it's not the social media that work for you it's what you do to make it work

Batya's Blog

Posted on: Saturday, September 21st, 2013

They’re small things, but each has the power to dramatically change someone’s day. Including yours.

Want to make a huge difference in someone’s life? Here are things you should say every day to your employees, colleagues, family members, friends, and everyone you care about:

“Here’s what I’m thinking.”

You’re in charge, but that doesn’t mean you’re smarter, savvier, or more insightful than everyone else. Back up your statements and decisions. Give reasons. Justify with logic, not with position or authority.

Though taking the time to explain your decisions opens those decisions up to discussion or criticism, it also opens up your decisions to improvement.

Authority can make you “right,” but collaboration makes everyone right–and makes everyone pull together.

“I was wrong.”

I once came up with what I thought was an awesome plan to improve overall productivity by moving a crew to a different shift on an open production line. The inconvenience to the crew was considerable, but the payoff seemed worth it. On paper, it was perfect.

In practice, it wasn’t.

So, a few weeks later, I met with the crew and said, “I know you didn’t think this would work, and you were right. I was wrong. Let’s move you back to your original shift.”

I felt terrible. I felt stupid. I was sure I’d lost any respect they had for me.

It turns out I was wrong about that, too. Later one employee said, “I didn’t really know you, but the fact you were willing to admit you were wrong told me everything I needed to know.”

When you’re wrong, say you’re wrong. You won’t lose respect–you’ll gain it.

“That was awesome.”

No one gets enough praise. No one. Pick someone–pick anyone–who does or did something well and say, “Wow, that was great how you…”

And feel free to go back in time. Saying “Earlier, I was thinking about how you handled that employee issue last month…” can make just as positive an impact today as it would have then. (It could even make a bigger impact, because it shows you still remember what happened last month, and you still think about it.)

Praise is a gift that costs the giver nothing but is priceless to the recipient. Start praising. The people around you will love you for it–and you’ll like yourself a little better, too.

“You’re welcome.”

Think about a time you gave a gift and the recipient seemed uncomfortable or awkward. Their reaction took away a little of the fun for you, right?

The same thing can happen when you are thanked or complimented or praised. Don’t spoil the moment or the fun for the other person. The spotlight may make you feel uneasy or insecure, but all you have to do is make eye contact and say, “Thank you.” Or make eye contact and say, “You’re welcome. I was glad to do it.”

Don’t let thanks, congratulations, or praise be all about you. Make it about the other person, too.

“Can you help me?”

When you need help, regardless of the type of help you need or the person you need it from, just say, sincerely and humbly, “Can you help me?”

I promise you’ll get help. And in the process you’ll show vulnerability, respect, and a willingness to listen–which, by the way, are all qualities of a great leader.

And are all qualities of a great friend.

“I’m sorry.”

We all make mistakes, so we all have things we need to apologize for: words, actions, omissions, failing to step up, step in, show support…

Say you’re sorry.

But never follow an apology with a disclaimer like “But I was really mad, because…” or “But I did think you were…” or any statement that in any way places even the smallest amount of blame back on the other person.

Say you’re sorry, say why you’re sorry, and take all the blame. No less. No more.

Then you both get to make the freshest of fresh starts.

“Can you show me?”

Advice is temporary; knowledge is forever. Knowing what to do helps, but knowing how or why to do it means everything.

When you ask to be taught or shown, several things happen: You implicitly show you respect the person giving the advice; you show you trust his or her experience, skill, and insight; and you get to better assess the value of the advice.

Don’t just ask for input. Ask to be taught or trained or shown.

Then you both win.

“Let me give you a hand.”

Many people see asking for help as a sign of weakness. So, many people hesitate to ask for help.

But everyone needs help.

Don’t just say, “Is there anything I can help you with?” Most people will give you a version of the reflexive “No, I’m just looking” reply to sales clerks and say, “No, I’m all right.”

Be specific. Find something you can help with. Say “I’ve got a few minutes. Can I help you finish that?” Offer in a way that feels collaborative, not patronizing or gratuitous. Model the behavior you want your employees to display.

Then actually roll up your sleeves and help.

