Weekend Favs August 19

Weekend Favs August 19 written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

My weekend blog post routine includes posting links to a handful of tools or great content I ran across during the week.

I don’t go into depth about the finds, but encourage you to check them out if they sound interesting. The photo in the post is a favorite for the week from an online source or one that I took out there on the road.

  • SaneBox – SaneBox’s powerful algorithms automatically filter unimportant email out of your inbox, so you can focus on what matters.
  • FluidDATA – FluidDATA allows you to search for spoken phrases in millions of audio files in seconds.
  • Hitask – Task management made delightfully simple.

These are my weekend favs, I would love to hear about some of yours – Tweet me @ducttape

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Why Every Local Business Should be Making an Investment in Content Marketing

Your customers’ buying habits have changed. Gone are the days of the uninformed consumer. Today, with access to Yelp, Google Reviews, Amazon, and the thousands …

The post Why Every Local Business Should be Making an Investment in Content Marketing appeared first on Vivial.

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The Indispensable Welcome Email and How to Get It Right

I recently came across a retail brand and fell in love with the quirky products they were offering. Being a savvy shopper (and email marketer), I signed up for their mailing list…and there it came—a welcome email telling me about the brand, what I can expect in their future emails, and, of course, a welcome discount! Perfect!

The welcome email is the first email from a business to the newly added subscriber in their family. It is not only an instant notification of successful subscription but a great chance to connect with the potential customer and understand what they like or dislike. In fact, we’ve found that welcome emails have on average 4x the open rate and 5x the click-through rate of a standard email marketing campaign. That’s powerful stuff.

welcome email stats

An email this critical needs to be done right. Here are four ways you can build and improve your welcome email.

1. Be Quick About It

Immediacy is key in good welcome emails. In fact, 74% of consumers expect a welcome email as soon as they subscribe. With this expectation, wouldn’t you want to make the most of this engagement? Send a prompt welcome email that assures subscribers of a successful sign-up while also starting a great conversation.

Need more reason to be quick? Consider this: 45% of first-time purchases by new subscribers happen within 24 hours of sign-up.

2. Personalize It

We’re in an era of personalization and you need to go beyond just “Hey [First Name].”

welcome email optimization

At sign-up, ask for more information than just an email address or a first name. For example, ask for a zip code. This can be used in the welcome email through information about local stores (populated through dynamic content).

If you don’t want to collect information on the front end, make use of the unparalleled attention welcome emails receive to ask for more information in the email itself. Every additional data point you can gather can be useful in terms of list segmentation and relevant content delivery further down the line.

3. Keep Your Promise

Keep every promise you make and only make those you can keep. If you promise a sign-up incentive, information, or deal, deliver it. And keep any promises you make in the welcome email later as well. Any good relationship is built on trust—don’t abuse yours.

4. Keep It Simple

Well over half of all emails are now opened on mobile devices. With smaller screens and even smaller attention spans to deal with, you need to ensure that your welcome email is focused on greeting the new subscriber, telling them (briefly) about your brand, and pointing to your desired call to action.

Simply put, though, you likely can’t tell them everything about you in one email. If you want to tell your subscribers more, a welcome email series is a great option.

What Goes Into a Great Welcome Email Series

A welcome email series can work wonders for your email marketing program. Listrak tracked the email campaigns of 1000 top retail companies and found that a welcome email series generated more revenue on average than that of a single (or no) welcome email.

The FIRST email

Tip: Your first welcome email should go out immediately after a new subscriber signs up.

This first correspondence should include a simple thank you or welcome note. If you promised a discount code or incentive, deliver it now.

Give subscribers an idea about the frequency at which you’ll be sending your emails. If you’re set up with one, provide a link to a preference center so subscribers can set their own frequency preferences.

Most of all, this first email (and really, all of your welcome emails) should be an extension of your brand and a solid introduction into becoming a part of it.

Uncommon Goods does this introduction nicely in a series of emails to new subscribers.

This first email welcomes the subscriber and gives them a peek into the brand’s story, artisans, and their ethics and values.

welcome email examples

The SECOND email

Tip: Send this email 1-2 days after the first email.

This is a great time to get to know a little more about your subscriber by asking them for additional information like birthday, preferences, location, etc. As previously said, the more information you have, the better you can segment your list and send them more targeted, relevant content.

Alternatively, this email can also introduce your product categories or services offered, just like in this second email I received from Uncommon Goods.

welcome email series example

The THIRD email

Tip: Send this email roughly 2-3 days after you send your second email.

An excellent use of this message can be to connect your new subscribers to other platforms, like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest—really anywhere you have an established, active presence. Getting your email subscribers to follow you on other platforms will help turn them into loyal brand advocates.

A wonderful example of this principle in action is this third email I received from Uncommon Goods.

how to send a welcome email

NOTE: Depending on your send frequency for your normal marketing emails, you may want to exclude new subscribers from your regular mailing schedule until they have completed your welcome series. This will help ensure you don’t overmail folks right away.

Welcome Emails: The Bottom Line

If you currently have no immediate welcome email going out to new subscribers, get one in place as soon as possible. You are missing out on a chance to deliver a great first impression, not to mention lots of revenue.

If you have a welcome email but want to deliver more content early on, a welcome series is a great solution. Use this opportunity to craft compelling content that will cement a strong foundation for a long-lasting subscriber relationship.

