Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Why Bloggers Need Triberr

Perhaps the heading of this post should actually be… "Why Bloggers, Tweeters, Google+'ers and Social Media Buffs in General Need Triberr"

I recently asked a bunch of Facebook friends if they used Triberr. Here are some of their responses:

Sarah: I tried to get on, got confused, have not pursued it. Have been invited to join a few [tribes] - got confused again. And, while my confusion may be my problem, I am not generally easily confused or thwarted. IMO, it needs interface work.

Laura: I joined a while ago, when I was joining everything in sight. Have never really used it. :>)

Laurens: Too difficult, even for me. BTW I don't like the "Triberr FB-Bombs" by certain Triberr Members, but the content is great!

Leia: I'm not using it although I have an account.

Joanne: I love Triberr!

So what are the Triberr positives?

Mark Schaefer  of "Grow Blog" says in a post that he liked Triberr because it provided four things: "Fresh voices… who are delivering AMAZING content". "Meaningful traffic" that has "boosted my [his] blog visitors by about 7 percent". "Feedback…"Triberr provides some nice analytics about how your posts perform in the blogosphere".  Finally he states: "It solves a problem. There is a chronic unfairness about the blogosphere. Many bloggers are popular simply because they were there first" and I assume it gives him a chance to compete.

Now I agree Triberr can be a bit confusing to start with and if you are committed it also means you need to share others post in the hope of having them reciprocate. Here however  are a few more reasons, if you are a blogger, why you should be involved.

It sets you up to be a very effective at content curation.and although good authors will perhaps always take the lead as the video below explains 'good curators serve an important and perhaps even a taste maker: role'.  http://mashable.com/2012/05/25/content-authors-curators/

Finding others that blog on your topics can be arduous however Triberr's search makes it quite easy so you can have access to pertinent content to share with your audience.

Thirdly from a social aspect you can make great contacts in the field you are interested in with others who share your passion.

Ric http://www.orglearn.org

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Social Media Success It's About TRUST

It's not only about Trust in Social Media it's about the real economy and life itself!

So what are you doing about building a sound reputation for the wired world? How you behave it will effect everything from your ability to get a job to being able to borrow money.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Social Media Engagers Connectors Bludgers and Grubs

If you are involved in social media you will come across many characters who see themselves as leaders, at least in their apparent circle of 'influence'. Unfortunately many social media 'leaders' are not so social.

The appropriate dictionary definition of social in the context of social media is: "Attitudes, orientations, or behaviours which take the interests, intentions, or needs of other people into account (in contrast to anti-social behaviour)." - Wikipedia

Obviously if you are using say Twitter to distribute information or ideas the reality is; once you get above a few dozen or so connections it will be extremely hard, or too time consuming to constantly interact with everyone.

One social media platform that describes itself as "social media rocket" fuel however almost demands by its design and style of operation a level of intimacy, co-operation, trust and reciprocation that is higher than most other platforms. If you are interested to take a look… it is:

One of the unique features of this social media platform is that you can offer rewards through missions to those that will help you achieve goals in other areas such as Facebook, Twitter Goolge+ etc. This is where the true individuals show their colours. Here is a recent mission I offered:

I won't mention individual players by name however my heading mentions four characters. In reverse order: 

Grubs: They are types that sponge off others, (e.g. in EAve. don't complete missions and just take the reward and run). This group also wants you to everything for them, share boring crap, help them become more notorious by voting them up silly competitions, offer nothing of value… other than that they see themselves as some sort of star or as "giants in their own lunch boxes". These characters often move away from what makes them popular in the first place and expect us love them for who they are rather than for the information they offer. I even saw one guy who offered tech advice do a video scolding his audience for asking what he considered dumb questions. He then started doing personal life videos and wondered why no one wanted to watch.

Bludgers: Well they sort of do stuff however always the minimum. They, in the case of EAve. as an example will do a few likes on a page that you want promoted however thats it. I even did a mission and gave away a large reward for doing nothing, just for being a shareholder and what did a get, a couple of guys didn't even leave a thank you note. These are not my idea of desirable social media types.

Connectors: Well they are numbers freaks. They want to have the most of everything, the most followers, the most accolades, the last word in every exchange and the biggest you know what on the planet. They spam, they manipulate, they just want bigger numbers. Often these types will have in their message or agenda a great idea you just must get involved in and they will flog it to death. These types see you as a potential customer and someone that can help get them what they want.

Engagers: These are the people we all seek. They believe in working for mutual benefit, they'll swap information and advice. They will complete task you want done as they understand the value of mutual leverage. They communicate and they are great to deal with. Many of these characters I believe would be great to meet face to face. These people without knowing it almost compel you to help them through their shear strength of character and demonstrated high levels of personal ethics.

So think about how you appear to others. What do your social media actions reveal bout you? Where you fit? I hope its in the social media engagers category.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Dreaming of the perfect Twitter un-follow app

Yes for some time I followed everyone back… I saw it as polite, however now I need to cull so the app I want looks like this…!

It would automatically un-follow anyone that used the word "I" in their profile and even perhaps send a rude tweet to those that used it more than once.

It would throw out male tweeters who's profile pic showed them shirtless.

It would reject those females that have a profile pic which is 90% cleavage.

I would trash anyone with an animated avatar …kaboom!

It would send off into the centre of the earth any profile that asked me to visit something or worse still, buy their great product or money making scheme!

It would un-follow those that I inadvertently followed not realising they spoke a different language.

It would weed out anyone that mentioned the words God, Jesus, Allah, Christian, Bible, Koran or any other spiritual affiliation.

It would get rid of those that use such terms as husband of, wife of, mother of, father of… who gives a damn we are all (mostly) one of those.

Some people just don't get it… or is it me…!?

Can someone invent it please!!! Just for fun… :-)

"Many a true word is said in jest."