“I love you.”

No, not at work, but everywhere you mean it–and every time you feel it.


Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing. If you’re upset, frustrated, or angry, stay quiet. You may think venting will make you feel better, but it never does.

That’s especially true where your employees are concerned. Results come and go, but feelings are forever. Criticize an employee in a group setting and it will seem like he eventually got over it, but inside, he never will.

Before you speak, spend more time considering how employees will think and feel than you do evaluating whether the decision makes objective sense. You can easily recover from a mistake made because of faulty data or inaccurate projections.

You’ll never recover from the damage you inflict on an employee’s self-esteem.

Be quiet until you know exactly what to say–and exactly what affect your words will have.

Jeff Haden learned much of what he knows about business and technology as he worked his way up in the manufacturing industry. Everything else he picks up fromghostwriting books for some of the smartest leaders he knows in business. @jeff_haden

Posted on: Friday, September 20th, 2013

Do you want someone in your life that can kick your ass when you need it, and tell you how they found success? Someone that knows you should be playing a bigger game, and can help you get there? (Who doesn’t?)

A mentor is someone that acts as a guide, that you can reach out to for strategic advice and can push you forward if you need it. Many times you start to build relationships with people in such a way that you could call them a mentor.

Are You Up For the Challenge?

Finding My Mentor

Getting a mentor is partly on you to take the initiative to ask for advice. The other part is an organic relationship that can grow from a chance encounter. Here is how I got two amazing mentors?

passing the baton

Step 1: Connecting

First we need to identify a few potential people so that way you know what to do if the opportunity arises. Where do you want to be in 5 years?

You should find someone that is where you want to be in the next few years. The closer you can get to your industry the better, since they will have actual experience.

It should be pretty easy to think about the people you know or follow. If you can’t ask direct competitors, see if you can find a niche that is similar but doesn’t compete with you.

Let’s say you sell organic baby food, try and find someone who might have an amazing company that sells sippy cups. That way they have the same target demographic but you aren’t competing.

You don’t have to find someone that specific though either. Almost anyone that is successful in business can help you with your confidence issues, or finding a good team, or many other things that you could use advice for.

Action Item:

Write a list of at least 10 potential mentors. Check facebook, search online, or ask friends.

Starting the Relationship

Interview Them – Seriously. Starting a podcast was the best thing I’ve ever done for expanding my network. You don’t have to have a podcast though, you could even just post it on your site.

Click here to learn exactly how to contact people for an interview with actual emails that got Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank to say yes! (Believe me, this works!)

Email them Cold – Find someone that has a presence online and you can find their email address. Here is exactly how Derek Sivers (Founder of CDbaby and one of my favorite guests on the show) says to do it. Including Email templates!

Meet them At a Conference/Networking Event – Nothing compares to meeting people face to face. It’s even better if you are both local so you can take them out to lunch or coffee.

Action Item:

Figure out the best way to initially meet your potential mentors. (write it next to their name!)

Step 2: Give First

If you listened to the interview with Bob Burg, one of his laws in the Go-Giver is:

The Law of Influence

Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.

Don’t ask first. Give to a potential mentor first.

An Example:

Once I decided to go online I realized I needed help for the ins and outs of online marketing. First I created a mastermind group (stay tuned for next months challenge for this one!) and then I found a mentor.

I didn’t directly choose him, the opportunity around because I had been following his blog online for awhile. He posted on Twitter that he was looking for a part time project manager.

Since I used to be a project manager I sent him an email. I didn’t know him beforehand, but said I would love to help him out since I used to be a project manager. I offered 5 hours per week for free in exchange for some mentoring on online business.

He loved the idea and we started working together, and actually became friends. He critiqued my website, and gave me advice on what to do online. He also was there at my first conference to introduce me to all of the speakers and people he was already friends with. When you can get introduced to high level people as a friend of a friend, that is the greatest networking tactic ever! :)

We only worked together for a few months, but that really kickstarted my confidence online.”

In interviewing many millionaires most of them suggest that they want to see initiative and giving before they mentor too. Mike Dillard (interview coming soon!) suggested if you have bought a product by them you should send them a testimonial. Or recommend their products to friends first.

