LeadershipChat Plus One

After a few months of planning, it was one year ago this week that Lisa Petrilli and I hosted the inaugural #LeadershipChat on Twitter.

What a wild ride it has been!

We’ve had very lively discussions about male and female roles, courage, work/life balance, loyalty, fear, promotions, lessons from the military…and we’ve enjoyed the contributions of stellar guest hosts and authors like Stephen Denny, Guy Kawasaki, Ann Handley, Steve Farber, and many others.

For Lisa and me, the most rewarding aspect of LeadershipChat has been the community that gathers each Tuesday night; it was our vision to create a climate similar to a Tuscan dinner table, where friends would gather for friendly discussions over wine and good food (we do sometimes open up the chat with pictures of cannoli just to gain a virtual bit of dessert atmosphere!) What has come of it all has been a bunch of real-life friendships, meetings, and collaborations – and that’s just the point. LeadershipChat on Tuesday nights is an introduction to community.

What has been the most rewarding aspect for you? It only seems right, on this first anniversary, to pass the microphone to our valued friends and give you the opportunity to talk about how you’ve benefited from the LeadershipChat community – and how you’d like to grow even more in the year ahead.

So, here’s what we’re asking for this week. Instead of focusing on prep blog posts that Lisa and I write, we’re inviting YOU to write a post (could be on your blog, or Facebook, or Google+ – wherever. Even in the comments below if you’re not a blogger!) expressing what you’re learned and enjoyed from LC this past year, and what you’d like to discuss in the coming year.

This is your chance to tell others – and us – why LeadershipChat has value to you!

We’ll link to your posts on the LeadershipChat.net site, and your thoughts will be the substance of the our conversation on Tuesday, October 11th. Please write your thoughts right now – while you’re thinking about it – and forward the link to Steve (steve at connectionagent dot com) so it will be included on the site for all to see.

Finally, a big THANK YOU to all who have made this community such an encouraging success. In twelve months, we’ve made a good start together. What will the next year of sharing leadership-life bring? Let’s talk about it this Tuesday night at 8 pm ET!

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Hire Steve Woodruff  if your identity and message need clarity (Business Identity Therapy)

Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Breaking Free of Powerpoint

>> Trend Currents in Social Media

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Leading Virtually Really

This week on #LeadershipChat, we are honored to welcome Ann Handley, who is the Queen Of All Content over at MarketingProfs (OK, I made that title up, but really – doesn’t it fit?)

MarketingProfs is a virtual organization, and Ann has been involved for years in helping lead this widely-distributed group as it puts out a steady flow of solid content, organizes and runs conferences, services member needs, etc. It’s quite a challenge.

My co-host and co-founder of LeadershipChat Lisa Petrilli has a wonderful interview of Ann (Ann Handley’s Secrets to Successfully Leading Virtual Teams) where you can gain more particular insights.

In talking with Ann about this topic, what strikes me is this thought: Leading People Virtually is Leading People Really.

Whether you’re contained in an office, fully virtual, or in a hybrid environment, you’re leading people. The basic, foundational principles remain the same – communication, accountability, shared goals and purpose, clear lines of responsibility. And, with our maturing technology tools (on-line project management, video Skype, social media) it is more likely that we will increasingly grow comfortable with leading virtual teams – because we’ll have to.

Let’s face it – the old template of geographically-defined work places is going away for many areas of industry, especially the knowledge industry. Leading virtually is going to become, in many respects, the new normal. And it’s good to know that the core things that have always mattered in leadership carry right over – because people are people.

Ann has a lot more experience than most at this, and yet it boils down some very sensible themes. Although one aspect – leadership styles – should make for a very interesting part of the chat. Do you think introverts make better virtual leaders?

Join us Tuesday night at 8 pm ET as we explore this fascinating topic. You’ll find a smart, engaged group of growing leaders who want to share ideas and learn from others (including you!).

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Recent posts on Connection Agent:

>> Facebook’s Secret Weapon Unveiled: Ann Handley!

>> Trend Currents in Social Media

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Twitter: @swoodruff | @ConnectionAgent

Marketing Profs Digital Forum Re-cap

It was a cold week in Austin, TX. But there was plenty enough warmth among the attendees at the Marketing Profs Digital Forum, where a bunch of smart people (they let me in, too) gathered to think together about the future of digital marketing.

Or, actually, the present of digital marketing.

I won’t attempt to give a full overview, but instead, just put a spotlight on a few things that were exceptional.

Organization - the Marketing Profs staff did it right. And, they were all friendly and fun to talk to. You know what? That matters. Special kudos to Megan Leap who did a lot of the pre-event and on-site orchestration. And there was some scrambling that had to occur, with weather-related postponements and what not.

The Now RevolutionJay Baer and Amber Naslund kicked off the promotional tour for their new book, The Now Revolution. And – no surprise here – their presentation rocked. Especially their use of simple slide design as adjuncts to tell the story. Yes, slide design matters.

