimes it’s easier and makes more sense for me to share my morning thoughts from my journal than it is to write a blog post.  Here you go, my thoughts from BWI airport this morning on the thought of: The Question Every Leader Should Be Asking. This could actually be the question every parent should be asking as well. ~dream BIG. think BIGGER.

7 Ways To Leverage Social Media For Your Business

The World Of Social Media is here to stay and that has major implications for the business sector, organizations and Corporate America.  There are over 220 million bloggers, over 600 million Facebook users, 175 million Twitter users and 34% of these folks post opinions about products and brands.  These shared opinions are a big deal, as research shows 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations and only 14% trust advertisements.

The problem with social media advertising is that many companies don’t have a clear understanding of how to leverage social media for their business.  There are a growing number of businesses whose primary focus and business model is to help organizations leverage social media and they will even do all of the social media work for the companies.

There are a growing number of businesses that seem to have a functional Social Media plan.  If used correctly, Social Media can be an amazing value-add to a company.  There is definitely more than one way to skin the Business Social Media Cat; however it’s important to employ a method that makes sense.

Here are 7 Ways Businesses Should Leverage Social Media

1.  Develop A Plan- The old proverb of those who fail to plan, plans to fail is definitely true when it comes to businesses and social media.  Develop a plan that starts with the end result in mind.  Do you have a desire to promote offers, promotions and coupons?  If so how are you going to do it.  Are you going to make Social Media the main communication hub for your customers, how are you co-branding your social media platform with your existing brand.

Developing a plan takes time, energy and research.  Take your time, develop a plan or hire someone to help you with the plan before you get jump in and get started.  If you have already begun, you should assess your existing plan and re-engage with the new plan.  Abraham Lincoln says it this way, “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 hours sharpening my ax.”

2. Know Your Voice- This is the golden rule as it pertains to Social Media.  If you are speaking on behalf of John Q Organization, make sure that you speak from that voice.  Businesses tend to confuse or overlap the voice of their personal brand with their business brand.

If you are tweeting or posting Facebook updates for your Coffee Shop, you should not be tweeting about mowing your grass, unless of course you are mentioning that it’s time to have a nice cup of Joe afterwards.  An easy solution to make sure your business voice is the one speaking is to ask this question before posting — If my company could tweet or post, would they share this?

3.  Be Social- The most important thing about social media is the social part and not the media.  If you look @Starbucks and @Southwestair Twitter streams, they are always interacting with customers and people.   One of the best organizations in the country that appropriately leverages the aspect of being social is @KCIAirport.  These guys are brilliant, if you want to see how you can be social, handle customer concerns and build a social media brand by doing the basics.  Check them out!  Be Social, Be Accessible, Be Social, Be Relevant, Be Social, Be Authentic, Be Social, Be Real, Be Social, Be about Your Brand, Be Social, Be Entertaining, Be Social and did I mention BE SOCIAL!

The statistics that I shared in the beginning of this post about 78% of customers trust peer recommendations drives home the importance of being social.  I think that research could be extended to say that people are more likely to trust and promote brands they feel connected to.  Be Social!

4.  Make A Name For Yourself- This is a two-part solution.  1.) Make sure that your Twitter and Facebook names are simple, easy to remember and relevant to your company.  2.) Make a name for your company by being active in the world of social media.  Have tweet-ups at your place, provide social-media only specials, have promotions that demand viral interaction and be creative.  @dealsplus has done a great job of demanding online viral interaction.  It does not matter if your company is large, small, on-line, or has a physical location, you can Make A Name For Yourself. Familiarizing yourself with the 111 Twitter Tools will help you to become efficient at making a name for yourself.

5.  Make Your Profile Work- Make sure your Twitter and Facebook profile represent your company.  If your business is a coffee shop be sure to have your logo as your profile pic. and not your personal glamour shot.  Check out my 6 Ways To Make Your Twitter Profile Work.

6.  Have a Primary Social Media Application- The cool thing about the success of Twitter is that Facebook and Twitter have become kissing cousins.   There are many applications that automate the connection of the two platforms.  Although I encourage the multi-updates in both spaces, it is helpful to focus on one platform as your primary.  For me personally, my primary is Twitter, although every single tweet goes to my Facebook community.

It is great for a business to encourage their customers to connect with them on multiple Social Media medians; however having one or the other as a primary helps with clarity.  Imagine your company as bi-lingual.  The question is: Is your company’s native language Twitterese or Facebookese etc.?  Answer that question and speak that language to your customers.