Action Item:

Figure out how your skills, knowledge or network can help them. (And don’t think they know everything already or have all they need!)


  • Give them a testimonial
  • Become an affiliate of theirs
  • Connect them with a top influencer they might want to know
  • Ask if you can work for them for free for 5 hours a week (just to see the inside of their business)
  • Comment with other ideas too if you can think of good ones!

Step 3: Deepening the Relationship

Depending on your level of relationship with them at this point you might need to deepen the relationship.


Because you don’t want say here is a testimonial, now can you help me?

If they offer to help, of course you can say yes. But in general, find out ways to connect with them again, like help them whenever you can, reach out, send a personal note, or connect on Facebook, send them a small personal gift etc. If they like certain hobbies try to invite them to do that. (I’ve had a lot of amazing people go see UFC fights with me while I’m at conferences!) Or invite them to an invite only party.

I know that I get a lot of emails a day from wonderful listeners of the podcast. It takes me either a few email interactions, or seeing them on Facebook a lot, or a personalized gift (which is totally buying my love, but I remember quite a few of you because of the sweet thoughtful gifts!) really helps me identify and remember who they are. Which in turn allows me to want to help them more because I feel a connection.

Action Item:

Pick one idea to deepen your relationship with each potential mentor.

Step 4: The Ask!

Sometimes there is not a formal ask. It can be weird to ask…

“Will you be my mentor……?”

Work on building the relationship, and then if you have a business (or personal!) problem that you know they can help you with, ask!

I ended up chatting with a millionaire after the show, and realized how much information he had that could be so useful for me. I asked to see if we could chat at another time since I had another meeting.

We scheduled that chat and he let me know if I ever had any questions at all he was there to help. I chatted with him every other week for a few months, he even went into my programs and gave me feedback, and talked to affiliates for me.

I never had to do that awkward ask. (Thank goodness!)

And some relationships will never turn into a mentorship, and that’s ok!


In the immortal words of Dan Martell, just f’n do it!

So please, if you have made it this far, commit to putting finding a mentor on your priority list for this month. It will take time at first, but it will save you time and money (and make you money!) in the future.

Posted on: Friday, September 20th, 2013

By Libby Kane

What do you do with your LinkedIn profile?


Do you check it only every once in a while when a connection request comes through? Have you linked it to your Twitter account? Did you never quite remember to sign up in the first place?

As much as it’s convenient to merge our Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram accounts into one large social networking experience, LinkedIn has a special designation: professional networking.

And there is a difference between professional and personal networking, according to LinkedIn Career Expert Nicole Williams: “I see the same mistakes over and over!”

And, on LinkedIn, those faux pas can damage your career.

In fact, data shows that LinkedIn is especially helpful when it comes to landing higher-paying jobs—”informal recruitment” is a favorite of hiring managers aiming to fill positions up there on the payscale.

So whether you’re hunting for a new job, making the most of the one you have or just looking to learn about professional possibilities, avoid these eight big LinkedIn mistakes.

Not Using a Picture

“One of the biggest mistakes I see is no photo,” Williams says. “You’re seven times more likely to have your profile viewed if you have one. Like a house that’s on sale, the assumption is that if there’s no photo, something’s wrong.”

She also makes a great point: If you leave a networking event with a handful of business cards, intending to follow up on LinkedIn, it’s much harder for you to remember who’s who without pictures. A missing photo can easily lead to missed connections.

If you’re worried about unwittingly sabotaging your career through social media, check out the ten worst blunders you can commit.

Putting Up the Wrong Picture


“No dog, no husband, no baby!” Williams says, adding that your photo is meant to show you at your professional—not personal—best. “Especially for mothers getting back into the workforce, a picture of their child doesn’t convey that they’re ready for a full-time job.”

Another photo blunder: Misrepresenting your appearance. “I see older people who are worried about age discrimination use a photo of themselves in their 30s, but an interviewer wasn’t expecting them to look so different. And instead of listening to your answers, the interviewer will think you’re deceptive,” Williams confides. “Unless you’re getting hired for a modeling gig, people are just looking for energy, which you can communicate through great posture, open eyes and a smile.”

