Tag Archives: Dedication

I would rather …

I would rather die of passion than of boredom — Vincent van Gogh

March 30, 2014 marks Vincent van Gogh’s 161 birthday. March 29 marks my considerable lower number birthday. I

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889, Oil on canvas

Vincent van Gogh, Self Portrait, 1889, Oil on canvas

didn’t know that van Gogh was also a “March Baby” until I was doing a bit of research about him after being taken with the quote which prompted me to write this post. But the timing, coupled with the inspiration, seemed an appropriate opportunity to write.

Dear readers, if you’re still there for me, know that in my absence I have been working hard to come up to speed in my newest endeavor. For those of you who may not know, I’m honored to be working with the Salesforce Foundation supporting the world’s best nonprofits and higher educators with their digital and social media programs. My only purpose at the Foundation is to help organizations – amazing, inspiring, and excellent organizations – be even more amazing, inspiring, and excellent.

I’ve had many “I can’t believe this is my life” moments in the short time I’ve been working with the Foundation, and the promise of many more to come. But here’s the thing, I am also getting to feed my customers’ thoughts, challenges, and feedback to the incredible product team who is equally up for the challenge of building the future. It’s a thrill ride. It is the junction of my passion and my skills.

It is – simply – a #DREAMjob.

My involvement with my customers has already profoundly changed the way I view time. I’ve never had more to do – never – and yet I feel more invigorated than ever. Somehow, I’m also finding the time to give back to my community more than ever, taking up hobbies, learning a language, and enjoying my family deeply. Time has expanded in this even more deeply passion-driven version of my life.

In previous (and also awesome) roles, I was always busy. Hell, anyone who knows me knows I prefer to be at least a bit over-committed in my professional life. But this is a different level of busy, this is the kind of busy that is impossible, but worth trying. Worth really, really going for it. Why? Because I get to work with the people who are literally building the future.

I am honored. I am challenged. I am up for it.

Happy Birthday, Mr. van Gogh. And to you, whoever you are, may your day shine brightly and your talents expand to reach the challenges in front of you.

Learn more about the Salesforce Foundation, their 1/1/1 philanthropic model, and how their customers rock it out. And then spread the word. 

Have a thought, feedback, inspiration, or comment? Do tell!

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March 26, 2014 · 7:13 am

Fast and FABULOUS

Well, I can’t tell you how much time I’ve been devoting to all the amazing twists and turns happening in the SCRM (see that? I’ve even adopted the ‘S’!) world since last we met on these virtual pages.

Some undeniable truths:

  • Social is the new black. Got that?
  • Another thing…Analytics that used to take me 6 months of hard work, mental gymnastics, and sleepless nights now happens in an instant. Prettier than I could have ever done it back in the day.
  • I have to say things like ‘back in the day’ more and more.
  • The Cloud is ubiquitous.
  • Mobile and Touch are just ‘how we do it’ now.
  • Your Mom is on Facebook. Your Mom (it turns out) is likely an early Pinterest adopter.
  • Business is struggling to keep up, to make sense of it, and to use their budget wisely.
  • Shiny-Thing Syndrome is rampant. RAMPANT! It is one of my least favorite corporate maladies. Of course, ‘That’s Simple-itis‘ is worse, but I really want to stay on track so I’ll just move on.
  • This post is meant to serve as my quick but exciting (to me) return to my blog as well as to let you know where I’ve been.

Exciting stuff indeed, this is!Hi. I’ve been reading, thinking, talking, implementing, and researching in the middle of this incredible time. At least once a day I feel so excited that I either pick up the phone, compose a tweet, start a chat, or – if I have to – craft an email to let another colleague know how AWESOME it is to do what we do. They know it already, of course, and are very likely kind of getting sick of these interruptions but I just can’t help it. This is hands down the most fun I’ve ever had doing my job. That’s coming from a person (read: nerd) who lists her professional pursuit as a hobby lo these many years.

At any rate, the customer is getting heard. The constituency and community is being recognized. Why? Because we created the equalizing tools that foster this channel. As a result, business needs to LISTEN (and that is just about the MOST exciting opportunity to amaze and delight there is). As I dive into some of the more effective ways to weave listening into traditional Sales, Service, and Community efforts, I just get more blown away. We are really starting to be able to connect with our customers and colleagues and fans and detractors. We’ve got lots to learn from each of these connections and can finally dive into the Big Data (another shiny thing? Not a chance.) with elegance and speed.

