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Posted May 20, 2013 6:39 a.m. by michael
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
“What do people think of you? What do they say when you leave the room?” Maybe you don’t think you have a brand. Hopefully you don’t think that. As Dorie Clark demonstrates in her new book, Reinventing You, taking control of your professional future hinges on your acceptance and understanding of your current brand, and your ability to take control of where that brand is going.
OK—we can call it a reputation, if that makes you feel better. As Clark points out early on, we simply can’t afford to disregard the impact that our personal brand has on our success.
The idea that you can just keep your head down and work without any regard to office politics, for instance, has been thoroughly discredited.
Some might perceive a keen interest in one’s own reputation as tacky, but so what? If ‘too cool to care’ is your M.O., you might be risking your professional future. Even further, a lack of concern for your public image is a red flag to your manager—future or current—and if you’re a freelancer, it’s a warning to your potential clients. Companies and managers want to work with people on whom they can rely to be not only effective on the job, but also friendly and conscientious. If you’re not actively engaging your bosses (i.e. maintaining your brand), you’re risking being forgotten, or worse.
Reinventing You is a step-by-step manual for actively steering your career. The beginning is an assessment. Clark provides strategies for discovering the reality of your current brand, so that you can get an idea of what needs to change. This includes asking friends and colleagues to participate in focus groups, as well as using data from past performance reviews from employers. Especially if you’ve never done an assessment of your brand, you will learn a lot. One important thing to remember is that others’ perception of you is effectively reality. Whether you agree with the results of your assessment or not, it’s important that you take them seriously and use those results as your starting point.
After you have some idea how you look to the public, you’re ready to take aim on your destination and try your hand at living your future. Clark advises trying the work you’re interested in. It might not be easy to land your new dream job right off the bat, but you can get started on your new path by volunteering or shadowing in your target field. As Clark says:
To avoid costly mistakes—and wasting your energy—you can take a short-term test-drive.
This experience is often unpaid, but the most important part has already been stated: experience. It’s out there if you want it.
Throughout the rest of the book, Clark walks us through essentials like key skill development, finding a mentor, and one of my favorite topics, leveraging your points of difference. As a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ myself, I love bringing the crucial ‘outsider perspective’ to a project. In the current market, your diverse background is much more likely to be a benefit than a drawback. Clark demonstrates the benefits of transferable skills and your unique identity, and the importance of analyzing your skills through the lens of the current marketplace. Skills you’ve had and valued for a decade might no longer be valued, while other skills you perhaps have taken for granted might be more highly-valued than you thought. Don’t miss the value you bring to the job.
Your reinvention won’t be as simple as point A to point B. In fact, it’s almost certainly going to be hard work, and it doesn’t stop once you land that new job. Wherever you are going, Reinventing You will help you map your path and arrive to a newly-defined you with the skills and image to make your new career a success. The book even contains a self-assessment, re-cap questions at the end of each chapter, and group discussion questions at the back of the book. Start by reminding yourself that your future is too important to be left up to chance; then open Reinventing You and get started.
Posted May 17, 2013 8:38 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
For your weekend perusal, here is another installment of Friday Links
➻ Calvin Ried's coverage of the BISG’s MIP (The Book Industry Study Group’s Making Information Pay Conference) 2013: A New World of Big Data, Complexity and Collaboration for Publishers Weekly yesterday was a treasure of interesting insights:
BISG executive director Len Vlahos gave an overview of “The Digital Consumer” using data from its "Consumer Attitudes Towards E-book Reading Survey," in particular looking at the behavior of “Power Buyers” or consumers who buy at least one e-book a week. They represent about 17% of all e-book buyers, they are likely to be a women aged 55-64, and are “grown not born,” he said, noting that they buy physical books and e-book interchangeably and have grown into being “power” e-book buyers over time. Vlahos also noted that while 80% of Power Buyers shop at Amazon, 40% shop at B&N and 30% buy or use libraries/OverDrive to find the e-books they buy. And while dedicated e-readers continue to dominate, their dominance is slipping (and the use of iPads for reading is growing) and Power Buyers generally own tablets and e-readers (though they prefer dedicated e-readers for reading).
That is just one bit of the fascinating data provided in the Ried's coverage. But what does it all mean for those that write, publish, and sell books? What, if anything, does that data do to the way we move forward as an industry? If anything, it shows that we must continue to work together:
Ken Michaels, president of Hachette Book Group and chairman of BISG, closed the conference with a presentation on change and adaptation, noting that “the world is changing more rapidly than we realize.” In particular he noted that the former linear supply chain in publishing—the familiar publisher to distributer to retailer paradigm—has been replaced by a crazy and complex constellation of financial interests and sevices surrounding one central figure—the reader. He also used this new paradigm to promote industry collaboration, like BookStats.
