Welcome to the Influency Group blog.

Here we will take up various topics related to developing a valuable business from 360 degrees, oranges are spherical after all (see our opening post for more on this). I like 360 degrees. It’s something I try to apply to all aspects of my life, but most especially in business—it makes it sustainable, spheres don’t fall in.

As you can tell, we’re a little different. So if you’re tired of peeling back the same old onion and are ready to talk orange peels, give us a call. We are ready to provide a fresh perspective and help you take your business to the next level.

Fish Where the Fish Are

January 19th, 2017

I love this orange peel. It sounds so simple and logical, yet so many organizations have a tough time reconciling this within their environments. We’ve often discussed here the orange peel, “people buy from people they like.” This orange peel goes hand in hand.

For a long time, people and organizations believed “If we build it, they will come.” Thankfully, this mentality has died off a fair amount (but not all the way, it’s still a common mistake of new startups to completely focus on the product and not understand they need to be branding, marketing and preselling not just developing the product.) However, what is still not understood is to be effective in your gathering process, you need to meet the audience where they are.

Today’s media environment, and particularly social media and location based advertising (ever wonder why you get text advertising when you’re within a certain proximity to a store?) are constantly blasting targeted messaging (aka advertising) in users’ faces. One mere search or click, or things your friends/contacts like so show up in your feed…creates a proliferation of advertising for such products and services on any and every device you own. Today’s average person spends approximately two hours a day on social media, with teens spending approximately nine hours per day on social media. This does not include other screen time for work, homework, or entertainment. (Source: Social Media Today). Given these staggering numbers, it is clear a social presence and advertising likely need to be part of your marketing plan. That said, I question the opposing mentalities that believe: 1) social media marketing is sufficient; and 2) social media marketing is not necessary.

Going back to some marketing basics, we understand to get attention, our target audience needs 7-10 touches to start paying attention to our messaging. What we forget is these touches need to be increasing in value and depth of touch. In other words, an online ad doesn’t cut it. Taking a look at clickthrough rates provides staggering evidence to support this. In North America, overall clickthrough rates are .095%. This average remains close to the same throughout most of the world with a few exceptions, but these numbers are still less than 1% (Greece, India and UAE come in ~0.17 – 0.19%, and Malaysia holds the sole highest at 0.30%). Regarding such rates leads many CFOs and CEOs questioning the return on investment in social advertising.

So how do we turn this about? How do we take advantage of the overwhelming amount of time people (many in our target audience) spend online but still recognize the low success rate of online advertising? We’ve all been there…we all hate the ads, we all can’t wait to click on the X and close the ad, we get aggravated when we can’t locate said X, and noticeably upset when we can’t skip the ad for 30 seconds. You can smile and chuckle here, we all know this is true. You can relate.

The answer is in a closer, deeper dive understanding of meeting the audience where they are. While people spend an incredible amount of time on social media, a mere social ad (arguably annoying, and last time I checked, annoying people was not in line with “people buy from people they like”) is not creating the value message required to create a conversion. We need to develop a balanced approach. Social is tempting and should be a part of the strategy, you really can’t ignore those numbers…any of them! Branching out into other digital medium provides a great next step. Online digital is still arguably much lower cost than print, TV, etc., but there are methods to get much closer to the audience, provide greater value, and begin to deepen the relationship. This requires locating your audience in more valuable online locations and meeting them there, in their space. There are a variety of opportunities here from browser based ads (not a very far cry from social, but where your audience might potentially spend a large amount of time), to blogs, to email, and other content based marketing such as participating in forums and discussions where your audience seeks education and advice.

Moving up the value chain, let’s not forget people are social creatures by nature and have need for other people. These needs are not satisfied by digital presence alone. Networking, association meetings, tradeshows, partner events, lunch, cocktails are far deeper marketing touches of much greater value. Creating a funnel of brand awareness through social ads; brand recognition through other digital platforms; actual contact with individuals though networking, phone calls, association meetings, partner events, tradeshows; to direct one-on-one contact, discussion and meetings is a great plan for meeting the audience where they are. Ensuring each of these steps is touching your desired audience (the right social presence, the right platforms, meetings/associations within the proper industries with the targeted decision makers present) and building the relationship every step of the way…this is how we Fish Where the Fish Are.