Any particular peeves you have... you may wish to comment,,,,,!

ps: Just list your topic,,, thats what we readers make our choices on, we mostly don't care about your coffee drinking habits, where you are visiting or problems with your health.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Don’t be a Misery Maker!

In any company it is a good idea to review work processes and tasks to make sure what is being done is a “value adder” rather than just an “energy sucker”. In life I believe it’s wise to do the same thing with ‘friends’ and acquaintances.
Example one:
I have a friend who bought a supposedly tame and loveable dog from a breeder that turned out to be quite vicious towards other dogs. On the first morning he took it out to his unfenced front yard for a quick toilet break… unfortunately a passer by (an unusual occurrence in his short lane in the gated estate where he lives) happen buy with her dog. Bang his dog takes off, attacks the ‘intruder’ and knocks the owner over. My friend is old and quite blind however managed to separate the dogs and apologizes to its owner and says that he will pay for the vet bills. The ‘intruding’ dog needed stitches.

The response from friends was basically one of support as the level of grief, sorrow and stress in my friend was very high and he was at one point going have his do put down. Issues of legal blame or fault aside, one person didn’t help matters.


“Knowing her she’ll likely sue you” says one neighbor.  Now this is stating the possible worst outcome for my friend who is obviously aware of the potential downside of his situation. We are all aware of this potential problem however my friend needed positive support rather than an in your face stress building comment on the morning after the incident as he hadn’t slept all night out of worry.
My friend rang me and said he would need to get the dog put down. I reluctantly offered to take the dog to the vet to get it put down, as I know from past experience how hard that is to do, particularly with a dog you have bonded with. As it turned out the other owner was quite understanding and forgiving, the dog was not put down and was eventually returned to the breeder.
About three weeks later my, by then dog-less friend, his wife and I where at the commenting neighbor’s house for dinner.  After dinner the wife of the original commenter pipes up and says… “I saw Mrs. xyz today and she’s complaining of a saw hip from her fall… no I really don’t think she’ll be doing anything against you though… no surely she wouldn’t do that… no it’ll be all right”. I could see my friend was again visibly shaken. Why say anything it’s mean, it’s manipulative, its nasty and its just energy sucking, worry inducing and misery spreading rubbish of no value.
Example two:
Just watched the movie “The King’s Speech” again. In the scene before the king gives his 1st wartime speech he is under enormous stress and the Archbishop of Canterbury is part of a group to be present in the next room as he gives his radio address to the nation. The Archbishop (a dumb nasty bit of work in my estimation) says to the stressed king something along the lines of “a very important historic moment”. The king knows that and the actor successfully portrays the king’s instant rise in his level of stress, sheer energy sucking nastiness on behalf of the Archbishop.
Churchill, a noted speaker is there also and says to the king… ‘I have a speech impediment, had it for years, wanted to operate on me, tongue tied for years… I’ve turned it into an asset’. Now there’s a value adder!

So be a Churchill “value adder” and not an “energy sucking” archbishop for your friends. Most importantly if you have negative friends, acquaintances or archbishops in your life… sever your relationship… they will just bring you down.


Sunday, 29 July 2012

Avatars and Social Media Success

Social media success ia about presenting a positive public face to the world.

I am astonished how many don't get the idea and have written about this topic before.

Here are some examples of the some great avatars mixed with some that just don't give you a friendly feeling.

So who would you rather deal with mr anonymous in the blue gear, the dog, the 'standard'... I didn't put an effort in mr smiley, one of the guys hiding their head, someone in dark glasses, the cartoon chicken or one of the others.

Its all about building trust.

Ric http://www.orglearn.org

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

When Two Men Meet - Imagine

History shows when two men meet often as not they will come into conflict and one will die.

When men grow families and they meet other families often the two will feud and one will be obliterated or else the next generation will seek revenge.

When extended families form clans these greater groups will clash over females, livestock and land. Just take a look at Syria and Afghanistan to name but two.

When clans grow to groups that form villages, towns or cities, plunder and pillage will follow… again proven by history and strongly reinforced by current events.

When states or countries are formed national boundaries and integrity must be protected, so nations will attack each other and often neighbouring countries or even the rest of world can be drawn into the conflict. Now men and of course women and children die in vast numbers.

When men create religious divisions within societies… so called civilisations clash. Today’s rash of crazy religions based of irrational thought and fear of reality is creating a great deal of disastrous behaviour for individuals the world over. Religion is often at the centre of culture and I was taught, ‘no culture is bad just different’. I have grown to believe that that is rubbish, some cultures need to be stomped on as they are based on past realities and despicable practices and traditions.

An unfortunate fact: All conflict is limited by reach and today reach from a global perspective and through the wonders of modern technology is almost unlimited.

So how do we at least begin to stop the ever growing madness fuelled by those with immense power needs who are given succour and ‘legitimacy’ by large numbers of ignorant followers that demonstrate extremely low levels of emotional intelligence.

A possible start:

When men and women form a world conflict theoretically could only occur, given what I have said above, with other worlds. As, at least for the foreseeable future, other worlds are so far are out of reach that no conflict could occur.

Conclusion: Best for humanity to think about how to form a world and forget self, family, clan, city, country, religion and parochial cultures.

Yes I know it’s almost impossible, however…. IMAGINE

Thursday, 21 June 2012

All You Can Be & Greatness

A new twist on "being all you can be" and greatness!

Thanks to Meetu Singhal

A couple of more thoughts on greatness.

All greatness of character is dependent on individuality. The man who has no other existence than that which he partakes in common with all around him, will never have any other than an existence of mediocrity. - James F. Cooper

The greatest people I have encountered are those with a strong vision of the future who possess the self belief, tenacity and strength of character to carry out their personal mission. In some respects they have also been both the most uplifting elements and dangerous individuals in the lives of those around them. - Ric Townsend

www.orglearn.org - career success

Monday, 18 June 2012

5 Top Social Media Success Rules

Number 5. Engage its social

If you have a large following it is impossible to talk to everyone however if you have a core inner circle at least talk to them. When you do communicate make sure you use their name and thank them for anything they do for you!  Secondly write to your audience on the topics they are interested in and stick to your core message. I saw a leadership writer tweet "if you don't like what I tweet now, use the un-follow button". He was upset because of criticism he received when overnight he started to put lots of unrelated trivia in his preciously serious twitter stream.

