December 31, 2012

A Year From Now

Each morning on Twitter, I post a lyric, quote, saying, thought, quip, or idea.

Here’s the list from December 2012

We can't control others' perceptions. Make time for life time. You don't need eyes to see, you need vision (Maxi Jazz)

If you want expand your scope, meet a minimum of five new people this week. Shut out the naysayers, especially the ones in your head. If you can dream it, you can do it. (Walt Disney)

If you want to help others, discover what drives you. If you want to inspire others, let them in. One of the interesting things about success is that we think we know what it means. (Alain de Botton)

Focus on what you want, not what others think you should want. Are you telling your story or someone else's story?

Never underestimate the power of asking why. The things you are looking for will never be found inside the four walls of your comfort zone. (Mandy Hale) How can you improve your company's internal customer service?

Today is whatever I want it to mean. (Beth Orton) What's on your to-done list this week that will help you grow?

You don't want to be considered the best. Often our biggest obstacle is ourselves. You want to be considered the only one who does what you do. (Jerry Garcia)

Leadership is a verb.

Do something for someone today even if they don't know it was you.A year from now, you will wish you had started today. (Karen Lamb)

Follow your curiosity. (Einstein) Review what worked. Learn from what didn't. Bring forward what you want. Never underestimate the power of teamwork.

Find the quiet and you’ll find your voice.

Kneale Mann


December 30, 2012

Do We Have a Clue?

In 1999, the Cluetrain Manifesto was ahead of its time and in a lot of respects it remains there. One passage that is even more relevant today; “We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings and our reach exceeds your grasp."

Deal with it.

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - Jan 2012 | phdworldwide

December 28, 2012

Is Hope Your Strategy?

You've heard the saying – doing the same things expecting different results – but how many of us still do it? We hope this time the campaign will work, this time the client will understand, this time the tactic will gain traction. It’s human nature to miss our part of the equation as what may need to change.

All too often we cite external reasons why our past efforts have not garnered better results. The radio campaign didn't work, television is expensive, social media are too much work, we did pamphlets last time and that should work this time.

Nothing replaces strong leadership, good products or services, and hard work. But all that may not be enough.

This is not to suggest you are doing things wrong or your business plan is flawed but it simply takes a breather from the treadmill to examine the situation calmly. You need to find a way to look at things from 30,000 feet. And that, of course, is easier said than done but should be done.

Take 30 minutes, go off by yourself, turn your phone off and just let your mind rest. Your million dollar idea may not come to you in half an hour but you need to shut off the noise or you will never get there.

We need a break, perspective, space to think and we so rarely make time for it yet it is paramount in the success of our projects. Without ample think time you can spin in the wrong direction quickly and often. It can get rather pear shaped in short order.

A break may bring the answers you've been too busy to find

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - April 2012 | flickr

December 26, 2012

Getting Clear

We all know we are flawed and make mistakes. We know we don’t have it all figured out. And we know there's work to do. But part of finding clarity is discovering the joy in work rather than the seemingly unattainable finish line. Purpose can often be more important than making quota or hitting numbers. And how long does the satisfaction from a "sale" last versus following your passion?

Clutter makes us nervous and stressed. It can derail us from our goals. Clarity will help you find your baseline and silence some of that unnecessary noise.

To gain clarity, there are three questions you can ask yourself

1. What do you stand for?
2. What will you not do?
3. Why do you do what you do?

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - May 2012 | istock

December 25, 2012

A Day to Celebrate

Generous estimates put the number of people who celebrate Christmas at about a third of the world’s population. Some extend their celebrations to boxes of chocolate and elaborate meals, brightly wrapped gifts and a cup of good cheer. While others pay respects in a more religious way. And of course, many do a mix of both.

If you celebrate, please make it a safe and fun one!

Kneale Mann

Pearl Jam

December 23, 2012

Twenty-Three Leadership Ideas

It's been said repeatedly that leadership is not a job title and doesn’t materialize on a company’s org chart. It comes from communication and compassion about helping people grow. It thrives through action.

You don't acquire leadership with a pay raise or VP stripes. It requires daily focus and comes from inside you. Leadership is necessary from all stakeholders. You probably do most of these but here are some suggestions as you navigate your day.

Allow others to inspire. Find the how. Be present even during challenging times Have clear expectations. Don’t expect to ever have all the answers. Helping others is a privilege. Back your people up.Be bold. Never stop learning. Open door policies are for those who mean it. Don’t hide behind busy.

It’s their career too. Invest a minimum of 50% of your time helping people.
Be inquisitive. A team is more than celebrating victories. Lead don't boss.

Listen. Don’t hide when your people need you. Seek guidance from those who are committed to helping you grow. Customer service begins with you. Help grow their strengths. Be fair. Get to know what motivates your people.

Leadership may be the most rewarding work we will ever do. But we won't find it on our business card.

Kneale Mann

2012 Top 10 - March 2012 | freefoto

December 22, 2012

Reviewing Ideas for 2012

I've been looking back at the posts from the last year on and wanted to thank-you for taking time to drop by. There are countless trillion websites and you found mine then took a moment to look around. Thanks!

