Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Stop looking for success; instead bring value to others

“Try not to become a man of success. Rather become a man of value.”Albert Einstein 

I really love the above quote from Einstein. In two simple sentences, he covers a lot of ground. His words help push my own thinking on the differences between success and value. When it comes to your work, what percentage of your time is focused on winning and having your project be a success? Is it more or less than 50 percent? Take a minute to think about your answer. Now here’s your follow-up question. Do you prioritize success over value and if so, what may you be missing as a result?

Einstein’s quote reminds me to press pause on my notion to drive for success and instead think of how my work helps to bring value to others. How we understand and perceive the differences matters to how we deliver on our individual goals. When you hear of success, recognition tends to follow. While our reputations are built on successful outcomes if we’re not careful, success can inflate our egos and instead of doing the right thing for the right reason individuals may seek out success for their own self-interest. Bringing value puts people first and addressing their needs second. 

When I focus on my strengths and bringing value to my work, I’m thinking about people and outcomes. I’m building relationships, looking at the bigger picture and trying to positively influence others. Earlier in my career, I focused on delivering successful outcomes. Now I can see that was short sighted. Success will follow when you bring value. 

A resume can provide an overview of your successes and yes, you want to list them, but Einstein’s words remind us that the value we bring is in our work.

Here are four simple ways you can bring value:
  • Always consider the perspective of others
  • Ask individuals what they need and deliver on it
  • Benchmark your work and look at trends overtime
  • Keep track of your journey

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Keep your content factual

There was fake news and now we’ve moved onto alternative facts. Media coverage of Spicer’s comments on the attendance for  President Trump’s inauguration numbers and his declaration he lost the popular vote by three to five million due to illegals voting is a real time reminder of how quickly and easily one can be put on the defensive. When your message is not factual and people perceive you’re disingenuous, you lose control of it.

In this social and digital age, content has the potential to go from zero to viral in a click of a button. As content enthusiasts, it’s what we aspire to do for our clients, however, at the heart of effective communications is trust and relationship building, when those begin to fray your audience can turn against you can quickly. Thanks to social channels, discontent of one can become millions within minutes.

These tidal waves in our distribution channels remind us how high the stakes are. Getting your message right is key and having your audience trust you is critical to successful outreach. 

In today’s climate, facts matter. I was happy to see Chuck Todd’s push back on Kellyanne Conway.  “Alternative facts are not facts they’re “false hoods.” I was disappointed Spicer’s poor defense of President Trump’s voting fraud statement had no sources to support his claim. What should be black and white in journalism is morphing into a gray area that shouldn’t exist. 

Whether you’re a journalist, a marketer, a content strategists, a designer or a communications professional, if you produce content keep to the facts. If we want to continue to engage our audiences in and open and authentic way, this expectation must be met. Moreover, if we fail to meet this standard, our audiences will challenge us and they will publically call us out.  Let’s not pave the road to crisis communication mode.  When our content, starts with the facts, comes from a place of integrity and is open to discussions, the waters are less muddy.