Number 4. Stay away from the "Fluff"

"Empire Avenue" describes itself as a social media rocket fuel and maybe it is. Players ask you to do missions for a reward and often you uncover some great information you can pass on, Often as not however you get to see volumes of fluff… volume for volumes sake!` There is nothing less dissatisfying than going to someones facebook page and seeing lots of photos that you've seen on the last five pages you've visited… the cute cats, loveable dogs, their pretty kids and amazing landscapes… over and over again. It's the old substance trumps form every time. I understand a few human touches are good and the occasional 'personal' stuff doesn't hurt however, not all of the time, you'll end up with a page that is like fairy floss. Very little sugar with lots of volume... not very satisfying,

Number 3. Don't lose heart it takes time and constant effort

If you want to build a reputation on the web you need to keep at it and do at least a little each day or your followers will lose interest. As I said before stick to your core purpose and if you can't come up with new and interesting stuff of your own at least curate good information from others that is pertinent to your topic or topics. As the video says… be consistent!

Number 2. When asking for help from your followers give them something worthwhile  supporting

Again using Empire Avenue as an example you get people asking you to share their information around your networks. Well sharing has two purposes, one the specific message you want to get out and secondly to build your reputation (or brand) generally. Asking someone to tell their network to say happy birthday to your grandmother isn't going to make it. Trying to get others to retweet about your upcoming seminar on how to breed Llamas isn't going to wash with a diverse readership. So if you want someone to share stuff about you make the information your distribute something of interest to a broad audience.

Number 1. Forget "you" in your social media communications

Some social media gurus or divas even refer to themselves as gurus and divas, gimme a break. I heard on the radio today how social media is feeding the natural narcissistic tendencies that a lot of people have today. Me, Me, Me… no its about them, them, them so its not "me and you", its "you and I" or better still "us". I know one notable player again on Empire Avenue who gained some notoriety by answering technical questions (web stuff) who posted a video on you tube scolding his audience for asking dumb questions. He then made it worse by posting videos of himself shopping, eating driving etc… and then complained that some people didn't want to do his missions… he had become his own topic and his narcissistic rants were just plain boring. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

5 'Rules' for Successful Social Media Operation

1. Many companies treat their social media accounts as if they were billboards and they are not… you must engage… or don't get involved at all.

2. Often individuals treat their social media accounts as a chance to be outrageous… its a bad policy and will bite you in the ass down the track so resist the temptation to do it!

3. It seems to be common practice for organisations to just use their company name rather than that of a person… not good, pick a name… make it fictitious if you must however people like to deal with people so give an individuals name.

This is basic even when I worked for a finance company 30 years ago we had a "Mister Brown" campaign… XYZ Co… just won't cut it in the social media space. We were all Mr Brown if someone called us and asked for him or we said MR Brown is with another customer, hi I'm Ric and I can help you! It's not rocket science!

4. Fix your avatar and make it consistent across all platforms… get rid of the cartoons, cats, pics of your kids and pics of your favourite toy!

5. Don't just broadcast, you need to invest the time and money to interact… hire me to do it for you or dedicate staff number who is competent and be prepared to take the good with the bad.

Bonus Number 6. Don't just talk about your product… talk about your town, city or industry!

Bonus Number 7. Lighten up a bit.. I know you are fighting a terrible disease or uncovering and outrageous injustice however if you want others to share your stuff on their networks (to get attention for your Facebook page or whatever) you have to give them something that "their network" will be interested in.

More from Ric at orglearn.org

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Social Media Tips on Presenting Yourself

I see a lot of funny things as I cruise around my social media sites and interact with others. I thought I 'd just do a few tips on how we need to present ourselves to others. Lets face it, attracting followers is like trying to draw bees to a flower!

1st your AVATAR. A well photographed picture of yourself standing at a slight angle to the camera is best. No straight on mugshots, you'll look like a criminal. You need to smile! Don't look down at the camera you'll look like you are arrogant. Forget the finger pointing or weird gestures and of course be constant across all profiles.

2nd EMPIRE AVE. If you aren't involved in Empire Avenue as yet you should take a look at it as it can be a great help to those that are serious about social media.

Here also there are some "not too bright behaviours". Players can launch missions to get support for their various accounts. A couple of tips a) Don't ask people to RT to their followers happy birthday messages to your relatives, If you want to get re-tweets, post on a topic that will be interesting to a broad audience. Wise sayings will suffice if you are lost for what to post. b) If you want someone to answer a question on Facebook or Google plus give the specific post link! I've messed this up myself so I wasted other's time and the "funny money" called eaves. c) Thank people for their missions… its called interacting and its essential.

3rd GOOGLE PLUS Take the time and make the effort to change your background image. Google now allows you to add your own G+ cover pic so don't just use the boring old:

Now that's a bit of hopping around cover various platforms however I hope you find these tips go some way in helping you succeed in social media. More social media tips and management articles can be found at orglearn. Also remember your social media image these days forms a critical part of your resume.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Social Media and How To Build Trust

Trust Rule 1: Don't start out your social media communication with "have I got a deal for you!". You find this a lot with Twitter users in their introductory message and its just a no no!

Trust Rule 2: Resolve issues that arise or solve problems through direct communication with person causing the difficulty, don’t bring in others and never get involved in a "flaming campaign". One to one in private is always best. 

Trust Rule 3: In your communications be specific and direct. With written communication, being long winded can lead to disinterest very quickly.

Trust Rule 4: Be real, don't play act or adopt another persona and use a picture of yourself rather than some phoney avatar!