About the Author

Scott Cohen is the VP of Marketing at InboxArmy, full-service email marketing agency. He has been living and breathing email marketing since 2007. With both agency and client-side end-user experience, Scott brings a unique perspective to email marketing that combines best practices with real-world-tested strategy and tactics.

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8 Cool Youtube Tools to Boost Your Creativity

Admit it, you spend well over the healthy amount of time on YouTube. We all do. With so much content, from amateur videos to professional films, being uploaded every day, it is an irresistible distraction and a bit of a productivity hazard… as well as a huge creativity booster!

Youtube is a fantastic platform with a lot to offer. These eight cool YouTube tools will help you get the most of it while being more inspired and productive.

1. Get Inspired with Playtube (Google Chrome)

 Playtube

Create a music or music video playlist with this crazy simple tool: queue up songs while you browse YouTube and then play them from the extension button without actually having to watch the videos. You can save playlists and easily control playback.

Listen Video for Google Chrome is another similar extension that lets you listen to Youtube videos without interrupting your work flow. Here are more tools and tips to play with Youtube playlists.

2. Download Free Content to Use: GenYoutube

Want to download the actual video? No problem! This is the premier YouTube video downloader that is both simple to use, and reliable. It has both a basic and pro version (I only tried the free one)

Tip: Did you know you can search Youtube for Creative Commons videos? I usually do that to find something awesome to use in my mash-ups (That’s where I use Youtube downloader!) Don’t forget to always credit the original videos and authors!

4. Eliminate Distractions: Turn Off The Lights (Google Chrome)

Extension Turn Off the Lights

Do you like to watch things in a smaller window, but with there wasn’t so much distracting light? Then dim your screen using this plugin. It fades out everything but the video, so you can get the movie theater experience from your computer. Being someone who likes running other programs on the side that I monitor (such as video editing software I need to see complete), this is an awesome tool.

5. Create Animated Gifs: Giphy

giphy

Ever wonder how people make those great GIF images they share on Reddit and other sites? This is probably how they do it. Giphy is a really easy to use GIF creation extension for Chrome. You just select the portion you want to turn into the GIF, save it, and go. Each GIF can be up to 15 seconds long. If you have been on Tumblr and seen the long line of short GIFs that make up a story? This is definitely what they are using to create them.

Tip: Here are more tools to create and market animated GIFs:

  1. Visual Content Marketing: How to Find Cool Cinemagraphs
  2. GIFs Are the New Black… Are You in the Game???
  3. 13 Tools to Create AWESOME Visual Content to Enhance Your Marketing (While Saving Time)

6. Save Time: SmartVideo

SmartVideo

A slow buffer option (now that YouTube no longer has one), auto loop and more, this is an enhancement tool for YouTube that bypasses a lot of the updates that have made the platform less than intuitive in recent years. Available for Chrome.

7. Monitor Trends: YouTube Trends

Viewed Video in YouTube History

What is trending right now on YouTube? What has been trending in the past year? What is slowly climbing the ladder of popularity, and how might that impact your own videos? All of these are important questions, and all of them can be answered using the official trending page provided by YouTube.

You can view by category, what is popular on the web, and recent entries. See what is becoming well know right now on their featured videos list on the front page. This is the perfect way of finding out what has been going on lately on the most popular video site on the web.

8. Set a Youtube Alarm Clock: AlarmTube

AlarmTube

I am actually using this alarm clock not to forget to watch a video during my lunch time. If I come across a long video in the morning, I just drop it here to make sure my workflow will be interrupted with this video playing right when it’s time to take a break:

Do you have any tools for making YouTube even better? Maybe some hacks for the site itself? We’d love to hear about them, so let us know in the comments!

The post 8 Cool Youtube Tools to Boost Your Creativity appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.

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How To Write Content That Boosts Your Bottom Line

How To Write Content That Boosts Your Bottom Line written by Guest Post read more at Duct Tape Marketing

What is the greatest marketing challenge in the digital age?

For many entrepreneurs and small business owners, it lies in creating content profitably and sustainably over the long haul.

When virtually all of your customers are spending their waking hours reading, searching for, and sharing content online, it makes total sense for you to write and publish content online.

However, writing content to market your products or services online isn’t quite the same as copywriting for an ad. On the contrary, online content should be focused on helping your targeted customers to solve their problems, achieve their goals, and improve the quality of their lives or work.

So how can you create content that works hard for your business while bringing in leads and customers?

#1 Begin with your customer

Start with a detailed customer profile. Fill it up with demographic, psychographic, and behavioral details such as the following:

  • Age, gender, profession, income, housing type (demographics)
  • Interests, hobbies, attitudes, and beliefs (psychographics)
  • Online behaviors, for example, their preferred social network, content types (video, text, audio), frequency, and duration.
  • Purchase behaviors, for example, budget, the frequency of purchases, and service expectations.

A customer profile provides you with a deeper understanding of who your customers are, what they want, and how they behave. Such information informs and guides your content writing process and makes your brand more relevant and empathetic to your customers.

#2 Zoom in on their biggest pain points

Once you’ve got their details, you need to identify their “itch that needs to be scratched.”

