Tag Archives: Authentic Leadership in Cincinnati

Always Read the Chapters….

DeathtoStock_Medium4WARNING: This post exists at the intersection of digital and IRL, because meeting people where they are should be the goal…..

Over the years I have become very interested in working with groups that lift up women and girls- groups that work on building confidence and self-esteem.  I was fortunate enough to grow up with parents who believed in me, encouraged me to achieve, and told me the sky was the limit as to what I could accomplish.  I also had a religion teacher/liturgical music director in high school at the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington, Maryland, who greatly believed in me and encouraged me to take on leadership roles that bolstered my confidence. I passed this on to my own daughter, who is a shining example of a strong confident teen, very active in leadership roles in her school and in the community.

I have seen how peer pressure and life can beat down upon women and girls like a strong driving rain through a broken umbrella.  If women/girls can find inner strength and a belief in their personal gifts and talents, I think this knowledge would help sustain them against peer pressure, bullying, and gender discrimination.

I recently attended the kick-off meeting for a pilot program created by St. Vincent de Paul- Cincinnati: the Empowerment Path Program.  The program was established to complement education, employment, and other social service programs pursued by women to address financial stability, to help them overcome social ills, and to break systemic cycles getting in the way of growth.  It involves the paring of female coaches with women from multi-cultural backgrounds (including different races, economic status, and religions) in the Winton Hills community of Cincinnati in order to build collaborative, open, and accepting relationships.

As a coach, I will walk the path of life with one woman for one year, helping her define steps to achieve a goal that will make a major difference in her life.

I will be there to help her plan

To help cheer her on

To give advice

To cry with her

And to experience the joy that truly giving to another human being can bestow.  I think that in the end, I will be the one who is blessed for having experienced another’s life so different from my own.

The director of the Empowerment Path Program opened our kick off session with a great analogy. She said that we tend to approach people that we don’t know like a book; making judgments about them based on the cover. We define our perceptions of them by their outward appearance and the life-long tapes running through our heads.  In reality, it is the chapters in a novel that truly define the story, not the cover. We need to remember this as we meet people that we don’t know and who may walk a different path than we are accustomed to.

A group member in her 70s, who is pursuing a life-long dream of receiving her GED, summed this up so succinctly:

“What we see of others on the outside is just a shell, but what’s on your inside- your soul, your heart, that’s what’s important.”

Make sure you always read the chapters……

graphic created by Michelle Beckham

More about me HERE.


Not Feeling Intimate With the new Facebook Groups


Facebook Groups- Friends or Foe


Not really getting that warm intimate feeling with Facebook today. Facebook released an update yesterday packing a fairly large punch with new functionality. The update includes:

  • Newly-formatted Groups tool
  • Ability to easily download content to a computer
  • New Dashboard that clearly shows applications use of your private data

Facebook has been under fire lately by the privacy police and these changes are a nod in their direction.  The focus of this post will be on the Groups tool.  Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook feels that the Groups capability will allow people to have a more intimate experience with Facebook as they interact with a smaller subset of friends.  In theory this may sound like a great idea, but real world application may paint a different picture of user experience.

Zuckerberg states:

“From this space, you can quickly post photos, make plans and keep up with ongoing conversations. You can also group chat with members who are online right now. You can even use each group as an email list to quickly share things when you’re not on Facebook. The net effect is your whole experience is organized around spaces of the people you care most about.”

Groups are very easy to set up. Click on the ‘Create Group’ link in the upper-left hand corner of the home page and you are taken to a screen in which you can automatically add anyone from your Friends list to the group without them initially knowing it. Only you, as group creator, have the ability to delete the group, but group members can add their friends at any time without your approval. Other Facebook users can send a request to the Group creator to be added.

With your friends adding sub-sets of their friends (which in Facebook-speak means ‘Friends of Friends’) to the group at will, and that set adding their friends to the group, not sure how this newly formed group will be a space made up “of the people you care most about”…. The Group creator does have the ability to remove someone from the group; however this could raise some issues as well.

Groups can be created in three different ways:

  • Open-Members & Content are publicly viewable
  • Closed-Members are public, content is private (this is the default)
  • Secret– Members and content are private

This is only Day 1 of the launch, but my gut instinct is telling me that some of the features of Groups could cause the tool to be disastrous. I have already seen Groups being created by Facebook users who are not the official voice of the organization.  Imagine if you own a small company and a very excited and tech savvy fan creates a Group in your company name and begins to add friends.  What happens if the content and conversations turn ugly and do a number on your brand reputation?

I sit on the board for local non-profit, Authentic Leadership Cincinnati.  I grabbed our spot among Groups at midnight last night, to ensure that we have our official place on Facebook.  Would love to hear your opinion of Groups or the other parts of the new Facebook update.  Drop me a line or share your comments below. Read more about Facebook Groups here.

Banishing Social Media From My Life

I tried to ban social media from my life for one day last week.  It was an interesting exercise in awareness.  While I did have more “free time” to engage in other activities and become more aware of the concrete world around me, I still missed my connection to all things digital.