Trust Rule 5: Use a calm and logical approach to your communication and avoid abruptness and always use 'correct' greetings and culturally sensitive language. e.g I am told USA citizens prefer "thank you" rather than "thanks"!

Trust Rule 6: Share credit with those that assisted in the wins you have had, even go to the point of slightly overstating their contribution or as someone said “when in doubt, share”.  If you are involved in platforms such as Empire Avenue this is particularly important. Even with Twitter you need to acknowledge the source of your information. 

Trust Rule 7: If you make a commitment stick to it!

Trust Rule 8: Don't cheat... Again Empire Avenue is a good example… people issue missions for the games currency and some just take the money and run, not a good tactic for success that must be built on trust.

Trust Rule 9: As in the physical world it is un productive to ask loaded or rhetorical questions, ask only “non-assumptive” questions without couching them in any “spin” or as a way to push some secret agenda. This happened to me recently with a Facebook connection and in the end when he wouldn't desist I had to block him.

Trust Rule 10: Make only promises you can keep and if events overtake you admit it, don’t ever avoid the issues or ignore those seeking an explanation of a situation from you.

Trust Rule 11: Don’t scoff at another’s opinions or efforts and add support to those in difficulty.

Trust Rule 12: Have enough self-control (and demonstrate it) to overcome immediate or short-term feelings in the interests of maintaining ongoing and long term associations.

Public communication and behaviour are a small tip of the very large personal "iceberg" of our values and beliefs. Perhaps it wise to be willing on occasions to question our belief system to grow as a person. Dogmatically sticking to what we were indoctrinated with as a youngster is a sign of immaturity and low levels of emotional intelligence. Wisdom comes from being willing to change our perspective.

The following is a list of words that others need to be using when they describe you if you are to gain and maintain their trust;

"communicative, committed, confident, fearless, predictable, reliable, correct, forgiving, clear, factual, unbiased, respectful, reasonable, confidential, contributing, even (as in even handed), defining, accountable, interested, calm, resolute, tactful, sincere, frank, listener, patient, answering, sharing, fair, timely, honest, decisive, neutral, competent, consistent, explicit, responsible, transparent, close (near), willing, collaborative, accurate, graceful, helpful"

Now that's one hell of a list however all those words are what are required of you if you are truly to be seen as trustworthy.

More from Ric can be found on http://www.orglearn.org 

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Personal Branding the What and How

There is lots of talk today about personal branding. Personal branding is also inextricably linked to social media.

First a few facts!

FACT: Your personal brand will (and must) be a reflection of your personality.

FACT: Your personal brand should focus on highlighting expertise.

FACT: Your personal brand needs to be specific so you must stick to your message rather than tryig to be all things to all people.

FACT: You need to constantly manage your personal brand and protect, or at least counter the negatives that others may say about you,

FACT: it takes time to build your personal and your choice of methods of distribution (social media) count. 

FACT: The best place to centre your brand (at least at this stage) is a blog.

FACT: All other social media activities need to point back to your blog which needs to provide useful content  based on your passion. If you try to fudge it by doing something you think just may sell, you will run out of steam and do more harm than good.

Social media choices are vast and it can be a bit daunting in a busy work life to figure out to where to concentrate your efforts however, a concentrated effort using the 'right' media is essential!

Can I suggest a four pronged approach!

1) Write a blog. Warning writing a blog is lots of work and if you can't consistently write on a topic you're passionate about don't start. As a bare minimum you will need to post one 600 word article once a week. Again you can use Google to do your research. For you blog Wordpress seems to have a little more credibility however Blogger can have ads (a little income) and activity can be monitored through Google stats.

2) Start a Facebook page that is separate from your personal account. Form relationships through groups that discuss work/business issues you are interested in. If you are in marketing for example find an appropriate group to join. Do some research and add value to the group by posting useful articles to your timeline.

3) Start a Twitter stream and only tweet on your professional interest. Be careful with the name you set up with. If you are say a graphic designer, try to get that fact in your Twitter name. e.g. BillsGraphicDesign For research on your topics you can use "Google Alerts", this can take much of the hard work out of the research for your tweets.

4) Build your profile on Linkedin and again join discussion groups and befriend others in your area of expertise or in similar careers.

You can automatically link/publish both your blogs and twitter streams to Facebook and your Linkedin profiles.

Personal branding is virtually a must for any modern career oriented individual  with reportedly over sixty percent of companies now looking at your social media presence before hiring. Best get on with building your brand.

More career success articles can be found at orglearn

Saturday, 14 April 2012

20 Rules of Delegation

Delegation Rule 1: Only do it if you want to develop your staff not to just dump work.

Delegation Rule 2: Trust them first, train & test for competence before you delegate,

Delegation Rule 3: Clearly define the tasks that must be done and limits of authority attached.

Delegation Rule 4: Explain what's in it for the one you are delegating to.

Delegation Rule 5: Inform the team of your reasons for delegating the task to a particular person.

Delegation Rule 6: Answer all questions from the individual you are delegating to and others in the team or others that the decision impacts on.

Delegation Rule 7: Define clearly the importance of the task in terms of desired outcomes.

Delegation Rule 8: Mentor the person you have delegated to particularly in the early stages.

Delegation Rule 9: Maintain your responsibility for the task while handing over authority to act to the person delegated to.

Delegation Rule 10: Ensure the resources needed to the task are supplied to the individual undertaking the task.

Delegation Rule 11: Explain how the delegated task fits into the overall work flow, give the big picture.

Delegation Rule 12: Ensure that the person you delegate to is prepared to take ownership of the task.

Delegation Rule 13: Clearly explain the reason for the task and why it must be done.

Delegation Rule 14: Explain what measurements will be used to define successful completion of the task.

Delegation Rule 15: Get agreement on timeline and deadlines and include timing for status reports.

Delegation Rule 16: Don't constantly ask for update or hound the person you have delegated to.

Delegation Rule 17: Confirm understanding by getting the person you have delegated to, to explain in their own words what you want them to do.

