Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Communicating Through Change

I've been thinking about how to communicate through change.

It got me thinking about the assumptions we make about the quality of our communications.

Here are some tips:

1. Say lots of things to lots of people. If you don't know what to say, then say that you don't know what to say!
2. Summarise what you've said when you are saying it.
3. Ask the listener/audience to tell you what they heard you say.
4. Ask them to spread the word if they can, to assist.
5. Repeat as necessary.

Creel Price the entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Mentor adds:

"At the end of a meeting send a summary via email of what was discussed. If appropriate, ask them to send you a summary of what they thought was discussed. If there is a difference - pick up the phone, communicate more and then send a clarification. I know it sounds like extra work, particularly when you are busy, but I find the work that is created when you don't is much greater."

In short, the quality of communication is determined by the response you get, not the fantasy you create in your mind about what was communicated.

Check for understanding.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Is it plagiarism?

Thought leaders are required to know first what is being said by other leading thought leaders.

Reading others books and blogs is a great way to do this.

Often you might quote what one author said in your speech or advice session.

For example, in one of Seth Godins books, Meatball Sundae, he quotes something like 6 (I stopped counting) other current books. What he does however (and we can model this), is interpret the message into a new context, not just regurgitate what some one else could read.

Here is a plan for borrowing ideas...

  1. Quote the source
  2. Add to the message somehow using your expertise
  3. Encourage people to go to the source and tell them how and why
  4. Twitter and Facebook about the source and encourage your followers to follow them
  5. Advance the sources business, positioning or prestige anyway you can
Respecting and acknowledging the source is a key to growing who you are as a thought leader, it forces you to go beyond "Thought Repeatership".

It's also good Karma.

Be meticulous when nicking someone else's ideas. The web is transparent!

Check out the Creative Commons Licence to explore the attribution rights framework. Some great thinking around the sharing of ideas.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fix the Cash Flow Dilemma

One of the toughest things when selling your expertise is managing the need for immediate cash flow. Here are some cash flow habits you can develop to clean up your bank balance.

Ask for deposits

One way to shorten the cash cycle is to request deposits. Standard amounts range from 20-50%.

Focus on now

Often the products and services you create have income that kicks in some time down the time line. Move some forward by creating a segment of your service mix that is quick and easy to buy and to provide. A business coach may offer a business plan off the back end of their fact find service.

Stop giving it away

Many thought leaders are giving away value now in the hope of making a bigger sale later. Don't. Charge for it now and people then get a chance to see your work ethic and value in a small digestible chunk.

Manage your price points

Create a spread of services that span the full price spectrum. Have some $100 dollar, $1000 dollar, $10,000 dollar, $100,000 dollar products and while you're at it, create a $1,000,000 product. Businesses get comfortable managing certain price points. Get out of your comfort zone and re-price what you do.

Switch markets

Markets are like fishing spots. Sometimes by changing your activity location for a while you get a fresh catch. If you are selling to corporates, create a quick cash flow product that works for small businesses. If you sell to individuals then create something you can do for companies.

So there it is, 5 quick ideas to help you change your cash flow habits.

A final word is to get your head around the value of your expertise. Once you value what you do others will pay for it.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Why thought leaders work themselves into their business - not out of it!

The ‘E-Myth' by Michael Gerber is a great book. In essence, it explains how a business owner needs to be obsessed with removing their fingerprint from the business.

Otherwise, Mike's Plumbing will always be dependent on Mike, and Julie's Bookkeeping Services will always be dependent on Julie.

I love the ideas in this book, yet also know of a place where they don't exactly apply.

That is, in the area of thought leadership. I doubt very few bookkeepers, plumbers or widget makers are passionate about pipes, accounts or widgets. But as a Thought Leader, you ARE into your expertise.

Indeed to be a great thought leader, you should be obsessed about your expertise.

It may be growing a small business; it may be about selling via relationships; or possibly it's about creating wisdom in the workplace. Whatever your expertise is, you should actually look for ways to put more of you into the business - not less.

Here are four ways you can put more of you into the business.

1. Register a domain name that is your personal name
2. Create a newsletter that is from you personally
3. Speak at your own events. Don't outsource this to someone else
4. Make sure your name is managed like a brand

Here are three ways you can get out of the way.

1. Hire a PA
2. Make your job the job of make up and have other people do the set up and clean up activities
3. Invest in mentoring from others so you can accelerate your learning curves

You should still create systems and processes (the key idea in the ‘E-Myth') but these should be not so you can sell out of the business, but rather so you can buy more into the parts of the business that fill you up.

Keep thinking.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Take No More

I have been looking at the idea of letting people help you. I feel that there are 3 levels of personal evolution when it comes to collaboration, delegation and relying on others.

1. Take

2. Push

3. Share

Take is about being dependent and taking from others, it has a needy vibe and is obviously not ideal. In take, you draw from others unconsciously.

Push is about being independent and winning from others. It has a competitive vibe and is about getting by, pushing your agenda. In push, you win, they lose.

Share is about being interdependent and working with others. It has a liberating vibe. It is about effortlessness flowing and is the key to creating sustainability. In share, you flow.

For me, the move through independence and into an interdependent state is the only way to keep growth a priority if you are also trying to minimise friction and stress.

If you have growing pains or an increased effort as you expand in life or business, it's because you are still trying to do it all your self.