Free Clarity Therapy in Chicago? Yes!

Last year, pre-SOBCon, I came out to Chicago early and had a chance to meet with several folks for free Clarity Therapy sessions(I called it Brand Therapy then). It was a delightful time and much closer relationships with at least 3 people developed as a result.

So, we’re going to do it again this year! (What is Clarity Therapy?)

On Wednesday and Thursday this week, I’m going to open up a few 90-minute slots to help people – free of charge – figure out their professional DNA and direction. This will take place at (or near) Hotel 71 in downtown Chicago.

Available times:

Thursday May 3: 9:30 am | 2:30 pm | 4 pm (sorry – all booked!)

Send me an e-mail (steve at connectionagent dot com) and let me know if you’d like to take advantage of this free offer, and what time(s) you would prefer. There are already two slots that are on the verge of being spoken for, so don’t hesitate!

(here’s a blog post from last week by Tom Martin describing why Clarity Therapy is important – even for a branding/marketing pro!)

“So, my DNA and my Story Walked into a Bar…”

This has been a really fun week. I got to interact with 4 people at various levels of Clarity Therapy, and in each case, we arrived at pretty remarkable new levels of understanding.

Even though each person was in a very different professional role (pharma consultant, agriculture R&D, customer service, digital marketer – here’s Tom Martin’s story), something very common emerged during the brainstorming process. As we uncover a person’s professional DNA, scheme up a new direction, and look at the past work roles, everyone tends to worry: “How will my new direction fit into the story of my past roles?”

One of the greatest reinforcements that we’re getting accurately in touch with your genuine strengths and desires is that the narrative always fits – the past, the anticipated future, and any present pivot necessary to get there all coheres. The story “works.”

One gentlemen I counseled in the past was moving from one form of media – where his identity was clearly established – to an entirely different medium. There seemed to be quite a disconnect, and it bothered him. But then, as we probed the elements that were common in both formats (great interviewing skills, crafting a good story, expressing it in an accessible format), it became clear that, in fact, this was a natural progression. The medium wasn’t the essence of his identity. The craft that he brought to telling other peoples’ stories effectively was the distinguishing element.

If we’re picking up the important threads and themes of your past work life accurately, and weaving them into a new direction, then even a pivot should appear as a natural evolution. It’s taking what you’ve always done well, and stripping off the no-longer-necessary elements that aren’t heading you in the right direction. A new career direction can be positioned as logical – even inevitable.

When your professional DNA and your story walk into a bar, share a beer, and get along famously – when your prior experiences are part of the narrative of your new awareness, your new direction – it gives you the courage to look in the mirror, and talk to others, and say, “This is the right thing to do.” That’s the end result of Clarity Therapy.

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Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy

Recent posts:

>> Clarity, part 1: What’s Your Offering?

>> Clarity, part 2: Make Your Message Clear

>> Clarity, part 3: People Buy Stories

>> Clarity, part 4: Your Clarifying Analogy

(alt) Leadership

For years, I’ve promoted the notion that there have to be better business structures than the status quo of traditional corporation. I don’t have a problem with capitalism or corporations per se – there has historically been a lot of value in those approaches and structures.

But note the key word there: historically.

Everything we see around us – every product, system, and approach – was designed for a past need. Does this mean we need to embrace all of these things for our present and our future? No. I don’t accept that.

I believe in high-quality, focused collaborative human networks as a superior way to unleash individual talent, find needed resources, refer targeted business, and grow professionals without the unnecessary superstructure of a hierarchical corporation (I call this approach the “co-operation”). I don’t just believe in it; in my business, I practice it.

Others are creating new alternatives, including this extremely interesting employee-ownership approach by John Lewis Partnership in the UK.

So, instead of a single-source view of leadership that involves scarcity, competition, and climbing a hierarchical ladder, we need to consider new approaches to business that will involve new (alt) leadership styles. What will they be?

