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Resilience in the face of change

By Phil M Jones | Apr 01, 2020 | Comments Off
Resilience in the face of change-phil m jones-cropped


Think of change like a tidal wave. When a tidal wave happens, there are 3 reactions:

  1. Let it wash over you leaving you like a drowned rat on the floor.
  2. Pull out the surfboard and have a boatload of fun.
  3. Use the power of the tidal wave to fuel the next chapter of your existence.

Phil M Jones can show you how to use a combo of #2 and #3 during his NEW virtual training sessions. Check them out here!

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5 Resources for Self-Isolation during COVID-19

By Karen Harris | Mar 27, 2020 | Comments Off

ithistogether pic

1. Staying healthy

Free online yoga classes

3. Staying connected to others

Virtual Book Clubs on Goodreads

5. For your mental health

9 Practices To Help Maintain Mental Health During The Coronavirus Lockdown


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Storytelling in times of struggle

By Ty Bennett | Mar 26, 2020 | Comments Off

Right now, the world has been turned upside down. Your industry has most likely been impacted as mine has. Many are confused, some are paralyzed because of fear and others are pivoting to the new normal.

In this time of change, one of the most important skill sets for leaders and influencers to develop and employ, is the skill of storytelling.

Ty-Storytelling is moving people to action

Stories help us make sense of situations. They paint a picture and cast a vision. Neurologist Paul Zak at Loma Linda University found that stories increase levels of Cortisol and Oxytocin. Cortisol controls focus and attention. Oxytocin, often called the trust hormone, increases empathy and emotion. So stories cause the listener to focus and emotionally connect to the message.

Gary Vaynerchuck said, “Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business.” And while I believe that is true in normal conditions, it becomes an absolute truth in times of challenge and change.

I have taught leaders for years that an influential story follows a model of 'struggle to solution'. You engage people with the struggle and then you help them with the solution. This model works because when the struggle is relatable then the solution becomes credible.

But here is what leaders need to understand about this model. 

When we are sharing stories that cast a vision about the future - the solution is not positional - it is directional. Meaning we don’t have to have arrived there to present with confidence. We need to present clearly articulated struggles so that our people understand that we get it and relate. Then with confidence, we need to cast a vision of the direction we need to go to arrive at the desired solution.

The right 'struggle to solution' story may be exactly what is needed at this time of turmoil. There is a power in storytelling when it is developed as a skill and employed as a tool to engage and inspire your people. 

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The advantage of your problems

By Mike Rayburn | Mar 13, 2020 | Comments Off
The advantage of problems-Mike Rayburn



Being Brief Is Digital Fresh Air

By Erin King | Mar 11, 2020 | Comments Off
Skip the Niceties - Erin King -cmi titles

Read an excerpt from Erin's book Digital Persuasion: Sell Smarter in the Modern Marketplace

Think about when you last got a message that cut straight to the point, didn’t waste your time, and gave you what you needed in a matter of seconds. It’s so refreshing, isn’t it? Before they’ve even read one word, just seeing the brevity of your message visually inspired an instant appreciation, an instant liking—you’ve been so brief that they’ll want to repeat the interaction in the future. It showed that you are not someone who is into time-wasting.

Say you’re sitting down for a meeting at work. What’s the absolute best thing you could possibly hear from the meeting organizer? “All right, guys, let’s keep this short.”

Yes! It’s a wonderful feeling.

The most valuable things in life are time and money. If you can save someone time, or save someone money, that kicks in the reciprocity principle; you’ve given them a gift. They’ll respond by looking you up, replying to your message, referring you to someone else—the opportunities are endless, all because you kept it shockingly short.

Try being shockingly short with your next message.

  1. First, go through the last ten unique sales messages in your Sent folder. Get a word count on each and find the average word count across your typical outbound message.
  2. Then, cut that number in half. Yup, I said it—in half! Aim for two or three sentences max. Remember, the goal is to communicate for a click, and to inspire some kind of action, not to try to sell them within that one message. You want to sell them on giving you a chance, not sell them on your entire product, service, company, or idea.
  3. Rewrite your message and restrict yourself to the above number. Make sure to send it out and track your response rate so you can compare it to the wordier messages you were sending before. Watch your response rates improve dramatically!

Learn more about Erin

Vinh Giang's The Leaders Instrument Keynote

By Vinh Giang | Mar 04, 2020 | Comments Off

In this world where electronic communication is seemingly taking over, effective communication skills have become more important than ever. Have you ever asked yourself, “How much is the way I am communicating, or not communicating, costing me?” That’s the question Vinh Giang helps to answer for influential leadership professionals around the globe.

