As a college student decades ago, I learned an important lesson about crowd-sourcing ideas that still applies to the world of business today.
Construction was ongoing at the time throughout the campus of my small university in the U.S. Midwest, Missouri Southern State University in Joplin, Missouri. Joplin is today best known for the unfortunate reason of being the place where the deadliest tornado in America struck on May 22 two years ago.
Well before concrete sidewalks were installed, students found and developed the natural path between buildings.
(View full map)
The part of the university campus I’m referring to here was not badly damaged in the tornado, so this map shows approximately where two buildings (numbers 14 and 17) were built in the 1970s and how the sidewalk connects them.
What happened when the buildings and sidewalk were built shows an early understanding of the value of crowd-sourcing an idea and channeling the wisdom of the masses.
Both of the buildings were built on a horseshoe-shaped commons area on campus. Rather than pouring concrete sidewalks between the facilities, the university let the students first make a footpath across the commons.
The students naturally found the shortest way to get from one place to another and over time wore a muddy path between the buildings. Then the university paved the sidewalk on top of the route that the students were already using. The unofficial shortcut then became the established direction for foot traffic.
Getting input from the end users of your ideas — by crowd-sourcing or cloud-sourcing the concepts — is an effective way to develop ”sticky” ideas before they are set in hard concrete.
Are you using the wisdom of crowds and clouds and stakeholders to find the best, most effective path forward? Ask, assess, then ask. We’re here to help!
I’m too small–and too wise–to take on Big Tobacco by myself. So I will just comment on one specific, nefarious tactic being used right now as an advertising campaign in Switzerland. Billboards are warning young adults not about the dangers of smoking (except in the small font). Instead they’re encouraging them to smoke with four little words in very large type: ”Don’t Be a Maybe!”
”Maybe” is such a powerful word and now quite a trendy one, it seems. According to a recent New York Times article by Ben Sisario titled The New Rise of a Summer Hit: Tweet It Maybe, Carly Rae Jepsen’s catchy song ”Call Me Maybe” was the longest running hit of the year in 2012 and stayed in the Number 1 spot for nine weeks.
It also spawned a series of viral internet Maybe videos, like the Cookie Monster’s ”Share It Maybe” and the political spoof with excerpts from Obama’s speeches knit together so that he seems to be singing ”Call Me Maybe.” Finally, if you want to see a funny video from a trade organization, look at the American Water Works Association video “AWWA Call Me Maybe.”
Being a Maybe person in business isn’t always a bad thing. Maybe can give you time to think things through more thoroughly so that your final decision is better considered. Maybe can give your organization time to catch up with you and align with your thinking.
But Maybe can also do the opposite and that’s the risk. Too much hesitation or ”analysis paralysis” can allow doors to close behind you and options to be taken off the table.
Do you know whether Maybe is hurting or helping your organization? Ask, assess, then act. We’re here to help so call me — no maybe!
Some topics demand more than a single blog post. That’s why we’ve discussed several timely, key topics as a multi-part series. This compilations list provides easy links to our 5 most most popular series.
Leadership, Communications and the Annual General Meeting
Being a Social CEO
Planning for the CEO’s First 100 Days
Pink Matters: Female Leadership
Gray Matters: Cross-generational Leadership for Age 50+ Executives
You may have heard the old phrase ”in a New York minute” to describe something that happened very quickly. A new term might be better to reflect today’s fast pace of business: ”in an internet minute.” Continue Reading…
Are you a thought leader with an ailing CV? Does your resume need a dose of dazzle and a shot of wow to make it stand out? Here’s your chance to get an accurate diagnosis. Thought Leader Zone is offering a free “C-Suite CV Clinic” on Skype during the week of 25 February.
The inspiration for this clinic comes from some client work I’ve tackled recently. Last week I finished reviewing an executive’s CV – a seven-page resume that demonstrated an ability to accept increasingly challenging responsibilities. Continue Reading…
Smart “on the shelf” strategies can help you disaster-proof high-level departures and avoid a firestorm of negative publicity. (Photo Credit)
Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen the departure of two very different CEOs in two very different ways with two very different results.
Daniel Vasella, long-time leader of global pharmaceuticals powerhouse Novartis, was the first departure, announced on 23 January.
Then on 28 January, Michael Clarke, head of the UK-based Premier Foods, announced his departure in a way reminiscent of former President Bush’s declaration of ”Mission Accomplished” a month after the banner flew behind him on the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in 2003. Continue Reading…
Still using business jargon? That’s so last year! (Don’t miss the taboo words and phrases covered in my recent post The Most Annoying Words and Phrases of 2012 as well as the earlier post 50 Tired Management Buzzwords and Communication Killers.)
As a thought leader, it’s crucial that you communicate meaning clearly and concisely. But communicating well often means not saying something.
It may mean listening more instead of talking. Particularly during negotiations, silence is golden.
It may mean slowing down the rhythm of communication and saying less before it’s time to say more or make a big announcement. You’ll likely get more attention if there’s a quiet before the storm.
Two recent, noteworthy articles posted in my Thought Leader ScoopIt e-zine focus on the good communication habit of saying nothing. The first article, 10 Communication Practices to Stop, talks about what’s in and what’s out in communications practices in 2013. The second article, Communication’s Biggest Secret: Knowing When To Keep Your Mouth Closed, discusses the surprisingly smart strategy of silence.
Resolve to improve your communications style in 2013! Are you willing to learn something new in the new year? Ask, assess, then act. We’re here to help!
Photo: by Rev Stan on Flickr
A communications coach helps leaders clarify their message and focus messaging strategy.
Illustration by hikingartist.com
One question I’m asked frequently is how does what I normally do differ from what a traditional management coach does. It’s difficult to explain because a management coach and a communications coach actually are similar.
Both types of coaches help managers lead better, so I would certainly call myself a management coach. We both help CEOs and senior leaders clarify and then make choices.
But my unique service offering is that of being a so-called message coach. I channel rather than challenge management choices leaders make, and then I in turn challenge the leaders’ choices for communicating such decisions.
In other words, a communications coach helps leaders choose the right strategies, tactics and approaches for communicating their management choices. These types of message coaches not only help leaders choreograph their communication choices, they also help craft the best messages for a particular situation and audience.
Communicating well up, down and sideways in an organization, as well as communicating appropriately to a wide range of external audiences, requires making the right choices for the immediate, short-term, medium-term and long-term horizons.
Are you at an inflection point in your career and getting ready to make some management choices? Are you prepared to make the right communications choices at the same time? Ask, assess, then act. We’re here to help!
In my last blog, you learned about the importance of choosing the right keywords to help potential client and customers find you online. As an example to illustrate that point, I used the term ”CEO first 100 days” as the blog title because those keywords have a low competition score: 0.09 out of 1.00.
But the topic of CEO transition planning is an important one for any company. Most corporate communications teams have a general plan in place that can be tailored and then implemented when the need arises. That helps them be better prepared for the ”expected” and the ”unexpected” when the company’s leader changes.
Click here or on the page above for a generic transition communications plan for a CEO’s first 100 days in office. Do you need help designing or implementing it? Ask, assess, then act. We’re here to help!
See related post:
Part 1: Key actions for the CEO’s First 100 Days (Part 1)