Tribes by Seth Godin

In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.

Since it was first published almost a decade ago, Seth Godin’s visionary book has helped tens of thousands of leaders turn a scattering of followers into a loyal tribe. If you need to rally fellow employees, customers, investors, believers, hobbyists, or readers around an idea, this book will demystify the process.

It is human nature to seek out tribes, be they religious, ethnic, economic, political, or even musical (think of the Deadheads).  Now the Internet has eliminated the barriers of geography, cost, and time. Social media gives anyone who wants to make a difference the tools to do so.

With his signature wit and storytelling flair, Godin presents the three steps to building a tribe: the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead.

If you think leadership is for other people, think again—leaders come in surprising packages. Consider Joel Spolsky and his international tribe of scary-smart software engineers. Or Gary Vaynerhuck, a wine expert with a devoted following of enthusiasts. Chris Sharma led a tribe of rock climbers up impossible cliff faces, while Mich Mathews, a VP at Microsoft, ran her internal tribe of marketers from her cube in Seattle.

Tribes will make you think—really think—about the opportunities to mobilize an audience that are already at your fingertips. It’s not easy, but it’s easier than you think.

Don’t Be Uninformed

“What?! Donald Trump is President?”

That is not something you should say at a networking event. Before the event, catch up on what is happening in the world, nationally, locally, and in your industry. You should read up on global events and understand how they may affect your industry.

“Consider it your homework for building a more engaging personality and as a critical element in establishing your relevancy,” writes Heather Dugan on Salary.com.

Preparing for events, conferences, and meetings doesn’t just mean coming with a stack of freshly printed business cards. If you know certain people who are attending or speaking at an event who you know you’ll be interested in meeting, then you should do research on them ahead of time. When you do your homework, you can skip the small talk and get right into the meaningful conversation you are looking for in the first place.

“Time is the most valuable resource people can offer you, so respect it,” says Burke. “Do your homework on the person’s title, their background, their email address, their preferred mode of contact, and their career history. That way, your conversation via email, phone, or in-person can focus on the advice you need to help with, the subject matter you’d like to learn more about, or the organization you want to learn more about.”

In addition to coming prepared with questions for other people, prepare to answer the questions they’ll ask you. Practice your own pitch, as well as answering questions about your career goals.

Innovate Dallas – Partnering Schools and Community for Growth

The best way to ensure our kids are the leaders of tomorrow is to allow them to be leaders today!

Innovate Dallas is about bringing our schools, community, and businesses together to instill the skills and mindsets of innovation that are needed to drive economic growth in our region.

Innovate Dallas has received a matching grant from Oregon Community Foundation to assist in connecting Dallas students to real community centered problems to both enhance deeper learning and to develop leadership capacity.

To prepare the next generation of leaders able to solve our most pressing problems, the Construct Foundation builds and facilitates design challenges known as Breaker Challenges that introduce young people to a prototype-driven method for innovation.  For an example of a Breaker Challenge see this link The Future of Food.

In every challenge, we teach the tools of design and entrepreneurship and task young people with building solutions to a real problem.

THE PROBLEM
Residents at the Dallas Retirement Village are divided into 3 groups based on the level of care that they require, Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Health Services. As residents move through the levels of care they become increasingly isolated from their preferred lifestyle, activities, and circle of friends.

In this Wellness and Aging design challenge we ask a team of students to identify, design, and test new and novel ways to increase joy and connectedness for the residents of the Dallas Retirement Village Community.

Our kids are assets in our community and this Breaker Challenge is our first of many examples to prove this. Our business community’s support in this activity points toward believing in the future of Dallas as a vibrant community that values innovation for growth in schools, business and sense of community as a whole.

Please help us reach our goal of $6,000 to develop this innovative model of learning.

If you have questions please reach out to Jamie Richardson at LaCreole Middle School

email – jamie.richardson@dsd2.org

phone – 503-623-6662

Coping with Poor Business Etiquette

Bad behavior can become an epidemic if left unchecked. It is often difficult for management to monitor office etiquette if everyone is on their best behavior when the boss walks by. This creates frustration among teammates when working with offenders.

There are a few simple strategies to help restore peace and professionalism to the workplace.

Be the example. In the infamous, and potentially misquoted, words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. Everyone is a role model, especially management. In fact, managers can sometimes be “patient X” of the poor etiquette epidemic. Be friendly, helpful, and encouraging to colleagues.

Know the policies. Before intervening on bad behavior, check the employee handbook or with a human resource representative to ensure that you fully understand all the policies and procedures that are in place pertaining to this bad behavior.

Have a heart to heart. Calmly talk with the offender. Many times they are unaware that their actions are in poor taste or are negatively affecting others. Most people wish to perform well and to be seen in a positive light by their management. Having a conversation may be all that is needed in many cases.

Remember, you do not need to like everyone you work with and they do not need to like you, but you do need to be able to approach them appropriately, and be heard. Everyone in the office, personnel structure aside, should be able to peacefully coexist. Poor business etiquette impacts everyone’s productivity and morale. As a leader, it is important to lead by example when it comes to proper manners at work. You set the tone and tempo of all dealings within the office, whether work related or personnel related. Dealing with offenders can be intimidating, but doing so appropriately and consistently sets the standard for what is and is not acceptable, and it will ultimately help everyone in the end.

