Leadership Heartbeats …

heart-of-L-4b-preorderMark Miller has done it again …

In his fourth book, Mark continues to chip away at my aversion to narrative leadership development by using realistic scenarios, dialogue that sounds like people actually talking, and by communicating a clear message that resonates with me.

Anyone who cares about their personal leadership ability or who is responsible for the leadership development of others, will find much of value in this little fable.

The Heart of Leadership is a slender book, but one packed with thoughtful and research-based observations about the characteristics and attitudes that make someone a superlative leader. As the subtitle suggests, the best leaders have followers who are with them voluntarily and enthusiastically.

I won’t spoil the message by listing either the five core attributes or any of the many highly quotable points made by Mark as he spins a tale of a young leader who has lost his way. You can find those gems for yourself

Somewhat channeling Mitch Albom, Miller’s hero seeks guidance from an older and wiser person, who directs him to five people who each share part of what he needs to learn about being an effective leader … a leader with heart.

“Heart” may sound rather squishy, but Mark’s concept of effective leadership is anything but … this is solid and useful leadership thinking.

Perhaps the most intriguing person in the book is the hero’s father, who we never meet directly, since he dies before the start of the book. Regardless, his influence is everywhere,in every key character, and in the message of this little gem of a leadership development tool.

Buy it, read it, reflect on it, share it, discuss it … Once you crack the cover and start reading, you cannot fail to learn and grow as a leader  … promise.

Leadership development is a crowded field and many ideas and perceptions compete for our attention … Mark Miller is one of the few who should not have to.

Enjoying the book, the author, and the attitude in the Heartland ….



Mark Miller, well known business leader, best-selling author, and communicator, is excited about sharing The Heart of Leadership: Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow with those who are ready to take the next step. You can find it on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere.

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It’s Not Personal …

SadWell, okay, it’s a little personal  …

Ever notice how just before they do or say something that cuts to the core of your being or threatens your entire sense of self, they “soften” the blow by saying “It’s not personal …”.

The devastation in a faraway land from a storm may be just news and cause for humanitarian concern to me, but is very personal to those who lived through the storm.

The ending of a relationship, whether platonic, romantic, or business, is a solid and wise decision as perceived by the person making the decision, but viewed very personally by the receiver of that decision.

Our ability as Americans to enjoy a dizzying variety of choices in the unhealthy fast food of our temporary desire is just another benefit of living in this country, but to much of the rest of the world, who exist on less food than we consider a television time snack, it’s very personal.

We share the planet with others, both near and far.  We reflect, choose, decide, and act every day, without much thought to how our behavior affects others … and yes, I am talking about those who do not “drive friendly” or play nice with others in public places.

Life is personal, unless you live on a mountain top or deep in the jungle, far from any human contact.   What we do and how we do it matters to others.

Reflecting on what I just wrote, the original topic for today seems awfully trivial, but I’m forging on …

ExecutionWith the pending demise of Google Reader, I have been forced to confront a truth:  Trying to follow over 200 blogs is not workable.  I spend way too much time trying to keep up with the flow and the result is a mad rush to make awfully quick decisions about with whom I engage.   It’s not working and I am taking the above event as an opportunity to do some much-needed, long-overdue, but ultimately painful cutting to create a more workable and much smaller list of folks I follow.

To anyone personally affected by the decisions I am making … It is personal and I realize this.

I hate this …

It’s personal because I sometimes establish a relationship with people to whom I subscribe.  I’ve followed some folks for years.   These are people who I value, who I like, who I think make me a better person through our connections.

Some people I follow out of courtesy, because they follow me, which violates my own rule of only following when I find value.  However, it is also a “friendly” way to show appreciation, especially in our brave new online world.

I follow some folks because of a shared connection to another person, to an organization, or to a cause.  The commitment and the shared ground do not magically vanish when I click on “unsubscribe.”

I want many of these relationships to  continue, even if I no longer subscribe to the blog or Tumblr stream.

The point:   I have to discontinue a visible thread to many people, most of whom I have some feeling of connection and sharedness.  This is both difficult and painful.

My question of the day is deceptively simple:

How do I keep up the relationships when the visible thread of connection is severed?