To discover your customers’ biggest problems, consider the following:

  • Lunch with your colleagues handling customer service. They will probably have a ton of stories to share with you!
  • Use keyword research tools like SEMRush, Google AdWords Keyword Planner, or keyword.io to find out what people are searching for.
  • Check out your company’s reviews on Google or Facebook, and get ready to take notes from the one and two-star reviews.
  • Go to an online forum specific to your trade, and learn which discussion threads have the highest number of responses.
  • Visit a Q&A website like Quora and type in the keywords related to your trade.

#3 Provide the right solution

Now that you know what keeps your customers up at night, you need to provide them with the “medicine” for their pain.

If you are an expert in the business (which I’m sure many of you are), all you need to do is to write down the steps to solving the problem. If you aren’t, you can use search engines to find what experts are already sharing, and curate the best available strategies into a coherent piece of content.

The more precise your solution is, the better its chances of being noticed and valued by your customer. Here are three examples of topics for a business that targets restaurants:

  • Average: Best Marketing Strategies for Restaurant
  • Good: 7 Effective Digital Marketing Strategies for Restaurants
  • Best: How Restaurants Can Use Facebook to Boost Local Customer Traffic

Notice how the best title is both specific (Facebook) and includes important keywords (boost local traffic).

#4 Choose the right format

Depending on which stage of your customer’s buying journey you wish to target, you may consider different forms of content to wrap your solution around. This is also determined by your available time, talents and resources.

Some common examples of content formats include the following:

  • A Facebook post, LinkedIn post, or Tweet to provide a quick tip
  • A checklist, template, cheat sheet, or self-assessment tool that they can use
  • A handy guidebook (usually an eBook) that customers can download
  • A series of blog posts that are targeted at solving a specific problem
  • A Slideshare presentation that provides a step-by-step solution
  • A breezy infographic that they can easily read
  • A short one-minute video

#5 Include Call-To-Action (but don’t be salesy)

Also known as the CTA, your Call-To-Action refers to the specific next step that you want your reader to take. The best forms of CTAs are matched to your audience’s readiness to act and the type of content that you provide.

Here is an example of an appropriate and inappropriate CTA for a specific content type:

How To Write Content That Boosts Your Bottom Line

#6 Publish and promote your content

Now that you’ve got your content masterpiece, you need to consider two important questions:

  • Which channel should you publish your content on?
  • How should you share and promote your content?

For the first, go back to your customer profile and match your channel to your customer preferences. I normally encourage my clients to use their website as their “content home” – it is usually easier to convert your customers on a landing page on your website.

Once your content is published, you should share it as widely as possible. I would share it on all my social media accounts – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Google Plus – plus send out an email newsletter to my blog subscribers using MailChimp.

For important pieces, you may wish to invest a small sum to boost your content on Facebook, LinkedIn, or content syndication networks like Outbrain. Doing so helps you to extend your reach beyond your own networks.

#7 Measure, Monitor, and Modify

Once you’ve sent your content out to the world, you’ll need to adopt the three M’s:

  • Measure how well your content does. Common indicators used include views, visitors, shares (on social media), leads generated, downloads and other metrics.
  • Monitor the responses from your audiences. Are they reading your content but not taking action? Are they liking your content on social media, but not clicking through to the article itself? How long does your content continue to bring in visitors – a few days, a week, a month, or longer?
  • Modify your content to improve your conversion. A good way to do so is to experiment with different captions and images when you share your content on social media.

Producing effective content that offers payback takes time and patience. It is a skill that requires daily and weekly practice.

By adopting these seven steps, you can shorten your learning curve and be more effective and targeted at creating content that builds your brand, generate leads, and increases sales.


About the Author

Walter Lim is a digital marketer, brand storyteller, trainer, and consultant. Director of Cooler Insights – a boutique content marketing agency – he loves to help businesses create, nurture and grow winning brands through storytelling, social media, and PR. Connect with Walter on LinkedIn or visit his website.

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Transcript of How to Create Ridiculously Good Content

Transcript of How to Create Ridiculously Good Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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Transcript

John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by Sanebox. Get some sanity back in your inbox, take control of your inbox. Get all that stuff outta there that is dragging you down. I’m going to give you a special offer later in this show.

Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Simon Sinek, he is the author of “Start with Why” – which many of you certainly have read or heard of. We’re going to talk about his latest book, “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t”. So, thanks for joining me Simon.

Simon S: Thanks for having me.

John Jantsch: I wonder if you could start with a little background. I know a lot of people, particularly your Ted Talk and Pungent Sound and, then the book “Start with Why”, for many people was their introduction to your career and your work. I wonder if you could give us a little background before that period.

Simon S: Sure.

I was a career marketer. I studied cultural anthropology in college and was always sort of fascinated by human behavior. It was actually an experience I had in that world that sort of set me on the path that I’m on now. I had my own little marketing consultancy and the first few years went really well. I sort of had good clients and made a good living and all this stuff. After my fourth year in business I didn’t love it anymore. Even though superficially I should’ve been happy, right? Just living the American dream. I wasn’t feeling it. I was embarrassed to talk about that I wasn’t a happy person because superficially I had nothing to complain about. So, all of my energy went into pretending that I was happier than I was. But, the problem was, when you’re in that state it also … a lot of other things happen. I became paranoid. I thought I was going to go bankrupt. I thought my employees … I thought nobody trusted me. It was a crazy time and it was a friend that came to me and said, “are you okay?”