Again, it sounds so simple, yet frequently we see companies splattering disjointed, non-targeted, inconsistent blips of branding or maybe partial messaging all over the place…or on the flip side, waiting for the phone to ring. There is not a plan, there is not an evolution of touches, there is not an industry presence nor consistent process, there is no funnel. These companies cannot last long and need leadership to develop a comprehensive strategic plan, roll up their sleeves, build a well-rounded and competent team, and execute. These companies, and every company, needs leadership and a team that understands the criticality of Fishing Where the Fish Are.

Sidenote: You’re not only fishing for sales. You’re fishing for great leaders, team members, partners, channel resellers, referrals…keep fishing!

Get Out of Your Office

September 22nd, 2016

Hey, I won’t lie, it’s been a while since I posted. I apologize to my loyal followers, I intend to get back to my own blog.  I rather miss it. The good news is I’ve been so busy with client campaigns and blogs…you know the story of the cobbler’s children…However, I read this article today and my immediate reaction was, “She understands orange peels!” You might recall several past blogs on the topic of staying present with your team, culture, etc. Or a particular post, “Meet the Boss, and Don’t Skip the Locker Room…or Concessions, or Nose Bleed Seats…” So today I’m reposting an article from Lolly Daskal with my comments, and watch for more posts to follow.

The Best Free Leadership Advice You’ll Ever Get

Reposted. Original by in Blog, Lead From Within, Leadership, Leadership Development, Personal Development, Workplace

– See more at: http://www.lollydaskal.com/leadership/best-free-leadership-advice-youll-ever-get/#sthash.8b630DKT.dpuf

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If you’re like most leaders, you’re always looking for ways to improve your leadership.

People are constantly asking me what they can do to make their leadership exceptional. They usually expect the answer to involve costly coaching sessions, or expensive training programs. But the best advice I can give is a simple technique that will improve your leadership immediately without costing a penny.

Here it is: Get out of the office.

The leader who is always in the office behind closed doors is not the kind of leader people want to follow.

Get up and get out.

Talk to (“with” in orange peels, a message from, “Orange Peel Anecdotes, Words to the Wise) your team, connect with your advisors, speak to your people.

While you’re there, make sure you try out these leadership practices:

Smile with sincerity. Smiling is a powerful tool. It helps people relax around you; it draws people closer and allows you to connect easily with others.

Engage wholeheartedly. A recent study found that 70 percent of employees are miserable at work and most people feel their boss or leader doesn’t engage with them. You can do better. Connect with your team and find ways to let your people know they are important to you.

Listen carefully. Keep your ears open. Too often leaders think they have to do all the talking, but the best thing you can do is smile and genuinely listen. People have a lot on their minds, and they need someone who is available to listen to what they have to say.

Question with curiosity. The best leaders are always asking questions—not only to elicit information but also to help others better understand the issues.

Answer earnestly. Most people on your team probably have questions they want to ask, but they may feel too intimidated to ask or they’re concerned about disturbing you. Make it easy for people to find you and speak to you—keep yourself available and accessible. You may want to schedule a listening session or another time when people are specifically encouraged to ask what is on their mind so they can be as productive and effective as possible.

Get feedback. Most leaders don’t really want honest feedback, so they don’t ask for it—and as a result they receive it only in rare cases when it’s forced on them. The best leaders know that feedback is the most reliable path to improvement, and it’s an important part of their efforts to be better and lead better. But it’s not all about criticism and improvement—feedback is also the best way to discover your strengths.

Give feedback. Leaders need an open channel of communication with their people. Learning to give feedback well opens the dialogue and leads to more candor in both directions, enhancing credibility and competencies on both sides.

Show that you care. There is this big misconception that leadership is all about power and influence, and that showing care and compassion is a sign of weak leadership. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The best leaders are remembered not for their power but for how they made people feel. Let people know you care, be there for them, and show that you appreciate and value them.

It’s easy to get bogged down in everyday responsibilities and accountability, but in the end it’s the small, simple things that end up mattering the most.

Lead from within: When was the last time you left your office and engaged with those you value the most?

See more at: http://www.lollydaskal.com/leadership/best-free-leadership-advice-youll-ever-get/#sthash.8b630DKT.dpuf

Why Attitude Is More Important Than IQ

January 20th, 2016

This article is so spot on, I had to repost so I can keep it close to mind for myself and all the Influency Group clients, entrepreneurs, students, mentees, and followers.

This post is by Travis Bradberry, and appeared in Forbes online, January 19, 2016. Travis co-wrote the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and co-founded TalentSmart, the world’s #1 provider of emotional intelligence tests and training, serving 75% of Fortune 500 Companies.