So if this is interesting in the least, keep reading! I’ve got a few of my favorite sources below to get your motor running!

  • Paul Greenberg on ZDNet. I’ve said it before but this guy just GETS it. In a big way. Kind of my Yoda, he is.
  • Radian6 Providing TONS of really useful strategic and tactical content via many channels. Like everything they do: AWESOME
  • Kelly Craft Blogs on Social CRM, Gadgetry, and getting it done. Very sharp lady.
  • Christopher Barger MAY be the Yoda of Social Business planning?! Read his blog on Forbes, you should.
  • Salesforce.com Blog They’re taking a ton of big guns’ ammo and making it available to you. Really pretty and very actionable.
  • HubSpot puts a TON of content out for your consideration. I highly recommend their Webinars as well.

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Filed under CRM Evangelization, Social

I remember.

Ten years ago on this date, Americans were attacked in an extraordinarily brazen, disgusting, and shocking way. It was, to Americans as well as to our allies, a seemingly debilitating blow that  in its nature changed the American mindset immediately. We were vulnerable. We were fragile. We were wounded. We lost our innocence in the moment we lost our beloved friends, family members and our paragons of prosperity and strength.

I rememberI thank first responders all over the world for choosing their role. I thank the families of these brave men and women for offering up their support and for their bravery which is of a tensile strength unimaginable. Ten years on, my heart breaks for each firefighter, police, and citizen who were directly and indirectly impacted by 9/11.

I’d never before and never since been so completely apart by mankind’s overwhelming abomination against himself. In the same emotional space, I was and still am inspired by the indomitable resilience and love mankind offers toward mankind. As staggering the loss, the sheer bravery and tenacity of the United States in our recovery was equally astonishing.

Today, I offer you this short (and by no means comprehensive) list of 9/11 resources and the challenge to use your skills and love to honor the 9/11 victims, survivors and those brave souls who act in service each and every day. I also challenge myself and you to engage your representatives in Congress to act on the recommendations delivered in the 9/11 Commission Report.

http://www.911day.org/

http://9-11stairclimb.com/

http://www.911memorial.org/

http://makehistory.national911memorial.org/

http://www.youtube.com/september11

http://storycorps.org/

http://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/index.htm

http://911memorialapp.com/

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Filed under Honor, life-work balance, Service

Wheat from the Chaff time, kiddies.

Times are tough all over. And I do mean all over. You and I know that in the average US home, families are making do with less. In the offices and cubicles of corporate America, shoes are shaking. For the small to mid-size business owner out there, it’s scary. Gloom. Doom.

So, we’ve established we should all be afraid, right?  Here’s the deal, though: there is a genuine opportunity for all of us – ALL of us – to use this time to our advantages. For this post, I’m going to focus on Corporate America and how this time in our history could really take us back to our roots.

Remember, people, we are the scrappy innovators. We are the creators of the assembly line, of Hoover Dam. We’re the folks that capitalized on the electronic frontier.

So here we are; faced with cut-backs, set-backs, layoffs, shrinking profit margins, and the stressful barrage the 24 hour news cycle offers up. How are we going to capitalize on this time? I work in the hospitality industry; a hard hit sector, indeed. Last Thursday, one of our competitors (and a past employer) let 204 local people go. Not that such a thing is outside of the norm right now. On any given day, coworkers passing by my office will ask: “how are you holding up?”, “did anyone you know lose their job yet?”, “do you think our company will cut back?”.

I do think our company will make cuts. I do know people who have lost their jobs. I am holding up.

Here’s what I know:

I was out of the ‘Corporate America’ scene for years. During that time, I was in the entrepreneurial scene. As a small business owner, it is imperative to think through every expense. You’ve got to have a fully formed idea.  You’ve got to multi-task. You can’t be a diva. You’ve got to take responsibility for your actions. Learn from your mistakes. Better yet, learn from the mistakes of your competition. You’ve got to think long term, but not let that long-range goal take focus away from your day to day operational tasks. If you want to succeed, that is.