It set me on this journey to rediscover my passion. There’s a confluence of events and I’m so glad they happened. Where I made this discovery, this naturally laying pattern – that I later called the “golden circle” of these three levels: what we do, how we do it, and why we do it.

Everybody knows what they do. I knew what I did. Some knew how they’re different or better and I could tell you what my different [inaudible 00:02:32] value proposition was, but I couldn’t tell you why I was doing it. The best I could articulate was to be my own boss, or to make a living, or all these other things. But those aren’t really inspiring causes, you know? So I went on this journey to discover my why and it was profound and it changed my life. And I shared it with my friends and my friends started making these crazy life changes because of it. And my friends would invite me to their homes to share it with their friends. People just kept inviting me and I just kept saying, “yes”. So, the growth of all of it was very organic.

John Jantsch: That’s a really great story. I have not heard that before actually. So I appreciate you sharing that.

So did you change your business dramatically? Kind of on a dime? Or was it more that it evolved as you started writing some of this down?

Simon S: It was a combination of sudden and slow decisions. So, one sudden decision I made which is when I realized that this is the thing that I wanted to pursue – that I no longer wanted to do consulting work, to preach this cause, the very sudden decision to close my office and get out of my lease. To start from scratch because I wanted to do it pure. I wanted to make myself the guinea pig.

So, that was a pretty sudden decision. A lot of my friends thought I went out of business because I got out of my lease and didn’t have an office anymore. I didn’t have any employees anymore, like gone. You know? But I’d never been happier or more focused in my life.

Some of the slower decisions were, okay now that I’ve done that, what the heck am I gonna do? I didn’t know about public speaking, that came slowly as I started to get more invitations. I was still doing “Why” consulting. I was helping organizations and CEOs find their why. So, I started down that path. Over a course of a few years, I tried a couple of directions this way and a couple of directions that way until I found a stride. That’s the path I’m on now.

John Jantsch: So “Start with Why” was essentially a leadership book. I’m not sure everybody – even though it was in the subtitle, I’m not sure everybody viewed it as such. But, obviously, you’ve come back with a book the title “leader” in it. I wonder if you could talk a little bit about how those two books connect. Because, maybe I’m wrong, but I see them very connected.

Simon S: Sure. Well sure. My work is sort of semi-autobiographical. Their sort of the articulations of the solutions I’ve found to help me in my own journey. As we just talked about “Start with Why” was very much about the loss of passion and how to re-find passion and how to be inspired and inspire others. That was my story. The next book was as I was spending more time with these remarkable people and these remarkable organizations, I started to see differences in environments and differences in cultures. I was spending time with people in the military and I kept meeting these people that had risked their lives for others. Or people who would risk their lives to save the lives of sometimes people that they didn’t even like. Where in the business world, we don’t even like to give them credit for things. So I started to see these two different worlds of people who trusted each other and people who didn’t trust each other. Because I would rather live amongst people who trust each other, and I want to feel trusted and trusting as well, I started asking myself the question, “where does trust come from?”

Again, it wasn’t with the idea of writing a book, it wasn’t with the idea of creating anything new. I thought I was a one-trick pony. It was a good trick, but one-trick pony. It really was, once again, just a personal thing where I was trying to direct my life to be amongst people and around people who I really wanted to be around. Who I felt safe around. So that journey led me in a couple of different directions and I was having dinner with my publisher – we have dinner every now and then and he says, “what are you working on these days?”

“Well,” I said, “I’m really curious about this” and I told him. He goes, “that’s your next book”. So, that’s the journey I was on. “Leaders Eat Last” really does pick up where “Start with Why” left off. They don’t have to be read in order, they’re not sequels of each other, but from an intellectual standpoint it really does pick up where the other one left off.

John Jantsch: I think even from an equipping standpoint, if you read “Start with Why” and you get your message and you get that thing you connect with in some ways, what you talk about in “Leaders Eat Last” then becomes how you amplify that.

Simon S: Yes. You know, “Start with Why” is how do you inspire people and how do you attract people. Then, “Leaders Eat Last” is okay, good, you’ve done a good job at getting them all in. Now what?

John Jantsch: Yeah.

Simon S: You’ve attracted all the people, now what are you going to do with them all? So, absolutely. There is a chronology to them.

John Jantsch: The title – you actually mentioned you started working with some military folks, it actually comes from a bit of an unwritten rule in some branches of the military. Or I wouldn’t even call it rule, but practice.

Simon S:  Yeah, its a philosophy. It is practiced in multiple areas of the military but the particular story came from the Marine Corps. I was having a meeting with Lieutenant General George Flynn, from the Marine Corps. He actually wrote the forward to the book. I asked him when I was starting this research, “what makes the Marines so good at what they do?” And he said simply, “Officers eat last”. If you go to any Marine Corps chow hole anywhere in the world, what you’ll see during chow time is that they line up in rank order. The most junior person eats first and the most senior person eats last. No one tells them they have to and it’s not in any rule book. It’s because of the way they view leadership. They view leadership as a responsibility, not simply a rank. The one in the leadership position, the one of higher rank, is responsible for those in their charge and it manifests in funny ways. Like the way they line up in the chow hole.