That will be the subject of our discussion this coming Tuesday (April 24) during #LeadershipChat, 8 pm ET on Twitter. It is important that we not only question legacy approaches to leadership, but as Lisa Petrilli does here in her post, begin to prime the next generation with the tools to move forward based on new assumptions. See you on Tuesday night for The Fastest Hour on the Internet!

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Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Leaders and their Flagrant Fouls

>> How to Gain Influence – the hard way

What Do I Want to Do When I Grow Up?

In one form or another, I’ve heard this question a lot in the past few years. And, in fact, I’ve continually asked it of myself.

Seems heretical to ask it; but in fact, for people in their 30′s and 40′s – even 50′s – it’s a very common thought.

By now, we’ve been in our career for quite some time, and we’re supposed to be on the “right” track heading in the foreordained destination that leads to our personal fulfillment.

Yeah, right. Actually, it is only after some years in the work force that we finally begin to ask fundamental questions about our own strengths, desires, and professional direction. You’d be surprised at how many of those around you put up the brave front (as you do), but are feeling very unclear about who they are and where they are going in their career.

I’ve sat down and talked with countless professionals who are in the midst of re-thinking their career. And I’ve discovered that such consultation is almost exactly parallel to what I do with brands and companies when they are trying to figure out their identity and strategy. We need to get to 20/20 vision, we need to understand our professional DNA, but so much seems cloudy and unclear from where we sit.

I can help. I call this form of consulting Clarity Therapy <==(that’s a new website that describes this business practice). I started doing this with small companies and entrepreneur/consultants who were struggling with their identity and message (here is one consultant’s experience). And now, I’ve decided to (officially) expand this practice to include the many individuals who are in the midst of re-thinking their career.

I call this my “accidental” business, because it began to just happen organically over time without much design on my part. And there is nothing more rewarding than helping people arrive at an epiphany regarding their identity, direction, and message!

Clarity Therapy for individuals can occur in person or over videoconference (video Skype, which is free, is a great platform for this!), and the session is 2-3 hours of intensive one-on-one discovery of your professional DNA and future direction. For companies, it takes 6-7 hours and is best performed face-to-face.

At times, we all need an outside perspective to help us see ourselves more clearly. That’s what I do as a clarity therapist – and what others have done for me also at times. Here are some Testimonials of others who have been through this helpful process.

There’s no shame in asking the question, “What do I want to do when I grow up?” What we really need is a safe and experienced outside voice to help us see through the fog.

___________

Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy

Recent posts:

>> Clarity, part 1: What’s Your Offering?

>> Clarity, part 2: Make Your Message Clear

>> Clarity, part 3: People Buy Stories

>> Clarity, part 4: Your Clarifying Analogy

The Analogy That Makes People “Get” You

“Impactiviti is the eHarmony of pharmaceutical vendor selection.”

It took me 18 months to come up with the key analogy to explain my pharma consulting practice, but I’ve gotten more mileage out of that one statement than anything else I’ve used for marketing Impactiviti (my client-vendor “matchmaking” consultancy for pharmaceutical sales/training/marketing).

Why is an analogy so important? Because we all need a shortcut into the understanding and memory of our attention-overloaded prospective customers. And the analogy – appealing to something already understood in order to bridge a gap to something new – is the most powerful mechanism imaginable to spark recognition and recall.

You’re at a cocktail party, and someone asks what you do. “I’m a corporate content development specialist for a healthcare company.” STOP!!! See those eyes glaze over? Has comprehension occurred in that person’s mind? No – because you’ve not bridged the gap. And, perhaps, just as important – will that person be able to refer someone they meet the next day to you?

Rewind. Your answer this time? “My company helps people with rare diseases. I’m like an internal reporter – I get to tell people how we do it!” Boom!

Note the following:

1. Your company is now a lot more interesting, and probably will provoke a follow-up question or three.

2. Your role is now clear – you’re a reporter (but on the inside).

3. YOU are more interesting, because your role has an aspirational and positive element, not merely a technical description. And the listener gets it, immediately.