When I returned to Corporate America, I was immediately struck by the waste and how pervasive politicking and fear came between best practice and results. I found myself amazed at rampant bad behavior and empire building. In small business, if I had a strategic partner or assistant who I could not fully trust to act in a way that reflected my clearly stated mission statement, I immediately separated myself from that person or organization. I was, as a result, free from having my clients associate the actions of others with my business.

So, what can Corporate America learn from the successful entrepreneur?

·         Know your team. Learn who in your organization is ‘Wheat’ is and who is ‘Chaff’. Separate the Wheat from the Chaff, taking care to retain those that may be of value, but aren’t managed effectively or currently in the wrong role. This is important because the cost to retain good talent with organizational knowledge is far less than the cost and risk involved in obtaining outside talent, even with the increased applicant pool. The cost of replacing an employee who leaves has been estimated by various studies to be between 70 and 200 percent of that worker’s annual salary.

·         Make necessary changes without delay. When the new team structure has been finalized, clearly define it from the top down. Your employees know change is afoot, from the executive level to your hourly workers. They know jobs may be lost; they know times are tough. Getting the word out that the organizational shuffle is complete, and that, as a group, future actions and decision will shape the fate of the company creates that entrepreneurial spirit throughout the entire team.

·         Clearly broadcast the Company Vision to your team. Get the word out swiftly to the entire company (and your partners and stockholders) sharing how the company plans to survive and thrive in this tough time. In the September / October 2008 edition of Chief Executive Magazine’s article, “To Outmarket the Competition, Run with the Rhinos”, they use the image of the Rhino as a role model for success in our current market. One of the strongest images in the piece is that of the charging rhino; impossibly fast for its size and configuration, charging ahead at 35 miles per hour on a highway full of cars inching forward.

·         Enlist your employees’ creativity. Reward shared ideas that add value or increase the organization’s profit margin. Your employees know what is done wrong, and have ideas on how to change. Giving safe haven and rewards for their feedback will generate fresh perspective.

·         Declare that your organization is now a zero tolerance zone for information silos, negativism, and waste. I can’t tell you what a shock it was to my system to see the amount of wasted opportunity, time, and money when I reentered Corporate America. By clearly stating the Company is watching costs, expects knowledge transfer (and clearly defines how to participate), and providing a positive work environment, coupled with the employee rewards program, you create a setting for visionary work. You can’t change the market, but you can offer a better experience than your competitors.

·         Let your customers know you appreciate them. If you are doing direct marketing, and I know you are, give some thought on how you can effectively communicate your real appreciation for their business. Let then know that YOU know they could have made a different choice. Then, to really understand what made your customers choose YOU, ask them. I know, seems heavily ’un-slick’. But when I ran my own business, these types of sincere questions were always coupled with a request for a testimonial and an opportunity to share their inner thoughts on their experience. It gave my clients a forum to let me know what went right and what went wrong. I acted quickly on any opportunities for improvement, and added their testimonials to my future marketing efforts with their permission. This type of personal interaction can help you fully understand when opportunities exist, even if you have to hear some harsh realities. This type of feedback is never negative and is always an opportunity to improve profitability. There are many different methods you can use to reach out for this type of information, and to expect success, understanding the demographics of the consumer, and/or their contact preferences must drive the channel and message.

Due diligence is key, and a ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ approach is the undoing of any organization – especially in tough times. In a recent discussion, a colleague asked what makes a person a good employee. I believe it is the very thing that makes an organization a good place to work: genuine care for putting out a valuable product, creativity, reliability, responsibility, integrity, thrift, service, and the understanding that the team is responsible for the quality of end product (rather than the individual). If an entity lives and breathes by this, the likelihood of success is far greater, especially in these challenging times.

Leadership is understanding people and involving them to help you do a job. That takes all of the good characteristics, like integrity, dedication of purpose, selflessness, knowledge, skill, implacability, as well as determination not to accept failure.
– Admiral Arleigh A. Burke

So, dear Corporate America, this is your opportunity to shine. What bravery are you ready to tackle? Channel the successful entrepreneur now and you’ll certainly lead a sleek, focused team toward the collective goal. For their involvement, their ideas, creativity, integrity, and, well, grit, will not only be rewarded, but add to the Company’s rewards. This is the foundation of our American roots, and possibly being knocked a bit off our collective pedestal will be just the ticket to bring us full-circle to our foundation. Which is, quite literally, a great place to land.

 

 

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Filed under Corporate Culturati