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Pulling together a social media plan

So it started with a profile on David Plouffe in the latest issue of Esquire.

Plouffe's the former campaign manager for Barack Obama. He's now heading up Organizing for America. Plouffe's the keeper of 13 million email addresses from the campaign. The plan is to stay connected with the army of volunteers who helped get Obama elected. When grassroots support is needed for the Administration's agenda and when the President wants to connect directly to the people, out goes messages to the 13 million volunteers.

That article in Esquire led to this great PowerPoint on — barack obama + social media. Read the notes to go with the slides. Key points. The Obama campaign had its own social network and created 16 official presences on other existing social networks. The communities and conversations are already out there — don't try and get them to come to you. You go to them. And play the part of a party host — introducing folks to big ideas and people doing groundbreaking work.

And so now I'm looking at a social media plan for a couple initiatives that would pull together:

  • A blog on Typepad

  • Twitter with those quick 140-word hits

  • You Tube for videos

  • Slideshare for PowerPoints

  • Wikipedia for detailed background info

  • Facebook / My Space / LinkedIn / Ning to join and start conversations

Every element would be linked together and be used to grow networks, ignite conversations that throw off sparks and make things happen.

Worth a read: Real leaders don’t do PowerPoint

About halfway thru Real Leaders Don't Do Powerpoint by Christopher Witt.

Great book. Should be mandatory reading for anyone who has to stand and deliver. A few key points:

4 elements of a great speech:

  • A great person

  • A noteworthy event

  • A compelling message

  • A masterful delivery

Leaders speak for only one of 3 reasons:

  • To identify — tell the audience who they are or who they can become

  • To influence — shape the way audiences think and feel

  • To inspire — make audiences want to act

Take one of 3 stands in your speech:

  • Stand with

  • Stand for

  • Stand against

Deliver just one big idea in your speech. And keep it under 20 minutes. Wrap it up before your audience mentally checks out.

Bad speeches commit one or more of the following sins:

  • Small ideas and big words

  • Information instead of ideas

  • Too many ideas

How not to start a speech:

  • With a joke

  • With pleasantries (I'm so happy to be here today with such wonderful people)

  • With an apology (not a good public speaker, not well prepared)

Instead, start your speech:

  • With a personal story

  • A provocative question

  • A startling fact

  • A bold assertion

  • Penetrating quote

  • Reference to a current event

Book review: Ken Robinson and The Element

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

By Ken Robinson

Viking Penguin


An elementary school teacher is giving a drawing class to six-year-olds. At the back of the room sits a girl who usually struggles to pay attention. Yet she's totally absorbed during the art lesson. The teacher is fascinated and after 20 minutes asks the girl what she's drawing.

"I'm drawing a picture of God," says the girl without looking up from her masterpiece.

"But nobody knows what God looks like," says the teacher.

"They will in a minute," says the girl.

Author Ken Robinson loves telling this story because it reminds us just how confident kids are with their own imaginations. Ask a class of first graders who's creative and Robinson says every hand will go up. Ask a class of college students and you'll get far fewer hands. Ask around at work and you'll be lucky to get a single hand.

"I believe passionately that we are all born with tremendous natural capacities and that we lose touch with many of them as we spend more time in the world," says Robinson. "The result is that too many people never connect with their true talents and don't know what they're really capable of achieving. They don't know who they really are."

If you're one of the lucky few who's figured that out, then chances are you've found your Element. Robinson defines the Element as the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion. You're doing what you love and what you do best. You're energized and contributing to your full potential. You're innovative and creative.

Given the economic and environmental challenges we're up against, we need everyone in their Element and dreaming up some groundbreaking solutions. "We urgently need to make fuller use of our own natural resources," says Robinson. "This is essential for our well-being and for the health of our communities.

"Our extraordinary capacity for imagination has given rise to the most far-reaching examples of human achievement and has taken us from caves to cities and from marshes to the moon. But there is a danger now that our imaginations may be failing us. We have seen far, but not far enough."

What's limiting our vision? Robinson warns we're educating ourselves out of our creativity. Our schools are putting a higher value on conformity than creativity, defining intelligence far too narrowly and putting a premium on a curriculum that only engages the left side of our brains.

Education doesn't need to be reformed, says Robinson. It needs to be transformed. "The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions."

Gillian Lynne almost didn't find her true passion and her teachers missed it completely. Lynne is one of the world's most accomplished and acclaimed choreographers. She's worked as a ballerina, dancer, actor, theatre and TV director. But when Lynne was eight years old, her teachers suspected she had a learning disability. Lynne couldn't sit still. Couldn't concentrate on her work. And she didn't seem to care. There was talk of sending Lynne to a special needs school.

