You must have a clear vision

3 Things Great Leaders Always Do

Why is it so rare that employees look up to their boss? Why is it that most senior leadership are referred as more of the senior part and not so much the latter? How come more people don’t look up to the leader of the organization? Why is it so rare to find a visionary, humble, head of an organization?

In the future we’ll look up to leaders who understand and act upon these 3 must do’s.

1. You must have a clear vision.

If your staff don’t know where you’re going it’s going to be very difficult to follow you. If your vision isn’t simple most people won’t get it. If your purpose can’t be summed up in a short phrase, you probably haven’t drilled deep enough. If everyone on the board is comfortable with the simple vision, it’s not provocative enough. If you let a committee come up your purpose it isn’t going to get far. If you think the executive suite are the only ones who can come up with your purpose, you’re wrong. Purpose should be shared just as much with the top row and the front line employees. More often than not front line employees have a better grasp on what the company “actually” does than the executive row.

Business strategy that’s written by mbas is business strategy for mbas. Real people want simplicity, they want to know you care and they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

2. Actually care about people.

Don’t just say you care about people, that’s cliche and every company says they care about their people, very few actually show it.

You can tell what people and organizations care about by how they allocate their resources.

You can tell what people and organizations care about by how they allocate their resources.

You show people you care with your actions and how you spend your time and your money. Every company says they care about their people but how many create a bottom up feedback system? How many leaders actually have an open door policy? How many leaders would actually encourage employees to speak up when they disagree with a decision?

You show employees or members that you care when you listen to them, when you actively seek their feedback, when you truly want them to be a part of the decision making. If you truly do care about the people you work with, you’ll try to help them. When employees feel their voice will be heard and that they can make a difference, it’s like they’re working with a super power.

Anything becomes possible when the people we look up to empower us to achieve more than we are capable of.

3. Be the hardest working person in the organization.

Be the hardest working person in the organization

Leadership is service. Leaders work harder than everyone else, they rarely take credit and they put more fires out than anyone else. Leadership isn’t glamorous, it’s hard work.

Having people look up to you, rely on you, being a part of your team, is a small reward. The larger reward in this situation is watching the people under grow into a better leader, manager, and team player than you ever could be. Leadership is the humble act of always putting others first. When you find you’ve groomed a candidate that people look up to, are inspired by and that works harder than you do, you know you’ve done your job.

The goal of leadership is not to be indispensable, it’s quite the opposite. The goal of leadership is the day you don’t show up, everyone knows exactly what to do and the sustaining work to keep the organization is done.

Leadership is the highest form of service. Never forget that.

Leaders wanted.

Leaders wanted

Richard Feynman Quote "study hard"

If You Want To Be an Amazing (Blank), Study the Amazing (Blankers)

It’s a simple thought that has profound consequences.

If you wish to be the best, you must study the best.

If you want to be amazing at golf, study the great golfers.

If you want to be an amazing comedian, watch the great comedians.

If you want to be a world renown hypnotist, you’d be wise to study the greatest hypnotists in the world.

Never before has it been easier to study the masters of our craft. Whatever you do, whatever you’re into, you can find someone in the world who’s amazing at it and better yet you can subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Start following people you’d consider a mentor in your line of work.

This American Life

For the past 5 years I’ve been listening to some of the greatest storytellers of our time. They study their craft, they try different things and they keep their audience coming back for more every week.

I regularly listen to Ira Glass from the This American Life podcast. Ira is one of the best storytellers I’ve ever listened to. If Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule is true, I’d be willing to bet that Ira Glass has told stories for well over 10,000 hours. He’s simply brilliant to listen to. 

Freakonomics RadioSteven Levitt & Stephen Dubner from the Freakonomics series of books (Freakonomics, Super Freakonomics, Think Like a Freak), movie and now a podcast. I think Freakonomics should be one of the books you have to read in highschool, much like Shakespeare, but a new and improved fascinatingly remarkable Shakespeare. 