Delegating Rule 18: Ensure support is agreed from other team members and recipients of the work and other stakeholders.

Delegation Rule 19: Insist that all feedback on success or otherwise of the delegation comes to you directly.

Delegation Rule 20: If the delegation fails be sure you accept the responsibility and if it succeeds share the glory.

No one delegates well where you work? Need to change jobs here's some resume help

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

The Trivia of Management

So why not have a little fun... just to see how many of us can easily recall all that learning we did when we were studying to become managers.... here's a few questions....

ANSWER ANY TWO in the comments section!!! Results/comments will be released/published on Sunday Evening the 1st of April 2012

What is Maslow's Hierarchy and what are the levels from top to bottom?

What is the Johari Window and why is called the Johari Window?

Are you a Theory X or Theory Y person and what does that mean?

What is the main reason for poor communication?

Can you motivate others and if so how... or if not why not?

What is the difference between leadership and management?

Can leaders be trained to lead or is it a natural instinct only that is found in some individuals?

Hope you enjoy the quick game of Trivia based around career issues!

Some information can be found at http://www.orglearn.org or you may just jump onto Google. Thanks for playing!

Monday, 19 March 2012

Management is Different to Leadership - John P. Kotter

'Management is different from leadership' John P. Kotter states. Leadership he says is concerned with "the development of vision and strategies, the alignment of relevant people behind those strategies and the empowerment of individuals to make the vision happen, despite obstacles. This stands in contrast with Management, which involves keeping the current system operating through planning, budgeting, organising, staffing, controlling, and problem solving. Leadership works through people and culture. It's soft and hot. Management works through hierarchy and systems. It's harder and cooler".

So there is a conflict for those who are expected to take dual roles!

'The fundamental purpose of management is to keep the current system functioning. The fundamental purpose of leadership is to produce useful change, especially non-incremental change'.

Strong leadership with no management however risks chaos... strong management with no leadership tends to entrench an organisation in deadly bureaucracy'.

The percentage of time managers need to spend leading is growing rapidly and Kotter goes on to say... "increasingly, those in managerial jobs can be usefully thought of as people who create agendas with both plans and budgets (the management part) and visions and strategies (the leadership part), as people who develop implementation networks both through hierarchy (management) and a complex web of aligned relationships (leadership) and who execute both through controls (management) and inspiration (leadership)".

A critical issue that Kotter observes is the issue of POWER (and dependence). He says that "because managerial work is increasingly a leadership task and because leaders operate through a complex web of dependent relationships, managerial work is increasingly becoming a game of informal dependence on others instead of just formal power over others".

A great danger for those that are ineffective leaders Kotter can come from all levels of the organisation:

'The wily employee near the bottom of the hierarchy... can make life difficult (or easier) for the "important" manager through any number of strategies'. "An increasing part of managerial work involves actively dealing with dependence on others who are above or below in the hierarchy, peers inside the organisation and even people outside". I don't think this is any revelation to those of us who have worked as managers for some time, however as he points out it is not often directly discussed.

One of the most difficult issues for managers I have trained in a number of industries (and countries) is how to deal with this dependence on others. This issue will be covered in the sections of LEADERSHIP and POWER. Some of the strategies that I have seen staff use are as obvious as 'hiding the files' (burning in one case) or 'badmouthing bosses' to customers, or as subtle as holding back an important communication for a critical few minutes or 'poisoning' the mind of another colleague regarding your motives and on whom you depend. Kotter goes on to say, 'a focus on the dependencies is superior to a traditional emphasis on only formal powers'.

Finally as I was advised at the first management school I attended and as I advise all participants at courses I conduct today, networking is critical (success versus effective) and the development of good working relationships with people in the network (bosses, peers, staff, other departments, customers, and any other stakeholders) is a major part of every managers role. As Kotter puts it, "Having focus beyond direct subordinates is obviously necessary". A fundamental point, "actively managing relations with the boss is a necessity for the good of the enterprise" and I suggest for your survival.

More management articles at orglearn

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Three Management Gurus Explain Management


Michael Hammer in his book "Agenda" talks about modern managers driven by an economy that is more than ever controlled by the customer. "Managers are rediscovering that business is about execution." He reminds us of the seriousness of watching the cash flow, fulfilling (rather than just getting) orders and the need to go beyond product ideas and focus more on product development. The role of managers is to help their company "devise products and services that satisfy customers and then create and deliver them in a profitable way that satisfies shareholders"; find ways for the company to "retain customers in the face of new competitors and respond to new needs without sacrificing its existing position"; develop ways for the 'company to distinguish itself from other companies with similar offerings and identical goals and maintain its success as times change'. "Devising the answers to these questions," he says, "is the eternal management agenda".

Peter F. Drucker in the "Essential Drucker" says, "Management is about human beings. Its task is to make people capable of joint performance, to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant". He also says "the basic challenges of mangers is to find and identify those parts of their own tradition, history and culture that can be used as management building blocks'. Drucker explains that managers must constantly reaffirm the company's vision, mission, values, goals and objectives; "enable the enterprise and each of its members to grow and develop"; 'build on communication and individual responsibility'; "think through what they aim to accomplish and make sure that their associates know and understand that aim; think through what they owe to others and make sure that others understand; think through what they in turn need from others and make sure others know what is expected of them". Finally he advises "neither the quantity of output nor the bottom line is by itself an adequate measure of the performance of management". "Market standing, innovation, productivity, development of people, quality and financial results are all critical". Of course the single most important measurement exists on "the outside of the organisation" how well you create a 'satisfied the customer'.

If you see businesses as social institutions or organs of society (and Drucker does) he adds one more area of concern, which is "managing social impacts and social responsibilities". Here he is referring to such community issues as; being a good neighbour, paying taxes, responsible disposal of waste, minimisation of pollution and a "fundamental concern for the quality of life" including the "physical, human and social environment".