Keep Sharing Ideas

There are visitors here from over 280 countries and every continent on the planet and if we haven't connected through the social web or via email, let's do that.

As we wind down 2012, I thought we'd look at the top 10 posts here according people like you. We'll begin that tomorrow but first let's review the list published here on January 1st, 2012. Let's see how we did.

Travel more Forget the past Turn your phone off Some day is not on the calendar Don't wait for approval Talk about them Say sorry Excuses won’t help you Dream big. Do bigger Be gracious Thank your parents Make quick decisions Trust yourself Numbers are irrelevant Read more, skim less Stop comparing yourself to others Make eye contact Their opinion is just their opinion Smile more Take one digital day off a month Enjoy the ride Stop doing anything that weakens you Keep an open mind Busy is a victim word Plan ahead then be flexible Respect your own time Write something every day Move from what if to why not It's okay to be wrong Ask for help Hang with winners Don't rest on past accomplishments Reach higher Follow through Meet five new people each week Take time off It doesn't matter what they say There are no instant wins No excuses Help someone without their knowledge Go for it Ignore the news Don't waste your time on naysayers Sing often Let them be right Tell others about someone fabulous You’ll never been done Say thank-you Have dessert for dinner Trust your gut Do something ridiculous Sit quietly Be more tolerant Success is not a number Focus on your strengths Start now Laugh at yourself Take the victory Get some sleep Less talk, more do Do something scary Do nothing Go for a drive Cherish friendship Negative thoughts are a waste of time Be yourself The bucket list is meant to be lived Mistakes are allowed Your resume is not you Yes you deserve it Don't wait No one can want it more than you Lead with passion Take yourself out for dinner All we have is now

Kneale Mann

cbc | original: jan 2012

December 21, 2012

Your Answer Might be Steps Away

I shared this in a presentation recently and shared it here previously. It gets a reaction every time so I thought I’d share it again. Yes it's a clever commercial but the message is what’s important.

As most wind down the year and enjoy some needed rest and family time, the work and stress will be waiting for them when they return to work in January. The pressures of making revenue numbers are often the very catalysts to crush creativity. But if you open your mind, the solution might be closer that you think.

Will you make the next step?

Kneale Mann


December 19, 2012

Collaborative Direction

Leadership is about finding ways to accomplish goals through collaboration. This requires people who may have different levels of knowledge, expertise, background, interest, and perspective. This tapestry makes teamwork interesting and robust. But we can often get tripped up if we only look at things through our own lens.

Derek Sivers reminds us the opposite of our viewpoint can be just as valid an idea.

Kneale Mann

TED | Derek Sivers

December 17, 2012

The Human Stuff

Making more money, climbing some corporate ladder, buying a bigger house, getting that promotion, not getting the deal, all pale when tragedy hits. Our relationships are important and necessary. We have a human need to belong and have purpose.

The world is stunned by the unthinkable events at Sandy Hook Elementary. There are no words or explanations that will suffice. We struggle with sadness and rage while keeping focus on the families and friends.

Let us never forget Rachel D'Avino, Dawn Latterty Hochsprung, Anne Marie Murphy, Lauren Russeau, Mary Sherlach, Victoria Soto, Charlotte Bacon, Daniel Barden,
Olivia Engel, Josephine Gay, Dylan Hockley, Madeline Hsu, Catherine Hubbard,
Chase Kowalski, Jesse Lewis, Ana Marquez-Greene, James Mattioli, Grace McDonnell,
Emilie Parker, Jack Pinto, Noah Pozner, Caroline Previdi, Jessica Rekos,
Avielle Richman, Benjamin Wheeler, and Allison Wyatt

This is the human stuff. This is what matters.

Kneale Mann


December 16, 2012

Your Team in Five Minutes

It's a simple group exercise. Each person has five minutes to make note of as many of their interests and/or abilities as they can. Then share it with the team. The lists usually begin with work items but eventually get to personal interests and passions.

The purpose of this five minute exercise is to hit re-set and help everyone remember that outside world they've been told to leave at the door.

The results will surprise you.

Kneale Mann


December 14, 2012

The Spirit of Our Time

The annual Google Zeitgeist reminds us some of the big events from the last twelve months. A billion dollar election, a skydiver from space, and a destructive storm.

But as you look back at the struggles and victories, hurdles and smiles, it might be a good time to give yourself a break and focus on the good stuff. I know I am.

Our love and prayers to the families and friends in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.
No words suffice.

It has been quite a year.

Kneale Mann


December 11, 2012

Defining Innovation

It’s that time of year when we see all those lists – top this, best that, prediction this, future that. The list published on this site each year is simply some of the items I’m thinking about, you may do the same.

Fast Company began as a magazine in November 1995. After 17 years it remains a well respected outlet (and website) for technology, business, and design ideas from around the world. FC publishes many year-end lists and recently outlined what contributors and editors deem The Most Innovative Companies in the World.

Innovation may mean different things to each of us. It's akin to words like; important, good, essential, and leadership. Often it's a word attributed to the newest and shiniest simply because it's shiny and new.