Radiolab-abumrad and krulwich

RadioLab’s Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich


Another long time favourite of mine, RadioLabYou have to listen to it to believe it. But Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich entertain week in week out. The production on RadioLab is probably the best out of any podcast I’ve every listened to. The saying “you never get more out of something than what you put in to it” couldn’t be more true for RadioLab. They tell some of the most fascinating stories. 

In the marketing world, I like listening to the Six Pixels of Separation podcast. The host Mitch Joel is Canadian, he run an agency out ofMitchJoel, Six pixels of seperation podcast Toronto and Montreal. He always ends up asking the most interesting questions, he’s one of the smartest marketing minds in our world, you’ll see a lot more of Mitch Joel in the future. (oh yeah, and he’s CANADIAN! That’s awesome)

The BeanCast is another of my all time favs. Bob Knorpp invites 3-4 guests who’re The BeanCastare notable marketing minds from all over the world, you get a diverse opinion on many topics from Social Media to traditional advertising. Some of my favourite episodes are the ones with Peter Shankman, Edward Bouches, Scott Monty, and of course Saul Colt.

One last honourable mention goes to WNYC’s Planet Money Podcast. The Planet Money podcastAlways a new and interesting topic that the hosts seem to spin into the coolest story you’ve heard all week. You have to listen to Planet Money at least once, you’re guaranteed to learn a lot!

I want to be an amazing storyteller one day, I know that will take a lot of practice, but that’s the hard part you can’t fake past. But it’s never been easier to find our mentors, to follow our hero’s, and to watch the very people we look up to.

What amazing (blank) are you studying to be? 

NYTimes Innovation Report

The Leaked New York Times Innovation Report and Why It’s Important

The New York Times (on purpose or not) leaked an innovation report which ended up being a scathing analysis of how far behind the times the Times really are. From one of the worldwide leaders in Journalism comes a humble look at their own efforts digitally. They recognize how behind they really are but it seems that they have a plan to become more relevant to a larger audience in the future.

Some important highlights of the 90 page report:

  • Competition is increasing and some of their competitors are producing some massive numbers. EG: Flipboard getting more traffic to the New York Times’ own articles than the Times’ receives to its’ own site.
  • The journalism industry is being “disrupted” with a cheaper easy to find version of “news”. The example given in the report is strikingly similar to Clayton Christiensen’s The Innovators Dilemma. In the book he talks about when entities get too large within their own industry, smaller, faster more nimble businesses innovate to create the future product offerings.
  • They’ve named and provided stats on some of their competition. Some very familiar names on the list such as: Huffington Post, Flipboard, and Buzzfeed.
  • The mentioned the NY Times “Influencers”. Every organization at one point will needs to know who their influencers are and how to leverage them.

The NewYork Times Audience:

  • 30M web readers in U.S. per month
  • 20M Mobile readers in U.S. per month
  • 13.5M News Alerts audience
  • 11.3M Twitter followers
  • 6.5M E-Mail Newsletter Subscribers
  • 5.7M Facebook followers
  • 1.25M Print Subscribers
  • 760K digital subscribers

The Proposal:

  1. Discovery – getting our work in front of the right readers at the right place and at the right time.
  2. Promotion – we need better advocates of our over work.
  3. Connection – our readers are perhaps our greatest untapped resource.

This seems more like a game plan for ANY organization that wants to grow in this new digital world. They’ve identified that is has to start at their core if they hope to have any chance of surviving the disruption that the journalism/publishing industry is facing.

Some important quotes from the report:

“Digital staffers want to play creative roles not service roles.”

“We need makers, entrepreneurs, reader advocates and zeitgeist watchers”

“Evergreen content is appealing to readers if resurfaced in a way that is smart”

“The newsroom can fall into old habits about experiments like this one, raising concerns about  turf, quality control and precedents.”

“One-offs are laborious, so we should focus on making such efforts replicable and scalable.”

 

Simon Sinek Managed out of a crisis

The Next Book on Leadership You Have to Read is…

Simon Sinek: Why Leaders Eat Last from 99U on Vimeo.

Simon Sinek on Leadership

I think Leaders Eat Last is one of the best books on leadership that has ever been written. Just the concept, putting others before yourself, is such a simple yet powerful principle to live by. Yet the majority of the worlds most inspiring leaders don’t see it as service, they see is as their destiny, they see it as what they were meant to do. Some people were meant to serve.