Stephen R. Covey offers us some great insights into life and the pursuit of excellence in his book, '7 Habits of Highly Effective People'.

Covey gives an appropriate view of what mangers need to think about in seeking to effectively [rather than efficiently] manage the resources and people under their charge. Covey uses 'Aesop's fable' of the goose and the golden egg. He describes how the farmer out of greed in an attempt to get all the golden eggs at once, kills the goose. He suggests that within this fable is a "natural law, a principle - the basic definition of effectiveness". "Most people see effectiveness from the golden egg paradigm: the more you produce, the more you do, the more effective you are". He rightly points out that the story shows that "true effectiveness is a function of two things: what is produced (the golden eggs) and the producing asset or capacity to produce (the goose)". Additionally he says, "effectiveness lies in the balance", what he calls "the P/PC Balance". "P stands for 'production' of desired results, the golden eggs. PC stands for 'production capability', the ability or asset that produces the golden eggs".

The important lesson is that we as managers are often so busy producing the desired levels of output that we can neglect the assets that enable us to produce. Covey defines three types of assets, "physical, financial and human". To be an effective manager it therefore follows that we must constantly seek ways to maintain our production equipment, ensure the optimum use of what are always limited cash resources and be committed to the well-being of our staff, colleagues and the people we report to.

A point to note is that Covey believes that, "our most important financial asset is our own capacity to earn. If we don't continually invest in improving our own PC, we severely limit our options". This brings us to the one of the fundamental requirements for all managers (or people), that is that we must see ourselves a continuous learners and seek ways to constantly improve our competence. The PC principle regarding staff is "to always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers".

So to the question: Are their 'theories' more relevant than when they proposed them sometime back and which message is most important for now?.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

How to Stay Motivated

On many occasions I written that you can't motivate others. Here is a very good video on the topic of motivation! Only a few minutes however very good advice.

Want to inspire others? Want to stay motivated yourself the video's four tips will help.

If you are working in an uninspiring postion and you need an improved resume hop onto this resume sample and start building your resume and perhaps a more inspiring future.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Your Resume Destroyed by a Negative Social Media Image

As I said in my last post "Many HR writers and articles are now asserting that your social media profile is your new resume."

Last time I wrote about the 'positives'.

So what can kill your chances of a job interview and even perhaps destroy your current career.

The one that leaps out is photos, photos, photos… you must not ever allow unflattering photos of yourself to appear anywhere… ever.

Fred videoed in his company shirt
swearing, drinking and raving on.
Being Overly Opinionated can also be risky so keep your views on politics, race, religion, pet hates and people you detest out of your social media activities… always.

Trouble at work is a no comment zone. If you are having problems at work keep it work and take it up directly with your employer. Even if you leave your next potential employer will see that you are willing to publicly denigrate those that pay your salary and will not therefore consider you as a suitable applicant.

Take care with  the colourful language. Now amongst mates or your circle of girlfriend it may be the norm however in written or recorded public messages it just a no no!

Comment about drugs and drinking cannot be discussed… A casual 'hey we all got whacked and pissed last night' can be a definite job killer.

Can I also suggest you remove yourself from unprofessional or 'whacky' groups.

Again and I've said ti many times use a decent email address "sexyric"@html.blah  just wont cut it. Particularly as it is not true.

It's bad to let things slide! If someone does tag you in a photo you don't like or makes derogatory remarks you fight like hell to get it fixed, just leaving it out there is not an option.

Here is a resume example if you need one and your social media profile is clean.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Social Media as Your Resume and Testimony

Many HR writers and articles are now asserting that your social media profile is your new resume.

It can also be a major boost in your career progression and greatly contribute to how you are commercially and/or professionally perceived.

So what are the positives?

You can demonstrate your technical and commercial competence, skills and knowledge.

You can become a recognised and respected expert in your field for both your social group and the wider community.

What must you have or do?

You must have a squeaky clean Facebook account

Keep a clean Facebook profile, by removing the not so savoury activities you may have been involved in. Also make sure the settings are appropriate and remove the mad moments that may have been photographed.

Set up a LinkedIn profile and keep it updated

This is purely a career or business networking website. Most LinkedIn users are there to connect with other professionals and/or re-connect with former colleagues.

Take advantage of Twitter

Twitter is the best way to promote yourself to a large audience and your tweets should point to your other social media accounts. Follow professionals in your field.

Create a personal website or blog
Use a perusal website as a resume and a blog if you are willing to write an occasional article on your area of expertise. Use Blogger as you are best sticking with Google

Have a 'Professional' avatar or Picture 

Keep away from the silly hats, pictures with your kids or pets and don't use a cartoon. While I'm at it open a gmail account using your own name or a close as you can get to it. "spunkyjohn@htomail just won't cut it.. unless you're a porn star.

Join Google Plus

Google, because of its circles can give you a constant stream of industry or professional updates. It is the serious social media business platform.

Link it all together

All social media sites need to be cross linked.

And this is just a beginning.

Vote for rictownsend on the SMS Best Social Media BlogsBest Social Media Blogs

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Management: Don't Forget The Real Work


A short however critical lesson!

"Real Work" is term coined by Abraham Zaleznik (Professor Harvard Business School) to describe management activities related to producing products and services, offering them to a market and making sure we satisfy our customers. 

He contends that many managers spend too much time focusing on organisational processes and politics (the "rituals of psycho-politics" - roughly defined as "the art and science of asserting and maintaining dominion over the thoughts and loyalties of individuals...") or the pursuit of social expectations in the workplace.

As Zaleznik suggests managers need to exert considerable effort doing the "real work of thinking about and acting on ideas relating to products, markets, and customers"

Functional and technical competence needs to be developed. This important issue and you should do considerable research on competence modelling as part of your early time in management and this issue will be covered more fully later when I upload "COMPETENCE". The real work of the manger according to Zaleznik should always include 'the thinking that informs and directs action'. 