 

When it comes to success, it’s easy to think that people blessed with brains are inevitably going to leave the rest of us in the dust. But new research from Stanford University will change your mind (and your attitude).

Psychologist Carol Dweck has spent her entire career studying attitude and performance, and her latest study shows that your attitude is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.

Dweck found that people’s core attitudes fall into one of two categories: a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

With a fixed mindset, you believe you are who you are and you cannot change. This creates problems when you’re challenged because anything that appears to be more than you can handle is bound to make you feel hopeless and overwhelmed.

People with a growth mindset believe that they can improve with effort. They outperform those with a fixed mindset, even when they have a lower IQ, because they embrace challenges, treating them as opportunities to learn something new.

Common sense would suggest that having ability, like being smart, inspires confidence. It does, but only while the going is easy. The deciding factor in life is how you handle setbacks and challenges. People with a growth mindset welcome setbacks with open arms.

According to Dweck, success in life is all about how you deal with failure. She describes the approach to failure of people with the growth mindset this way,

“Failure is information—we label it failure, but it’s more like, ‘This didn’t work, and I’m a problem solver, so I’ll try something else.’”

Regardless of which side of the chart you fall on, you can make changes and develop a growth mindset. What follows are some strategies that will fine-tune your mindset and help you make certain it’s as growth oriented as possible.

Don’t stay helpless. We all hit moments when we feel helpless. The test is how we react to that feeling. We can either learn from it and move forward or let it drag us down. There are countless successful people who would have never made it if they had succumbed to feelings of helplessness: Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas,” Oprah Winfrey was fired from her job as a TV anchor in Baltimore for being “too emotionally invested in her stories,” Henry Ford had two failed car companies prior to succeeding with Ford, and Steven Spielberg was rejected by USC’s Cinematic Arts School multiple times. Imagine what would have happened if any of these people had a fixed mindset. They would have succumbed to the rejection and given up hope. People with a growth mindset don’t feel helpless because they know that in order to be successful, you need to be willing to fail hard and then bounce right back.

Be passionate. Empowered people pursue their passions relentlessly. There’s always going to be someone who’s more naturally talented than you are, but what you lack in talent, you can make up for in passion. Empowered people’s passion is what drives their unrelenting pursuit of excellence. Warren Buffet recommends finding your truest passions using, what he calls, the 5/25 technique: Write down the 25 things that you care about the most. Then, cross out the bottom 20. The remaining 5 are your true passions. Everything else is merely a distraction.

Take action. It’s not that people with a growth mindset are able to overcome their fears because they are braver than the rest of us; it’s just that they know fear and anxiety are paralyzing emotions and that the best way to overcome this paralysis is to take action. People with a growth mindset are empowered, and empowered people know that there’s no such thing as a truly perfect moment to move forward. So why wait for one? Taking action turns all your worry and concern about failure into positive, focused energy.

Then go the extra mile (or two). Empowered people give it their all, even on their worst days. They’re always pushing themselves to go the extra mile. One of Bruce Lee’s pupils ran three miles every day with him. One day, they were about to hit the three-mile mark when Bruce said, “Let’s do two more.” His pupil was tired and said, “I’ll die if I run two more.” Bruce’s response? “Then do it.” His pupil became so angry that he finished the full five miles. Exhausted and furious, he confronted Bruce about his comment, and Bruce explained it this way: “Quit and you might as well be dead. If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread into your work, into your morality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there; you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.”

If you aren’t getting a little bit better each day, then you’re most likely getting a little worse—and what kind of life is that?

Expect results. People with a growth mindset know that they’re going to fail from time to time, but they never let that keep them from expecting results. Expecting results keeps you motivated and feeds the cycle of empowerment. After all, if you don’t think you’re going to succeed, then why bother?

Be flexible. Everyone encounters unanticipated adversity. People with an empowered, growth-oriented mindset embrace adversity as a means for improvement, as opposed to something that holds them back. When an unexpected situation challenges an empowered person, they flex until they get results.

Don’t complain when things don’t go your way. Complaining is an obvious sign of a fixed mindset. A growth mindset looks for opportunity in everything, so there’s no room for complaints.

Bringing It All Together

By keeping track of how you respond to the little things, you can work every day to keep yourself on the right side of the chart above.

Do you have a growth mindset? Please share your thoughts and comments.