Who You Are is More Valuable Than You May Think

When the subject of personal currency comes up in our discussions to help people build better relationships with each other, my colleagues and I are sometimes greeted with looks of confusion or worry. I understand. The first time I was faced the question, ‘What do I have to offer?’, I literally broke out into a cold sweat. No matter the depth of our professional prowess, some of us may encounter that question with the internal response “I don’t have anything to offer that would be deemed valuable to someone else.” Not true.  Who you are can be valuable enough.

Inspired by last month’s Social Capitalist call with Heidi Roizen, myGreenlight community members are focused on getting creative with their currency this month. In the process, they’ve been sharing their unique ways of adding value  to other’s lives and proving that it really does boil down to how you personally embody and display the core values of true relationship building: generosity, candor, intimacy and accountability.

myGreenlight Ambassador Charlene DeCesare shared how being generous with her positive energy is a valuable currency that builds up the relationships in her network.

A friend of mine, shared that she is often thanked by co-workers and colleagues for her natural ability to speak with candor and say exactly what she’s feeling and/or thinking in service of making sure that everyone in her office feels respected and cared for.

Another  myGreenlight member shared that after acknowledging a challenging relationship with her boss, she invited her to lunch with no agenda. That turned into mutual information sharing and the revelation that they were having a similar life experience that was causing each stress, which was carrying over into their working relationship. This dialogue created mutual empathy and a commitment to work towards a better working relationship.

I have a knack for listening to the dreams and goals of those in my network and storing it in my mental knowledge bank. My network never has to ask me for accountability. I hold them accountable to what they’ve shared with me, by pairing the continuous flow of information that crosses my path to ideas, inspiration, news and events that my memory bank matches with their goals.

Whatever you do naturally to extend yourself to others is more valuable than you may initially think, so be generous to yourself and accept that giving YOU may be the best currency of all.

Kibibi Springs is myGreenlight’s Community Manager

The Research-Backed Two-Word Solution to Tripling Your Productivity (no, really)

I love planning. Planning gets an invite to my dinner party every night of the week. Planning is like a devilishly charming raconteur thrilling you with their adventures in far-flung locales like the Laotian Mekong. Then there’s doing – doing is like an autistic geographer detailing in monotone the troubled and complex history of that same locale.  Doing is hard, something to be avoided, but planning — the clean slate, the bold ideas, the big-eyed promise of all you’ll do and how — comes easy.  And the centerpiece of planning is the to-do list.

Oh, the gratifying joy of merely jotting down a list of tasks. To have begun is to be half done! Unfortunately there’s not much of a market for half done and so, over the years, I’ve tried nearly everything to make me more of a doer. In fact, much of the time when I’m not doing, I’m reading or talking about the productivity tips and systems of super-doers, everything from Lifehacker.com to Behance.com to David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

And then along comes Heidi Grant Halvorson, a recent guest of The Social Capitalist, who made the startling declaration that the last 40 years of social science research tells us the single most effective strategy for improving productivity, greater than all these other tips and systems combined, can be summed up in two words:

If. Then.

Heidi isn’t so easy to dismiss. With popular blog columns in Harvard Business Review, Fast Company, and Psychology Today, and a new book book entitled Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, she is a motivational psychologist at the forefront of the science of success.

Turns out that the doing part of our brains is indeed a bit of an analytical bore that processes information in the language of contingencies. Our unconscious remembers information in “If X, then Y” terms and is constantly scanning the environment, ready to turn X contingency into Y behavior (e.g. Unconscious: It’s April 24th.  Me: It’s my wife’s birthday!! I must get a present or I’ll be murdered!!).

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6 Musts to Make the New Facebook Safe for Professional Networking

Here’s the most important thing about the new Facebook release, from a networking perspective: It provides you with new tools to make Facebook safe and useful for business networking — providing you master those tools. (If you’d like to read my less-actionable philosophical natterings on the new release, here’s my post on that.)

If you’re one of the people who’s resisted opening your FB to a wider audience because you’re afraid of worlds colliding, oversharing, or ruining your rep, this blog’s for you. I’ve been that person thus far, and now I’m finally jumping in.

What’s follows is my list of 6 Musts to Make the New Facebook Safe for Professional Networking – my recommendations of the key stuff you need to do on September 29th or thereabouts when Timeline unrolls to the general public to make your Facebook ready for your professional world. Keep in mind that I’m working with the developer’s beta, so some things may have changed slightly with what’s actually released; I’ll make sure to update here if that happens.

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Thumbs Up on the New Facebook for Online Networking

After downloading the developer’s release of Facebook’s new profile page, Timeline, I immediately did what I’m sure all of you will do when it rolls out wide September 29: I used the new scroll bar to jump down and take a look at past years of Facebook posts.

Quickly I got to my first status update, in 2007: “putting down the cave paintbrush and joining Facebook.” And then… what? I scrolled through the blank screens from my pre-Facebook years, oh so many of them, and started to wonder: Did I even really exist then? If a tree falls and it’s not mentioned on FB, did it happen?