Content did Rule – Many of the presentations were quite meaty. Some of these conferences can get fluffy, but not here. Plus, and C.C. Chapman and Ann Handley (whom I consider a dear friend) gave a nice talk about the main thoughts in their recently-released book, Content Rules. Both are solid presenters (and, I finally got to meet C.C. for the first time).

Mobile - one of the best talks for me was Christina Kerley (CK)’s overview of why mobile is huge and getting huger. I’ve known CK for years but had not seen her present before. Fabulous. And I walked out totally convinced about the importance of developing for mobile RIGHT NOW.

Anthropology – huh? Yep, one of the highlights was a talk by an anthropologist, Michael Wesch, who gave a breathtaking 300,000 foot view of how media shapes and reflects culture. Many of us felt stunned at the end. It was also another example of using background slides to help tell a story rather than impart a content outline. Yes, storytelling matters.

Tom Martin – I’ve been hankering to meet Tom for years. We’ve talked and collaborated on-line; finally we got to hang out. Not only were our discussions fun and fruitful, but he gave a great talk on his Mardi Gras marketing initiative. Good times.

BBQ – Yes, one minor (but not unimportant!) reason for going to Austin was to have some great barbecue. And Tim Hayden helped orchestrate a very fun outing at the County Line, where the food was plentiful and delicious, and there was time to be with fine folks like Jason Falls, Frank Eliason, Aaron Strout, Tom Webster, Tamsen McMahon, Matt Ridings, and many more (yes, I know I’m forgetting names…can I get away with it by blaming age, the cold, or something else that avoids culpability??)

For me, this conference was about face time with people. I went to share vision and thoughts with folks I respect in the field, and I was not disappointed. It was also about having fun with semi-crazy folks like DJ Waldow, who along with CC Chapman and Matt Ridings helped produce an ad-hoc series of Ann Handley Day videos. Thanks to the Marketing Profs folks for putting on the event (despite all weather-related dampeners!), and I look forward to future events!

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Book Review: Pick a Title. Any Title.

Bloggers always like to be first getting out a new book review on their blog and through Twitter, in hopes of achieving maximum retweet exposures (MREs).

So, since my friends Jay Baer and Amber Naslund are about to launch their awesome new book The Now Revolution, I thought I’d cheat a little bit to get the very first review out of gate (video below). I like MREs just as much as the next blogger. And, hey, there are efficiencies here – have you ever heard of the Reusable Book Review (RBR)? Yeah – I’m trademarking that.

Tomorrow, return here to very same URL to view my thoughts on Ann Handley and CC Chapman‘s Content Rules. And the day after, Scott Stratten‘s UnMarketing. Because if you don’t send it, I still review it with my patent-pending RBR technology!

(Actually, I do have a couple real video book reviews coming up here on Connection Agent this week – stay tuned!)

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Where I’ll Be (in non-avatar mode)

It’s going to be a busy spring. One event I was not planning on attending is now on the agenda; another two possible events are now non-happenings. So, if you’d like to meet in real life, here’s where I’ll be over the next few months:

sociallearningMasie Center’s Social Learning Lab, Saratoga Springs, NY, March 11-12

This will be an exploration of how social media is impacting the worlds of learning and training. Since much of my consulting work is in pharma training, AND I’m heavily involved in social media, this should be a very interesting time of discovery.

sxsw2009SXSW (South by Southwest), Austin, TX, March 13-17

Just decided to go to this one, and taking my 20-year old son Nate with me, who has a strong interest in a film career. Looking forward to lots of networking with friends new and old, and hoping to see Nate make valuable contacts and grow his knowledge and network.

Austin is one city I’ve never visited. This should be a lot of fun!

spbtlogoSPBT (Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers), Chicago, IL, May 11-14

Have attended and presented at this event for many years; this year will help lead 2 workshops, on Building your own Opportunity Network, and Managing Vendors and Projects. Always a great time of interacting with my core pharma audience and friends.

marketingprofs-sm1MarketingProfs Business to Business Forum, Boston, MA, June 8-9

Had planned to attend this one last year and got waylaid by life circumstances – really looking forward to joining Ann Handley and the gang for this one.

You can expect varying levels of live-blogging and live-twittering at all these events, which could get rather annoying, depending on your level of interest and your reservoir of patience. Let me know if you’re going to be present at any of these conferences so we can meet up!

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Five in the Morning 020309

Geoff Livingston over at the Buzz Bin has some meaty thoughts about personal branding vs “team social media” within a larger company. This is a valuable discussion. Personal branding for a solo entrepreneur is one thing, but how do we approach putting a “face” on an organization when interacting with the world at large? Just for the fun of it, here’s a mega-post with a bunch of recent links touching on personal branding, from David Petherick.

Mario Sundar is on a tear on his personal blog. First, Using social media to help your friends find a job (this is a real passion of mine). Then, Perfectionism ain’t Bliss -  just do it and don’t worry about making it perfect. And finally, some lists of Twitter worthies to follow. Mario, for those who don’t yet follow him, is LinkedIn’s chief blogger; he also maintains his own personal blog.

