Is this Future Shock?

musings on how technology is changing my business environment

Archive for August 2008

Personal branding and blogging

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Sherlock Holmes

… or what happened to ShaiDorsai?

Following a personal branding/social media engagement post on Richard’s blog, I thought “Yes, fair, I ought to make it plainer who I am, and take more open ownership of my opinions”.

Another guy whose blog I read (actually, I take an RSS feed but that’s another matter), and whose posts I admire is Chris Brogan. He’s written a whole series of post, including Elements of a Personal Brand:

Build a Destination

This comes first in giving people a way to reach you, to see you, to know what you’re about. In this case, I mean giving people a website (preferably a blog), a phone number, an email account, a twitter account, a LinkedIN profile, and a Facebook profile. At minimum.

Now, I had the last 3 in my name, so it seemed churlish not to provide a recognisable blog and email address…

Get your blog a domain name

Now, I started *this blog* on WordPress.com, as it was easy – but the wordpress.com suffix takes away from my identity…

I use 1and1.co.uk, amongst others, for domain names and I ordered steveellwood.com from there. It’s about £11 a year. Initially, I just had a frame forward to my blog, but then decided I’d rather do it *properly*. I followed the instructions at the WordPress FAQ – after a moment’s hesitation, as you can’t pay for the domain upgrade until you have pointed your domain at the WordPress nameservers. That came at a cost of $10 a year.

Sort out your email

In line with WordPress’s suggestion, I used Google Apps for Your Domain to sort this out, again there are easy Google Mail configuration instructions. [It’s probably easier if you don’t already use GoogleApps – but if you do, you can find your configuration code at https://www.google.com/a/cpanel/YourDomainName/VerifyOwnership%5D

So, I can now be contacted at my domain, too. Currently I forward mail to another account, but can always find it through Google Apps email.

Why not self-host?

I have another blog (at http://shaidorsai.co.uk) which I self hosted, so I could learn about WordPress, and I may even do that at sometime.

Until then, it’s easy to use WordPress.com, and since *I* own the domain this blog now sits under I could easily point it to a self-host if I want – and WordPress.com makes it easy to export your blog to ease the transition…

Image Credit: gregwake

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Written by SteveEllwood

August 26, 2008 at 6:56 pm

Trust your people… let them free.

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trust sculpted

Having a quick glance at Hugh Macleod’s excellent blog, from last week, my attention was caught by his humanification bit where he chats about a previous posting:

4. You’ve already done “efficient”. We’re living in a post-efficiency world now. We already know how to make things better, cheaper and faster than the previous generation. We already know how to squeeze our suppliers till the pips squeak. We already know how to build systems that maximize profits at every stage of the production and selling process. We’re already outsourcing our stuff to China, and so is everyone else. Been there. Done that. So where does the growth need to come from? What needs to happen, in order to save your job?

THESIS:

5. The growth will come, I believe, not by yet more increased efficiencies, but by humanification. For example, take two well-known airlines. They both perform a useful service. They both deliver value. They both cost about the same to fly to New York or Hong Kong. Both have nice Boeings and Airbuses. Both serve peanuts and drinks. Both serve “airline food”. Both use the same airports. But one airline has friendly people working for them, the other airline has surly people working for them. One airline has a sense of fun and adventure about it, one has a tired, jaded business-commuter vibe about it. Guess which one takes the human dimension of their business more seriously than the other? Guess which one still will be around in twenty years? Guess which one will lose billions of dollars worth of shareholder value over the next twenty years? What parallels do you see in your own industry? In your own company?

The comments on that post led to this post which was talking about how Lee Bryant viewed “humanification” – or as he put it “Humanising the Enterprise

By elevating the individuals in the organisation above systems, and by re-balancing the relationship between people and process, we can create a social fabric that lives and breathes the values that large companies are trying to instill in their organisations. We have the tools and the ideas to do this in ways that were not possible before, and we are in a position to finally move beyond Taylorism and the factory model to a new era of genuinely people-powered organisations and networks. We know how to create rich and purposeful social networks as vehicles for collaboration and co-operation. We know how to aggregate ideas and negotiate common language to create better forms of information organisation and retrieval. We know a lot more about what is possible when people trust each other by default; and we also know a lot more about how to engage in debate and deliberation with people who agree with us and people who do not.

In my own company there are ongoing tensions about achievement, performance, reward – and there’s a perception that there’s not as much trust as there could be. Let’s hope we do trust our people – and deliver what Lee and Hugh seem to think is achieveable.

Image Credit: doctor paradox
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Written by SteveEllwood

August 11, 2008 at 3:14 pm

Posted in Management, performance

Communication messages – from dog training to humans?

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attentive dog

What could you learn from a dog trainer?

This came about from the last couple of Sundays, as I have had to substitute for my wife in the dog training classes our youngest dog is going to.

You need to keep audience attention

In dog training, we do this by using treats to aid the dog’s focus; in wider life, don’t be the same as everyone else. If everyone’s doing Death by Powerpoint, and reading notes – talk without notes; look at how you’re presenting your data. If you can’t give a fast pitch… work until you can.

Consistency of Communication

In dog training, we always heel the dog at the left. Make sure your messages tell the same story; carry the branding. If they don’t, your audience is left wondering if you know your own story.

Clarity of Communication

While your audience might not appreciate one word commands “SIT!” “STAY!“, they want the message to be easy.

  • Why are they here?
  • What’s the story?
  • What do you want from them?
  • What’s the call to action?

Speak with Authority

Dogs need a firm tone. Humans need to know that you’re worth their attention; if you’re in front of them – know they want to hear what you have to tell them; know that you know best of all what you want to tell them. So, tell them, with authority; like you mean it, and you care.

Image Credit: msmail

Written by SteveEllwood

August 3, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Posted in communication