Friday 25 January 2013

Have You Found That There is Always One More Thing?

A fellow consultant and I have been interviewing team members about how their working lives will be different after some changes are made. I enjoy these meetings where real people discuss in real terms how they believe their work will change. Typically, people are reflective, forthright and articulate, which helps us understand the changes and how we can best help them transition to their new environments (as quickly and as painlessly as possible).

Each interview lasts an hour, which provides enough time to thoroughly discuss all changes and dig more deeply on revealing comments. By the end of the meeting the conversation has been exhausted. Or has it?

Years ago, I realized that there is always something that hasn't been said, a nuance that hasn't been shared or a statement that sheds light on a key point. By asking one more question, we are able to unlock a final insight, the jewel or piece of gold that might have been left behind. The question might have to be asked twice and we might have to survive a long pause, but if we do we are rewarded. 

Fortunately, this phenomenon has held true throughout our interviews; there is always one more thing. 

I was listening to a webcast on how to create publicity today and the moderator said to his guests just before closing the call, "Anything else you want to say before wrapping up?" Everyone had something to say. Try it sometime. You will be rewarded.


Friday 18 January 2013

Man Narrowly Escapes Losing His Purpose

Last Saturday night, as I was  working through my "to do" list, I realized that the website content I was writing didn't sound like it had been written by me. It sounded like serious corporate text that, had I included in my book, would have been edited out. I realized that the business I was describing was a business I would not want to own, one that was focused on image rather than value delivered. I was using someone else's voice.

This realization weighed heavily on me and edged its way into an email I wrote to a friend who is helping me create a video for my site.

It would be great to start working on the Change with Confidence video when you are available. I have been thinking a lot about the feel of it (and the business) and realized that it must communicate the essence of the company (not just what it sells). It needs to be about hope, about helping people work through changes, about building their confidence so they are at their best as they create their future.

I don't want to think about dress code because that would be vain. Yes I do! The suit jacket could be on the chair but it's not on me. I am not a suit but a person who owns one and will only use it when he has to. I am the guy people trust and want to talk with about their stuff (including their change stuff).  I want to be me and help people.

I am the man who narrowly escaped losing his purpose. I had become so engrossed in getting things done that completion, not purpose, became the goal. 

After sending the email I started rewriting the content on my website for my business with my voice.


Friday 11 January 2013

Is Enough Ever Enough?

I find that strategy and execution don't go well together. I wish it was different, but when I am planning I plan, and when I am executing, I execute. It's not ideal because you need to do both to be successful and you miss opportunities when the balance is off. I realized this (again) when I stopped executing and started thinking about what comes next. I had been busy making final "typo" edits, discussing cover design options and loading content onto the website. 

"Next" is the book launch that will be supported by marketing efforts by the Wiley team and me. My questions were, "Are we going to do enough to get the word out about my book?" and "What happens if it isn't enough and we miss the critical launch window?" I am having a party and wondering if anyone will show up.  

Jane Russel once said, "Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don't have any." I was aware of authors hiring publicists but wasn't clear what they did or whether it was a good investment. 

I asked a couple of authors with successful book what they thought, One author said, "It's important to invest in the right publicist – a publicist with teeth who can build awareness for you and your book." Right. Got it.

My initial discussions with book publicists have been intriguing. I am drinking in their knowledge and experience and developing a clear and realistic picture of how they can help. Now I am reviewing proposals and soon will be starting a new partnership. After a quick strategy session, it will be time to execute again. 

Each phase of my journey has involved experts that have helped me find my way. Why shouldn't this be true for my launch? There is never enough marketing and promotion because you can only know the answer when it's too late to change the outcome. That probably holds true for parties, too.


Friday 4 January 2013

Returning Favours One Connection at a Time

The first time I contacted someone famous was in 2004. I had seen Don Tapscott, the author of Paradigm Shift, speak at a conference about chaos theory.  His last slide included his email address and he gave everyone an invitation to contact him if they had any questions. Don had mentioned a biodiversity experiment at Cedar Creek and I was keen to learn more (really, it's interesting stuff). I asked him how I could get a copy of the original study. Don kindly connected me with the author, David Tilman. I called David and he sent me his research.

A few years later I emailed Matthew J. Bruccoli, an expert on F.S. Fitzgerald and an editor of his books and letters. I was looking for a copy of Sara and Gerald, Villa America and After, a book about American artist patrons in early 1920s France he had helped create. Matthew quickly responded and guided me to a copy on Abebooks

A few weeks ago, I sent a note to Chris Bogen, co-author of The Impact Equation. I am a fan of his newsletters and shared that his guidance is helping me with my book and business. He kindly and quickly replied, wishing me luck.

Connecting with people you don't know, even famous ones, seems easier and more commonplace today. There are more ways to connect and it is less of a big deal. Contacting an author to clarify a point or ask for guidance is almost expected. 

In our more social world, books, presentations and videos are no longer static creations; they are dynamic by virtue of the discussions around them. It's a win-win for the reader and the author. 

My opportunity is to make it easy for these connections to happen with my readers, whether through my website design, content or other social media.  Not only will it be good to make new connections, it will be good to return past favours.