See how powerful a simple and vivid analogy is? And, the next day, when this person bumps into the CEO of another company that they know from the gym, who happens to be complaining about how ineffective their internal marketing is…guess who comes to mind?

eBay caught on very quickly, in part, because it was just like one big virtual yard sale. People could “get” that. If you attach your company and offering to something pre-existing, common, and positive, you save yourself a ton of grief trying to force comprehension through a blizzard of terms and bullet points.

This is the most challenging deliverable in a Clarity Therapy session. First, we map out your professional DNA by digging into your (personal or company) history, competencies, and aspirations. Then we settle on the core offering, the key message, and the compelling story. Finally, we cap it off with a memorable analogy, and you’re ready with a clear and unforgettable go-to-market approach. In a world swirling with information and noise, only the crystal clear will stand out. That should be you!

___________

Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Clarity, part 1: Your Distinguishing Offering

>> Clarity, part 2: Your Go-To Market Message (in 10 words or less)

>> Clarity, part 3: People Buy Your Story

Leaders and Their Flagrant Fouls

It seems that hardly a week goes by, without another person in a leadership position being flagged for dishonorable behavior, and in many cases, tossed out of the game.

In recent days, it was Bobby Petrino, head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks, who was dismissed in disgrace for…well, read about it here. He joins Brian Dunn, just-departed CEO of Best Buy who also allegedly engaged in dishonorable behavior, and a whole host of other former leaders, from business people to clergymen, from politicians to sports stars, who held positions of honor and influence – then imploded.

Like it or not, we expect our leaders to be examples of responsibility, morality, and self-control. Fraud, deceit, self-dealing, and disloyalty are not on the list of desirable attributes when we describe an effective leader. It’s no wonder so many people root for a guy like Tim Tebow. Leadership with morality and sincerity, at a professional level in sports? Who knew? And it’s a sad commentary that we become so jaded by the dishonorable figures we’ve seen paraded before us, that many are just waiting to pounce, certain that anyone who actually might be the real deal MUST be hiding dirt somewhere.

But Tim Tebow is not perfect, and neither is anyone else. Every player gets flagged for a hold here, an intentional grounding there, maybe a bit of pass interference from time to time. It’s human to make mistakes. But the flagrant stuff, such as actually targeting people for injury – that’s not a mere stumble. That’s a cause of shame and dishonor. Misusing funds, lying to superiors, committing perjury, patronizing prostitutes – these feel a lot more like a gross violation of trust and responsibility.

So, where do we draw the lines in business? What should be chalked up to human imperfection, as opposed to dishonorable behavior leading to “dismissal for cause”? Can trust in a leader be re-built? Join us in a discussion of this topic – Leadership Honor and Dishonor – on Tuesday night, April 17th (8 pm ET) on Twitter during #LeadershipChat. And be sure to read my co-host Lisa Petrilli’s prep blog post, The Power of Leading with Honor and Self-Empowerment. See you on Tuesday night for The Fastest Hour on the Internet!

___________

Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Customers Walking Past You

>> How to Gain Influence – the hard way

How to Gain Influence – the hard way

Noise does not (necessarily) indicate influence.

Popularity does not (necessarily) indicate influence.

Numbers do not (necessarily) indicate influence.

Here’s how influence is earned:

- Do a great job.

- Grow in both knowledge and wisdom.

- Care about people.

- Aspire to something big and worthwhile, and inspire others toward it.

Social media changes nothing except to give one more false measure of influence. There is no shortcut. The squash grows (and fades) quickly. The oak is in it for the long haul.

___________

Hire Steve Woodruff for Clarity Therapy

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Clarity, part 1: Your Distinguishing Offering

>> Clarity, part 2: Your Go-To Market Message (in 10 words or less)

>> Clarity, part 3: People Buy Your Story

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