But here’s my prediction: If you can get through this kind of minor existential crisis, and if you aren’t mortified by the privacy concerns of having so much information stored in FB’s databases, and if you’ve been cautiously interested in using your Facebook for professional promotion, and if you can ignore all the whining about change, you’re going to like Timeline and most of the new stuff.

The release, and even more so Mark Zuckerberg’s F8 keynote to announce it, seem custom-tailored to address those who think that Facebook is intrinsicially superficial, supporting only the most banal and ephemeral interactions: bragging, gossip, superficial chit-chat, and Internet memes featuring singing Russians and cute furry things falling over.

Where the past 5 years have been about getting people “signed up and connected,” said Zuckerberg, the next 5 years are going to be about “apps and the depth of connection.”

Facebook knows that to win the race against Google Plus, it’s got to do two things better than it has before: 1. Serve both personal and professional networking needs, and 2. Engage people emotionally. It was no accident that its tear-jerking ad for Timeline, featuring a quick tour through someone’s life/profile-to-date, was a higher-budget version of Google’s recent Chrome ad featuring a father using Gmail to store a lifetime of missives to his growing daughter.

Language matters. Zuckerberg’s keynote introduced a new lexicon: The profile is “the heart” of your Facebook experience, and you’re not posting “updates” but “stories.” Facebook is now “the story of your life…. All your stories, all your apps, and a new way to express who you are.” (He repeated this. Again and again. Like a friendly robot.)

Will Facebook win? Who the heck knows! Like all Friendly Robots, it tends to make tremendous gaffes as it interacts intimately with humans. But its new release is a step in the right direction, with just one glaring exception – more about that in my companion post on the release:

6 Musts to Make the New Facebook Safe for Professional Networking

How are you liking or hating the new Facebook?

If you’d like to become one of my very first subscribers, head to my profile and click subscribe! I’ll be using my stream there for info on relationship building,  online author platforming, and content marketing – a.k.a. tribe building.

The Best Mentoring is a Two-Way Street

In this Harvard Business Review article, the authors discuss the positive effects of having a strong support system in your work environment. People who will hold you accountable when you’re slacking, people who will give you a pat on the back when you achieve, people who are your lifelines.

Creating and fostering these relationships is very important, but it is also essential to pick the right people. According to the authors of this article, when looking at the mentors specifically, “Sponsorship can help catapult junior talent into top management while also greatly expanding the reach and impact of senior leadership—but only when both sponsor and protégé recognize that it’s a mutually beneficial alliance, a truly two-way street.”

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Mini Mission Monday

Making time to catch up with everyone on your contact list can seem daunting.  Getting a group together is one of the best ways to touch base with multiple people at once.  Planning an event need not be a complicated undertaking.  Just pick a place and time and invite people!

Make a reservation for lunch on Friday.  Send an invite to anyone you’d like to see – instant event!

Relationship Roundup

Sticking with the generosity theme, five ways to be generous from our growing social network.

Generosity is:

1. Teaching.  Each act of giving is a teachable moment.

2. Collaborating.  Getting things accomplished in the pay-it-forward culture.

3. Mentoring/Being mentored This HBR article shows just how easy it can be to partake in a powerful collaboration.

4. Appreciation.  Psychology Today blogger Elaine Shpungin, Ph.D. is talking our language in this post on mealtimes and the power of generous gratitude.

5. A “How Can I Help You” Mindset. Thanks to Michael Fox from the myGreenlight LinkedIn community for pointing out this Business Week article on networking as a generous activity.

Kibibi Springs is the myGreenlight Community Manager.


Last week, we took great pleasure in promoting a new class of myGreenlight Ambassadors who recently completed the qualifications to earn their community Ambassador badges. Once again we’d like to thank them for their generosity.

Our ambassadors are a dedicated volunteer group of individuals across the country who live and experience myGreenlight values as a business practice. They are emblems of the success we’d like all members of our community to achieve, and offer their time and talents to help spread our message. In return, they become part of a supportive, exclusive networking circle; are the first to hear about myG news and developments; and receive invites to special events.

Cheers to the new additions: Mark Frietch, Mike Bruny, Chris Wolf, Steve Zimmerbaum, Vikram Randeri, Jacob Kojfman, Nick Pietrocarlo, Andrew Herrnstein, Jose Paul Martin, Tim Woolheater, Sophia Kristjansson, Charlene DeCesare, and Daniel McGovern!

Kibibi Springs is the myGreenlight Community Manager.

Transcript Excerpt – Power: How to Get It, Use It, & Keep It

Check out an excerpt from the transcript for The Social Capitalist interview featuring Dr. Jefferey Pfeffer. Read Tahl’s Raz’s blog post on the interview here. Click here for the full transcript: Social Capitalist Transcript – Jeffrey Pfeffer. Access the audio recording here. Enjoy!