In fact, HSN Beauty found that, when paging through LinkedIn profiles, 19% of recruiters look only at your profile picture.

Skipping the Status

Between Twitter and Facebook , people have a pretty good idea of what you’re up to socially. But your LinkedIn status is the right place to update your network about your professional accomplishments and progress. “You could be updating about a colleague getting a promotion or sharing a great article you wrote,” Williams suggests. “Every few days, put something in your status to keep it fresh, and show you’re active and engaged—no one will know what you’ve done if you’re not showing it off.”

RELATED: Dislike: How Facebook Can Hurt Your Credit

Plus, those people you’re updating in your LinkedIn network are valuable. “If you’ve got a great following, it’s part of the assets you bring to the table,” she adds.

Using the Default Connection Request

“Don’t use the standard connection request! People think that LinkedIn is like Twitter, where it’s about quantity over quality, but you’re supposed to be building valuable professional relationships to leverage into career opportunities,” Williams explains.

Even if you’re reaching out to someone you’ve never met, the right move is to do a little research on that person, and tailor your connection request. “Customize your message to make the recipient take notice, like writing, ‘I read this article you wrote [and had these thoughts]. I’m also building a career in [this field], and I would love to be connected to you,’ ” Williams says.

“ People who are using LinkedIn correctly want to be connected to people who make them look good,” Williams adds. “Employers appreciate your connections. They might even hire you because you know people in the industry, and can make things happen.”

Neglecting the Privacy Settings

Many people don’t realize that LinkedIn does have privacy settings—for a reason. “When you’re out looking for a new job, and are actively engaged in your current job, you want to be discreet,” Williams explains. “A telltale sign to an employer that you’re leaving is that you overhaul your profile, connect with recruiters and have an influx of new people. You can tailor your settings so that your boss doesn’t see that you’re looking for opportunities.”

The privacy settings are easy to find: Just sign in, and then select “settings” from the drop-down menu, where your name appears in the upper right-hand corner.

Skipping the Summary

Once upon a time, people were encouraged to write about their careers in an “objective” summary on a resume. That has gone out of fashion … but not on LinkedIn. “Since you’re writing online, you actually have more space than you would on a traditional paper resume. Think of the summary as a way of selling yourself—it’s an opportunity to express your voice and personality,” Williams explains.

Since so many people are competing for the same jobs with similar educations and qualifications, filling out the summary can give you an edge with a prospective employer. Williams recommends that you write it in the first person to give it energy and personality.

RELATED: Get Networking: Half of Job Openings Aren’t Advertised


Eliminating Past Jobs or Volunteer Work

Even if you’ve changed fields, your latest job isn’t the only important one. “Unlike a resume, where you’re trying to target one page toward a specific position, you should list your entire work history on LinkedIn,” Williams says. “You don’t know what criteria people are looking for, so you want your profile to be as robust as possible. Maybe they’re looking for a teacher with nursing experience or they’re Princetonians looking for fellow alums.”

She even recommends listing odd jobs from your teen years, specifically addressing your responsibilities and accomplishments. “You never know—maybe you were trained as a salesperson at The Gap GPS -0.54% in high school, and the hiring manager looking at your profile went through the same program and wants you for the skills she knows you learned,” Williams explains.

The same goes for volunteer work: While LinkedIn isn’t a place to describe your every hope and dream, employers know that, in this economy, volunteers can be given real responsibilities. Williams recommends listing any volunteer work the way you would a summer job, elaborating on tasks conquered and skills acquired.

RELATED: How to Manage Your Child’s Social Media Presence



Many people think that just having a profile is enough, but employers probably won’t simply stumble across your profile, be struck by your brilliance and offer you a job on the spot. You have to work for it.

“I always recommend joining groups related to your field or even personal interests. It comes in handy! For instance, I’m a new mom and joined a group for them. When I needed an accountant, it turned out there was one in my group who I ended up hiring because of the connection we made over being new moms,” Williams says.

LinkedIn users can also follow companies and keep an eye on who’s coming and going—when you see someone leave a company you want to join, it’s the perfect opportunity to reach out to their HR department.