7. Make It Fun- No matter the strategy you choose, make it fun for your customers.  Fun, engaging, enlightening… should be the words your customers use to describe your social media presence.  This isn’t necesarrily “crack jokes” fun, but it’s definitely not blah blah blah boring.

The bottom line is that Social Media can definitely be a benefit to every business and business owner.  Use It, Try It, Be It, Become A Fan Of It, Study It, Know It, Become Good At Leveraging It.  In the future, “It” Can Make or Break Your Company.

“It” Is Social Media!

What do you think?  What companies do a great job of leveraging Social Media?  Share your thoughts.

 

Alone With God

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I’m typing this quick post from my phone as I’m out on a ranch somewhere in the middle of Southern Oklahoma, where my cellphone & Internet coverage is intermittent at best. That’s actually a good thing.

I’m a part of a year long discipleship, leadership group comprised of Christian leaders from all walks of Oklahoma City. The leadership team along with each person in the group has a vision of being Salt & Light to the Oklahoma City community.

It’s been a great evening of fellowship, riding around on all-terrain vehicles, touring the ranch, seeing cows and historic landmarks where horses, buggies and Native Americans once roamed.

Right now the evening is wrapping up and I’m just spending some alone time with God. My cabin mates are in bed and I decided to stand outside in awe of how close the stars appear when you are not in the city. You can see a pic from the back porch of my cabin above.

It’s quiet and I have a lot of loud noises and ideas rumbling around in my ever so busy head. Right now I’m alone with God and things are beginning to move a bit slower. All of the ideas are becoming more clear… There is a lot that I can see, I can’t to do all of the things that as of right now I can only see.

Not sure I’m going to move to the country; however I can guarantee I’ll make it a point to find some alone time with God somewhere in the middle of his creation and that somewhere will not be in the city.

Shh, quiet can you hear it. In the sill of the night I hear God’s whispers. You know why I can hear His whispers? It’s because I’m Alone With God!

Are you taking time to be Alone With God?

10 Simple Things That Makes Catalyst Great

I have been to many leadership conferences and Catalyst is by far one of my favorites.  It’s only a couple of weeks away, (Oct. 5-7) in the ATL.   Here are 10 Simple Things That Makes The Catalyst Conference Great.

  • 1. The BIGness – There is something refreshing and inspiring to see 12,000+ leaders from around the country pile into Gwinnett Center ready to be inspired, challenged, encouraged and changed.
  • 2. The Hype – Catalyst is a hype machine, if you can’t attend you will still follow the discussions and read the notes of the various talks.  The #CAT11 Twitter stream and The Catalyst Hype Machine go hand- in-hand.
  • 3. The Speakers – Seriously where else can you get Andy Stanley, Dave Ramsey, Mark Driscoll, Francis Chan and one of my favorites Cornell West all on on the same stage and all for one single admission price.
  • 4. The Entertainment – Where else can you see a guy break a Guiness Book Of World Record by jumping 3 Stories from 35 feet 9 inches in the air into a kiddie pool with 11 inches of water or a man shot out of a canon right before Bishop TD Jakes goes up to speak.  Catalyst is just down right fun!
  • 5. The History – This conference is filled with many years of history and memories.  Catalyst has experienced the longest successful run of any major Christian Conference in recent history.
  • 6. The Connections – Catalyst is a great place to make connection with ministry leaders from every nook and cranny you can imagine.  Catalyst is a social media playground, as you are able to make first time and continued connections with your blogging, Twitter and Facebook friends.
  • 7. The Unexpected – You can always expect the unexpected.  The unexpected will show up in the form of an emotional moment, a speaker not meeting expectations, a speaker making some uncomfortably bold statements, a rising star being born and the list goes on and on. Expect The Unexpected!
  • 8. The Traffic – Catalyst wouldn’t be Catalyst without attenders being stuck in Atlanta Parking lot they call a highway.  You can try to beat it, but 9 out of 10 times you will come out on the losing side of the traffic battle.  It’s just part of the experience.
  • 9. The Teaching– The teaching is always second to none and you are guaranteed to walk away with some new tools for your life and leadership toolbox.  You will learn or your money back.  I’m not sure about the money back guarantee, but I would be willing to bet not many people would request a refund.
  • 10. The God Moments – There will always be those moments where you will find yourself day-dreaming about the BIGness of God.   It’s awesome to watch God orchestrate the collective hearts of 12,000 people in a room. You will experience those God-Sized whispers challenging you to dream BIG. think BIGGER.

What Makes Catalyst Great?  Share your thoughts and experiences on the Catalyst Conference?