Tahl Raz:     I’m the co-founder of the Academy, co-author of Never Eat Alone and this is the Social Capitalist, bringing you analysis and advice from the top leaders of this new era of social business.  Now, you won’t find the nitty-gritty realities of career advancements in most business self-help or leadership books and you won’t find the great CEOs talking in public or writing in their books about how they really operate.  At least, not according to our guest, Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer. A truth teller always willing to question the orthodoxy, Professor Pfeffer is one of our very top thinkers in management theory.  In his book on power, why some people have it and others don’t, his position is clear.  The world is not just.  Your workplace is not fair, and how smart you are, how well you do your job, or how many people think you’re swell has far less to do with your success than almost anyone is willing to tell you.  Professor Pfeffer, welcome.

Jeffrey Pfeffer:    Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be with you.

Tahl Raz:     So, let’s get right into it.  What is power?  Why is it so important, and why do so few of your colleagues tell the truth about it?

Jeffrey Pfeffer:     Well, power’s simply the ability to get things done in many aspects of life.  There’s disagreement about what to do and how to do it, and so power is simply the ability to get your way.  That would be one way of – that would be an alternative title for the book, which is kind of getting one’s way in inside of organizations.  It’s important I think for three reasons, or it’s important actually for lots of reasons.  But one reason is that if you run an accomplished profound, organizational change, you need to actually have influence to be able to get other people to do what you need them to do.  Power’s a part of leadership.  Secondly, power can be monetized.  When Bill and Hillary Clinton left the White House, they had debts and six years later, they had earned $107 million.  Power doesn’t have to be monetized.  I mean, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King didn’t, but it can be.  And thirdly, according to a research by epidemiologist, Michael Marmot, he’s a British physician and epidemiologist, power to the extent it’s manifested and control over your work and your work setting and your work environment actually produces longer life.  And anyone who’s ever had stress from not being able to control the conditions of their work would understand that, I think, pretty easily.  And why my colleagues don’t tell the truth is I, you know, there’s no incentive to do it.  People, you know, there’s a famous line if you were to do the Google search under the phrase, “you can’t handle the truth”, of course what the first thing that comes up is the famous scene between Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, in which Jack Nicholson says to Tom Cruise, if he doesn’t think people wants the truth, they can’t handle the truth.  And I think that’s right.  I actually believe that people need to know the truth if you’re going to be successful in organizations and in your organizational life.  You actually need to understand how the world works not how people would like it to work, that’s important also, of course.  But you need to understand how the world actually works, what rules of the game are, what we know about social psychology and the social psychology of influenced processes.  And then you can decide how you’re going to use that knowledge.  But I think it’s important for people to tell people the truth.

Click through for more of the excerpt.

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Strategic Selling: You Don’t Earn Trust with a Powerpoint

Will Petruski is the Vice President of Sales for myGreenlight, overseeing all B2B and channel activities for the organization.

First, an introduction: I’ve been the Vice President of Sales at myGreenlight for 5 months, arriving by way of several well-respected organizations such as SkillSoft, The Economist, The New York Institute of Finance, and a high-profile Chicago-based start-up that was notable for having been cofounded by three Nobel Prize winners. Unfortunately, the closest I ever got to meaningful interaction with any of them was the time one said hello, before kindly asking me to fetch him a cup of coffee.  (And yes, he used the word “fetch.”)  My goal with my monthly post is to create a go-to sales forum for proud members of our elite tribe. Let’s face it, we’re different than most.  We are the wealth-creators for our companies and with that comes challenges and pressures that only someone “on the inside” can relate to.

With Q4 looming, it is a perfect time to consider the strength and depth of our client relationships and more importantly, how to elevate them.  Effective selling is not a singular event, but rather the result of an ongoing process of building trust. While it has always been the responsibility of strategic salespeople to illuminate the interlock between your company’s products/services and your clients’ business imperatives, the seller/buyer relationship has also become a personal journey of far greater complexity.

Most would agree, in this economy, very few sizable deals are struck without complete trust having been established between provider and client.  This level of trust goes far beyond being perceived as reliable. Consider what it would feel like to put your own professional reputation and career trajectory at risk with a large-scale purchase. What level of personal trust would you require before making your decision?

In a compelling article from November 2010, the Harvard Business Publishing blogger Michael Schrage posed a simple challenge, in writing about the impact of information asymmetry. He asked readers to consider which clients were most profitable – “not the biggest, not the best, not the most satisfied: the most profitable.”   Are the most profitable clients the ones who operate as savvy, informed partners who deeply understand and appreciate (and scrutinize) the service you’re providing, therefore maximizing the value of the partnership, or are they simply the ones who have overpaid?

What a great exercise for all sales professionals.    Hopefully your results are not too disturbing.  However, that introduces an even more important question:  As salespeople, how can we  ensure that more of our clients fall into the category of those maximizing the value of the partnership?
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