Posted on: Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The #1 mistake? Your Employer link is a Community Page! Go to your Facebook profile now and mouseover your Employer field – you’ll see it’s not linked to your fan page!

If you work for yourself and have your own Facebook Fan Page (or you’re an employee and your employer has a fan page), I highly recommend that you change this Employer field to your Fan Page.


How to Add Official Facebook Page to Your Profile Employer Link ?

The process is straightforward:

  1. Go Profile > About > then edit on Education and Work section.
  2. Begin typing the name of your fan page in the Employer field.
  3. If you see your fan page in the dropdown menu, select it.
  4. Then fill out the remaining fields (Position, City/Town, Description and Time Period). If you also add in any business partners/colleagues, this will show on their profile too under the Employer section.
  5. Click Add Job.
  6. You can also add Project(s) to any position and add business partners/colleagues (again, this shows on their Employer section).

Let me know if i can help!


Posted on: Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

A poetic portrait of faith, futility, and the joy of this mortal life.In this astoundingly unique book, bestselling author N.D. Wilson reminds each of us that to truly live we must recognize that we are dying. Every second we create more of our past—more decisions, more breathing, more love and more loathing, all of it slides by into the gone as we race to grab at more moments, at more memories made and already fading.We are all authors, creators of our own pasts, of the books that will be our lives. We stare at the future or obsess about the present, but only the past has been set in stone, and we are the ones setting it. When we race across the wet concrete of time without purpose, without goals, without laughter and love and sacrifice, then we fail in our mortal moment. We race toward our inevitable ends without artistry and without beauty.All of us must pause and breathe. See the past, see your life as the fruit of providence and thousands of personal narratives. What led to you? You did not choose where to set your feet in time. You choose where to set them next.
Then, we must see the future, not just to stare into the fog of distant years but to see the crystal choices as they race toward us in this sharp foreground we call the present. We stand in the now. God says create. Live. Choose. Shape the past. Etch your life in stone, and what you make will be forever.

Posted on: Friday, July 26th, 2013

If women entrepreneurs want to grow their businesses, they need to network. That means stop behaving like shy little girls: Put yourself out there, especially when the economy is slow.

Geri Stengel


Geri Stengel

To help you overcome your fear of getting out there and help you become a powerful networker, I’ve asked uber networkers for pointers.

1.) When it comes to networking, women need to get over their inhibitions.
Research shows that entrepreneurs with larger and more diverse networks grow their businesses bigger. Yet, even though women are great communicators and collaborators, we don’t excel at building power networks. “Women tend to build deep and narrow networks and men wide and shallow ones,” said Kelly Hoey, Connector, Catalyst and  Co-Founder of Women Innovate Mobile (WIM) Accelerator. The weaker ties built by casting a wide networking net are the greatest source of new ideas, information, and opportunities.

”Women don’t know how to build and use their business networks,” said Jeanne M. Sullivan, General Partner,  StarVest Partner, a venture capital firm. “Men do this by playing sports or grabbing a beer or meal. Women need to get over themselves. Women are hesitant to do this with people they don’t know well.”

“Whether you’re just starting out, looking to raise capital or planning to expand into new markets, it’s your network that can help you take your business to the next level,” said Ingrid Vanderveldt, CEO of VH2Energy Investments and Green Girl Energy. Relationships Vanderveldt made at Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) inaugural event in Shanghai in 2010 enabled her  to find a buyer for her alternative energy company and later become Dell DELL +0.5%’s first entrepreneur in residence.

2.) Success is all about relationships.
Remember that old saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” Jane P. Newton, Partner and Wealth Advisor at RegentAtlantic Capital, an investor advisers firm, couldn’t agree more. “Just like the value of real estate depends on three main things – location, location, location – a woman’s ability to succeed in business hinges on three main things – relationships, relationships, relationships.”

Newton is also the organizer of Wall Street Women Forum, which brings together senior level women in the financial services industry to support their continued success. When it comes to succeeding, professional women trying to reach the highest levels of corporate America face similar challenges to female entrepreneurs.

