May 21, 2013

Tom Asacker | The Business of Belief (part 1)

Writing a book is hard work. Many who have never attempted this endeavor, like many disciplines, have an opposite opinion. If you have ever had the inkling, here are a few things to consider. First, you need a thesis to carry your book. It is an angle, a story you want to share, a theory or outline that will hold your readers’ attention.

Next you need to write

For business books, generally that means 50-80,000 words, novels are 75,000 words and up. Then you need someone to edit it to ensure there is a flow which will keep that reader hooked. There are footnotes and credits and all that fun stuff to add in next.

Now the work begins

Once that is complete, you need to actually get it in the hands of readers which requires marketing, advertising, speaking engagements, social networking, or a myriad other channels. Oh, and if you think publishing a book will be an instant financial windfall, well, unless you’re Stephen King or John Grisham, don’t hold your breath.

Still interested?

I first met Tom Asacker through Twitter. He posted something that got me interested, then more, then I visited his website and read more about his work and philosophies. Then watched some of Tom’s speaking engagements and followed that with a phone call. We had a great chat and we've been in touch ever since.

I like Tom’s straight forward approach and he's an entertaining and thought provoking speaker. He is a seasoned business strategist, author, speaker, and marketer who knows his stuff and keeps learning every day.

His latest book is entitled The Business of Belief and it’s a fascinating read. Tom and I touched base a while back and decided to do something different. I asked if I could interview him about the book and his life and he obliged. This is the first of two parts of that conversation.

Why did you write The Business of Belief?

Tom: I don’t know yet. I’m being quite sincere. These types of non-fiction books are really about one thing: Changing people’s lives by illustrating and illuminating an emotional truth. When I hear back from people who have read the book and, as a result, have changed their businesses and their lives, then I’ll know why I wrote it.

You outline in the book that there are two factions or sources of energy working against each other.

First, is our ability to share and spread ideas faster through technology and the second is the difficulty in actually influencing the beliefs and behaviors of our intended audiences. You call it the Issue-Attention Cycle. Explain.

Tom: Awareness is obviously still a prerequisite in any type of communication process. But it’s a time consuming and expensive undertaking if it doesn't accomplish the end goal, which is belief and behavior change.

The issue-attention cycle refers primarily to public opinion, how our enthusiasm for programs or issues initially peaks and then fades off. There’s no doubt that the same thing happens with organizations.

The difference is that the leader of an organization has a captive audience. It’s up to her to make sure that she communicates clearly, frequently and passionately, and that she eliminates competing priorities on her people’s time and attention.

The theme of the book, and I assume now, your life, is belief and the ability for us to stay clear on our values. What is belief for you?

Tom: I’m only human, so many of my beliefs go unquestioned. There’s simply not enough time in the day to evaluate each and every decision. But I do make it a routine practice to question my work: Am I making a real difference in people’s lives and how can I change to improve my impact?

I also continually question my humanity: Am I as compassionate and caring as I can be? Am I making decisions that will make the world a better place in the future? The key is to be conscious, which is hard for people who are hurrying through life making most of their decisions on autopilot.

More with Tom and the Business of Belief tomorrow.
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Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture strategist, writer, speaker, executive coach engaging leaders, collaborative teams, and strong business results.

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