“We see complexity as an opportunity,” Michaels said, “not because we can figure it out in isolation, but because we can participate togther in organizations like AAP, BISG, IDPF and others, without which we couldn’t educate ourselves about the best practices in this new world.”
And speaking of collaboration, this time internal, the BBC went inside HarperCollins in London to see how their covers come to life in a cool little video, Cover to Cover: How are book jackets designed?
➻ Taking a look inside another literary institution, Julie V. Iovine of the Wall Street Journal writes that The Library's Future Is Not an Open Book. It's a great overview of a paradigm shift taking place in libraries throughout the country and shows that libraries continue to be some of the most dynamic, forward thinking institutions in the country. The piece deserves a full read, but this excerpt should begin to give you the gist of the article:
Branch libraries have long served as community hubs offering book clubs and after-school story times. But central libraries, dedicated to the care and maintenance of weighty collections within ornately crafted and lofty spaces, are having to recast themselves. Thanks to the shift of emphasis to online resources over hard copies, the prevalence of mobile technologies and changing approaches to studying and learning, libraries have a different social purpose. "I used to be greeted by a sea of faces with questions like how to spell 'Albuquerque,'" said Amy E. Ryan, a career librarian since the 1970s and now president of the Boston Public Library. "That's all over. It's now about providing an experience."
That experience still includes books, but more importantly for our true education and the health of our civic life, it includes the serendipity of discovery, of the unexpected, of the other and the unfamiliar—something I think is less prevalent as algorithms dictate who and what we see and read in our lives online.
I also believe that if the world were a perfect place, libraries would become the central, not-for-profit wireless providers in their communities. There are a number of models that could be explored, and the for-profit businesses we have providing this public service now are 1: dead last in most customer satisfaction polls, and 2: lagging behind much of the developed world in providing hi-speed service and capacity. The best ideas they seem to be able to come up with is to charge their most loyal customers more and to tier their services, which explains the public's low esteem of them.
➻ As always, while the Amazon continues to be depleted, Amazon the company just keeps growing. In the news this week, Joanna Stern wrote about Amazon Introducing Amazon Coins—Virtual Currency for Buying Apps and Games, Greg Bensinger reports that Amazon Is Developing Smartphone With 3-D Screen, the Guardian's Ian Griffiths and Simon Bowers have Fresh questions for Amazon over pittance it pays in tax, and Dave Jamieson tells us about Amazon Warehouse Workers Suing Over Security Checkpoint Waits, all while Amazon employees strike in Germany. From Melville House's Kelly Burdick on that last point:
An Amazon spokesperson said the strikes will not affect shipments in Germany.
That said, the action is significant—it’s the first meaningful labor action against Amazon anywhere in the world and an ironic mark against Amazon, a high-tech company suffering from the “distinctly old world malaise of industrial action,” as the FT puts it.the action is significant — it’s the first meaningful labor action against Amazon anywhere in the world and an ironic mark against Amazon, a high-tech company suffering from the “distinctly old world malaise of industrial action,” as the FT puts it.
I would suggest that, if Amazon doesn't want to deal with the "old world malaise of industrial action," they should probably not rely on old world industrial labor conditions.
➻ Over at Salon, Ted Heller says Goodnight, sweet print, asking "Are words on paper gone forever?" At the same time Fast Company's Addy Dugdale tells us that Qantas Urges Passengers To Ditch Their Kindles For A Paperback Book
A collaboration between Hachette and Droga5 is attempting to get Qantas's passengers to turn their tablets and e-readers off, and turn instead to paperbacks.
Stories For Every Journey is a collection of bespoke books aimed at the airline's frequent flyers. Each of the 10 volumes has been written to allow travelers to devour it, front to back, within the flight time--longer flights allow the passenger to devour a meal, throw back a few glasses of wine, and settle down for some sleep, with enough time left to finish the book.