3.) Build your network like you’re tending a garden.
“I was once told I should nurture and grow my network like I would my garden – with tender-loving care,” said Susan McPherson, SVP/Director of global marketing at Fenton, a PR firm where she creates visibility for the firm and runs its CSRpractice.

Much like fertilizer helps flowers flourish, joining a business association can accelerate building your network, but you need to join the right group. In anHBR blog post, Athena Vongalis-Macrow, a researcher at Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia, outlines four things to look for in a professional networking group:

  • who is in the group (people who not only provide resources, information, and knowledge, but have a willingness to share)
  • how the network communicates (frequency and professionalism of interaction)
  • what’s the substance of the communication (does the network offer support that enables you to overcome difficulties)
  • what level are the people in the group (are there movers and shakers who are part of the group)

No garden can grow without water. Being a resource to your network is like water to your garden. When building relationships, take an interest in and be a resource to the other person, said Hoey. You can only do this by listening. Cristina Mariani-May, Co-CEO of Banfi Vintners, a family winery, credits her success to her ability to build relationships by listening.

4.) Use social media to bring breadth and depth to your network.
Social media are a great way to magnify your message, connect with an audience of like-minded thinkers, and build your network,” said Vanderveldt.

“Honestly, some of my closest friends have been met over Twitter,” said McPherson. It’s how McPherson and I first met. Hoey likes the serendipity of Twitter. For her, Twitter is like attending a cocktail party. She never knows what interesting conversation she’ll drop in on and become part of.

LinkedIn is a must. It’s all about helping business people connect to other business people. In the beginning, Hoey emphasized building the number of her LinkedIn connections. Now she’s more selective, emphasizing the quality of the people she is adding.

5.) Make sure men are a big part of your network.
It isn’t an us-against-them thing. Men control the vast majority of leadership positions. “I need to be strategic in getting to know and making an impression with those who may be able to help me and open doors for me,” said Newton. That includes men.

Hoey, McPherson, and Vanderveldt concur. We need men if we’re going to make the connections to money, markets, vendors, and employees that will grow our businesses.

Many men are supportive of women entrepreneurs. I’ll be writing about some of these men in the coming weeks.

6.) Persistence matters.
Whatever it is you want to accomplish, you don’t need to do it alone. There’s a community out there ready to provide support. But, your voice must be heard on a daily basis and its message must be clear… “Craft an elevator pitch that tells people what you do and what you need,” said Hoey. “The more specific you can be in your ask, the more likely you are to get help.”

“Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!” said McPherson. “Don’t do it to ‘get ahead.’ Do it because its fun and you’ll learn so much about the world around you and yourself.” In order to get what you need, you’re going to have to give, perhaps even more than you get.

When it comes to networking, persistence is the name of the game. “The people who are doing the big things in the world (and who we all love learning from and want to work with) have a LOT going on,” said Vanderveldt. “They have already built their networks. So if you want to meet them or connect with them, it requires a lot of hard work and it takes time.”

Even if you don’t cringe at the sound of the word “networking,” these pointers from uber networkers will help you take your networking to another level. What first step will you take in building your network out?

Posted on: Monday, July 8th, 2013

Since screw-ups tend to be magnets for advice, I’ve received a lot of painfully direct — yet ultimately very helpful — comments along the way:

“Express your individuality on your own time.” In my first job after college I sometimes let my personality overshadow my responsibilities and duties and it definitely hurt my performance and limited my opportunities.

We’re all servants (in a good way) and our customers, peers, bosses, and direct reports all have needs. Meeting those needs — on their terms — is more important than somehow “staying true” to ourselves.

Maintaining your integrity is vital, but there’s a big difference between staying true to yourself and “just being me.”

“Face value has no value.” It’s easy to view the actions of others through the lens of how that behavior impacts us, especially if those actions impact us negatively.

Still, most employees don’t try to do a bad job. Most customers aren’t intentionallydifficult. Most bosses aren’t simply out to get you.

There is always more to the story. Fail to look deeper and you miss an opportunity to make a bad situation better — for everyone.

“They’re just as scared of you.” I wrestled in high school and traveled to summer tournaments where other wrestlers often seemed larger than life. I assigned them a near-mythical status because they came from different states and wore t-shirts from high-profile camps and wrestling clubs.

