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Posts Tagged ‘Fast Company’

You might be surprised to know that I don’t just read blogs and e-articles. I mean… I do. A lot. And below is a list of blogs I have been reading pretty religiously this summer, but I also read books. Real books. Sometimes in analog format (you know… paper, ink and whatnot) and sometimes in digital format via my Nook, which is quickly becoming my trusty companion on long trips and the occasional quiet morning on the beach. (At $149 now, it’s too good to pass up.)

So anyway, without further fanfare, in case you were wondering, here is what my summer reading list looks like:

Blogs (long):

http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ by Jeremiah Owyang

http://www.livingstonbuzz.com/ by Geoff Livingston

http://www.conversationagent.com/ by Valeria Maltoni

http://www.brasstackthinking.com/ by Amber Naslund

http://aarongouldagency.com/blog/ by Scott Gould

Blogs (short):

http://www.chrisbrogan.com/ by Chris Brogan

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/ by Seth Godin

http://kriscolvin.com/ by Kris Colvin

http://3angelsmarketing.com/ by Karima-Catherine

I read lots of other blogs too, but these are the ones I am visiting most often lately.

Magazines (Print, not digital):

Esquire (UK), GQ (France) and Fast Company (US) – or as I call it, the triumvirate. When I can buy enhanced versions of all 3 on iPad, I’ll know that iPad is ready. Before then… Eh. We’ll see.

Here are links in case you want to subscribe:

http://www.gqmagazine.fr/magazine/http://www.esquire.co.uk/http://www.fastcompany.com/

Other occasional reads: Wired, Dwell, Men’s Health, Men’s Vogue, Inc., Runners’ World, Triathlete, GQ (US), National Geographic, ID.

News:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/

http://www.lemonde.fr/

http://www.lefigaro.fr/

I keep it simple. Other occasional sources of news (aside from radio and TV): CNN.com, Yahoo, Google.

Books (Print):

Business: Sally Hogshead’s Fascinate, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s Trust Agents, and Brian Halligan & Dharmesh Shah’s Inbound Marketing (They’ve been sitting on my desk for a while, waiting to be read. It’s time.)

Fiction: (see images below) Ben Kane’s The Forgotten Legion and The Silver Eagle.

Books (Nook):

William Napier’s Attila trilogy: Attila, The gathering of the Storm, and The Judgement (to be released)

Simon Scarrow’s continuing Eagles series: The Eagle’s Prey and The Eagle’s Prophecy (Not exactly literature, but pretty fun and relaxing beach or poolside reading. Scarrow does a pretty good job with this series. I’m a fan.)

Chuck Palahniuk’s Pygmy: Because a reading list without ChuckyP isn’t much of a reading list.

Mira Grant’s Feed: Zombies and bloggers. Need I say more?

Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games: I hear good things.

See? It isn’t all Marketing and Social Media, is it? (I spend all day working with business stuff, marketing, brand management, communications and Social Media, so when I unwind, I like to unplug from the work stuff and read well-written fiction that has nothing to do with twitter, facebook, customer retention and corporate communications.)

Though to be fair, there’s more to it than escapism: The Attila Series are solid leadership books, and so well written that they are already helping me become a better writer. Ben Kane’s stuff deals with the nature of the human spirit and is also superbly written. The rest, I don’t know yet, but I’m sure each book will inspire me to write a few dozen blog posts at least. And there’s something to be said for just turning off the TV, ungoogling yourself, and sitting down with a good book for a few hours.

I will probably be adding more books to this list, but that’s how it’s shaping up so far. Have a great summer of reading. 🙂

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I agonized for a few days over what kind of brilliant advice I should share with you on this 1,000th post since the launch of the BrandBuilder blog before finally realizing that no. 1,000 is no different from 999, 1,001 or 356. So no more pondering, no more worrying about writing an epic post (the time for that will come again in due time), and no more waiting around for inspiration to strike. Today, instead of talking about social media, brand management, who does what well and who does what poorly, let’s just talk a little bit about leadership. Corporate leadership, that is.

And instead of doing all the talking, I will let people with a whole lot more experience than me give you some tips about how to become a better leader. Great stuff that transcends the typical leadership quotation mill.