In the Christian Science Monitor, Donna Bryson explores A 'novel' idea for spreading literature in Africa: The cellphone. And taking a look at a fascinating new book from Simon & Schuster, Claire Kelley wrote yesterday that Jaron Lanier offers to save the book business, but even his own publisher doesn’t listen:
In her review of his new book Who Owns the Future?, Janet Maslin adds another descriptor, calling Lanier a “mega-wizard in futurist circles. ” But she could have also called him a “book publishing strategist.” In the final chapter of his book, Lanier lays out his thoughts on the future of books and offers a money-making scheme to save the book business:
It amazes me that traditional book publishers don’t understand the emotional value of paper… To survive, the book business has to define a product for the upper horn, for the rich… there should be hyper limited editions of books like this one, hand copied by monks onto handmade paper, using organic fair-trade inks, and sold only in VIP rooms at parties where almost no one can get in. Listen up, publisher, you are with these very words publishing the advice that could win you a fortune, but you are choosing to ignore a way to get through these tough times.
Simon & Schuster, the publisher of Who Owns the Future? was apparently unwilling to take the leap. Seemingly resigned to the inability of publishers to heed his warnings, Lanier offers possible outcomes once the book industry has been completely overhauled by Silicon Valley.
Man... with the physical book disappearing, maybe it's a good thing so many of us practice Tsundoku.
➻All of these links make my head hurt after a while, which brings me back to the ideas of Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity.
➻ You may too old for summer camp, but if you'd like to take two weeks away from home this summer to build new relationships and "a new online thing," check out the Summer 2013 Seth Godin Internship.
➻ Do you realize that we're floating in space?
ChangeThis: Issue 105
Posted May 15, 2013 7:33 a.m. by dylan
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
by Jackie Huba
“While known as much for her voice as for her over-the-top wardrobe, few recognize Lady Gaga for her stunning business acumen, which has earned her legions of loyal fans worldwide.”
“Leaders must establish some key boundaries in some very key areas if they want to get results. And, thanks to brain research, we now can scientifically get a peek into why the leaders who do establish these kinds of boundaries get the results that they get.”
“Waiting for a mentor to appear like a deus ex machina is a loser's game. Some people luck out, but most don't. This manifesto is about how to make your own luck—how to proactively identify the people you want in your life as mentors, cultivate real relationships, and look beyond the obvious.”
“If companies want to innovate the way successful bold newcomers have, they have to unplug from the constraints of, 'That’s the way we’ve always done it,' and recharge, starting with the mantra, 'Let’s just not do that anymore.'”
“Achieving adherence is simple but not necessarily easy. It takes skill and creativity to continually nurture focus, competence, and passion with your team. This is why we call it the art of adherence.”
“Any company can market and promote that they are experts at cuddling customers, but very few ever get the formula for execution right. [...] They like to talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk.”
The Power of the Circle
Posted May 15, 2013 3:25 a.m. by sally-haldorson
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
Two conversations I had last week got me thinking about networking.
➻ The first was during a brainstorming meeting with Jon, our general manager, about our annual author conference. The meeting ended with a discussion on the value of mentoring, and the predominance of books that advocate for the practice.
➻ The second was over a drink with a friend who was joking about the state of her golf game. When I commented that I had no desire to learn the sport, she explained that she works in an industry in which golf is still an elemental aspect of networking. She challenged herself with learning the game in large part to not miss out on opportunities to build relationships.
I hadn't really come to any conclusions beyond this one: networking can be difficult. Showing up at local events to shakes hands and pass business cards isn't for everyone. Nor is putting a little white ball into a hole. Asking for help, confiding your struggles, taking advice: none of these things come particularly naturally for business people who often strive to appear efficient, in control and decisive. But maybe these are all just requirements of networking that are gradually becoming archaic.
Pamela Ryckman, author of Stiletto Network: Inside the Women's Power Circles That Are Changing The Face of Business, would agree that it's time for women to look a little differently at networking.
I'll admit I didn't know what to make of this book initially. Reading through the publisher copy, I was perplexed by the celebration of networking groups of women with names like the "Power Bitches"; "Brazen Hussies"; and the "S.L.U.T.S." (Successful Ladies Under Tremendous Stress). It's not that I'm humorless about language exactly. It's more that I'm skeptical of the efficacy of a minority group reappropriating derogatory language in order to re-empower that word and, as a result, that group. Is it attention getting? Sure. Is it a way for a group of women to be defiant in the face of continued discrimination? Possibly. But, to me, it can also be confrontational and limiting. And because this is my personal preference, I wasn't sure I could enthusiastically recommend this book.
That was before researching the author, Pamela Ryckman. She herself describes the book this way:
Stiletto Network is a story of female friendship—disguised as a business story, a tale of women banding together to improve lives and companies and communities, to achieve their destinies and change the world.