If you were born to lead that means you were born to serve others.

The true price of leadership is to place others needs before your own

social-media-icons

How The C-Suite Are Using Social Media

They aren’t, that’s the easy answer. Well not yet. The executives in and around Regina and Saskatchewan are slower to adopt this new found social technology. Sure there are some very social executives (and a social Premier!) you’ll find out about them in the presentation but for the vast majority of leaders in the business community have fallen prey to the “I don’t have enough time” and the “I don’t get it” virus.

So how is the C-Suite using Social Media? They use Twitter and LinkedIn. The presentation below is mostly focused on Twitter.

In the presentation you’ll find:

  • Some of the most important Tweets of all time
  • 5 Myths about Social Media
  • Several case studies of business/political leaders and organizations who use Twitter specifically (and use it well!)
  • We finish off with 3 “How To’s”, tips on making you better on Twitter.

If you want to learn more about presentations similar to this, book Jeph to speak or host a workshop, check out our speakers, presentations and workshops page here.

Want To Make a Change? Kill A Sacred Cow

Change doesn’t “just happen”. In any environment forces combined to create friction or resistance which changes the environment over a long period of time. In nature, sacrifices are made to ensure the long term stability of the eco system. You can’t have change without sacrifice.

Change and growth don’t happen without some sort of friction.

If life is difficult that means you’re sacrificing short term gain for a long term payout.

I love the Hugh McLeod quote of “choosing an easy life rarely ends up with much of either”.

The most successful people in our world made more sacrifices than everyone else to get where they are.

Have you ever asked a truly successful person about their work ethic? The vast majority of people who are a living success will tell you how insanely hard they had to work to get where they are. It was all about the sacrifices they were willing to make.

Change in your business is just like change in your life. You can’t get physically fit by saying you’re going to workout and eat better. You get physically fit by doing something difficult. By changing your daily routine, working out for two hours a day and eating right. Fitness isn’t easy (for some it is, not my fat ass) but anything in life worth having is worth working for. With hard work comes the results. Like in fitness, like in work.

So you want to make a change? Kill a sacred cow, it’s the easiest way to create change. From the book The The Chaos ImperativeChaos Imperative Ori Brafman and Judah Pollack tell the story of when Mayor Bloomberg was first elected Mayor of New York City he didn’t like how everyone worked so closed off from each other. His solution to create a change? Move his desk down to the second floor, right in the middle of 51 NewYork City staffers. His desk wasn’t any larger than anyone else’s. Every cubicle wall on the second floor came down, effectively making the Mayor’s perfect open office space. It even got the nickname Bloomberg’s ‘Bullpen’.

Sacrificing the privacy of a cubicle was the perfect way to create an open workspace.

So you want to make change in your life? What are you willing to sacrifice? What are you willing to give up? Better yet, what aren’t you willing to give up? Maybe if you start there you’ll understand that it’s your own life style that’s actually holding you back.

You Need To Stop Buying Facebook Likes, You’re Killing Your Engagement

Here’s a video we came across one day scouring the annals of the internets. It makes a clear case as to why you shouldn’t be buying Facebook likes. With every fake like added to your page, every real person liking your page

Facebook isn't for everyone

will see less and less of your content. Basically, if you artificially inflate your your Facebook likes, you’re hurting yourself in the long run.

Many people can’t do it and Facebook isn’t for everyone. Brandon and I have agreed that Facebook isn’t something we want nor should be focusing on right now. Hence we don’t have an undated Facebook page. If you can’t put the time in, it isn’ worth it.I think this is a brilliant lesson for any situation in life where you have the choice to either  a)work hard for something or b) take the easy way out and pay for it. The former is always the harder choice but it comes with a larger reward as well. It’s hard to come up with current and consistent content for Facebook. But if you do it for a long time you get faster and more efficient at it and over time you get a name for yourself. The keywords there are “over time” nothing on social happens over night.