Now, what’s really interesting, what’s really important, is the leadership impact of that philosophy. For example – here’s a true story for you, that’s actually not in the book, there was a unit of Marines, they were deployed and it was chow time. As is the practice, the Officer ate last. Except on this particular day, there was no food left for him. When they went back out into the field, one-by-one all of his men brought him some of their food. Because, one of the things that is important to understand about the philosophy that Officers eat last, is the Officers never go hungry. This is really important because we translate these lessons into civilian world and to the business world, which is the practice of the leader of a company putting their people sometimes before themselves means that the people will commit their blood, sweat and tears to see that leaders vision is advanced. They will ensure that the company is well run and kept safe and going well because they want to make their leader proud.

Their leader has done right by them and they will do right by their leader. That’s the most important lesson of this, which is the Officers never go hungry. The people are completely devoted to their leaders.

John Jantsch: You, and I’ve heard you in other interviews make this parallel, and you talk a lot – mean to me it’s pretty clear that this is a lot like parenting, at least good parenting. I think a lot of people could relate to that, where they might look at their employees and say, “Well those so and sos don’t care, they won’t do anything, I’m here to watch them so they don’t steal from me”.

Simon S: Right.

John Jantsch: You think about how most parents, at least good parents, think about their children. It’s I’m here to nurture, I’m here to teach, I’m here to make sure that no harm comes to them and I think that’s pretty interesting. If people would actually be able to take that view into a place where they work.

Simon S: Well, leadership comes with a risk. It’s a lot of hard work, like parenting. It’s not the kind of thing that you turn on and turn off. Once you have kids you’re in, you’re a parent. You don’t have the opportunity – the choice to have kids is actually the wrong decision, that’s the fun part. The question is, do you want to raise kids? That’s the hard choice. Like I said, the choice to become a parent is a lifestyle decision. The choice to become a leader is a lifestyle decision. It means that you’re going to increase the time and energy that you have to commit to others. It means that you have to practice the qualities of leadership everyday. It’s not just a thing you do at work. Leadership is a practice, not an event. Parenting is a practice, not an event.

Making one big decision, even if it’s the right decision, doesn’t make you a leader. It just means you made one big decision. Its daily occurrence and it’s a daily struggle. It’s not always clear and, sometimes, we make the wrong decision. It’s the belief that I want my people to rise up and be better and stronger and more capable than they even believe they are.

John Jantsch: Do you think – believe this anyway, and I know that you’ve studied this probably extensively in some of the companies you’ve worked with, I think that some of these qualities you talk about, I think that some people just have them. They’re wired that way, or they were raised that way, or they just have always believed that that’s how you’re a good person. They’re not even thinking about it in terms of leading a company. It’s just that that’s how you treat people. Not everybody is wired that way. And they start a company and they start hiring people and they don’t even really think about it like, “I’m a leader” it’s more of an “I’m in charge”.

How does somebody change that view, or start kind of internalizing this, how to be a leader?

Simon S: When you talk about some people are wired that way … empirically, we’re all wired the same way. It’s the manner in which we’re raised and the lessons we learn from our parents that will set us on a course. Yes, some do because of their upbringing. They are sort of, they have a head start. They exhibit some of those leadership qualities earlier or more robustly than others, but leadership is a skill like any other. It is a choice. We can choose to become leaders. Then, as a practice. We can practice those skills. Like any other skill, if you work very, very hard at it, you will become a good leader. If you’re lazy and choose not to practice, then that muscle atrophies.

Really it’s a very simple practice. Not easy, but simple practice. It’s the practice of empathy. Its the practice of putting the well-being of others sometimes before ourselves. Especially when danger threatens. So, little little things we can do to practice leadership. For example, we’re driving to work and someone wants into our lane that we’re driving in. Do we move the car up or do we just let them in? Well, you let them in. That’s the practice of leadership.

You’re in the break room and you pour yourself the last cup of coffee, do you put the empty coffeepot back? No one will know. No one is there, it’s okay the next person will make it … Or do you sacrifice the extra five minutes, and the extra energy, to just refill the pot? That’s the practice of leadership.

If somebody is suffering at work, if somebody’s performance is down, do you sit down with them and say, “hey, listen, your performance has been a problem lately and if you don’t pick up the numbers I can’t guarantee you’re going to have a job here.” Or, do you say, “hey, your performance is down, are you okay?”

Again, this is the practice of leadership. This is the practice of empathy. It’s the concern about how others may feel, or where they’re coming from. The meaning of the things they are saying, as opposed to many of the knee-jerk reactions that we make on a daily basis.

John Jantsch: I’ve heard you also draw a conclusion that lack of leadership may be actually the greatest source of job dissatisfaction.

Simon S: Oh, completely. We’re social animals and we respond to the environments we’re in. Bad people that are put in a good environment are capable of good things. And good people that are put in a bad environment are capable of bad things. It’s leaders that set the environment. It’s leaders that set the tone. When we read statistics – and there’s any number of studies that have reported on this, I believe it was [inaudible 00:13:53] said that eighty percent of Americans don’t love their jobs. How disturbing is that?

John Jantsch: Yep.

Simon S:  I believe [inaudible 00:13:59] is a right, not a privilege. It’s not that the chosen few get to say, “oh, I love my job”, “oh, you’re so lucky”. We have the right to love going to work. We have the right to be fulfilled. When leaders choose to put numbers before people, then how can we ever feel safe at work? How can we ever feel fulfilled at work?