Eagerly awaiting your wisdom and guidance as I make painful decisions in the Heartland ….



About Your Social Media Presence …

Not that size is everything …

It’s just rather important when it comes to establishing and growing your presence and connections.

DreamGrow publishes a monthly report on market share for the Top Ten Social Networking sites.   I pay attention to this information and so should you. 

Only interesting in business networking?

Great … now where do you think much of the business networking is happening these days?

Not to take anything away from solid traditional “meet and greet” networking, but it seems increasingly important to have and nurture your online presence.  Your next customer, client, or collaborator is as likely to be “out there” somewhere, than walking in the door.

Here’s the line-up straight from the January 2013 report.   While this may be only of passing interest to the hobbyists among us, those who are trying to establish or grow their online presence will find some interesting factoids in the full report.

Market Share of Visits [January 2013]:

  • Facebook 61.82.54% (+)
  • Youtube 21.33% (-)
  • Twitter 1.85% (-)
  • Pinterest 1.22% (+)
  • Yahoo! Answers 0,90% (+)
  • Google+ 0,73% (+)
  • LinkedIn 0,83% (+)
  • Tagged 0,55% (+)
  • Instagram 0,37% (-)
  • Tumblr 0,34% (-)

Some of these are moving up the list and some are moving down, but all have significant reach.   This is not about which one wins the race to the top of the anthill, but about which is important for your business.

Look at each site and consider how it may fit your current or future business profile …

For example, if you are real visual, look to Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumblr.   Especially for the “little guy”, these sites have leveled the playing field.   The aspiring photographer no longer needs to be employed at Magnum or stringing for National Geographic.

Look at the sites you are currently active on and consider how you can enhance your presence …

If you provide a tangible product or commercial service, think about Facebook and LinkedIn.  Both provide opportunities to connect, from which comes business opportunities.  As someone has surely said “Go sell your stuff where the customers are.

Consider the sites on which you have no presence and ask yourself whether this is OK or an opportunity …

Every site does not provide opportunities for every venture or person.   It’s okay not to be everywhere.

As a consideration, think about what you can realistically offer in terms of time and energy.   This does not mean you get to say “I just don’t have time for all that social stuff”.   Make clear-headed business decisions about where your attention and effort need to go.

You are absolutely right that you cannot do it all. 

So you better be absolutely sure that you are doing it in the right places.

I would add more comments about the value of social networking online, but I have a traditional F2F networking appointment to prepare for later this morning  Smile.

Working the room both online AND at a coffee shop in the Heartland ….


Well, What About Bob?

Dr. Marvin suggests a book to Bob …


“ … a groundbreaking new book that has just come out …

Of late, I have participated in a number of online discussions about book titles.

One person provides a brief situation or need, then asks for recommendations.

The crowd-sourcing wisdom works its magic and, sometimes many suggestions are made, with varying degrees of applicability and usefulness.

This is online informal learning in action, where many people chime in to help someone realize the range of options and to provide some type of menu from which the person can choose their optimal solution.

… at least that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

What has my negative attention and energy right now is the increasing tendency of someone to post something like this in one of these discussions:

“I’m really enjoying ‘Title of Book’ …”

“I  know a book which should suit your needs quite nicely.  It’s called ‘Title of Book’…”

“The newest/best/perfect resource for your problem is ‘Title of Book’ … “

You should try ‘Title of Book’ … it really helped me.”

… without mentioning the author, who upon further research turns out to be … wait for it … themselves!

DISCLAIMER:  I have no problem with those who openly suggest their own book.   If you have written something that applies to a specific topic or issue, and this person is asking for help. why would you not?

I AM talking about those who quietly “forget” to mention that the suggestion they are making is for their own title.

… Like Dr. Marvin in the above clipSmile

Richard Dreyfuss makes a humorous “poke” at self-important authors, but in real life, it’s just dishonest.

Rant finished … life is now returned to what passes for normal in the Heartland ….


Why We Have Social Media …

World“The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers, and cities, but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels with us, and who though distant, is close to us in spirit, this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden.”


Being very thankful for those connections with those I cannot reach out and touch physically in the Heartland ….’