Vinh Giang-Communications Promo Video-Feb 2020


Find Your Communication Potential

By Vinh Giang | Mar 04, 2020 | Comments Off

Interview with Ty Bennett and Vinh Giang


Ty: Why the focus on communication and what led you down this road?

Vinh: I think a lot of the times when we do the things we do, it's probably because of the impact it's had on our life. For me for a long time in my life. One of the things I do in my workshop is I show my students a video of me from about seven years ago. I freak out every time I look at it again. I can't believe that's how I used to communicate. What is really cool is I used to not want to show the students because out of, you know, pride but by showing the students, they kind of go “wow, you used to be really crap”. 

It's cool because I didn't know that inspires them. For me, it changed my life in that I wasn't able to communicate to my parents effectively. I wasn't able to communicate to those I was working with, I wasn't able to express my value to love interest. Not being able to communicate well held me back so much as a magician as well. I lacked the ability to communicate well. I didn't realize how much I was missing out on. Only in hindsight, is that so painfully clear. Every time I play that video, there's a moment in the workshop I'm kind of inspiring myself to teach even more because of how much I realized. Now having the luxury of having students and the videos that they send me, you know, a year down the track or two years down the track, I go back and I dig up the old videos. It just inspires me so much to do what I do know, because seeing that transition is unreal.

Ty: Yeah, I think it affects all of us, right? Communication is such a universal skill to develop. I often find that people think it should be natural, right? You have a young son and I've got kids, and it’s not a natural skill. You have to develop that. You have to have to work on that. One of the great points that I've heard you make before that I think is maybe a good way to kind of kick this off is, is, regardless of how good you are, how proficient you are at what you do, let's say that you're a great leader, and you have the knowledge, the skills, the competency, that the way that you're perceived will be in direct proportion to the ability you have to communicate that value. Do you want to speak to that a little bit?

Vinh: The way I summarize that is: you may be a 10 out of 10 at what you do. But if your ability to communicate is a 2 out of 10, people don't perceive you to be a 10 out of 10. People perceive you to be a 2 out of 10 and you're only as good as you can communicate. Just like you said, I think in a lot of organizations, as we travel and speak Ty, we both know as speakers that we see so much potential out there in the audience. That potential is not being realized, because the audience hasn't been taught how to improve their ability to communicate. So as we look out into the audience, there's plenty of people who are sitting at a 9 out of 10, 8 out of 10, 10 out of 10. But because their ability to communicate is at 2 or 3 out of 10, the potential is not being realized. As they improve their ability to communicate, they renew their potential. 

How many people are sitting there in boardroom meetings, not voicing their thoughts, their opinions and their ideas? How many people in team meetings are not sharing their thoughts on how things could be better? Not because they don't know how things could be better, but rather because they're either either afraid to voice their thoughts and feelings or they don't know how. Maybe the last time they tried to voice an idea they couldn't do it properly. I didn't know how to do it well and then got shut down because of it. So to me when people talk about, oh, there's so much potential here, I think the pragmatic version is literally what we just spoke about. That as we improve their ability to communicate, we improve their ability to collaborate, share ideas, and to help improve the business.

Listen to the full episode here!


Retrain, re-equip, and re-energize

By Mike Walsh | Feb 26, 2020 | Comments Off

An excerpt from The Algorithmic Leader


Automation might not entirely eliminate traditional jobs from your company, but it will absolutely change the nature of those jobs and the skills required to do them.

Imagine that you have a job as a retail merchandiser at Coca- Cola, and that you are responsible for visiting stores and kiosks, advising merchants on how to arrange their products, and checking compliance with the brand guidelines. Now, using a platform like Einstein by Salesforce, a customer can just take a picture of their store’s fridge and the algorithm will tell them what to do and where to place their product. What will the purpose of the retail merchandiser be now that their job has been changed by AI? Which of their skills are still relevant, and what might a career migration path look like?

The rise of mass automation brings with it unavoidable, but not unaddressable, political and social consequences. We have been here before. Economist David Autor argues that near the end of the nineteenth century, agricultural states in America faced the prospect of mass unemployment as more automation was introduced into the farming industry. Rather than waiting to see what might happen, those states drove the high school movement, which required everyone to stay in school until the age of sixteen and became the basis for the K–12 education system that is still in place today.

That education system, however, may not be up to the task that we now face. Andrew Ng, also a pioneer in online education and co-founder of Coursera, believes that our challenge is to find a way to teach people to do non-routine, non-repetitive work. To date, our education system has not been good at doing that either at scale or fast enough to keep pace with rapid industry change.