When leaders choose to use layoff as the primary means to balance the books, think about that for a second. They will send you home to your kids, to your spouse, to say, “I do not have an income to provide, because my company needed to make it’s numbers this year”. Right? The folly of that. And forget about the people who were laid off, think about the people who kept their jobs. How safe do you think they feel coming to work the next day, knowing full well that the company’s leadership would gladly sacrifice them simply to make a short term financial adjustment. So, we’re not getting the best out of people. We never will when these are the choices that we’re making.

John Jantsch: What do you say to that – and I’m tossing you a softball here because I’m certain you’ve heard this numerous times, what do you say to that middle manager who says, “yeah, but, if I don’t x the way I measured, then it’s me”?

Simon S: Yeah. That’s true. Again, remember, leadership is a choice. I know many people who sit at the highest levels of companies who are not leaders. They have authority. We do what they tell us because they have authority over us, but they’re not leaders because we wouldn’t follow them. You know? I know many people who sit at the bottom of organizations, who have no authority, and yet they’ve chosen to look after the person to the left of them and they’ve chosen to look after the person to the right of them and they are leaders. Right?

So, the person who sits in the middle and says, “If I stick my neck out, I’m going to get my head cut off”, exactly. That’s what leadership is. It’s the willingness to go first. That’s why we call you a leader. Because you led, you went first. You were willing to put your neck on the line. You were willing to stand up for the right thing. You were willing to say, “hold on, there’s injustice here”. You were willing to try to work hard for the person to the left of you, to the right of you. We’re all so preoccupied with ourselves, with our own success, and our own happiness. There’s an entire section in the bookshop called “self help” and there’s no section in the bookshop called “help others”. You know? It’s the idea that you may actually think of the happiness of the person next to you, God forbid. Like you may actually concern yourself with the success of the person to the right of you. That is what it means to be a leader and sometimes it comes with risk. And sometimes it means that you will get your head cut off. That’s the price we pay sometimes to be the leader.

John Jantsch: In some ways, because this is a really hot topic, although it’s one that’s bantered around in sort of disheveled ways sometimes, is some of what you’re talking about is a healthy culture?

Simon S: Yes. It is a healthy culture. I mean, a culture where we show up to work everyday and we feel like the people we work with would watch our backs. Where we feel that the information that leadership and management is giving us is the truth and not being spun to make themselves look good. Leadership … the cultures in which we work is very much a feeling. The culture of a company is the equivalent of the character of a person. We refer to the character of a person, is he of good character? Is she of good character? Is she trustworthy? And we assess people. We say, “well, yeah I think she’s got a strong character, I like her”. It’s the same when we assess the culture of a company saying the same thing, are they of strong character? Are they of good moral fiber?

If the character of the person is good, they will make good friends and they will make good colleagues. If the culture of a company is of high moral fiber, they will make great places to work.

John Jantsch: Let me ask you a question. How many emails do you have in your inbox right now? A hundred, a thousand? Ten thousand? But you can’t just delete them all. There has to be a way to take your inbox back over, if it’s running your life. There was a point in my business where I felt like all I did was delete email. Then I found a tool called Sanebox. It really allows you to take back control of your inbox, of your email. It starts off with taking everything you’ve got in there today, and figuring out what’s important, what’s not important, and creating folders and places for it to go that, in some cases, you’ll never see again. But, in other cases, you’ll quickly check. There’s also tools in there to remind you when you need to follow up on an email. It’s actually incredibly accurate. I have worked with the folks at Sanebox to get you a discount, my listeners. If you visit Sanebox, that’s S-A-N-E-B-O-X .com/ducttape, you’re going to find that you can get a 25 dollar discount just because you’re a listener of this show. Again, that’s S-A-N-E-B-O-X, Sanebox.com/ducttape.

One of the things that you’ve said, and you’ve used the word trust a number of times, and I think that’s really interesting, that you also – one of the mistakes a lot of leaders make is that they feel their job is to be liked, or they feel their job is to be feared. One of those maybe. You talk a lot about this idea that really their job is to be trusted, they don’t have to be liked necessarily. In fact, you talk about a lot of leaders that aren’t necessarily fun people to have at the cocktail party, but people will do whatever because they trust them.

Simon S: Correct. A good parent is not the same as a good friend. The worst parents are the parents that try hard to be their kids’ best friend. It doesn’t work that way. You’re their parent, not their friend. Any leader that sets out to be feared, well, that’s the same thing as a dictator. It might work in the short-term, but it’s not a very stable system, succession is really a big problem. At the end of the day, it’s a men’s revolution. It creates anxiety and you’re not going to get the best out of people in a dictatorship. I don’t think there’s a dictatorship on the planet that is an economic powerhouse. At least not for very long. You know?

John Jantsch: Yeah.

Simon S: It’s because we don’t get the best ideas out of people that way. People are willing to give their ideas and share what they’re learning when they believe that it will advance the greater good. If they believe that, by sharing too much of what they’ve learned … weak organizations are the ones where people keep all of their knowledge because that’s what they think gives them their competitive edge and protects them from losing their job because they know more than everybody else. Those are weak organizations. Those are very weak organizations.

John Jantsch: You use a great example about how you have to really make this happen and you talk about Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-step program, not the 11-step program. I think that’s … I wonder if you could maybe share that illustration.

