Digital Leadership 2.0

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When I first joined Twitter back in 2007, I followed a lot of different people. I was bullish very early on regarding social marketing, and a number of people who I followed helped to shape and reinforce my experience and opinion.

Over time, I began to find my own voice and at the same time, began to unfollow a number of those influencers – it was an evolution and a healthy one not unlike many “real world” relationships. Those days were a very optimistic time for the social media industry, when the arrival of tools like Facebook and Twitter were seen as a democratization of marketing where the tools of real-time, mass dissemination, “free” communication were at hand. The future was limitless, bright and fun. It was almost a revolution, as converts were continually faced with the challenge of having to “sell up” the benefits of social tools o the executive level.

Many digital leaders at that time were rife with appropriate optimism. Digital Leaders 1.0 were also inherently “cool” as these marketing practices were explosive and truly game-changing. Terms like “rock stars” were abound, with “killer apps” and strategies to “make your content explode”, we were a bit caught up in it. Rules changed over night, and the possibilities kept expanding.

But there is still this lingering evangelicalism that has been outpaced by the progress and acceptance of social marketing. The current landscape is not composed of renegades and rock stars, but professionals at all levels. I often see tweets continually punctuated with exclamation marks! Because everything is awesome!!! There is also this penchant for “life coach” type of advice; Tony Robbins-isms if you will.

Is it just me, or are these the kinds of people you avoid at parties or gatherings? Why aren’t more people rolling their eyes at this kind of activity?

I see effective leaders (in any industry/setting) as catalysts. This is a time for transparent experience when over 100,000 Twitter profiles claim to be social media experts. It’s time for a grounded approach, focused on business outcomes. We don’t need hype, what we do is not radical. A catalyst initiates and enables. A leader is not the hammer, it’s the nail. It’s time for Digital Leadership 2.0.

If you want to be a leader – don’t get in line, find your own voice. Start today.

3 Steps: Challenge = Opportunity

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It may be out of season right now, but baseball is always the analogy with work, life and (yes) love. For my purposes, let’s keep this in the ballpark of work.

Let me set the stage – Actually, the stage is set already in the “Challenge Economy” (a nice spin, but not my own words). It’s bottom of the 9th, 2 outs… and you are up to bat…

For some, this is a moment they do not wish to be in – but in reality, this is where difference makers can shine. Now is the time for the most resourceful and dedicated to “show up” and rise to the challenge. Opportunity is where preparation and timing meet – and in every challenge there is an opportunity or two.

Back to baseball… If you are a professional baseball player (I’m betting you are not), then baseball is your work or your job. It’s time to wait for your pitch and swing the bat. For the rest of, our work can throw any number of challenges our way – and some of them could be the turning points of the game. Knowing that this is your moment is an important step in stepping up, but it is only half the battle. If this is your moment, what exactly are you going to do?

Try starting with these 3 ideas:

  1. What can you directly control or influence? Focus on your role in the organization. What areas arer you responsible for? Plan to take action on something that falls solely on you to drive.
  2. Don’t swing for the fence when a single will do. Sure – a home run is amazing, but in baseball – in the bottom of the 9th, a single is all that is really required to keep you in the game. Sometimes, its the best play you can make. Keep it simple and…
  3. Think short term goals. What impact can made this week – or better yet, what impact can you provide today? If there is a big, daunting project – what bite can you take today that begins to address it or begin to manage it?

This is where the best arise, when the chips are down it is time to rise the challenge. And you need to have a plan to do it.