What is Public Policy & How Does the Chamber Fit In?

Public policy is best described as the broad area of government laws, regulations, court decisions, and local ordinances.

Today, government affects all aspects of our lives. Everyone has a stake in the public policies enacted by federal, state, and local governments. The fundamental activity of the Chamber of Commerce is to develop and implement policy on major issues affecting business.

Ensuring that laws and legislation remain conducive to the communities’ healthy and vibrant business climate is a top priority for the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber provides a structure for business leaders to communicate effectively with government. That is why the Chamber is your direct connection to local, state, and federal governmental officials and policy-makers. Through Public Policy programs, events, and committees, Chamber members have an opportunity to stay up to date on top business, civic, and social priorities.

The Public Policy Committee is charged by the Chamber Board of Directors to develop, articulate and reinforce the Chamber’s position as the voice of business in the Dallas area with local, state, and federal political and policy leaders. Through an integrated approach of developing public policy positions then proactively advocating for those positions with all levels of elected leadership, the Chamber is able to leverage the influence of its large and diverse membership to ensure that the voice of business is heard.

If you have any questions or concerns about public policy or legislatives that affect business’ you are encouraged to stop by your local Chamber.

What is Public Policy and How Does the Chamber Fit In?

Public policy is best described as the broad area of government laws, regulations, court decisions, and local ordinances.

Today, government affects all aspects of our lives. Everyone has a stake in the public policies enacted by federal, state, and local governments. The fundamental activity of the Chamber of Commerce is to develop and implement policy on major issues affecting business.

Ensuring that laws and legislation remain conducive to the communities’ healthy and vibrant business climate is a top priority for the Dallas Area Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber provides a structure for business leaders to communicate effectively with government. That is why the Chamber is your direct connection to local, state, and federal governmental officials and policy-makers. Through Public Policy programs, events, and committees, Chamber members have an opportunity to stay up to date on top business, civic, and social priorities.

The Public Policy Committee is charged by the Chamber Board of Directors to develop, articulate and reinforce the Chamber’s position as the voice of business in the Dallas area with local, state, and federal political and policy leaders. Through an integrated approach of developing public policy positions then proactively advocating for those positions with all levels of elected leadership, the Chamber is able to leverage the influence of its large and diverse membership to ensure that the voice of business is heard.

If you have any questions or concerns about public policy or legislatives that affect business’ you are encouraged to stop by your local Chamber.

Don’t Dress Down

Networking outside the office is your best chance to meet new people beyond your corporate circle who can help promote your career. It’s also a no-man’s land when it comes to the dress code.

Networking is not an interview, and once outside the office, the strict rules of the dress code no longer apply. You’re left on your own to overdress and look like you don’t belong or under dress and look like you’ll never belong.

If you’re not sure what everyone will be wearing, ask around to ensure that you won’t be the only one sans suit. When in doubt, business casual is your best bet. But the clothes call could run the gamut from a suit to jeans. Networking outside the office, with more focus on culture and entertainment, is also the perfect opportunity to be more fashion forward and express yourself. This is not a free pass to don your sequined ‘80s jumpsuit, but wear your favorite colors; accessorize; and, most of all, smile.

Remember, dress for success every day, no matter what’s on the agenda – you never who you will run into on your lunch break. Our appearance contributes to how people perceive us. Take control of your appearance. Make sure people perceive you the way you want to be perceived.

Office Etiquette 101

Emily Post said it best when she stated that “Manners are the sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” Proper office etiquette is an essential business tool. It impacts your reputation with your team, colleagues, and customers. Unfortunately there are no universal rules that govern all workplaces. However, the basics of good etiquette translate to all settings and industries.

What are the basics?

“When in Rome…” What you ear to work can affect the impression you leave upon others and your overall productivity. While comfort is important, wearing workout attire to an office where your team members and colleagues are wearing khakis and button-down shirts is not advised. The rule of thumb is to dress as you expect your team to dress.

Keep personal grooming, personal. There is a big difference between applying some lip balm or hand cream at your desk and giving yourself a complete manicure. Desks and offices are for performing work. All grooming, including makeup application and hair brushing, should be done in the restroom. Manicures should be limited to your home or the salon. If you remember that is completely inappropriate for your company pay you to do your hair and nails at work, or to do anything that is necessarily something to be done on your own time, then your subordinates will remember that too. It would be extremely difficult for you to reprimand this bad be3havior with your subordinates if they know you do the same thing. You should strive to always lead by example. Doing so will always make your life easier at work, both in correcting behavior and in maintaining productivity.

Table manners. Offices are not dining areas. Eating at your desk not only decreases productivity, but is annoying to those around you. No one wants to hear you chewing on your salad. They especially do not want to smell your leftover fish or last night’s spicy delight. Be mindful of what you bring for lunch. If there is a break room or a kitchen, then use it. This will keep your office space neat and work-focused., as well as allow you to casually catch up with your staff. When you are done eating, clean up after yourself.