That leaves a lot of the responsibility for education in the hands of employers. Some have already stepped up to the challenge. United Technologies, for example, pays employees’ tuition bills up to $12,000 a year. Facebook offers free AI classes for all their employees, whether or not they work in IT, while Microsoft’s performance review system includes an appraisal of how employees have learned from others and how they have applied that knowledge. However, training is not enough, unless it helps employees migrate to a new way of working and thinking. A good example of a scaled-up migration initiative is AT&T’s Workforce Reskilling and Pivot Program. AT&T is one of the world’s largest employers. The average tenure at AT&T is twelve years, twenty-two if you don’t count the people working in call centers. Internal research com- pleted in 2013 found that 100,000 of AT&T’s 240,000 workers were in roles that the company probably wouldn’t need in a decade. Worse, when the company’s leadership began to analyze the kinds of roles that they would need, they realized there were serious skill gaps. The company would need a lot more coding skills, for example, and more leaders who could make smart decisions based on data and analytics.

To address this, the company kicked off a major reorganization. They streamlined the thousands of job titles that existed at AT&T into fewer and broader categories that clustered similar skills. This simpler classification allowed employees to start planning a more diverse career path through the company and to focus on the new skills they would need.

As part of this overhaul, AT&T created an online system called Career Intelligence that allowed their employees to identify alternative positions, see what skills were required, find out how many positions are available, investigate whether the segment was projected to grow or shrink, and explore what they might earn. However, there was a catch: while the training was free and some of the learning modules could be done at work, employees would have to do much of the work on their own time.

The challenge for companies building retraining programs is that AI is evolving so rapidly, it will be hard to pin down the skills and capabilities that people will need. Even worse than not training an employee for a future job is training them for a job that no longer exists by the time they are ready. Workers will need to constantly upgrade themselves as machines evolve. Algorithmic leaders will have a responsibility, and an incentive, to ensure that both they and the people around them are able to stay just a little further ahead on the curve of the AI revolution in order to remain relevant and valuable.

While lifelong learning is a standard cliché of large organizations, it takes on an entirely new meaning in an age of machine intelligence.


Don't fear the rise of AI

By Mike Walsh | Feb 26, 2020 | Comments Off
We should not fear the rise of AI

Leverage your data and technology

In the industrial revolution, when they first brought automation to the cotton industry, the weavers got upset. They thought, this is our livelihoods here. But as it turns out, they didn't lose their jobs, their jobs changed. Rather than physical labor, their work now became keeping the machines running. As long as they did that, their productivity went up. In fact, 50 fold which meant the cost of cloth began to fall and people started buying more cloth. The total number of people employed in the cotton industry in America, between 1830 and 1900 didn't go down. It quadrupled.

Something similar as you may know, happened with ATMs. Everyone thought the ATM is going to destroy the job of the bank teller. Right? Yes, you didn't need as many tellers to open up a branch anymore, but this also meant it became cheaper to open up branches in many different formats. The job of the teller has changed. You need people who've got social skills, who can empathize, who can market and sell other products who can build relationships. 

That's really the question we now need to face. It's not will technology destroy jobs. The question is, how do jobs need to change and in particular, how does our jobs as leaders of the community need to change? I believe we need to become algorithmic leaders. What I mean by that is that we need to become leaders for an algorithmic age. We need to develop a deep understanding of human complexity. This is how to empathize.

What is a good experience for our members or customers, how do we motivate people on our team? These are very human qualities that machines will never replace. There's not enough. We also need to take on some of the qualities of machines too. So we need to develop a flair for what I call computational thinking. Don't worry, we don't have to learn how to program. What this means is in the future, we need to approach making decisions and solving problems in a structured way that allows us to leverage data and technology to augment our capabilities. So something to be frightened of. This is how we're going to give ourselves cognitive superpowers.


The 3 Steps to Connection

By Chris Bashinelli | Feb 19, 2020 | Comments Off
Chris Bash - 3 steps to connection

The 3 best ways to connect with others and ourselves

There's a moment when we are interacting with someone. All of a sudden, our understanding of that person in front of us shifts from an intellectual idea to a feeling in our heart. It’s a feeling of connection and empathy.

What is the best way to connect with people? I’ve broken it down into three simple steps.

  1. Awareness. Have awareness as we interact with each other. If we say something inappropriate, if we do something inappropriate or if we know we're going in a direction that is not beneficial the first first step is always awareness. 
  2. The next step is acceptance. We must accept where we are, we must accept what has happened. 
  3. Number three, we must have courage. Courage, coming from the Latin word for “core”, meaning from the heart. We must have courage to think differently. 

How often do we get into fixed ways of viewing others and fixed ways of viewing ourselves? 

What my keynotes are about is giving ourselves permission to see others differently and to see ourselves differently. To do that takes courage and connection.