I realized that I have come to depend upon social media for a variety of tasks beyond transmission of my thoughts & ideas.  I use Twitter as a great source for tech news and trending subjects on a daily basis.  I grab articles of interest from my Facebook Newsfeed if they happen to hit in the space it takes to scroll down once.  I find it much quicker to send a DM Tweet (direct message) to someone I need to hear from quickly, rather than to text or call and get their voicemail.

I am also a lurker; a voyeur of sorts and I like to hang out on certain Facebook Pages that have incredible content and spirited discussions.  I can even occasionally be found contributing to discussions on various LinkedIn Group boards like Authentic Leadership Cincinnati and Cincinnati Social Media.

I begin each day with a virtual rooster crowing me awake from my bedside mobile phone. I upload my daily appointments and meetings on Google Calendar with access from my Droid and I tend to document photos of the weird and unusual in my world via instant upload to Twitpic and Twitter with some of the best transported to my Flickr stream. And yes, I check-in…..occasionally.

So did you take last week’s challenge?  How did it go?

Delivering Happiness to My Door

Received an unexpected special delivery at the C3 HQ today.  Inside a brown, corrugated shipping label was a hard-bound book.  The sender and author is well-known Zappos founder, Tony Hsieh and the book is “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose“. I had completely forgotten about his long ago Tweet discussing the upcoming tome and asking if anyone was interested in having a copy.  I quickly responded, as I knew that  Tony’s remarkable success with  Zappos and exemplary on-line customer service were often cited as a case-study example at seminars and workshops and I wanted to know the whole story.

Delivering Happiness

In the book, Tony shares life lessons gleaned from the various business ventures he has undertaken and the importance that changing corporate culture can have on achieving success.  The main premise of the book is that by creating a culture where people feel connected both personally and professionally, their happiness increases and that in turn affects others as well as the business.

This concept reminds me of Matthew Kelly’s book “The Dream Manager” which became the premise for his Floyd Consulting work with corporations.  Matthew, like Tony, believes that if people can focus on their dreams and get assistance and support toward that end from their workplace, they will be happier and more connected people.  Isn’t it  true that people who feel in tune with the company’s mission; who feel respected and validated are happier and more engaged with their work?  Think of the effect on productivity if people were truly in that ‘Happy Place’.  What a sweet spot to be in!

Some of the standard operating principles that Hsieh implemented at Zappos include:

  • Make Customer Service the responsibility of the entire company- not just a department
  • Focus on Company Culture as the #1 priority
  • Apply research from the science of happiness to running a business (my favorite!)
  • Help employees to grow- both personally and professionally
  • Seek to change the World

These are concepts which personally call to my heart and soul and have been recent topics of discussion at Authentic Leadership Cincinnati (find us in LinkedIn Groups) panel events.  So this weekend, I plan on grabbing some personal happiness time, perhaps poolside, to get up close and comfy with “Delivering Happiness” and to be as Matthew Kelly suggests:

The Best Version of Myself Possible

Connecting with LinkedIn

LinkedIn Connections
Connecting with LinkedIn

Finally starting to see LinkedIn become a living, breathing social media platform and not just a place for people to park their resume.  LinkedIn has so many incredible capabilities that a lot of people don’t know about.  For those that do, there is a 60 million + network of professionals to tap into.  Here are some of the ways that I use LinkedIn in my daily life:

Status Update– I add a direct update about once week and have Twitter update automatically to the LI status on an ongoing basis

Net result:  Brand awareness- people in my network keep up with what I am working on and my name becomes top of mind.  Have run into several people who state that they “see” my name everywhere.

Groups– I post articles to key groups that I am involved with and also stay on top of discussions to see if there is anything I can add of value to the discourse.

Net result:  lately I have seen some great questions asked and lengthy conversations among group members on the following local Groups:  New Media Cincinnati, Girlfriendology, CincySM and Social Pt Networking.  Some of the discussions have been so spirited that they have moved off-line to an in-person meet-up.  This off-line movement is precisely what social media is all about: begin the conversation and then deepen your connection and make things happen by meeting live.  Authentic Leadership in Cincinnati is a great example of a LI group that has regular meetings and has gone on to gain 501(c) (3)  status as a non-profit organization.

Search– I look up EVERYONE that I will be doing business with as well as company profiles.

Net result– start out your in-person meeting with points of commonality gleaned from your stealth research

Adding Contacts– I make sure I get a business card and I try to send an invitation request to people I want to have a deeper connection with soon after the event.

Net result– You add folks while the reason to connect is fresh in your mind and obtaining  a business card ensures  an email address in case their invite settings require this information.

Do I add everyone I meet? NO

Do I accept every request that comes my way? NO

Do I have a distinct strategy for how I use LinkedIn?  YES!  and that’s the basis of a future post!

Check out my LinkedIn Profile.

“Emerging Leadership Trends”: Authentic Leadership Cincy in Action

Heading out to the 3rd Authentic Leadership in Cincinnati Event where I will be introducing Northern Kentucky University Professor Rick Warm as our speaker.  Rick’s topic for the group is “Emerging Trends in Leadership”.  Will summarize his remarks post-event and share them with you on the blog later this week.  Decided to video-tape my self prepping for my Introduction Speech.  Wanted to catch the fall spots for ums…..  Yeah, yeah, I’m anal, but that just adds to my uber organizational skills.

The event is sold-out!