Anne Mulcahy – Former CEO of Xerox

In a crisis, you have the opportunity to move quickly and change a lot – and you have to take advantage of that.

Change doesn’t happen if you don’t work at it. You’ve got to get out there, give people the straight scoop, and get buy-in. It’s not just good-looking presentations; it’s letting people ask the tough questions. It’s almost got to be done one person at a time.

There’s not a lot of room anymore for senior people to be managers. They have to be leaders. I want people to create organizations that get aligned, get passionate, get really inspired about delivering.

Stories exist at every level of the company. Whether it was saving a buck here, or doing something different for customers, everyone has a story. That creates powerful momentum – people sense that they’re able to do good things. It’s much more powerful than the precision or elegance of the strategy.

I communicate good news the same way I do the bad news. I thank people and make sure they feel a sense of recognition for their contribution. But the trick is always to to use the opportunity to talk about what’s next, to pose the next challenges. Where do we want to go? How do we want to build on it?

Margaret Heffernan – Author, The Naked Truth

Nothing kills morale like a staff’s feeling helpless. This often plays itself out when there are rumors of a new strategic shift or a major personnel move, or worse, when the papers are littered with bad news about your company. A big part of boosting morale is about constructing a haven of logic that offers individuals shelter from any storm. At its most basic, leaders have to communicate their awareness of business conditions and place their plans in that context. Each time [a CEO outlines] a future that comes true, he demonstrates his own competence and reinforces trust.

The happiest people aren’t the ones with the most money but those with a sense of purpose – a sense that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. At least some of this has to derive from work. The purpose of a business, then, must be explicit and go beyond boosting the share price or fulfilling some bland mission statement. People want to believe that they are part of something meaningful. The sense of purpose doesn’t have to be grandiose or revolutionary, merely credible and anchored in values.

Purpose is achieved through goals, and the acid test for any leader is defining the appropriate ones. Too small, and celebrations soon ring hollow. Small goals breed cynicism. But too-big goals produce helplessness. Although it can be temporarily thrilling to rally around a big corporate slogan like “kill the competition,” the reality is that employees can’t do it alone and they can’t do it quickly.

Alignment between corporate goals and personal development has never been more critical. The more unpredictable the outside world, the more urgent the personal quest for self-determination. What employees look for in leadership is a sense that their personal journey and the company journey are part of the same story. When these goals aren’t aligned, employees tend to whine with others, eager to share their sense of anger and injustice, polluting morale. The only way to combat this and get back on track is proper feedback. Give employees the tools to influence their own fate.

Get a life. Keeping morale high is like being on a diet: It requires constant effort and is never over. New ideas, stimuli and motivation come from all around you. It’s the larger life, after all, that gives purpose to the climb.

Alan Deutschman – Senior Writer, Fast Company – writing about how IBM builds new businesses

Look for opportunities that can become profitable [billion-dollar] businesses in five to seven years. You’ll probably find them by talking to customers rather than to brilliant researchers in the labs, who are are looking further ahead.

J. Bruce Harreld – IBM

You want to celebrate failure because you learn something. You need some level of security to say ‘I screwed it up,’ and be comfortable that you won’t be fired.

Marcus Buckingham – Author, Break All The Rules

Turn anxiety into confidence. For a leader, the challenge is that in every society ever studied, the future is unstable, unknown, and therefore potentially dangerous. By far the most effective way to turn fear into confidence is to be clear – to define the future in such vivid terms that we can see where we are headed. Clarity is the antidote to anxiety, and therefore clarity is the preoccupation of the effective leader. If you do nothing else as a leader, be clear.

Effective leaders don’t have to be passionate, charming or brilliant. What they must be is clear – clarity is the essence of great leadership. Show us clearly who we should seek to serve, show us where our core strength lies, show us which score we should focus on and which actions we must take, and we will reward you by working our hearts out to make our better future come true.

See? Told you these folks know what they’re talking about.

Thanks to Fast Company‘s March 2005 issue for providing much of today’s content. (I have quite the collection.)

Cheers.

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