Image Recognition Software/Service – from TechCrunch blog. This is a big deal, actually. There are so many images now published on-line, a huge challenge is going to be finding/sorting/identifying/filtering. Here is one company (Milabra) that’s making a run at it, and their solution sounds very promising.

It’s easy to just listen to the voices that you already agree with. We also need to consider other points of view, lest we become infected with group-think, or an inflated sense of self-importance. This muse/rant by Kevin Palmer is a needed corrective as we consider the place of social media in the world. Guest post is found on Social Media Explorer blog – it must be good, because I rarely point to the same blog 2 days in a row (nice job, Jason Falls)!

Downturn. We’re in it. From the NY Times Small Business Toolkit section – Lessons Learned from Hard Times Past. There’s a surprise quote in there…

PLUS – What Happened to your Nose? The latest from Ann Handley‘s A N N A R C H Y blog. If you’re not subscribing to this wonderful treasure of muses and amusements, you should be (Ann – the Zamboni reference is a stroke of genius!)

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(Image credit)

PLEASE NOTE: There is reason to believe that the Google/Feedburner changeover has created “issues” with RSS feeds for my blogs (and others). Here are the feeds for my three blogs; if you’re a reader, would you please re-subscribe just to make sure? Thanks!

:: Subscribe to the StickyFigure blog (that’s this one!)

:: Subscribe to the Steve’s Leaves blog (that’s my personal blog – you’ll see a story from there below)

:: Subscribe to the Impactiviti blog (that’s a pharma-specific blog, for my consulting business)

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Five in the Morning 102108

Is new media marketing becoming “mainstreamed”? Check out what Paul Chaney has to say.

Re-branding…fish…with new names. Guess I hadn’t thought of that one. From the NameWire blog.

How can social media help with customer loyalty? Becky Carroll over at Customers Rock! begins a brief series this week, with quickie videos (at this link – a video from Jim Kukral). Anything Becky produces is worth your attention.

Why do we blog? Here’s what Darren Rowse (@problogger) found out when he asked his readers.

Ann Handley has Nine Questions for Guy Kawasaki. Read the Q&A here.

PLUS: Only Ann Handley could pull this off. From her blog A n n a r c h y: A Toast to Cancer.

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Well-known Blogger Demoted to “Q List”

In a surprise move that has echoed across the blogging world, highly regarded Ann Handley (of Marketing Profs fame) was today demoted to the “Blogger Q List.”

“This is an outrage!” spewed Ann, fresh off a victorious B2B Summit that she hoped would finally elevate her to the “A List” along with other blogging luminaries. “I worked hard to move from Beta to Alpha, and to be relegated to “Q” status along with such long-tail bloggers as Steve (Stickyfigure) Woodruff and Charlie the Tuna is simply not acceptable!”

The mysterious Blogger Pecking Order Consortium (Blo-POC), which officially classifies bloggers into their respective ranked orbits, was cagey when asked about the demotion of Ann to the equivalent of blogging Siberia. “Look,” said the pseudonymous Seth Scoblecanis, spokesavatar for the group, “ever since she launched that annhandley.com thingie, with its tales of ancient slights and teenage angst, we’ve had to re-consider her semi-prominent place in the blogospheric echo chamber. We felt that a period of exile might be the best thing to help her shape up until she plurks more like, say, Mack Collier.”

“This will make quite a case study for my next monthly book, ‘Tangerine Spell-Checkers,’” stated Seth Godin, who analyzed Ann’s dilemma between bites of a meatball sundae. “It may lead to her subscriptions taking the dip, but small is the new big, and survival just isn’t enough. As long as she doesn’t self-promote, by offering a free prize inside or some other liar/marketer scheme, she should do fine. Maybe I’ll send her a bobble-head or a purple cow or something.”

Fellow A-lister Steve Rubel (Micropersuasion blog) had a similar reaction. “I was looking forward to Ann joining us on the A-list, and especially, of course, on FriendFeed. Not many Q-listers make it to my FriendFeed, but Ann will be an exception. I hope all my subscribers (on FriendFeed) will Twitter Ann’s plight and grab her FriendFeed.”

As of this writing, it is not certain what the “Q” in “Q List” stands for. Quiescent, Quack-ish, Quibbling, Quizno’sUmmUmmGood, and QuitNow have all been suggested. You may vote for your favorite using the QArmano widget on Facebook.

The demotion actually occurred yesterday, but was announced on Twitter, and therefore no-one knew about it until today, when that feature was enabled.

(Unhappy Ann Image credit)

UPDATE: After a blogstorm of protest, Ann has been re-instated to the B-list of marketing bloggers, with an “on-deck” status for the A-list in case Copyblogger or Problogger drop out. Ann also retains her membership on the Z-list, and, in Greece and at GE, she is on the “six-sigma” blogger list.

“Outstanding!” exclaimed Tim Jackson (Masi Guy) from a Medevac helicopter after tumbling off of a Big Wheels tricycle. “I give her one bionic thumb up, since that’s all I have left.”

(Happy Ann image credit)

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