For 2010, the Top 5 were Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Huawei.
For 2011, the Top 5 were Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Nissan, and Groupon.
For 2012, the Top 5 are Apple, Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Square.

Other notables this year include; DropBox, LinkedIn, Kickstarter, and PayPal. But there may be some you don't know.

To some, it might just be another arbitrary list. But it could lend insight into how to improve leadership and business ideas within your organization.

Kneale Mann


December 8, 2012

When a Community Creates an Idea

How often do you drop an idea because you don’t think you have the money, time, expertise, business savvy, marketing acumen, or network?

Here’s how Britta Riley solved the issue of growing food in her cramped New York apartment. The result is a global organization called The Windowfarms Project which was built through teamwork, open source, social media, and determined people.

Kneale Mann

TED | Britta Riley

December 7, 2012

Chaos and Collaboration

I was on a call recently with two partners in a company. One is detail guy personified and the other is all about the idea. They make a great team save when detail guy wants idea guy to be more specific, or when idea guy wants detail guy to figure it out and make it happen. Often the little things become large obstacles and they get stuck. Sound familiar?

Leadership is 25% products or services and 75% people and life.

You often see it in sports. Two evenly matched teams play each other to a lopsided result. Each seemed to have the same amount of talent and tools yet it wasn't enough to predict the outcome.

In that perfect world void of egos, job titles, org charts, and territorial battles, every relationship has open dialogue to deal with big things, little things, ideas and details. Once we embrace our differences, find calm in the chaos, and work as a team, we will celebrate more wins.

Easier said than done but it can be done.

Kneale Mann

guardian uk

December 4, 2012

Your Communication Challenge

Beyond job descriptions and organizational charts, strong leadership, communication, and presentation skills are critical for business success. In an era when there can be four generations within your company, the old model of corporate communications is changing and challenging.

In order for companies to tap into the knowledge and expertise of all stakeholders, it is imperative to provide training and experience for them to lead now and in the future.

Follow the Money

Every organization wants strong revenue and growth but it begins with your internal customer service between each person within the company. This is as important as ensuring there is a healthy sales funnel and strong external customer engagement.

Skip Weisman, a workplace communication manager, conducted a survey of 200 executives from large corporations to small business owners. They were asked specifically about their communications skills. Seventy percent believe they need to adjust their approach to how they communicate to improve motivation of their teams.

Inside and Out

Infrequent communication from leadership can have an adverse reaction to your customers as well. If employees are unclear about your company’s story, clients and partners can receive mixed messages which may negatively affect enterprise health. Some may think this is only necessary to sales, marketing, and public relations’ roles, but it’s imperative for everyone on your team.

Consistency can go a long way to improving leadership and communication within your culture. If you remain open to suggestions, make clear decisions, and speak in plain language, your internal customer service will thrive.

Check the Survey

Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind recently published an article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Changing the Conversation in Your Company” where they discussed the results of a survey they conducted with about thirty leaders of various sized companies ranging from manufacturing to health care to financial services.

Respondents outlined where they wanted to grow. One of the key areas is narrowing the gap between leadership and employees and rethinking the traditional top-down approach. Another element leaders outlined in the survey was promoting a two-way dialogue with everyone in the organization.

Boss Says

All too often, the manager will send an email which outlines a new initiative. This proposal may be beneficial to all involved but without that ongoing conversation, adoption may be less than optimal. Keep everyone in the loop as much as possible.

An additional opportunity to improve communication within your organization is delivering sharper and clearer presentations. As I often outline to teams, you’re not doing a slide show but rather presenting your ideas.

Slide Shows Begone

Think about how many meetings and presentations you attend on an annual basis and now earmark the memorable ones. When a great idea is presented to us well, we may make time for it. But if we present all of our ideas with the same tone and message, they will all be weighted the same and progress can suffer.

Strong communication and presentation skills help leaders serve internal and external customers more effectively, become better listeners, and provide exemplary service inside and outside of their organizations.

I can help, let's chat

Kneale Mann


December 1, 2012

Actions and Behavior

It began sometime last year and has become a daily item each morning on Twitter.
I post a thought, an idea, a quote, a timely event, or wisdom from somewhere.

Here are some from November 2012

Leadership is a choice. Push yourself; you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results. Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment. Look at your list, pick something, do it today.

They're entitled to their opinion and you're not required to endorse it. Leadership is about people not parties. The past has passed, enjoy right now. Never underestimate the power of you. If you're going to have ideas, why not have big ideas?

Let's not waste any more time on shoulda woulda couldas. Three questions of clarity: What do you stand for? What will you not do? Why do you do what you do? Thank them. Let's celebrate The International Day of Tolerance.

It's not how we fall; it is how we get back up again. It is no negative thoughts allowed day. If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

If your people are your biggest asset, prove it through your actions.

Let's not take it all so seriously. The best indicator of future behavior can be past behavior, how can you improve that?

Leadership is unlocking people's potential to become better. Connect and help. Pick five people you connect with online and book a call. Never underestimate the power of saying no. The high road has less traffic.

The idea you've been holding on to is ready to be shared.

Kneale Mann

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