I never imagined they might see me the same way.

The same is true in business. Under the Armani and Wharton School and high-profile name-drops is a guy or gal just as nervous and insecure as you. Symbols of success are often just a mask.

The playing field is always more level than it seems.

“When you fire someone and need to say more than, ‘We have to let you go,’ you haven’t done your job.” Except in unusual circumstances, firing an employee is the last step in a longer process. If along the way you’ve identified sub-par performance, provided additional training or resources, set targets and timelines for performance improvement, and followed up when progress is lacking, then there are no surprises, no additional conversations necessary, no arguments to have… the employee knows.

And you’ve done your job as well as you can. But even so…

“If you can sleep the night after you fire someone, something is wrong with you.”Even if you’ve done everything right, firing an employee feels horrible. (I know they “fired themselves,” but still.) You’ve impacted their career, their life, their family… you shouldfeel awful.

If you don’t feel awful, it’s time to step out of a management role.

“Always sell yourself harder than you think you should.” I’m fairly shy and often insecure so “selling” is hard for me. I felt more comfortable waiting for bosses to discover my talents and promote me. I feel more comfortable waiting for potential customers to somehow discover me.

That’s a problem, because success in any field or profession is at least partly built on basic sales skills: The ability and willingness to determine needs, overcome objections, provide solutions, and to be charismatic and convincing.

Be enthusiastic. Be especially about yourself. People will respond positively.

“Seriously… just shut up.” I used to talk a lot. I thought I was insightful and clever and witty and, well, I thought I was a hoot. Very occasionally I might have been.

Most of the time I wasn’t.

Truly confident people don’t feel the need to talk — at all. I hate when it happens, but I still occasionally realize I’m talking not because the other person is interested in what I have to say but because I’m interested in what I have to say.

Never speak just to please yourself; when you do you end up pleasing no one.

“Pick something you believe in and stick to it.” When I first started racing motorcycles the then-500cc world champion (this was before today’s MotoGP; remember, I’m really old) told me he always walked an unfamiliar track before riding any laps. It was a ritual that allowed him to spot surfaces, bumps, and potential racing lines he might otherwise have missed.

Good enough for him, good enough for me, so I started doing the same thing.

Did it work? I certainly thought it did… and therefore, placebo or not, it did.

Think about a task you perform frequently, choose something you can do that actually helps you perform better, and start doing it every time: Whether it’s how you prepare, how you follow-up, how you’ll double-check your work, etc. Soon performing your “ritual” will give you more confidence, especially when the stakes are high, and as a result your performance will improve.

Think of it like wearing lucky socks… except in this case it actually makes a difference.

I also write for

Posted by:

Jeff Haden

Posted on: Thursday, June 27th, 2013

By: Stacy Mitchell


1.  Local Character and Prosperity

In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.

2.  Community Well-Being

Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.

3. Local Decision-Making

Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.

4.  Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy

Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.

5.  Job and Wages

Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.

6.  Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.

7.  Public Benefits and Costs

Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.

8.  Environmental Sustainability

Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.

9.  Competition

A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.

10.  Product Diversity

A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.


Posted on: Wednesday, June 5th, 2013


While so much emphasis has been placed on the importance of CMOs managing big data, measuring marketing outcomes, and adapting to new responsibilities, there has been little discussion regarding the critical behind-the-scenes resources that can enable a CMO to more effectively manage their job performance, career progression and overall success. In a conversation with Dave Minifie, a prior executive from Procter and Gamble and the current EVP, CMO and Business Integration Officer for Centene Corporation, a $10B multi-line health care enterprise, we identified 5 key resources that every CMO – and future CMO — needs to navigate both their career and jobs effectively.


Executive Recruiter: As Dave suggested after having spent 12 years at Procter & Gamble, people approach executive recruiters differently. Some tend to cultivate relationships and on the other end, others consider them a problem. Of course, executive recruiters are only a problem until the CMO needs to find a new job. I’ve found over the years that having a strong relationship with a handful of recruiters in executive search is critical. These individuals can provide information regarding the marketplace, specific industries, a particular company, and even insight on individuals. They spend all of their professional time creating successful firm-candidate matches and therefore have a unique bird’s eye view of marketing jobs. As a result, they can provide critical insight that can help a marketer more successfully navigate their career.

