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  • feedwordpress 15:17:24 on 2020/02/22 Permalink
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    Do Not Go Quietly 


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    Once upon a time I was the youngest kid in the corporate conference room. I never thought twice before I spoke and digital jargon rolled effortlessly off my tongue. There was some good reason for this.

    I had decent knowledge of HTML, taught myself Flash (some of you may need to look that up) and when digital media went social, I mastered that as well, at least in the early days. I can still remember the son of a local ad agency owner calling me “the digital guy”. These were heady pioneering years...

    Now I’m often one of the older people in the corporate conference room and it’s striking how different my role is today. While there are times I’m vocal, there’s even more times I am actively listening so when I do speak, it’s informed and meaningful (or I hope it is).

    Wisdom is earned through experience.

    But outside the boardroom is where I’ve noticed the greatest change. Something happens as you advance in your career. That blind confidence is replaced with caution. You become quieter. In fields like marketing and tech, you wonder if your experience is as valued as youth. Going quiet is the last thing you should do at this point. My output is the best it’s ever been. It deserves a voice that goes with it. Not loud, but selectively impactful.

    Do not go quietly.

     
  • feedwordpress 19:05:49 on 2020/02/21 Permalink
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    If You Want To Make A Point, Make It Real 


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    Picture
    I started my career as a visual designer. For the first few working years of my professional life, my days were dominated by pictures over text. Over the years my skill set, tools, and approach to work evolved. Written communication helped manage team and client expectations.

    Verbal communication was also useful, especially in situations where you find yourself going toe to toe with fellow A-type executives where a sharp mind and wise tongue are mandatory requirements. But recently, I was reminded of the power of making something real in order to make a point.

    Instead of using words, I reached into my visual communications toolkit and mocked up what I was trying to say. If nothing else, it made it clear that this was something we needed to do for all of the ideas the team is debating.

    More than ever, decision-makers need to see (and feel) something real before they make that final decision.

    I still love words and verbal communication but sometimes it takes tangible visual communications to make something feel more real.

     
  • feedwordpress 14:19:50 on 2020/02/20 Permalink
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    What Strategists Do 


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    Several years ago, I shared a flight with a former colleague who was at a crossroads in his professional development. We had a spirited conversation about a number of things and I asked him what he wanted to do. He looked at me with a sense of clarity and said: “I want to do what you do”.

    I paused for a moment, there’s always that micro decision to be made—do you speak the truth and try to be helpful or do you nod and smile? I turned to him and said as plainly as I could...

    “I’m a strategist and I take complexity and simplify it, so it becomes actionable”

    Then I said:

    “I’ve seen you do the opposite. You make things complex and difficult to grasp”

    I wasn’t sure how else to put it. After that, I encouraged him that if he wanted to do what I did, he would have to learn how to make complexity actionable. "Strategist" is a strange label. I’ve become used to the fact that it’s non-descriptive and vague and many strategists who have this in their title represent a wide spectrum of talent.

    Strategy is a big tent. But as big as it is, any strategist despite their background should have the ability to immerse themselves in complexity and tame it to the point where it no longer induces paralysis.

    Anyway. That’s what I think strategists do.

     
  • feedwordpress 15:38:54 on 2020/02/19 Permalink
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    Gratitude: Giving and Getting 


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    The other day I ran into a former colleague who had gone on to take a senior role with a highly respected fortune 100 company you’ve definitely heard of. He’s kind of a big deal.

    Yet after a few minutes of chit chat, he made it a point to go out of his way to express gratitude for learning the art of the Whiteboard...from me. And then I felt like kind of a big deal.

    He knew what he was doing. Expressing gratitude to someone for something that they probably didn’t even know that they did is powerful stuff. And it’s rarely done.

    So it’s something I’ll try to do more of myself. And then one day when I run into him again, I’ll let him know that I learned the art of expressing gratitude from his example.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:38:54 on 2020/02/18 Permalink
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    Leading By Example 


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    Recently, I reached out to a colleague who had accepted an incredible new opportunity after many fruitful years with our company. We had never worked closely together but every brief interaction I had with her was positive and professional. And I watched from afar as she led her teams and regions to success.

    Her response to my outreach was of course immediate. Great leaders have a way of doing this—even when they don't respond to every inquiry, they have a good sense of where their time and attention should and can go. So we chatted for a bit, and afterward, she shared with me one of her greatest moments of stepping up as a leader—a communication she had sent to her team, which really if you boiled it all down, championed what's known as "the golden rule" (do unto others).

    Great leaders get that at the end of the day if we're all just a little more empathetic—if we all just appreciate where others are coming from a bit more, then the stage is set for better collaboration, behaviors and ultimately shared success. We follow leaders for these moments of simple clarity. Sometimes we just need to be reminded of what we know is true. Great leaders are great at reminding us of these things when we need them the most.

     
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