This 'elevator pitch' is warm, positive, and powerful--just like the author herself. Spend some time with Pamela Ryckman by watching the video below, and I think you'll find yourself excited in a whole new way about networking.
Delving into the book, you'll find the material within just as inviting and optimistic. In Stiletto Network, Ryckman recognizes a new power trend in business: women banding together to bust through those barriers that continue to impede an individual woman's progress. She offers examples of real-life women who have found networks and mentors to help them get further faster.
While Shauna Mei [founder of AHAlife, a women-centric shopping site] seems remarkable, she is not an outlier. Increasingly, behind aspiring women entrepreneurs stand older female mentors and investors. Many of these elders made it the old way--the hard way, the way with lots of battles--but they're now secure in their positions. Now that there's room for more women at the top, they don't fear being displaced by the younger, newer model. They can breathe. And after forty years of women in the workforce, isn't it easier, not to mention more fun, when 'you or me' becomes 'you and me'?
Despite the book advocating gender comradeship, Ryckman makes it clear that gender isn't really the most important thing. "Gender alone won't qualify any woman for membership in the club. For Stiletto Networks to be relevant and desirable, they must be rooted in shared experience and true sympathy--which means they must have some form of exclusivity." Exclusivity is a difficult word to use in relation to minorities, and more precisely, for women. Exclusivity can act similarly to discrimination. It brings to mind "cliques" and "hierarchy" and being the last kid picked for gym class. Ryckman defends the requirement of exclusivity by clarifying that extreme inclusiveness can just cause these individual circles to get watered down and less effective. Ryckman also stresses that these networks should not become "mentoring programs" because they easily become imbalanced with young women outnumbering the experienced. Stiletto networks, she says, work best when peer-to-peer.
So is the answer to the oppression of women in business the exclusion of men? No, Ryckman says.
For occasional bonding trips, segregation might make sense. But on a day-to-day basis, men and women need to mix and...prepare to play on coed teams. It's happening, as more boys are raised by mothers who work (yet are still involved and loving), as men strive to create opportunities for their daughters, as husbands slowly increase their share of duties at home, and as boys and girls collaborate in school. Men and women are starting, just now, to meet in the middle.
And if it takes women circling together to make their presence in business undeniable, then the added benefit, Ryckman rejoices, is that these women will enjoy the journey, and maybe even the battle, all the more because they are doing it together.
Posted May 14, 2013 6:42 a.m. by jon
In - 800 CEO Read Blog
When we talk about breakthrough simplicity, we mean an interaction that cuts through the clutter. This is a standard that should be applied to everything a company puts out into the world, from the product to the ads down to the smallest piece of correspondence: It should do its job quickly, clearly, simply. People just don't have the time or the interest to wade through corporate rhetoric and jargon to figure out what you're trying to tell them. Through clarity of thought and presentation, it's possible for a business to rise above the cacophony of today's marketplace.
This quote from the new book, Simple: Conquering the Crisis of Complexity by Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn, is about as explanatory as it gets. Be it cleverness, verbosity, poor design, or perhaps even a company's own confusion with what its focus and purpose are, there's a lot of complexity in how some companies appear to the world. And it doesn't end there. Taking a step beyond the doors of many organizations and you'll possibly find many other layers of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and missed opportunity. Siegel and Etzkorn have spent decades helping business leaders and their companies edit out the unimportant stuff and communicate clearly - both in word and design - and the results were profound.
This book tells those stories: where the companies came from, what the change process was like, and what the results were. The irony is that the process in not necessarily easy. As the authors found, opinions, egos, and conversation often get in the way of simplicity. After all, the more communication, the better the understanding, right? According to the authors and their findings: Not at all. Through a process of empathizing, distilling, and clarifying, the authors explain how organizations can satisfy their leader's feelings and opinions and help their customers better understand and connect with them in more productive ways.
Here's another statement from the book to give you an idea of what's within:
Ideally, everything a company puts out there - from its products and services to its website to every letter or invoice sent to customers - should reflect its commitment to considering the customer's point of view. We're all looking for that in our interactions with organizations and companies - the sense that someone there is aware of us as human beings. This can be expressed in the most minor exchanges and in mundane forms of communication. From clear instruction manuals to statements and invoices that are easy to read and understand, there are many ways to signal to customers that you're a company that understands and respects them.
It's a fascinating read, clearly written and full of interesting stories and logic. It's as much about communication and design as it is about customer service and marketing. It's a book every business leader should read and adapt. In fact, any member of a team can implement ideas from the book into their respective role, improve their own process, and stand out within their team.