On the other hand, if you do put in the time, you’re going to create a following and inspire a lot of people (COR does a great job of this on Facebook). COR doesn’t pay for likes on Facebook, they acquired them organically from people who love what they share. (that’s why I liked their page, go check out the images they share)

Anytime there’s a choice of the hard way or the easy way, take the hard way. You’ll be happier in the long run. And for crying out loud stop trying to buy influence on Social Media sites, be that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. Buying influence never works.

What do you think? Can you buy influence? 

Moz + google analytics = awesome

What is Domain Authority & Why Do We Use It? (66 Websites Ranked)

 

Every website on the Internet has a Domain Authority, yes yours does too. 

You're still measuring hitsDomain Authority is one of the most effective website measurements because you can benchmark against your competitors, see the impact of your SEO efforts, and set future goals based on a quantitative outcome. We use Domain Authority to measure the websites we manage. It’s an objective indicator for how your website will perform in the future. You want to see your Domain Authority increase over time.

If you start with all the qualitative malarky (focusing on design and feel and making it “pop”) sooner or later you’re going to be fired. That’s a certainty. If you really want to impress the boss start with some substantial quantitative metrics. Hook up Google Analytics and you’re off to the races. If you want to get more technical you’ll have to consider using a company like Raven or Moz (the company we use).

When dealing with website measurement, Moz is pretty much the bees knees. Out of Seattle Washington, they’re like a small vigilante group of online special forces who ensure your website is firing on all cylinders.

What is Domain Authority?

Domain Authority is Moz’s best prediction at how well your website will rank in search engines. This is a number calculated from many different data points from all over the internet. Every page on the internet has a page authority, also a number out of 100, this would be that specific pages’ ranking potential.

Every page on your website has a page authority and together those combine to make up your Domain Authority. It’s a relative metric in that your competition will have a similar number and whether it be higher or lower, generally you can explain why one website is ranking better than another based on Domain Authority. It doesn’t always mean a higher domain authority will always out-rank a lower domain authority, but higher domain authorities always have a better chance of ranking higher in search engines.

Why do we use it?

imagine- you can see why your competitors are out ranking you in googleIt’s a standard metric that can be compared to all of your competition. It’s the number you can use to test your hypothesis’s of what works and doesn’t work when it comes to your online strategy. If you increase Domain Authority, you increase your organic traffic.

 

The coolest part? You can look up your websites Domain Authority by using this tool called Open Site Explorer.

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The Top 11 Home Construction Related Keywords in Regina

Have you ever sat and wondered why your website isn’t getting the traffic you think it deserves?

The key to good traffic stems from many core parts, one of them being:

Optimization!

You could have the most outstanding content in the world, with videos that look like they were directed by Michael Bay (minus the scantily clad women of course), and writing that would bring a tear to Shakespeare’s eye, but if your website is not optimized properly you may not be getting the traffic you deserve.

One key part of optimization is the use of keywords on your page, in your blog, or anywhere else relevant on your website.  We tried a little experiment in the lab here to see what the Top Home Construction Related Keywords in Regina are and this is what we came up with.

top-11-home-construction-keywords-in-regina-page

Now, if you are in the business of homes and you want your website to have more traffic, knowing which keywords perform best and optimizing for those keywords is your golden ticket!

Of course, optimizing is not the only thing that needs to be done to get more traffic to a website but it is definitely a step in the right direction.  If you think your website may be lacking and might need a little boost, we might be able to help!  Just fill out the contact form on the Contact page and we we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

Reinvent Continuously

What Does It Take To Be A Great Leader? [6 Quotes]

Mark Miller is the author of some amazing books on leadership and all the proceeds of those books go to charity. That’s awesome.

Mitch Joel talked to him on the Six Pixels of Separation Podcast, check it out by clicking On Great Leadership with Mark Miller. The quotes below are Mark Millers, he has a way of summing things up that is simply brilliant.

I believe great leadership is “the willingness to be wrong and the courage to admit it.” I think Seth Godin said that. Genius. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Leadership. It can get hard sometimes, every leader had their setbacks, every visionary makes mistakes on the way. But the greatest leaders have been through more, every setback making them smarter and closer to their end goal.

Every setback, every struggle, everything put in your way is there for a reason, to make you stronger.

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