I asked Leanne Fesenmeyer, who led Talent Management for Heidrick & Struggles’ CMO Practice and was a marketer prior to becoming an executive recruiter, to provide some specific advice.  She suggested the following. “Cultivating a relationship with a recruiter involves a combination of sincere outreach and meaningful introductions from individuals who are respected by that particular recruiter. In conducting this outreach, it is critical to remember that it is never about you … it’s about them”. Leanne went on to suggest that it’s best to apply a version of the golden rule: “Don’t ask … give, don’t boast … compliment, tell … but don’t dwell”. A clever tactic is to ask what other searches they are working on so that you can suggest potential candidates. Not only is this a great way to get in their “good graces” but it gives you valuable insight as to what opportunities exist in the market.

Mentor / Coach: This resource is obvious. However, it is amazing how many people don’t have somebody that they can turn who is more experienced, knowledgeable, and on their side. Career and business challenges can arise and it’s critical to have somebody, especially outside of your firm, to talk with. Dave indicates: “I’m fortunate to have a few key mentors who have provided critical counsel when I needed it.” When asked how he cultivated these relationships, he indicated: “Like most relationships in our lives, ‘fit’ is the most important aspect of any mentoring relationship – either up or down.  I tend to mentor people that have worked for me, and want to continue that relationship.  Likewise, my best mentors have been people with whom I have crossed paths.  Some have been reporting relationships, while others I have met through community involvement.  Regardless, the relationship needs to be on-going and salient to both parties to be worthwhile.”

Social Media Manager: At some point, it will be beneficial to create a social media imprint. Many CEOs / boards are looking for marketers who can demonstrate some social media / digital savvy. While twitter followers are not necessarily a good proxy, they can convince senior executives that at least you are engaged in the social universe. One option is to manage this yourself. However, you can also outsource this for a very reasonable fee with firms likeSocial Media Guardian, who charge a few hundred dollars a month to create and implement a strategic plan.


Presentation Expert: At some point on the ladder, marketers start pulling together internal, external, and board-level presentations. Once this occurs, the need to escalate from satisfactory presentation (i.e., powerpoint) skills to expert skills becomes critical for success.  Identifying an external expert who can turn work around on a dime and has the requisite ability to turn a conceptual vision into a spectacular visual reality is quite difficult – yet critical for presentation success.

To identify such a person, I turned to LeAnne Fesenmeyer who always seems to know how to find the best external support resources. She suggested talking with Derrick Waylen who is the founder and CEO of Right Aligned, a firm that specializes in creating C-level presentations that sell ideas. Derrick suggested: “It is amazing that there aren’t more services focused on helping managers create superior presentations. We’ve seen a significant increase over the past 5 years in the need for exceptional presentation skills. We are fortunate in that we tend to work with large, global firms who require a certain quality of presentation, even for internal meetings. It has enabled us to retain a top class team that can provide around the clock services to meet needs anywhere in the world.”

The reality is that even managers who are proficient with powerpoint can take a lot of time to polish a presentation. That time would likely be spent better on their primary job. The key is to find a trustworthy and competent expert.

Speechwriter: At some point, senior level managers have to present. They may present to the organization, to the board of directors, to analysts, or at industry conferences. And yet, not many managers are natural speechwriters, comedians, or storytellers. To help compliment the presentation support, it’s great to have somebody who can help craft a great script. To find a ghostwriter for a book, I went to the association of ghostwriters (link here) to find somebody with the right experience. Leanne Fesenmeyer suggests: “I hired Armin Brott to ghostwrite books and Andy Montgomery to write speeches. Both were great, but the key is to find an expert who understands your industry, subject matter, and preferred style.”

In a world where marketers are increasingly asked to take on broader responsibility, it’s critical to export projects that can be easily outsourced…especially when the quality and results will be much higher. If you have any thoughts on additional resources that marketers must have, please add a comment or join the discussion (@kimwhitler).

Join the Discussion: @kimwhitler



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