The next article on management is:
Main website is at: orglearn

Monday, 13 February 2012

Good Management Versus Successful Management


Many issues are central to our success as managers. To discuss management success at this point is also desirable. 

Most managers I have asked to define success will give an answer that can be generally defined as doing a 'good' job. 

The interpretation of a 'good' job is different for each individual and is so open to personal interpretation that it would inappropriate and impractical to go into it here. Each person, even if acting on their on version of 'good' will be limited in their perspective on management success by only one view, that of their own truth or that which they have been indoctrinated with over time.

To at least give a singular perspective on how we may view success and what we should do to gain success perhaps the view offered by Fred Luthans in the book "Real Managers" is helpful. Luthans looks at speed of promotion as a measuring stick, has analysed how much time managers spend in four areas of management activity and then provides a comparison between average, successful and effective (good job) managers.

The areas Luthans, describes as activities undertaken by managers give us more insights into the nature of managerial work. The areas are; "traditional management", decision making, planning and controlling; "communication", routine information exchange and processing formal communications; "human resource management", inspiring, disciplining, conflict resolution, allocating/hiring competent staff and staff development; "networking", socialising, politicking, and interacting with outside stakeholders (customers, suppliers, government etc).

An interesting point Luthans brings out is that successful managers spend almost half of their time networking and another third of their time communicating whereas effective (or good) managers spend almost half their time communicating and a quarter of their time in human resource management.

Whether you seek success or effectiveness networking and communicating are both competencies you will need to develop.

The next article on management is the all important... DON'T FORGET THE "REAL WORK"

More management at http://www.orglearn.org/

Saturday, 4 February 2012

How Does Senior Management Usually Define 'Good' Managers


How would you know Ric, you don't work here? Its a fair question that you may rightfully ask. Well, in truth I can only make a general observation...OK assumption... however do you know the answer for your company? I have met plenty of managers that didn't!

There is only one way you will find out quickly what is important to the senior management in your company, no not the job description (although it can be somewhat helpful), it is by asking. Asking is hard for some so requesting a discussion of the annual appraisal criteria or performance review form is a great way to get started. The first thing you should do on being appointed as a manager or to a new position is to obtain a copy of the document and discuss with your immediate superior his or her views on the form and its application. Talking to your 'boss's boss' about the appraisal, if to do so is acceptable in your corporate culture, is also extremely helpful.

In all companies you will be set targets and have key responsibility areas (KRA's) and you must pay particular attention to these areas of your role. Yes its easy and I am stating the obvious, however in many companies I have worked in and consulted for this basic fact is not well understood by younger managers. Most new managers particularly can continue on being the technical expert however many straggle with the so called "soft skills" of their role. Yes and some senior managers have the same problem.

Point: When was the last time you read a book on Management written by a senior manager say Jack Welsh for instance... reading important management and leadereship books needs to become a constant activity, forget the novels.

The next management article will be on:

references are at: career_advice/management-lesson-references.html

MORE ON MANAGEMENT >  More management articles and tips! < MORE ON MANAGEMENT

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Personal Branding: Is Your Avatar Hurting Your Image?

I recently read that resumes are becoming less necessary as employers are becoming more interested in reviewing you as employee potential based on your online reputation. 

As we all know we tend to make a decision on people within the first few seconds of meeting them. We then look for signals to reinforce our initial opinion. 

I also recently wrote that your email address was important as "spunky1949" on hotmail dot com was just not going to help you get a job interview. 

Bearing in mind what I have said above, if you look at the avatars chosen at random from players of Empire Avenue what emotional responses do they evoke?

I 'know' most of the people represented below and they all seem pretty good people. The point of the exercise is to decide based on the pictures below which one's appeal to you and which one's leave you less than impressed or even stone cold!

The exercise is about technique, cartoons versus real pictures, generic images versus personal portraits, logos versus pets, half naked long shots versus head and shoulders in suit and tie etc.

So if you could comment on one or two using such adjectives as "friendly", "trustworthy", "secretive", "arrogant", "nice", "obscure" or even "a bit dumb looking" it would help my research greatly.

Now this is an important topic for you and I as it effects how we present ourselves online. A company recently used Empire Avenue to research an avatar/logo for a product launch to see which of their proposals had the best impact. From my point of view they were smart to do that. As we are our own best product shouldn't we also think about and take seriously the issue's mentioned as they relate to our reputation and the impression we make online?

Monday, 30 January 2012

Want to be a Great Manager? What do the Staff Want?


As part of a training exercise I conduct in many countries I ask the participants to tell a two-minute story about their best boss or their worst boss. The stories (some horrifying and some inspiring) show that to be a respected manager and leader we need to develop a particular set of attributes. 

Now you have read lots of stuff about management and leadership in your your textbooks however it could be argued they are just theories. For those theories and their conclusions it is essential for us to listen to what staff, (those we get things done through), say is important to them. 

So to be a respected manager we need to develop and exhibit the following ATTRIBUTES:

Normal - being culturally compatible with the staff under our supervision by understanding and respecting the cultural norms of the group that we are both responsible for... and responsible to.

Organised - being well managed in our own personal work and being able to meet our own deadlines, being on time for meetings and calls and allocating our own time effectively.

Trainer - facilitating the constant growth of expertise and personal development of the staff and by showing them what a 'good' job looks like and helping them to achieve success.

Transparent - letting staff know what is going on with us, why we are acting in a certain way and what is influencing the decisions we are taking.

Reliable - constantly living by the adage of, 'saying what we will do and then doing what we say'... without exception.

Impressive - presenting ourselves as a professional in the way we speak, dress and our general demeanour in public and particularly in the presence of customers and competitors.

Consistent - being reasonably predictable in our habits and work methods and by not changing the 'rules' without consultation and agreement.

Knowledgeable - possessed of some area of technical expertise that the staff can relate to as relevant to the position we are holding, without necessarily being the top expert.

