In Jim Collins’ Great By Choice he tells the story of the famous discovery of the South Pole. Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott were both vying to be the first explorer to plant their country flag at the South pole. Amundsen did a lot of prep work. He learned about extreme cold, he lived with Eskimos to see how they deal with the cold, he researched the trip, he stashes much more supplies than he needed, just in case something happened along the way.
I’ve been there too, sitting alone on a Friday night wondering; how many people are actually on Twitter in Regina?
Well thanks to a wonderful tool called FollowerWonk we can now find out!
Followerwonk allows you to do searches for people on Twitter. You can search by location, by a word or phrase in the bio or by several different factors. Below the list is made up of people who have self selected their location to include the word “Regina”.
The list is ranked by Social Authority. Social Authority is a metric developed by Moz that helps cut through the vanity metrics out there and measures influence on Twitter. Who would have thought that gaining Followers wasn’t the only thing you use Twitter for.
I first sorted them by Follower count but it wasn’t cool to see all the bots and people who hired bots and the bots who hired people at the top of that list. This is a much better look at the Regina Twitteratti.
Want to find yourself or your ex-girlfriend from Highschool? Hold ‘Control’ and press ‘F’ then type your Twitter handle.
In other news check out some of the more recent blog posts on the Stratlab blog!
From Richard Branson’s The Virgin Way he talks about the 7 most important words for leaders to use. “I’m not sure, what do you think?” puts your staff at ease, makes everyone around you feel like you aren’t a know-it-all and willing to implement other people’s ideas.
When you ask others for their ideas you get more options to choose from. You incentivize people coming to you with innovative solutions to organizational problems. Today’s best businesses empower their people to share ideas up the chain of command. As a leader, the less ideas you come up with to implement, the more champions you’re building up around you. Also, when you adopt your staffs’ ideas, you’re creating a very important incentive for your people to want to offer their ideas (very few organizations actually care about what their frontline employees think, let alone ideas they have).
When you ask others what they think, what you’re really saying is “I actually care about you and what you think of this organization”. As funny as that sounds, unfortunately most organization leaders don’t think their people are that smart, they’ve built up a facade that business is run by executives and the people who where suits to work everyday. When it really comes down to it, the best organizations have the best people on the front lines, and no, for the most part they don’t where suits.
I think we all can learn a lot from what Mr. Branson has taught us about business. Below are a few of my favourite quotes.
If you’re like me this is one of the worst phrases to hear in the English language. What they’re actually saying is “would you like me to tell you how I actually feel about you? And oh yeah, if it was good we would have already told you so it’s almost guaranteed to be negative.”
Without feedback we never learn, we never get better, and we never progress.
The extent of your management career will largely be based on the amount of feedback you’re willing to take.
I’ve said to Brandon many times that we will get as far as the feedback we’re willing to take.
I still love the Tim Sanders analogy of “how” to process feedback. He says it’s like eating an almond. Not all of the feedback is valuable, find the nut at the middle (the learning moment) and discard everything else. Rarely do we receive 100% true feedback.
Three reasons why you need to get feedback from your team:
1. If you currently think “my team loves me though, I don’t need their feedback to know that”. You need to ask for feedback soon, you’re worse off than you think. It’s always those managers who “think” their staff can give honest feedback but don’t. Instead there ends up being a revolving door for staff, lots of turnover and no long term employees.
2. It underhandedly shows your team that you care, that you aren’t a know-it-all, and that you’re not too egotistical to change. You don’t have to listen to everything you hear but you do have to make yourself available to hear people when they want to give some feedback. Listen to people shows you care, even if you know you aren’t getting the best feedback, listen, don’t talk, don’t interrupt, just listen. You’ll be amazed at what you find.
3. The teams that communicate up the hierarchy just as efficiently as down the hierarchy will be the most sought after and in turn the most effective.
If your team doesn’t have a feedback strategy soon, your competitors will. They’ll be able to turn on a dime, adjusting to feedback they’re receiving. Today it is relatively simple to setup a feedback strategy, 10 years ago a lot more difficult. 5 years from now it will be baked into the strategy of the high performing teams, and I’m sure it’ll get easier and easier to track, manage and act upon the information acquired.
What do you do when someone leaves you a negative online review?
On sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, Google Reviews, a few bad reviews can ruin your company entirely. At the same time you can use these tools to give your company an unfair advantage.
I love John’s comment about the social media world not being fair. No one police’s it, no one is held accountable, it’s a dog-eat-dog online world. The smart companies are creating an unfair advantage, they’re outsmarting the competition by building a positive online brand. As Mr. Taffer says, if you have lots and lots of positive reviews and fans of your place, a couple negative people here and there will be drowned out by the positive comments.
So how do you ready yourself for the troll attack?
1. Kill em with kindness – if you’re a great company people will want to share your story.
Your employees should be brand ambassadors. They should be the ones promoting you and your story to everyone. “But Jeph, they aren’t, what do I do?”. If people aren’t sharing your story enough you have one of two problems, a) you have the wrong people on the bus* or b) your story isn’t good enough to share. Go back to the drawing board. If you story isn’t interesting enough let your staff come up with it. I love the quote from David Kelly, founder of the innovation firm IDEO “In a world filled with so much creative potential, it is dangerous to assume that all good ideas are found at the top.” -David Kelly, IDEO.
2. Make it everyones job to say nice things about your organization.
If your own staff don’t want to tell people about how amazing you are you have a problem. Why isn’t coming up with an internal word-of-mouth strategy not done by more companies? If your staff are excited about what you’re doing, if everyone that comes into your store feels that excitement, sooner than later the word-of-mouth will spread.
Why don’t more people come up with word-of-mouth strategies Jeph?!? Well I’m glad you asked. Few companies focus on word-of-mouth because its hard. It’s hard to come up with a viable plan, it’s even harder to execute it. Once you’ve executed it it’s still hard to hold your staff accountable for something that’s very difficult to measure. If you’re still have trouble with a word-of-mouth strategy move on to point 3…
3. Encourage word-of-mouth by offering an incentive.
If you’ve read any of Stephen Dubner’s or Steven Levitt’s Freakonomics series of books, shows or podcast you would completely understand why offering an incentive may be your best bet. If you offer an incentive people will keep it top-of-mind, they’ll be much more likely to share your message. Don’t assume people want to talk about you, assume you need to make it worth their while to spread your message.
*Wrong People On the Bus was an analogy coined by Jim Collins in Good to Great. Getting the right people on the bus is critical to any organizations success.
I think Leaders Eat Lastis 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.
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 Chaos 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.
One of my favorite projects of my professional career so far has to be working with the Regina Police Service. I was hired to help with their marketing, in the months leading up to the project the Regina Police were really making a name for themselves and it was time to capitalize on their newly found online fame.
Business strategy traditionally came from the smartest people in the room, the executive team, the bosses and when they needed help they turned to incredibly expensive consultants to build a brilliant foolproof plan. Everyone at the top laughed all the way to the bank. If the plan failed it was the consultants fault, if the plan succeeded it was the executives’ idea all along. Rarely does centralized, autocratic, command and control leadership work anymore.