Flavor Fest 2011 (Urban Christian Leadership Conference)

Flavor Fest is the Largest Urban Christian Leadership Conference on the planet. It’s happening October 6-9 in Tampa Florida. My man Tommy Kyllonen aka @UrbanD813 and his team lead and host this conference every year. I’ll be there in 2012. Check out the promo video and invite your friends to Flavor Fest 2011.

Webcam 101 For Seniors (Funny Video)

This is funny…
When was the last time that you tried something new? Remember life is about trying.

10 Reasons Many Bloggers Start… But Only Few Finish!

 

I have been reading blogs and writing this blog for quite some time now, around 5 years to be exact. I have seen lots of trends in the world of blogging during those 5 years.  One of the more copious trends is individuals who set out in a furious sprint to be an avid blogger, only to find their blog desire come to a screeching halt.  As a matter of fact probably 50% of the bloggers that are featured on my blogroll probably have not updated in well over a month and many have forgotten about their blog altogether.

10 Reasons Many Blogger Start… Only Few Finish!

  • 1. Don’t have the right motivation to start a blog: Often times bloggers want to be the next Seth Godin or have so many people read their blog it crashes servers.  That’s definitely a motivation; however a great place to start from as it relates to motivation is simply this – write because you have something to share and you want to share it… period.  Ask: What’s my motivation?
  • 2. Don’t realize the commitment: The commitment that it takes to whip out consistent content is often times overlooked.  Just as sure as the next calendar day is coming, so is the commitment to write another blogpost.  Having the commitment to produce consistent content is key.  A blog is like a newspaper and if you expect it to be delivered daily and all of the sudden it’s not… you will start reading another newspaper.  Same things is true for a blog.  Ask: Am I committed to this?
  • 3. Don’t take the time to develop a strategy: Strategy is very important, how, when, why etc.  Abraham Lincoln says is this way, “If I had 8 hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend 6 hours sharpening my ax.” Ask: Do I have a blogging strategy for success.
  • 4. No one is reading:  It takes the right motivation, commitment, consistency, strategy, good content & patience before people will start reading.  There are some overnight success blog stories, but most success is a result of bloggers grinding it out.  Ask: Am I willing to write even if no one is reading?
  • 5. Nothing To Write About: Bloggers will quickly lose motivation as they lose creativity and inspiration.  What once started as a great place to share creativity, turns into an “Oh no, I don’t have anything to write about.”  This is where a strategy for the what and how to write will be helpful.  It’s important that bloggers find sources for inspiration and push threw the periods of creative blocks.  Even if you don’t have anything to write, write something, it’s the consistent act of writing that’s helpful.  Ask: Am I going to be intentional to seek out places for consistent inspiration & motivation?
  • 6. Not willing to learn: Every blogger has their own style and rhythm; however it’s important from bloggers to learn from other bloggers.  Bloggers could address every concern in this post if they would simply learn from others who are a few steps ahead of them.  Do you have a photography blog, make it a consistent point to read some of the best photography blogs in the world.  Need some inspiration or want to learn from one of the best bloggers there is, read Seth Godin’s blog.  Simply put, bloggers give up because they are not learning from the bloggers that finish strong.  Ask: Am I willing to learn from other bloggers?
  • 7. Lack Of Discipline: Discipline is defined as activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill.  Most bloggers simply lack the discipline to make it work over a period of time.  Ask: Am I gonna put in the work over time to create discipline?
  • 8. Lack Of Comments: Often times bloggers confuse comments with the degree of engagement.  There is sometimes a positive correlation between readers and comments; however over the years I have come to realize that some of my more popular posts didn’t necessarily always have the most comments, as a matter of fact on average you get about 1 comment per 100 readers.  Some bloggers have created communities that can drastically skew that number either way.I believe the Twitter Effect On Blogging has impacted comments overall.  Bloggers must be willing to write even though no one is commenting and try the 10 Techniques To Get More comments On Your Blog. Ask: Will I still write even though no one is commenting?
  • 9. Don’t Want To Invest The Time: Blogging is a serious time commitment and most people do not want to invest the time necessary for the blog to be successful.  Michael Hyatt outlines a very detailed post on How To Write A BlogPost In 70 Minutes Or Less. That may seem like  a lot of time, if you want to be good, you will have to invest some time.  Ask:  Am I willing to invest the necessary time needed for my blog to be successful?
  • 10. The Time Has Come: I believe that there is a time for everything, including a time to start and a time to finish.  Sometimes bloggers need to be intellectual honest and admit that their blog season has run it’s course.  It’s okay to just move on. Ask: Has my blog season come to an end?

Don’t simply start the race… Finish!

Why do you think Many Bloggers Start,  Only Few Finish?  Share your thoughts and experiences of bloggers not finishing the race.

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