Simon S: Sure. In the unhealthiest of corporate environments, we become literally addicted to making the numbers. It’s a … when the primary means we drive, or influence, or incentivize behavior in our companies is, “hit the number, get the bonus”. If that’s the predominant means by which we motivate people, we can literally create an addiction to making the numbers. Just like we can become addicted to alcohol or gambling. They’re all dopamine addictions. They’re all basically the same.

So, to create a healthy work environment, we have to first overcome the addiction. We have to first admit that maybe we have a problem in our corporate culture, that maybe, it’s unhealthy. Okay? That’s number one. What Alcoholics Anonymous has shown us is that they’ve been helping people overcome a dopamine addiction for 75 or 80 years with great success. They know that if you master all 11 steps and not the twelveth, you’ll probably start drinking again. But if you master the twelveth step, you’ll beat the disease. The twelveth step is to help another alcoholic. It’s service.

In other words, when we commit ourselves to helping another person overcome the thing that we are challenged with most, not only is this how we find fulfillment, but this is actually how we build trust and actually advance the greater good. This is how we advance the organization.

So, if you’re unhappy at work, how do you help somebody else who’s unhappy at work? If you’re struggling to learn something at work, how do you help somebody else who’s struggling learn something at work? And if you’re struggling to be the leader you wish you had, how do you help someone else become the leader they wish they had? This, ultimately, this idea of service, it’s the most human of attributes. Great leadership is nothing more than being the best human being possible. That’s really all leadership is.

John Jantsch: Yeah. But, from a very practical standpoint as I listen to you, you’re also creating leaders within your organization, which is only going to help attract more people.

Simon S:  Of course, it’s called legacy. Legacy. Legacy is when those who follow us work hard to uphold the standards and values that we instituted. That’s what legacy is. Legacy isn’t nostalgic. It’s not like, “remember when that guy used to run the company, how great it used to be?” That’s not legacy. That’s nostalgia. Legacy is that it continues. We have legacy in the United States. Our founding fathers laid down a set of principles. They declared why we needed a country, it’s called The Declaration of Independence. They laid down the structure as to how we should go about providing this freedom for all. We call it The Constitution. Every successive president, some better than others, have committed themselves to advancing those ideals.

That’s called legacy. Those guys are long dead and, yet, their ideas live on. Their legacy lives on. That’s what it’s supposed to be. that’s what every single company has the capacity to do. Most companies don’t have long-term plans, they plan for a quarter or a year. A few of the companies have the five or ten year plans, and if they do they certainly don’t follow it. What is the fifty and hundred year plan? Stick to that, that’s how you create legacy. It’s like creating something for your family to have, you know?

John Jantsch:  I want to finish up with a couple book questions, not related specifically – well, somewhat related to this book, but not necessarily about the topic … One of the things that you did – and I am also an author and so this is sort of personal for me, one of the things that you did in this book that I noticed, in the digital version, is that you have some embedded audio and video. I’m curious about how … what your thinking was there, how that went, if you’re getting feedback on that component?

Simon S: Sure. Basically, what you’re referring to, is that we had two versions of the Ebook. We have the standard Ebook, that people can download to their digital device, and we have what they call the “Enhanced” Ebook, which has little videos in between each chapter, or each section, as I should say. It was nothing more complicated frankly than the publisher coming to me and saying, “would you be willing to do an enhanced Ebook, it basically requires you making these videos”. And I said, “sure”. It wasn’t anything more complicated than that.

Whenever I show up to do anything my goal is always to give people more. My goal is not to simply reiterate what is written, but to give people some of the nuance, some of the story, some of the backstory that maybe ended up on the cutting room floor. Just help them understand why that section exists. So what I tried to do in each of those little videos was provide that. To provide some of the nuance and backstory that adds a little more color and context to each of the little sections that they’re about to read.

John Jantsch: Final question is, I always love to ask authors this, I wonder if you’d share a couple of books that you are either currently reading, you read recently, or you just think everybody should read.

Simon S: Yeah, sure. Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” should be on everyone’s list. I think obviously that’s the standard.

John Jantsch: That’s almost an annual read for me (laughter).

Simon S: Yep. David Marquet “Turn the Ship Around”. His is really the sort of yin to my yang. I speak in sort of philosophical, idealistic terms and David’s work is very, very practical and takes my ideals and gives you the how to do it.

John Jantsch: Cool.

Simon S:  My work is often – if anything, it is criticized for saying “yeah, but you didn’t tell us enough how-to”, David’s work really takes the how-tos that I give and builds upon them, which I love. I love. So, “Turn the Ship Around” is a great book. There’s also two documentaries that I would recommend.

The first one is called “Kumare” K-U-M-A-R-E. It’s wasn’t meant to be about leadership, it’s about this sort of guru culture that exsists in the world and this documentary has set out to make fun of it really and something remarkable happens in the course of making this documentary. It went in a completely different direction. It actually ends up being a fantastic leadership study. It is really brilliant and incredibly entertaining.

The other one I would highly recommend is a documentary called “Senna” S-E-N-N-A. It’s about the Brazilian race-car driver Ayrton Senna. Even if you don’t like race-car driving, it doesn’t matter. It’s a really amazing tale. It’s two archetypes. Ayrton Senna who does something for the passion and the love of the sport and Alain Prost, his nemesis, who does something for the results and for the numbers. You really see starkly the difference between the person who does something for numbers, who’s more willing to cheat, and somebody who does something for the passion. Who commands a loyalty from his own people, even his own competitors. It is unbelievable. The other race-cars drives stand up to supper Ayrton Senna because of who he is and the reason he shows up. It’s really a remarkable, remarkable documentary of how stark the difference is when we show up for passion and when we show up for numbers.