Voices carry. As more offices remove their cubicle walls for an open concept workspace, voice control is imperative. Mind your volume when talking to the team or colleagues in open areas.

Sick time is available for a reason, use it! The absolute worst violation of proper business etiquette is going to work when ill. Staying home and resting will help the recovery process and prevent the spread of germs throughout the office. Honestly, it is worse to infect everyone, thereby risking temporary lulls in productivity, than it is to leave the team in order to recover and to rely on another manager for a few days. This is where leading by example is key.

These basics of proper office etiquette are universal. Adhering to them shows a level of leadership that will encourage your colleagues and teams to maintain an environment conducive to optimal productivity by adopting the same office habits.

Communicate to Impress

Effective communication can impress anyone, at any time, in any place, and through any medium. Some of the best communication opportunities happen in the most unlikely places. A great example when you see someone use an “elevator pitch”. This term was first coined to define the scenario of a chance meeting with someone important in an elevator. The goal is to have a clear, concise message that can be delivered within the time it takes to ride an elevator, which would then lead to an exchange of business cards or an interest to continue that conversation outside the elevator.

The concept of creating an impression in two minutes or less is even more powerful in a world full of urgency and instant gratification, such as ours. Chance meetings can happen anywhere, not just elevators or city sidewalks. They can happen online through social media, online forums, or even within the comment sections of blogs you frequent. Many of the elements of an effective elevator pitch can be translated to social media interactions. Some of the best talent can be discovered through these chance meetings.

Remember, KISS – Keep It Super Simple! Your message should be professional, but able to be understood by anyone regardless of their level of education or literacy. This means replacing complex concepts and jargon with common terminology in such a way that anyone in your audience can appreciate not just the message, but the direction and the impacts that your message communicates.

Know your stuff. Know the subject matter of what you are talking about. Always be prepared for follow-up questions and how they need to be answered. This means doing your research and tailoring your message to the audience. Tailoring your message can be a challenge when chance encounters happen in person. However, when communicating to impress on LinkedIn or other social media sites, it is easier to understand your intended audience.

Secretly sell yourself. Highlight your unique abilities and accomplishments as well as the value you add to the potential relationship. Showing off your assets without overtly selling yourself leaves a lasting impression. Top talent is drawn to leaders that know how to subtly sell the organization, especially when done in a way that they can see themselves blending nicely into the goals and culture of that organization.

Follow up. Timely follow-up via phone, text, or social media keeps the conversation at the forefront of the mind. Regardless of the situation, following up a day or two after the initial meeting shows your interest and professionalism. This could be the difference between becoming memorable or quickly forgotten.

Perfecting your elevator pitch can make a huge difference in how effectively you communicate in a variety of social situations and how you are viewed by those who can be the next great asset to your team or partner to your goals.

Become a Great Communicator

Every living being communicates. Dogs bark, birds sing, and primates use hand gestures and noises akin to speech. Effective communication is needed in all areas of life. Paul Meyer describes communication best when he says, “Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal career success.” While basic communication skills are inherent, advanced skills that lead one to becoming a great communicator takes practice.

Effective communication begins with listening. Too many times, people are either thinking about their responses or about something else entirely, and they fail to completely listen to the other person. By doing this, you lose focus on the conversation and may find out, in embarrassment, that your response is completely off base. When you are not listening, you are creating a one-sided conversation that shows others that you really do not care about what they have to say. Showing a genuine interest in learning what others think and feel about any matter they find worth discussing will place you in a position to be the one they go to for encouragement and to brainstorm solutions to difficult problems – because what you say in response will all of a sudden matter, too.

Focusing on your interactions shows respect. Checking emails, texting, or engaging in social media while in a conversation is rude. Great communicators respect those they are with by putting away or turning off their electronic devices when engaged in conversation. One-on-one conversations are becoming a lost art because of the ease of technology. Eliminate the distractions and hone in your listening skills.

When communicating to anyone be specific. Make your message clear. Doing so ensures that you are heard and understood in the way you intended. If giving instructions, provide details in order to avoid confusion and ensure better outcomes. When setting up appointments, be specific about your availability and give details about the time, location, who else will be in attendance. Frustration occurs when specific details are not shared and people have to go back and do something that could have easily been done correctly the first time.

While being specific is very important, it is also important to simplify your message. Make certain that what you are communicating is understandable. If the thought is confused in your mind, it will most certainly be confusing to the person you are communicating with. Take the time to think through what you need to convey. Pauses should not be feared, especially if that pause helps you communicate your point clearly and more effectively.

Finally, ask questions. Great communicators ask questions and they are not afraid to get specific. Taking a genuine interest in learning more about people and what they think, feel, and experience helps keep the conversation going and shows that you are engaged. People appreciate it when someone wants to get to know them better and the knowledge gained through great interactions can help you further yourself both personally and professionally.

Effective communication is a great skill for everyone to have. It is also a necessary skill in order to get along successfully in the world around you. It is a lost art by many that can be easily revived by practicing your listening skills, being specific, and asking questions.