Fair - being equitable in our dealings with those we are managing by avoiding favourites and demonstrating willingness to discipline in private and praise in public.

Accessible - making ourself available to help solve problems, give ideas, act as a coach or mentor, settle disputes and provide support for staff needing resources.

Competent - knowing what needs to be done, by whom, by when and how to bring to bear the necessary resources.

Ethical - placing the interest of the group, the company, the customers and the community ahead of any personal desires and by not operating a personal agenda.

Disciplined - being calm in times of crisis and by remaining focussed on what needs to be done and by constantly working towards the group and organisation goals.

Now I guess to be all these things is a big ask however miss one and your not going to make the grade from the staff's point of view.

Want to see how you do? Why not distribute a questionnaire getting you staff to rank you from one to ten for each? Not game?

Saturday, 28 January 2012

The Inner Conflict Between Management and Leadership


As I said in my last post Henry Mintzberg offers managers three areas of competence or roles central to our responsibilities as a manager that we should also consider. These he calls: “interpersonal”, “informational” and “decisional”. Our “interpersonal” responsibilities include being the figurehead, providing the central liaison point and acting as the leader. “Informational” responsibilities include monitoring activity, disseminating information and acting as spokesperson for the group. Finally “decisional” activities are, being entrepreneurial, handling disruptions, allocating resources and negotiating on behalf of the organisation. These issues will also be expanded in the various other management lessons.

Management is about all the issues that Mintzberg defines and hence the polarities or two head problem, as managers today need to be leaders so perhaps the following will explain the dilemma further…


Traditional management (in the bad/good old days) used to concern itself with; supervision, checking, delegating, controlling, inputs and how to make sure the staff did what they where told. Managers where seen as fitting along a style line somewhere between laissez faire (lax) and autocratic (despotic), with us all being encouraged to be somewhere in the middle as democrats. 

Today the issue is more complex with the newly ‘empowered’ better educated workforce that most of us today manage, our personal style preference is perhaps less relevant and we as managers need to become ‘more things’ to a more demanding workforce. The concept of a manager also fulfilling a leader role is prevalent in most companies. Some even argue managers are no longer required at all and it is only leaders that will drive the companies of the future. This is fine in theory however corporate culture can take a long time to change and for the majority of us the expectation is that we will be required to fulfil the duel roles. This creates inner conflict as the ideals of the two disciplines are at opposite ends of the spectrum. 

The following list gathered from a wide range of sources gives some insights into the problem facing most managers:  

MANAGEMENT is about: CONTROLLING... Don’t leave our department, check what they’re up to, define competence requirements and ‘our title and position give us the authority’ to act within the company procedures and policies. 
LEADERSHIP, which is about: FREEDOM... Finding ways to encourage liberalization, creativity and initiative by letting our ‘followers’ participate in a flexible situation where we share authority and perhaps break the rules

MANAGEMENT is about: SURVIVING... Dealing with short-term operational needs and processes whilst strictly controlling costs and watching the budget, and sweating on the monthly targets. 
LEADERSHIP, which is about: GROWTH... Identifying new and possibly risky ventures that could be the basis for future income (and perhaps losses) and allowing unplanned changes of direction in and attempt to capitalize on fleeting market opportunities

MANAGEMENT is about: MANAGING... Instructing, allocating, delegating, following up, disciplining, organizing and directing. 
LEADERSHIP, which is about: LEADING...Inspiring, helping, encouraging teamwork, coaching, supporting, constant feedback, continuous personal development and goal alignment

MANAGEMENT is about: ADMINISTRATING... Overseeing activities, processes & individual tasks, control, supervision and testing against norms and agreed procedures 
LEADERSHIP, which is about: STRATEGISING... Seeking process improvement, implementing change, agreeing goals and empowering followers whilst constantly questioning the value of the plans in light of unfolding events

MANAGEMENT is about: ORDER & CONSISTENCY... Protecting the existing structure, systems, traditions and ‘the status quo’, belief that past successes give insights into the way forward and relying on accumulated ‘facts’ or ‘truths’ 
LEADERSHIP, which is about: CREATING CHANGE... Vision, direction, values and destruction of ‘the way we’ve always done it’, or as Jack Welsh (ex GE) and others put it engaging in ‘continuos creative destruction’

MANAGEMENT is about: COMPETING... Seeking the winning edge, overcoming those in the way & moving up the ‘ladder’, being your own ‘spin-doctor’ and being heavily involved in corporate politics. 
LEADERSHIP, which is about: COLLABORATING... Showing love and respect for individuals and seeking win-win solutions and actively promoting the success of our team members and presenting them in a good light

MANAGEMENT is about: DOING THINGS RIGHT... Organising, setting the rules and seeing rules are followed (compliance), being the inspector, keeping up with the latest technical advances and controlling information. 
LEADERSHIP, which is about: DOING THE RIGHT THINGS... Developing trust and taking risks (commitment) to ensure all ‘followers’ meet their full potential and know what is the most desirable way forward through full disclosure of operational needs and wants.

MANAGEMENT is about: INPUTS... Amount, type and quality of resources, understanding of cash flow and cash burn rates, effective plant utilisation, staff allocation and efficient use of raw materials.
LEADERSHIP, which is about: OUTPUTS... The level and volume of satisfied customers we can create, the market and how it perceives our organisation and how we can become the best in our field and how to provide more value to our customer.

MANAGEMENT is about: MANAGING THINGS. Being operations focused, having high levels of technical expertise (or at least understanding) and using people as production inputs or resources. 
LEADERSHIP, which is about: LEADING PEOPLE... Our charisma, socialised power, expertise in human relations, superior communication skills, inspiration & motivation and seeing human beings as potentials.

Not sure where the original material above came from as it was part of a training course I inherited, however I found some excellent additional reading with references listed here:


With the conflicting nature of these requirements we really need to be a bit of a two-headed monster if we are to be successful as a manager and the dilemma will continue throughout our working life.