John Jantsch:  Very, very cool. I went to a dinner last night that was put on by a coffee roaster and they did these incredible dishes where they used coffee in every dish, and they had one of their employees that would just experiment with making coffee cocktails and, as I heard you tell that story, last night he was explaining, “here’s how this drink was made” and one of the drinks took like four days of slow dripping to make this thing. I was talking to him later and he was like, “yeah, it took me about six tries to get that one right”. It was like, you’re so willing to put in that time and energy, I’m sure he’s not paid for putting that time and energy in.

Simon S:  No.

John Jantsch: When you talk to somebody with that kind of passion it really is pretty amazing, isn’t it?

Simon S: We see it every day in our business world. Things are done with passion, are done with love. It’s like family dinner tastes better than cafeteria food, even when all the quantities are the same … you know, they’re just rounded up. You know what I mean?

John Jantsch: Yeah.

Simon S: The reason is because your homemade food is made with love. That’s the missing ingredient. We see this in our everyday world. The things with passion are good for us and taste good. Things that are done for the numbers, they add chemicals and they bring the costs down and it’s about getting it out the door faster and cheaper. The passion goes away. And there’s a place for that, but it’s the balance that I criticize. You know, alcohol is fine, too much alcohol is bad. Gambling is fine, too much gambling is bad. Doing things for the numbers is fine. Doing things only for the numbers is bad. It’s the balance I’m trying to … my work is an effort to restore the balance.

John Jantsch: Well, with the 80 percent of folks out there that you talked about, there’s certainly lots of room for people to come up with their why they might actually be in business, isn’t it?

Simon S: I agree.

John Jantsch:  So, Simon, thanks so much. Great book “Leaders Eat Last” and, obviously, can be acquired anywhere books are sold. Is there anywhere you want to send people? Website or anything that they can find –

Simon S: I have all the standard fare as everybody else.

John Jantsch: Yeah. Yeah.

Simon S: Our website is startwithwhy.com or leaderseatlast.com, that goes to the same place. I’m on Twitter, I’m on Facebook, all the standard fare.

John Jantsch: Thanks, Simon. In fact, I saw somewhere … I think we’re speaking at an event coming up in the Fall sometime. It escapes me which one it is now, but –

Simon S: I look forward to seeing you.

John Jantsch: Yeah, we’ll run into you out there on the road.

Simon S:  Lookng forward to it.

John Jantsch: Alright, take care.

Simon S: Thanks so much. Bye.

John Jantsch: (Music)

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Why Leaders Eat Last with Simon Sinek

Why Leaders Eat Last with Simon Sinek written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Simon Sinek
Podcast Transcript

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, we’ll revisit my conversation with Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why and the most recent Leaders Eat Last.

First off, if you’ve not read either of these books, I suggest you get both. In Start With Why Sinek echoes many of themes surrounding purpose that I’ve been preaching for years. Leaders Eat Last is a bit of a follow up in that once you have your “why” you must go to work on attracting and leading with whom that why resonates. As Sinek explains, the title of the book is drawn from a long-standing, yet undocumented, policy in military mess halls in which leaders by rank eat last. Perhaps the primary point in the book is that the true art of leadership isn’t about ruling with power, it’s about helping others get what they want.

Sinek compares that act of parenting to leadership. In a perfect world, a parent wants what’s best for a child, helps them reach their full potential and doesn’t always get to be their best friend in the process. But the key here is trust. When we trust a leader, even if we don’t actually like spending time with them, we will follow them.

Sinek uses the success of the 12 Step Program widely used in Alcoholics Anonymous to make another point about true leadership. Over the years, AA has found that if people successfully move through the first eleven steps but fail to embrace the twelfth, they often fall back into old habits. The final step asks them to help another alcoholic find recovery. The message and perhaps paradox of leadership is that in the end it is simply the act of helping others get what they want.

Questions I ask Simon:

  • How is your title inspired by the military?
  • What makes you a leader?
  • How does leadership, or lack thereof affect job satisfaction?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How Simon found his focus and passion and discovered how to facilitate trust between leaders and their employees
  • How to practice leadership
  • What makes a healthy workplace culture

Want to know the secret to reaching inbox zero and taking back your email sanity? The answer is SaneBox and I can’t recommend it enough. SaneBox sorts through your email and moves all of the trivial stuff into a different folder so the only messages in your inbox are the ones you actually want to see. Aside from removing all of the junk so you can focus on messages that matter, there’s a great feature called the BlackHole. Move an email into that folder and you’ll never hear from the sender again. They also have Reminders that automatically remind me when I need a follow-up email, aka nothing falls through the cracks. Did I mention snooze emails? They are a great way to defer/de-emphasize less urgent emails so that I can read them later.

Because we could all use more organization in our email life, we worked out a great deal for our listeners. Visit https://www.sanebox.com/ducttape today and they’ll throw in an extra $25 credit on top of the two-week free trial. You don’t have to enter your credit card information unless you decide to buy, so there’s really nothing to lose. Check it out today and let me know if you love the BlackHole and reaching inbox zero as much as I do.

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