Saturday, May 8, 2010


Thriving in the New Economy - WOMEN PRESIDENTS' ORGANIZATION - Annual Conference
EVENT: KEYNOTE ADDRESS – MARSHALL GOLDSMITH, best-selling author and Executive Coach and FRANCES HESSELBEIN, President and CEO of the Leader to Leader Institute / formerly the Peter F. Drucker Foundation for Nonprofit Management, former CEO, the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. (1976-1990)

WOW! What an amazing opportunity to see these two together. They have such a real affection and respect for each other’s abilities. I came away with severl pearls of wisdom from such a seasoned and smart duo.

Some thoughts to ponder…
-          Live by example
-          Lead by example
-          Have personal humility and total respect for others – otherwise the rest does not matter
-          You must have trust
-          How our your treating the people around you?
-          Find solutions through respect
-          “Manage to the Mission” like our armed forces, you have to have a real passion for the mission. Clearly know the “why” and the “purpose”
-          Innovate or die – Innovation is the change that creates a new level of performance
-          We all have losses and sorrows – But we have to see these as opportunities to make a difference
-          Don’t waste energy you could be using to make a difference
-          Get your staff to your passion level
o   This should be your first mission
o   Talk about your passion/mission and live it
o   Respond with “That will further our mission” or “That is mission focused”
-          Remember – MISSION COMES FIRST!


Thriving in the New Economy - WOMEN PRESIDENTS' ORGANIZATION - Annual Conference
SPEAKER: Jeanette Gibson, Director, Global Social Media, Cisco
SPONSOR: Wells Fargo
DESCRIPTION: Conducting communications in this new Web 2.0 world is a challenge for any company. How, when, why to use video, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and all other forms of social media tactics and strategies can be hard to navigate. Jeanette Gibson, Director of Global Social Media, Cisco will discuss the company’s strategy for Web 2.0 and share best practices on how Cisco transformed its product launch process using web 2.0 technologies and integrates social media into its communications and marketing campaigns.

I am totally sold on the value of social media for business, even in a B2B space like mine. I enjoyed learning more from a seasoned industry professional.

When considering social media remember:

-          Social media creates a 2 way street between you and your customers

-          Your customers are now defining your product in the market

o   When they are upset and post a negative comment

§  Say  “thank you” and “I’m Sorry” – most customers don’t take the time to post a negative comment, so treat it as the opportunity that it is to keep them

-          See it as a “social hub” – a place to aggregate – provide RSS feeds

-          What are your customers' passionate about?

o   That should drive your content

o   See sites like this was driven by their customer response

-          You can use sites like Twitter to poll your customers during your meetings and presentations

o   Get real time feedback

o   Create a Twitter address for your event

-          Like it or not – every employee is now a media producer for you

-          Videos should be “snackable” – 90 seconds or less

o   Tie your videos into other technologies

o   People like to see behind the scene views

-          Use Twitter to conduct interviews

o   Answer with a video

-          Tweet Ups provide a way to create off-line events

o   Allows people to meet face to face

o   They get to meet you in person

o   Tools like Eventbrite are great for scheduling


It is an important tool in creating engagement with your customers:

-          Look what Starbucks in doing to create engagement with their customers

o   Allow their customers to  - share, vote, discuss, see new products, submit “My Starbuck Idea”

-          Dell has created the Idea Storm  -

-          Check out and learn from the top companies  -


Lessons Learned:

-          Remember you can put your meeting audio on iTunes

-          FTC guidelines around disclosure on your blogs  and postings

-          Public and private lines get blurred on social media

-          When filming videos remember your backgrounds and lighting



Thriving in the New Economy - WOMEN PRESIDENTS' ORGANIZATION - Annual Conference
SPEAKER: Marshall Goldsmith, Best-selling author and Executive Coach
DESCRIPTION: Marshall Goldsmith is a world authority in helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behavior: for themselves, their people and their teams. In this fast-paced, interactive session, Dr. Goldsmith will describe classic challenges faced by successful leaders and how they can use ‘what to stop’ in personal development and coaching. Participants will practice feedforward – a positive, focused tool for development that has been successfully implemented by leaders around the world. He will then share a proven process for leadership development and coaching – along with published research involving over 86,000 respondents from eight major corporations. Finally, Marshall will have participants practice peer coaching and share exciting new research on how it can produce great results – at very low cost to the company.

I really enjoyed hear Dr. Goldsmith speak. He provided a lot of food for thought. Below are my notes from his session. It is hard to capture the try spirit of the session since much of it was interactive.
 -  #1 - You need to learn what to STOP doing!
 -  We all get stuck in our egos
 - Challenge is not theory but execution
 - Change happens when you follow up and really stick with it
 - The world becomes a better place when people "do"
 - Let others watch you develop
 - Peer coaching is a valuable tool
 - learn to be happy and reduce your feelings of guilt

Classic challenges when interacting with your staff
 - Try to win too much
 - Wanting too much value (no longer their idea) reduces their comfort of sharing with you
 - Passing judgment

As a leader - Remember
 - Your suggestions become orders
 - Before you speak - is the comment worth it? (even if you're are right?!)
 - Learn to say "Great idea!"
 - Take a deep breath and let it go
 - Help more, judge less, don't critique
 - Let go of the past
 - Learn
 - Help

Are You Stuck!?

Thriving in the New Economy - WOMEN PRESIDENTS' ORGANIZATION - Annual Conference
KEYNOTE ADDRESS – PROFESSOR REBECCA HENDERSON, Senator John Heinz Professor of Environmental Management, Harvard Business School
SPONSORED BY: Foley & Lardner, LLP

Professor Henderson finds that most companies do not achieve their strategic plans because they just have too many of them. We tend to have a hard time saying no. What does your pipeline REALLY look like? Are you trying to do too many things at once? Goals that are beyond the resources of your company? Are you "being too busy"? Most companies run at ~300% overload

These are the dynamics of overload
-The dangers of firefighting
-Why we tend to stay stuck
-How to break the cycle -what can be done
What are the realities of overload?
-Most everyone knows that the bottom projects will never get done
So kill those projects
Stop burning up your people
Over commitment reduces productivity
When you are constantly moving from project to project there is no time to reflect
Attention to projects actually declines
Focus shifts to short term versus long term
-Why does overload persist?
Overload is not about the person failing, it is a structural dynamic
people get blamed instead of the systems
Imposes pressure
Switch into firefighter mode, providing insights, fixing things instead of developing strategy, setting priorities and systems, and killing the project
Want to get unstuck?
-Manage your capacity - look at your projects like your product production pipeline
Don't take a bottoms up estimate approach
Most often tasks established are unreliable
it NEVER goes as planned
Always easy to make space for 1 more
keep good records of actual times required to complete past projects
Compare past projects to the new one - understand how really feasible the new one is
-Learn to like killing projects
Have a clear strategy and live by it -even if it is a "good" project - say NO!
Run a funnel not a tunnel
Clearly articulate the priorities
Let staff know what can "fall of the table"
Learn to face worse before better
Accept short term pain for long term benefits
fix problems - don't punish
-Change your habits around dealing with problems
respond to them as opportunities
-Build trust within the organization
Think about your relationships - don't just CYA