August 30, 2011

The Old School Community (a.k.a. Community 1.0)

Back in the day, before technology existed there was community. The internet has globalized our capability to connect to people, but there is power in the origin of localized communities. Let's talk about the benefits & how to create an authentic community from scratch:

Relationships - Communities grow organically. It starts one conversation at a time and builds from there. The idea of networking birthed from relationships. If we treat building our personal network based on forming relationships, connecting is much easier. Social media, Skype & cell phones are great, but nothing beats a face to face conversation. This generation is losing its ability to communicate effectively in person, because we don't practice enough. Relationships are the core of community. 

Resources - Communities are your referral network. Be willing to ask, "How can I help you?" without expecting anything in return. Everything you need can come from your community. A true community wants to freely give because it cares for the whole, not just the individual. For example, small businesses are the engine to revitalizing our economy, if we choose to invest locally.  

Small Groups - Within a community, conversations happen in a smaller setting. Small groups are the unit for transformation. They are the bridge between the individual and the larger group. Think about how cliques normally form. There's nothing wrong with cliques as long as they are inclusive. Instead of meeting in the same group of 4 to 6, interchange people and start conversations with people you don't know as well. Conversations bond and before you know it, your inner circle widens.

Local is the new global. Provide live events as a means to build community. People are hungry to connect and the best place to do that is within a community. Find a common purpose and create meaningful tasks that bond. Technology will never surpass human connections. Community takes time to grow, but when in full bloom it's a beautiful thing. So what community will you help build?

August 19, 2011

What's your Social Equity Worth?

"Social Equity is the perceived value of an individual, organization, or brands reputation and following online. This value increases or decreases based on the online buzz and conversations that take place across the various social media channels on the internet which ultimately transcend to the offline world."

Isn't this just a fancy way of saying your online presence precedes your reputation? 

Communication is rampant via social media, but how accurate is your participation online with who you really are? Companies and individuals can easily search for personal information about you online. Is that how you want to be portrayed?

Instead of trying to create a persona, just be yourself. 
Focus on your strengths. Delegate your weaknesses. 

When posting, think twice before sharing emotional reactions in the moment. 
Do you really want your future boss to see that picture of you?
Nobody wants to listen to you broadcast each move you make.

When at work, monitor your boundaries. The lines are blurred in these days of work-life balance, but remember your actions affect others. You may be able to work the system, but act with integrity. Even if no one knows, you do. It's called being professional.

Your social equity is built on interactions. Treat it as a relationship. Online connections are a means to an end. We do business with people we trust. It's harder to build trust online than in person. 

Don't substitute your social presence for interpersonal skills. As technology rises, the desire to connect face to face will continue to grow. That means how you interact in person matters. There will never be a substitute for relationships

Social equity is your first impression. Put your best foot forward. You never know who is looking at you for the first time. Seems like that's worth a lot...   

August 12, 2011

Be Willing to Be Uncomfortable

Everyone knows what it feels like to be uncomfortable. It's a not a great feeling, but sometimes it's a good thing. In order to grow, we have to put ourselves in position to be uncomfortable. Not easy, but how else will we try new things? Let me give you a couple of examples from my own life that might better illustrate this point:
I'm impatient. I hate waiting. This past month my wife and I were in Hawaii for a friend's wedding. If you've ever driven in Hawaii, you know they drive much slower than in L.A. On our way from the airport to the house we were staying in, cars were traveling at 35 mph (with no traffic ahead). At first, I had to contain myself from swearing and passing them on the shoulder of the road. After a couple of days, I got used to the pace (although I prefer to move faster) and it didn't bother me as much. Nothing changed, only my response to the situation.

I like to be in control. I wouldn't consider myself type A, but I do like to plan. Normally, I schedule everything a week in advance. I'm not much into surprises, I'd rather know what to expect. In fact, I usually like visiting somewhere the second time more than the first, so I can plan where to stop and what to eat. My wife is the exact opposite. She's very spontaneous, more adventurous and would rather not have plans, but decide in the moment. Over the 12 years we've known each other, I've learned to compromise. I still prefer to know what's going on, but I'm much more flexible now.

In both examples used, the circumstances didn't change, I did. Sometimes we beat our head against the wall because the world doesn't see things through our lens. Meanwhile we miss being present and make it less enjoyable for those around us. Part of growth is being able to look back at yourself and laugh. For me, learning to be more patient and flexible will only help me in the future. It's not about losing authenticity, but maturing in character. I'll still struggle in the areas I mentioned above, but I'm aware of it and will purposely put myself in situations that are uncomfortable because I know it's good for me. 

So what about you? What makes you uncomfortable? How would putting yourself in uncomfortable situations benefit you in the future? Your desire to grow will determine your next move.

August 8, 2011

The Applicant and the 3 Resume Piles

Have you ever wondered what your chances of landing a job are when applying? As an applicant, there are 3 piles your application/resume can fall into. Based on what category you're in, determines your chances of getting hired. Let's take a deeper look:

Pile #1: Not Qualified - You lack the experience and educational requirements for the position. Once you apply, you're hoping for a shot, but you really don't stand a chance. You never hear back from the employer because they saw your lack of qualifications and threw your application and resume away. 
Chances of landing the job: 0 - 5%

Pile #2: Qualified - You meet the experience and education requirements for the job. Most applications fall into this category. You're looking for a position that fits your current background. Your resume is impressive and you feel your chances of landing the job are pretty good. The only problem is there are others with similar backgrounds and they know someone within the company. 
Chances of landing the the job: 30 - 40%

Pile #3: Know/Referred by Someone Within the Company - Here you stand the best chance of becoming employed. You want to believe we live in a objective world, but you don't. Who you know is more important than what you know. There may even be a few requirements you don't meet, but if you have a friend inside the organization vouch for you, all is waived. Human subjectivity rules, so when applying for a job try to get the inside track from someone you know. Trust me, the screening process works like this. 
Chances of landing the job: 70 - 80%

The power of your personal network is huge! The three piles are similar to cold, warm and hot leads. You should always start with your best chance for success. Next time you apply for a job, think about the three piles and where your chances lie. In today's economy, this can save you time and stress by increasing your chances for employment. Good luck and happy hunting!