So Lynne and her worried mother visited a psychologist. The psychologist interviewed the mother, all the while watching the daughter and recognizing some telltale signs. The psychologist asked Lynne's mother if they could speak privately. On the way out of his office, the psychologist turned on a radio.

Hidden from view in the hallway, they watched Lynne dance around the room with amazing grace and in a state of pure joy.

"Gillian isn't sick," said the psychologist. "She's a dancer. Take her to a dance school." And that's where Lynne discovered her Element and found herself in the company of others who had to move to think.

"Someone looked deep into her eyes — someone who had seen children like her before and knew how to read the signs," says Robinson. "Someone else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down. But Gillian wasn't a problem child. She didn't need to go away to a special school. She just needed to be who she really was."

Innovation Show and Tell

Just posted an Innovation Show and Tell plan to Slideshare.

Looking to bring together folks at work who are passionate about applied research and innovation. Show and Tell will help spark conversations, build networks and support a culture of finding new and better ways to get the job done.

Aiming to be Informative and interactive. Candid and conversational. And no PowerPoint.

Ken Robinson’s The Element

I make a point of finishing one book before starting another.

For Ken Robinson, I make an exception. My apologies to Andre Dubus III and his Garden of Last Days.

The Element is a brilliant book.  For a preview of what you'll read, check this out. And this.

Book review: Mission + margin = successful social enterprise

Mission, Inc.: The Practitioner's Guide to Social Enterprise

By Kevin Lynch and Julius Walls

Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.


I crashed a pretty cool meeting the other week. My employer was hosting the inaugural get-together of the Hamilton Social Enterprise Network.

The meeting started in a boardroom, but strong turnout prompted a move across the hall to a bigger venue.

The place was packed with folks who were running, ramping up and ruminating about money-making social enterprises. There was keen interest, lots of discussion and some healthy debate around defining this new breed of business.

Ask authors Kevin Lynch and Julius Walls for a definition and they'll tell you a social enterprise is a business whose purpose is to change the world for the common good.

"Business is a vehicle of incredible power," say Lynch and Walls, who are changing the world on the strength of T-shirt and gourmet brownie sales. "It can be used for the good, it can be used for the bad or, as is most often the case, it can simply be used selfishly for the merely mundane. We have to change how things are done. We have to, and we can, harness this power for the good. The opportunity is great because the need is great."

Lynch, a former advertising executive, is president of Rebuild Resources Inc. The $2.2-million social enterprise based in St. Paul, Minn., helps chronic addicts and alcoholics find a path to sobriety through spiritual recovery and transitional employment. Rebuild's operations include a custom apparel and promotional items business.

Walls is CEO of Greyston Bakery in Yonkers, N.Y., and senior vice-president of the Greyston Foundation, The bakery, which serves industrial and gourmet markets, hires and trains whoever walks through the door and invests 100 per cent of its profits back into the foundation's housing, health-care and AIDS hospice projects.

Rebuild's been in business for 26 years and it's 23 years and counting for Greyston.

That's an impressive track record given that 80 per cent of businesses fail within the first five years.

Social enterprises face the same challenges as traditional businesses plus a host of other pitfalls such as unwarranted optimism, the failure to cut losses and a mistaken belief that a mission can prevail over reality.

"These factors operate so powerfully that they often become almost a part of the DNA of social enterprises.

The passion of purpose can blind one to the hard, calculated decisions that must be made to grow a business."

Even the most compelling mission won't matter if social enterprises inefficiently serve up lousy products that can't compete with traditional businesses on price, quality and service.

"Don't expect customers, even those who most keenly support your mission, to buy if it hurts. People will not accept any degree of product inferiority or, frankly, even parity, just because of your social purpose."

So what's the formula for success?

Do all the right things that a traditional business does.

Avoid social enterprise traps.

Become adept at balancing impact and profit and managing the dynamic tension between the demands of the business and the imperatives to serve the common good. And grab points of leverage that are unique to social enterprises. According to Lynch and Walls, a compelling mission combined with a killer product equals magic in the marketplace.

"Every moving part of a social enterprise is a virtual double-edged sword of challenge and opportunity.

"If we can help you navigate around the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities, then, perhaps, you can improve the odds that your social enterprise will be among the businesses that succeed.

"Better yet, then, perhaps, you can go to scale and really change the world."

Here's hoping the next meeting of the Hamilton Social Enterprise Network is once again jammed with aspiring social enterprisers with the passion and business smarts to change our world for the better.

(Another good resource worth checking out is the Stanford Social Innovation Review)