Every leader needs to communicate effectively. Whether it’s with employees, clients, partners or donors, you want to make sure you get your audience’s attention.
But as one of my favorite ad gurus David Ogilvy is known to have said, “You can’t save souls in an empty church.”
So how do you really make sure that does not happen?
It was 90 days ago.
That’s all it has been since the launch of our new book “Putting Soul Into Business: How the Benefit Corporation is Transforming American Business for Good.” And while we are pleased with getting it written and into the hands of good organizations and good people, we know our real work has just begun.
Writing a well-researched and thought-provoking manuscript is one thing. Leading a movement in your community and state is another.
I have learned not to give out any advice unless someone asks for it.
But such restraint can be difficult when it comes to your own children.
Recently I've given my sons some time-tested advice about their careers. (Not sure if it was asked for or not.)
It's been said that life really is simple. But it's we humans who make it complicated.
Think for a minute about that 2,500 year-old thought from Confucius.
It's really the truth isn't it?
The human condition is such that we are always wanting more.
It strikes a resounding chord in me.
And I bet I'm not alone.
Your product can only be improved and optimized when you measure what matters.
It's a point that was brought home to me a few weekends ago while working at a Habitat for Humanity build site...
Have you ever found yourself wondering how you got to where you are? Where you really took a deep dive and started turning over rocks and getting introspective?
Here's my story...
Some really good things have been going on in my personal and professional lives. And I finally took the time to try and find out why that was the case.
She no longer wants to know "what you stand for?" She wants to know "what you stand up for?"
So says a 2017 study from Cone Communications as it explores Corporate Social Responsibility and the American business.
In their report, the researchers find that Americans are concerned about the political climate and how it affects social and environmental issues. They are looking for companies
I hate overwhelm.
When I have too many professional challenges, personal obligations and a frazzled mindset, I feel worthless. My creative thinking, focused energy and big ideas can't be found for the life of me.
And the only true cure for that mental constipation was reaffirmed to me on my recent vacation to La Paz on Baja.
Here's the story...
If you've ever tried to describe the taste of an India Pale Ale (IPA), you know the descriptors vary.
I love variety.
From beer to ice cream, books to sneakers, I always seem to find something to suit my particular taste.
Never has that been more underscored than by my recent visit to a local olive oil and vinegar shop.
I opened the doors and found
"Empathy is a must," said the CEO of a sustainable coffee purveyor when I recently asked him about what it takes to be a Conscientious Leader. "It's hard to be accountable when you're not empathetic."
Yes, I said to myself, there's no question about it in my mind.
But I'll take that idea a step further and say it's equally the case for conscientious communication.
It’s a nasty four-letter word I detest.
But one I’ve learned not only to confront but actually move past. Although getting here was anything but easy.
While I always considered myself a confident person, I found myself freezing up in epic fashion at various stages in my life. Big presentations…personal relationship challenges…parenting challenges all come to mind.
You know your organization stands for something special in the world.
But do your constituents? Your partners, customers and clients?
Do they understand your plan to make a difference...to help create an equitable world? Can they feel the passion that fuels your fire, serving others and making the planet a greener, healthier place to live?
If you're uncertain about that, I have one word for you:
You make your content sticky when you use the power of curiosity. It is a subject we discuss here often. And on my recent trip to NYC, it was yet again underscored while standing in the center of Grand Central Station.
Here's the story...
My youngest son lives in Norwalk about an hour north of the city.
I just finished a 9-week contract with a major healthcare organization.
During that time, I wrote about newsworthy healthcare issues of the day, covering everything from Zika virus to MS, migraines to Celiac disease, "superbugs" to breast cancer, plus 34 other topics.
Clearly, my client and her team recognized that blogging frequency ups SEO and positions an organization as a thought leader. But frequency means tight timeframes.
Coming up with a great story idea for a blog post ain't easy.
So when I'm desperate for inspiration, which is more times than not, I go to my usual sources. Doing Google searches on a particular topic, reading quotes from the content sages and visiting my favorite IPA emporium all have helped me become a bit more inspired.
But this Easter, I was reminded of how such angst is so unnecessary thanks to a US Army Ranger veteran I met underneath the west end of the Hawthorne Bridge.
Picture Abe Lincoln. Babe Ruth. Teddy Roosevelt. John Lennon.
Can you imagine their conversations over a beer or three? The heated discussions about politics? The talk about America's favorite pastime? The words about Dylan, the Stones and McCartney?
Well, these icons at one time patronized the Irish establishment pictured above (circa 1937).
Or throw your content out the window.
You can't move people to action if they have not bought in emotionally.
The corporate world knows this (think Nike, Apple and John Hancock). And so do forward-thinking nonprofits (think "One", Charity: Water and Make-A-Wish campaigns).
I asked myself over and over as I struggled to write the content for the rebrand of my website.
Is my current version really that dated? Too hollow? Too lacking in emotion?
The litany of questions continued inside my confused content writer head for awhile until I found the real (read: heartfelt) reason.